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Adolphus Hailstork

b. 1941

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Adolphus Cunningham Hailstork III (born April 17, 1941) is an American composer and educator. He was born in Rochester, New York, and grew up in Albany, New York, where he studied violin, piano, organ, and voice. He currently resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Hailstork began his musical career in 1963, when he studied composition with Mark Fax at Howard University, Washington, DC (BMus 1963). In the summer of 1963 he attended the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, France, where he studied with Nadia Boulanger. In 1965, Hailstork received a Bachelor of Music from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied under Vittorio Giannini and David Diamond, and in 1966 received a Master of Music at the same institution. After studying under H. Owen Reed, Hailstork received his PhD in composition from Michigan State University in 1971.

From 1969 to 1971, Hailstork taught at Michigan State University. He then served as professor at Youngstown State University in Ohio from 1971 to 1976, and in 1977 accepted a post as professor of music and Composer-in-Residence at Virginia's Norfolk State University. He also taught as professor of music and Composer-in-Residence at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

Hailstork is of African American, native American and European ancestry and his works blend musical ideas from the African, American and European traditions.

In October 2022 his work was publicised in Britain when he was featured as "Composer of the Week" on BBC Radio 3.

Hailstork married in 2007.


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