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Something Fun Friday | Matt Henegan Performs in Underrepresented Composers Project

BMP Arts Administration Intern and cellist Matthew Henegan recently performed in a recital last month titled Fractals: Music of Underrepresented Composers.

The recital was made up of 9 unique performances from students in the cello studio of Boston Conservatory at Berklee cello professor Andrew Mark. In a virtual format, each student recorded an unaccompanied cello work by an underrepresented classical composer, including living composers, and presented it via email to those who signed up, along with detailed program notes about the composer and the story behind each piece.

Matt focused on the music of Black American composer Adolphus Hailstork for his project.

Adolphus Hailstork (b. 1941) Sonata for Solo Cello (2012)

Born in Rochester, New York, composer and professor Adolphus Hailstork attended Howard University, the Manhattan School of Music, the American Institute at Fontainebleau, and Michigan State University, studying with composers such as Nadia Boulanger and David Diamond. His works are championed by major American orchestras, such as the symphonies of Boston, Chicago, and Detroit, the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has written for symphony, opera, and chorus, and has composed chamber works and solo works, such as this one. Hailstork continues to compose music relevant to current events and social issues, such as A Knee on a Neck, a work in progress for chorus and orchestra conceived as a tribute to George Floyd. Dr. Hailstork is currently Professor of Music and Eminent Scholar at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

Hailstork’s “Sonata for Solo Cello” was completed in October 2012 in Hampton Roads, Virginia, and is dedicated to cellist Timothy Holley. Like many other modern-day compositions for unaccompanied cello, the work begins with a nod to J.S. Bach, composer of the famous Six Unaccompanied Cello Suites, but quickly transforms into a more contemporary work, clearly influenced by other American composers of the 20th century. As of now, this piece is a relatively unknown work in Hailstork’s catalog, but is definitely a hidden gem. The composer is also known for his solo cello work, Theme and Variations on “Draw the Sacred Circle Closer”, which continues to gain popularity.

View Matt's performance of the first two movements of the Hailstork Sonata here:

Check out some performances from other musicians involved in the project as well:

Raven Chacon: Invisible Arc - Hannah Soren

José Elizondo: Unter Dem Sternenhimmel Des Rheins - Tristan Hernandez

Dorothy Rudd Moore: Baroque Suite for Solo Cello - Sarah Nichols

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