By Joe Garvey

A composition by Adolphus Hailstork, Eminent Scholar and professor emeritus of music at Old Dominion University, was performed at Wednesday's inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Fanfare on "Amazing Grace" was part of the inaugural prelude.

This marks just the second time that music by a contemporary African American composer has been selected to be part of the repertoire performed at a presidential inauguration, according to, a website on African heritage in classical music. It is scheduled to be performed by "The President's Own" U.S. Marine Band.

Hailstork came to Old Dominion in 2000. He writes in a variety of forms and styles: symphonic works and tone poems for orchestra; two concertos (for piano and for violin) and numerous chamber works; duos for such combinations as horn and piano, clarinet and piano, flute and piano; numerous songs, including those for soprano, baritone, mezzosoprano, some with piano and others with orchestra or chamber group; band works and transcriptions; and many pieces for piano and pipe organ. He retired Jan. 1.

He is working on a requiem cantata for George Floyd, "A Knee on the Neck," one of many compositions that reflect his engagement with Black history. He expects to complete it in April.

"My poet friend Dr. Herbert Martin (who also wrote the text for Hailstork's cantata 'Crispus Attucks') one day sent me - I mean it was so fast, within a week of Floyd's murder - a complete script and called it 'A Requiem.' And I looked at it and said, 'I can use this,' and started setting it," Hailstork said in an interview with San Francisco Classical Voice in June. "It captures a lot of things that should be mentioned and are universal. That's why the whole world is upset over watching that murder."

Along with a University faculty research award, Hailstork has received the ALLI AWARD for lifetime achievement from the Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads, the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, and the Charles O. and Elisabeth C. Burgess Award for Faculty Research and Creativity from ODU's College of Arts and Letters.

The University maintains the Adolphus Hailstork Collection in the special collections area of the F. Ludwig Diehn Composers Room in the Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center.

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