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Oral history interview with Jacqueline Hairston, 1999 May 24, 2003

Identifier: M450.05.00006


Jacqueline Hairston recounts her early experiences with music, beginning with piano lessons at 8, and her appointment as the church music director at 12. She discusses her entree into and early days of arranging spirituals for renowned vocalists such as Leontyne Price and Kathleen Battle, and how she established her reputation as a solo spiritual arranger. She talks about how the concertizing of spirituals has expanded their audience and acceptability, and how this acceptability contributes to the preservation of spirituals. Hairston's approach to concertizing, or arranging, of spirituals is to retain the intent and content of the melodic line, and to incorporate the piano part to glorify it.


  • 1999 May 24
  • Issued: 2003


Digital Repository

Oral history interview with Jacqueline Hairston

Biographical / Historical

Composer/pianist Jacqueline B. Hairston was born in Charlotte, N.C., attended a program at Julliard School of Music for gifted children, then received her Bachelor of Arts in music from Howard University and her Master of Arts from Columbia University. Such groups as the London Symphony Orchestra and Andre Kostelanetz Orchestra have performed her arrangements of spirituals, and many artists including William Warfield and Kathleen Battle have commissioned her to create spiritual arrangements. She was the 1998 Composer in Residence for The Negro Spiritual Foundation in Orlando, Fla., is the former head of the Music Department at Merritt College in Oakland, Calif., and a former Artist in Residence with the Oakland Youth Chorus.


1 Items ; 93 minutes

Scope and Contents

From the Collection: This collection is divided into 4 series. Series 1: Correspondence and Reports; Series 2: Programs; Series 3: Posters; Series 4: Memorabilia.


Conducted May 24, 1999, in Oakland, California.


Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

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