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Rosephayne Powell

Composer

Rosephayne Powell

Biography

Rosephanye Powell, pronounced ro-SEH-fuh-nee, (born 1962) is an American choral composer, singer, professor, and researcher.

Rosephanye Dunn Powell has been hailed as one of America's premier composers of choral music. She has a diverse and impressive catalogue of works published by some of the nation's leading publishers, including the Hal Leonard Corporation, the Fred Bock Music Company/Gentry Publications, Oxford University Press and Alliance Music Publications. Her compositions include sacred and secular works for mixed chorus, women's chorus, men's chorus, and children's voices. Her style of composition has been characterized by beautiful melodies, strong rhythmic emphasis, rich harmonies often derived from African-American popular styles, and varied vocal textures including counterpoint. Her influences include African-American musical styles; the choral works of J.S. Bach, G.F. Handel, Mozart and Verdi; the art songs of William Grant Still, Undine Smith Moore, Fernando Obradors, Samuel Barber, Emmanuel Chabrier; and the spiritual arrangements of H.T. Burleigh, J. Rosamond Johnson, William Dawson, Hall Johnson, Lena McLin, and Roland Carter. Powell's works are popular throughout the world, especially in Europe and Asia. She is in constant demand as a composer-in-residence, clinician, adjudicator, conductor, and performer.

Roseaphane Dunn Powell, born in Lanett, Alabama, studied piano, played the saxophone and sang in choirs as a child. As a high school student, she excelled in track and basketball, played saxophone in the marching band, and performed lead roles in theatrical productions. Powell graduated from West Point High School (West Point, GA) in 1980 and was the class valedictorian. She received a basketball scholarship to Alabama State University but soon realized that she could not play basketball and pursue a music degree. Powell graduated summa cum laude from Alabama State University with a Bachelor of Music Education degree, vocal emphasis (1984); with distinction from Westminster Choir College with a master's degree in vocal performance and pedagogy (1987); and from The Florida State University as a University Fellow with a Doctor of Music degree in vocal performance (1993).

Prior to accepting her present position as Professor of Voice at Auburn University, Powell taught at Philander Smith College (1993-2001) and Georgia Southern University (1987-1990). She is married to choral conductor and arranger William C. Powell and has two daughters: Camille Elise and Kaitlyn Elizabeth. Many of Powell's original works are arranged for different voicings by her husband who has a number of published choral works of his own.

Prior to her career as a composer, Powell invested most of her energy performing art song and lecture recitals dedicated to the works of William Grant Still, dean of African-American composers, and the interpretation of African-American spirituals. Because of her research and performances, Powell is considered an authority on both of these subjects. Her articles have been published by prestigious academic journals as the NATS Journal (National Association of Teachers of Singing)and the ACDA Journal. Powell served as editor and wrote the introduction for the anthology William Grant Still: An Art Song Collection. For a period, she had a weekly radio segment Living History on the nationally syndicated The Donnie McClurkin Show where Powell provided the listening audience with brief moments in Black music and history.

In 2012 Powell's first multi-movement sacred work for chorus, organ and orchestra, "The Cry of Jeremiah," commissioned by the American Guild of Organists, was premiered with great success on July 5, in Nashville, TN. In 2011, Powell and her husband served as editors of Spirituals for Upper Voices, a collection of twelve spirituals arranged for treble voices, published by Oxford University Press, London. In 2010, Powell's multimovement work (six songs) entitled Christmas Give was a centerpiece for the CD "Christmas at America's First Cathedral," released by Gothic Records and featuring the Baltimore Choral Arts and orchestra at the Baltimore Basilica, Tom Hall, director. In 2009, Powell was presented with the Living Legend Award at the California State University African Diaspora Sacred Music Festival in Los Angeles. She was listed in the first edition of the international publication Who Is Who in Choral Music; and has been included in Who's Who Among America's Teachers and Outstanding Young Women in America.


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