New Album by Pianist Maria Thompson Corley

This fundraiser is an effort to support a follow-up recording to Maria Thompson Corley's 2006 CD, Soulscapes, which featured music by African American women. Corley, who was born in Jamaica and raised in Canada, received her DMA from the Juilliard School. She is now planning to record works by women from across the diaspora, including Eleanor Alberga (who shares Corley's Jamaican roots), Emhoy Tsegue-Maryam Gebrou (who was Ethiopian), Tania Leon, Errollyn Wallen, and Shirley Thompson. American composers may include Florence Price, Lena McLin, Mary Lou Williams, Betty Jackson King, Julia Perry, Judith Baity, and Joyce Solomon. A number of the pieces will be recorded for the first time, including new pieces by Krystal Grant, Eoriwoh Edwede, and Corley herself.

The fundraiser will cover recording and mixing costs, in conjunction with MSR Music, as well as new composer commissions. Please join me and the non-profit Composer Discovery Initiative  in supporting this inspirational artist in her important effort, and take a minute to read more about her exciting career below.


Jared Oaks
Music Director
Ballet West 


Jamaican-born pianist Maria Thompson Corley (DMA, Juilliard) was raised in Canada.
She has appeared on radio, television, and concert stages in Canada, the United States,
Central America, the Caribbean, Bermuda and Europe, both as a solo and collaborative
artist, including performances in Budapest at the Liszt Academy, and in Carnegie Recital
Hall, Aaron Davis Hall and Alice Tully Hall, all in New York City. She has collaborated
with such artists as Metropolitan Opera soprano Priscilla Baskerville, Juno Award
winning clarinetist James Campbell, Grammy-winning clarinetist Doris Hall-Gulati, and
members of the New York Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestras. Her performances
as soloist with orchestra include engagements with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra
under the baton of Gunther Schuller. She has also performed with the Philadelphia-based
Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, directed by Jeri-Lynne Johnson.

Her first CD, Dreamer, a collaboration with tenor Darryl Taylor, was released
internationally on the Naxos label. Her subsequent discs, on Albany, include a recording
of the first twelve of African American composer Leslie Adams’ etudes for solo piano
and Soulscapes, consisting of music for solo piano by African American women. Maria
Corley’s recording of “Troubled Water” by Margaret Bonds, included in Soulscapes, was
featured in the HBO Family documentary, Kabreeya’s Salad Days. Her performance of
Leslie Adams’s Etude in C sharp Minor is featured in Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’s
documentary, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am.

Maria began composing and arranging as a child. Her works for choir and solo voice
have been commissioned by Dr. Odell Hobbs (Florida A&M University); Randye Jones,
soprano; Dr. Darryl Taylor, countertenor; Dr. Louise Toppin, soprano; Dr. Buddy James
(California State East Bay University), and Dr. Jillian Harrison-Jones (MUSE:
Cincinnati's Women's Choir), among others. Her arrangement of "Mary had a Baby" was
published by Walton; her song cycle "For Terry" is published by Classical Vocal
Reprints; and negotiations are ongoing for publication by a major imprint of selections
from her cycle "Grasping Water," in an anthology. In June, 2020, she had the honor of 
appearing on a panel with Thomas Hampson. On July 4 of that year, her new art song,
“Big Yellow Taxi” was featured on the Hampsongs Foundation website. Her opera The
Sky Where You Are, with a libretto by Jenny O’Connell, premieres nationally in October,
2020. Dr. Corley’s art songs and arrangements have been performed, recorded and/or
taught in the United States and abroad.

Maria Corley leads an active and busy concert life. Her appearances include a
collaboration with countertenor Darryl Taylor in a concert sponsored by the Smithsonian
Museum of African American History, featured artist at the Epidaurus Festival in Cavtat,
Croatia, and engagements in Alberta, Canada, and North Carolina. Maria Corley is also
half of Duo Chiaroscuro (Sara Male, cello), whose endeavors include “Silence Optional”
concerts for people on the autism spectrum, or others who can't attend classical concerts
because of difficulties with remaining absolutely still.
  • Anne Kempsell 
    • $100 
    • 11 mos
  • Averil Taylor 
    • $20 
    • 13 mos
  • Hillary Anderson 
    • $25 
    • 14 mos
  • Bruce Caldwell 
    • $20 
    • 14 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 14 mos
See all

Fundraising team (4)

Jared Oaks 
Raised $525 from 14 donations
Salt Lake City, UT
Maria Thompson 
Krystal Folkestad, nee Grant 
Team member
Raised $25 from 1 donation
Kelly Turpin 
Team member