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SC pianist, music professor reaches fundraising goal to record composer’s last work

·1 min read

The lost music of a mid-century composer is a step closer to finally being recorded.

Sarah Masterson, a music professor and pianist at Newberry College, reached her fundraising goal to record what’s believed to be the final composition of Philippa Duke Schuyler.

“I’m excited to be able to get the album out there,” Masterson said. “It’s especially rewarding to have fully funded it solely with donations, which is unusual for this kind of project,”

Schuyler, born in New York in 1931, was a biracial piano prodigy with an eccentric childhood who found acclaim over the course of her life for her performances and as a writer. Though she was well-regarded during her lifetime, she recorded little of her music and eventually became a journalist. She died at age 35 while in Vietnam to perform, cover the war and partake in a religious mission. In time, she was mostly forgotten.

Masterson spent the last couple years researching Schuyler, searching in archives for the sheet music of her last composition, “Seven Pillars of Wisdom,” and practicing to record the music. She also needed $2,500 to pay for the recording.

In June, The State wrote about Masterson uncovering Schuyler’s composition and Schuyler’s life.

Masterson met that goal earlier this month. In about six months the music will be recorded and released, Masterson said. It will be available on most streaming services.

Masterson is scheduling performances of the composition and has written an article about reconstruction and transcribing the music, which she’s getting published.

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