Jeraldine Saunders Herbison

Jeraldine Saunders Herbison is a violinist, music educator, and composer of art songs, symphonies, and chamber music.

Photo: Jeraldine S. Herbison, photograph from Helen Walker-Hill's From Spirituals to Symphonies, published in 2002 by University of Illinois Press.

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In addition to being known as a composer of art songs, symphonic works, and instrumental chamber music, Jeraldine Saunders Herbison is also an experienced violinist and teacher of strings and orchestral studies in the public schools. While completing her Bachelor of Science degree at Virginia State College in Petersburg in Music Education, she majored in violin and minored in both piano and voice. An active performer, she continues to play in the first violin section of the York River Symphony in Yorktown, Virginia. After a thirty-four year public school teaching career, Herbison retired in 1998 from Newport News Public Schools. She taught both applied strings and conducted student orchestras during her teaching career in Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia. Many of her cello works were written for her husband, the late Dr. James P. Herbison, who was both cellist in the Virginia Symphony and a music faculty member at Hampton University. Herbison’s rich musical background, training, and work as a performer inform her compositions.

Bethany Worrell

This profile was created in 2021 as part of The Savvy Singer, an EXCEL Lab course at the University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre, and Dance and a collaboration with the Hampsong Foundation via the Classic Song Research Initiative.



African Art Song Alliance. “Jeraldine Saunders Herbison.” Accessed September 21, 2021.–saunders-herbison

African Diaspora Music Project. “Jeraldine S. Herbison.” Accessed September 21, 2021.

Artsong Update. “Reviews: An Evening with Composer Jeraldine Herbison.” Accessed September 21, 2021.

Related Information



You Can Tell the World : Songs by African-American Women Composers

(Florence Price, Julia Perry, Zenobia Powell Perry, Betty Jackson King and Margaret Bonds)



Sheet Music

An Anthology of African and African Diaspora Songs - 60 Songs

Composer(s): H. Leslie Adams, David N. Baker, Margaret Bonds, Charles Brown, H. T. Burleigh, Valerie Capers, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Arthur Cunningham, Harriette Davison Watkins, William Dawson, Mark Fax, Bruce Forsythe, Antônio Carlos Gomes, Adolphus Hailstork, Jacqueline Hairston, Maud Cuney Hare, Jeraldine Herbison, Jonathan Holland, Sylvia Hollifield, Langston Hughes, J. Rosamond Johnson, Thomas Kerr, Lena McLin, Undine Smith Moore, Andre Myers, Camille Nickerson, Fred Onovwerosuoke, Eurydice Osterman, Robert Owens, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Zenobia Powell Perry, Rosephanye Powell, Florence Price, Dave Ragland, Nadine Shanti, Carlos Simon, Hale Smith, Irene Britton Smith, Brandon Spencer, Hilbert Stewart, Howard Swanson, George Walker, Aurelia Young

Song(s): Amazing Grace (H. Leslie Adams)
Christmas Lullaby (H. Leslie Adams)
Sence You Went Away (H. Leslie Adams)
The Heart of a Woman (H. Leslie Adams)
The Alarm Clock (David N. Baker)
The Negro Speaks of Rivers (Margaret Bonds)
Caring (Charles Brown)
Desire (Charles Brown)
Your Eyes So Deep (H. T. Burleigh)
Your Lips Are Wine (H. T. Burleigh)
Autumn (Valerie Capers)
Elëanore (Samuel Coleridge-Taylor)
The Willow Song (Samuel Coleridge-Taylor)
Minakesh (Arthur Cunningham)
Stars (Harriette Davison Watkins)
Out in the Fields (William Dawson)
The Refused (Mark Fax)
With Rue My Heart Is Laden (Bruce Forsythe)
Suspiro d’alma (Antônio Carlos Gomes)
If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking (Adolphus Hailstork)
Longing (Adolphus Hailstork)
Loveliest of Trees (Adolphus Hailstork)
Dormi, Jesu (Jacqueline Hairston)
Gardé Piti Mulet Là (Maud Cuney Hare)
I’ll Not Forget (Jeraldine Herbison)
Little Elegy (Jonathan Holland)
In Time of Silver Rain (Sylvia Hollifield)
The Founding Fathers (Langston Hughes)
This is My Land (Langston Hughes)
L’il Gal (J. Rosamond Johnson)
Soliloquy (Thomas Kerr)
Amazing Grace (Lena McLin)
The Year’s at the Spring (Lena McLin)
I Am in Doubt (Undine Smith Moore)
I Want to Die While You Love Me (Undine Smith Moore)
For a Poet (Andre Myers)
Chere, Mo Lemmé Toi (Camille Nickerson)
Gué, Gué, Solingaie (Camille Nickerson)
Mshila (Fred Onovwerosuoke)
Entreaty (I Am the Rose of Sharon) (Eurydice Osterman)
Could I but Ride Indefinite (Robert Owens)
Die Nacht (Robert Owens)
From the Dark Tower (Robert Owens)
The Lynching (Robert Owens)
The Secret (Robert Owens)
Madrigal (Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson)
O Children of Men (Zenobia Powell Perry)
I Want to Die While You Love Me (Rosephanye Powell)
Spring (Florence Price)
The Sum (Florence Price)
Martin Luther King, Jr. (Dave Ragland)
Mangez, Boulez (Eat, Drink, Be Merry) (Nadine Shanti)
Prayer (Carlos Simon)
Troubled Woman (Hale Smith)
Why Fades a Dream? (Irene Britton Smith)
Dream Variations (Brandon Spencer)
Spring Song (Hilbert Stewart)
One Day (Howard Swanson)
I Went to Heaven (George Walker)
Norris Swamp (Aurelia Young)

Voice Type: 36 Songs are for High Voice - Medium to High Voice
24 Songs are for Medium - Medium to Low Voice

Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

A New Anthology of Art Songs by African American Composers

Composer(s): H. Leslie Adams, Mable Bailey, Charles S. Brown, Wallace McClain Cheatham, Adolphus Hailstork, Jacqueline B. Hairston, William H. Henderson, Jeraldine Saunders Herbison, Betty Jackson King, William Foster McDaniel, Undine Smith Moore, Byron Motley, Bar­bara Sherrill, Robert Owens, Nadine Shanti, Frederick Tillis, Dolores White, Julius P. Williams

Free via Google Books

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