Sylvia Hollifield

Sylvia Hollifield is an active composer, music educator, and instrumentalist based near Detroit, Michigan. She currently serves on faculty at Michigan State University's College of Education.

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    Sylvia T. Hollifield was born in Detroit, MI in 1951. She attended Detroit Public Schools, graduating from Cass Technical High School in the Vocational Music Curriculum. In addition to her pursuits in composition, she has performed as a pianist, harpist, and singer in various ensembles. She pursued her studies at Wayne State University with a B.S. and M. Ed in Vocal Music Education, a M. Ed. in Guidance and Counseling and an Educational Specialist Certificate in Educational Administration. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

    She began her career as an vocal music educator in the Detroit Public School System, and has also held teaching positions in Ohio and New York. She has also served as a K-12 teacher, counselor, school administrator and central office administrator. Currently, she is on faculty at Michigan State University in the College of Education.

    Hollifield’s passion for accessible K-12 music education inspired her to develop and direct Michigan Sings Inc. in 2012. The program aims to provide support for students and teachers for grades 7-12 who are involved in vocal music programs in their schools.

    She has served as a clinician, choral director, pianist and Minister of Music at churches in the Detroit area. Dr. Hollifield is a member of the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM) where she serves on the board as Second Vice President and a member of the Detroit Musicians Association (DMA).  She is the founder and owner of Sands Opus 118, LLC, a music publishing company. As a composer, she has written for solo voice and choral ensembles. Her choral music has been performed by a variety of groups across the country. She recently completed a song cycle on the poetry of Langston Hughes for voice and piano entitled Shades of Hues.

    Helen Bryant

    This profile was created in 2022 as part of the Song of America Fellowship Program, a project of the Classic Song Research Initiative between the Hampsong Foundation and the University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.

    Further Reading:

    -“Sylvia Hollifield”. 2022. Africandiasporamusicproject.Org. Accessed March 31.,of%20groups%20across%20the%20country.

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