Classical 91.5

Valerie Capers, Pianist, Composer & Educator

Feb 8, 2021

Valerie Capers, Pianist, Composer & Educator

Dr. Valerie Capers was born in the Bronx and received her early schooling at the New York Institute for the Education of the Blind. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School of Music, the first blind person to do so. For several years she served on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music. She was also a member of the faculty in the Department of Music and Art at Bronx Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY) where she introduced several jazz courses to the music curriculum. From 1987 to 1995 she served as department chair, where she is now professor emerita.

Her outstanding work as an educator has been lauded throughout the country as being both innovative and impressive. An accomplished composer, her most noted extended works are Sing About Love, the critically acclaimed Christmas cantata produced by George Wein at Carnegie Hall; Sojourner, an operatorio based on the life of Sojourner Truth commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts ; and Song of the Seasons, a song cycle for voice, piano, and cello which was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institute.