Jamaican-born Canadian pianist Maria Thompson Corley gave her first public performance at the age of eight. Since then, 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, internationally renowned clarinetist James Campbell, Peter Kenote, a violist in the New York Philharmonic, and Dara Morales, principal second violinist in the Philadelphia Orchestra. Her performances as soloist with orchestra include engagements with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Gunther Schuller, the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Stephen Gunzenhauser, and the Allegro Chamber Orchestra, with Brian Norcross. 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 12 of African-American composer Leslie Adams’s études 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 self-released CDs include Of the Father’s Love Begotten: A Contemplative Christmas and Letting Go; Music from the Novel.
Dr. Corley’s undergraduate work was completed at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, where she studied with Alexandra Munn, whose teachers include Irwin Freundlich. Maria Corley received both master’s and doctorate degrees in piano performance from the Juilliard School, where she was a student of renowned Hungarian pianist, Gyorgy Sandor. Maria Corley was the only pianist admitted into Juilliard’s doctoral program for the period of two years. She was also chosen to represent her alma mater in a tour of Central America, where she gave performances and master classes.
Aside from being an accomplished pianist, Maria Corley is a voice actor, whose credits include spots for Unisys and Suntrust, and an author. She has contributed to Broad Street Review, an online arts magazine, and blogs for Huffington Post. Her first novel, Choices, was published by Kensington, and her current release, Letting Go, is available on Amazon, Createspace, and Smashwords. She is also a composer and arranger of music for both solo voice and chorus, with pieces commissioned and recorded by the Florida A&M University Concert Choir, the Tallahassee Boys Choir, countertenor Darryl Taylor and soprano Randye Jones. Her choral music is published by Walton Music Corporation. Her arrangement of “Steal Away” is featured on countertenor Darryl Taylor’s Albany release, A Charm of Spirituals.
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.
She serves as the music director and organist for St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Lancaster, Pa.