Maria Thompson Corley, pianist


"My music is always about telling human stories as honestly as possible. I apply this approach to all art, whether as a pianist, composer, writer, poet, or voice actor. I'm particularly happy to introduce underrepresented composers to the canon."

Maria Thompson Corley, Soloist & Composer 

While earning her Masters's and Doctor of Musical Arts at Juilliard, Maria Corley, who studied with Gyorgy Sandor, learned scientifically sound strategies for bringing music to life.

Deeper levels of musical communication
An experienced pedagogue, she has taught piano both privately and at post-secondary institutions, beginning at the age of 13. The tools she shares will unlock deeper levels of musical communication and enjoyment, both for the pianist and the listener.
She has performed internationally, and her recordings have been released on Naxos and Albany.

Respected Composer
A respected composer whose art songs have been performed and taught in Europe and the United States, she has produced various music discs by Black female composers, including herself.

CD and other recordings
Her first CD, Dreamer, released internationally on Naxos, contains collaborations with then-tenor Darryl Taylor.

Subsequent discs on Albany include a recording of the first twelve of African American composer Leslie Adams’s etudes for solo piano (seven of which she world-premiered) and Soulscapes, consisting of music for solo piano by African American women.

Maria Corley’s recordings of selections from Valerie Capers’ Portraits in Jazz, included in Soulscapes, were featured in the HBO Family documentary, Kebreeya’s Salad Days.

Her performance of Leslie Adams’s Etude in C sharp Minor is included in Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’s documentary, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am.

She was featured twice in the 2020 African Composers London virtual concert series, once as a solo performer and once as a pianist/writer.

Soul Sanctuary, a disc of her arrangements of spirituals and hymns, with Maria Clark, soprano, and Ismail Akbar, cello, was released by Navona Records in February 2022.

Her recording Soulscapes 2 (MSR Classics), consisting of music by Black women from all over the diaspora, was released in November 2021. WRTI’s John T.K. Scherch included it on his list of 12 “don’t miss” classical releases for 2022.

Her Passion
"My passion is to truly allow dots on the page to spring to life. The world needs more beauty, and I truly believe that leading others towards extracting the core of each piece they encounter helps to fill that need."