Masterson Publishes New Book On Overlooked Composer

 In Local News

Dr. Sarah Masterson, associate professor of piano and music theory at Newberry College, has published a new book on an overlooked composer whose work she has revived out of the annals of history. The book, “Snapshots of Forgotten Adventures: Rediscovering the Piano Music of Philippa Schuyler,” published by Tyger River Books, will hit bookstore shelves May 9.


“With her captivating new book, Sarah Masterson shines light on the incredible life and compositions of Philippa Schuyler,” said Dr. Julia Mortyakova, chair of music at Mississippi University for Women and artistic director of the Music by Women Festival. “Masterson’s research, writing and analysis inspire the reader to further explore Schuyler’s fascinating career and work. What a delight for women composer advocates and music lovers alike. Brava, Dr. Masterson!”


Schuyler was a mixed-race concert pianist, composer and freelance journalist, who began her career as a child prodigy. She was performing Mozart at age five, and by 10 she had earned national fame as a young composer. She left the United States and toured more than 80 countries as a concert pianist, and then became a published writer and correspondent during the war in Vietnam. She died there at the age of 35 while on a helicopter rescue mission. The book’s release date, May 9, will mark the 57th anniversary of her untimely death.


Schuyler’s music had been largely unheard and forgotten until Masterson reassembled, transcribed and recorded some of her lost work. Her research culminated in her first album, “Seven Pillars of Wisdom,” released in 2022 by Centaur Records. The album is the first-ever recording of Schuyler’s composition of the same name, which was written in 1964-65, inspired by the book by T.E. Lawrence.


Masterson is preparing another Centaur album, “Travelogue: Philippa Schuyler’s Music for Piano,” featuring more of Schyler’s solo piano works. The project is funded in part by Newberry College, as well as by the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. It is also funded by a generous award from the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina.


Schuyler’s musical inspirations included Haitian Vodou melodies, medieval French folk tunes, Ugandan hunting songs, and even an oratorio about Catholic martyrs in Africa. Combining these varied materials with tales from local history and her own systems of encryption, Schuyler created complex musical mosaics and miniatures, snapshots depicting a forgotten life of adventure. Based on years of research into Schuyler’s unpublished manuscripts, sketches, letters, personal audio recordings and other documents, “Snapshots of Forgotten Adventures: Rediscovering the Piano Music of Philippa Schuyler” introduces audiences to the music of this accomplished yet overlooked composer.


Masterson joined the Newberry College faculty in 2014, and serves as coordinator of music theory, director of the music department’s social media, and founding artistic director of the W. Darr Wise Piano Competition. Her research focuses on the work of 20th-century American women composers.


The book is available now for pre-order in electronic and hardcover editions through Amazon,, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers.


To learn more about Masterson’s work, visit