Month: March 2012

The Singers and I begin “New Landscapes” rehearsals tonight

Today I begin a most exciting project with The Singers that focuses on newer works by David Lang (of “Bang on a Can” fame), Tarik O’ Regan, Nico Muhly, Abbie Betinis, and Jocelyn Hagen. The concert is April 21-22, 2012 in St. Paul and Wayzata, and it promises to be an intriguing concert for singers and audience members alike.

David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion was the 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner in music, and it combines the well-known story by Hans Christian Andersen with texts from J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, showing a parallel between the lives of the young girl and Jesus Christ. This work utilizes elements of minimalism and stark use of percussion instruments as the two narratives weave together.

The Artaria String Quartet, now celebrating their 25th Season, joins the choir for O’Regan’s exhilarating setting of Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry in The Ecstasies Above. O’Regan’s score calls for eight vocal soloists, chorus, and string quartet, creating an irresistible palette of tonal colors befitting the wild imagination of Poe.

Nico Muhly is a rising star in the composition world, with new works in many genres premiering frequently. His 2005 work, I Cannot Attain Unto It, is a modern psalm setting that uses choral textures in a fresh, unique way.

Those who are familiar with The Singers know the names Abbie Betinis and Jocelyn Hagen for their innovative work as two of three composers-in-residence (along with Joshua Shank). The Singers will also be performing Abbie’s Carmina men cordis (“Songs of my heart”) and Jocelyn’s Laus Trinitati (“Praise the Trinity”) during their two performances at the Chorus America National Conference being held in Minneapolis in June of this year.

I hope that you are able to see The Singers perform these modern masterpieces as part of “New Landscapes” in April, 2012!

“Christmas with The Singers Choral Series” expands by three titles!

After a very successful launch in 2011, Morningstar’s “Christmas with The Singers Choral Series” will welcome three of my scores to the mix any day. Mark Lawson, the outstanding head of Morningstar Music, has been traveling from ACDA convention to convention, and I believe at least some of the new titles are good to go already! Stay tuned to the Morningstar site (linked above) to watch for these works:

In Dulci Jubilo (SSATBB, a cappella), written for The Singers in 2011 and commissioned by Erika Gesme for her parents Dr. Dean and Laura Gesme

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing (SATB, div. a cappella), written for The Singers in 2009 and commissioned by Susan Mohs in memory of her parents Mathew and Helen Mohs

Away in a Manger (SATBB), written for The Singers inaugural season in 2004 and used as a traditional encore a number of times

These three scores will be joining my arrangements of Angels We Have Heard on High (2010) and O Little Town of Bethlehem (2003) which had a wonderful first year in print. I am so happy to see how many people are able to use these new arrangements across the country….. 9000 copies in the first year!

SBMP publishing new spiritual arrangement

I am really excited to announce that Santa Barbara Music Publishing is managing the release of my new arrangement of “Sinner Man,” commissioned by the Hopkins High School Concert Choir and its conductor Mr. Philip Brown. This was a meaningful commission because it was my first piece written for the choir that I led from 2000-2006, and the work was commissioned to be sung at the 2011 Minnesota ACDA Fall Conference at Gustavus College in St. Peter.

I look forward to two opportunities when I can conduct “Sinner Man” this spring – first with the Rochester Choral Arts Ensemble on our “American Spring” program in early May. I will then lead The Singers on the work in the Twin Cities in early June before recording a new American folk CD.

I am grateful to Barbara Harlow for her continued support of my work, and the work of Michael and I, primarily through the Matthew & Michael Culloton Choral Series, which boasts nearly 30 scores from some of this country’s most renowned composers.