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In Tune

  • Ronald Arnatt (1930–2018): A Remembrance by Stanley M. Hoffman

    Ronald Arnatt Ronald Arnatt

    My first memories of Dr. Ronald (“Ron”) Arnatt came during the early to mid-1990s when I worked as an editor at Scores International music engravers (formerly Commonwealth Digital). ECS Publishing was one of our main clients; both companies were in downtown Boston not far from one another. Ron would often stop by our office to drop off edited manuscripts for engraving, or to pick up completed projects which we delivered on floppy disks; sometimes I delivered those disks to the ECS office. I would ask Ron how he was doing, and he sometimes replied, “I’m in a bit of a rut,” in his quite pronounced English accent. To my knowledge, he never took to technology in a big way other than to email. So, with the advent of music engraving technology, he found himself somewhat out of his element. I was nonetheless struck by how knowledgeable he was and, above all, how very kind and gentlemanly.

    In 1998, I was hired to work as Editor for ECS by its former owner, the late Robert (“Bob”) Schuneman. One of the primary functions of an editor at a music publishing company is vetting submissions to help the owner decide whether to accept them for publication, or to turn them away. For many years Ron was by my side, usually weekly, filling out evaluation forms for submissions. His informed comments were invaluable to Bob and me because of the keen insights he gained from his formidable experience as a composer, editor, organist, and conductor in both England and the US.

    We worked together as co-editors of various titles more times than I can recall. We also had many good times together, both at work and socially, especially when ECS would have occasional staff parties and picnics. Even when things got slightly tense at work (as is bound to happen when people work at a business together for years at a time), he was always exceedingly civilized in how he comported himself, a real role model on how to live life fully and yet somehow gently. I was honored to serve as editor for many of his fine musical compositions and arrangements and, in turn, to have Ron critique my own compositions and arrangements. In all aspects of his work, he often thought of things in ways that I might not have considered otherwise, which was incredibly valuable. He is the only person in my life I can truly refer to as both a mentor and a friend.

    As the years went on, Ron’s hours at work grew gradually fewer and farther between until he eventually retired; I forget precisely what year that took place. He also eventually retired from his other job as Director of Music and Organist at St. John’s Church in Beverly Farms, MA. He and his lovely wife, Carol, whose death preceded his, were both battling various afflictions at the time, so he decided that it was best that they move to where there was family. After that, I could always count on exchanging emails and holiday cards with Ron for as long as he was able to write them.

    Ron passed away on August 23, 2018. May both his memory and his musical legacy be blessings.

    Below is a touching video of him playing piano at his house in Beverly Farms, MA.


    Dr. Ronald Arnatt (1930-2018) had an exceptional professional career spanning both sides of the Atlantic. After receiving his music education at Trinity College, London, and Durham University in England, he emigrated to the United States.

    In the United States, Dr. Arnatt held professorial or Director of Music positions at Trinity Church in Boston, Westminster Choir College in Princeton, American University, Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, the University of Missouri, and with the St. Louis Chamber Orchestra and Chorus.

    He is known internationally for his choral, organ, and brass compositions. Dr. Arnatt was a Past President of the American Guild of Organists. His final post was Director of Music and Organist at St. John's Church in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts.

  • Juliana Hall's Art Songs March Across America for Women's Rights

    Guest post by David Sims

    Part I

    Every now and then a project comes along that is so unique and so meaningful that a composer cannot refuse the opportunity. So says composer Juliana Hall, whose new mezzo-soprano song cycle Through the Guarded Gate is the result of such a project. Through the Guarded Gate was commissioned by the Seattle Art Song Society (SASS) for performance on its 2018-2019 season, which is devoted to issues of social justice.

    SASS General and Artistic Director Brian C. Armbrust writes:

    Our 18-19 season is called "One Voice." This season means so much to so many of us. The idea started when I looked around at all my fellow artists and saw this heavy weight that we are carrying during a dark time. We have a unique and powerful method of delivery of a much needed message in a time when the world seems turned on its head. I'm inspired by my queer community to make our voices heard; I weep at death from wars and cries for peace in a time when we seem to constantly be fighting with one another, I pray for it all to end; I watch with disgust and great sorrow as racist voices are given time on the news, as our black brothers and sisters are threatened daily by injustice and loss; I glow with a pride as the womxn of this nation stand up and say "NO!" to inequality, and can say #MeToo and be heard; I get up every single day and walk into an office where we serve community members that are looked down upon for mental illness and help them fight to reach recovery despite what others say. To each of you, we dedicate this season. We will lift your voices and they will be heard in glorious song."

    Reflecting Armbrust's vision, the 18-19 SASS concerts include songs fitting the themes of "Queer Voices" in October, "Voices of War & Peace" in November, "Black Voices" in February, "Womxn's Voices" in March, and "Voices of Mental Health" in May. Hall's Through the Guarded Gate is being presented on Friday, March 8, 2019 as part of the "Womxn's Voices" concert. Mezzo-soprano Clara Osowski will sing the world premiere of the new cycle with Hall herself at the piano.

    One Voice: 18-19 season, Seattle Art Song Society One Voice: 18-19 season, Seattle Art Song Society

    When commissioning Hall, however, SASS's Armbrust wasn't content to just have the premiere in Seattle. It occurred to him that, in this time of #MeToo and women's rights being front and center in culture, Hall's song cycle--with its powerful settings of American poet Margaret Widdemer's social justice texts--had the possibility to bring an important message to people beyond Seattle. His idea developed into a "women's march" across the country...a project to have Hall's new songs performed in all 50 states after the premiere, bringing Hall's settings and Widdemer's poems to all of the US! To that end, Armbrust has enlisted more than 170 mezzo-sopranos from all 50 states (and many foreign countries as well), each of whom will get an early look at the score with the option to participate in the project. Singers will participate in "Beyond the Guarded Gate,"(the name selected by vote from participants after being suggested by mezzo GeDeane Graham), by agreeing to perform the song cycle on a recital between March 2019 and December 2019 following the official SASS world premiere. E. C. Schirmer is providing each singer and pianist taking part in "Beyond the Guarded Gate" with a complimentary digital copy of the work for use in the performance.

    Composer Juliana Hall describes the ideas expressed by poet Margaret Widdemer in the songs of Through the Guarded Gate and her approach to those ideas as follows:

    “The Net”
    Ill treatment of our children (most often girls) here within our own country used for whatever nefarious purposes adults may have for them, as we turn our heads away from the injustices that hurt them (especially when they are not "ours" personally)...children as expendable if they are "second class" in gender.

    “A Mother To The War-Makers”
    Ill treatment of our children (most often boys) when they are sent abroad, as the leaders of our nation use them under the guise of national defense (as a pretense for masculine leaders to become wealthy, acquire power, and exert national domination over other nations)...children as expendable if they are "second class" in societal status, offspring of the less affluent, less educated, less "acceptable" ethnic or racial groups.

    “The Old Suffragist”
    The "early" woman standing up for equal personhood, equal rights, but at the expense of a personal life rich with love and attachment (woman no longer "accepting" a second-class role in a world hitherto ruled by those men not acknowledging the natural equality of human beings)...women placing themselves in danger and depriving themselves of life's easier and better things as a way to make a path to those better things for others who will follow.

    “The Modern Woman To Her Lover”
    The "modern" woman taking on the responsibility of equal personhood, equal rights, without permission of the man but benefiting both genders (women no longer "accepting" a second-class love)...women as equals, in a world in which man may feel "belittled" by having to share with his mate...hence the question at the end: "Will you love me still?" At once both fearful and hopeful.

    “The Women's Litany”
    The community of women and like-minded men, demanding equal rights and responsibilities for both genders for the betterment of mankind (women and men both raising their voices against the holders of society's power and claiming their right to be admitted "through the guarded gate" that stops women from exerting their abilities and their insights and their communal "will" towards fixing the problems described in the first four poems)...adults identifying the path through which they must travel to effect permanent change, and a rallying cry in favor of a more equal representation and a more equal responsibility for fixing the injustices and the fears of the first poems, as well as a hope for a better future made possible by the inclusion of women as equals.

    In a later update to this story, we will begin featuring information about post-premiere concerts and the performers who will bring these songs to life across America as part of the "Beyond the Guarded Gate" project, but for now we are very excited for Juliana Hall and the possibility of as many as 200 additional performances of her new cycle Through the Guarded Gate as part of this unique initiative.

    Through the Guarded Gate will become generally available for sale next March. Until then, check out Seattle Art Song Society's concert season and, if you are in the area, we hope you will be able to attend the world premiere of  the cycle as part of their “Womxn’s Voices” recital on Friday, March 8, 2019.

    You might also find the poems of Margaret Widdemer interesting, which we've included below. These are the five poems set to music by Juliana Hall in Through the Guarded Gate.

    THE NET

    The strangers’ children laugh along the street:
    They know not, or forget the sweeping of the Net
    Swift to ensnare such little careless feet.
    And we—we smile and watch them pass along,
    And those who walk beside, soft-smiling, cruel-eyed—
    We guard our own—not ours to right the wrong!
    We do not care—we shall not heed or mark,
    Till we shall hear one day, too late to strive or pray,
    Our daughters’ voices crying from the dark!

    A MOTHER TO THE WAR-MAKERS

    This is my son that you have taken,
    Guard lest your gold-vault walls be shaken,
    Never again to speak or waken.
    This, that I gave my life to make,
    This you have bidden the vultures break—
    Dead for your selfish quarrel’s sake!
    This that I built of all my years,
    Made with my strength and love and tears,
    Dead for pride of your shining spears!
    Just for your playthings bought and sold
    You have crushed to a heap of mold
    Youth and life worth a whole world’s gold—
    This was my son that you have taken,
    Guard lest your gold-vault walls be shaken—
    This—that shall never speak or waken!

    THE OLD SUFFRAGIST

    She could have loved—her woman-passions beat
    Deeper than theirs, or else she had not known
    How to have dropped her heart beneath their feet
    A living stepping-stone:
    The little hands—did they not clutch her heart?
    The guarding arms—was she not very tired?
    Was it an easy thing to walk apart,
    Unresting, undesired?
    She gave away her crown of woman-praise,
    Her gentleness and silent girlhood grace,
    To be a merriment for idle days,
    Scorn for the market-place:
    She strove for an unvisioned, far-off good,
    For one far hope she knew she should not see:
    These—not her daughters—crowned with motherhood
    And love and beauty—free.

    THE MODERN WOMAN TO HER LOVER

    I shall not lie to you any more,
    Flatter or fawn to attain my end—
    I am what never has been before,
    Woman—and Friend.
    I shall be strong as a man is strong,
    I shall be fair as a man is fair,
    Hand in locked hand we shall pass along
    To a purer air:
    I shall not drag at your bridle-rein,
    Knee pressed to knee shall we ride the hill;
    I shall not lie to you ever again—
    Will you love me still?

    THE WOMEN’S LITANY

    Let us in through the guarded gate,
    Let us in for our pain’s sake!
    Lips set smiling and face made fair
    Still for you through the pain we bare,
    We have hid till our hearts were sore
    Blacker things than you ever bore:
    Let us in through the guarded gate,
    Let us in for our pain’s sake!
    Let us in through the guarded gate,
    Let us in for our strength’s sake!
    Light held high in a strife ne’er through
    We have fought for our sons and you,
    We have conquered a million years’
    Pain and evil and doubt and tears—
    Let us in through the guarded gate,
    Let us in for our strength’s sake!
    Let us in through the guarded gate,
    Let us in for your own sake!
    We have held you within our hand,
    Marred or made as we broke or planned,
    We have given you life or killed
    King or brute as we taught or willed—
    Let us in through the guarded gate,
    Let us in for your own sake!
    Let us in through the guarded gate,
    Let us in for the world’s sake!
    We are blind who must guide your eyes,
    We are weak who must help you rise,
    All untaught who must teach and mold
    Souls of men till the world is old—
    Let us in through the guarded gate,
    Let us in for the world’s sake!

    Note:
    Margaret Widdemer lived from 1884 to 1978. Although virtually unknown today, she shared the 1919 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry with the famous and very well-known poet Carl Sandburg.

    Juliana Hall and Brian Armbrust are happy to be able to share Widdemer's wonderful work with audiences of today, bringing back a major poetical talent who up to now has more or less disappeared in the shadow of her Pulitzer co-winner. Hall and Armbrust hope these songs will not only enliven today's conversations about the rights of women and children, but they also hope these performances will finally help Widdemer to receive the public acknowledgment and acclaim for her work they feel she deserves.

    The poems of Margaret Widdemer reprinted here are in the public domain.

  • From the Creators: Henry Mollicone + Judith Fein on Hotel Eden

    Click here to watch the complete opera

    Judith Fein: When composer/conductor Henry Mollicone asked me to write the libretto for Hotel Eden, he said it had to be based on the Bible. I had one immediate thought: it has to be from the point of view of the women. No, that isn’t entirely true. I also had a second immediate thought––it has to be funny and moving, just like the women I know. I was a Hollywood screenwriter at the time, and I would push my film and TV scripts to the side of my desk, and plunge into the world of those women who sometimes hide and sometimes leap off the pages of the Hebrew Bible.

    I heard, through the rumor mill, that Adam had a wife before Eve. Really? My days became consumed by #1, whose name was Lilith. She sometimes wanted to be on top, and she certainly wanted equality….so Adam got rid of her. She became demonized as an evil spirit of the night who steals babies. That was a hard demonic lump to swallow. What happened next, we all know: Adam was sleeping and Eve was born from his rib. Hmmmm. So I thought: what happens if Adam and Eve are newlyweds, and they check into the Hotel Eden for their Honeymoon?  All is romantic, lovely, cutesy, and then Adam goes out to kill a snake he has heard is slithering around in the garden of the hotel. He wants to protect his lovely Eve. And then, Lilith shows up. She wanders into the room, where she once stayed with her husband a long time ago. She asks Eve if she is married.

    What ensues next is a duet between Lilith and Eve. Lilith sings about her abusive, cruel, punishing husband, and Eve sings about her hunky hubby who loves and adores her. And then the door opens, and Adam walks in. OMG. Double OMG. The women look at him and at each other. It is a terrible moment for all three of them. And guess who gets the boot?

    Next, I started thinking about Noah, who was the first drunk. When that ark landed, the first thing he did was plant a vineyard. Well, he had children, so he must have had a wife. What about her? What was it like to be married to a drinker? Back to the Hotel Eden we went, where a middle aged couple, Noah and Mrs. Noah, have checked in to celebrate the former’s abstinence, and the latter’s relief at having her husband back from the clutches of alcohol. What happens, sadly, is that this was before AA, and, when Mrs. Noah is out of the room, Noah takes to the bottle, falls into the bathtub, turns on the water, and floods the hotel. When Mrs. Noah returns, she has had it. She sings her breakout number to the staff of the hotel: Please don’t call me Mrs. Noah. Enough of Mrs. Noah. In Spain I’m Señora Noah. In France, it’s Madame Noah. For Pete’s sake, call me by by real name. And then she cuts up with the hotel staff. So what happens to their marriage? Does Noah see the light? Does she stay or go? And what does the hotel Director (aka the boss of the universe) have to say about that? You can be sure that Henry went to town with the music, which whisks Mrs. Noah around the world in her extravagant #MeToo aria.

    It was natural, then, to think of advancing years, and that led me to another complex couple: Abraham and Sarah. They sing in lyrical astonishment about how fast the years have gone by, and how gray they are now. Throughout their marriage, Sarah couldn’t conceive, and so she now suggests that Abraham sleep with Hagar, her handmaiden, who was purportedly Egyptian. By doing that, there would be an heir. Abraham (affectionately called Abie) sleeps with Hagar and they have a baby—Ishmael.  All seems calm in the Hotel Eden in Abraham and Sarah’s room, until….Sarah starts feeling nauseous, and then they find out that, at age 90, she is pregnant. They immediately start thinking about what they will name the child—and they decide, in a comic sequence, to call him Isaac. Sarah’s birth takes place onstage (don’t worry, she’s covered up to protect the innocent) and little Isaac is born to much joy and celebration. Except for Hagar. She has a sense this is not going to bode well. And she is right. Sarah wants Hagar and Ishmael gone…and Abraham bows to her request and banishes Hagar and Ishmael.

    Maybe, in this third and final act, the adults are too anchored in their positions to change things. But luckily, there is a younger generation—Ishmael and Isaac. And through them, there is hope for the future of Jewish/Arab relations and for peace.

    When Henry and I finished the opera, we took a very deep breath and wondered how it would be received. We were grinning when the audience howled with laugher, grew very silent and pensive, and then bounded to its feet... and the critics were very kind and positive. Thank you, Opera America, for funding the development of Hotel Eden.

    Now I am a travel journalist, and, lucky me, I get to travel around the world (like Mrs. Noah, but my husband, my soulmate, is the opposite of her mate who has lost his bearings) writing about (and my husband photographing) other cultures. I also write about opera, and live in the bosom of the Santa Fe Opera. Last summer, we went to the entire Ring Cycle in Bayreuth, and I got to write about it for the Santa Fe Opera blog. It was an experiential guide for first timers.

    I am very excited that Henry and I now have a very timely opera—it’s part #MeToo, part comedy, part serious, about Arabs and Jews and how the separation began, about complex relationships...and it’s very physical and entertaining. We avoided everything strident. Arias are available from E. C. Schirmer, and each act of the opera can stand alone for performance. Of course, if we have our druthers, it will be performed as a whole—three couples, three periods of life, three acts.

    Let me know if you have any thoughts, reactions, anything. We live in such an interactive world that it’s great to hear from you. Happy days and nights of opera to you all.

    Judith Fein

    judie@globaladventure.us

     

    Henry Mollicone: I am writing about what it was like to compose the music for Hotel Eden, but I really feel that that in any work for music theater, the marriage between the words and the music is completely essential for its success. Judie gave me a wonderful libretto filled with humor, and I had no choice but to compose the kind of music I did, according to the mood of the story/libretto. For me, some of the essential musical moments are the rock song that follows the Mrs. Noah aria,  the song “ Yesterday,” which is sung, nostalgically and wistfully, by Abraham and Sarah, and Hagar’s aria. In terms of musical style, Hotel Eden is a crossover piece that uses jazz elements, and it is closer to Sondheim and Bernstein than to an opera. And as I look back at my musical career to date, the grand quintet at the end of act two is definitely  some of my best ensemble writing.

    Read on to see what the critics say, and watch the complete opera!

    What the critics say...

    "... a beautifully crafted work of consummate joy"– OPERA GUIDE, Los Angeles

    “...clever, highly original, musically engaging...great fun. Each intermission leaves one anxious for the next act to begin. THE SACRAMENTO BEE

    “…glitzy, hip, sometimes tender... a feminist reading of three stories from the Old Testament….
    –OPERA NEWS

    “... a lark of an opera….reminds us poignantly that today’s implacable Middle Eastern antagonists spring from common progenitors…
    — MUSICAL AMERICA

    “... there is nothing tentative about its idiom, its writing for voices or for the aptness or inventiveness of the instrumental writing.”
    — OPERA, London

    “... simple love melodies...hard-pop…sticky-rock diversions... show-biz routines as well as old-fashioned operatic procedures."

    — LOS ANGELES TIMES

    “Upbeat, provocative and craftily conceived, the Hotel Eden is destined for bigger houses… SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL

    Hotel Eden is a hit...Unorthodox. Sexy. Sassy. Jazzy. Exuberant.
    — SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS

     

    Read more about Hotel Eden's production at the Peabody Opera here.

    Watch the full production below:

     

  • Howard Goodall + MorningStar Music

    MorningStar Music Publishers welcomes the choral works of Howard Goodall to our catalog! We are now the print publisher in North America for Mr. Goodall’s choral works and are excited to further introduce Mr. Goodall’s publications to American and Canadian choirs.

    Known for his TV and movie themes, his dramatic choral works are sure to be very popular additions to the libraries of church and school choral directors. Be sure to check out the YouTube playlist below to get a taste of his choral compositions!


    Howard Goodall is one of Britain’s most distinguished and versatile composers. He is well known for his popular TV themes for Blackadder, Mr. Bean, Red Dwarf, The Catherine Tate Show, Q.I., and The Vicar of Dibley. His score for the HBO film Into the Storm won him the Primetime EMMY award for “Original Dramatic Score” in 2009. Other film credits include Johnny English, Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie, and Mr. Bean’s Holiday.

    Howard Goodall Howard Goodall

    In the theatre his musicals, from The Hired Man with Melvyn Bragg in 1984 to Love Story in 2010, have been performed in the West End, Off-Broadway and throughout world, winning many international awards, including Ivor Novello (1985), TMA (2006 and 2010), and Off-West End (2012) awards for “Best Musical.” He is currently working with Gurinder Chadha and Charles Hart on a musical adaptation of Bend it like Beckham.

    Howard is a prolific composer of choral music and has been commissioned to mark national ceremonies and memorials. His Eternal Light: A Requiem has had over 200 live performances since its premiere in 2008 and won him a Classical BRIT award for “Composer of the Year.” In the Top-selling 100 Specialist Classical CDs of 2009, Goodall occupied the 1st, 4th and 9th positions. His 2009 Enchanted Voices, a setting of the Beatitudes, was No. 1 of the Specialist Classical CD chart for 6 months, winning him a Gramophone award.

    For the past 15 years Howard has written and presented his own TV documentary series on the theory and history of music. For these he has been honoured with a BAFTA, an RTS Judges’ Prize for “Outstanding Contribution to Education in Broadcasting” and over a dozen other international broadcast awards. He hosts his own weekly show, Saturday Night at the Movies, on Classic fm, for whom he is also currently Composer-in-Residence. In January 2013, Howard Goodall’s Story of Music, 6 hour-long films for BBC2, was broadcast, with an accompanying Chatto & Windus book.

  • Karen Marrolli - Five Things You Didn't Know About Me

    In one of our new composer interview formats, we asked Karen Marrolli to do a lightning round by telling us five things we didn't know about her (and weren't in her bio).
    1. I write the songs (as well as the choral pieces).

    In addition to composing choral music, I like to write and perform in the amorphous genre known as “singer-songwriter.” I like to record these little nuggets and post them at www.youtube.com/c/KarenMarrolli and www.karenmarrollimusic.com for the world to hear.

    Karen Marrolli Karen Marrolli

     

    1. I took the scenic route to Music Ministry.

    Once I embraced conducting as a primary “instrument” of my music making, I assumed that I would pursue a Director of Choral Activities position at some university. But various church positions have gradually pulled me down the road of Music Ministry, defying the normal expectations of someone on my particular educational path.

    [Listen to one of Marrolli's compositions for church below}

    1. I hike to get the shot.

    I’ve always been a fan of the outdoors, but somehow I became a hiker and a photographer while living in Santa Fe, NM. There are so many strangely beautiful sights in Desert Southwest that one doesn’t have to be particularly smart to get a good picture- just point and shoot, anywhere.

    Photo by Karen Marrolli Photo by Karen Marrolli
    1. I’m a blossoming church jazz vocalist.

    The resident jazz trio at my church has discovered that my voice suits their repertoire, so we’ve been collaborating on vocal music like “Just a Closer Walk” for their bimonthly appearances at our services. Needless to say, it’s a completely different skill set than when I sing Mendelssohn or Handel for the Offertory.

    1. I basically just like to make things.

    It doesn’t matter whether it’s a concert program, a song, a music video, a new dinner or dessert recipe, a repurposed piece of furniture, a concert series, or an arrangement or mix of a piece I’m recording. I am constantly creating something!


    Karen Marrolli Karen Marrolli

    Karen Marrolli is the Director of Music Ministries at Central United Methodist Church in Albuquerque, NM. She has previously served as Director of Music Ministries at Trussville First United Methodist Church in Trussville, AL, as Director of Choral Ministries at the United Church of Santa Fe in Santa Fe, NM, and as the Artistic Director of the Zia Singers, the Cantu Spiritus Chamber Choir, and the Santa Fe Men’s Camerata. Marrolli holds the DMA degree in Choral Conducting from Louisiana State University (2010), where she studied Choral Conducting with Dr. Kenneth Fulton. She earned her BM in Music Theory and Composition (1997) and her MM in Choral Conducting and Sacred Music (2000) from Westminster Choir College before relocating to Charleston, SC, where she lived for seven years prior to pursuing doctoral studies. While in Charleston, she founded Lux Aeterna, a chamber choir who presented candlelight concerts in honor of such events as World AIDS Day, the September 11th attacks, and Child Abuse Awareness Month. These concerts always consisted of readings, often written by survivors of traumatic events, interspersed with choral music. The concerts progressed from a sense of darkness to light and were meant to give hope to those who were in a process of healing.

    Marrolli's choral works are published independently as well as through MorningStar Music Publishers and Colla Voce. In June of 2010, her arrangement of "Patapan" was recorded for commercial release by the Taylor Festival Choir and featured such Celtic Music greats as John Doyle and Liz Carroll.

     

  • Celebrating Paul Bouman

    Composer Paul Bouman will turn 100 on August 26, 2018. In a century he has certainly built a legacy, particularly in Lutheran church music. In 2015 the Center for Church Music produced an interview with Bouman (led by another MorningStar composer, Michael Costello), providing a great resource in getting to know the composer quite well in just an hour.  We also love this article by Northwestern Magazine, which details Bouman's connection to composer Michael Wolniakowski.

    View Bouman's music here.


    Paul Bouman was born in Hamburg, Minnesota on August 26, 1918. He has a B.S. in Education from Concordia College, River Forest, Illinois, and attended Westphalian Church Music School, in Herford, Germany. He has held positions as a Director of Music and as a teacher at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; St. Paul Lutheran Church, Melrose Park, Illinois; and at Grace Lutheran Church, River Forest, Illinois.

    He has received many honors including the Spiritus Christi Medal from Concordia College, River Forest, Illinois; the Te Deum Laudamus Award from Zion Lutheran Church, Dallas, Texas; and Dr. of Humane Letters from Christ Seminary-Seminex, St. Louis, Missouri.

    Bouman's other activities include: Staff member at Lutheran Worship Conferences as well as workshops for Chorister's Guild and AGO in Dallas, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Ft. Lauderdale, etc. with particular emphasis on children's choirs; Staff member of Lutheran Summer Music Program since 1986; As a member of the Illinois Grade School Music Association his children's choirs always received a top rating in the Illinois Grade School Contests.

    In 1971 he co-founded with Carl Schalk the Bach Vesper Cantata Series at Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest, Illinois. In 1984 he was invited to prepare the Children's Choirs for the Bethlehem Bach Festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He is also a member of the Advisory Board for the Bach Choir of Bethlehem.

    Bouman holds memberships in the American Guild of Organists, The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, the American Choral Director's Association, and the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians.

    He is married to Victoria Bartling and has five children.

  • Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar Features Juliana Hall

    American art song composer Juliana Hall was our January Composer of the Month, and is maintaining a very busy schedule of performances and new compositions. Among her most recent activities, she was asked by famed mezzo soprano Stephanie Blythe, Artistic Director of the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar (which she founded), to be this year's Guest Composer at the Seminar. Hall is only the third composer to be so honored, following Ricky Ian Gordon and Tom Cipullo.

    This year's Seminar featured a special interview-concert on May 23, 2018. Each of the six invited singers and three invited pianists--seminar Fellows--performed a song of Hall's in between conversation with Blythe, Music Director Alan Louis Smith, and Hall. The evening was capped off with a gorgeous performance of a song by Blythe and Smith from Hall's new song cycle "Of That So Sweet Imprisonment" for contralto and piano, which Hall composed especially for Stephanie Blythe.

    The event, "An Evening with American Composer Juliana Hall," is available below and on YouTube.

     

    Stephanie Blythe and Alan Louis Smith will be performing the World Premiere of Hall's "Of That So Sweet Imprisonment" on January 19, 2019 at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music in New York City. More details of that concert will be available here as details are announced.

  • Featuring Allen Shawn

    We've been noticing some great videos of Allen Shawn's work lately, and thought it was about time we did a featured post on the composer, pianist, educator, and author! Read on to learn a bit about Shawn, and definitely check out the videos below to hear his work, listen to an interview, and watch a discussion of his book on Leonard Bernstein.
    Allen Shawn Allen Shawn

    Allen Shawn is a composer, pianist, educator, and author who lives in Vermont and teaches composition and music history at Bennington College. His previous books include Arnold Schoenberg's Journey and Twin: A Memoir.

    Shawn began composing at the age of ten, but dates his mature work from 1977. He has written a dozen orchestral works, including a Symphony, and Piano Concerto, and a Violin Concerto; three chamber operas; four piano sonatas and many additional works for piano; a large catalogue of chamber music, songs and choral music. Among Shawn's available recordings are several of chamber music, three CDs of piano music, a Piano Concerto performed by Ursula Oppens with the Albany Symphony Orchestra under the direction of David Alan Miller, and a chamber opera "The Music Teacher", with a libretto by his brother, Wallace Shawn.

    --

     

  • Getting Ready for NPM

    NPM 2018 Logo NPM 2018
    We're looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones at the upcoming National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM) conference in Baltimore in just a few short weeks! From July 9-13, MorningStar & E. C. Schirmer will have a booth at the event, and partner with NPM to present several sessions that are great opportunities for Catholic musicians to come together and learn from one another.

    We are especially excited to sponsor local clinicians Dr. Eileen Guenther to share her knowledge and passion regarding Spirituals and their roots in slave narratives, and Dr. Stephen Caracciolo to share his expert techniques for successful choral conducting.

    Showcases

    Mark Lawson will present three showcases of choral music, with assistance by Kelly Dobbs-Mickus and Dr. John Romeri. (Please note that none of our showcases repeat this year.)

    1. Accessible Choral Music from MorningStar Music, Monday 7/9, 10-11 am
    2. ECS Publishing Group Presents New Music for Advanced Choirs, Monday 7/9, 4:30-5:30
    3. MorningStar Music presents New Choral Music for the Church Year, Thursday 7/12, 10:30-11:30

    Breakout Sessions

    Pressed into Service: Transitioning from Piano to Organ, Kelly Dobbs-Mickus
    An hour-long session for pianists who have been called to play the organ, including an exploration of easy repertoire for both hymn playing and solo playing.
    Tuesday 7/10, 10:30-11:30

    Choral Conducting: Best Practices and Problem Solving, Dr. Stephen Caracciolo      
    This session will focus on problem solving in the choral rehearsal and establishing a plan to address these common issues. Noted composer and conductor Stephen Caracciolo is known for having worked with professional, collegiate and amateur choirs. A packet of choral selections will be provided.
    Thursday 7/12, 3-4pm                                        

    Industry Lab Sessions

    Exploring Spirituals in worship with In Their Own Words, Dr. Eileen Guenther     
    This session will examine the origin and use of African-American Spirituals. Topics include: highlighting true meaning of spirituals through slave narratives, using spirituals appropriately in the liturgy, creative program ideas, and a guide to effective performance practice. A packet of choral selections will be provided.
    Thursday 7/12, 11:45-12:30

    The Five Graces Psalter: A window into MorningStar’s liturgical music and online tools, Kelly Dobbs-Mickus, Mark Lawson
    We will explore the next generation of Lectionary Psalms by Luke Mayernik, including new settings for weddings and funerals. From that jumping point we will survey online tools and how they can aid you in your ministry.
    Thursday 7-12, 12:45-1:30

    Exhibit Hours

    Last but not least! Don’t miss visiting the MorningStar/ECS booth, where you will find excellent music for choir, congregation, organ, piano, instrumental ensembles, and more! We'll be open during the hours below, and when they're not busy leading sessions, Mark Lawson and Kelly Dobbs-Mickus will be there to catch up. As always, we'd love to know how your conference is going, get your reactions to our publications, and hear your ideas for ways we can help.

    Monday, July 9: 9:30pm-11:30pm
    Tuesday, July 10: 10:00am-6:00pm
    Wednesday, July 11: 11:45am-6:00pm
    Thursday, July 12: 10:00am-4:30pm
    Friday, July 13: 9:00am-11:15am (new this year, an extra day of shopping!)

  • From the Top Features Alistair Coleman

    From the Top logo From the Top

    A few months ago we did a short interview with Alistair Coleman, and had a wonderful time getting to know this young composer. We were even more thrilled to learn he got a coveted spot on From the Top, the "nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating the stories, talents, and character of young classically-trained musicians." In his radio spot, Coleman takes us on his journey from beginning piano lessons, to composing a musical, to finding his first composition teacher. The spot also includes his piece, Images from Fallingwater, performed by students of the San Francisco Conservatory.

    Listen Here.

     


    Alistair Coleman Alistair Coleman

    Alistair Coleman is a young composer from Washington, DC. Most recently, he was appointed the Composer-in-Residence of the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale. His piece, “Of Radiance and Light,” was commissioned by the National Philharmonic and premiered at Strathmore Hall in November 2016. His music has been programmed broadly, including performances by the Atlantic Music Festival Orchestra, Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra, Houston Brass Band, Boston University Marsh Chapel Choir, Takoma String Ensemble, and the Cathedral Choral Society.

    With three published works, Alistair is the youngest composer ever published by E.C. Schirmer. He has received awards from the American Composers Forum, National YoungArts Foundation, Symphony Number One, and NAfME. He received an honorable mention in the 2017 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards.

    Alistair has studied composition at the Atlantic Music Festival, Curtis Young Artists Summer Program, Oberlin Summer Composition Workshop, and the New York Summer Music Festival. He currently studies with Richard Danielpour and David Ludwig, faculty members at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. In the fall of 2017, Alistair will begin undergraduate studies at The Juilliard School.

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