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Modern Choral Composers

Choral music is one of the oldest musical genres and has been with us for over 1,000 years and yet still there are reat new compositions from a new generation of talented composers. This is a list of many of them.

Composers - Early Music | Classical | 20th Century | Modern

Displaying 51 - 67 of 67 items.


Steven Sametz

Steven Sametz has earned increasing renown in recent years as both composer and conductor. He is the Ronald J. Ulrich Professor of Music and director of Lehigh University Choral Arts, one of the country's premiere choral programs. He also serves as Artistic Director for the elite a cappella ensemble, The Princeton Singers and is the founding director of The Lehigh University Choral Composer Forum, a summer course of study designed to mentor emerging choral composers.

Recent guest conducting appearances include the Taipei Philharmonic Foundation, the Berkshire Music Festival, the New York Chamber Symphony, and the Netherlands Radio Choir. Dr. Sametz' compositions have been heard throughout the world at the Tanglewood, Ravinia, Salzburg, Schleswig-Holstein, and Santa Fe music festivals. His in time of appears on the recent Grammy award-winning CD by Chanticleer, "Colors of Love," and his work may be heard on six other Chanticleer CDs


Ruth Elaine Schram

Ruth Elaine Schram wrote her first song at the age of twelve, and her first octavo was published twenty years later, in 1988. In 1992, she became a full-time composer and arranger and now has over 2,000 published works. Over seventeen million copies of her songs have been purchased in their various venues, and she has been a recipient of the ASCAP Special Award each year since 1990. In addition to her choral music for church and school choirs, her songs appear on thirty albums (four of which have been Dove Award Finalists) and numerous children's videos, including sixteen songs on four gold videos, and four songs on one multi-platinum video. Her songs have also appeared on such diverse television shows as "The 700 Club" and HBO's acclaimed series "The Sopranos."


Joshua Shank

Joshua Shank's works have been widely performed by educational and professional ensembles alike. His music has been called "jubilant...ethereal" (Santa Barbara News-Press) and "evocative and atmospheric" (Gramophone). The Boston Classical Review called his Magnificat for the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo "powerful" and "emotionally charged."

He has been commissioned by some of the most exciting choral ensembles in the United States as well as abroad and has collaborated with organizations such as Conspirare, the Young New Yorkers' Chorus, the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, the American Choral Directors Association, The Esoterics, the Minnesota All-State Choir, and the Lorelei Ensemble (Boston). From 2004 to 2014 he served as Composer-In-Residence for the Minneapolis-based professional choir, The Singers: Minnesota Choral Artists, and alongside Artistic Director Matthew Culloton and fellow composers Abbie Betinis and Jocelyn Hagen, collaborated annually to expand and invigorate the repertoire for professional-caliber ensembles through innovative programming as well as new works written specifically for the ensemble.


Vijay Singh

Vijay Singh is an active performer, composer, teacher, conductor, and clinician residing in Ellensburg, Washington where he is Professor of Music at Central Washington University. A graduate of Willamette University (B. M. Ed/Clarinet & Voice) and Portland State University (Masters in Choral Conducting/Vocal Performance), he has been rapidly gaining international attention for his eclectic musical compositions, performances, workshops, and conducting appearances. Vijay's teaching experiences have included work at public secondary schools, community college, and university levels.


Dr. Mark Sirett

Dr. Sirett is an award-winning composer whose works are frequently performed by some of Canada's leading ensembles. Commissions have included works for the National Youth Choir of Canada, the Amabile Youth Singers, Ottawa Regional Youth Choir, Elora Festival Singers, University of Iowa and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. As an adjudicator Dr. Sirett served on the Jury of the Cork International Choral Festival in 2009; he has frequently adjudicated choral festivals in Canada including Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg. He has been clinician adjudicator for SingONtario, SaskSings, ChorFest Alberta and ChorFest Manitoba.


Linda Spevacek

Over the past 2 decades Linda Spevacek has become one of the most successful composers in modern choral music. She has sold more than 7 million copies of over 700 published compositions and arrangements. Linda has continued to keep her compositions original and creative while maintaining the consistency and integrity that has given her a world-renowned reputation. Dynamic, inspiring, creative and expressive are just a few words that describe the level of excellence found in every Linda Spevacek composition, arrangement, seminar and reading session.

In addition, singers from all over the world performed her arrangements twice on the nationally televised 'MENC World's Largest Concert' on PBS. Several of her works have been premiered at annual conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, the Music Educators National Conference and on the 'Hour of Power' at the Crystal Cathedral. Linda was a featured conductor at Carnegie Hall in New York in 1999.


Philip Stopford

Philip has been composing choral music since 1996, mainly for the choirs he was directing. At Oxford, the Keble Missa Brevis was composed for the College Choir and premiered at the service of Corporate Communion in the Chapel followed by formal dinner with visitors from the Keble Parishes. Jesus Christ the Apple Tree and the Keble Canticles (first performed in York Minster) were also written for the College Choir, and the Hymn to the Creator for the final service of Chaplain John Davies.

At Chester Cathedral, Philip composed God be in my head (2000) and A child is born in Bethlehem for the Cathedral Nave Choir. If ye love me and The King of love my shepherd is were composed for the main Cathedral Choir. During this time, Philip also composed the Te Deum (for choir and orchestra) for the Leighton Buzzard Festival Singers 50th Anniversary Concert. The wedding anthem Come down O love divine was written for Hazel and Geoff, associated with Chester Cathedral.


Giles Swayne

Giles Swayne was born in Hertfordshire in June 1946. After an early childhood in Singapore and Australia, photohe grew up in Liverpool and Yorkshire. He began composing at the age of ten, and in his teens was encouraged by his cousin, the composer Elizabeth Maconchy. He studied the piano with Gordon Green, Phyllis Hepburn, James Gibb and Vlado Perlemuter. On leaving Cambridge in 1968 he won a composition scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, London, where he studied with Harrison Birtwistle, Alan Bush and Nicholas Maw.


Joan Szymko

Joan Szymko is a composer and conductor from the Pacific Northwest. With a catalog of over 100 published choral works, her music is performed by ensembles across North America and abroad. Abundant lyricism, rhythmic integrity and a vigorous attention to text are hallmarks of Szymko's diverse and distinctive choral writing. Fresh and inspiring, her text selections are as notable as her music. Especially significant is Szymko's contribution to the body of quality literature for women's voices. Her music is frequently heard at regional, national and international choral festivals and competitions. Since 2003, her music has been performed at every National Conference of the American Choral Directors Association. The ACDA recognized Szymko's lasting impact on the choral arts in America by selecting her as the recipient of the prestigious Raymond W. Brock Memorial Commission in 2010.


Brian Tate

An award-winning composer, as well as an accomplished and versatile musician, choir director, and educator, Brian attributes the success of his multifaceted career to a love of working with people and a passion for the arts.

Brian received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of British Columbia, and went on to further music studies in London, England; Toronto; Ghana; Cuba; Oakland and New Orleans. His love for music of many kinds has led to a diverse career that includes orchestral and choral conducting and performing, musical theatre, and composing music for film, television, stage, and the concert hall. Brian has twice received Vancouver's Jessie Richardson Award for original theatre music, and his choral music is performed worldwide.


Sir John Tavener

Tavener was born on 28 January 1944 in Wembley, London, England, and claims to be a direct descendant of the 16th century composer John Taverner.He was educated at Highgate School (where a fellow pupil was John Rutter) and at the Royal Academy of Music, where his tutors included Sir Lennox Berkeley. He first came to prominence in 1968 with his dramatic cantata The Whale, based on the Old Testament story of Jonah. It was premiered at the London Sinfonietta's debut concert and later recorded by Apple Records. The following year he began teaching at Trinity College of Music, London. Other works released by Apple included his Celtic Requiem. In 1977, he joined the Russian Orthodox Church. Orthodox theology and Orthodox liturgical traditions became a major influence on his work. He was particularly drawn to its mysticism, studying and setting to music the writings of Church Fathers such as St John Chrysostom.


Will Todd

English composer Will Todd is well known for his beautiful and exciting music. His work encompasses choral works large and small, opera, musical theatre and orchestral pieces, as well as jazz compositions and chamber works.

His anthem, The Call of Wisdom, was performed at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations with a TV audience of 45 million people. His breakthrough work, Mass in Blue (originally titled Jazz Mass), has been performed hundreds of times all over the world. His arrangement of Amazing Grace was performed at President Obama's Inauguration Day prayer service in 2013 and as part of the BBC's Nelson Mandela Thanksgiving Service.


Peteris Vasks

Peteris Vasks was born on 16 April 1946 in Aizpute in Latvia as the son of a Baptist pastor who was well-known in Latvia. Vasks began his musical education at the local music school in Aizpute. He subsequently produced his first compositions and also studied the double bass at the Emils Darzins Music School in Riga (1959-64). Vasks continued his double bass studies with Vytautas Sereika at the Lithuanian Conservatory in Vilnius up to 1970 before his one year of military service in the Soviet Army. Vasks orchestral career had already began as early as 1961 as a member of various symphony and chamber orchestras, including the Latvian Philharmonic Orchestra (1966 to 1969), Lithuanian Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra (1969 to 1970) and the Latvian Radio and Television Orchestra (1971 to 1974).


Gwyneth Walker

Widely performed throughout the country, the music of American composer Gwyneth Walker is beloved by performers and audiences alike for its energy, beauty, reverence, drama, and humor. Dr. Gwyneth Walker is a graduate of Brown University and the Hartt School of Music. She holds B.A., M.M. and D.M.A. degrees in Music Composition. A former faculty member of the Oberlin College Conservatory, she resigned from academic employment in 1982 in order to pursue a career as a full-time composer. For nearly 30 years, she lived on a dairy farm in Braintree, Vermont. She now divides her time between her childhood hometown of New Canaan, Connecticut and the musical community of Randolph, Vermont.


Eric Whitacre

An accomplished composer, conductor and lecturer, Eric Whitacre has quickly become one of the most popular and performed composers of his generation. To date, Whitacre's published works have received thousands of performances and have sold in excess of one million copies worldwide. Over the past few years, his loyal fans and supporters have moved online, spreading Eric's popularity to an ever-expanding worldwide audience.

Though he had received no formal training before the age of 18, his first experiences singing in college choir changed his life, and he completed his first concert work, Go, Lovely, Rose, at the age of 21. Eric went on to the Juilliard School, earning his Master of Music degree and studying with Pulitzer Prize and Oscar-winning composer John Corigliano.


Jonathan Willcocks

Jonathan Willcocks was born in Worcester, England, and after early musical training as a chorister at King's College Cambridge and an Open Music Scholar at Clifton College he took an Honours degree in Music from Cambridge University where he held a choral scholarship at Trinity College.

Jonathan is currently Musical Director of the Guildford Choral Society, the Chichester Singers and the professional chamber orchestra Southern Pro Musica, and freelance conducting and workshop engagements in recent seasons have taken him to many parts of the world including USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Singapore, China and most of the European countries as well as the United Kingdom.


Chen Yi

Chen was born and raised in Guangzhou, China into a talented family. Her parents were doctors and musicians; her mother played the piano, and her father was a violinist. Her older sister was a child prodigy, and both she and their younger brother continue to work as professional musicians in China.

Chen began studying piano at the age of three, heavily influenced by the music of Western composers such as Bach and Mozart. However, once the Cultural Revolution began in 1966, Western attitudes were severely shunned and arts were opposed. For ten years, education came to a halt and people were relocated to work in large communes in countryside. Chen's father and older sister were sent away, but she managed to stay in her hometown a while longer and continued to practice music, although she was forced to stuff a blanket inside her piano in order to dampen the sound and play her violin with a mute. When she was 15 years old, the family house was searched, all possessions were taken, and the rest of her family was dispersed to different locations to perform compulsory labor in the countryside.

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