Summer 2017 Newsletter and Updates
In this issue:
- Youtube Playlists of recently performed works, including Miniyama Nayo, Yonder Come Day, Gamaya, and Hope and Quietly Wait.
- Cantus' Independence Day spotlight on my arrangement of America the Beautiful.
- Sermon on the Mount world premiere. Thanks to Magnum Chorum, Mark Stover, Clara Osowski, Alan Dunbar, Nick Chalmers, Matthew Goinz, Sophie Amelkin, Ben Osterhouse, and Barbara Mraz for their wonderful work on this meaningful piece!
Winter 2016 Newsletter and Updates
In this issue:
- Recent performances of various works, including Gamaya at Minneapolis/St. Paul's annual Bring the Sing event!
- Sermon on the Mount, my 80' sacred music drama, is complete. Premiere will be in May of 2017.
- Upcoming commissions and projects for West and South Salem High Schools in Oregon, Chaplin Park High School in Minnesota, and the Resonance Ensemble.
- A performance schedule of up and coming premieres and vocal work.
I am honored to be the Composer of the Month for ECS Publishing and Morningstar Publishing! Thanks to these wonderful publishing houses I've been able to release Hope and Quietly Wait, a collaborative work with Thad Fiscella that was commissioned for the National Lutheran Choir, as well as Yonder Come Day, my arrangement of the well-known Georgia Sea Islands spiritual.
To see the newsletter for this announcement, please click here.
For more information on Hope and Quietly Wait, Yonder Come Day, and other works, please visit the store page!
Gamaya, one of three concert rounds produced through a commissioning project between Graphite Publishing and Hopkins High School in Minnesota, has gone viral! So excited to see this work take off. If you're thinking of a new sound for your choir, consider Gamaya, an easy piece to learn due to it being a canon yet is also a modal work in ancient Sanskrit! For a perusal score, recording, or both in a youtube video, please visit Gamaya's page here!
Right before I left, Cantus dropped a barbershop-themed version of Barbershop that Sam Green and I arranged. It's certainly not my normal thing, but it was a blast to put together. I hope you enjoy!
Cantus recorded a new music album this summer, and we included my 20-minute song cycle for men's voices, SONG OF SKY AND SEA: A Song of Realization on the docket. This cycle, expanded from the original Song of Sky and Sea I wrote for Cantus three years ago, was premiered by the men of the University of Washington choral program under Dr. Geoffrey Boers, with amazing visuals curated especially for the work by renowned visual artist Lynn Lukkas. The premiere was a huge success, and I'm so excited to have the work recorded by my colleagues before I move on from Cantus, after eight years, to pursue other aspirations. Can't wait to hear the final product!
A BIG announcement! After eight years with Cantus, I've decided to move on to different aspirations. I'll be at the University of Oregon for the next three years, and likely enjoying every minute of studying composition and conducting. While I'll miss the Twin Cities and all they have to offer, I'm excited to take this risk with my beautiful and wonderful wife Brittany Rudoi (who is a wonderful soprano, by the by), and experience the west coast!
This past month the Minnesota Boychoir premiered two works I wrote in collaboration with the amazing poet Brian Laidlaw. The set, titled "My Friends and I", includes a bluegrass-feel song, Shine to Spare, and a more introspective tune for younger boys, Swing By. It was an amazing experience to compose for the Healing and Hope Through Song program, and want to thank the American Composers Forum, the Minnesota Boychoir, the kids and families at Ronald McDonald House Oak Street, and most of all my wonderful (and hopefully future) collaborator Brian Laidlaw. I will never forget it.
For more information on these and other works, please visit the store here!
This weekend Magnum Chorum will premiere Noah, the third movement to be premiered from my upcoming oratorio "Sermon on the Mount". There will be one more premiere from the oratorio, titled The Evolution of Christ, this fall, with the full premiere on May 7, 2017 at St. Bartholomew's Church in the Twin Cities. This has been an incredible year as Composer in Residence for Magnum Chorum's 25th anniversary season. Thank you to everyone involved!
Tonight and for the next two weeks, Cantus will be performing a emotionally rich program titled "Would You Harbor Me?" which speaks of those who are experiencing or affected by issues of homelessness, poverty, and crisis. Included in this program is a work I wrote for Cantus several years ago called America Will Be!, which takes its text from Langston Hughes' powerful poem "Let America Be America Again". We are proud to give voice to the voiceless, no matter the heritage or socio-economic situation, as we all should in this day and age.
Today was a day full of premieres for me and for my dear friend and colleague, Timothy C. Takach. Last winter we were invited to create new music and arrangements, individually and together, for a Courtroom Concert at the prestigious Schubert Club in downtown St. Paul. For this concert Tim and I wrote a series of wordless, a cappella duets for tenor and bass called Haragei, which is defined as "a form of rhetoric that is intended to express real intention and true meaning through implication." I wrote my Five Stages for Wind Quintet as well as a work for solo clarinet called Prelude to Étude. All in all, it was an exciting experience, and I hope to have the recordings from it available soon!
My wonderful Cantus colleagues Chris Foss and Adam Fieldson roped me into a podcast that turned out to be one of my favorite tour experiences yet: Composer on Fire! This was with composers David Von Kampen and Garrett Hope. I am honored to be a part of this awesome conversation, thanks Garrett!
I'm so excited for the premiere of my Alleluia, excerpted from my upcoming oratorio "Sermon on the Mount", on the 13th of this month! Thank you to Magnum Chorum, for whom I'm the Composer in Residence, and for Karen Koentopf, the commissioner of this work. Can't wait to hear the final product!
The incredible Tesfa Wondemagegnehu from Classical Minnesota Public Radio called me up a while ago after hearing Hope and Quietly Wait and asked me and Hope's commissioner Tim Schmidt (bass in the National Lutheran Choir) to do an episode on the work for his podcast "Sing to Inspire." Thanks Tesfa for the opportunity to showcase the work while bringing to light the importance of dementia awareness.
I am so excited to announce that I will be Composer-In-Residence for Magnum Chorum for their 2015-2016 25th Anniversary season! For the residency, I am writing Sermon on the Mount, a concert-length oratorio for choir, soloists, narrator, and solo cello. Throughout the season, movements from Sermon will premiere at Magnum Chorum's three subscription concerts, and the full, 10-movement oratorio will premiere in October 2016. More information can be found on Magnum Chorum's website!
This past spring, I was awarded a commission through MN-ACDA and MMEA for the 2015-2016 All-State High School Men's Choir. Dangerous Men, for TTBB choir and buffalo drums, will premiere at Summer Dialogue on Saturday, August 8th. The work will be performed again next February at the official North Central ACDA Conference. So excited to celebrate being honorable men in this day and age with so many hard working young musicians!
I was recently named the composer for the American Composers Forum's 2015 Healing and Hope Through Song Program, a wonderful program that pairs a composer with a poet (in this case, the amazing Brian Laidlaw!) to create works about children's experiences with life-threatening illnesses and diseases. We're already hard at work having so much fun getting to know the kids and families at Ronald McDonald House, Oak Street Minneapolis, and are looking forward to working with the Minnesota Boychoir on these new works later on the year. So far it has been a life-changing experience getting to know these strong-willed people whose optimism and love for life never fails. Thank you to all of you for reminding both of us to celebrate life and human connection!
Taja and I had a wonderful time exploring our improvisational work I Am the True Vine on May 8th and 9th, and we finally have a video of the premiere performance to show. Please take a look at this work below, and thanks to everyone for making this possible. We could not have done it without the full financial and artistic support of the Jerome Foundation and the American Composers Forum's Live Music for Dance Grant Program.
Robert Drafall commissioned my Stillness and the Night as his retirement from State College Area High School's fantastic choral program, a crucially important educational opportunity for so many students that would not be where it is today without him. This evening is the premiere of Stillness, and I truly wish I could be in the audience to congratulate Bob and all that he has accomplished. Thanks for all your hard work on this piece SCHS, I look forward to hearing it soon!
UPDATE: This work will be published this fall by my wonderful friends and colleagues over at Graphite Publishing. For more information, click here.
Taja and I have been working hard on our Live Music for Dance, and a working-movement from the piece premiered this past week at Future Interstates, the new improvisational dance performance series at The Cowles Center in Minneapolis. Take a look below, and come to the full performances at Westminster Presbyterian Church on May 8th and 9th!
Painted Harmony, a wonderful energetic new choral chamber ensemble in the Twin Cities, premiered my new nonsense piece Miniyama Nayo this evening. They were fantastic to work with, and the piece was a blast to hear for the first time. This work will be published by Walton Music this coming fall, so please check back here for publication updates. For now, enjoy the recording of the performance below!
Tomorrow, Cantus will sing the world premiere of my arrangement of John Jacob Niles' perennial carol, I Wonder As I Wander at our annual Christmas with Cantus MPR broadcast at Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Minneapolis. This arrangement was originally written for SATB choir back in 2009, supported by a recording grant through the American Composers Forum's now-retired Subito Program. Below is the recording from that session, and I hope you can tune in to MPR (11am central time) for the TTBB version!
Today is the day! At 12 noon CT, Minnesota Public Radio will present the recording premiere of my new set for SATB Choir, "Spheres of Influence," on the Choral Stream.
This is an exciting venture with MPR and VocalEssence, and a culmination of months of hard work funded via an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.
"As he watched his father in the last stages of dementia, Tim Schmidt, who sings second bass for the National Lutheran Choir (NLC), would play Thad Fiscella's Ivory Hymn on the piano nearly every day. Schmidt could see in his father's eyes that the piece would help bring his father back to the present moment, causing him to rise in his chair.
It now serves as a source for a new choral and piano work Schmidt has commissioned for NLC called Hope and Quietly Wait, composed by Paul John Rudoi. It's a son's last farewell to his father, who passed away in August."
The National Lutheran Choir will premiere a new work of mine, commissioned by NLC bass Tim Schmidt, on their All Saints program, November 1st and 2nd. The work, which includes music by Thad Fiscella, stems from Tim's father's long fight with dementia, and is dedicated to a better future for all those who are afflicted and affected by the disease. For more information on All Saints, please visit NLC's website.
The MNSong Program, as part of the Source Song Festival, chose my work, Go Down, Death, to be included among several other composers' works in a weekend workshop, August 1-3. Looking forward to working with the fantastic Alan Dunbar and Mark Bilyeu on this 8-minute aria for Baritone and Piano! For more information on this work, check out its product page here.
If you're around the Twin Cities area on Thursday, July 17, come to the free event with VocalEssence mentioned above. The recording from the event will be premiered on Minnesota Public Radio's Choral Stream this fall!
Today the choirs at my alma mater, The Hartt School, will perform This Beautiful Speed alongside Bernstein's Chichester Psalms and other works at Immanuel Congregational Church in Hartford, CT. I'm so excited to have my friends and family supporting my work. Thanks to all involved!!
Today my Midnight Songs cycle will have its world premiere at The Schubert Club's Courtroom Concert series in downtown St. Paul at noon alongside wonderful works by Mahler, Milhaud, and American composers Jake Runestad and Stephen Paulus. I'm so proud and honored to have the wonderful mezzo-soprano Clara Osowski, pianist Mark Bilyeu, and cellist Scott Lykins premiere this cycle, based on texts by Tsu Yeh, a 5th century Chinese courtesan. Click here for the full program.
2014 is turning out to be a really exciting year for collaborations! My friend and dancer/choreographer Taja Will and I were awarded a Live Music For Dance grant through the American Composers Forum (you can find the award announcement, along with the other grantees, by clicking here)! This grant will help fuel an organic collaboration between us which will result in some performance art combining dance, voice, and an electronic vocal looper. I am so excited to get started on the work, and look forward to posting updates soon!
I am very excited to announce that my former boychoir, The American Boychoir, will premiere my Bay Psalm 23 (score found here) at the Eastern Division ACDA conference this coming Thursday, February 6, in Baltimore, Maryland, with a follow-up performance of the work at the Southern Division ACDA conference on March 6 in Jacksonville, Florida. This was a commissioned work for ABS, and they sound wonderful on it. If you are near either location, check them out!
The Mirandola Ensemble, a new, spectacular choral ensemble in the Twin Cities, will premiere my setting of the Nunc Dimittis at St. John the Evangelist in St. Paul this evening. I have written a companion Magnificat and Psalm setting to this Nunc: You can find the entire First Service here.
Philip Brown and the Hopkins High School choral department in Hopkins, Minnesota commissioned me to write a work for them this past summer, and Even Love Rises will have its premiere this evening! The work's text comes from a poem titled Consider the Whales by my good friend and fantastic poet Sara Dailey, whose poetry I set once before for You Carry Oceans Within!
I was awarded an Artist Initiative Grant through the Minnesota State Arts Board for an exciting project with VocalEssence and Minnesota Public Radio! Through this grant, I will write a companion piece, titled Comet, to a work I wrote for VocalEssence several years ago, You Carry Oceans Within. Together, these two pieces will make up a set called Spheres of Influence, and they will be workshopped, premiered, and recorded in mid-July of next year. That recording will then have its radio premiere on MPR's Choral Stream, along with a radio special, later in the fall of 2014. I am so happy to be working again with my good friends at VocalEssence!
My award in The American Prize competition this year was acknowledged in the Star Tribune's Item World this past week. You can see the full listings here!
After a two-week break, Cantus will resume in mid-August to begin work on our 2013-2014 touring program. On that program will be my new work America Will Be!, a work based on Langston Hughes' electrifying poem Let America Be America Again. Hughes' entire poem can be found here.
Several of my works, including Song of Sky and Sea, which Cantus premieres last fall, were honored with 2nd Place in The American Prize this year. Thanks to everyne for continuing to support my work! For more information on The American Prize and the other winners in the choral composition category, click on their logo.
Check out the video NLC and MCA created for the world premiere of Two or Three Angels, a piece written specifically for their collaboration last year!
James Frazier, my long-time colleague and friend, is retiring at the end of this season after a long and successful career as an organist and music director, most recently at St. John the Evangelist in St. Paul, Minnesota. As a going away present, I wrote The Greatest of These, a work for SATB choir and organ based on the famous passage about love from 1st Corinthians.
I just received a Travel/Study Grant from the Jerome Foundation to study C.S. Lewis' early poetic works, written PRIOR to his conversion to Christianity, this coming August. The goal: to write a concert-length song cycle on his Spirits in Bondage, and a chamber opera based on his narrative poem Dymer!
At 7:30pm this evening, in the UofM Ted Mann concert hall, Cantus presents this year's High School Residency culminating concert. This includes the premiere of my new work, This Beautiful Speed!
I just put the finishing touches on a new song cycle, Midnight Songs, for contralto, cello, and piano. The text comes from Tsu Yeh, a 5th century Chinese courtesan.
Just finished a commission, This Beautiful Speed, for Cantus' 2012 High School Residency program, setting a short poem by Andrew Michael Roberts to music for SATB and TTB choirs with piano. The concert will be in May of 2013!
Here's an excerpt from the Star Tribune's review about Cantus' "When Twilight Falls" program:
"The program featured two world premieres. 'Song of Sky and Sea,' by Cantus tenor Paul John Rudoi, looked at the approach of death from a lush lyrical perspective. His sensitive setting of text allowed for optimal clarity."
You can read Randy Beard's full review here. You can also read another review, by Rob Hubbard of the Pioneer Press, of Song of Sky and Sea and Cantus' program here.
Cantus is gearing up for its 2012 home concert season with a fall concert titled "When Twilight Falls". It will feature a work that I wrote for the Svanholm Singers Composition Award, where it was a finalist in the competition! The work is titled Song of Sky and Sea, and it is a large, 7.5 minute work on ecstatic prose by Rumi. It's turning out to be a good addition, and I'm looking forward to the premiere on October 25 at the Cowles Center in downtown Minneapolis!
I won the Milwaukee Choral Artists' Young Composer Award several years ago, and I wrote one of my most performed works, an arrangement of Amazing Grace, for the National Lutheran Choir last year. I recently created a work for both ensembles for their upcoming program, "The Call", titled Two or Three Angels. It will be premiered in Milwaukee on October 20, and then performed two more times in the Twin Cities on November 2nd and 3rd!
Several of my works were selected for the finals of the American Prize, an annual competition for artists. More information on the American Prize and the winners can be found here.
VocalEssence commissioned a new work from me as a result of our work together in their Essentially Choral program back in February. The resulting piece, You Carry Oceans Within, premiered this evening at the national Chorus America conference. It was a wonderful evening of great music (including Argento's Walden Pond!), and thanks to the poet, Sara Dailey, for an amazing poem to work with. If you'd like to read more of her poetry, check out her website by clicking here.
Play in Variants, a fanfare for trombone quartet, recently won 2nd place overall in the trombone quartet section of the British Trombone Society's 2012 Composers Competition.
My Christmas carol for a cappella mixed choir, Sing oh my Heart, won the Young New Yorkers Chorus' Nathan Davis Prize in Composition tonight!
The Vancouver Chamber Choir will be premiering a new work of mine, The Birds, in their CAPPELLA concert on October 21st, at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver. The piece's text is from Hilaire Belloc's beautifully simple poem of the same name.
My new arrangement of Michael Jackson's Heal the World for Cantus premiered in Quincy, IL last night! Look for more information regarding CAntus' tour shows at this link.
My 1-minute work for a cappella choir, Introit, will be premiered and featured in 60x60's 3rd annual dance performance in St. Louis, MO. It's a very cool concept, where 60 different compositions are played in a non-stop string for one hour, with each piece being choreographed by a different chorographer. If you're in the area you shouldn't miss it! For more info, click here.
I'm in the midst of putting together a new, original piece based on Christ's Transfiguration for my friends out in Connecticut, the Anglican Singers. They will perform Give Us Light in NYC, and then again during their residency in England next summer.
Just finished a new carol for the finals of the Young New Yorkers Chorus Competition, titled Sing oh my Heart! The premiere of the work and the finals will take place on December 10th in NYC. Check out the concert if you're around the area!
I just received a fantastic recording of new piece I wrote for mixed choir and either organ or semi-chorus (a cappella), based on the well known Ave Verum Corpus text. This recording is of the a cappella version by my good friend Matthew Curtis, who created Choral Tracks, a fantastic resource for both composers and choruses!
I will be writing a new piece for VocalEssence which will premiere at the Chorus America conference in June of 2012. The piece is titled You Carry Oceans Within. I'm looking forward to working with them again, following the Essentially Choral program this past February!
Everyone Sang, my new work for SSA choir and piano, recently won the Milwaukee Choral Artists' 1st annual Young Composers Competition! The work is published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing. For more info, click here!
On February 19, VocalEssence's Ensemble Singers will premiere a new work of mine for double choir, i carry your heart with me, based on the famous poem by EE Cummings, as part of their 2009 Essentially Choral festival!
I just uploaded a recording of my new arrangement of What Child Is This?, premiered by The Singers: Minnesota Choral Artists.
A recording of my arrangement of I Wonder As I Wander is now available online. Take a listen!
Minnesota Public Radio broadcasted a short radio program featuring several of my choral works on 99.5 FM yesterday. Click here to listen to the Regional Spotlight webcast.