Artist's NameEric Whitacre
Artist's NameMorten Lauridsen
Artist's NameTali Tadmor
Participating Group Directors
Morten Johannes Lauridsen (born February 27, 1943) is an American composer. A National Medal of Arts recipient (2007), he was composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale (1994–2001) and has been a professor of composition at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music for more than 40 years.
A native of the Pacific Northwest, Lauridsen worked as a Forest Service firefighter and lookout (on an isolated tower near Mt. St. Helens) and attended Whitman College before traveling south to study composition at the University of Southern California with Ingolf Dahl, Halsey Stevens, Robert Linn, and Harold Owen. He began teaching at USC in 1967 and has been on their faculty ever since.
In 2006, Lauridsen was named an 'American Choral Master' by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2007 he received the National Medal of Arts from the President in a White House ceremony, "for his composition of radiant choral works combining musical beauty, power and spiritual depth that have thrilled audiences worldwide."
A recipient of numerous grants, prizes, and commissions, Lauridsen chaired the Composition department at the USC Thornton School of Music from 1990–2002 and founded the School’s Advanced Studies program in Film Scoring. He has held residencies as guest composer/lecturer at over seventy universities and has received honorary doctorates from Whitman College, Oklahoma State University, Westminster Choir College and King’s College, University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Lauridsen now divides his time between Los Angeles and his summer residence on a remote island off the northern coast of Washington State.
His eight vocal cycles and two collections—Les Chansons des Roses (Rilke), Mid-Winter Songs (Graves), A Winter Come (Moss), A Backyard Universe, Madrigali: Six "FireSongs" on Italian Renaissance Poems, Nocturnes (Rilke, Neruda and Agee), Cuatro Canciones (Lorca), Four Madrigals on Renaissance Texts, Five Songs on American Poems (Moss, Witt, Gioia and Agee) and Lux Aeterna—his series of sacred a cappella motets (O Magnum Mysterium, Ave Maria, O Nata Lux, Ubi Caritas et Amor, and Ave Dulcissima Maria) and numerous instrumental works are featured regularly in concert by distinguished artists and ensembles throughout the world. O Magnum Mysterium, Dirait-on (from Les Chansons des Roses), O Nata Lux (from Lux Aeterna) and Sure On This Shining Night (from Nocturnes) have become the all-time best-selling choral octavos distributed by Theodore Presser, in business since 1783.
His musical approaches are very diverse, ranging from direct to abstract in response to various characteristics (subject matter, language, style, structure, historical era, etc.) of the texts he sets. His Latin sacred settings, such as the Lux Aeterna and motets, often reference Gregorian chant plus Medieval and Renaissance procedures while blending them within a freshly contemporary sound while other works such as the Madrigali and Cuatro Canciones are highly chromatic or atonal. His music has an overall lyricism and is tightly constructed around melodic and harmonic motives.
Referring to Lauridsen's sacred music, the musicologist and conductor Nick Strimple said he was "the only American composer in history who can be called a mystic, (whose) probing, serene work contains an elusive and indefinable ingredient which leaves the impression that all the questions have been answered ...From 1993 Lauridsen's music rapidly increased in international popularity, and by century's end he had eclipsed Randall Thompson as the most frequently performed American choral composer."
Winner of two Best Documentary awards and an Audience Choice Award since opening on February 7, 2012 in Palm Springs, Shining Night: A Portrait of Composer Morten Lauridsen, was named 'a heartening rarity' by Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal. Directed by Michael Stillwater and co-produced with Doris Laesser Stillwater for Song Without Borders, Shining Night provides audiences worldwide with a rare glimpse into the inner world of the composer. A companion giftbook to the film, Morten Lauridsen's Waldron Island Reflections, photographed and edited by Michael Stillwater, is published by GIA Publications, Chicago.
Delta State University Chorale is the premier large choral ensemble at DSU. This 40-45 voice choir is comprised of students from a variety of academic majors across campus. They present several major concerts throughout the year and tour annually. The Chorale has performed by invitation at state and regional conferences of the American Choral Directors Association, including the 2010 ACDA Southern Division Conference in Memphis. In April 2012, the Chorale will travel to New York to perform at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Eric Whitacre. Membership is by audition only.
Legacy Christian Academy opened its doors 13 years ago in Frisco, Texas; the fastest growing city in the United States. The LCA concert choir is under the direction of Sandra Clark. They have received Division I-Superior ratings in Concert and Sight-Reading Festivals through TPSMEA (Texas Private Schools Music Educators Association), ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International), and the Bluebonnet Festival held in San Antonio, TX. This year will mark LCA's 5th invitation to perform in New York City. Past performance include a 2004, 2006, and 2008 performances at Carnegie Hall as part of the ACSI's Youth Chorale Concert series and in 2010 with the Z. Randall Stroope Invitational Choral Festival held at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle.
The Lowell Choir is the largest choral program in the San Francisco Unified School District and has a long history of excellence. The choir received a gold rating from the Heritage Festival and a superior rating from CMEA, and is frequently invited to perform at functions in the Bay Area. The choir also works closely with Chanticleer and is a frequent participant at the Chanticleer Youth Choral Festival. Most recently the choir has performed at the Chanticleer National Youth Choral Festival at San Francisco's Davies Symphony Hall.
Swiss choir molto cantabile was founded in 2003. The enthusiastic group of singers from Lucernewassoon recognised by its audience thanks to their success at various choral competitions. The ensemble won numerous awards at the international festivals in Tolosa (Spain), Cork (Ireland), Spittal an der Drau (Austria) and recently participated at the renowned International Chamber Choir Competition in Marktoberdorf (Germany). molto cantabile regularly holds concerts in Switzerland and its neighboring countries. The choir released four of their concert programmes on CD as yet and has also appeared on national television.
The choral program at Mt. Carmel High School includes the auditioned groups, Classical Vocal Ensemble and Bel Canto, as well as two other non-auditioned groups. Their reputation for excellence includes performances at the California ACDA convention, the Golden State Festival at UCLA, the Holiday Bowl in San Diego and Disneyland's Candlelight Procession and Ceremony. In 2003, the music department was recognized by the Grammy Foundation as the number three program in the United States, followed by another Grammy in 2005 and 2008. Both Classical Ensemble and Bel Canto have traveled the United States extensively receiving superior ratings at CMEA, ACDA, and SCVA festivals.
The West Monroe High School Choir performs numerous concerts each year throughout the south. They have had several members selected to the American Choral Directors Association Honor Choruses, LA-ACDA All State Chorus, LMEA All State Chorus, and other honor organizations. The members of the choir have performed Britten's Ceremony of Carols, Handel's Messiah, Poulenc's Stabat Mater, and other masterworks of choral music. Founded in 1953, the West Monroe High School Choir has been accorded numerous accolades as a performing choir. The choral program is comprised of five choirs with over 400 singers. They have performed both nationally and internationally. This will be their fifth appearance at Carnegie Hall and their first performance under the direction of Eric Whitacre.
Olive Branch High School Choir in north Mississippi, consists of six different choirs from all different backgrounds and experiences in music. Olive Branch Choirs regularly attends choral festivals at the district and state levels-receiving superior ratings. Choirs from Olive Branch have appeared at ADCA conventions at the state and regional level.
The Winter Springs High School Chorus has a long history of excellence at various national competitions and Music Performance Assessments. For years they have scored superior ratings at both district and state assessments, earning a reputation as one of the most musical choral programs in the state of Florida. They have sent a large number of student representatives to the FMEA All-State Choirs, ACDA Honor Choir, and Solo and Ensemble Performance Assessment. They have consistently been selected as an Honor Choir in the EPCOT Candlelight Processional at Disney World in Orlando, performing with the Voices of Liberty and Walt Disney World Orchestra.
The Ridgeland High School Choral Program has a tradition of excellence in performance and leadership. The Choral Department consists of a Mixed Choir, Women's Choir, Madrigals, Sextets, Mixed Ensemble and Show Choir. The Choir has consistently achieved Superior Ratings at Invitational, District and State Competitions. The Choir has received "Best In Class" Awards at Festivals throughout the State. The Choir has performed for community activities which include concerts for the Make-A-Wish and Relay for Life Foundations. The RHS Choir is honored to be making its third Carnegie Hall Performance.
The River Dell High School Select Choir was founded by their director, Lisa Smith, in 1995. Since that time, the Choir has won many prestigious awards and the hearts of their audiences through their dynamic performances. The Choir is an auditioned group of dedicated high school students that rehearse every morning before the school day begins. The Select Choir has received many awards including a superior rating in the Washington DC Choral Festival in 2004, 1st place at the New England Festival of Music in 2006, and a Gold rating at the New York International Choral Festival in 2003, 2007, 2009, and 2010. The River Dell Select Choir was also chosen to perform at the Board of Educators Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey, for the opening ceremonies in 2004.