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The Choral Composer Amplify Project (CCAP) is an initiative lead by our artistic director, Sarah Kaufold, that will provide fair and  equitable access for emerging composers to have their choral compositions recorded by a professional choral ensemble.

Congratulations to our 2022 CCAP chosen compositions and composers!

[Place cursor over the boxes to learn more about each composer]

Tipitin

Raul Dominguez

Words and Music by

Maria Grever

Raul Dominguez

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Raul Dominguez is in his third year at the University of Colorado Boulder pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting and Literature. His research focus is the choral music of the United Mexican States. Recently, the Cleveland Institute of Music accepted him as a Fellow for their inaugural Future of Music Faculty Fellowship, sponsored by the Sphinx Organization. He holds a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from Ithaca College, was the Choir Director at Clear Lake HS in Houston, TX and earned Bachelor of Music degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Education from Oklahoma City University.

The Dusk

of Thee

Lillie Harris

Text by

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Lillie Harris

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Lillie Harris is a contemporary classical composer based in the UK. She studied at the Royal College of Music with Haris Kittos and was awarded the Elgar Memorial Prize for her final composition portfolio.  Musical from a young age, her interest in composing grew out of learning instruments, a flair for languages, and a love of creative writing; as a result, narrative ideas and complex emotions are regular features in her pieces. In recent years her twin passions for text and music have come together in the form of new choral and vocal works.  Outside of composition, she writes the user manual for Steinberg’s notation software Dorico, sings with Covent Garden Chorus, and does engraving and copying work for publishers and film, TV, and game music recording sessions.

To the heart that knows fire

Carolyn Quick

Text by

Emily Pauline Johnson

Carolyn Quick

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Carolyn Quick “Born in 1994, Portland-based Carolyn Quick (MMus ’18) is establishing herself as one of the most important voices in our community" (Makrokosmos Project). As a singer and composer, Carolyn loves exploring the unique timbral and textural possibilities of the human voice, and advocates for historically excluded composers with her collective Persisting Sound. Her commissions include Fear No Music, Eugene Opera, Symphony 21, and the Vancouver Opera’s New Works Project. Her works have been performed across America, Canada, and Croatia by ensembles such as the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the South Puget Sound College Orchestra, the Erato Ensemble, and Myriad Women’s Choir.

Shadow Reel to Last Breath

Jessica Rudman

Text by

Kendra Preston Leonard

Jessica Rudman

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Jessica Rudman’s music inspires empathy for contemporary social issues through myth, magic, and sci-fi. Described as a “new music ninja” (Hartford Advocate), she blends lyrical melodies and dramatic narratives with sensual harmony and vibrant color to draw the audience into the worlds she creates. Her works have been performed by the Arditti Quartet, the International Contemporary Ensemble, The American Opera Project, Hartford Opera Theater, and others. Honors include winning the HerVoice Emerging Women Composers Competition, the NewMusic@ECU Orchestra Composition Competition, and a Connecticut Artist Fellowship. 

RECORDINGS

Shadow Reel to Last Breath

From "A Forest That is a Desert"

Jessica Rudman

Recorded by:

Voices of Concinnity

Composed by Connecticut composer Jessica Rudman, "Shadow Reel to Last Breath" is the second movement of "A Forest that is a Desert" commissioned by Choral Arts Initiative 2019 PREMIERE | Project Festival, set to three texts written by Kendra Preston Leonard.  These three poems are written in memory of the poet's mother. The composer writes, "This song set uses traditional choral writing, coloristic vocal effects, and indeterminacy to bring to life Kendra's evocative words. The music is intended to reflect the mental effects of dementia on those who suffer from it and also express the complex emotions felt by loved ones watching that decline."

Those who have experienced watching a loved one through hospice will be able to relate to the conflicting emotions as they take their last breath, which is inexplicably revealed in the last chord of this work.  The composer uses ostinato, a repeated phrase or figure of the music, to illuminate particular phrases in the poem that represents the simple, repetitive tasks that continue as one cares for a loved one nearing the end of life.  This song moves with a nervous energy, yet manages to encapsulate some many emotions in such a short song.  

Words:

 

There is no revelation

in her vexed words, lost sleep,

the catch in her throat.

 

Shadows reel about the room

where the lamp is always on,

a little sun.

 

We turn her body,

turn her sheets,

take turns around her bed.

We walk,

with anarchy and darkness

on the clock,

an arc.

 

Rock, and step, and circle.

 

Listen, listen,

her speech is rough

and loose.

 

We keep our tears silent

and our gazes blank.

 

The hour comes round at last.

 

--Kendra Preston Leonard

To the heart that knows fire

Carolyn Quick

Recorded by:

Voices of Concinnity

Fire-Flowers:

 

And only where the forest fires have sped,

Scorching relentlessly the cool north lands,

A sweet wildflower lifts its purple head,

And, like some gentle spirit sorrow-fed,

It hides the scars with almost human hands.

And only to the heart that knows of grief,

Of desolating fire, of human pain,

There comes some purifying sweet belief,

Some fellow-feeling beautiful, if brief,

And life revives, and blossoms once again.

 

--Emily Pauline Johnson (1903)

"To the heart that knows fire speaks to both loss and rebirth. Setting Emily Pauline Johnson's Fire-Flowers, this work depicts the fires that we experience both physically, as each year our world demonstrates more of the devastating effects of climate change, and mentally we gravers grief and pain in our lives.  Though we get to know these desolating fires intimately - to the point that we are nearly engulfed in flames - we persist.  Out of scorched earth springs new growth and with it hope and renewal." -- Carolyn Quick, composer

The Dusk of Thee

Lillie Harris

Recorded by:

Voices of Concinnity

Composed by Lillie Harris, "The Dusk of Thee" was commissioned as one of its 2019/20 Composers to write this work for Cheltenham Music Festival.

"I encountered this beautiful Tennyson poem as a result of researching the Cheltenham area [in England], reading about the Forest of Dean and the yew trees that enjoy its plentiful iron resources.  The poem's structure is so neatly formed, and the rhythm of the liens flows gently from star to finish.  The enjambment of "The clock" drops a sudden emotional weight into an already poignant phrase.  This setting is quite simple in its approach to the verses, so that words can speak.  To open and close the piece, and between the verses, the choir minis a chiming bell: the clock that marks the passage of time and the loss of friends.  Wordless phrases respond both to the bell and the poem, a suggestion of the voice of the yew tree itself: unknowable but present; an immortal guardian of us mortal beings." - Lillie Harris

Words:

 

Old Yew, which grassiest at the stones

That name the under-lying dead,

Thy fires net the dreamless head,

Thy roots are wrapt about the bones.

 

The seasons bring the flower again,

And bring the fristling to the flock;

And in the dusk of thee, the clock

Beats out the little lives of men.

 

O not for thee the glow, the bloom,

Who changes not in any gale,

Nor branding summer suns avail

To touch thy thousand years of gloom:

 

And gazing on thee, sullen tree,

Sick for thy stubbord hardihood,

I seem to fail from out my blood

And grow incorporate into thee.

--“In Memoriam A.H.H. Obit” - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Tipitin

arr. Raul Dominguez

Words & Music by Maria Grever

Recorded by:

Voices of Concinnity

Translation of the Spanish text:

They call me a thief of love, for having stolen your love,

Like a child just grabs a toy it fancies walking by it.

With it, I stole your kisses and a lock of your hair,

But now I’m tangled in it, and I can’t set myself free.

Every morning below your window, I sing this song.

This is the sound of the loud beating of my heart.

With my guitar in my hand, and in it a bouquet of flowers,

I go out every morning, singing about my love.

And in my song, I keep saying thatI will never forget you.

I will never stop singing it, even if I have to die.

Background provided by the arranger, Raul Dominguez:

Maria Grever was the United Mexican States' (UMS) first famous female composer. She is known for her song, "What a Difference a Day Makes" ("Cuando vuelva a tu lado"). Maria was born in Guanajuanto in 1885, studied music in France with Claude Debussy, and after marrying an oil executive in 1916, she moved to the USA. There, she enjoyed a thriving career as a composer until her death in 1951.

 

"Tipitin" is a vals Mexicano (Mexican Waltz) about the beginning of a relationship. Maria's published originally rejected the song in 1938, but when Raymond Leveen added English lyrics and Big Band leader, Horace Heidt, debuted his version in the USA, it became a number one hit for six weeks. In 1957, the Andrews Sisters released a cover of that version, adding a beat to the music (changing it from 3/4 time to 4/4 meter), thereby negating the vals Mexicano feel.  This arrangement restores Grever's composition to the original vals Mexicano style with her original Spanish text.
 

To all who submitted a composition to the Choral Composer Amplify Project, we thank you so much for sharing your work with us.  The overall quality of the works submitted was excellent and we are encouraged to have been introduced to so many new composers.  We would also like to thank our panel, who carefully studied each work and thoughtfully discussed which compositions Voices of Concinnity recorded.

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Here is information on the project:

This fall 2021, we put out a "Call for Scores" seeking emerging composers from all backgrounds and traditions to submit their composition(s) for the Choral Composer Amplify Project (CCAP).  The goal of this project is to ensure all voices are being amplified within the choral community and increase access for emerging composers to have their music recorded and performed.

    

We received compositions from over twenty composers.  We have a professional panel of judges from diverse musical backgrounds to help narrow down the compositions to be recorded.   Up to eight successful compositions will be recorded by our professional vocal chamber ensemble, Voices of Concinnity, and the chosen composers will receive an honorarium for their work.  

Our initial plan was to have the chosen compositions recorded and performed in January 2022.  However, due to the current public health crisis, we have canceled this performance to ensure the safety of all involved.  Voices of Concinnity will plan to create a studio recording of the works in early spring 2022.

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For more information about Voices of Concinnity, please visit their page by clicking here.

This project is supported by an Artist Respond Grant awarded to our artistic director, Sarah Kaufold, from the CT Office of the Arts. With the support of the Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts, which also received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

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