Compose Yourself! composition competition

The Minneapolis-based chamber choir MPLS (imPulse) is currently holding a composition competition with three rounds. The first round was completed in December, 2016, with the performance in February. I am honored to announce that my submission, Out of the River of Tuoni, was the selected winner!

MPLS (imPulse) is a fantastic ensemble that is really pushing the choral arts in new directions. They are fantastic advocates for new music with a vision of ‘redefining the choral experience’ for the singers and audience members. Serving this purpose, the two performances of my composition took place place in a brewery called Lake Monster Brewing amidst a program filled with music about water, monsters, and mythology.

Out of the River of Tuoni is based on a story from the Kalevala, the Finnish national folk epic. In it, a mother recovers her son Lemminkäinen’s drowned body from the river in the underworld and uses magic to restore him to life. Knowing MPLS (imPulse)’s love of new music, I took the opportunity to experiment with my writing a bit; through most of the piece, the voices sing only nonsense syllables, acting more like instruments in an orchestra than voices in a traditional choir. Voices imitate the rushing river, the bubbling water, the swirling eddies, providing an active backdrop for the cinematic themes of the music. When voices finally emerge singing in Finnish, echoing the mother’s words as she uses her magic to restore her son, others swirl about, encapsulating the mysteriousness, magic, and hope of the moment.

The performances of Out of the River of Tuoni were fantastic, and I am honored by the ensemble’s hard, dedicated efforts to bringing my music to life. Below you can hear a recording that was taken during one of the rehearsals.

The next two rounds of submissions are due on May 22nd and August 21st, 2017. I can’t recommend it strongly enough!