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New Music

Lux et Veritas

Lux et Veritas by Fenno Heath, Poem by Sandra Boynton

Commissioned in 2001

The long and deep tradition of choral music at Yale owes much to a continuous flow of new choral music created by composers within the Yale community and by commissions to outside composers.

One of the missions of the Yale Alumni Chorus Foundation is to sustain and enhance this respected tradition by commissioning new choral pieces to be sung by our chorus and other choruses at Yale, and also as a contribution to the wider body of choral music to be made available to any group interested in performing the music.

We have established a fund to underwrite these commissions for new music and have developed a process for identifying composers whose works are consistent with our goal: to add something new to the literature of choral music. This may be harmonic, melodic, rhythmic, or a sound comprised of some or all of these elements, or of the voice used in an appealing new manner; it should be music that thrills us for its beauty, excites us, stimulates us intellectually, or brings us peace; not music that evokes anger or unrest.

The Foundation is actively researching contemporary choral music, seeking out composers in this country and abroad who might help us reach our goals. All members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors and others have been invited to submit the names and, if possible, a CD containing music of the composer they propose. After screening by our New Music Committee, a recommendation is made to the Board.

New music may be composed to celebrate an event such as an anniversary or a success, an ideal (e.g., liberty), or just as appealing, music for its own sake. The lyric may be one relating to the event or anniversary, a poem deemed to be worthy of a musical setting, or a lyric that the composer is anxious to set to music. In most cases, we will specify a cappella or cantata with accompaniment by piano, cello, guitar, or another interesting instrument or small group of instruments. Duration will be that of typical anthems – approximately five minutes (plus or minus two minutes). 

Recent Commissions

René Clausen, composer and conductor of the Concordia Choir at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota composed "Prayer" – a musical setting for a prayer written by Mother Teresa of Calcutta. It was premiered during the Chorus’s tour to Mexico and Guatemala in August 2009.

Another commission, gifted to the Yale Alumni Chorus by Neeta Helms, President of Classical Movements, was also premiered on that tour.  “Tu,” composed by Jorge Cordoba Valencia, is a setting of the poem by Amado Nervo, one of Mexico’s leading poets of “Modernismo.”

For the Fifteenth Anniversary Tour to the Baltics, Vytautas Miskinis -- a leading Lithuanian choral director and composer -- set to music the exuberant poem by the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore.  The Alumni Chorus will give a world premiere in the composer's home city of Vilnius. 

Commissions

Piece

Premiere

Composers

Lux et Veritas

2001

Music: Fenno Heath, Yale '50
Poem: Sandra Boynton, Yale '74
Orchestration: Lewis Spratlan, Yale '62

Anything Cole

2001

Arranger: Buryl Red, Yale '61 MMus
Co-arranger: Rick Bassett, Yale '82
Orchestration: Bryan Louiselle

Khachaturian Folk Songs

2003

Arranger: Walter Mnatsakanov (To mark Aram Khachaturian's Centennial, the Yale Alumni Chorus commissioned choral arrangements for several Armenian folk songs originally composed by Khachaturian for voice and piano.)

Cascade

2004

Music: Fenno Heath, Yale '50
Poem: Sandra Boynton, Yale '74
Orchestration: Richmond Browne

Prayer
2009

Music: René Clausen 

Poem: Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Tu
2009

Music: Jorge Cordoba Valencia

Poem: Amado Nervo

A Dream and a Song 2011

Music: Colin Britt

Poem: William Stanley Braithwaite

My Heart Sings 2012

Music: Vytautas Miskinis

Poem: Rabindranath Tagore

For More Information

For additional information about New Music activities of the Foundation, contact Ann Miller by email at amillertmo@aol.com