3 Premieres and a CD!

Posted on January 15th, 2016 by jondavid

Happy New Year!

A little 2016 news from the composer front:

Award-Winning carol premieres in Portland, ME On January 3 the Choral Art Society, under Robert Russell, premiered my All My Heart This Night Rejoices as part of its “Epiphany Celebration” concert. The work was the winner of the 2015 New England Carol Contest. What a tremendous performance and wonderful group of human beings!

Perotin-inspired work premieres at Depauw U., then off to France
The Depauw Chamber Singers, led by Kristina Boerger, gave a brilliant debut of my Sederunt: A Perotin Caprice, Sunday, January 10 in Greencastle, IN. On Monday, the 11th, the ensemble took the work on tour to France, including a concert in the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris (!).

New Work for Duke Vespers Ensemble I recently finished a setting of Psalm 86, Bow Down Your Ear, O Lord, as a gift for the Duke Vespers Ensemble and Music Director Brian Schmidt. Tentative date for premiere is early March at Goodson Chapel, Duke University, Durham, NC. Previously the Ensemble commissioned my Te Lucis Ante Terminum, which was premiered in April, 2015.

TTBB Alleluia to receive 2nd performance, in Durham, NC
Jeremy Nabors leads his men’s ensemble, Vox Virorum, in the 2nd performance of the TTBB version of my Alleluia, Sunday, January 17th, First Presbyterian Church, 305 East Main St., Durham, NC.

Song CD recording planned for June
I’ve begun planning for a commercial recording of most of my songs for solo voice and piano. It will include cycles written for soprano Amy Bartram, baritone Daniel Neer, and the Cheah-Chan Duo (Phillip Cheah, baritone, Trudy Chan, piano), all of whom will appear on the disc. Poets featured include Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thomas Merton, Howard Moss, Daniel Neer, Bonnie Phelps, Muriel Rukeyser, Percy Shelley, and Sylvia Townsend Warner.

Duke-Wisconsin Revisited!

Posted on April 7th, 2015 by jondavid

Just kidding, but those are indeed the sites of two upcoming premieres of mine in the next ten days:

1. Te lucis ante terminum. Commissioned by the Duke Vespers Ensemble, MD Brian Schmidt, who will sing the piece this Thursday, April 9, at 5:15PM as part of vespers service at Duke Chapel. The service will be live-streamed at https://www.youtube.com/user/DukeChapel

2. Alleluia (TTBB). The Carroll University Men’s Chorus, MD Thomas Weis, will premiere the men’s version of my piece on Friday, April 17th, 7:30PM in Humphrey Chapel at Carroll University, Waukesha, WI.

Posted on December 6th, 2014 by jondavid

Happy holidays to all,

Following are a few upcoming highlights of my work:

New Collaboration with Zsuzsanna Ardó at European Parliament
Mirror, Mirror
International art exhibition at the European Parliament
March 23-27, 2015

Following our wonderfully successful collaboration on the installation, Könnyek, Almák és Kövek (Tears, Apples and Stones), which ran in Autumn of 2012 in Slovakia, Zsuzsanna and I are teaming up again this spring. Taking its title from Zsuzsanna’s eponymous poem, Mirror, Mirror brings together artists from Europe and beyond, inspired by interpretations and translations of the poem. Through film, poetry, image, and music, the exhibition explores how collective memory can endure through our attitudes towards “the Other.”

Another North Carolina Commission
If Music Be the Food of Love
Concentus Carolina
Church of the Holy Family, Chapel Hill, NC
Friday, February 6, 2015, 8PM

A wonderful new group, Concentus Carolina, led by Seth Garrepy, has asked me for a setting of If Music Be the Food of Love for its second concert program. The text is the opening monologue from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, not the words set by Purcell in his famous song. The work will be for solo SSA trio and mixed chorus. Thanks to Richard and Lynn Edmonds, who commissioned the work in memory of John Bavicchi, who taught composition to both Richard and myself.

Te Lucis Ante Terminum
Duke Vespers Ensemble
Duke Chapel, Durham, NC
TBD (late January/early February)

The premiere of my other North Carolina-commissioned work this season will likely be within weeks of that of If Music…, in late January/early February. The commission, announced in my last missive, is from the Duke Vespers Ensemble, Music Director, Brian Schmidt. Te Lucis will be premiered during Vespers service in the spectacular Duke Chapel space, and streamed live.

A Couple Holiday Performances

1. Saturday, December 6, 2014, 7 PM
The Chaffey College Chamber Choir,
Music Director David Rentz, performs my Merton setting, Flocks Feed by Darkness

Chaffey College Theater,
5885 Haven Avenue,
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 9173

2. Friday, December 19, 2014, 8 PM
My dear friends, the Greenwich Village Chamber Singers and Music Director Mark Mangini, perform my Alleluia. It will be the premiere of the revised version of the piece.

St. Joseph’s Church
371 Sixth Avenue
New York City.

Hello Friends,

I hope you’ve all been well. Following are some recent and upcoming highlights of my work:

Duke Vespers Ensemble Commission I’m very happy to announce that the Duke Vespers Ensemble has commissioned me for a new setting of the Compline hymn, Te lucis ante terminum (“To you before the end of light”). DVE is led by the exciting young conductor, Brian Schmidt, and is composed of some of the elite singers from Duke University and the surrounding communities. The new work will be three to four minutes and will be premiered in the 2014-15 season.

See-A-Dot to publish Alleluia The innovative NYC publishing house, See-A-Dot Music, is set to publish my Alleluia, a 4-part piece from 2003 that I revised earlier this year. The outer sections contain some of the most spare and reserved music I’ve written, texturally dominated by a mantra-like chanting of the title word. The drama and syncopations of the climactic central section present a strong contrast and ecstatic uplift before the piece returns to the original mood. An optional organ part provides pitch grounding, if desired. The piece is suitable for strong high school ensemble, community, or college chorus. See-A-Dot will also publish a men’s chorus arrangement (TTBB) of the piece. For more information check www.seeadot.com over the next few weeks.

NATS gives Honorable Mention to Gitchee Gumee In late March the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) announced the winners of its 2014 Art Song Composition. Daniel Neer, the author of the text, and I were pleased to learn that our three-movement cycle, Gitchee Gumee, had received an Honorable Mention. Composer Libby Larsen was the finalist judge. The text explores the 1975 sinking of the ship, the Edmund Fitzgerald, from the perspectives of three generations.

How Sweet I Roamed Friday at Harvard Memorial Church The Holy Cross College Choir will perform my setting of an early William Blake poem for the third time this spring, on Friday, May 16, at 7:00PM. The church’s address is 1 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA. The concert is free to the public. The program is quite diverse, featuring music of Arrell, Haydn, Berlin, Vaughan Williams, and Green Day.

Thanks for reading and happy spring!

Two Kingsongs premiere Saturday, June 29, in NYC

Posted on June 23rd, 2013 by jondavid

Happy summer!

My Two Kingsongs will be premiered this coming Saturday, June 29, 8PM, at Ten-Ri Cultural Institute, 43A West 13th Street, NYC. The songs were commissioned by the art-song duo of baritone Phillip Cheah and pianist Trudy Chan for their final recital of the season, entitled “Loss and Longing.” I’ve set two rather dark texts, Shelley’s classic Ozymandias, along with King Duffus by the 20th-century Englishwoman, Sylvia Townsend Warner. Also on the program are premieres of two other cycles written for the occasion by Chris Cresswell and Drew Hemenger, along with songs by Beach, Bolcom, Copland, Hough, Quilter, and Rorem et al.

I will be up from North Carolina for the performance. Hope to see some friends there!

All best,


Stabat Mater on debut CD release of C4; concert/party

Posted on June 7th, 2013 by jondavid

C4, the Choral Composer/Conductor Collective, is releasing its first commercial recording next week. My Stabat Mater is the longest work on the CD, which will also feature awesome works by Hayes Biggs, Ted Hearne, Huang Ruo, Karen Siegel, and Toby Twining. There will be a CD release concert and party on Tuesday, June 11 at 8PM, at St. Peters Church, 619 Lexington Avenue, NYC. The album music will be sung, along with other music including Brent Michael Davids’ stunning The Un-Covered Wagon. All in attendance receive a free CD! I’ll be traveling up from NC, so I hope to see people there. (www.c4ensemble.org; www.jonathandavidmusic.com)

Frog Went a’ Courtin’ in Denver

Posted on May 8th, 2013 by jondavid

The “Alpines” of the Rocky Mountain Children’s Chorus will be singing my arrangement of Frog Went a’ Courtin’ this Saturday, May 11, at 2PM. It’s a mostly Lydian setting of this upbeat folk tune…in which all the protagonists die at the end (!). Juliane Dowell conducts. Concert is at the University of Denver’s Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 E. Iliff Ave. Hope some Denver-area friends can make it out! More info here: http://www.rmchildrenschoir.org/from-the-world-over-concerts-may-11-2013/

St. John’s Dance, March 16 in Salem, MA

Posted on March 6th, 2013 by jondavid

My next performance is the world premiere of my first purely instrumental work in eons. St. John’s Dance is an 11-minute work for alto saxophone and piano, commissioned by saxophonist David Wozniak. The title refers to the medieval phenomenon of “dancing mania”, in which large groups of people would spontaneously break into frenetic dancing for hours at a time until they would collapse. Reportedly, some participants would strip naked, attack spectators, or dance so intensely that they fatally injured themselves. The explanations behind “choreomania”, as it’s also known, run the gamut from religious cults to poisoning by ergot, a fungus on grain that caused hallucinations (and worse) in epidemic proportions. Or perhaps it was all just medieval flashmobs! My piece moves breathlessly and schizophrenically through much of its duration, making great demands on both performers, with wide use of extended techniques in the sax.

Details: David Wozniak, alto saxophone; Liz Ames, piano. Saturday, March 16 at 3:30 PM as part of the 2013 North American Saxophone Alliance Region 8 Conference. The location is the Recital Hall in Salem State University’s Central Campus Building, Salem, Massachusetts. I hope to see some of my Boston friends there!

Cantaria premieres A Shepherd’s Nativity, Dec. 15

Posted on December 7th, 2011 by jondavid

If you’re in the western North Carolina area on Dec. 15th, please come hear the premiere of my carol, A Shepherd’s Nativity (Sweet Light), by Cantaria, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Asheville. The setting, which features an English horn soloist, is of an innovative 17th-century text by Richard Crashaw. The program also features Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols. December 15, 8PM, Cathedral of All Souls, Biltmore Village, Asheville, NC. Tickets, $15 at the door.

Premiere of The Tightened String: An Elegy for 9/11. Dec. 11, 3PM

Posted on November 30th, 2011 by jondavid

I hope you can join me for the premiere of The Tightened String: An Elegy for 9/11 on Sunday, December 11, 3PM at the Church of St. Ignatius of Antioch, 552 West End Avenue @87th Street. The music, by me, and text, by acclaimed poet David Brendan Hopes, were both commissioned by the Central City Chorus for the occasion of this 9/11 memorial concert entitled “Remembrance and Reflections.” Scored for solo treble quartet, mixed chorus and prepared piano, the music explores the great dualities and journey of emotions of Hopes’ rich and profoundly moving text. Music Director Phillip Cheah will conduct the program, which also features Barber’s Agnus Dei (the vocal setting of his famous Adagio for Strings) and the two-piano version of Brahms’ German Requiem.

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