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:

My SAB/piano piece, Even in Darkness, will have its world premiere this Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 6PM (note early time) by the Juilliard Pre-College Chorus. None of the young singers in the ensemble is a vocal major, yet there was evidence of some really strong musicianship nonetheless at the rehearsal I attended in December. The group’s Music Director, Esther Harris, had me lead the rehearsal for several minutes. It was particularly entertaining walking them through the random section, teaching them to ignore one of the basic tenets of choral singing, namely singing together as an ensemble!

Here is the very brief but evocative text by Wendell Berry, in the style of the spiritual nature poem he’s become known for:

Even in darkness, love
shows the circumference
of the world, lightning
quivering on horizons
in the summer night.

The piece was commissioned in 2009 by the Packer Collegiate Institute for its Concert Chorus, also led by Ms. Harris, but a change in chorus personnel following the composition made the piece a less suitable fit for that ensemble.

The concert will be held at Paul Hall at The Juilliard School, 155 W. 65th St. between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. Tickets are free.

Please check out the YouTube video below for a new choral arrangement I did of “Idioteque,” the oft-covered (and, depending on whom you ask, somewhat infamous) “techno-beats” tune from Radiohead’s Kid A album. It’s presented nominally as a Christmas carol (lullaby syllables, tambourine, winter apparel), though the lyrics and somber chord progression convey a rather different spirit indeed.

This was shot in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. You might not be able to tell but it was an unseasonably cold December day with, I believe, 20-25 mph wind gusts.

Glass Menagerie reprising Flocks Feed by Darkness, Dec. 11

Posted on December 7th, 2010 by jondavid

Just found out that Glass Menagerie will be reprising the work they commissioned from me and premiered last December. Flocks Feed by Darkness is a carol for mixed chorus and piano to a wonderfully evocative text by Thomas Merton. They’ll also perform Britten’s Ceremony of Carols and excerpts from Orff’s Carmina Burana. Saturday, December 11, 2010, at 8:00 p.m at St. Joseph’s Church in Greenwich Village, 371 Sixth Avenue (2 blocks south of 8th Street). Wish I could attend but will be in L.A. (see last post). More information at

In L.A. weekend of Dec. 11 & 12 for West Coast premiere

Posted on December 7th, 2010 by jondavid

I’ll be in Los Angeles this coming weekend to attend the West Coast premiere of my largest mixed chorus work to date, the Fantasy on Medieval Carols. It’s a 20-minute piece for double chorus and piano: The Mountainside Master Chorale will be joined by the internationally acclaimed children’s chorus, Pueri Cantores. More details on my September 20 post. Also on the program are works by my buddy Martha Sullivan, Mark Kilstofte, P.D.Q Bach, and Pachelbel.

There are two performances: Saturday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 and Sunday, Dec. 12 at 3:30, both at the Claremont United Church of Christ, 233 Harrison Avenue, Claremont. I’ll definitely be at the Sunday afternoon performance and perhaps Saturday evening as well. Please say hello if you’re able to attend!

C4 to perform Hana/Blossom

Posted on November 3rd, 2010 by jondavid

C4: the Choral Composer/Conductor Collective is performing my bi-textual, bi-tonal haiku-motet, Hana/Blossom, as part of its season-opening concert entitled “Separation Anxiety.” The program features split and doubled choirs, as well as dual texts, contrasting languages, and separate worlds. Among other highlights is the East Coast premiere of a truly stunning work, Privilege, by Ted Hearne, composer of the Gaudeamus Award–winning Katrina Ballads.

Thursday, November 18, 2010, 8 PM
Saint Ignatius of Antioch Episcopal Church
552 West End Avenue at West 87th Street, NYC

Saturday, November 20, 2010, 8 PM
Church of Saint Luke in the Fields
487 Hudson St., New York, NYC

More info at

Fantasy on Medieval Carols to receive west coast premiere

Posted on September 20th, 2010 by jondavid

I am very excited to announce that the Mountainside Master Chorale (, based in Claremont, CA (in the Inland Valley, east of Los Angeles), will present the first west coast performance of my largest choral work to date. The performances will take place December 11 and 12 and will be led by David Rentz, my former colleague in C4, who will be making his debut as Music Director with MMC.

Composed for the 30th anniversary of The Greenwich Village Singers in 2005, the Fantasy is a through-composed work consisting of substantial re-imaginings of seven medieval carols, some well-known, others more obscure. In addition, the “Hodie” and “Laetabundus” chants are featured in the piano’s introductory and transitional material. The synthesis and juxtaposition of the sacred and the profane, which has long been part of the celebration of Christmas, plays a central role in my work, where, to give just one example, a soothing lullaby to Jesus is followed by a rowdy ode to a donkey.

The work is scored for double chorus, an adult mixed chorus and a children’s chorus. The score gives the option of using a small group of women from the adult chorus in place of a children’s chorus. The MMC performances of the piece will be the first to use all adult forces.

Evening Song and Alleluia make finals of competition

Posted on August 31st, 2010 by jondavid

The Shoreline Community Chorale, based in Madison, CT, selected my Evening Song and Alleluia as two of eight finalists for its 2010 Choral Composition Competition. The grand prize winner will be announced prior to the concert on November 14, 2010, in Clinton, CT. The performance will also mark the world premiere of Evening Song, as well as the premiere of the revised version of Alleluia. Check out score excerpts at the Works/Choral page.

Title: Song of the Chester Nuns performed at NYU Kodaly 2010 Concert
Location: St. Joseph’s Church (Greenwich Village) 371 6th Avenue, NYC
Link out: Click here
Description: The chorus of the NYU Kodaly Summer Institute will perform my SSA/piano arrangement of the Song of the Chester Nuns. Also music by Bernstein, Copland, Matthew Harris, as well as demonstrations. Conducted by Susan Glass. Free admission!
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2010-07-16

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