In the News
In Te Domine from Lux Aeterna (excerpt)
Composed by Morten Lauridsen
Performed by Polyphony & Britten Sinfonia
on Morten Lauriden: Lux Aeterna
Current & Upcoming:
Morten Lauridsen just received the distinguished USC Associates Award for Artistic Expression.
See full article here: link
I'm sending this message to wish you all a most wonderful New Year and to introduce you to my new setting of Pablo Neruda's gorgeous sonnet "Ya eres mia" with a translation by California Poet Laureate Dana Gioia. The score is now available (as is nearly all of my music) at halleonard.com.
As Honorary Artistic President of the World Choir Games I will be in Princeton and Miami later this year for INTERKULTUR Choral Festivals (see their website for details). I hope to see you there!
And be sure and get your personal copy of Michael Stillwater's amazing, award-winning new film, In Search of the Great Song, which features thoughts by fifty individuals on this topic so relevant to our lives (link)
With appreciation and best wishes, as always,
Ya eres mia (Now You Are Mine – Pablo Neruda)
Now you are mine. Rest with your dream inside my dream.
Love, sorrow, labor now must sleep as well.
The night revolves on its invisible wheels
And joined to me you are as pure as sleeping amber.
No one else, my love, will ever sleep in my dreams.
You go, we go together through the waters of time
No one else will journey through the shadows with me,
Only you, eternally alive, eternal sun, eternal moon.
Your hands unfold their delicate grip,
Their gentle gestures falling aimlessly,
Your hands close on themselves like two gray wings,
While I follow the waters you bear which bear me away:
The night, the world, and the wind unfold their destiny,
No longer with you, I am nothing but your dream.
Tranlation by Dana Gioia.
Poem copyright by Fundacion Pablo Neruda. Used by permission.
Performance by The Golden Bridge vocal consort,
Suzi Digby conductor, Morten Lauridsen, piano
link to listen
Composer Morten Lauridsen should need no introduction to most Fanfare readers. One of the foremost composers in America today, he has produced a body of choral works which are highly acclaimed and often performed; which have won him, as one of many awards, the National Medal of Arts in 2007. Descriptions of his music most often include words like radiant, inspiring, uplifting, inspirational, sublime, and even at that do not do justice to the effect they have on audiences and performers around the world. His is the name that I most often invoke in reviews when I refer to the new renaissance in choral music, not because his style is backward looking, but because it encompasses the same transcendent approach to music that was core to the great works of that earlier period. (click for full review)
MORTEN LAURIDSEN RECEIVES THE ASCAP FOUNDATION LIFE IN MUSIC AWARD IN NYC ON DECEMBER 14
The ASCAP Foundation announces that two innovative composers will receive The ASCAP Foundation Life in Music Award: groundbreaking jazz composer and bandleader Maria Schneider and acclaimed choral music composer Morten Lauridsen. They will be celebrated at the 2016 ASCAP Foundation Honors, to be held on Wednesday, December 14. This invitation-only event takes place at the Appel Room and Ertegun Atrium in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street, New York City.
link to more details
November 8, 2016
Prayer: The Songs of Morten Lauridsen
Enjoy the newest recording of the composer's songs:
Entire contents of CD along with program notes by California Poet Laureate Dana Gioia can be read here
link to order
January 1, 2016
New Year Letter from the Composer:
I’m sending you my very best wishes for the New Year and to thank Michael Stillwater once again for setting up and managing this site.
I’m very happy to tell you that this coming year will see the release of Michael’s brilliant new film, In Search of the Great Song, a follow-up to Shining Night, in which he interviews dozens of individuals throughout the world for their ideas on this concept, including Paul Mealor, Alex Shapiro and myself. The film is an absolute gem, filled with deep and serious thoughts we should all ponder and including Michael’s stunning photography. More information is at songwithoutborders.net.
I will be making five trips to Europe this coming year to record a CD of my complete song catalog, “Prayer,” with acclaimed vocalists Jeremy Huw Williams and Caryl Hughes accompanied by the distinguished Paula Fan, a full CD of my choral music, “Canticles,” conducted by Nicol Matt with the Chamber Choir of Europe and concerts of my music in Italy, Scotland and Ireland plus several residencies in the US. Keep an eye on this page for updates.
Also coming soon is a recording by the fabulous Anne Akiko Meyers of my new version of “O Magnum Mysterium” for violin and orchestra that Anne commissioned, publication of my mixed duet/piano setting of Neruda’s sonnet “Ya Eres Mia” (And Now You Are Mine) and the solo treble voice/piano setting of “Sure on this Shining Night.” This will join my other mixed duets, “Prayer,” “Sure on this Shining Night,” and “Dirait-on” (a reminder that my works are published by peermusic and distributed by Hal Leonard (link)
Good luck to you all and I hope to meet many of you on my travels as I have over the years.
Recipient, 2007 National Medal of Arts
December 6, 2015
Dana Gioia appointed Poet Laureate of California
Congratulations to Dana Gioia on being named California Poet Laureate by Governor Jerry Brown. Dana, of course, is the former Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts and composed the poem "Prayer" that I have set to music in versions for chorus, solo voice and mixed duet. Bravo, Dana!! -Morten Lauridsen
March 18, 2015
Review of Film, 'Shining Night: A Portrait of Composer Morten Lauridsen'
(Klassic.com- In German)
Michael Stillwater spürt in einem eindrucksvollen Film der Person und dem Schaffen von Morten Lauridsen nach. Morten Lauridsen ist als Komponist von Chormusik weltweit bekannt und geachtet. Manche sagen über ihn, er sei ein Genie oder gar ein Mystiker. Diese Attribute beschreiben sein Wesen und Schaffen in treffender Weise. Ein nun bei Hänssler erschienener einfühlsamer Film gibt einen tiefen Einblick in die Lebens- und Schaffensphilosophie des Komponisten. Für Lauridsen scheint es keine getrennten Lebensbereiche zu geben; alles ist verknüpft und ergänzt sich in seiner Biographie, die einzig auf die Musik ausgerichtet ist. Ein Musiker ganz im Sinne von Arthur Schopenhauer, der schrieb: ‚Die Musik ist so sehr, was alle Kunst zu sein strebt, nämlich Wiederholung der Welt in einem einartigen Stoff und daß, wer die Musik völlig erklärt, eben damit auch die Welt erklärt.’
complete review of Hannsler Classic Edition of DVD
February 16-21, 2015
Santa Cruz, California: Residency at Cabrillo College
(from USC Thornton School of Music)
USC Distinguished Professor Morten Lauridsen recently spent a week as composer-in-residence at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz. Lauridsen attended theory classes and band rehearsals, lectured about composing and life, and spent time with the Cabrillo Youth Chorus. The Santa Cruz Sentinel noted that on Feb. 21, four choruses from Cabrillo College and the Peace United Church of Christ Chancel Choir under the direction of Cheryl Anderson joined the composer at the piano in a retrospective of Lauridsen’s work that spanned 45 years. Following the concert, Lauridsen was honored by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors for his week of teaching, rehearsals and various lectures.
article on visit to Cabrillo College
January 24, 2015
Southern New Jersey: Concert
The Bay-Atlantic Symphony and the Choral Arts of Southern New Jersey, the region’s acclaimed orchestra and choral group respectively, opened 2015 with a joint presentation that combined Antonio Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” with works by composers and Bay-Atlantic Symphony’s Artists-in-Residence Morten Lauridsen and Ola Gjeilo.
The latter will be represented by Lauridsen’s “Sure on this Shining Night” and “Lux Aeterna” and Gjeilo’s “Dark Night of the Soul.” The composers accompanied their works on the piano and Bay-Atlantic Music Director Jed Gaylin conducted.
The concerts took place Saturday, Jan. 24, 8 p.m., at the Frank Guaracini, Jr. Fine and Performing Arts Center, Cumberland County College in Vineland, and Sunday, Jan. 25, 2 p.m. at the Richard Stockton College Performing Arts Center, Galloway Township.
All Bay-Atlantic Symphony performances were preceded prior to starting time with a “Pre-Concert Conversation with the Maestro.”
November 16-20, 2014
Albuquerque, New Mexico: Residency at University of New Mexico
Morten Lauridsen offered lectures culminating in performance by the university choir.
November 8, 2014
Asheville, North Carolina: Shining Night wins 4th Best Documentary
The documentary Shining Night: A Portrait of Composer Morten Lauridsen, received its fourth Best Documentary award at the Asheville Cinema Festival.
November 8, 2014
Ojai, California: Morten Lauridsen speaks following screening of film, Shining Night, at Ojai Film Festival.
November 5, 2014
Thouand Oaks, CA:
Morten Lauridsen lectures entire freshman class at Samuelson Chapel, California Lutheran University. The students also were offered a screening of the film, Shining Night, and the book, 'Morten Lauridsen's Waldron Island Reflections', was given by the university to each student
July 11, 2014
Riga, Latvia: Morten Lauridsen named Honorary Artistic President of INTERKULTUR and World Choir Games
The composer was named the new Honorary Artistic President of INTERKULTUR and the World Choir Games. As a part of the position, Lauridsen is holding workshops and presenting talks about his works at the World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia. He succeeds Swedish conductor Eric Ericson, an early champion of Lauridsen’s work.
May 17, 2014
Lauridsen Bay Area Festival with Valley Concert Chorale
A well-received series of concerts and film screening was recently hosted by Valley Concert Chorale in the San Francisco Bay Area.
"Mr. Lauridsen is one of, if not the most heralded choral composers in the world today," explains John Emory Bush, VCC Artistic Director. "His choral works are some of the most moving and inspiring of pieces ever written, and we are so very fortunate to have him be a part of our 50th Anniversary season, sharing his skill and insight to his music."
With John Emory Bush of Valley Concert Chorale
L to R: Mark Aubel; Rob Lappa, Buddy James, ML, John Emory Bush, Jeffrey Bensen
USC Distinguished Professor of Composition Morten Lauridsen will serve as the guest of honor at this weekend’s “Morten Lauridsen Festival” in the San Francisco Bay Area. The event is being held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Valley Concert Chorale. During the festival, Lauridsen will host workshops for local high school and college choirs, as well as for the Valley Concert Chorale. All participating choirs will also collaborate in two public performances of Lauridsen’s music — one, on Saturday, May 17 at Mission Dolores in San Francisco, the other on Sunday, May 18 at the Amador Theatre in Pleasanton. Lauridsen will be on hand at both performances to speak, and to accompany the choirs on the piano.
Shining Night, the 2012 documentary on the composer, will be screened at the Vine Theater in downtown Livermore in the days leading up to the event.
“It’s an incredible experience for these choirs, from a learning standpoint, to perform a piece from a leading choral composer of our time and to actually have the composer there, the top dog in the country; you just don’t have that,” chorale member Heidi Massie told the Contra Costa Times.
(from USC Thornton School of Music website)
May 17, 2014
2014 Outstanding Service Award
Morten Lauridsen, USC Distinguished Professor of Composition, has received the 2014 Outstanding Service Award from the University of Southern California Association of Trojan Leagues.
As part of their mission to foster and promote the interest of the university, the Association has honored one outstanding USC professor with the award each year since 1997. Each recipient receives the Leagues’ “Red Apple” statuette, along with a monetary gift.
Lauridsen, who first came to USC as a student in the 1960s, was the 18th recipient of the award, and the only one to be chosen unanimously.
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Reflections on Lux Aeterna with Morten Lauridsen and Paul Salamunovich
Excerpted from the award-winning documentary, 'Shining Night: A Portrait of Composer Morten Lauridsen'.
Commentaries by composer Lauridsen and choral director Salamunovich shed light on the origin of Lauridsen's great choral work, Lux Aeterna.
A tribute to the Grammy-nominated choral conductor, Music Director Emeritus of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, who premiered Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna, O Magnum Mysterium, and Ave Maria.
April 6, 2014
Paul Salamunovich, 1927 - 2014
A personal message from Morten Lauridsen:
It is with profound sadness that I note that my dear friend and choral icon conductor Paul Salamunovich passed away April 3 at age 86 from West Nile virus. As Composer-in-Residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale from 1994-2001 I worked closely with Paul as he premiered the O Magnum Mysterium, Lux Aeterna and Ave Maria and conducted many other works of mine. His artistry will live on through his Grammy-nominated "Lauridsen - Lux Aeterna" and other recordings, his legacy of teaching and countless performances and his name attached to the musical scores of those works of mine that he inspired and premiered. I loved this man dearly and he will be deeply missed.
He was a choral man through and through, as evidenced by this poignant moment that I had with him and now would like to share with you:
Although Paul had been hospitalized and unresponsive and comatose for weeks, when I visited him in the Fall last year I approached his bed and whispered in his ear, "Paul, your composer is here. Please wake up so you can conduct the O Magnum Mysterium and Lux Aeterna again."
When I said those words, and each time I mentioned the names of those pieces that I had written for him that he premiered and recorded with the LA Master Chorale, his right arm went up (still attached to tubes) and his hand began waving in the air, as if he were conducting these pieces. The very mention of those works caused him to physically respond even while in a deep coma.
It was a profound and magical moment that I, his wife Dottie and the attending nurse will never forget.
I'm sure that at this moment he is conducting a choir of angels, instructing them on the very best way to approach and sing a high note.
Dear Paul--thank you from your composer and from all whose lives you touched. May God's light and grace shine upon you forever.
March 16, 2014
Los Angeles Master Chorale 50th Anniversary
A stirring tribute concert of Lauridsen's music was performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, conducted by artistic director Grant Gershon, at Disney Hall, Los Angeles.
"Radiant, melodic yet serious, contemporary choral music with genuine depth."
"As part of the Master Chorale’s ongoing 50th anniversary season, the ensemble’s former composer-in-residence received an extravagant gesture that rarely comes to any living composer -- an evening-long survey of his output, and only his output, Sunday night. This proved to be hardly a risk at all for the box office; Walt Disney Concert Hall was sold out weeks in advance."
- Richard S. Ginell of the LA Times (click for full review)
"Expertly crafted by Music Director Grant Gershon and beautifully sung by 48 members of the chorus."
-Robert D. Thomas of the Pasadena Star News (click for full review).
USC alumnus Grant Gershon, conductor of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, USC Distinguished Professor of Composition Morten Lauridsen and USC Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Policy Dana Gioia, following the Walt Disney Hall all-Lauridsen concert by the Chorale on March 16, 2014 that included Lauridsen's choral setting of Gioia's poem, Prayer. Photo: Marshall Rutter
March 14, 2014
Los Angeles Master Chorale 50th Anniversary
Celebration Weekend including Film Screening at Alex Theater, Glendale, California.
Screening followed by conversation with LAMC Artistic Director Grant Gershon, Film Director Michael Stillwater, and composer Morten Lauridsen, hosted by LAMC President Terry Knowles.
Alex Theater before screening
March 5, 2014
Concert Review: Josef Woodward, News-Press Correspondent
(February 22, 2014- ACDA Western Division, Santa Barbara, California)
(Saturday evening's concert) was also a tribute to the great, L.A.-based choral composer Morten Lauridsen, a special honoree at the conference and also the subject of Saturday's all-Lauridsen tribute concert to the composer, a former composer-in-residence with this Chorale. Mr. Lauridsen's famed contemporary choral works "Lux Aeterna" and "O Magnum Mysterium" — the inspiring finale of Saturday's official program — have imparted on the composer a notable aura of importance and creative vitality in the modern choral world.
Mr. Lauridsen graciously accepted the award, praises and the opportunity to present a handful of works in concert, recalling his own path into the choral calling. It started when he was a student at USC, where he later taught for decades, and recognizing his passion for that musical domain decided at a young age to focus on choral composition.
What made Saturday's concert especially illuminating was the demonstration of the composer's range, beyond his contemporary treatments of standard liturgical forms. We heard his gift for setting poems, of various vintages, styles and languages, through the sentient "Mid-Winter Songs on Poems by Robert Graves," to the ancient to the jazzy present sonorities of "Madrigals: 'Fire-Songs' on Italian Renaissance Poems," and his "Nocturnes on Poems by Rilke, Neruda and Agee," with the composer at the piano, and deftly so.
As a poignant encore — and graceful ending to the three-day conference — the evening ended with a new Lauridsen piece, "Prayer," based on a poem by former NEA head, poet Dana Gioia, based on the tragedy of his infant son's death from sudden infant death syndrome, 25 years earlier. As the choral score moved seamlessly and sonorously through the lines of the poem, moving in waves between the vocal regions in the ensemble, it closed on the poem's final sentiment, appealing to the forces of God or nature to consider his departed son, to "watch over him ... as the harsh falcon its flightless young." It was one of many moving moments in a flood of choral sounds and visions in town — for a brief but dense, and solidarity-building show of shows.
February 16, 2014
A Springtime of Morten Lauridsen Celebrations
(From USC Thornton School)
Taken in its entirety, a schedule of upcoming concerts featuring the music of Morten Lauridsen reads like a career retrospective. The L.A. Master Chorale, Pasadena Symphony and the American Choral Directors Association’s Western Division all have decided that Spring 2014 is the season to celebrate USC Distinguished Professor Morten Lauridsen and his music. Several concerts and screenings of Shining Night, the 2012 documentary about the famed choral composer are scheduled from mid-February through the end of March. (click to continue)
January 27, 2014
Morten Lauridsen's latest publication, his setting of Dana Gioia's poem Prayer, has just been recorded by the Wartburg College Choir conducted by Lee Nelson.
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January 3-8, 2014
Big Island, HI
Hawaiian Premiere of Shining Night at the Waimea Ocean Film Festival, featuring the composer speaking after screenings and at a breakfast talk to an enthusiastic audience. The Waimea Community Chorus and Waimea Consort performed 'Sure On This Shining Night' following two of the screenings, accompanied on piano by the composer.
December 20, 2013
Morten Lauridsen is the new Honorary Artistic President of Interkultur and the World Choir Games. This year's event, featuring hundreds of choirs from around the world, will be held July 9-19 in Riga, Latvia.
Press Release (photo by Endre Balogh)
November 9, 2013
Lauridsen's Portland residency at Marylhurst University and Lewis and Clark College culminated in a sold-out performance at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. The concert program included O Magnum Mysterium, Mid-Winter Songs, Dirait-on, Sure On This Shining Night and Lux Aeterna, conducted by Dr. Justin Smith and Dr. Kathy Fitzgibbon. The evening featured five local choirs with 250 voices, accompanied by members of the Oregon Symphony and Lauridsen on piano. (photos by Angela Hughey)
October 11 & 13, 2013
Friday Harbor, Washington
Opening the Inaugural Friday Harbor Film Festival to a full house with the San Juan Island Singers accompanied by Lauridsen on piano, the composer and film director Michael Stillwater then spoke with audiences following each of three screenings over the weekend, culminating in accepting the Audience Choice Award from among 25 documentaries. (photo by Peter Lauridsen)
July 7, 2013
San Luis Obispo, California
A choral tribute to the music of Morten Lauridsen at the California International Choral Festival, including a screening of the film Shining Night.
June 16, 2013- Bristol, UK
Screening of Shining Night at Big Green Film Festival.
June 15, 2013- Seattle, WA
Morten Lauridsen with former NEA Chair and current USC Professor of Poetry and Public Policy Dana Gioia at the Dale Chihuly Glass Gardens in Seattle on June 15, where Lauridsen was a featured composer at the national convention of Chorus America. Lauridsen's most recent publications are the chorus/piano and solo baritone/piano settings of Gioia's stunningly beautiful poem, "Prayer," written in memory of his son, Michael Jasper Gioia.
June 15, 2013- Seattle, WA
At Chorus America Conference with Yiting Jin, Marketing Chair and
singer of the Peninsula Women's Chorus in Palo Alto, California,
conducted by Martín Benvenuto.
June 9, 2013- Albuquerque, NM
Screening of Shining Night at the historic Kimo Theater (part of the Albuquerque Film & Media Festival). The event was a huge success, receiving a standing ovation for the film and composer as he took the stage for Q&A from the audience. Lauridsen received a very positive response to the film from festival patrons Robert Redford and his wife, artist Sibylle Szaggars Redford.
Here with Sibylle and composer and musician David Thor Jonsson, for their collaborative event entitled "...The Way of the Rain…"
Albuquerque Film & Media Experience: Designer/artist Gregory Leon Baird, ML, keyboardist David Thor Johnson, Festival Director Lainie Sevante Quirk
Albuquerque Film & Media Experience: With painting of the composer created during the event.
May 23, 2013- Los Angeles, CA
Shining Night broadcast on KCET-Link TV's 'Open Call' program. KCET is one of the largest public television networks in America. (the film was broadcast again on Sunday, May 26). Here Lauridsen in conversation with program host, mezzo soprano Suzanna Guzmán, and film director Michael Stillwater.
May 19, 2013- Walla Walla, WA
Lauridsen received honorary doctorate at the commencement ceremonies of Whitman College, where he attended 1961-1963. Shining Night was screened as part of the event.
March 8-12, 2013- Denmark
Lauridsen's 70th Birthday Tour of Denmark was his first visit to the ancestral island off the coast of Denmark. The trip featured several performances and film screenings of Shining Night, including opening the Danish Film Festival.
Here pictured (above) with the University of Southern Denmark Chamber Choir together with choral director/host Saul Zaks, (below) accompanying Sure On This Shining Night.
Visiting Møns Klint, Danish island of Lauridsen's ancestry.
March 4, 2013- Pembrokeshire, Wales
Rehearsing with Corydd and Paul Mealor in St. David's Cathedral, Wales.
March 4, 2013- Pembrokeshire, Wales
With composer/conductor Paul Mealor in St. David's Cathedral, Wales.
July 14, 2012- Cincinnati, Ohio
At Closing Ceremonies of the World Choir Games, which hosted Lauridsen concurrently with the Cincinnati Film Festival (Shining Night nominated Best Documentary). The composer is shown here with film director Michael Stillwater and choral director Nicol Matt.
June 14, 2012- Portland, Oregon
Interview photo of Lauridsen and film director Michael Stillwater. Geoff Norcross of Oregon Public Broadcasting conducted interview in coordination with the Portland film premiere at the Eliot Chapel of the First Unitarian Church, together with a performance by the Portland State Chamber Choir conducted by Ethan Sperry.
March 30, 2012- New York City
Following DCINY New York film premiere at Ethical Society Auditorium in New York City; the weekend included Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall performances.
February 7 2012- Palm Springs, California
On Classical Radio Show preceding world premiere of film Shining Night opening the American Documentary Film Festival at Camelot Theater with full-house audience of 500 theater goers.