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Choral Composers

So much of what many of us would think of as choral music is traditional, centuries-old works, things our parent and grandparents grew up with, but that’s really not the be-all and end-all of choral works. There are many talented, genius composers of the last century and a bit, who have created some beautiful, stellar works that are being sung by choirs around the world today. Why not check out some of these brilliant men and women’s work? If you’ve never tried modern choral work, you’re in for a lovely surprise. Why not treat yourself to that surprise today?

Composers - Early Music | Classical | 20th Century | Modern

Displaying 151 - 156 of 156 items.


Gwyneth Walker

Widely performed throughout the country, the music of American composer Gwyneth Walker is beloved by performers and audiences alike for its energy, beauty, reverence, drama, and humor. Dr. Gwyneth Walker is a graduate of Brown University and the Hartt School of Music. She holds B.A., M.M. and D.M.A. degrees in Music Composition. A former faculty member of the Oberlin College Conservatory, she resigned from academic employment in 1982 in order to pursue a career as a full-time composer. For nearly 30 years, she lived on a dairy farm in Braintree, Vermont. She now divides her time between her childhood hometown of New Canaan, Connecticut and the musical community of Randolph, Vermont.


Thomas Weelkes

Weelkes was baptised in the little village church of Elsted in Sussex on 25 October 1576. It has been suggested that his father was John Weeke, rector of Elsted, although there is no documentary evidence of the relationship. In 1597 his first volume of madrigals was published, the preface noting that he was a very young man when they were written; this helps to fix the date of his birth to somewhere in the middle of the 1570s. Early in his life he was in service at the house of the courtier Edward Darcye. At the end of 1598, at the probable age of 22, Weelkes was appointed organist at Winchester College, where he remained for two or three years, receiving the salary of 13s 4d per quarter. His remuneration included board and lodging.

During his Winchester period, Weelkes composed a further two volumes of madrigals (1598, 1600). He obtained his B. Mus. Degree from New College, Oxford in 1602, and moved to Chichester to take up the position of organist and informator choristarum (instructor of the choristers) at the Cathedral at some time between October 1601 and October 1602. He was also given a lay clerkship at the Cathedral, being paid 15 2s 4d annually alongside his board, lodging and other amenities. The following year he married Elizabeth Sandham, from a wealthy local family. They had three children and it was rumored that Elizabeth was already pregnant at the time of the marriage.


Eric Whitacre

An accomplished composer, conductor and lecturer, Eric Whitacre has quickly become one of the most popular and performed composers of his generation. To date, Whitacre's published works have received thousands of performances and have sold in excess of one million copies worldwide. Over the past few years, his loyal fans and supporters have moved online, spreading Eric's popularity to an ever-expanding worldwide audience.

Though he had received no formal training before the age of 18, his first experiences singing in college choir changed his life, and he completed his first concert work, Go, Lovely, Rose, at the age of 21. Eric went on to the Juilliard School, earning his Master of Music degree and studying with Pulitzer Prize and Oscar-winning composer John Corigliano.


Jonathan Willcocks

Jonathan Willcocks was born in Worcester, England, and after early musical training as a chorister at King's College Cambridge and an Open Music Scholar at Clifton College he took an Honours degree in Music from Cambridge University where he held a choral scholarship at Trinity College.

Jonathan is currently Musical Director of the Guildford Choral Society, the Chichester Singers and the professional chamber orchestra Southern Pro Musica, and freelance conducting and workshop engagements in recent seasons have taken him to many parts of the world including USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Singapore, China and most of the European countries as well as the United Kingdom.


Ralph Vaughan Williams

Composer, Conductor. He is considered the most important and influential British musician of his generation. Vaughan Williams' music displays a distinctly English character derived from his country's folk and Renaissance tradition, which he absorbed into a very personal style. His nine symphonies constitute one of the outstanding achievements of the 20th Century repertory. Ralph (pronounced "Rafe") Vaughan Williams was born at Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, the son of a clergyman. On his mother's side of the family he was related to Charles Darwin. He studied at the Royal College of Music and at Cambridge, followed by private instruction with Max Bruch in Berlin (1897). Despite his talent and training he was slow to develop as a artist because he had little sympathy for the Wagner-dominated musical scene of the time. While at the RCM in 1895 he formed a lifelong friendship with fellow student Gustav Holst, and the two tackled the problem of creating a new home-grown musical idiom. Vaughan Williams hit upon a solution through his discovery of old English folk and church music. From 1903 he gathered and published over 800 country tunes while also serving as editor of "The English Hymnal" (1904 to 1906), a collection of sacred vocal works from the 16th Century to the early 1900s. He contributed several original pieces to this set, in which he experimented with Elizabethan modal harmony within a modern framework.


Chen Yi

Chen was born and raised in Guangzhou, China into a talented family. Her parents were doctors and musicians; her mother played the piano, and her father was a violinist. Her older sister was a child prodigy, and both she and their younger brother continue to work as professional musicians in China.

Chen began studying piano at the age of three, heavily influenced by the music of Western composers such as Bach and Mozart. However, once the Cultural Revolution began in 1966, Western attitudes were severely shunned and arts were opposed. For ten years, education came to a halt and people were relocated to work in large communes in countryside. Chen's father and older sister were sent away, but she managed to stay in her hometown a while longer and continued to practice music, although she was forced to stuff a blanket inside her piano in order to dampen the sound and play her violin with a mute. When she was 15 years old, the family house was searched, all possessions were taken, and the rest of her family was dispersed to different locations to perform compulsory labor in the countryside.


Choral Composers | Songwriters | Arrangers | Performers