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Monthly Archives: June 2017

  • David Conte - world premieres of American Death Ballads

    David Conte's award-winning American Death Ballads received its European premiere, performed for the first time ever, with voice and orchestra. (June 30, 2017, London). The piece later received its French premiere in its original version for voice and piano.  (July 4, 2017, Paris)

    Performers for each venue: 
    London House, London, England:
    Michael Poll, Conductor
    Brian Thorsett, tenor

    Schola Cantorum, Paris, France: 
    Brian Thorsett, tenor
    Richard Masters, piano

    American Death BalladsAmerican Death Ballads was composed especially for tenor Brian Thorsett. David Conte and Thorsett have been frequent collaborators since 2011. Thorsett premiered American Death Ballads at the San Francisco Conservatory, November 1, 2015, with pianist John Churchwell, and at the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Conference in Chicago, July 10, 2016, with pianist Warren Jones. This was the winner of the NATS American Art Song Competition for the 2016 Convention.

    Source: Events | Michael Poll

  • Remembering Marie Stultz (1945 - 2017)

    Marie Stultz
    MorningStar Music is saddened to share of the passing of Marie Irene Stultz, composer, conductor, author, and music educator, on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 in Havervill, MA. She was 72.

    Marie’s life was devoted to developing vocal and choral excellence in the young singers and choirs she worked with.  As a sought-after music educator and choral clinician, she was particularly known for her expertise in choral literature.  In 1975, she founded the Treble Chorus of New England and was its Artistic Director until 2004.  In 2005, she founded The Young Opera Company of New England and was its Artistic Director until her death.  She led two European trips with the Treble Chorus of New England that included memorable performances in Leipzig, Germany, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and Herrod’s in London, and Chester Cathedral, England.

    For over 30 years, Marie was the choral consultant at Spectrum Music in Lexington, MA.  Since 1991, she wrote new-release reviews for their monthly newsletter, The Choral Room.

    In the 1970s, she taught elementary music in the Burlington and Wilmington public schools.  From 1973-1986, she served as Children’s Choir Director at Old North Church in Marblehead, MA, and instituted the Marblehead Walk Concert Series.  She was the conductor of the North Reading Choral Society from 1976-1985. More recently, she directed choirs in Lynnfield, MA at the Centre Congregational Church and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

    Marie is the author of several books on the treble voice.  She was the editor of The Treble Chorus of New England Sacred and Secular Choral Series, published by MorningStar.  A prolific composer and arranger, Marie had her works premiered by many music organizations throughout the United States and Europe.  Numerous unpublished works include chamber music, song cycles, plays, musicals, stories, operettas and opera adaptations.  Her final composition before her death was To Music for Treble Voices and Organ which received its world premiere at Christ Church, Andover on November 20, 2016.

    Marie had memberships in various organizations including ACDA (American Choral Directors Association), MENC (Music Educators National Conference), AGO (American Guild of Organists), Choristers Guild, and Rotary Club of Andover, MA.  She received awards and citations from the State Senate of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1996 & 2005), a Teacher Recognition Award from the US Department of Education (2002), and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Methuen Memorial Music Hall (2005).  She was a Paul Harris Fellow of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.

    Marie was born in San Antonio, Texas on April 13, 1945.  She was raised in Iola, Kansas and attended Southern Methodist University where she earned her Bachelor of Music Education degree in voice and Master of Music degree in music history.  While studying at SMU, she met her future husband, Richard Stultz.  They were married in 1973 and collaborated musically for 25 years until their divorce in 1998.  Marie lived in North Reading, MA from 1976-2015 where she had a private voice studio and taught hundreds of young singers, leaving a lasting legacy.

    She is survived by her mother, Betty Ruth Gard Schmidt of Olathe, KS; her sister Cathrine (Schmidt) Lust and husband Major General (retired) Larry J. Lust of Lenexa, KS; and two nephews Colonel & Mrs. Jon Lust of Alexandria, VA and Mr. & Mrs. Phillip Lust of Falls Church, VA.

    A memorial service will take place on Saturday, July 1 at 3:00 p.m. at the Parish of Christ Church, Andover, MA.  A reception follows the service in the Parish Hall. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to Christ Church, 25 Central Street, Andover, MA to support the training of young singers.

    Source: CONTE FUNERAL HOME: Marie Irene Stultz

  • Kareem Roustom's work for solo clarinet & electronics to receive European premiere: Pierre Boulez Saal

    Fellow composers and clarinetists Jörg Widmann and Kinan Azmeh will lead audiences on a musical journey of discovery through three centuries, in a program that will include works from three continents by Mozart, Stravinsky, Poulenc, Elliot Carter, Steve Reich, Solhi al-Wadi, and Kareem Roustom, as well as Widmann and Azmeh.

    Kareem Roustom's A Muffled Scream for solo clarinet and electronics will be receiving its European premiere.


    Born in Damascus in 1976 and based in New York, Kinan Azmeh has appeared as a soloist, composer, and improvisor at many of the world’s leading concert halls. His compositions include solo, chamber, and orchestral works, in addition to music for film and electronics. He has worked with a variety of international ensembles, including the Trio Hewar and the Damascus Festival Chamber Players, with both of which he is heard at the Pierre Boulez Saal this season, as well as Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. He is a former member of Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Jörg Widmann, born in Munich in 1973, is among the most prominent German composers of the younger generation. He has written a wide range of chamber, symphonic, and stage works, and has appeared around the world as a clarinetist and recently also as a conductor. His Viola Concerto premiered in October 2015 at the Paris Philharmonie. He is a frequent collaborator of Daniel Barenboim.


    Jörg Widmann is one of the most versatile and intriguing artists of his generation. As clarinetist, Widmann studied with Gerd Starke in Munich and Charles Neidich at the Juilliard School in New York. He performs regularly with leading world orchestras, such as Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Orchestra National de France, National Symphony Orchestra Washington, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He collaborates with conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Valery Gergiev, Kent Nagano, Sylvain Cambreling, Christoph Eschenbach and Christoph von Dohnányi.


    Source: JÖRG WIDMANN & KINAN AZMEH - Pierre Boulez Saal

  • E. C. Schirmer signs Juliana Hall Art Song Catalog

    E. C. Schirmer is pleased to announce our new publishing relationship with renowned American Art Song Composer, Juliana Hall. E. C. Schirmer looks forward to adding Hall’s works to our vocal catalog, which also includes music by American composers such as David Conte, Daron Hagen, Libby Larsen, Henry Mollicone, and Gwyneth Walker.

    Juliana HallHall (b. 1958) is a prolific and highly-regarded composer of vocal music, having written more than 50 song cycles and works of vocal chamber music.  Her songs have been called “brilliant” (Washington Post), “beguiling” (Times of London), and “the most genuinely moving music of the afternoon” (Boston Globe), and Gramophone Magazine wrote that Hall is “a composer who savours lyrical lines and harmonies peppered with gentle spices.” The NATS Journal of Singing wrote that “Hall’s text setting is spot on and in all of Juliana Hall’s wonderful creations, the composer has sensitively allowed the text to dictate the tonal palette and direction...[they are] artful and adroit expressions of superb poetic and musical choices," and Voix des Arts noted that Hall’s songs are “wholly organic, never contrived, and the composer perpetuates the American Art Song tradition of Beach, Barber, and Bolcom with music of ingenuity and integrity.”

    Hall began her musical career as a pianist, studying with Boris Berman, Jeanne Kirstein, Seymour Lipkin, and Lee Luvisi. She became a composition major at the Yale School of Music, where she earned her Master’s degree in Composition studying with Martin Bresnick, Leon Kirchner, and Frederic Rzewski, and she completed her formal composition studies with composer Dominick Argento in Minneapolis. In 1989, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition.

    Click here for ordering information.


    Juliana Hall’s 2016–2017 season included six world premieres across the United States, and one in London. Her vocal music will also be featured in three performances this June:

    • Night Dances (six songs on poems by Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Brontë, Emily Dickinson, and Edna St. Vincent Millay) will be performed in an undergraduate voice recital at the Studio Theaters, the Netherlands. Hanna van Rooijen, soprano; ensemble playing new orchestration by William Schaffels. June 20, 2017.
    • The world premiere of When the South Wind Sings (seven songs on poems by Carl Sandburg) at Song Fest. Hall wrote this work as the recipient of the 2017 Sorel Commission from SongFest. Tabitha Burchett, soprano; Riley McKinch, piano. June 24, 2017.
    • Night Dances (six songs on poems by Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Brontë, Emily Dickinson, and Edna St. Vincent Millay) will be performed in a Master’s recital at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. Corinne Cowling, soprano; Dylan John Perez, piano. June 28, 2017.
    • Interview with
    • New recordings:

    "There is a beautiful alchemy that occurs when composer Juliana Hall meets a poem. Revealing each morsel of poetry through her brilliant tonal, textural, and rhythmic language, her work is immediately recognizable and wonderfully familiar. Singers and audiences alike take delight in her songs. Over the years, many of my young colleagues have brought her work for me to coach in my own song program, Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar, but equally, I have heard her songs in virtually every university in which I have taught master classes over the last decade. Ms. Hall's songs have a very important endorsement- singers want to sing them. Indeed, they love to sing them, and it is readily understood why. Her choice of text is varied, impressive and speaks to a wide cultural audience. The topics are relevant to today's artists, and therefore, extraordinarily desirable. It is also incredibly evident that she understands the singing voice and the great art of collaboration with the pianist- there is a level of musical discourse here that demands expertise, and rewards the work with a generous and complete technical, interpretive and emotional experience. It is positively magical." – Stephanie Blythe, Mezzo

  • Consonance-Dissonance: ACLU Fundraising Concert includes work by Kareem Roustom

    Kareem Roustom's Buhur for clarinet and string trio will receive its West Cost Premiere in a benefit concert and exhibit in Los Angeles, CA scheduled for June 21, 2017. The program will also feature music of Golijov, Palestrina, Shostakovich, and Villa-Lobos in an eclectic program alongside a painting exhibit by Guy Walker.

    All proceeds raised will be donated to the ACLU.


    Click here for more information about Buhur by Kareem Roustom

    Source: Consonance-Dissonance : An evening concert and exhibit

  • News from SongFest 2017: David Conte and Juliana Hall

    David ConteSongFest provides the United States' premier art song festivals and training programs: our summer institute held each June at The Colburn School in Los Angeles and a new winter intensive at Hidden Valley in Carmel Valley. SongFest attracts an internationally distinguished roster of artist teachers as well as students from some of the nation’s top music conservatories. Audiences enjoy a vibrant concert series presented at Hidden Valley and in Colburn's state-of-the-art venues and auditors can attend daily masterclasses and lectures led by the most exciting artists of today. As part of the 2017 festival on June 5-30, music by David Conte and Juliana Hall are included on the repertoire roster.

    David Conte's award-winning American Death Ballads will be performed by Zachary Rioux, tenor, and Jennifer Tung, piano. In addition, Conte's Three Poems of Christina Rossetti will be performed by David Tayloe, tenor, and Liza Stepanova, piano.

    Juliana HallJuliana Hall has also been named the 2017 Sorel Commission winner. Her collection When the South Wind Sings  (7 songs for soprano and piano on poems by Carl Sandburg) and will soon be available from E. C. Schirmer Music Company.











    Source: SongFest

  • ECS Publishing Group receives Paul Revere Awards for Graphic Excellence

    Established in 1964 in honor of the 200th anniversary of the first music engraving in American by the famous silversmith Paul Revere, these awards were initially given as a means of alerting the music industry to the advantages of providing the best possible publication from the viewpoint of engraving, graphic arts and production standards. Today the awards still recognize outstanding examples of graphic design, with an emphasis on usability for orchestras, educators, libraries and individuals.

    ECS Publishing Group is pleased to announce receipt of two Paul Revere Awards.

    Choral Music Notation
    He Leadeth Me2nd Prize – Benjamin Wegner: He Leadeth Me
    Engraved by J. Michael Case.





    Cover Design Featuring Graphic Elements
    Jazz Miniatures
    2nd Prize – John Carter: Jazz Miniatures
    Designed by Kristen Schade.






    Source: NewMusicBox

  • Featured Recording: Jane Wang Considers the Dragonfly, music by Elena Ruehr

    A delightful recording of Elena Ruher's Chamber Works.

    Elena RuehrCalled a "composer to watch" by Opera News, Elena Ruehr's music has been performed by the Borremeo String Quartet, the Shanghai String Quartet, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (where she was composer in residence from 2000-2005), and the Cincinnati Symphony, among others. Dr. Ruehr was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute in 2009 and she teaches in the music department at MIT.

    Click here to learn more about Elena Ruehr and her music.

    Source: Albany Records: Jane Wang Considers the Dragonfly


    "With a light touch, Elena Ruehr's music grabs your attention in a 'what's that over there in the distance?' sort of way. Upon a closer look, the music is a careful balance of gorgeous sonorities, descriptive themes, and vibrant rhythm." (Endless Possibilities)

    "Ruehr's chamber music is lovely. She crafts her materials with an experienced hand, fully aware that less is more. ...Well worth investigating. Ruehr's voice is as memorable as it is gentle." (Fanfare)

  • Kareem Roustom: Dutch premiere by New European Ensemble 

    Oriental Landscapes is a five-city contemporary oriental music festival. The artistic vision of Oriental Landscapes reflects on the history of oriental music and searches for a common ground for the future of shared musical heritage. On the 17th of June Oriental Landscapes travels to Utrecht, and presents a mini festival in Hertz and the K.F. Hein Foyer.

    The Oriental Landscapes festival presents new ensemble formations and new connections between Eastern and Western musicians. Oriental Landscapes will also introduce young artists and performers who have not appeared in the Netherlands before and premiere new compositions.

    As part of the concert series, the New European Ensemble and Oriental Soloists will give the Dutch premiere of Kareem Roustom's Buhur for clarinet and string trio.

    BuhurClick here for more information about Buhur

    Source: Oriental Landscapes - TivoliVredenburg

  • Review of Seven Last Words by Michael John Trotta -- Choral Scholar

    In his famous Poetics of Music of 1939, Stravinsky observes, “A real tradition is not the relic of a past that is irretrievably gone; it is a living force that animates and informs the present.” Michael J. Trotta’s Seven Last Words is a work solidly grounded in tradition, yet incorporates a musical language that, in George Gershwin’s words, “informs the thoughts and aspirations of the people and the time.”

    Musical settings for the Seven Last Words date from at least the early 16th century, and composers of many style periods have contributed, including de Lassus (16th century), Schütz (1645), Haydn (1787), Frank (1859), Dubois (1867), and MacMillan (1993), and many others. (Although, as Trotta points out, settings in English are relatively rare.) Trotta adheres to the tradition, sometimes incorporating innovations in scoring or ordering of texts introduced by previous composers.

    Musically, Trotta presents a broad range of musical conventions and devices, allowing the Words to “expose a gamut of emotions…in a way that distills the most poignant moments of the human condition.” Additionally, the setting interpolates liturgical texts not contained within the traditional set, “further expanding the story and the reaction
    of those present and witness to the Passion.”...

    Seven Last Words... Trotta’s Seven Last Words is a composition that appeals on many levels. Te overall harmonic color is accessible, rich and varied, and one that is familiar to modern-day ears. It wouldn’t be a stretch to observe that several extended passages are reminiscent of what might be heard in a contemporary film score. At the same time, allusions to musical gestures and conventions drawn from the Western classical tradition are ubiquitous, and can only add to the appreciation of the work by those well steeped in the literature. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the work is highly integrated, with inner logic and connections that even the general listener can appreciate.

    It is important to note that the work was commissioned by churches for performance by church choirs consisting of non-professional performers with limited and varied resources. Trotta responded directly to his charge by producing a work that is appealing, adaptable, and within the capabilities of any competent ensemble. Seven Last Words is a significant achievement, a worthy participant in the choral tradition, and a welcome contribution to the literature.

    To read the entire analysis of the work, click here.

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