Requiem for Chorus and Harp: Conductor as Composer, Composer as Conductor

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Western music history is filled with composers who also conduct their own works, and conductors who also devote time to composing. This project will attempt to examine the experience of the composer-conductor by addressing the following questions: First, what is it like to compose a piece of music for a group one conducts regularly? How does one's experience as a conductor influence compositional decision-making? Second, what is it like to conduct one's own music? How does one's experience as a composer influence rehearsal planning and performance conducting? The inquiry will focus on the preparation for and performance on May 16 of three pieces: Advent Antiphons and The Transfiguration, both written for the St. Matthew's Schola Cantorum in 2000, and the Requiem for chorus and harp, begun in January 2007 and completed in April 2008, all with the composer conducting. The completed project will include copies of scores, a DVD of rehearsal excerpts, CDs and DVDs of the performance, and a text document examining the questions mentioned above. The text document will address biographical information on the composer-conductor, focusing on experiences relevant to the inquiry; composition and history of the St. Matthew's Schola Cantorum and of his relationship with them; information about the compositions themselves and the compositional process; and a discussion of the rehearsal process and performance of the pieces.