A Spectacular Spring Bloom of Lauridsen Choral Works

In the video above, Morten Lauridsen speaks about how his love for poetry influences his compositional process.

Each spring, the music of composer Morten Lauridsen, National Medal of Arts recipient and a member of the USC Thornton Composition faculty, finds particular resonance during the Easter choral performance season. This year is no exception.

Lauridsen recently visited the South Bay city of Palos Verdes to deliver a pre-concert lecture for the Joanna Medawar Nachef Singers’ performance of his celebrated Lux Aeterna vocal cycle. The program also included some of his other, well-known works, including O Magnum Mysterium and Sure on This Shining Night.

Last week featured performances of Lauridsen’s choral works by St. Maries Musica and the Live Arts/Annapolis Chorale in Maryland, as well as the Glacier Symphony & Chorale in Montana and Pensacola Performances in Florida.

Lauridsen (center) in 2014 with Los Angeles Master Choral music director Grant Gershon and Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at USC, Dana Gioia, both frequent collaborators. (Photo by Marshall Rutter)

And later this April, Lauridsen will travel to Northern Utah, where he will participate in the American Festival Chorus and Orchestra’s tribute performance of Lux Aeterna and other works, in addition to conducting masterclasses for Utah State University students (April 15). The busy composer will also join the Oregon Repertory Singers in two concerts and workshops (April 22 and 23), including a special performance of Lauridsen’s Madrigali: Six ‘Fire Songs’ on Italian Renaissance Poems, led by artistic director and Thornton alumnus Ethan Sperry (MM ’98; DMA ’00, choral music).

Meanwhile, international violinist Anne Akiko Meyers is presently touring with a new arrangement of O Magnum Mysterium that Lauridsen composed for especially for her. This month, she’ll present the work at recitals in Troy, New York (April 18), at the 92nd Street Y in New York City (April 20), and at the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C. (April 23).

And finally, the Los Angeles Master Chorale (LAMC) will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Lux Aeterna in June, having originally premiered the work in 1997. Thornton alumnus and Board of Councilors member Grant Gershon will lead the chorale and orchestra in three Walt Disney Concert Hall performances featuring Lauridsen’s iconic piece, including a special gala concert (June 18) and an audience sing-along performance (June 22). The LAMC program will also include the premieres of new choral works by Moira Smiley, Eric Whitacre, and Thornton alumnus Billy Childs (BM ’79).

To view more videos from our 10-part celebration of Morten Lauridsen, click here.