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31 May 2002

The Choral Music of Jean Belmont

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  • Volume: 42
  • Presented at: 2002 National Conference

Using a lecture-recital format, the choral music of Kansas City composer, Jean Belmont, will be explored. This proposal is a result of the presenters extensive collaboration with Belmont, including four hours of recorded interviews with her, information from which will be incorporated into the lecture-recital which will conclude with a performance by the MSU Chorale.

In the past decade, Belmont has emerged as one of this countrys most important composers of choral music. She has been awarded three Meet the Composer grants, an NEA-subsidized commission, National Public Radios Lucien Wulsin Award for Best New Music (1990), and two Barlow International Choral Competition prizes. Her choral works have been performed throughout the United States and Canada by such prestigious ensembles as the Elmer Iseler Singers, Chanticleer, and the Santa Fe Desert Chorale. Her choral cycle Nativitas is the centerpiece of a Nimbus Records compact disc by the Kansas City Chorale, and a single movement from Invitations, The Passionate Shepherd to His Love, is included in the Chorales second CD on the Nimbus label, Fern Hill: American Choral Music. Her choral cycle Electa was premiered at the Southwestern Division convention of the American Choral Directors Association in 1996, and she appeared on a panel of contemporary composers at the national ACDA convention in San Diego in 1997.

During the lecture portion of the presentation the presenter will examine Belmonts evolution as a composer, with special attention to her selection and arrangement of texts, her fondness for developing the musical architecture for large-scale choral cycles, and her approach to writing for voices. The presentation will conclude with a performance of several Belmont works.

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