The Choral Artists are committed to fine choral music of all periods and cultures. We have a special commitment to fostering the choral tradition through the support of living composers — both those with recognized, published works and new, emerging choral talent.
Our Composer-in-Residence (CiR) and Composer-Not-in-Residence (CNiR) Programs recognize and encourage choral composers. The goal of our Composer-in-Residence program is to increase the visibility and support of the many talented and prolific choral composers living in the San Francisco Bay Area whose works we have performed — to the delight of our audiences — since the inception of the Choral Artists. Our Composer-Not-in-Residence program seeks to expand our reach and increase the diversity of the music fostered and performed by the Choral Artists.
2013 Composer-in-Residence, Mark Winges
Early beginnings in piano, organ and composition were followed by degrees in the US (Cincinnati, San Francisco) and additional composition study in Stockholm, Sweden. Also lurking in his distant past are flirtations as a performer on oboe, recorder, krummhorn and electric bass.
Mark’s music has been described as “stylistically adventurous in setting, but strongly beholden to conventional means” (Gramophone). Both vocal (from solo voice to chorus) and instrumental (solo, chamber, orchestral) genres are represented in his catalog. Clarity of expression, a sense of forward motion, formal designs, and a belief that sound and gesture create their own meaning are important elements in all of his works. His music is freely chromatic, sometimes with tonal centers, and includes regular, propulsive rhythms as well as more complex irregular patterns.
In addition to his concert music, he has written anthems for church use, and made arrangements of early American shape-note tunes. Mark’s Website
2013 Composer-Not-in-Residence, Eleanor Aversa
Noted for being both lyrical and bold, the music of Eleanor Aversa has been honored with national awards such as the Northridge Composition Prize (Hero’s Welcome for orchestra), First Prize in the San Francisco Choral Artists’ New Voices Competition (Eyes Open), and fellowships from the The MacDowell Colony, the I-Park Foundation, andThe Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Other awards include the Brian M. Israel Prize from the New York Federation of Music Clubs (Movement for String Quartet), as well as a grant from The Queens Council on the Arts for her work with choreographer Danuta Petrow-Sek. These dance pieces explored social themes such as conformity to society vs. fidelity to self.
A major musical influence has been the Russian tradition. After earning a degree in Russian Language and Literature from Princeton, Eleanor lived in the Moscow area from 2002 to 2005 and immersed herself in the local musical life, accompanying harpist Simeon Kulkov at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory and singing in the choir of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, performing both Latin and Russian Orthodox sacred music. From these involvements, her work absorbed elements of folk melody, quasi-modal harmony, and asymmetrical meter.
Eleanor earned a Master’s in Composition from The Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College of the City University of New York, where she studied with Bruce Saylor. In August 2012 Eleanor completed her doctorate in composition from The University of Pennsylvania, where she studied as a Benjamin Franklin Fellow with James Primosch, Jay Reise, and Anna Weesner. She currently teaches advanced theory and composition at Penn and serves on the piano faculty at the Settlement Music School. Eleanor’s Website