Cantus to present world premiere of piece by St. Olaf student
When acclaimed vocal ensemble Cantus performs at St. Olaf College September 19, they will present the world premiere of a piece composed by Grace Brigham ’20.
Brigham won the Cantus Young and Emerging Composer Competition, which was planned in conjunction with the ensemble’s 25th anniversary. Her piece, “Discoveries,” will get its world premiere at the Cantus concert at St. Olaf, which begins at 8 p.m. in Boe Memorial Chapel.
Cantus is performing a new program, “One Giant Leap,” from October 10-20 at five Twin Cities venues. In addition to Brigham’s piece, Cantus will also perform a piece by St. Olaf alumna Mari Valverde ’10 as part of the program. The pieces by Valverde and Brigham will be performed at all Twin Cities fall concerts and nationally as part of the Cantus touring program.
A composer specializing in choral and vocal music, Brigham currently studies with Professor of Music Justin Merritt at St. Olaf, where she also plays the violin and sings in various ensembles. In addition, she sang for five years with the Washington National Cathedral Choir, having the opportunity to perform for leaders including Joe Biden and Barack Obama. The Cathedral Choristers, as well as many ensembles at St. Olaf, are currently performing her music. After college, she plans to attend graduate school for choral composition.
Valverde has composed choral, vocal, symphonic, and chamber works. Her music has been featured at conventions and festivals such as Chorus America, the Oregon Bach Festival, the Association of British Choral Directors, and Texas Music Educators Association. After graduating from St. Olaf, she went on to earn degrees from the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, France, and San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
The eight members of Cantus, widely recognized for their artistic excellence and musical versatility, rehearse and perform as chamber musicians, working without a conductor or music director, allowing audiences to experience a direct connection to the singers. Committed to a cappella presentation of significant music, Cantus is renowned for adventurous programming spanning many periods and genres, including newly commissioned work. The ensemble enjoys a vigorous schedule of international touring, concerts in its home of Minneapolis/St. Paul, educational outreach programs, and recording.