St. Olaf College | News

St. Olaf to present world premiere of ‘The Path’ at Orchestra Hall

On April 22 at Orchestra Hall, approximately 300 St. Olaf College musicians will perform the world premiere of The Path, a concert-length Buddhist cantata composed by Professor of Music Justin Merritt.

This world premiere, conducted by Steven Amundson, will feature the St. Olaf Choir, St. Olaf Orchestra, and St. Olaf Chapel Choir, as well as soprano Tracey Engleman, mezzo-soprano Tammy Hensrud, baritone Alan Dunbar, and boy soprano Sam Nelson.

The Path is based on texts from the Pali Canon, the most ancient Buddhist scriptures, and is a project that Merritt has been working on for more than 10 years.

“In the 28 movements of The Path, Dr. Merritt weaves a rich musical tapestry that will take listeners on a magnificent journey contrasting the simple and sublime with the powerful forces of the 200 voices and full symphony orchestra,” Amundson says. “A large array of instruments, including a massive percussion section, will combine with the choirs and four guest soloists for a spectacular afternoon of music-making.”

The concert begins at 2 p.m. and audience members are invited to arrive early for a 1 p.m. pre-concert talk with the composer. Merritt will sit down for an interview with Patrick Castillo to provide an inside look at The Path.

For ticket information, visit or call 612-371-5656.

Eager to hear what a Buddhist cantata sounds like? Get a sneak peak from rehearsals in the video below.