Choir of the West releases a new album for 2020
The Choir of the West is the premier choral ensemble of the Department of Music at Pacific Lutheran University, located in Tacoma, Washington. Their newest album, There Will Come Soft Rains, was released on January 17, 2020 and is available to purchase or stream now.
This record celebrates the music of Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds. One of the most sought-after composers of today, Ešenvalds studied both in Latvia and the UK. He has had works premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, which have won him many awards.
Choir of the West was founded in 1926, and was the third Lutheran college choir to tour extensively throughout the United States. Choir of the West has toured to Europe, Scandinavia, Japan and China, and has been selected to appear at several regional and national conferences of the National Association for Music Education and the American Choral Directors Association.
Most recently Choir of the West appeared at the 2018 ACDA Northwestern Division Conference. In November 2015, the choir was a featured ensemble at the National Collegiate Choral Organization Conference, held in Portland, Oregon, performing with renowned conductor Simon Carrington. That same year, the choir competed in the Anton Bruckner Choir Competition, held in Linz, Austria. The choir gave highly acclaimed performances at the 2013 ACDA National Conference, held in Dallas. During the summer of 2011, Choir of the West competed among choirs from 47 nations at the prestigious Harmonie Festival in Lindenholzhausen, Germany, winning two gold certificates and one silver.
Gramophone Magazine | Editor’s Choice April 2020
“Richard Nance has polished his Pacific Lutheran choristers to perfection. Balance and tuning are beyond reproach, with superb control of a full dynamic range. The soloists’ contributions are another great attraction.” Read review online.
Textura.org | March 2020
“If there’s singing in heaven, Ešenvalds’ music is probably the closest earthly approximation to it.” Read review online.
BBC Music Magazine | March 2020
⭐⭐⭐ “The Choir shines when singing as an ensemble, bringing out Ešenvalds’s clever vocal techniques superbly.”
MusicWeb International | March 2020
“The Pacific Lutheran University Choir of the West is an accomplished ensemble and they have an evident affinity for the music of this composer. All do well and the choir as a whole makes a fresh, appealing sound which is well suited to the music.” Read review online.
Agora Classica | February 2020
“Made up of undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines, their warm, easy tone, impeccable tuning and beautiful blend right across the vocal range … is a perfect fit for Ešenvalds’s music.” Read review online.
Ēriks Ešenvalds, Composer
Ēriks Ešenvalds is one of the most sought-after composers working today, with a busy commission schedule and performances of his music heard on every continent. After study at the Latvian Baptist Theological Seminary and the Latvian Academy of Music, he was a member of the State Choir Latvija. In 2011 he was awarded the two-year position of Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, University of Cambridge. Ēriks has won multiple awards for his work and undertakes many international residencies working on his music and lecturing.
Recent premieres include Lakes Awake at Dawn for the Boston Symphony and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Whispers on the Prairie Wind for the Utah Symphony and Salt Lake Vocal Artists, St Luke Passion for the Latvian Radio Choir and Sinfonietta Riga, and the major multimedia symphony Nordic Light in the US, Canada, and Germany. His full-scale opera The Immured was premiered at the Latvian National Opera in 2016 to great acclaim. His writing continues with commissions from the Gewandhaus Leipzig and Grant Park Music Festival Chicago. 2018 saw the premiere of Volcano Symphony – his second multimedia symphony – by Latvian Symphony Orchestra and State Choir Latvija.
His compositions appear on recordings from Trinity College Choir, Cambridge on Hyperion, Portland State Chamber Choir on Naxos, Latvian Radio Choir and Sinfonietta Riga on Ondine, ORA on Harmonia Mundi, and VOCES8 on Decca Classics, amongst others.
Richard Nance, Conductor
After a successful 30 year tenure at PLU, Richard Nance retired in May 2022. He served as the sixth conductor of the Choir of the West, and continues to direct Choral Union. Nance’s choirs have been regularly selected to perform at conferences of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and the National Association for Music Education.
Nance’s choirs have toured Europe on several occasions and have won top awards at the Harmonie Festival, Florence International Choral Festival and the Anton Bruckner Choir Competition. His choirs have regularly given premiere performances of important new works, including the North American premieres of Sven David Sandström’s Matthauspassion and the Nordic Light Symphony by Ēriks Ešenvalds.
Dr. Nance has published choral works with Walton Music, Hinshaw Music and Colla Voce Music. In 2002, Nance was selected to write the prestigious Raymond Brock Memorial Composition for the American Choral Directors Association. In 2011 and 2013 was awarded the American Prize for choral conducting, and he has received leadership awards from the Washington State and Northwestern Division chapters of ACDA.
|Ally Atwood||Lydia Bill|
|Natalie Breshears||Rachel Bridges|
|Elissa Brown||Rebekah Dumestre|
|Gillian Dockins||Alicia Hoag|
|Haley Kim||Alyssa Lyngaas|
|Julie Landes||Morgan Myers|
|Marissa Moultrie||Emily Shane|
|Stephanie Pfundt||Cat Tyler|
|Daniel Beal||Ben Axlund|
|Joshua Carlisle||Brennan Brichoux|
|Blayne Fujita||Chris Conway|
|Logan Kropp||Karl Eickhoff|
|Sean Murphy||Luke Hartley|
|Austin Schend||Brent Johnson|
|Nick Stevens||Ethan Moon|
|Ethan Wiederspan||Dalton Rouse|
Jennifer Gorham, Guest Soprano
|Jennifer Rhyne, bass flute|
|Zane Šmite, Jew’s Harp|
|Dave Rowell, Whistler|
|Dalton Rouse, Guitar|
|Manuel Tirado, Guitars|
|Luke Hartley, Sopranino recorder|
All works published by Musica Baltica and exclusively distributed worldwide by Edition Peters.
Recorded in Lagerquist Concert Hall, Mary Baker Russell Music Building,
Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington, USA in April 2018.
|Recording Engineer – John Struzenberg|
|Producer – Adrian Peacock|
|Editors – Adrian Peacock, Dave Rowell|
|Mix and Mastering – Dave Rowell|
Choir of the West Releases Recording of Choral Works by Celebrated Composer Ēriks Ešenvalds on Signum Records
(Friday, January 17, 2020—TACOMA, Wash) The premiere choral ensemble at Pacific Lutheran University, the Choir of the West, has released a new album of 14 tracks of exquisite music titled “There Will Come Soft Rains.” It celebrates 13 years of the career of world-renowned Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds. This is the Choir’s first collaboration with UK record company Signum Records, a leading independent British label that specializes in classical music. The album is available now online to buy or stream from all major music providers.
The School of Arts and Communication is extremely proud of the high caliber of work by students in the Department of Music. Dr. Brian Galante, Chair of the Department of Music, stated, “This album showcases the talent, musicianship, and professionalism that PLU students consistently demonstrate. We are so very proud to collaborate with a world-class record label to spotlight our students, conductor Dr. Richard Nance and Ešenvalds’ evocative music.”
The Choir of the West was founded in 1926 and is comprised of undergraduate students from a variety of academic disciplines who are chosen through a rigorous audition. The Choir performs several concerts each year and tours frequently. Conductor Dr. Richard Nance leads the Choir and serves as Director of Choral Activities at PLU.
Choir of the West was the third Lutheran college choir to tour extensively throughout the United States and has performed in Europe, Scandinavia, Japan and China. The Choir has appeared at several regional and national conferences of the National Association for Music Education, the American Choral Directors Association, and the National Collegiate Choral Organization. Choir of the West has competed at the Anton Bruckner Choir Competition in Linz, Austria and the prestigious Harmonie Festival in Lindenholzhausen, Germany, winning two gold certificates and one silver.
Ēriks Ešenvalds a leading composer with a busy commission schedule and performances of his music on every continent. After study at the Latvian Baptist Theological Seminary and the Latvian Academy of Music, he was a member of the State Choir Latvija and later awarded a two-year position of Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, University of Cambridge. Ešenvalds has won multiple awards for his work and undertakes many international residencies working on his music and lecturing. His compositions appear on recordings from Trinity College Choir, Cambridge on Hyperion, Portland State Chamber Choir on Naxos, Latvian Radio Choir and Sinfonietta Riga on Ondine, ORA on Harmonia Mundi, and VOCES8 on Decca Classics, among others. Ešenvalds has had award-winning works premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
Recent premieres include “Lakes Awake at Dawn,” “Whispers on the Prairie Wind,” “St. Luke Passion” and the major multimedia symphony “Nordic Light” which had its North American debut at PLU before further performances in Canada and Germany. His full-scale opera “The Immured” was premiered at the Latvian National Opera in 2016 to great acclaim. Ešenvalds’ writing continues with commissions from the Gewandhaus Leipzig and Grant Park Music Festival Chicago. 2018 saw the premiere of “Volcano Symphony” — his second multimedia symphony — by Latvian Symphony Orchestra and State Choir Latvija.
THERE WILL COME SOFT RAINS TRACK LISTING
- There Will Come Soft Rains
- New Moon
- Long Road
- Rivers of Light
- Northern Lights
- Only in Sleep
- O, She Doth Teach The Torches To Burn Bright
- A Soldier’s Mother’s Lullaby
- Spring Rain
- My Little Picture Frame
- My Luve Is Like A Red, Red Rose
- Amazing Grace
The album is released worldwide by Signum Records on January 17, 2020
Catalogue Number: SIGCD603 / UPC: 635212060322
To learn more about the album, including to download photos, please visit www.plu.edu/softrains. Reviewers and music media companies may listen to the album in full at https://promo.theorchard.com/8fD1NreMcS3OtYbMRM3j. To purchase or stream the album from your preferred music provider, please visit http://smarturl.it/PLCW.
For additional information, call the Department of Music at 253.535.7602 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional Press Contact:
Sara Kalic at Signum Records (United Kingdom)
email@example.com • +44 208 997 4000
About The School of Arts and Communication
The School of Arts and Communication at Pacific Lutheran University houses the Departments of Art & Design, Communication, Music, and Theatre & Dance and presents more than 250 events each season. The School is a community of artists and scholars — students, faculty, and staff — dedicated to the fulfillment of the human spirit through creative expression and careful scholarship. The School offers professional education to artists and communicators within the framework of a liberal arts education.
About Pacific Lutheran University
PLU seeks to educate students for lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership and care — for other people, for their communities and for the Earth. The university purposefully integrates the liberal arts, professional studies and civic engagement in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. With distinctive international programs and collaborative student-faculty research opportunities, PLU helps its 3,100 students from all faiths and backgrounds discern their life’s vocation through coursework, mentorship and internships at world-class Puget Sound-area businesses and institutions.