Eastvold Auditorium, Karen Hille Phillip Performing Arts Center

With performances by Choral Union, Choir of the West, and the University Symphony Orchestra

For those that aspire to see the Northern Lights, you can get a glimpse at Pacific Lutheran University’s U.S. premiere of the Nordic Light Symphony by composer Ēriks Ešenvalds. The U.S. premiere in Eastvold Auditorium will be a treat for your eyes and ears; the multi-media event features the Choral Union, Choir of the West, and the University Symphony Orchestra.

The University Symphony Orchestra will open the first half with a 22-minute work by American composer Alan Hovhannes, the Symphony no. 6, opus 173 (Celestial Gate). Choral Union will perform two of Ēriks’ most important unaccompanied works, A Drop In The Ocean (with texts from St. Francis of Assisi and Mother Theresa) and The Long Road, a setting of a love poem by Latvian poet Fricis Bārda. Choir of the West will then perform a two song set of unaccompanied pieces about the Aurora (both by Ešenvalds), Rivers of Light and Northern Lights.


Ēriks Ešenvalds

The Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds is one of the most sought-after choral composers working today, with a busy commission schedule and performances of his music heard on every continent. Ešenvalds’s premieres this season include the German premiere of Nordic Light in Berlin with the Rundfunkchor Berlin, the film score for the Crystal Bear-awarded film Mellow Mud at the Berlin International Film Festival, and his second major opera The Immured which premiered in May 2016 at the Latvian National Opera and Ballet.

… an inventive Latvian composer with an ear for a good hook and a knack for evocative effects.” — The New York Times
“His rich, sonorous choral writing is in almost permanent ecstasy, with sopranos sailing over great waves of cluster chords, a colouristic vision …” — The Guardian

Ešenvalds is clearly the next big thing in musical mysticism …” — The Times

Ešenvalds responds to the purpose of the words he sets, occupying similar choral territory to the likes of Whitacre and Shchedrin, character rather than ego dominating …” — BBC