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Chamber Choir to perform April 17 concert, sing world premiere of commissioned ‘Alarum Bells’

April 11, 2012
Jaakko Mäntyjarvi

Jaakko Mäntyjarvi

NIU’s Chamber Choir will present its final concert of the year at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall of the NIU Music Building.

The choir will present the world premiere of “Alarum Bells.”

Composed by Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjarvi, this work was commissioned by the NIU choral department and the Lynne M. Waldeland Endowed Fund for Choral Music. The composition sets Edgar Allen Poe’s text from his famous poem, “The Bells.”

Mäntyjarvi will be on campus for the performance.

As a composer, he describes himself as an eclectic traditionalist: eclectic in that he adopts influences from a number of styles and periods, fusing them into his own idiom; traditionalist in that his musical language is based on a traditional approach and uses the resources of modern music only sparingly.

Because he is himself active in making music, his music is extremely practically oriented; he is a choral singer, and thus most of his works are for choir. “Canticum Calamitatis Maritimae,” a memorial to the victims of the sinking of the car ferry Estonia in 1994, received third prize in the European composition competition for cathedral choirs in 1997.

His other major choral works include:

  • “Four Shakespeare Songs” (1984).
  • “Dagen svalnar…” (Day is cooling, 1991/93).
  • “Ave Maria” (1991).
  • “Pseudo-Yoik” (1994).
  • “Kouta” (1996).
  • “El Hambo” (1997).
  • “More Shakespeare Songs” (1997).
  • “Deux ballades de Francois Villon” (2001).
  • “SALVAT 1701” (2001).
  • “Tentatio” (2006).

His works, many of which number among the best-selling sheet music items of his publisher, SULASOL, have been performed as far afield as Japan, Singapore, South Africa and the United States, and some have been recorded by distinguished ensembles such as the Swedish Radio Choir, the BBC Singers and Chanticleer.

NIU Chamber Choir

NIU Chamber Choir

Tuesday’s concert also will feature highlights of the Chamber Choir’s performances at the National Collegiate Choral Organization National Convention and the American Choral Directors Association Division conventions. Music selections will be of their performances of Israeli choral music and two-year collaboration with graduate student Seth Ole Sululu on Tanzanian choral music.

The concert is free and open to the public, and the building is accessible to all.

For more information, contact Lynn Slater at (815) 753-1546 or [email protected].