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Finish this sentence.......

Finish this sentence for my upcoming article....
 
The three most important composers known for shaping American choral music today are Morten Lauridsen, Eric Whitacre and _______________.
 
Thanks everyone.
Replies (21): Threaded | Chronological
on October 4, 2013 5:51am
Robert Shaw.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on October 4, 2013 6:24am
Mack Wilberg!
on October 4, 2013 10:38am
Samuel Barber!
on October 4, 2013 12:06pm
Alice Parker
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on October 5, 2013 4:20am
Are we considering only those still living?
 
Either way, I say Alice Parker.
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on October 5, 2013 5:06am
Have to agree Robert Shaw. . . can't deny that influence/legacy. Made listening to Choral music accessible and viable classical option.
on October 5, 2013 6:35pm
Composers or arrangers? Many listed above our arrangers. I would say George Gershwin.
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on October 6, 2013 4:53am
My vote is for Robert Shaw, who set the gold standard for classical choral music performance.  I sing with the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, and whenever we perform a major work with the Florida Orchestra, the Shaw/ASO recordings are a valuable resource for my score study between rehearsals.
on October 6, 2013 1:54pm
Shaw.
 
                             t
on October 6, 2013 4:34pm
Hell Jack,
 
I hope you're not tallying up the results based on the foregoing!
 
Robert Shaw was undoubtedly one of the finest and innovatine choral conductors of the 20th century. I am sure he would rank very high were the first part of the sentence "The three most important conductors known for shaping American choral music roday......" Perhaps the 'Shavian' admirerers could suggest a composer in Mr. Shaw's place, and you could initiate a (three-choice?) conductor 'contest'.
 
The question is a little like "When did you stop beating your wife?" (or "when did you stop liking choral music"?) as it assumes the responder agrees that "Morten Lauridsen, Eric Whitacre" in fact ARE the two most important composers known for shaping American choral music today. Perhaps I missed an earlier 'contest'...
 
Donald
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on October 7, 2013 4:17am
The question was for "composers known for shaping American choral music today", not arrangers or conductors. Shaw was not really a composer, and Parker is known primarily for the arrangements she did with Shaw, though she has done some composing in her own right. This is actually a pretty hard question to answer! Do you mean a composer currently shaping American choral music, as Whitacre and Lauridsen certainly are, or composers whose past work has perhaps helped shape current American choral music? To the latter I'd probably have to mention someone like Randall Thompson, but as for a composer currently ranking as someone influential in shaping American choral music I'm still scratching my head to come up with anyone. Good luck determining a third!
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on October 7, 2013 4:24am
Libby Larsen.
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on October 7, 2013 4:41am
Morten Lauridsen - very satisfying to sing for this chorister - is a good composer.  His music is lush and wonderful. .. however, I'm not sure he is the most important.  Let's also consider Arvo Part and Peteris Vasks - two composers also wonderful to sing. . . Eric Whitacre I feel very so-so about.  Lauridsen, and I've met him and sung with him so, obviously, I love him, tends to sound the same in all of his compositions - same chord progressions, etc. Almost, "heard one you heard them all" feeling. I realize this may be choral sacrilege but you asked for my opinion - not facts :)  And, for the discussion, last time I checked - John Rutter was alive and kicking. 
 
Also, I think you need to define choral music a bit more. While I am a school teacher - I am not a chorus teacher - and the choral music that is best and is motivating for youth is not always what a more sophisticated chorister considers "important". What do you mean by important?  Also, thank you to the person who pointed out that Robert Shaw was not a composer, but a conductor.  Yes, indeed - influential in the area of choral music - undeniably. However, I suppose you could also argue for Fred Waring :)
Have a great Monday all!
Applauded by an audience of 5
on October 7, 2013 4:45am
Donald - Couldn't agree more about your point about the starting point of the statement, because I am sure I don't agree with one of those choices!  It also seems as though it has an emphasis on liiving composers, as opposed to composers who, while dead, had a great deal of influence on where we are today.  Some might suggest William Billings for a position there, or the Sacred Harp "school," or a number of alternatives - but I demure (quietly) on at least part of the starting point of important composers...
 
Chantez bien!
 
Ron
Applauded by an audience of 3
on October 8, 2013 2:46am
Does he/she have to be American in order to influence Americal choral music? How about John Rutter? he seems to spend half his life on your side of the pond and Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without him ;)
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on October 8, 2013 3:08am
If I weren't going to say Alice Parker or Randall Thompson or John Rutter (the question was about composers, and, presumably, the unique, easily idenntifiable sound of each!), my vote would be for Gregg Smith. To my ears, Lauridsen and Whitacre (both of whose work I admire tremendously), ultimately, are cut from the same sonic cloth in many ways.
 
Smith is not only a composer with a unique sound (like ML & EW), but, as a conductor, he has had equally unique opportunity to showcase not only his own work (which is substantial) but also the work of many other composers (myself included) who would otherwise have never been heard.
 
I'm fond of saying: "If Fred Waring ‘taught America to sing,’ then Robert Shaw and Roger Wagner taught America to sing classical choral music; and Gregg Smith taught America to sing American choral music.”
 
Then again, maybe it's impossible to leave conductors out of this discussion!
 
Robert A.M. Ross
info(a)robertamross.com
Soundcloud.com: <Robert Ross 11>
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on October 8, 2013 3:21am
Dan, I do not agree with your perspective. It's likely that the mass of the "less important" composers shape the American choral music much more than the three "winners" Lauridsen, Whitacre and ______ do.
 
Fabio
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on October 8, 2013 6:32am
Great points...Alfhough John Rutter is British.

I wonder if Ola Gjeilo is considered "American" now that he's been living in the U.S. for 12 years of his young life, although I haven't seen anything to the effect that he has become a U.S. citizen. I would vote for Gjeilo if he qualifies according to your definition of "American"!

on October 8, 2013 8:04am
Bravo fabio!
 
You have had the insight and courage to break away from the insidious 'star' mentality that pervades much of (North) America's 'culture' today. Let's hope America remains the melting pot that has given it its strength, resilience, and resistence. Speaking as a bio-musician (which I am!), little is as fragile as monoculture, whether it is a huge tract of wheat, or the arts.
 
If I may paraphrase Abraham Lincoln: "God must love composers; He made so many of them"!
 
Donald
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on October 8, 2013 8:44am
If we're staying true to the question here, we're actually not required to pick "American" composers.  Just composers who have shaped "American" choral music.  That said, I would definitely broaden my scope to across seas and also look back in history to give the best answer I could.  I think Monteverdi is one of the most influential choral composers of all time.  I'm willing to bet that any modern American composer looking to write a pleasing melody has John Rutter in the back of their mind.
 
As far as "American" composers go, I would pick either Lauridsen or Whitacre, but not both since their styles are so similar.  And, looking back in history, I'd say Debussy gave them a lot of good ideas. ;)
 
So, my short answer is Monteverdi, John Rutter, and Eric Whitacre.  But, I have a feeling you're not looking for composers from other countries, and what you really meant was, "name the three American composers who have had the greatest influence on American choral music."
 
Going a bit further, I think this statement is just too broad.  I don't think there is much validity in attempting to whittle the influences of American choral music down to the three most influential composers.  I think this statement could do a disservice to a person's understanding of American choral music.  Perhaps pick a genre like spiritual, nationalistic choral music, sacred choral music, etc...
 
 
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on October 8, 2013 11:08am
Hm. If you just put "shaping American choral music today"--then Gregg Smith, Rosephanye Powell; and Larsen, Paulus, and Whitacre because they not only break new compositional ground, but support and nurture others' potential in practical ways (American Composers Forum, Advice For the Emerging Composer)
 
But adding "known for" broadens the scope of inclusion while reducing the welter of names. (He's writing an article, not a definitive statement for an encylopedia, thank heavens!)
 
So, music-loving citizens who might not think of themselves as choral insiders, who wouldn't necessarily know Randall Thompson or Arvo Pärt... but have heard of some big crossover names... OK, so they listen to Whitacre or Lauridsen, maybe go to more choral concerts because those recognized names are on the program and what they've experienced so far has made them hungry for more...
So then other composers ponder: do I tweak my style to go with what's hot and hopefully get more airplay, or resist the trend and try to do something totally different while staying true to myself? do I really have something new to say or has Mr./Ms. Celebrity Composer changed the game so much that I need to reassess my vocation?
 
Pro or con, they've got to reactively consider what's current. Because that's where both worlds meet. It may sometimes feel like a producer-consumer relationship, but isn't it really two-way? Composers and listeners shape music together in real time. Especially where the boundaries blur: Bobby McFerrin and others turning the entire audience into collaborators, Whitacre's Virtual Choirs, the songwriting launchpad technologies from Sing Up.
 
So I agree with Fabio and Donald too. But meanwhile, great discussion. I like this. And Dan's still got an article to write. Dan I don't hear you asking who are the BEST three, just for a short list of undeniably major influences, right? Maybe you could alter "The three most important" to read "Three hugely influential"? Still scads to choose from, but I imagine your article has a word limit ;-) 
Would enjoy reading if you will share it afterward.
 
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