Location: Minnesota, USA
composer & conductor
Jake Runestad's website: www.jakerunestad.com
Award-winning composer Jake Runestad (b. 1986) is noted for his versatility and wide range of expressive capabilities with music driven by soaring melodies, driving rhythms, and lush textures. Considered “highly imaginative” (Baltimore Sun) and “…a voice for the future of composition” (Jeffrey Biegel, pianist), Jake’s diverse musical experiences, spanning several continents, have inspired him to create music that captures the emotional vibrancy of life experiences while transcending diverse musical genres.
Mr. Runestad has had performances by professional, student, and community ensembles across the U.S.A. He has received numerous commissions from ensembles and organizations such as the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Seraphic Fire, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, the Peabody Children’s Chorus, and the Lunar Ensemble. Mr. Runestad has also worked with many ensembles as a guest conductor and clinician of his music. In the summers of 2011 and 2012, he was awarded full fellowships for the John Duffy Composer’s Institute at the Virginia Arts Festivalwhere his operas, The Toll and The Abbess and the Acolyte, were workshopped and performed. He also worked closely with acclaimed composers Bernard Rands, Libby Larsen, David Lang, John Musto, and John Duffy. Jake’s Lux Aeterna for SSAA choir was recently selected as a winner for the Essentially Choral Reading Session with Minneapolis-based VocalEssence and conductor Philip Brunelle.
As a conductor, Jake Runestad has worked with student, volunteer, and professional ensembles across the U.S.A. and was the founder and artistic director of the Anima Nova Chamber Choir, a professional ensemble based out of Baltimore, MD, and the Mwimbaji Choir of Winona, MN that performed locally and at the Minnesota Music Educator’s Association state convention. An advocate of new music, he has conducted the premiere of several of his own works as well as programmed those of up-and-coming composers.
A diverse composer, Mr. Runestad has a prolific output represented in many genres including music for wind band, chorus, orchestra, chamber ensembles, jazz ensemble, and opera. He has traveled extensively to experience new cultures and musical sounds and for his bachelor’s degree in music education, he completed his student teaching in Lima, Perú . There, he immersed himself in the musical culture and studied cajón, a traditional Peruvian percussion instrument, with acclaimed percussionist María Del Carmen Dóngo.
Recent performances include I Will Lift Mine Eyes by the Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble Seraphic Fire, As Rain to the Sea for soprano and orchestra conducted by Maestro Lee Mills, the Baltimore Symphony-Peabody Conducting Fellow, I Will Lift Mine Eyes by Choral Arts (Seattle) under the direction of Dr. Robert Bode (2010 winner of the American Prize), and The Toll – a one-act opera performed at the Virginia Arts Festival as a part of the John Duffy Composer Institute. Current commissions include three new works for Seraphic Fire, a work for large choir, piano, and orchestra commissioned by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra for pianist Jeffrey Biegel and a consortium of orchestras, a song cycle for the Baltimore-based Lunar Ensemble conducted by Maestra Gemma New.
Jake Runestad holds a Master’s degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University where he studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts. He has also studied extensively with acclaimed composers Libby Larsen and Donald Fraser. He is currently a composer-in-residence with the Baltimore-based Lunar Ensemble. Mr. Runestad’s music is published by Boosey & Hawkes and JR Music.