Dan Forrest is a man who believes “all good things, including any beauty that we encounter, are from God, through God, and ultimately to God.” It is from this basis that he has made his career as a composer. During his early days at Bob Jones University pursuing piano performance, Forrest’s love of composition began to become apparent. He found that, to him, nothing compared to the sounds and musical dynamics of a choir.
On the cusp of 40, Paul Mealor has already built a legacy of musical excellence. His journey started at the young age of 10 when he began learning from teacher and composer William Mathias. Mathias is probably best known for composing an anthem specifically for the wedding ceremony of Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1981.
Kim André Arnesen is one of today’s most promising young choral composers. As a child growing up in Norway, Arnesen developed a love for choral music after joining the Boys’ Choir at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. An accomplished pianist as well, he found himself most drawn to requiems, especially Mozart’s. It was in listening to these classics that Arnesen first wondered if he himself could also write music.
Known to be one of the most versatile composers and arrangers of our time, Mark Hayes is popular with both worship and secular choirs. He bridges the gap between style and content, making his music accessible to anyone who loves to sing. No doubt, his ability to write songs that appeal to the identities of many different choirs is what has made him one of the most widely performed contemporary composers.
Sharon Burch has always been passionate about music education, especially for elementary-age students. From a young age, she loved music and wanted to bring it to others. Inspired by her own elementary music teacher, she has remained focused on music education her entire life.
Joseph Martin is one of the most influential composers in sacred music today. His music has graced countless congregations and led many to consider with awe the glory of creation. From a very young age, this was his mission. Martin grew up in North Carolina, the son of a minister and a church pianist. Music and faith blended together for him from the very beginning of his life.
As part of our ongoing series of interviews, Pepper had the opportunity to sit down with arranger and composer Heather Sorenson. A church pianist since the age of 7, Heather has lived in the midst of sacred music for her entire life.
Look at any extensive library of musical literature and you will see not one, but many books by James Jordan. No writer is more prolific in the realm of vocal technique, rehearsal strategies, conducting, and what it takes to succeed in the world of choral music. Jordan is a professor and the Senior Conductor at Westminster Choir College, conducting Westminster Schola Cantorum and the Westminster Williamson Voices.
Recently, Pepper had the privilege to speak with Debra Reilly, a 2015 Grammy nominee for the Music Educator Award. Ms. Reilly teaches and directs the string programs for Springhouse and Orefield Middle Schools in Parkland School District in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
When you hear the name John Rutter, your mind automatically jumps to the thought of Christmas music. What makes Rutter’s name so synonymous with Christmas? We had a chance to sit down with John and talk about why he and Christmas go hand in hand.