THE J. W. PEPPER BLOG | DELIVERING MUSIC SINCE 1876

THE J. W. PEPPER BLOG | DELIVERING MUSIC SINCE 1876

THE J. W. PEPPER BLOG | DELIVERING MUSIC SINCE 1876

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Composition

An Inside Look at Choral Music with Composer Elizabeth Alexander

When composer Elizabeth Alexander first experienced choral music, what she heard on stage was predominantly classical. Over the past few decades she has thrived...

John Rutter: A Lifetime of Surprises and Choral Magic (New Interview)

World-renowned English composer John Rutter says it can be lovely when a conductor surprises him with a different take on one of his pieces....

Choral Legend Alice Parker: Sharing Her Works, Teaching Tips & More

Many choir directors today have fond memories of the times they have worked on arrangements by Alice Parker and Robert Shaw. Who could help but admire...

Promoting and Selling Your Compositions Through My Score

Directors and music teachers are always coming up with new and creative ways to keep their programs engaging. Sometimes writing a song or fun...

Getting Published: A Composer Forum, Part III

One of the most exciting moments for a composer can be when they first receive word a piece they’ve written will be published. That...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Bob Chilcott

Arranger, composer, conductor, and performer – Bob Chilcott has played every part of the musical process. His choir music is sung around the world...

From Wacky to Serious: The Many Sides of Composer Mark Burrows

Duct tape, angry piñatas, healing, determination – all of these diverse topics and more are covered by choral composer Mark Burrows in his pieces....

Composing for the Student Ensemble: A Composer Forum, Part II

Composers have many considerations when creating pieces for student ensembles. Among other things, they have to ensure their works have the right balance of...

Writing Educational Music: A Composer Forum, Part I

Part I: A Composer’s Journey Behind every piece of music there is a story – an experience or creative idea so strong it had to...

An Interview with Composer Sarah Quartel

Choral composer Sarah Quartel grew up in a household filled with music. Whether it was her mother singing Italian arias in the kitchen or...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Larry Clark

Larry Clark is an ASCAP award-winning composer with over 300 publications in print. For over 20 years, he has been a much sought-after composer,...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Mac Huff

Mac Huff is one of the most prolific pop music arrangers for publisher Hal Leonard, and his work is performed by hundreds of ensembles...

Patrick Hawes: Creating Works for Radio and Royalty

The grandeur of Carnegie Hall is a far cry from where composer Patrick Hawes began his musical education. In a small English coastal town,...

Composer Rollo Dilworth: Remembering Moses Hogan

March 13th marked the 62nd birthday of late composer and musical pioneer Moses Hogan. He is considered a pioneer of the modern spiritual, bringing...

John Mackey’s Unusual Path to Composing Success

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, composer John Mackey grew up without formal music lessons. Though his mother played the flute and the family owned a piano,...

Creating Virtual Choir 5 for “Deep Field”

July 2020 Update: Eric Whitacre's latest project - Virtual Choir 6  - is now available online and you can view the sheet music for...

An Interview with Composer Ola Gjeilo

Ola Gjeilo began composing before he could even read music. When he was a child in Skui, Norway, just outside of Oslo, he taught...

How Eric Whitacre’s “Deep Field” Movie Was Made

Composer Eric Whitacre delved into the visual world of film after he received an invitation he could not refuse. After conducting his Deep Field...

Creating Fear: How Horror Music Composers Make You Jump

Horror movies don’t just play on the minds of the audiences. They’re also a cerebral project for horror music composers like Joseph Bishara and...

Performing Social Justice Pieces: Considering Matthew Shepard

Composer Craig Hella Johnson calls it the “long sacred silence” – his way of describing a common audience reaction after choral performances of his...

Lesser-Known Stories About Leonard Bernstein: A Museum Tour

A large wall photo at a Philadelphia exhibition shows Leonard Bernstein during one of the most poignant days of his life – a day...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Cristi Miller

Teaching middle school tends to be “the road less traveled” for many new music educators. Sometimes this can be due to a lack of...

Top 19 Famous Female Composers

Quietly, in places ranging from convents to conservatories to farms, extraordinary women have written innovative music without the benefit of fame. Historical archives hint...

Celebrating the Leonard Bernstein Centennial: Contributions to Composition

Among the great 20th century composers, Leonard Bernstein stands out as having impacted perhaps the widest range of musical styles. His works can be...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Rollo Dilworth

Rollo Dilworth is a master of the modern spiritual. Growing up in St. Louis and singing in both school and church choirs, Dilworth learned...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Andy Beck

A prolific composer of choral music, Andy Beck has written hundreds of works, vocal resource books, and children’s musicals. Among his most famous works...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Keith Getty

Keith Getty burst onto the scene in 2001 with In Christ Alone, a modern hymn that quickly became a staple of Christian worship services....

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Eric Whitacre

The name Eric Whitacre is sure to turn heads anywhere musicians gather. While he is a composer of choral music first, his wide range of...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Mary Lynn Lightfoot

Mary Lynn Lightfoot’s musical life started in the town of Canton, Missouri, where she began taking piano lessons at the age of four. As...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Lloyd Larson

Standing in the St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Hanover, Pennsylvania, it is not difficult to see how the beauty of religious devotion can inspire...

Meeting the Minds Behind the Music

Listening to a master speak about their craft is one of the most enlightening experiences one can have. That was the thinking behind Pepper’s...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Brian Balmages

Composer Brian Balmages’ sheet music can be found in music rooms across the nation. He has written music for every skill level from very easy to advanced....

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Julia Kamanda

If you have not yet had the pleasure to hear Julia Kamanda speak about classroom music, composition, and education, you are missing out on...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Joel Raney

No discussion of sacred and church choral music is complete without including the works of composer Joel Raney. Raney’s contribution to sacred music is...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Wynn-Anne Rossi

Wynn-Anne Rossi is known to the music world as a talented pianist, dynamic composer, and dedicated music educator. Throughout her life, she has combined...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Dan Forrest

Dan Forrest is a man who believes “all good things, including any beauty that we encounter, are from God, through God, and ultimately to...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Paul Mealor

On the cusp of 40, Paul Mealor has already built a legacy of musical excellence. His journey started at the young age of 10...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Kim André Arnesen

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...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Mark Hayes

Known to be one of the most versatile composers and arrangers of our time, Mark Hayes is popular with both worship and secular choirs....

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Joseph Martin

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...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Heather Sorenson

As part of our ongoing series of interviews, Pepper had the opportunity to sit down with arranger and composer Heather Sorenson. A church pianist...

Pat Martino: Here and Now

When hearing about the prospect of meeting and interviewing Pat Martino, all we could think about here at Pepper was how much we love...

John Rutter: The Importance of Choir

Listen as composer John Rutter delves deeply into the importance of choir in all aspects of life.  He shares his own love of music...

John Rutter on Christmas

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...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with John Rutter

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with John Rutter and discuss his forthcoming Anniversary Editions series, published by Oxford University Press and...

Richard Strauss’ 150th Birthday

In 2014 we celebrate the 150th birthday of Richard Strauss (June 11, 1864 – September 8, 1949).  He is considered by many to be...

An Interview with Daniel Elder

On April 25, 2013 we welcomed Alec Harris from GIA Publications to our Pennsylvania office.  Alec presented GIA’s new choral releases, which included two...

Elliott Carter: Celebrating a Long Life of Music

On November 5th of this year, the classical music world lost one of its giants. Elliott Carter would have celebrated his 104th birthday today,...

My Score: Take Your Music Further

We're happy to announce My Score, an exciting new service that helps composers make their music available for sale through the Pepper network! My Score leverages...

John Cage: Inventor of Genius?

“Of course he’s not a composer, but he’s an inventor — of genius.” – Arnold Schoenberg on John Cage To categorize him as simply “a...

Band Composer Series: Frank Ticheli

I recently had the honor of interviewing composer and teacher Frank Ticheli. In addition to composing, he joined the faculty of the University of...

Band Composer Series: Garwood Whaley

Looking back on my high school and college percussion studies, I recall working through many of Garwood Whaley’s books.  I particularly liked working with Recital...

Choral Conversations — Greg Gilpin

Have you ever wanted to learn more about your favorite composers? We did too, and we are sharing what we found out!

Band Composer Series: Sean O’Loughlin

Sean O’Loughlin is a rising name in the music world.  His music is characterized by vibrant rhythms, passionate melodies, and colorful scoring. Commissions and conducting...

A Closer Look at Self-publishing

As a J.W. Pepper choral editor who is also a composer, I’d like to share some of my observations about self-publishing. Self-publishers have been around for...

Raise Your Hands – A Conversation with Heather Sorenson

Heather Sorenson was born in Illinois and lived in a number of places throughout her childhood, finally settling in the beautiful city of Dallas,...

Band Composer Series: Larry Clark

Larry Clark's pieces have been performed internationally and appear on numerous contest/festival lists.  He  is an ASCAP award-winning composer with over 200 titles in...

Choral Conversations: Dan Forrest

Are you familiar with Good Night, Dear Heart or perhaps You Are the Music? If you are interested in choral music, you should be!...

Band Composer Series: Michael Sweeney

A graduate of Indiana University (Bloomington), and Director of Band Publications for Hal Leonard Corporation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Michael Sweeney has over 500 publications...

Band Composer Series: Brian Balmages

An active composer, conductor and performer, Brian Balmages' fresh style of composition has put him in high demand for his wind, brass and orchestral...

Band Composer Series: Robert Sheldon

Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing Robert Sheldon, Concert Band Editor for Alfred Music Publishing, and was able to gain some insight into the...

Choral Conversations: Mary McDonald

Today I had the pleasure of speaking with Mary McDonald, a multi-talented musician from Knoxville, Tennessee. In addition to her work as a composer, arranger, producer,...

Choral Conversations: Joel Raney

Have you ever wanted to learn more about your favorite composers? We did too, and we are sharing what we have learned!

‘Tis A Gift

I recently enjoyed a Ballston Spa Community Band concert while attending the New York State School Music Conference in Albany, New York. Prior to...

Choral Conversations — Sally Albrecht

Have you ever wanted to learn more about your favorite composers? We did too! And we are sharing what we have learned.

Choral Conversations: Mary Lynn Lightfoot

Mary Lynn Lightfoot is the Choral Editor for Heritage Music Press, a composer, an educator and an extremely funny woman. She has over 230 published...