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Composers Project

Deus Ex Musica is an ecumenical project that promotes the used of a scared music as a resource for learning, spiritual growth, and discipleship.

 
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In the Shadow of Your Wings

A musical exploration of the Psalms

Friday, June 28, 2019, 7-9 pm.

Old South Church in Boston - Free Admission

A unique, interactive event celebrating the beauty, power, and mystery of the Psalms. Featuring world-premiere performances of new psalm settings by composers from around the world, paired with opportunities for fellowship and conversation led by an ecumenical group of Boston clergy. Open to all.  

Admission is free, but reservations are requested. Click here for more information and to register. 

Part concert, part “musical Bible study”, this ecumenical event will feature brand-new compositions based on three famous psalms (13, 57, and 148), set to music independently by a diverse group of composers hailing from different Christian traditions. Hearing three settings of the same psalm will provide a unique way for participants to engage with Scripture, opening up new avenues of interpretation and understanding.   The performances will be followed by an informal time of fellowship and discussion, led by an ecumenical group of clergy and teachers, in which participants will have the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversation with Christians from a variety of backgrounds. Participants will leave the event with fresh insights into Scripture, a deeper appreciation of its depth, and new ideas about how to apply what they have learned to their spiritual lives.

Guest clergy:

Michael Balboni, Interim Associate Minister, Park Street Church. Harvard Initiative on Health, Religion, and Spirituality

Rev. June Cooper, Theologian-in-the-City, Old South Church. Executive Director, City Mission Boston

Rev. Pablo Gomis, Parochial Vicar, Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston

[T]o recite the psalms with melody is not done from a desire for pleasing sound, but is a manifestation of harmony among the thoughts of the soul.
— St. Athanasius
 

COMPOSERS

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Tatev Amiryan

Tatev Amiryan is an award-winning composer and pianist and native of Armenia. Her music has been performed in the US, Europe,and Asia by artists suchas the German Chamber Philharmonic of Bremen, CMEA Central Coast Honors Orchestra, Carpe Diem String Quartet, Ensemble Oktoplus, Metropolitan Choral of Kansas City, pianists Jeffrey Jacob, Hayk Melikyan, and thereminist Thorwald Jørgensen. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Komitas State Conservatory in Armenia and a DMA degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  She is a member of the Union of Composers of the Republic of Armenia. Currently she attends St. Vartan Armenian Apostolic church in Oakland.

 
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Xavier Beteta

Born in Guatemala City, Xavier Beteta enjoys a dual career as a composer and pianist, studying composition principally with Rodrigo Asturias. He earned his Ph.D. in composition at the University of California San Diego, studying with Roger Reynolds, Philippe Manoury and Chinary Ung. His works have been performed at Festival Musica in Strasbourg, Darmstadt Summer Courses, June in Buffalo, SICPP in Boston, Opera Theater Festival of Lucca, Italy and by ensembles such as Accroche NoteEnsemble Signal, and UCSD Palimpsest. In 2013 he won 2nd Place at the 4th International  Antonin Dvorak Competition in Prague. He attends Redemption Church in San Diego.

 
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Delvyn Case, Co-Artistic Director

Deus Ex Musica founder Delvyn Case is a composer, conductor, scholar, and educator based in Boston. His music has been performed by over 70 orchestras across the world, as well as by the Borromeo Quartet, Hermitage Trio, New York Virtuoso Singers, and the Grammy-winning Chestnut Brass Company, among others. Recent projects include pieces for Richard Stoltzman and the Canadian Brass. He is the composer of the opera The Prioress’s Tale, which toured New England for three seasons as part of a unique initiative promoting interfaith dialogue. Dr. Case studied at Yale and the University of Pennsylvania, and now serves as Associate Professor of Music at Wheaton College in Massachusetts. He is a member of Old South Church in Boston (UCC).

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Haosi Howard Chen

Haosi Howard Chen (b. 1991, Shanghai) graduated from UCLA with a BA in composition studying with Richard Danielpour, David Lefkowitz, Ian Krouse, and Eric Tanguy, as well as in piano with Walter Ponce and Antoinette Perry. He now lives in Germany and is currently studying with Wolfgang Rihm at the University of Music in Karlsruhe, while also working as an organist at his church, Evangelische Kirche Friedrichstal. Sacred works include a setting of Psalm 1 for voice and piano ,“Wer Ohren hat, der höre!” for scordatura string quartet tardemah I (2018) for violoncello solo and SELAH (2019) for guitar trio and contrabass.

 
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Richard J. Clark

Richard J. Clark is the Director of Music of the Archdiocese of Boston and the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. He previously served for twenty-eight years at St. Cecilia Parish in Boston, as Music Director and Organist. He is also currently Chapel Organist (Saint Mary’s Chapel) at Boston College. His compositions have been performed worldwide. As composer and performer, his eclectic appearances include St. Patrick's Cathedral (NY), Saint-Eustache (Paris), the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (D. C.), EWTN, the Celebrity Series of Boston, Fenway Park, and the New York Songwriters Circle at NYC's historic "The Bitter End."

 
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Sungji Hong

Sungji Hong graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in London (MMus) and the University of York (PhD). She has received 45 distinctions for her compositions, including the Franz Josef Reinl-Stiftung (1st Prize), the Jesus Villa-Rojo (1st Prize), the Temple Music Composition Prize, ACL Yoshiro Irino Memorial Prize, CFAMC scholarship and others. Her music has been released on ECM Records and broadcast in more than 17 countries and 37 channels including BBC Radio 3, SWR 2, DLF, WNYC 2, Radio Boston, and YLE Radio 1. Her music has been performed in over 42 countries and 167 cities throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. Since 2018, Hong has been teaching composition at the University of North Texas. She serves as Music Director at her home congregation, Denton Korean Baptist Church.

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Mary Montgomery Koppel

With music described by the Boston Globe as “hypnotic...haunting and hopeful,” Mary Montgomery Koppel is a sought-after composer in a variety of genres. Her music is richly complex, intricate, and refined, while both aurally accessible and challenging. Dr. MK was a founding member and composer-in-residence of the highly-acclaimed Lorelei Ensemble, through whom she contributed eight new works to the repertoire for women’s voices. Her home church is First Church in Wenham (UCC), where she sings and composes for worship regularly. She recently made her Symphony Hall debut with MIT Orchestra’s performance of Kaleidoscope. Dr. MK teaches at Gordon College and Boston University.

 
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Shawn Okpebholo

Shawn E. Okpebholo is a widely sought-after and award-winning composer, recently winning second place in The American Prize Composition Competition (orchestral division). His many commissioned works have been heard on five continents and across the US, including at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. He earned his masters and doctoral degrees in composition from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. Currently, he is Associate Professor of Music Composition and Theory at Wheaton College-Conservatory of Music (IL). He worships at the Salvation Army in Oakbrook Terrace.

 
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Joshua Rodriguez, Co-Artistic Director

Josh Rodriguez was born in Argentina and spent his childhood in Guatemala and Mexico. He completed a BA in Music through Thomas Edison State College and MM in Composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Awarded the prestigious Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles, Rodriguez completed his Ph.D in Composition in 2015. Dr. Rodriguez's music spans various genres including classical concert music, film scores, sacred choral works, and contemporary popular songs. He currently serves at the Collinsworth School of Music at California Baptist University as Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Composition.

PERFORMERS

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Carrie Cheron

Praised for her "warm tone," and for having “the voice of an angel,” mezzo-soprano Carrie Cheron has performed as a soloist with and as an ensemble member of such groups as Boston Baroque, Handel + Haydn Society, The American Classical Orchestra, Arcadia Players, Newton Baroque, Exsultemus, Yale Choral Artists, and the Grammy-nominated Skylark Vocal Ensemble, among others. A champion of contemporary classical composition, Carrie recently starred as Doctor/Loki in Guerilla Opera's presentation of Per Bloland's opera Pedr Solis. Later this season, she will join New Gallery Concert Series in Boston, for the world premiere of a piece by composer Marti Epstein, written specifically for Carrie's voice. In May of this season, Carrie will make her Spivey Hall (Morrow, GA) debut as the alto soloist in Rachmaninoff's All-night Vigil, Opus 37, with Skylark Ensemble.

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Ann Fogler

Praised for having a “flexible, very warm, and crystalline” instrument, Ann Fogler, mezzo-soprano, is a sought-after performer based out of Boston, MA. Ms. Fogler participated as a young artist in the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation program at Central City Opera for the past two summers, where she performed the role of Announcer (Gallantry) in 2017, and in 2018 was featured as a soloist in Encore: A Musical Revue. Her most notable recent performance was as the Brother in the 2019 Boston premiere of The Scarlet Ibis with Boston Opera Collaborative, where Ms. Fogler “strongly [captured] Brother’s overflowing energy.” Upcoming performances include Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus) with MassOpera, and Lepido (Silla) with The Cambridge Chamber Ensemble.”

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Megan Roth

Mezzo-soprano Megan Roth enjoys a varied career performing opera, oratorio, art song, and chamber music. Recently she performed the role of Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Summer Garden Opera, Meg in Adamo’s Little Women with MASSOpera, and Handel’s Messiah with Rhode Island Civic Chorale. As an ensemble artist, she performs regularly with renowned national ensembles including Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Conspirare, True Concord, and Yale Choral Artists. Megan is also the artistic director of Calliope’s Call, a non-profit art song performance group in Boston. Upcoming engagements include Tisbe in La Cenerentola with Boston Midsummer Opera. Megan belongs to Beyond Artists, a coalition of artists that donates a portion of their concert fee to organizations they care about.

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Julia Scott Carey

Julia Scott Carey is the Minister of Music at the Central Square Congregational Church in Bridgewater. As a choral accompanist, she plays for the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and the Boston Symphony Children’s Choir, as well as the Metropolitan Chorale, the Boston College University Chorale, and many other choruses around Boston. She is the pianist for Juventas New Music Ensemble. As a composer, her works have been performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops, and she was the youngest composer ever published by the Theodore Presser Company. She has degrees from Harvard University, New England Conservatory, and Boston University.

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About the Deus Ex Musica Composers Project

For almost two thousand years visual artists have created works representing Biblical stories and characters. These works deepen our faith by allowing us to experience Scripture in ways that emphasize its artistic, dramatic, and emotional dimensions. They allow us to connect with these ancient texts in immediate and highly personal ways, and in doing so inspire us to live out our faith in the real world. What Christian cannot be moved to love his or her neighbor after seeing the masterpiece by Rembrandt pictured above?

Deus Ex Musica is founded on the belief that music can do the same. It can enrich our understanding of the Bible, deepen our faith, and even help us discern ways to follow Jesus in our own lives.

Though the great works of sacred art and music have timeless value, they still speak to us from across the gulf of history. Christians today also need contemporary works of art to reinvigorate the familiar elements of our faith, re-presenting them to us in the language of today, challenging us anew to grapple with their depth and richness, and inspiring us to put our faith into action.

The Deus Ex Musica Composers Project is the part of DEM that supports contemporary composers. It has two goals:

  • To promote the creation and performance of new sacred concert works.

  • To develop initiatives that will bring those compositions into the lives of Christians in spiritually valuable ways.

When we listen to Bach or a Gregorian melody, all the faculties of the soul become still and tense in order to apprehend this thing of perfect beauty – each in its own way – and among them the intelligence. The latter finds nothing in this thing it hears to affirm or to deny, but it feeds upon it. Should not faith be an adherence of this kind? The mysteries of faith are degraded if they are made a subject of affirmation and negation, when in reality they should be a subject of contemplation.” - Simone Weil, Notebooks