Interaction Between Composer and Choir

What does a composer expect from a choir? What does a choir expect from a composer? What things are particular to composing for choir? The discussion is moderated by Jaakko Mäntyjärvi and it is held in English.


Bob Chilcott has enjoyed a lifelong association with choral music, as a chorister and choral scholar in the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and as a member of the King’s Singers. He became a full-time composer and conductor in 1997. His most performed pieces include Can you hear me?, A Little Jazz Mass, Requiem, and St John Passion. Bob has directed choirs in more than 30 countries and conducts thousands of amateur singers in a continuing series of Singing Days. He is Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Singers and Principal Conductor of Birmingham University Singers. His music has been recorded by many choirs and groups in Britain and beyond. Photo: Uggi Kaldan

Languages and the possibility of combining languages have always appealed to Cecilia Damström while composing. With a background as a classical pianist and with theatre as an interest, also harmony, direction, a sense of drama, and expressivity are always present in her music. Since graduating in 2014, Damström has constantly been working on commissions for various ensembles and festivals. Her compositions have received several national and international composition prizes 2009-2022. Damström’s broad catalogue of compositions includes chamber music, choral works, orchestral works as well as four chamber operas. Photo: Ville Juurikkala

Michael McGlynn is director and composer for the Irish based vocal groups ANÚNA & Systir and the Icelandic/Irish ensemble M’ANAM. His work with ANÚNA, which he founded in 1987 has created a unique choral voice for Ireland and has featured on some of the world’s greatest stages, film and video game soundtracks. His music has been performed by artists as diverse as Chanticleer and Sheryl Crow. McGlynn is an accomplished film-maker and was the artistic director of Tampere Vocal Music Festival in 2021. Photo: Maarit Kytöharju

Jaakko Mäntyjärvi is a Finnish translator and composer. A professional freelance translator, he is also an active semi-professional musician involved mostly in choral singing. Consequently, most of his output as a choral composer consists of choral works, some 100 of which have been published to date. He describes himself as an eclectic traditionalist. From 2000 to 2005 he was composer-in-residence of the Tapiola Chamber Choir, and he has also taught a course in the history of choral music at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Photo: Maarit Kytöharju


Bob Chilcott
Cecilia Damström
Michael McGlynn
Jaakko Mäntyjärvi