Press Release

VocalEssence Announces 2013 Essentially Choral Reading Session Winners

CONTACT: Jennifer Weismann, 612-716-0556

Minneapolis, MN (March 22, 2013) – VocalEssence and the American Composers Forum announce the selection of six emerging composers to participate in the 2013 Essentially Choral reading session. The winners were chosen from a field of 52 new works written by composers living in 19 states. The public is invited to attend a working rehearsal of the composers’ new music for voices and instruments on Saturday, April 6 (10 am-1 pm) at Sundin Music Hall at Hamline University (1536 Hewitt Avenue, Saint Paul). No ticket is required for this free session.

Essentially Choral provides an opportunity for emerging composers to develop their skills in writing for choral ensemble, either a cappella or with instruments. During the weekend of April 4-6, the 32-voice professional VocalEssence Ensemble Singers (and instrumentalists, if called for) will rehearse these works-in-progress, allowing the composers the unique opportunity to hear their new music performed before it is finalized. VocalEssence Artistic Director Philip Brunelle and internationally recognized composer Francisco Núñez will provide personal mentoring sessions and professional development seminars to the composers.

Composers selected for the 2013 Essentially Choral program are:

  • Ian A. Cook (Minneapolis, MN) – Missa Brevis Pro Pace (SATB, a capella with divisi)
  • Andrew McKenna Lee (Brooklyn, NY) – Thread and Fray (SSATB, electric guitar, percussion, cello, contrabass)
  • Michael Schachter (Ann Arbor, MI) – Herbst (SATB, a capella)
  • Caroline Mallonée (Buffalo, NY) – I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail (SSAATTBB, a capella)
  • Brian Coughlin (New York, NY) – Sanctus (AAAA, a capella) and Lux Aeterna (SSAATTBB, a capella)
  • Rich Campbell (New York, NY) – If Ever There Is (SATB, a capella)

The program is co-sponsored by American Composers Forum and VocalEssence with the generous support of the Jerome Foundation and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.

A recipient of a 2011 MacArthur Fellowship presented to individuals for their “exceptional originality in and dedication to their creative pursuits,” Essentially Choral Composer Mentor Francisco Núñez is the artistic director of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City™ (YPC), a composer, conductor, visionary, and leading figure in music education. In 1988 he founded YPC to provide children of all ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds with a safe haven for personal and artistic growth and to date has changed the lives of thousands of young people. As a composer, Mr. Núñez won early acclaim for seamlessly fusing a wide gamut of cultures and musical idioms, writing his first choral work, Misa Pequeña, at age 15. Today, he composes countless compositions and arrangements in all musical formats and styles, from classical to pop, for choirs, orchestras, and solo instruments, which are published by Boosey & Hawkes.  He receives numerous commissions, including an arrangement of Coca Cola’s “Buy the World a Coke” advertising jingle on the occasion of the campaign’s 40th anniversary in 2011.

For more information about Essentially Choral, contact VocalEssence Director of Community Engagement Kimberly Meisten (612-547-1456, For additional press information, contact Jennifer Weismann (612-716-0556 or

Called “one of the irreplaceable music ensembles of our time” by Dana Gioia, past chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, VocalEssence was founded in 1969 by Artistic Director Philip Brunelle. VocalEssence has championed the vocal experience in unconventional ways through concerts, commissions, and community engagement, and has debuted more than 150 commissions and world premieres. Beyond performances and recordings, VocalEssence impacts thousands of students, singers, and composers each year through its programs, contests, and support for innovative art. For more information, visit