Composers Proclaim ‘Mormoniana’

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Sixteen American composers have collaborated in a unique joint work that combined contemporary art and music. The work, Â?Mormoniana,Â? represents the first time that many of the well-respected and prize-winning composers participating have broadcast their religious affiliation.

In a unique work bound to raise eyebrows and excite musical interest, sixteen American composers have collaborated in a joint work that combined contemporary art and music. The work, “Mormoniana,” represents the first time that many of the well-respected and prize-winning composers participating have broadcast their religious affiliation.

“Mormoniana” is a project of the Mormon Artists Group, an informal New York-based organization of artists belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (members are commonly known as ‘Mormons’). Like Mussorgsky's “Pictures at an Exhibition,” the works in “Mormoniana” are musical compositions that draw inspiration from artwork, in this case, by 16 different Mormon artists. Each of the composers contributed a movement to the piece, which has been collected into a volume that also includes reproductions of the artwork that inspired the pieces and a recording of the pieces played by highly-respected pianist Grant Johannesen.

The participating composers are a unique group of both seasoned and well-respected veterans and exciting, young and prize-winning recent composers. The group includes the most prolific composer in history, Rowan Taylor, the co-founder and musical director of the Seattle Experimental Opera, Christian Asplund, National Endowment Jazz Fellowship winning composer Lisa DeSpain, and the organist emeritus of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Robert Cundick. Michael Hicks, the author of a new, praised biography of American composer and maverick Henry Cowell, writes a lengthy essay on Mormon music for the volume.

“Mormoniana” was initially sold as a limited-edition volume to collectors, but has now been released in paperback for a wider audience. The recording of the pieces is also available on compact disk, and a spiral-bound performance version will be available in a few weeks.

Mormoniana

Edited by Glen Nelson

Mormon Artists Group Press

ISBN: 0-85051-011-2 (Paper + Audio CD)     $50.00

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Kent Larsen
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