I have some exciting news to share! I have three recent commissions with premieres to be scheduled. The first is a choral composition named Joy using the poem of the same name by Sara Teasdale. A lively piece, Joy embodies the word in every sense, using soaring vocal lines and unique rhythms to launch the piece into motion. This work was commissioned for renowned Midwest choral conductor and educator Dr. Rika R. Heruth and the 2015 - 2016 Liberty Senior High School Concert Choir. I am so privileged to have Dr. Heruth as my mother. She has been an invaluable aspect of my musical development, and I am honored to be able to compose another piece for one of her esteemed choirs. The second piece is a piano solo called Orchestrion Resurgent. I'm writing this piece for my friend and fellow pianist, Ashlyn Sutton. We've played together many times before, and she played piano on the premiere of my choral piece for women's voices and strings, Autumn's Orchestra. She is a phenomenal pianist, and I couldn't be more excited to compose a piece for her. Last but definitely not least is a song cycle called Musings of Sky for soprano, using four beautiful poems by Wesley Sexton. I've been commissioned to compose this song cycle by Andrea Tulipana. Andi is not only a very dear friend of mine, but she is a stunning vocalist and musician. She has one of the most beautiful voices I've ever heard, and I am absolutely ecstatic to have the opportunity to write for her.
One of the best things about being a composer are the opportunities I have to create music for such talented people. Please take a moment of your time to read about each musician below!
Dr. Rika R. Heruth is enjoying her thirteenth year as Director of Choral Music at Liberty Senior High School. Before joining the Liberty Senior High School faculty, she maintained a successful private voice studio in Liberty for eight years. Her students have won many vocal performance honors and awards and have also gone on to pursue music as a career. Dr. Heruth has dedicated 31 years to teaching choral music and has held positions in Missouri, Kansas, New York, and Minnesota. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Vocal Music Education and Piano Performance from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Her Master of Science Degree in Music and Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Choral Conducting are from the UMKC Conservatory of Music. She has studied voice at the Eastman School of Music and was a member of the Eastman Rochester Chorus. She was also a member and soloist for the Rochester Oratorio Society. Active as a guest clinician and adjudicator, Dr. Heruth has conducted choral festivals and workshops in South Dakota, Minnesota, New York, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska. She has also been honored by guest appearances with the State Ballet of Missouri, conducting their touring performances of Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" in 1998, and Francis Poulenc's "Gloria" in 1999. Under Dr. Heruth's direction, the students of the LHS Vocal Music Department have been invited to perform with the Kansas City Ballet, the Liberty Symphony, and the William Jewell Choir. They have performed by invitation at the 2010 and 2014 Southwest American Choral Directors Association Conventions, and at the Missouri Music Educators Association Convention in 2009 and again in 2013 for their 75th Anniversary celebration.
Ashlyn Sutton's piano lessons began in December of 2004 under the instruction of Elaine Jackson in Independence, MO. In April of the following year, she performed her first piano recital under Elaine's instruction. She began performing for the judges in June 2005 at the age of 7. Throughout the years, she has received all 'Superior' ratings in the National Federation Junior Festivals. In April 2015, she was selected as one of the top ten finalists and was awarded a cash prize. Each year, she has participated in the Missouri State High School Activities Association District and State Music Festival where she has received 'Superior' and 'Excellent' ratings for her piano performances. In addition to her piano studies, she has been actively involved in Liberty High School's Women Honors, Concert, and Chamber choir since August 2013, all being under the direction of Dr. Rika R. Heruth. She has auditioned and participated in various ensemble groups performing at such places as the Kansas City Renaissance Festival as well as the Missouri State High School Activities Association District and State Festivals receiving both 'Superior' and 'Excellent' ratings. Ashlyn has accompanied choirs with composer and pianist Hans Bridger Heruth on multiple occasions, including on the premiere of one of his compositions, Autumn's Orchestra, for women's voices, string orchestra, and piano. Ashlyn will remain an active participant in choir until graduation in May 2016.
Andrea Tulipana is a student at Butler University pursuing a major in Vocal Performance with a minor in English. She is an active musician within her department - participating in the Chamber Singers, University Chorale, and Butler Opera Theatre. With previous performance experiences ranging from singing with the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers to appearing as a featured soloist with the Liberty Symphony Orchestra, she is thrilled to be working closely with composer Hans Bridger Heruth for the first time since high school.
Wesley Sexton studied Creative Writing and Trumpet Performance at Butler University. Over the years he has had the opportunity to intern at young adult creative writing camps, introduce renowned poets for the Butler University Visiting Writer's Series, and participate in various live poetry readings. Listed among his achievements are a Pushcart Nomination, the Donald Sandstrom Scholarship for Outstanding Young Writers, and a World Record for number of Goldfish crackers eaten in one day.
ABOUT THE COMPOSER
Hans Bridger Heruth is an award winning composer pursuing a degree in musical composition and vocal performance at the University of Missouri, Columbia. His works have been performed by various ensembles, both educational and professional. In addition to composing, Heruth is an accomplished pianist, violinist, singer, and conductor.