The CONCERTed offering 2000

(Note: Opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of CFAMC, nor of the Editor)

In this Issue:

  • CFAMC Spreadin’ Out
  • New Members
  • News of Note: Activities of CFAMC composers
  • From the Editor


In keeping with the Board’s priorities of raising the visibility of CFAMC’s work and increasing our membership rolls, we will over the next several months concentrate on two particular areas of activity. First, CFAMC is hosting an information booth at Toronto 2000: Musical Intersections November 2-5. This international conference is being sponsored by the College Music Society and 13 other musical organizations. Over 3000 musical professionals are expected to attend. We feel that this is an extraordinary opportunity for CFAMC to connect with the art music world. Mark Hijleh, Frank Felice and Donald Wilson will be manning the CFAMC booth. Also, one of Frank’s pieces for alto flute and piano is being performed as part of the conference, thereby increasing the impact of our presence. You may recall that CFAMC also hosted a booth at the God and the Academy Conference sponsored in Atlanta by Christian Leadership Ministries last June.

Second, CFAMC will hold at least three regional chapter meetings over the next year. Don Wilson, Director of CFAMC regional activities, has currently divided the U.S. into Eastern, Mid-central, and Western regions, with the hope of someday creating CFAMC chapters in as many as seven smaller regions. The idea to provide CFAMC conferences that are more accessible to members (and potential members) in their parts of the country. The first of these meetings was attempted in late July by CFAMC Board member David Parker at the Texas Orchestra and Choral Directors conference. Another attempt will be made for this South-central region, probably at the February Texas Music Educators Association conference. Also, Board member Greg Scheer, now on the faculty of Northwestern College in Iowa, will be promoting some CFAMC activities during Mark Hijleh’s visit to that school as a guest speaker/composer November 25-29. Two more formal CFAMC meetings have been arranged in the Western (January 25-26) and Eastern (February 9-10) regions by Steve Butler at Westmont College in California and Mark Chambers in Greenville, South Carolina respectively. Finally, there is discussion of having a Mid-central meeting in Indianapolis sometime in the spring of 2001. For more for information on regional chapters and meetings, contact Don Wilson, . Members in the various regions are notified of these events, but we can all help to continue spreading the word!

In order to give these new initiatives the resources needed to succeed, the Board has decided NOT to host a national CFAMC conference again until at least the fall of 2001. Please pray about all these activities, that God will move CFAMC in the direction He wants us to go, and that our ministry will have an impact on the lives of musicians around the world.


Student composer TIM PLACE can be contacted at 606-B East St., Parkville MO 64152, (816)746-9344, ,

AMY KUCERA, a student at Bowling Green State University, can be reached at 421 W. Wooster #1 1/2, Bowling Green OH 43402, (419)352-3426, .

TIM KUCIJ is an engineer, minister and musician who is active in the preaching, teaching and music ministries at Calvary Baptist Tabernacle in Gardena, CA. He has also concertized extensively as a pianist and has released two CDs (“A Place Somewhere” and “LifeSongs”) of his music to date. Tim is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World. He can be contacted at 2239 West 236th Pl., Torrance CA 90501, (310)534-2253, .

KAREN BATES-SMITH can be contacted at 2016 Valeri Dr., Newburg OR 97132, (503)538-2759, .

DANIEL PINKSTON is a doctoral student in composition at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Forth Worth, TX. Among many awards and comissions, his “Nunc Dimittis” won the 2000 American Choral Directors Association composition contest, and is published by Lawson-Gould (Warner Bros.). Dan can be reached at 4033 Merida, Fort Worth TX 76110, (817)922-8765, .


SCOTT ROBINSON’S choral piece “The Stolen Child” has won the 2000 Roger Wagner Chorale composition competition. Also, the following press release describes an October concert featuring Scott’s work: “Blessed City: Gypsophilia and Voces Novae et Antiquae in a joint concert of new music – Built around the theme of the Heavenly City, this unique evening will feature the music of Philadelphia composer Scott Robinson, his band Gypsophilia, and the Voces Novae et Antiquae chamber choir. Robinson’s music weaves together traditional Balkan and Middle Eastern styles with European chamber music technique and Gregorian chant. The works to be presented in this concert will also include the voices of Voces Novae et Antiquae, one of Philadelphia’s premiere presenters of new music. Under the direction of Robert Ross of Wayne, the choir and Gypsophilia will give the premiere performances of “…and there was evening,” a large work inspired by the liturgy of the Mevlevi–or “Whirling”–Dervishes. VNA and Gypsophilia will also reprise “when we remembered you,” which had its premiere in Gypsophilia’s first concert at the Fleisher last June. The piece features chanted psalmody, Balkan rhythms, and western chamber-music-style structure.”

STEVE BUTLER’S 90-minute song cycle “Kenosis” for four singers, piano, and percussion was performed at Westmont College in September. The piece consists of 24 songs for various combinations of perfomers on texts by Westmont professor Randall VanderMey, each of which describes a subtle emotional or spiritual state.

LANSING McLOSKEY has won first place in the 2000 SCI/ASCAP student commissioning competition.

The world premiere of WARNER HUTCHISON’S “Lament and Jubilation” for flute and piano, commisioned by Lisa Garner for her New York debut, took place in June at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall. “The first movement was one of the most interesting and successful segments of the recital. Ms. Garner slinked through the work’s sinewy and difficult melodic curves like drifting smoke, and, along with Ms. Pollack (pianist), set an edgy dramatic tone.” (quote from Douglas Geers: New York Concert Review magazine, Winter 2000).

The world premiere of CARSON COOMAN’S “Trumpet Concerto” will be given by London-based chamber orchestra The Oriana Symphony next Spring. The commissioned concerto was written for and dedicated to trumpeter John Wallace.


In September, I spent a wonderful week in Cambridge, UK attending Jeremy Begbie’s Theology Through the Arts conference entitled “Sounding the Depths”. What was most notable about this conference was the sincere desire for Christian visual artists, poets, dancers, filmmakers, and, yes, musicians to show forth the light of Christ in their works and performances without compromising artistic integrity. This has been the age-old problem: If the art is too “complex” the Gospel supposedly gets lost in the translation. But these artists continue to believe (as do I) that art by Christians does not have to be an either/or proposition. Together, we shared our struggles and our visions, our questions and our victories. It was abundantly clear that we were not perfect Christians, let alone perfect artists. Yet I got a tiny glimpse of a possible world in which Christians were cultural and artistic leaders rather than followers, a world in which excellence and truth were synonymous. To be sure, it is a world that will only be fully realized when we sing around the Throne of God in eternity. But it is a vision we can strive for even now, even in the messy uncertainty of an Age that seems not to value anything which points to the eternal at the expense of the temporal. It is a cross for us to bear in the here and now. But, every now and again, we realize that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. At times, it is even a de-light.

One personal note: Twenty-five years ago, my father died at the age of 37. Today (October 23, 2000), I turned 37 myself. For years I have had a funny feeling about turning the same age my dad was when he died. I frankly did not know what to expect. But God has reminded me of something today: He cares about the fate of every hair on our heads, and at the same time He has a grand plan which transcends even the most tragic surprises. And that, my friends, is something to delight in.

– Mark Hijleh

Summer 2000

(Note: Opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of CFAMC, nor of the Editor)

SPECIAL NOTE: We cannot stress how important it is for members to stay informed about the latest CFAMC news. If you have not already done so, we urge you to visit the CFAMC web page regularly (, and also to sign up on the free CFAMC email discussion list (you can sign up right from our web page). Finally, you can now correspond with CFAMC at our new email address, .

In this Issue:

  • Conference Report
  • CFAMC CD now available
  • 2001 CFAMC Scholarship
  • New Members
  • News of Note: Activities of CFAMC composers
  • Peer Review: “Mountain Transformations” by Michael Young; reviewed by Walter Saul
  • Further response to “The Next One Thousand Years of Classical Music: One Scenario”


The CFAMC presence at the Christian Leadership Ministries/Ravi Zacharias Ministries “God and the Academy” conference in Atlanta in June was small but influential. Members Mark Hijleh, Mark Chambers, Steve Butler, and Andrew Sauerwein attended throughout the event, with Frank Felice, Don Bryson, and Don Wilson also making an appearance for the annual Board meeting. A CFAMC information booth was in operation for the entire conference. 150 copies of the new CFAMC CD (which was debuted in a public listening session), along with a large number of information brochures, were distributed among some 300 conferees who attended from across the country and internationally. Speakers such as Alister McGrath and Ravi Zacharias made clear the need to address postmodern intellectual and cultural challenges from a Christian perspective. Mark Hijleh chaired the Performing Arts division of the conference discussion sessions, during which he made formal remarks about the need for a vibrant, Biblical theology of music. Mark Chambers presented a compelling poster session to a number of conferees each day on the need for art music in the Christian community. Andy Sauerwein also impressed the Arts and Communications discussion group with his articulate comments on “beauty vs. taste”. Naturally, many productive impromptu discussions ensued with Christians interested in music and culture.

The Board continues to consider the value of CFAMC presence at major events related to both music and Christian thought and culture. As of the press time of this newsletter, CFAMC plans host an information booth at the upcoming College Music Society millenial conference in Toronto, Ontario November 2-5, 2000. We will also continue to seek out conferences around which to schedule CFAMC national and regional meetings in tandem, as a way of making our ministry known, and also for the convenience of members who might attend such professional events anyway. We covet both your prayers and your comments on this issue.


The CFAMC CD “…from everlasting to everlasting…” is now available. This recording features works by CFAMC members Scott Robinson, Namyoung Pak, Mark Hijleh, Larry Mumford, Steve Butler, Greg Scheer, and Andrew Dionne. To obtain one or more copies of our exciting new release, please send a gift of $15 or more (US funds only, please) for each CD, along with your name and mailing address, to CFAMC CD, 9837 Meadow Lane, Houghton NY 14744 (please indicate how many copies of the CD you are requesting). Your contribution, minus $5 for the value of each CD, is a tax-deductible, charitable gift to further the work of CFAMC. For more information on the content of the CD, please visit our web site.

MEMBERS, PLEASE NOTE: Any amount you send in order to receive the CD DOES NOT count toward your regular annual membership contribution. Thank you for your continued support of this ministry!


Applications are invited from Christian composers born on or after February 1, 1966 for a one-time scholarship award of $500 for use during the summer of 2001 or academic year 2001-2002. The scholarship must be used specifically for art music composition study in either a preparatory or collegiate music program, or an approved summer music program. Appropriate use will be determined by a CFAMC Executive Committee, and funds will be sent directly to the account of the winner at the educational institution or festival designated by her or him (i.e., a cash award will not be made directly to the winner). By applying, the winner agrees to be identified as the recipient of the 2001 CFAMC Scholarship in any and all publicity materials as determined by CFAMC.

Applicants automatically become student composer members for one year in the Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers. There is no application fee. APPLICATION POSTMARK DEADLINE IS NOVEMBER 1, 2000. The award will be announced no later than February 1, 2001. Incomplete, late, or unofficial applications will not be accepted. For further information, please contact: CFAMC, Dr. Mark Hijleh, School of Music, Houghton College, Houghton NY 14744, (716)567-9424, . To expedite your request, please provide your name, mailing address, telephone number, and e-mail address when contacting CFAMC.


  • 1998 – Andrew Dionne (Indiana University; 1999 BMI winner)
  • 1999 – Daniel Kellogg (Curtis Institute, Yale University; 1998 ASCAP winner)
  • 2000 – No winner


A complete, official application consists of the following:

1) Two letters of recommendation, one from a pastor and one from a composition teacher. These should be sent by the applicant, together with all other application materials in one package and not separately by the recommenders.

2) A brief Christian testimony (no more than one typed page).

3) A brief (no more than one typed page) response to the following essay question: “How are your compositional activities and Christian life related?”

4) At least one, but no more than two scores of art music composed for voice(s), instrument(s), and/or electronic media. Tapes of the music submitted are recommended, but not required (please do not send tapes of scores not submitted). A self-addressed envelope of sufficient size and with sufficient postage attached for return of scores/tapes MUST be submitted as well. Reasonable care will be exercised in the handling and return of scores and tapes, but in no way will CFAMC, the judging panel, or Houghton College be liable for any direct or indirect damages resulting from lost or damaged materials. Therefore only copies of scores and tapes should be sent.

5) A complete curriculum vitae/resume, including the name, address, phone number and e-mail address (if any) of the applicant.

6) A one-paragraph professional biographical sketch.

7) A detailed explanation of how the award will be used specifically for art music composition study in either a preparatory or collegiate music program, or a summer music program. (Appropriate use will be determined by the CFAMC Executive Committee, and funds will be sent directly to the account of the winner at the educational institution or festival designated by her or him (i.e., a cash award will not be made directly to the winner)).

Send all application materials (including recommendations) in one package to: 2001 CFAMC Scholarship, Dr. Mark Hijleh, School of Music, Houghton College, Houghton NY 14744. PLEASE NOTE: The judges decisions are final. The panel may also declare “no winner” at its discretion. The winner will be contacted first, after which materials will be returned to all other applicants along with information about the winner. Other publicity about the winner will follow, at the discretion of the CFAMC Board of Directors. Please do not contact CFAMC concerning the status of the award.


FREDERICK SPECK is a composer and conductor on the faculty of the University of Louisville in Kentucky. He can be contacted at 6803 Starlight Rd., Floyds Knobs IN 47119, (812)923-9479, .

TONY K.T. LEUNG can be reached at

LANSING McLOSKEY is a doctoral candidate in composition at Harvard University. Among his many grants and commissions are those from the NEA, the Barlow Endowment, and the Hilliard Ensemble. Learn more about Lansing at and He can be contacted at Odhecaton Z Music, 77 Rawson Rd., Quincy MA 02170-2021, (617)472-7207, .

CARSON COOMAN is a freelance composer, pianist, and organist, as well as a software developer. He can be reached at 386 Oakdale Dr., Rochester NY 14618-1131, (716)244-1216, , His recent commissions include works for the Czech Radio Symphony, the Brabants Conservatorium in the Netherlands, and Chicago Brass Choir.

EWAN CLARK is a composition student at the University of Otago in New Zealand. He can be reached at 52 Manor Place, City Rise, Dunedin, New Zealand, . The following is an extraordinary letter Ewan wrote in response to finding out about CFAMC:

“This letter is in response to your web site for the ‘Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers.’ My name is Ewan Clark, and I am a Christian student composer from Dunedin, New Zealand. I am currently in my second year of study towards a MusB(Hons) at the University of Otago. My major interest is composition, and my goal in life is to use this medium to the best of my ability to glorify Christ. I have been equally amazed and bewildered at the apparent lack of interest displayed by the evangelical community in serious art. Surely as ambassadors of the all-powerful and all-creative God, Christians should be the people who are most likely to take art seriously, and whole-heartedly embrace quality and enduring power in whatever they do! It was a true answer to prayer when I stumbled into your site to discover for the first time a group of people with exactly the same outlook on this issue as myself. And to add to the confirmation that this was a good thing for me to pursue, I found that one of my favorite composers, James MacMillan, was an Honorary Member! As a young composer, (I am 19 years old) I have not yet fully discovered my own voice, but I am searching, and, with God’s help, finding. My goal however, is more clear. I wish to develop a compositional method in which every aspect is justified by, and more importantly, born as a result of my Christian world view. I have not yet fully discovered the ways in which this will come about, but as yet, my ideals can be summed up by words such as purity, freshness, and accessibility. My search for purity and simplicity of form has been highly influenced by composers such as Gorecki, Taverner, and especially Arvo Part. This search for purity in art is a reflection of the Christian’s general aspiration to be pure. It also acknowledges, however, that this purity will never be attained in full here on earth. My belief in the necessity of freshness is based on a belief in the general need for true creativity, in imitation of the ultamite Creator. Creativity cannot possibly be true when it is merely a re-hashing of the creations of others by working within their pre-conceived frameworks. Two musical aspects with which I am particularly interested in being experimental are timbre and texture. In this, the thoughts of Cage and Crumb, as well as a large amount of non-western styles have also been influential on my music. However, I strongly believe that freshness should be carefully balanced with accessibility. My belief in the importance of accessibility is justified by the attitude Christ himself displayed towards those to whom he wished to communicate. He took into account where the people were at, and built upon what they already knew, understood and valued. He built upon it, he didn’t merely repeat it, and he definitely didn’t ignore it, or contradict it for the sole purpose of being radical. This personal approach, clearly displayed in his parables, is what made him stand out from other teachers in his direct communication with hearts, and I believe that this is what should make Christian composers stand out from other composers. One of the most noticeable features in my music that stems from this need for accessability is the use of the diatonic scale. However, I would consider my music ‘neo-tonal’ as opposed to tonal, as the harmony does not play a functional role so much as do other aspects, such as polyphonic and quasi-serial devices. It is my endeavour as a composer that the accurate judgement of this crucial balance between backward-glancing accessibility and forward-pushing freshness, combined with a conscious attempt at formal purity, will allow my music to move people towards a closer understanding of Christ himself. Without God’s help in this, however, all efforts of my own are in vain. I believe that your organisation could be a wonderful avenue through which this help could flow. I am convinced that communication with other people who have similar thoughts will be a tremendous source of growth for me, both as a composer, and as a servant of God.”


DANIEL KELLOGG was among only nine composers nationwide to recieve a BMI Student Composer Award for 2000.

PATRICK KAVANAUGH’S piece “Bonhoeffer’s Letters from Nazi Prison” was performed by the trombone quartet of the National Symphony Orchestra in May, as part of a worship service at the King’s Chapel, a church in Fairfax, Virginia.

GREG SCHEER’S “6” for string quartet was chosen as a winning composition in the Southeastern Composers Symposium, and was performed in concert at Old Dominion University on June 24 as part of the symposium.

FRANK FELICE’S “Sleight of Band” was performed by the Butler University Wind Ensemble in Vienna, Prague, and Budapest during the group’s European tour in July. His “Three Dances from Romeo and Juliet”, for chamber orchestra, will be performed by the Aichi Sinfonietta in Nogoya City, Japan in October.

The Austin Horn Ensemble premiered several works for six horns by LEONARD PAYTON in June. The Ensemble (of which DAVID PARKER is a member) would like to once again encourage CFAMC composers to send them works any style, any difficulty, and for any venue. See the CFAMC web page “Opportunities and Events” section for submission information. See also an article on the Austin Horn Ensemble at

JOHN AKINS had two new chamber works premiered in the past few months: “Three Baroque Dances” for Violin and Piano was played on a student recital at Evangel University in December 1999, and “Short Suite for Brass Quintet,” written at the request of Canterbury Brass, was premiered by that group at their concert at Evangel in February 2000. He also fulfilled two commissions for arrangements of religious music: “Be Thou My Vision,” for cello unaccompanied, and a medley of “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” and the Lutkin “The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” for violin duo. This summer John is working on a commission as the designated Composer of the Year for the Missouri Music Teachers Association, to be premiered at the state convention in November.

One of GREG PASCUZZI’S pieces, for two trumpets (one “classical” and one jazz), wind quintet, strings, and rhythm section, written for and premiered at the 1999 International Trumpet Guild conference, is scheduled for publication in Switzerland. Another of his works (for five brass quintets and timpani) is being considered for publication by the Canadian Brass.

RICHARD STANISLAW’S arrangement of the Swahili folk tune “Yu mwe ma, Jesu” is available in Supplement 99 of the Hope Publishing Company.

PEER REVIEW: “Mountain Transformations” by Michael Young; reviewed by Walter Saul

I parked and locked up my mountain bike on Sunday morning, April 30, 2000, right in front of First Presbyterian Church in Portland, Oregon. It was a picture postcard kind of day here that brought new humor to the billboard that proclaimed “Prepare for bizarre weather…like sunshine in Portland.” As I hurried into the church an amazingly bold proclamation of joy and triumph from a brand new Jaeckel tracker organ greeted my ears, and was immediately answered by a clarion call that could have only come down from heaven itself. The world première of Spokane, Washington, composer Michael Young’s “Mountain Transformations” had begun. What better way to begin the celebration of a major new organ in one of Portland’s premier downtown churches than with this shout of elation? Even more, what better way to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ with these Biblically-mandated voices of trumpet and organ as they soar up to climaxes of pitch, volume, and timbre? As the opening prelude to this service of dedication of the new organ, Young’s new work formed the perfect bridge from the naturally magnificent day outdoors to the spirit of worship and celebration inside the immaculately polished and prepared sanctuary. For Young has once again combined his love for nature’s high places with his unflinching discipleship of the Lord Most High to lead us into worshipping the Lord on a mountaintop. The opening fanfares and rippling ascents and descents spoken antiphonally by trumpet and organ recall the ecstasies and surprises at each turn in a mountain climb. Young repeatedly uses his favorite sonority – two major triads a whole step apart – to paint that joy. Then there are the two quiet, more reflective moments. Gerald Webster, the trumpeter, tells me that Young here envisioned calm mountain lakes. Certainly they are fitting places of repose and quiet worship of the Creator. Young enhances these sharply

contrasting moments by requiring many registration changes of the organist and demanding the trumpeter to play four different instruments: a trumpet in C, one in B-flat, a piccolo trumpet, and a flugelhorn. The trumpeter also must use two different mutes. There are also some wonderfully light and humorous sections featuring agile scales on only the 2′ flute stop on the organ and some nimble dancing and hopping on the trumpet. This new work is not for the faint-hearted. Young pushes both trumpeter and organist to new heights of virtuosity and brilliance. Both Gerald Webster and Lyn Loewi, the organist and Director of Music Ministries at First Presbyterian Church, rise amply to the challenge. Webster effortlessly pops high concert D’s from his trumpets and seems able to hold them forever as Loewi grabs fistfuls of notes reminiscent of Olivier Messiaen’s “Outburst of Joy” (from L’Ascension) in response. These two truly played as one as they navigated Young’s many hemiolas and other rhythmic challenges along with dramatic shifts of tempo. I mentioned earlier that the placement of this new work as the prelude to the service was that perfect transition from nature to worship. I do, however, regret that this new work was received by many as merely a prelude, since it started before the 10:00 hour and caught many coming into the church on time for the service by surprise. This work was worthy of starting the service on the hour to insure full listening concentration by the congregation and to usher all into the proper state of worship. If necessary, more ordinary music should have been provided for the gathering of the congregation, because this was truly an extraordinary experience. It was good news to hear from Webster and Loewi that they plan on recording and releasing this work commercially. Also, according to Webster, Dan Jaeckel, the organ’s builder, has indicated interest in using this work to showcase this new organ. I welcome both these developments as worthy and necessary for this brilliant new work for trumpet and organ.


[The essay “The Next One Thousand Years of Classical Music: One Scenario”, written by Patrick Kavanaugh, appeared in the Winter 2000 CONCERTed offering (back issues of the newsletter are available at This response, by Mark Chambers, is to both the original article and the response by Mark Hijleh in the Spring 2000 newsletter:]

Let me first begin by saying that I think Pat Kavanaugh’s vision of the future of the church is grand one. It will truly be a great day in the church when the Body of Christ can worship in such a diverse manner as he illustrated. I also think that Mark Hijleh’s response was right on the money. All of the points he brought up are, I think, very true and needed in today’s climate. The church will not truly come to grasp and include great music in it’s worship AND daily life until they hear it taught authoritatively from the scriptures.

Echoing Pat and Mark, I too think that it is Biblical to pursue music to its finest and highest point as exemplified in art music. But I think that all of the literature and theological discussions on music to date have missed the point, that is the starting point. Let me state it another way. I think that we have to quickly glossed over the foundational aspect of excellent music and that is the character and nature of God. Our music must be firmly rooted in Him and who He is. Without an accurate picture and understanding of God we will flounder in our attempts to bring great music to the church and the great gospel to its hearers.

Let me give an example of what I mean. In Revelation Jesus make the statement that He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He is and is to come. There is none beside Him nor above. All of life and creation comes from Him and through Him. In other words all of creation is under Him and therefore exists to His praise and glory. He is the uppermost of all. It is Him who is to be our chief desire and passion. What this means is that our lives (music included) are to be SUPREMELY God focused.

There is an old saying I’m sure you have heard that goes somewhat like this, “He is so heavenly minded as to be no earthly good.” What a mis-statement! If God is the chief and central focus of our lives then we bring to the world that which can only satisfy all of its desires. Anything else becomes idolotry.

We as the Church should not bring just great music to the church and the world so they can appreciate fine art. We should not be composers wishing to impress upon our listeners the greatness of our craft but instead impress upon them the greatness of our Saviour. Our music should compel them to desire the splendour of the risen Christ. We should reflect the majesty and glory of the great and awesome King through our music. It is there that our music has its justification to be great (though not the only justification). When we do that we become not just an agent of moral and social change in the world but also evangelists for the hope of all the nations. We are only beggars inviting other beggars to join us at the great banquet table of the Lord. It is upon Him that all of our music and lives should rest. May God grant us all the eyes and ears to behold His glory.

-Mark Chambers

(N.B.: Keep the dialogue going!)

Spring 2000

(Note: Opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of CFAMC, nor of the Editor)

In this Issue:

  • A Hot City and a Hot CD!
  • New CFAMC searchable database
  • New Members
  • News of Note: Activities of CFAMC composers
  • A response to “The Next One Thousand Years of Classical Music: One Scenario”

A Hot City and a Hot CD!

It’s not too late to register for the sixth annual CFAMC conference, to be held in conjunction with a conference entitled “God in the Academy: Charting a Course for the New Millenium”, sponsored by Christian Leadership Ministries and Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. The conference will take place June 21-25, 2000 on the campus of the Georgia Institute Technology in Atlanta. “God in the Academy” will bring Christian theologians, intellectuals, and artists together to explore how we can bring a stronger Christian worldview to the intellectual and artistic world of higher education. The CFAMC Board has made it a priority for us to share our work with Christian intellectuals and campus ministries, in an effort to establish an ongoing dialogue about the theological underpinnings of Christian compositional excellence and its place in both the Church and the concert hall. This joint conference offers us an excellent opportunity to begin that dialogue. Prominant theologians such as Alister McGrath, Elaine Storkey, D.A. Carson, and Ravi Zacharias will be speaking, and we expect a number of well-known and active Christian intellectuals to be in attendance and leadership.

CFAMC President Mark Hijleh will chair the discipline-specific sessions on the Performing Arts during two of the conference afternoons. Each day, Board Member Mark Chambers will be leading “poster sessions” (short presentations to informally gathered listeners) on art music, Christianity, and the work of CFAMC. We will have a CFAMC booth open to the public during the conference, and will feature the premiere of the new CFAMC CD, which is currently being produced by Vice President Greg Scheer. The CD includes pieces by Scheer, Hijleh, Andrew Dionne, Scott Robinson, Steve Butler, Nam-Young Pak, and Larry Mumford.

We will also hold several “breakout” sessions designed for CFAMC members only. These will include the perenially popular “Peer Sessions”, where members may present scores, tapes, and commentary on their works. A CFAMC brainstorming session, presentations on the music of other Christian art music composers and/or other relevant topics, and the annual Board meeting are also planned during the 5-day event.

Detailed information about “God in the Academy” can be found at CFAMC members should simply register for the CLM conference, and will then be automatically registered for the CFAMC conference (this can be done online at the CLM website). IMPORTANT: After you have registered at the CLM website (or by phone or mail), please email or call (716)567-9424 to let CFAMC know you will be attending. The registration fee is $185 per person ($115 for students and spouses). Unfortunately, children cannot be accomodated. The conference also offers a 4-night, 10-meal accomodation package in dorms for a cost of $235 per person. Again, unfortunately, these accomodations are shared townhouse-style group apartments, and double rooms are scarce, so married couples and those with children may want to book other hotel accomodations on their own.

Please visit the CFAMC and CLM websites often for updates on this exciting collaboration. We covet your prayers for the details of this event to be worked out in a way which truly brings glory to God.

New CFAMC Searchable Database

The wonders of the Internet seem never to cease. CFAMC has established a new searchable database of members’ works, accessible from our website. Members in good standing may register with us for access to put information on up to ten of their works into the database. The database is searchable by anyone who visits the CFAMC site. We hope that this new feature will encourage performers looking for works by Christian composers to find out more about the compositions our members have to offer. Check it out at!

Welcome New Members!

We are very pleased to annouce that reknowned conductor JOHN NELSON has been named an Honorary Member of CFAMC. Mr. Nelson, former Music Director of the Indianapolis Symphony, is currently Music Director of the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris and Artistic Director of Soli Deo Gloria (, an organization which commissions and performs new major works with Biblical themes by outstanding composers. Mr. Nelson also regularly guest conducts such ensembles as the Atlanta Symphony and the Metropolitan Opera. He has recorded several projects on the EMI label.

We are also most excited to welcome KURT KAISER, who studied at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago and earned two degrees from Northwestern University. Mr. Kaiser has more than 200 copyrighted songs to his name. Perhaps the best known of these are Pass It On and Oh How He Loves You and Me. He joined Word, Inc., in 1959 as director of artists and repertoire and later became vice president and director of music for Word. Kurt has arranged and produced albums for many gifted artists, among them Kathleen Battle, Diane Bish, Ernie Ford, Hale & Wilder, Larnelle Harris, Jerome Hines, Burl Ives, Ken Medema, Stephen Nielson, Christopher Parkening, George Beverly Shea, Joni Eareckson Tada, Ethel Waters, and Anne Martindale Williams. In 1992 Kaiser was awarded a special Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for his contributions to the Christian music industry. He received an Honorary Doctor of Sacred Music degree from Trinity College in Illinois and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Baylor University. Kurt Kaiser has appeared in concerts with George Beverly Shea for over twenty years. In addition, he conducts choral workshops and performs solo concerts. Kaiser has recorded sixteen solo albums at the piano. He received a Dove award for his piano album, “Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs,” on the Sparrow label. Mr. Kaiser can be reached at 4910 Brooks Dr., Waco TX 76710, ,

News of Note: Activities of CFAMC Composers

DANIEL KELLOGG has recieved an Honorable Mention in the 2000 ASCAP/Morton Gould Young Composers competition. He has also recently been commissioned by the Curtis Institute.

The first of RICK CERCHIA’S Variants on Two Hymn Tunes was performed April 15th in Minneapolis by the Eberli Ensemble, under the auspices of the American Composer’s Forum. In May, Rick will travel to Rousse, Bulgaria to hear a performance of his Fog Drift Morning by the Rousse Philharmonic.

The essay The Next One Thousand Years of Classical Music: One Scenario, written by Patrick Kavanaugh, appeared in the Winter, 2000 CONCERTed offering (back issues of the newsletter are available at This response is by Mark Hijleh:

In his intriguing tale of Christians and art music 1000 years in the future, Pat Kavanaugh asks us to imagine and accept a world in which the Church (by “the Church” I mean the worldwide Body of Christ), and only the Church, has embraced and preserved great art music classics from the past, as well as built a subculture in which new works by Christian composers flourish. He then asks us ponder what extraordinary things would have to happen for this scenario to come true. As per Mr. Kavanaugh’s request, I will not debate whether this future will or should come to pass (although my feelings will be apparent). Instead, I will simply try to answer his question. But my response will undoubtedly raise as many new questions as it will answer.

What circumstances would encourage the Church to move in this direction musically? I can think of several possibilities. The most idealistic is simply that the Church would wholeheartedly and universally embrace the Biblical and theological arguments which I believe rightly support Mr. Kavanaugh’s future vision. The Church should be the cultural leader rather than the follower, and that leadership should stem from Biblical and theological support which is so compelling as to be undeniable. Assuming this is possible (and I believe it is), serious Christian musicians would have to gain the support and brilliance of the most important Biblical scholars and theological minds of the next several generations. This is my point; It is the theologians who will have to convince the Church to take this path, not just the musicians, and here is why: Appreciation of and excellence in art music are skills acquired at a high price. There is no doubt whatever that it is easier to embrace musical idioms which demand less effort of listeners, perfomers and composers. The only compelling motivation for the Church at large to do otherwise must be theological/philosophical for the most part, since such motivation will certainly not come naturally. However, there is another crucial element: the work of the Holy Spirit. I believe it will require both a strong, repetitive Biblical/theological case being made in the academy and from the pulpit, AND the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers, to make this future a reality. I also believe that these two “methods of conviction” are far from mutually exclusive. In other words, I am not advocating a purely intellectual process here, instead I am saying that “heart, mind, soul, and strength” (Luke ) must all come into play for God to reveal and work out His musical will through His people.

Perhaps the least idealistic reason the Church might move in the direction of art music is that it may be a way for us to be different from the rest of our culture. This has great practical appeal to those who are concerned that Christians are becoming far too much like the pagans. (That we are doing so, as a group, seems undeniable, at least in America: consumerism, individualism, litigation, divorce, adultery, eating disorders, financial lunacy, etc., etc. are rampant in the Christian community). And, again, art music requires a level of discipline and sacrifice for all involved that seems well suited to the Body of Christ.

Frankly, I think that BOTH these elements would have to come together to create Mr. Kavanaugh’s scenario: The theological/philosophical battle would have to be consistently “won” over a long period of time, and the Church would have to become irrevocably convinced that being different culturally in the art music way is a good thing.

I have one more thought for now, and that is that the music of Christian composers would need to be so outstanding as to completely dwarf the art music (and the pop music) of the non-believing world. By outstanding, I mean it would have to be the most compelling music humanity has ever seen intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually ALL AT THE SAME TIME. There was a time when this was true for some composers, like Bach. But I am convinced that our NEW works must meet these criteria, because, for better or for worse, I believe it will be the music of living Christians which will make the necessary difference. After living Christian composers are embraced by the Church because of their extraordinary music (and we will have to start writing it first), then the extraordinary music of the past will also be widely accepted. And here is the punchline: Only through Jesus is such music possible. It must be the music that the living Jesus is composing (or would be composing). If you want to know what I mean by that, please see my essay What Kind of Music is Jesus Composing? at, as space limitations prevent the reprinting of it in this newsletter.

I will end (for now) simply by saying that we must constantly be listening to the Father’s voice as we make our way musically in the Church and in the world. Do we really know which voice(s) we are listening to? Do we really know how to listen to God in the multitude of ways He speaks to His Church today? We had better pray for some deep wisdom and humility, as well as a truly sacrificial spirit, if we are to be the first of a new breed of Christian musicians whose work will be the catalyst for God to transform the world in EVERY way (including musically). Forgive whatever delusions of granduer I have (or you think I have): I would rather be a link in that kind of chain than just about anything else I can imagine.

-Mark Hijleh

(N.B.: Further responses are encouraged, and will be published in subsequent newsletters – the Ed.)

Winter 2000

(Note: Opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of CFAMC, nor of the Editor)

In this Issue:

  • Membership update
  • CFAMC Scholarship update
  • Conference 2000
  • New Members
  • News of Note
  • Peer Reviews
  • The Next One Thousand Years of Classical Music: One Scenario

Membership Update

If you have not already registered in the CFAMC email list at, PLEASE do so as soon as possible (you can do it right from our home page at This is the best way to stay abreast of immediate news, and it’s free!

Membership contributions for 2000 are due from most of you. You may recall that, beginning in November of 1999, we instituted a new policy which extends active CFAMC membership for twelve months following the month in which the yearly contribution is made. To find out the month in which your membership expires, visit the Members page on the CFAMC website ( Next to your name, you will see the month and year your membership expires (or expired). For the vast majority of members, that was 12/99. Please make your tax-deductible, charitable donation of $25 or more ($15 for students and non-composer performers) as soon as possible by sending your check (payable to “CFAMC”) to: Dr. Mark Hijleh, CFAMC, School of Music, Houghton College, Houghton NY 14744. Please consider a gift beyond the minimum; we rely on your generosity for the vast majority of our operating expenses. If your contribution for 2000 is due and we do not receive it by March 1, we will be forced to remove your name from our membership list. Thank you for your financial and prayer support of this ministry.

CFAMC Scholarship update

Due to the very small number of applications for the 2000 scholarship, the Board has decided to declare “no winner”. We will try to promote the 2001 scholarship earlier and more extensively.

Conference 2000

The Board of Directors is excited to announce that CFAMC will hold its sixth annual conference in conjunction with a conference entitled “God in the Academy: Charting a Course for the New Millenium”, sponsored by Christian Leadership Ministries, and Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. The conference will take place June 21-25, 2000 on the campus of the Georgia Institute Technology in Atlanta. “God in the Academy” will bring Christian theologians, intellectuals, and artists together to explore how we can bring a stronger Christian worldview to the intellectual and artistic world of higher education. The CFAMC Board has made it a priority for us to share our work with Christian intellectuals and campus ministries, in an effort to establish an ongoing dialogue about the theological underpinnings of Christian compositional excellence and its place in both the Church and the concert hall. This joint conference offers us an excellent opportunity to begin that dialogue. Prominant theologians such as Alister McGrath, Elaine Storkey, D.A. Carson, and Ravi Zacharias will be speaking, and we expect a number of well-known and active Christian intellectuals to be in attendance and leadership. Among the other ministries represented will be Intervaristy, Campus Crusade for Christ, and possibly Christians in the Theater Arts. Music for worship will be led by Michael Card.

Detailed information about “God in the Academy” can be found at CFAMC members should simply register for the CLM conference, and will then be automatically registered for the CFAMC conference (this can be done online at the CLM website). The registration fee is $150 per person ($115 for students and spouses) until March 21, at which time the fee rises to $185 (but still $115 for students and spouses). Unfortunately, children cannot be accomodated. The conference also offers a 4-night, 10-meal accomodation package in dorms for a cost of $235 per person. Again, unfortunately, these accomodations are shared townhouse-style group apartments, and no double rooms are available, so married couples and those with children may want to book other hotel accomodations on their own.

CFAMC will be holding several “break-out” sessions during the CLM event, and we will also have an display table in the exhibition area. One important issue that is as yet unresolved is that of presenting a public concert of CFAMC members’ works, as in the past. We are in dialogue with the Atlanta new music ensemble Thamyris, but further details and score submission information is not yet available. We would have preferred to wait until these issues were resolved before announcing the conference, but we wanted members to be able to make plans for attending this important event sooner rather than later.

Please visit the CFAMC and CLM websites often for updates on this exciting collaboration. We covet your prayers for the details of this event to be worked out in a way which truly brings glory to God.

Welcome New Members!

STEVE BUTLER teaches theory, composition, and music technology at Westmont College. His contact information is: Westmont College, 955 La Paz Rd., Santa Barbara CA 93108-1099, (805)565-6130, ,

MICHAEL LANDERS holds an M.M. degree from Central Washington University, and is minister of music at Emmanual Baptist Church in Vancouver, WA. He can be reached at: 14908 NE 28th St., Vancouver WA 98682, (360)260-0685, .

JAN MITTELSTAEDT is a composer, pianist, church musician, and educator who is particularly interested in composition pedagogy. Her pieces have been published by the Boston Music Co., and she has earned composition awards from ASCAP and the Oregon Music Teachers Association. She holds an M.M. in composition from the University of Portland. Jan can be contacted at: 4485 NW 187th Ave., Portland OR 97229, (503)645-2066,

BOB PIERCE is Christian poet/lyricist who is very interested in collaborations with other CFAMC members. He can be contacted at: 5253 N. Bowdoin, Portland OR 97203, (503)247-3417, .

KATHERINE WILKINSON can be reached at 2915 NE 48th Ave., Portland OR 97213-1830, (503)288-7929, .

News of Note: Activities of CFAMC Composers

The life and works of WILLIAM ALLEN were the subject of a special feature broadcast on Rochester, NY public radio last Fall.

WALTER SAUL’S For God Alone My Soul Waits in Silence (1999) was preformed by the Tabor Duo during a Concert in the Chapel at Warner Pacific College last October.

BRIAN NELSON’S Symphony No.1 in One Movement (In the Beginning Was the Word) was read by the Minnesota Orchestra last October, as part of an American Composer’s Forum “Perfect Pitch” reading session. Brian was only one of five composers chosen for this prestigious national honor.

GREG PASCUZZI’S Aria and Allegro for soprano saxophone and concert band was perfomed by the U.S. Army Band in Carnegie Hall last November.

RICHARD CERCHIA’S Shabach and DONALD WILSON’S Daventry Suite were performed by the Bowling Green State University Wind Ensemble last November. Wilson’s piece was also featured by Sierra software studios on the CD Magazine website as “the first musical work of extended scope to be inspired by a computer game.” A review of this work follows later in this edition.

SCOTT ROBINSON has been awarded and Individual Artist Fellowship Grant from the Pensylvania Council on the Arts for next year. His journalistic piece on composers and their opportunities entitled “A Philadelphia Story” appears in the January edition of the American Composer’s Forum newsletter Sounding Board. The story was originally titled “Better Feast Than Famine “, and appeared in the Philadelphia Weekly last November. Finally, some of Scott’s music appears on a CD entitled “Occidentally On Purpose”, recently relased by his Balkan band “Gypsophilia to positive reviews. The album has also been aired on Pennsylvania NPR.

JOHN RICHARD has begun work on a Doctorate in composition at Michigan State University.

LARRY WARKENTIN’S Piano Sonata No. 2: evocations of Reedley, CA at mid-century will be premiered by John Mortensen of Cedarville College. The sonata will be included in a recital by Mortensen on the Fresno Pacific University campus on February 18, 2000.

PATRICK KAVANAUGH’S Trombone Concerto will be premiered by James Kraft (National Symphony) and the Army Orchestra in Washington, DC in March.

CLIVE DAVIS has completed a work for choir and organ, The Old Ship Zion, comissioned by Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, PA, and scheduled for premiere this spring. Also, in April, the College Music Society – Northeast Chapter will present his songs entitled When We Two Parted at the University of Delaware.

Peer Review: Donald Wilson’s Daventry Suite for wind ensemble, reviewed by Walter Saul

Don Wilson has recently posted a MIDI version of his Daventry Suite on the Web at I recently visited that site to take a listen to this marvelous work in three movements which was featured in his paper on music for computer video games which he read at the 1999 CFAMC conference last September in Portland, Oregon.

Some standout features: there is marvelous interplay between the Aeolian and Dorian modes (the B flat and B natural often within spitting distance of each other!) in the last movement, and, amazingly with MIDI, some great bass sounds toward the triumphant end. I also like the Neapolitan root chords in the first movement! The music does indeed stem from the video game
environment. It reminds me a bit of the video quizzes of Microsoft’s Encarta (which take you through a medieval castle often invoking the ecclesiastical modes). It was good to be reminded of the 2nd movement which really comes to life through a real human Wind Ensemble (as performed at the 1999 CFAMC conference in Portland, Oregon)! I do like his descending scales often harmonized by major 7th chords and even a polychord at the climax that sounds like two major 7th chords glued together! The progression from the F tonic to D major (parallel of the relative minor) is always a favorite of mine.

My one criticism of the suite (probably exacerbated by the MIDI performances) is the similarity of the tempos, which seems to be a less-desirable trait of video game music. I was fascinated by a couple of my composition students’ reaction to this work when I shared it with them. One of them, heavy into video games, was quite taken by this score; both commented very favorably on the music. It seems ludicrous, but Don Wilson may be more right than we can ever know about the importance of this new medium for art music.

Peer Recording Review: Out of Darkness Into His Marvelous Light; Sacred Chamber Music by Walter Saul, reviewed by Frank Felice

It is with great pleasure that I listen to this new compact disc of music by Walter Saul, Out of Darkness into His Marvelous Light (Tarsus Music TMCD1001, 3645 SE 79th, Portland, Oregon 97206). His music is new to me, but his voice is wonderfully his own, showing a great degree of skill and eclecticism, yet obviously imbued by the gift of the Holy Spirit for anyone who is attuned to the voice of God.

Out of Darkness into His Marvelous Light contains a set of chamber pieces featuring the combinations of voice and piano, marimba and piano, flute and piano, flute and marimba, and piano solo. All of the performances on this disc reflect a high standard, and the recording quality is excellent — however, on some of the cuts the piano sounds a bit bright and tinny, sometimes detracting from the performance of the work itself, but most of the time this is not noticeable.

The opening of the three movement piano work Cry of the Untouchables hits the listener with a driving force, which eventually gives way to an uneasy calmer section, but the listener still feels off-balance even here. Bravura-rhythmic patterns vary, constantly reminiscent of Ginastera or Keith Emerson, never giving one the sense of peace — you feel like you need to ride the work all the way to the end, regardless of how unnerving it is. Dissonant combinations abound, with shifting centricities keeping the listener off balance. How stark it feels in the end….

The second movement brings to its fabric some hope in its key-area juxtaposition with the first movement (B-major to the first’s d-minor) — this movement brings less relentless drive and opens up a new space with its upward moving gestures. Its direction points to the last movement, rather than looking back towards the first movement. (Unfortunately, this was the one movement where the brightness/timbre of the piano was an impediment to the music.)

The concluding movement presents an interesting musical portrayal of the spiritual journey, wandering through a fugue of many key areas before returning to the light of the second movement. How like our own spiritual journeys where many do not come straight to Christ but have to explore on their own, or they resist all the way to the altar. The musical material is handled very skillfully, especially when combining the themes from this last movement with those from the second movement. One gets a great grasp of reconciliation from this combination that hadn’t been achieved (purposely) in the previous presentations of this material. The coda is well done — the chromaticism of the final six measures or so is marvelous — a microcosm of the spiritual journey in its ecstasy, once a true relationship with Christ is established.

The Day After Trinity for flute and piano begins with a sense of the awesome destructive power of a nuclear blast, portrayed with ever increasing waves of chordal clusters in the piano while the flautist narrates the basic events of the first nuclear bomb test. The answering reflection by the solo flute provides a respite from the dense textures, but then is joined by the piano in a varied dialogue, from stabs of light and outbursts to glimmers of peaceful power — sinewy lines underscored by hints of storm clouds. The musical language here exhibits no sense of romanticism at all and is very effective in its portrayals of power, earthly vs. divine. I wished for more narration as the piece continued — since it only occurs once at the beginning of the piece, the singular introduction of the spoken word seems non-integrated.

In many ways, the Five Biblical Songs function as a central lynchpin for the entire disc — in a very direct fashion, this cycle traces the journey from the darkness into the light of God, with each song leading into the message and texture of the following one. Similar piano techniques are used in the two previous pieces: incessant rhythms, harmonic juxtapositions, joyous chromaticism, along with an exultant lyricism in the vocal writing. Each song has its own little mini-journey — dark to light, a chiaroscuro of choices along the way.

Again showing his contrapuntal skills, Saul’s piece Emmaus presents the dramatic discovery of the two disciples of their risen Lord with them, even as they fled the uproar following his crucifixion. Outcries from both marimba and flute, imitative motion within the walk itself and a flight (fuga) back to Jerusalem once Jesus makes himself known to them at supper. Again, what was dark has been made light, and as with much of the music on this disc, this piece becomes its most effective once the spiritual corner has been turned and there is much rejoicing to be done! The final fugue is a whirlwind, using two instruments to sound like many more, with all twelve entries of the subject spanning the range of the marimba and the flute. Walter is at his best when he can let his contrapuntal soul fly —

From this point on, the pieces on this recording have very little to do with darkness, and the 3rd Piano Sonata starts with a large romp, to be reactivated in the last movement. Throughout both movements, infectious rhythms permeate, with both regular and irregular divisions being employed. How can one express the joy of salvation? The language is tonal centric with various shifts of tonic, seeming to try and grasp the full nature of one’s joy, which abounds in all places at once. How can one express the joy of salvation? Here is a good place to start! And lest one think that such joy can only be expressed in fast-paced breathless music, the middle movement nottorno exhibits the peaceful joy that comes from communing with God on a daily basis.

The final work on this disc, Toccata in C, has hints and shadow of darkness, but they are not by any sense overwhelming to the listener — rather, they might be heard as reminders of what one left, rather than present restraints. Written for Joy and Marshall Christensen in celebration of 15 years of service as president of Warner Pacific College, the play of words exhibits how much this president’s “touch” had a great effect on the school. The percussive interplay is rich in celebration, with both instruments providing the other with an effective counterpart. Whole-tone inflections abound, and symmetries between both instrumental color and pitch choices are kept from growing endlessly inward by the asymmetry of the rhythm, pushing and pulling the listener one way and another.

Although each piece is unique, a listener cannot listen to this disc and not come away with the sense that here is a composer whose commitment to Jesus is total, passionate and filled with a joy in his salvation. No Christian can say that life on this side of heaven is untouched by darkness, and what shadow that Walter Saul paints serves only to be the dark highlight which makes the Light so much more bright. His compositional techniques reflect this passion: a firm contrapuntal grasp with a firm direction through flights of despair and great joy; a colorful, chromatic melodic language that encompasses a number of different techniques, and a wonderful sense of play in his rhythmic motion that propels us through the hard times to those of joy and peace.

NOTE: CLIVE DAVIS has indicated his willingness to write peer reviews of works by CFAMC members. Clive has degrees in composition from the Peabody Conservatory and Boston University. Please contact him at to arrange for direct score/recording submissions.

The Next One Thousand Years of Classical Music: One Scenario
– by Patrick Kavanaugh

We begin with a hypothetical situation in the year 2,088: A young conductor is the first volunteer to successfully be frozen in a state of suspended animation. The scientists who accomplished this feat have programmed the conductor to awake in eight to nine centuries. Sure enough, in the year 2,986, in perfect health and without any bodily aging, the conductor wakes and is released to the world. We will give him the name Leonard.

The world around him has changed drastically, but humans still look and act like humans have for millennia. Leonard’s English language is very outdated, but he soon learns enough for simple communication. He is given all he could possibly want, in terms of material needs, but Leonard soon misses the great classical music which was the love of his life.

As he walks about in this new world, Leonard constantly hears a simplistic “popular” style of music which is enjoyed by everyone. It surprises and puzzles him to discover that it is remarkably similar to the popular music of his earlier life, and has the same sickening effect on him as it did before. Leonard asks a number of people about Beethoven, Brahms, Stravinsky and other composers, but he receives only blank stares. In a facility he discovers to be a kind of
electronic library, he finds biographical references to the great composers, but no printed or recorded music of their compositions. When he asks the librarians about this, he is told curtly that, “No one plays or listens to that style of music anymore.”

Within a short time, Leonard grows deeply depressed, finding himself in a world bereft of the classics he loved so very much. Late one evening, in a conversation struck with a passing stranger, Leonard complains about the world’s lack of orchestras and chamber music. The stranger looks around to assure that they are alone, then quietly explains where such music came still be found. Like a starving man who has been told where food is freely available, Leonard eagerly follows the stranger for a short walk.

As they enter on odd-shaped building, Leonard suddenly hears what he has desired since he awoke. His heart seems to break as he recognizes the fourth movement to Brahms’ Symphony No. 3. As he turns a corner he is astonished to see a full orchestra, playing before a large audience. The next two pieces are strange to him, more unusual than any avant-garde works he had ever conducted. But the audience is as enthusiastic with these odd works as they were with the Brahms, and Leonard is shocked to find that the applause is punctuated with loud cries of “Praise the Lord!” and “Thank You, Jesus!” and “Glory to God!”

Soon the musicians stop, and a man begins to speak at length to the audience. A very bewildered Leonard finds himself listening to a salvation-type sermon. To his complete incredulity, he realizes that he is in a church service. After the “preacher” concludes, the large orchestra – which sounds every bit as good as the finest orchestras Leonard has ever heard – begin playing the “Jupiter” movement from the Holst The Planets.

Leonard is so very overwhelmed with this dumbfounding experience that he simply must get some answers. When the service is over, he slips backstage where a number of people are talking or praying together in small groups. Pulling an older man aside, Leonard asks about the service, the orchestra, and the music. He is told that all large Christian churches have orchestras, chamber music programs, even opera companies. Furthermore, the musicians have all been trained in the churches’ many conservatories, and now are paid full-time salaries from the church coffers.

“I knew the Brahms and the Holst pieces,” Leonard explains, “But what were the other two works?” “The one following the Brahms was by Remay, a composer of the Theatrical Period, about 2,600 or so.” the older man answers, “The next one was by a composer on this church’s staff, which was commissioned by the Pastor. All contemporary classical composers work for the church, or course.”

With his head spinning in confusion, Leonard stammers, “How can this be? It seems that all classical music has been taken over by the Christian church.” “Certainly! It has been that way since the Itmus Edict over two centuries ago,” he is told. “The world has long abandoned the fine arts to embrace a purely popular culture. It was up to the believers to preserve this great heritage. Here, let me get you a book which should help you understand.”

Leonard is handed a small electronic device with a viewing screen. When the controls are adjusted, the title appears, The Last Millennium of Classical Music: Christians and the Fine Arts. He begins to read an amazing history.

Now my little tale abruptly ends, and I ask you to consider: “What does this history book which Leonard is reading contain? That is, what would have to happen over the coming centuries for this futuristic scenario to actually happen?” I do not ask, “Could it happen?” or even “Should it happen?” The point of the exercise is simply to ponder: “If this scenario was truly the future of classical music, what are some of the mega-steps which would have to take place between 2,000 and 2,986.”

(I hope that, for the purposes of serious discussion, we will dispense with such simplistic reactions as “That could never happen,” or “The Lord will come again soon anyway,” or “Classical music is already dead,” etc, etc. ad nauseum. Nothing very interesting will come of thisexercise unless one accepts at least the possibility of such a futuristic scenario, and muses upon how history might step by step cause it to happen.)

Enjoy pondering!

(N.B.: Responses are encouraged, and will be published in subsequent newsletters – the Ed.)