Born: b. 1943
Whitman College, Washington; DMA from University of Southern California
Best Known For:
choral composition, especially O Magnum Mysterium, commissioned in 1994 by Marshall Rutter as a Christmas present to his wife, Terry Knowles, now enjoys widespread popularity and is one of the most cherished additions to the standard choral repertoire
eight vocal cycles, including the Mid-Winter Songs, Les Chansons des Roses, Madrigali, Nocturnes and Lux Aeterna for chorus and a series of a cappella motets, including O Magnum Mysterium
in 1985 began with LAMC when Roger Wagner conducted his Mid-Winter Songs on Poems by Robert Graves at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion; was LAMC Composer in Residence from 1995-2001, LAMC premiered his O Magnum Mysterium, Lux Aeterna, Ave Maria and Voici le soir; is Distinguished Professor of Composition at USC's Thornton School of Music, where he has taught for more than forty years
life as a composer has been documented in Michael Stillwater’s award-winning film, Shining Night: A Portrait of Composer Morten Lauridsen
works have been featured on over 200 CDs, 5 of which have received a Grammy nomination, Â including O Magnum Mysterium by the Tiffany Consort, A Company of Voices by Conspirare, Sound The Bells by The Bay Brass and two all-Lauridsen discs entitled Lux Aeterna by the Los Angeles Master Chorale Â and Polyphony with the Britten Sinfonia
"...the only American composer in history who can be called a mystic [whose] probing, serene work contains an elusive and indefinable ingredient which leaves the impression that all the questions have been answered.." -Nick Strimple, Choral Music of the Twentieth Century
The music of Morten Lauridsen, Composer-in-Residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale from 1995-2001 and Distinguished Professor of Composition at the USC Thornton School of Music, occupies a permanent place in the standard vocal repertoire of the Twentieth Century. Â His seven vocal cycles Â (Lux Aeterna, Les Chansons des Roses, Mid-Winter Songs on Poems by Robert Graves, Madrigali: Six “FireSongs” on Italian Renaissance Poems, Nocturnes and A Winter Come) and his series of a cappella sacred motets (including O Magnum Mysterium) are performed throughout the world and have been recorded on over 100 CDs, three of which have received Grammy nominations, including LAMC’s.
Mr. Lauridsen chaired the Composition Department at the USC Thornton School of Music from 1990-2002 and founded the School’s Advanced Studies Program in Film Scoring. He has held residencies as guest composer/lecturer at over four dozen universities. Â
In speaking of Lauridsen's sacred works in his book, Choral Music in the Twentieth Century, Nick Strimple describes him as "the only American composer in history who can be called a mystic, (whose) probing, serene work contains an elusive and indefinable ingredient which leaves the impression that all the questions have been answered... Â From 1993 Lauridsen's music rapidly increased in international popularity, and by century's end he had eclipsed Randall Thompson as the most frequently performed American choral composer."
In 2006, Morten Lauridsen was named an “American Choral Master” by the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 2007 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the highest artistic award in the United States, by the President in a White House ceremony “for his composition of radiant choral works combining musical beauty, power, and spiritual depth.” Â In 2013 he was named Honorary Artistic Director of INTERKULTUR and the World Choir Games. Â More information on Mr. Lauridsen is at mortenlauridsen.com.