Last Sunday, the LCH choir sang “The Beatitudes” by Slovenian composer, Damijan Močnik (b. 1967), a new name to many of us at LCH. The piece loosely based on plainchant and somewhat reminiscent of the works of Estonian Arvo Pärt. Since it’s been a long time since I took geography, I found out that Slovenia is located in central Europe, 7771 miles (12,505 km) from Hawaii, and borders Italy, Austria, Croatia and Hungary.
Here’s a bio of the composer as found in his published scores: Damijan Močnik (1967) lives in Cerklje, a small town in Upper Carniola, Slovenia. He completed his musical study at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana where he won the Preseren Award for the outstanding symphonic composition. He improved his knowledge of conducting by studying abroad, including coaching with famed Swedish conductor Eric Ericson. Mocnik is the choral conductor and music teacher at the Diocesan Classical Gimnazija in Ljubljana. Recipient of many awards at national and international choral competitions, his approach toward both conducting and music education is marked by passion and innovation. His two decades of conducting includes leadership of significant choral ensembles such as the France Preseren Academy Choir from Kranj, Slovenia and the Andrej Vavken Female Church choir of Cerklje na Gorenjskem, Slovenia. With these two choirs he has won several awards at national and international choral competitions.
Mocnik’s compositional efforts are mainly devoted to the human voice. His musical language, inspired by carefully selected texts, is based on innovative rhythmic and melodic ideas. His melodies often reveal roots in plainchant or Slovenian folk music. Such fluid melodic concepts allow Mocnik to create a variety of polyphonic, polytonal and pholychordal structures in his choral scores. Internationally, his scores are published by Augsburg-Fortress, Astrum, Carus-Verlag, Ferrimontana and Astrum.
You can hear a very interesting interview of Močnik by clicking here.
This week LCH will also welcome a guest conductor, Dr. Erin Colwitz, who is Director of Choral Activities at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Check out her website by clicking here. Miguel Felipe brought her to the LCH staff party earlier in the week, and I found we had many connections in common through the University of Southern California (USC), my alma mater. In fact, she asked me, “Do you know Mary Au?” Yes! she’s my first cousin, who also attended USC and does a lot of piano accompanying around Southern California. Small world!