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Volume 24, Number 5 — May 2017

Inspired by Nature, Passionate About Poetry

President George W. Bush, right, presented the 2007 National Medal of Arts to composer Morten Lauridsen — one of only eight classical composers ever to receive the honor. The award recognized Lauridsen for
President George W. Bush, right, presented the 2007 National Medal of Arts to composer Morten Lauridsen — one of only eight classical composers ever to receive the honor. The award recognized Lauridsen for "his compositions of radiant choral works combining musical beauty, power, and spiritual depth that have thrilled audiences worldwide." (Photo by Michael Stewart for the National Endowment for the Arts)

Acclaimed Composer to Visit Tri-Cities Area

By Angela Wampler | November 25, 2008

In a telephone interview from his home in California, acclaimed composer Morten Lauridsen chatted with A! Magazine for the Arts about his work.

He had just returned from Portland, Oregon, where his father recently passed away at age 98. Lauridsen said, "My father died holding my hand while listening to 'Lux aeterna' (a composition Lauridsen wrote the year his mother died)."

According to program notes for a performance by the San Francisco Choral Society, Lauridsen's mother was the "muse" who introduced him to music, playing swing jazz and singing to him as a toddler. She also taught him to play the piano. Later he took up the trumpet, favoring jazz and Broadway composers.

In 2001, the Los Angeles Times music critic wrote, "Though a requiem for the composer's mother, it is music as much about life as it is the spirit. Gentle harmonies, in voices and instruments, seem to hover in the air of the concert hall, yet nonetheless make us feel grounded in the earth."

Lauridsen said, "I used 'Lux aeterna' to comfort myself upon hearing the news of my mother's impending death. I turned to my art, as other artists have, to cope with an intense personal situation. To go to my composing studio each day and set to music such reassuring texts was of great comfort to me, and...I receive a great deal of mail from individuals who write and tell me that 'Lux aeterna' has brought them enormous solace in their grief."

READ ON:

Getting Back to Nature

Passionate About Poetry & the Human Voice

About the Composer

What Others Are Saying

Other Well-Known Compositions, Recordings by Lauridsen

Public, Poets, Musicians Invited to Concert, Composer's Lecture & Choral Rehearsal