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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

Lauridsen: About the Composer

In 2006, Morten Lauridsen was named an
In 2006, Morten Lauridsen was named an "American Choral Master" by the National Endowment for the Arts.

By Angela Wampler | November 25, 2008

Lauridsen has been ranked the most frequently performed American choral composer in history and has been called America's greatest contemporary composer of choral music.

His music occupies a permanent place in the standard vocal repertoire of the Twentieth Century. He has sold more than one million copies of sheet music in America.

In 2006 he was named an "American Choral Master" by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). In 2007 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts — one of only eight classical composers ever to receive the honor.

Acclaimed by choral societies around the world, Lauridsen is credited with literally putting amateur and professional choruses back on the map with his many works. His compositions have been recorded on more than 100 CDs and have received three Grammy nominations.

His most recent commissions have come from Harvard University, the San Francisco Bay Brass, and the Raymond Brock Memorial Commission for the American Choral Directors Association. He has received numerous grants, prizes, and commissions, and has held guest residencies at more than two dozen universities.

Born in the state of Washington in 1943 and raised in Portland, Oregon, Lauridsen served as composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale from 1994?2001.

He was chair of the department of composition at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music for more than 35 years, and currently serves as Distinguished Professor of Composition. Most recently, he founded the film scoring program at USC about three years ago. Films that have been scored by graduate students include 3:10 to Yuma, nominated for two Oscars in 2007.

Further information about Lauridsen may be found at


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