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Shawn Kirchner, L.A. Master Chorale's new composer-in-residence

May 21, 2012|By Jamie Wetherbe

The Los Angeles Master Chorale will appoint Shawn Kirchner as the Swan Family composer-in-residence, the company announced Monday at its board meeting.

Kirchner, who has performed as a tenor in the Master Chorale for the past 10 years, will be the second person to hold the position in LAMC's 48-year history. His three-year appointment, effective July 1, runs through the 2014-15 season.

He takes over for Morten Lauridsen, who held the position from 1995 to 2001.

The post has been underwritten by a gift from members of the Swan family, including former LAMC board member Philip A. Swan; it is the Master Chorale's first composer-in-residence naming gift.

“It’s an incredible honor and I have huge shoes to fill,” Kirchner told The Times, adding that his pieces have been featured during his decade-long LAMC tenure. “I see it as a gradual relationship deepening over 10 years -- and while it’s a shock, it’s consistent with the relationship we’ve been building.”

Kirchner's career highlights include a May performance of his arrangement of the Kenyan folksong "Wana Baraka" at Diamond Jubilee Pageant at Windsor Castle celebrating the 60-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

His duties will include composing a new work in each year of his term, creating new arrangements for Master Chorale concerts and teaching music composition to students participating in LAMC education programs such as Voices Within and the High School Choir Festival.

The Swan gift comes on the heels of LAMC receiving Chorus America's 2012 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, the nation's highest choral award.

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