THE NOTEBOOKS OF LEONARDO DA VINCI by JOCELYN HAGEN | INTO THE LIGHT by JAKE RUNESTAD | May 20, 2023 | 8:00 PM
ORLANDO SINGS SYMPHONIC CHORUS
ORLANDO PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
First United Methodist Church of Orlando
The final program of the Orlando Sings Choral Festival includes three works inspired by historically significant figures of the Renaissance. Ottorino Respighi’s colorful Botticelli Triptych was inspired by three Botticelli paintings: La Primavera (Spring), L’Adorazione dei Magi (The Adoration of the Magi), and La nascita di Venere (The Birth of Venus).
INTO THE LIGHT
Into the Light is inspired by the The Reformation led by Martin Luther, a contemporary of Botticelli and da Vinci. It was a pivotal event in the history of Western culture and created waves of change across Europe that spread to the rest of the world — the impact of which is still being felt (and studied) today.
Rather than create a museum piece for the Reformation, Runestad asked himself what reforming means in our world today: What are the major issues plaguing our world and what is their cause? Who has addressed these issues through their work and their words (in the vein of Martin Luther)? How can we address these issues through a musical work for chorus and orchestra in a meaningful way?
Into the Light allows us to be immersed in the wisdom of some of the most important and influential reformers in history, and challenges us to consider how we can move beyond fear and onto a path of love, compassion, and kindness.
Considered “one of the best of the younger American composers” (Chicago Tribune), EMMY®-winning and GRAMMY®-nominated composer and conductor Jake Runestad has received commissions and performances from leading ensembles and organizations such as Washington National Opera, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, the Pacific Symphony & Chorale, True Concord Voices & Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Choir, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, Seraphic Fire, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, and many more. “The Hope of Loving,” the first album dedicated to Jake’s choral music, recorded by professional American choir Conspirare, received a GRAMMY® nomination. In 2019, Jake became one of the youngest composers ever awarded the prestigious Raymond C. Brock commission by the American Choral Directors Association. “Earth Symphony,” Jake’s ground-breaking choral symphony written with librettist Todd Boss, earned a 2022 EMMY® Award for musical composition. Jake’s visceral music and charismatic personality have fostered a busy schedule of commissions, residencies, workshops, and conducting engagements, enabling him to share his passion for creativity, expressivity, and community with musicians around the world.
Dubbed a “choral rockstar” by American Public Media, Jake is one of the most frequently performed composers of concert music. His thoughtful and compelling works “that speak to some of the most pressing and moving issues of our time” (Star Tribune), have been heard in thousands of performances across the globe. Jake Runestad holds a Master’s degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University where he studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts. Find out more at: JakeRunestad.com
THE NOTEBOOKS OF LEONARDO DA VINCI
Utilizing the latest in video syncing technology, Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks are brought to life through his words and drawings in an unforgettable multimedia concert experience created for choir, orchestra, and video projections. As the composer who is the creative force behind both the music and visual component, Jocelyn Hagen designed the work so that the music serves as the foundation for the film instead of it functioning as purely a supporting musical soundtrack.
Hagen includes Da Vinci’s intricate handwriting and stunningly beautiful sketches as a visual component to this piece. As a writer, da Vinci wrote from right to left, backwards, as if in a mirror. These beautifully scribed words scroll above the musicians and add a wonderful texture to the performance. Many sketches in the notebooks are of the human form, corresponding perfectly to his observations on the proportions of the body. Filmmaker Isaac Gale took these images and breathed life into them with a living Vitruvian Man in the fifth movement.
Ion Concert Media created MUSÈIK (pronounced mew-ZAY-ik), the world’s most advanced digital sync software, just a few years ago. The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci is the first large concert work to be created that utilizes it to its fullest potential.
Jocelyn Hagen composes music that has been described as “simply magical” (Fanfare Magazine) and “dramatic and deeply moving” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis/St. Paul). She is a pioneer in the field of composition, pushing the expectations of musicians and audiences with large-scale multimedia works, electro-acoustic music, dance, opera, and publishing. Her first forays into composition were via songwriting, still very evident in her work. The majority of her compositions are for the voice: solo, chamber and choral. Her melodic music is rhythmically driven and texturally complex, rich in color and deeply heartfelt.
In 2019 and 2020, choirs and orchestras across the country are premiering her multimedia symphony The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci that includes video projections created by a team of visual artists, highlighting da Vinci’s spectacular drawings, inventions, and texts. Hagen describes her process of composing for choir, orchestra and film simultaneously in a Tedx Talk given at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, now available on YouTube. Her dance opera collaboration with choreographer Penelope Freeh,Test Pilot, received the 2017 American Prize in the musical theater/opera division as well as a Sage Award for “Outstanding Design.” The panel declared the work “a tour de force of originality.”
In 2013 Hagen released an EP entitled MASHUP, in which she performs Debussy’s “Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum” while singing Ed Sheeran’s “The A Team.” She is also one half of the band Nation, an a cappella duo with composer/performer Timothy C. Takach, and together they perform and serve as clinicians for choirs from all over the world.
Hagen’s commissions include Conspirare, the Minnesota Opera, the Minnesota Orchestra, the International Federation of Choral Music, the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota, Georgia, Connecticut and Texas, the North Dakota Music Teachers Association, Cantus, the Boston Brass, the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and the St. Olaf Band, among many others. Her work is independently published through JH Music, as well as through Graphite Publishing, G. Schirmer, ECS Publishing, Fred Bock Music Publishing, Santa Barbara Music Publishing, and Boosey and Hawkes.