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Brian Holmes

Location: California, USA
Brian Holmes
I am a half-retired member of the Physics Department of San Jose State University, specializing in the physics of music.  I am active as a professional horn player.  I've published choral works with William Thorpe, Roger Dean, Santa Barbara, Hal Leonard, Brichtmark, and the NCCO Choral Series; have been composer in residence of the Cantabile Children's chorus, the Peninsula Girls Chorus, Vivace Youth Chorus, and the San Francisco Choral Artists; have won some twenty composition contests, including the Ithaca College Choral Composition Contest (three times); have completed twenty commissions (for twenty-four works)  including three for the Peninsula Women's Chorus.  Here is a youtube video of the Peninsula Women's Chorus singing Let Evening Come, my setting of Jane Kenyon's great poem.   And here is  a video of the St. Louis Children's Chorus singing Roger Plays the Tuba at the ACDA convention in Los Angeles.  The choreography of the St. Louis Children's Chorus has inspired many imitations: here is a charming version by the Daegu Ladies Singers of Korea.
 
My most ambitious choral composition is Amherst Requiem, an hour-long work for solo soprano, chorus, children's chorus and orchestra.  Amherst Requiem combines nine poems of Emily Dickinson (sung by the soprano) with the Latin missa pro defunctis, sung by the choruses.  The premier was in November 2008, at Stanford University.  A published version of one of the movements, I shall keep singing!, has been recorded by the San Francisco Girls Chorus, under Susan McMane.  Another movement, Pie Jesu, has been published by Santa Barbara.  Amherst Requiem won the 2012 American Prize for choral composition
 
Another piece that has met with success recently: 4 e e cummings songs, premiered by the San Francisco Choral Artists in March 2011, has won two composition contests, placed second in another, and has been featured at two New Music Festivals.   It also was recently selected as part of the PROJECT:ENCORE hosted by Schola Cantorum on Hudson.  A pair of the 4 songs were selected as a finalist in the current Ithaca College Choral Composition Contest.  And it won the contest, sweetly sung by the Genessee HS Chorus, under Tony Alvaro.  Click here to look at the score and listen to a recording.   William Thorpe will published 4 e e eummings songs soon (2014).  He will also publish The Shortest Day and the treble version of Let Evening Come.
 
Also selected for the PROJECT:ENCORE database is Remember, my setting of a poem of Susan Cooper.  Click here to see and hear this score at PROJECT:ENCORE.
 
A recently completed piece is Come Christmas, a wreath of a dozen carols based on poems of Eleanor Farjeon.  It is for soprano, baritone, chorus, and orchestra. The premier performances were at Stanford University in November, 2011.  You can find a recording of one movement, Welcome to the New Year, here. Another recent piece, The Shortest Day, won a seasonal song contest sponsored by the Amadeus Choir of Toronto.  They performed the premier in December, 2011.  This piece is a setting (SATB unaccompanied) of a solstice poem written for me by Susan Cooper.
 
Some recently finished works: The Perfect Beginning and I Feel Cool! for children's chorus and piano, written for Vivace Youth Chorus; The Mummers, a carol commisioned by Ragazzi Boy's Chorus; and Rachel Weeps for mixed chorus, saxophone, and piano, to be performed at Wesleyan University for the one-year anniversary of the Newton shootings.  Masterworks Chorale of San Mateo commissioned and premiered Love's Horn for chorus, horn, and piano.  And for Vivace Youth Chorus, I wrote The Horse, based on a passage from Job 39, for trebles SSA and timpani.
 
Some recently published pieces:
  •       Kings Came Riding for mixed chorus and solo oboe.  (Charles Williams) – William Thorpe.
  •       The Brown Birds for mixed chorus unaccompanied. (Eleanor Farjeon) – William Thorpe.
  •       Joyful Noise for trebles (SA) and piano.  (Four insect poems of Paul Fleischman) – Brichtmark.
  •       Emily's Day for trebles (SA) and piano.  (Three poems of Emily Dickinson) – Hal Leonard. 
  •      The Song of Mr Toad for trebles (SSA), baritone saxophone, and piano.  (From The Wind in the Willows) – Roger Dean. 
  •      The Cat and the Moon for unaccompanied mixed chorus. (WB Yeats) – NCCO Choral Series.  
  •       There will come soft rains for unaccompanied mixed chorus. (Sara Teasdale) – Santa Barbara.
I have posted some pieces on the Composers Showcase on Choralnet.
 
          Here are some for unaccompanied mixed chorus:
            And here are some for trebles:
             The Music of the Spheres was included among the Silver Platter Awardees for April on the Composers Showcase. It is also available in a version for mixed chorus.
 
The picture shows me playing a keyed bugle at one of my physics of music talks.

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