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Dawn Sonntag

Location: Ohio, USA


Composer, conductor, singer and pianist Dawn Sonntag heads the theory/composition and vocal/choral areas at Hiram College in northeastern Ohio. Dr. Sonntag has conducted college, community, and church choirs of all ages across the US and in Europe, including the Heidelberg International Chorus, Chor des Collegium Artiums, and the Oslo University Summer School Choir.  As conductor of the Leif Eriksson International Festival Choir and director of music for the Norwegian Memorial Lutheran Church (Mindekirken) in Minneapolis, she prepared and conducted choirs that performed for Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon.  Her choral conducting mentors have included Hilary Apfelstadt, Kathy Salzman Romey, Matthew Mehaffey, Andrea Stegman, and Rodney Eichenberger.

Selected as the MTNA-Ohio’s 2010 Distinguished Composer of the Year, her commissions have included works for the Milwaukee Ballet; the International Leif Eriksson Festival; Luther Seminary’s 25th  Reformation Festival; and music for the documentary films “Action Arts” and “Voice to Vision,” and chamber, choral, and liturgical music.  In 2009, Sonntag collaborated with Iowa Poet Laureate Marvin Bell in a recital of original settings of his poetry.  Sonntag studied composition with Alex Lubet at the University of Minnesota and was as a fellow in the European-American Musical Alliance summer composition program in Paris, France.  

Dr. Sonntag has performed extensively both as a collaborative pianist and singer, and was awarded the Inge Pitler prize in Heidelberg both for lied accompanying and vocal performance.   As a singer, Guild MemberGuild Memshe has appeared with the Florentine Opera of Milwaukee; at the Chamizal National Theater in El Paso, Texas; with the Heidelberg (Germany) Gilbert and Sullivan Ensemble; with the Heidelberg Theater Idéfix; and with Opera Columbus. She has also performed as a soloist with the Heidelberg Philharmonic Symphony and International Choir; the Texas Bach Choir; the Columbus Bach Choir; the Lutheran Chorale; Kantorei; and the Bel Canto Chorus.  Sonntag was a NATS and Metropolitan Opera southwest regional audition finalist and winner of the Kenwood Symphony Master's Aria and Concerto competition. As the recipient of Foreign Language Areas Studies and American-Scandinavian Institute fellowships, she studied advanced Norwegian language in Oslo to further her interest in Norwegian art song. 

Sonntag holds a Doctor of Music Arts from the University of Minnesota; a Master of Music in choral conducting from the Ohio State University; a Master of Arts in voice performance from Antioch University's McGregor School of the Arts in Tübingen, Germany; a graduate diploma in piano performance with an emphasis in lied and chamber music from the Hochschule für Kirchenmusik in Heidelberg, Germany; and a BM in voice performance from the University of Texas, El Paso. For more information regarding her compositions and performances, please visit her website at

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