Noted choral conductor and influencer Deborah Simpkin King of PROJECT : ENCORE and the renowned Ember ensemble has graciously agreed to act as official sponsor for a new commissioning consortium project: Three Water Songs by award-winning American composer (and Project:Encore awardee) David Avshalomov. Choruses from advanced high school to professional are invited to join the Commissioning Group. The finished work will be available in .pdf format in time for early 2023 premieres. Fees are affordable, on a sliding scale by chorus type (from $100 to $250).
The composer has chosen as his texts “All Day I Hear the Noise of Waters” by James Joyce and “Waterfall at Lu-shan” by the 8th-century Chinese poet Li Po, and has crafted a third text himself about an environmental problem that concerns him, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. He will set each text separately, without connectors.
To peruse and hear the composer’s choral catalog, visit
The first two settings will be carefully-detailed art-folios, with atmospheric madrigalisms on the obvious images, in tonal-modern style. (Detailed descriptions are available on request, as well as a short sample of the first piece.) These will lull listeners into a deceptive sense of comfort, the feeling that they are in the “civilized aesthetic art song” zone . . Then the last setting (GPGP) will zing them with a vigorous semi-chanted rant about a horrifying modern environmental issue–plastic in the oceans. Despite the sarcastic/ironic expression of the problem, this third piece will be some fun to perform.
Durations: Ca. 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 5 minutes.
All a cappella (with optional simple atmospheric percussion parts)
First piece: moderate difficulty, mostly 4-part writing (some simple harmony splits/divisi), moderate vocal ranges.
Second piece: advanced difficulty, all parts divided, some high range, spot solos, no extended techniques.
Third piece: alternating group chant, solo recitation, chordal outbursts, and unison tunes, with some stamping and clapping punctuations, hand gestures, and simple movement.
Here are the first two poems:
All Day I Hear the Noise of Waters
by James Joyce (public domain as of 2012)
All day I hear the noise of waters making moan,
Sad as the sea-bird is when, going forth alone,
He hears the winds cry to the water’s monotone.
The grey winds, the cold winds are blowing where I go.
I hear the noise of many waters far below.
All day, all night, I hear them flowing to and fro.
Waterfall at Lu-shan
by Li Po (public domain for over 1200 years)
Sunlight streams on the river stones.
From high above, the river steadily plunges–
three thousand feet of sparkling water–
the Milky Way pouring down from heaven.
The full text of the last piece is here: