The choral music of Hugo Distler is rhythmic, harmonically vibrant, and musically challenging. Though his music remains highly popular in his native Germany, it is perhaps underperformed and less well known in America. Through performance and continued research I hope to promote and create greater enthusiasm for his works and provide tools for conductors and singers who hope to prepare these scores.
Gesture, Mirroring, and Empathy
Since their discovery, Mirror Neurons have become a sexy way to try and explain a number of things, including the relationship between conductor and choir. Since including a mention of miror neurons in my Masters thesis, I continue to gather research in this and related fields (empathy, emotional contagion, motor resonance, gesture which accompanies speech) in an effort to make meaningful connections to choral conducting. As writing in this area continues to develop, it is important to distill what we know and what types of connections can and can not be be made. The development of a meaningful andragogy for choral conducting is an eventual goal of this reserach.
Choral Settings of Robert Burns's Poetry
Robert Burns is known around the world, and celebrated as a great poet. What many may not know is that many of Rabbie's poems were originally set to melodies. It is this connection of lyric and melody which sets Burns's text apart as a resource for choral music settings. While many have written about his songs, there is little to no research addressing choral settings of his poetry. I am currently gathering scores and preparing to write in this area. This research was inspired by the annual Burns Suppers which we have hosted with whateverandeveramen.