Chamber Singers Perform Live on Kansas Public Radio

  • Wednesday, May 09, 2012

On May 9, 2012, Kansas Public Radio’s (KPR’s) Classical Live Performance Studio aired a live performance featuring five original compositions from composer Brian J. Nelson as performed by the Benedictine College Chamber Singers.  The program was heard across the KPR network, which includes: 91.5 FM Lawrence, 89.7 FM Emporia, 91.3 FM Junction City, 99.5 FM Manhattan, 97.9 FM Manhattan, 89.9 FM Atchison, 90.3 FM Chanute.

The Chamber Singers have collaborated with Nelson before and the ensemble performs under the direction of Ruth Krusemark, Professor and Chair of the Music Department and Head of the Division of Arts and Communication, Benedictine College, Atchison, Kansas.  Nelson’s featured original choral works range from three anthems sung a capella, to settings of Mass texts sung by the full-choir with keyboard for the radio-debut of the Mass of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, Op. 21. The piece was commissioned in 2011 by The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. The Archdiocese’s Consultant for Sacred Liturgy Michael Podrebarac cites that the impetus for commissioning Nelson to write was to set the new translation of the Mass for use in the parishes of the Archdiocese. 

“Nelson’s works transcend that purpose, and are beautiful to listen to independent of that weekly setting,” said Podrebarac.

KPR’s 16-minute-long Classical Live broadcast concluded with Psalm 100, featuring piano, recorder and choir members. Nelson’s setting of this Old Testament hymn invites the people to enter the Temple courts with thanksgiving to God, who created them. Nelson comments that this was a commission for the dedication of a Church and the soprano recorder was specifically requested as part of the instrumentation, which “adds a very human, Old Testament ‘strings-and-pipes’ feel to the work.”

Since establishing his Kansas-based Nelson Music in 2009, Brian Nelson continues to be a prolific composer of privately commissioned sacred and classical works for voice, instrument and full orchestra. He graduated with a Doctor of Music degree that same year from The University of Kansas; he provides Kansas and U.S. audiences with a multi-dimensional array of cultural offerings. Nelson is the current Director of Music and Sacred Liturgy at St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center. He maintains a full professional schedule consisting of composing, privately teaching composition theory, Master classes, academic and public lectures. Nelson’s overarching mission is to utilize music to spread the Word of God as evidenced by over 24 sacred and classical works composed as private, or commissioned pieces to date, some of which are disseminated on two CD releases: Vocalise: Instrumental and Vocal Music, and Responsorial Psalms for Advent and Christmas. Nelson’s works are available for sampling, or purchase on Nelson’s Web site.

Brian Nelson is a 2011 graduate of the KU School of Music with a DMA in composition. He studied with Professors James Barnes and Bryan “Kip” Haaheim. Founded in 2009, Nelson Music is the sole proprietorship of American composer Brian J. Nelson. Rooted in the great classical music tradition and informed by a living Catholic faith, its purpose is to *bring forth lasting musical beauty* to the glory of God and the benefit of all.

Comments professional guitarist and pedagogue Matthew Warnock, “American composer Brian J. Nelson is an artist that fully grasps the immense range and texture of vocal music, and how powerful the medium of songs can be in developing an emotional connection with his audience.” Cites William Zagorski, Fanfare Magazine in its January, 2011 issue,“His harmonic language can be complex and nontraditional, but the result is, more often than not, stunningly beautiful.”

Benedictine College Chamber Singers’ Director, Ruth Krusemark, D.M.A. has performed in many capacities as a pianist, accompanist, organist and choir director across the United States as well as in Mexico, Europe, and the Middle East. She also taught in Singapore for Benedictine International University. Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.

The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report in its September 2011 edition, as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine in 2010 and the Newman Guide since rankings were first published in 2007. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.