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Commissions and Collaborations

Ola Gjeilo
In the very first year of performing, Bella Voce’s reputation for artistic performances of quality repertoire caught the attention of Vermont composer Gwyneth Walker. The group has included Walker’s work at many performances. Walker has attended several rehearsals and performances of Bella Voce, working with the chorus on perfecting the presentation of her works. She selected Bella Voce to produce a recording of her music that will better showcase a wide range of her repertoire for women’s voices so that it can be marketed to directors of other women’s choruses and to the market for women’s music. That recording took place in 2007 and the first Bella Voce CD was released. In the process of putting together the plans for the recording, Walker proposed the cantata based on the beloved classic, “Gift from the Sea.” The first song of the cantata was completed in spring 2006 and was performed at the 100th birthday celebration of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s life held at the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum. Pictured here: Dawn Willis confers with Reeve Lindbergh (daughter of Anne Morrow and Charles Lindbergh) and composer Gwyneth Walker during a rehearsal for "Lessons from the Sea." Lindbergh provided the narration and Walker sang with Bella Voce in the premiere performance of the piece in April 2008.
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The choir commissioned two new choral pieces in its first two years: “Hold On!” by Robert DeCormier; and “Softly, Little Child” from Daniel Gawthrop as a part of a commission consortium with 12 other women’s choirs under the auspices of the American Choral Directors’ Association (ACDA). In 2007 Bella Voce commissioned a new Christmas Cantata by Robert DeCormier, "Mary Had a Baby - A Suite of Christmas Spirituals". Bella Voce is excited to have formed close ties with Robert DeCormier and Gwyneth Walker – both highly respected composers and residents of Vermont.
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In 2009 Bella Voce commissioned Michael Hopkins, UVM Orchestra Director and composer to write an 8-10 minute work for women’s voices and woodwind quintet to celebrate the Quadricentennial through music inspired by “Water and Light”. Pictured left: Michael Hopkins in rehearsal with Bella Voce while oboist Nadine Carpenter looks on. The work premiered at the May 2009 concerts.

We performed "The Singing Place" by Joan Szymko, the second Women’s Chorus Consortium commission Bella Voce has participated in through the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).
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Bella Voce continues its tradition of collaborating with respected composers from around the world. In 2010, the group commissioned pieces from David Feurzeig, a faculty member of The University of Vermont, and, through the ACDA Women’s Choruses Commission Consortium, a piece by Norwegian composer and pianist Ola Gjeilo.

Kaleidoscope Collaboration

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During the 2005-06 season, Bella Voce forged an ongoing relationship with the Essex High School Women’s Choir, Kaleidoscope, and shared several rehearsals, performances, and social events with them through the year, including a trip to New York to perform at the ACDA Eastern Conference. Kaleidoscope continues to perform each year with Bella Voce, and Bella Voce is featured at the Essex High School fall choral concert.

Here is an overview of our 18 commission projects and our collaborations with 34 ensembles and guest artists from Bella Voce’s first nine seasons plus our new projects for this season:

Bella Voce Commission Projects

Robert De Cormier – Hold On; Mary Had a Baby Suite; Dormi, Dormi O Bel Bambin; Sing Everyone, Sing Me; They Called Her Moses
Gwyneth Walker – Lessons from the Sea; The Youthful Traveler
Michael Hopkins – East Bay Suite
David Feurzeig – Months; Walkin’ in Misterioso Land
E. Bayoán Rios-Escríbano – Amanecer Borincano
Randol Alan Bass – Gloria; Christmas Flourish
Pete Sutherland – Bailiff’s Daughter

Bella Voce Joint Commission Projects

Daniel Gawthrop – Softly, Little Child
Joan Szymko – The Singing Place
Ola Gjeilo – Tundra
Shawn Kirchner – Leshana Haba’a BiYerushalayim
Timothy Corlis - Heart Songs of the White Wampum

Bella Voce has commissioned the following new works for our 10th anniversary season:

Larysa Kuzmenko, composer – Gloria
(Jointly with Elektra Women’s Chorus, Vancouver, Canada;
and The University of Toronto Women’s Chorus)
Robert De Cormier, composer – Walk Together Children
Steven Sametz, composer – Women Make the Earth Move


Kaleidoscope Women’s Chorus, Essex High School – May 2005 to present
Gwyneth Walker, Vermont composer – December 2006, May 2007, April 2008, May 2010
Robert De Cormier, Vermont composer – December 2007, May 2013
Libana Women’s World Music Ensemble of Boston – January 2009
Burlington Chamber Orchestra – March 2010
Cantabile Choruses of Kingston, Ontario – April 2010
Cornell University Women’s Chorus, NY – May 2011
Kärntner Singgemeinschaft in Wien, Austria – June 2011
Concord Women’s Chorus of Massachusetts – June 2012