Ola Gjeilo (born 5 May 1978) is a Norwegian composer. He studied composition at the Juilliard School in 2001. He writes primarily choral music, but has also written for piano and for wind symphony. In 2012, the award-winning Phoenix Chorale recorded a CD consisting entirely of his compositions, a CD that went on to chart on Classical CD lists, was named Best Classical Vocal Album of the Year by iTunes, and earn Gjeilo praise as a "rising star" in the classical music world. Ola Gjeilo publishes through Walton Music 1, Edition Peters, and Boosey and Hawkes.
Ola Gjeilo (YAY-lo) was born on May 5, 1978. The son of Inge Gjeilo and Anne-May Gjeilo, he began playing piano and composing when he was five years old growing up in the town of Skui, Norway. Always relying on his instinctive ability to hear music, he finally learned to read music when he was seven years old. Ola always knew he wanted to be a composer from a very young age. While in high school, Ola was a very good pianist and took composition lessons with Wolfgang Plagge. In his undergraduate career, Gjeilo studied at the Norwegian Academy of Music (1999-2001), transferred to the Juilliard School (2001), and studied at the Royal College of Music in London (2002-2004) to receive a Bachelor's Degree in composition. He continued his education at Juilliard (2004-2006) where he received his Master's degree in 2006, also in composition. Gjeilo currently resides in New York where he has permanently resided from 2006-present. He married to Laura Inman in 2012, and currently resides in Manhattan working as a freelancing composer.
His compositions were the focus of a CD recorded with the Phoenix Chorale in 2009 entitled, "Northern Lights: Choral Works by Ola Gjeilo". In addition to composing every track on the album, Ola was the pianist for each of his works with piano in the orchestration. This album was named Best Classical Album of the Year by iTunes in 2012, and was the top-selling album for the prestigious Chandos Records in the USA for 2012. Gjeilo was the first ever composer-in-residence (2009-2010) for the 2008 and 2009 Grammy-winning Phoenix Chorale.
Awards and Honors:
Ola's success in choral music is exhibited in many ways. The Manhattan Chorale, Symphonic Chorus, and string orchestra in Carnegie Hall performed his Sunrise Mass, orchestrated for strings and choir, in May 2014. This was also the world premiere of his work Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver was written for choir, piano, and string orchestra. The text is set from a popular medieval ballad from Norway, Draumkyedet. This text is very similar to Dante's Divine comedy. The translation was written in a fun English text by the poet Charles Anthony Silvestri, one of Gjeilo's regular collaborators.
In 2015, Gjeilo will be performing in concert with the renowned composer and pianist, Morten Lauridsen, with the Bay-Atlantic Symphony (chamber choir and orchestra). Gjeilo was recently awarded the 2016 Brock Commission which will be a commissioned choral work to be performed at all seven of the 2016 ACDA Division conferences in the United States. The Raymond W. Brock Memorial Choral Series is a highly esteemed list of commissioned compositions by premiere composers since 1991.
Gjeilo was commissioned to write a piece for the elite a cappella octet group, Voces8 and will be premiering it in 2016. Scored for voices, string quartet, and pianist.
Sunrise Mass = Messe du lever de soleil,
Ubi Caritas - Dedicated to Lone Larsen and Voces Nordicae,
Dark Night of the Soul,
Luminous Night of the Soul,
Serenity (O Magnum Mysterium),
New Year's Carol,
Madison - a piece for cello and piano written in memory of a Christmas holiday spent near Madison, Wisconsin
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