Home 9 Composers 9 Elise Letourneau

Elise Letourneau (b. 1967) is an accomplished performer, composer, arranger, and educator. She is the founding music director of Capital Vox Jazz Choir, which has been heralded as Canada’s first community jazz choir. Elise also established and directs Vox Eclectica Women’s Chamber Choir. With her background in classical, jazz, and contemporary styles, Elise brings a varied palette of sound and experience to her music. She composed the winning entries of the 2011 Ruth Watson Henderson Composition Competition and the 2011/2012 ACCC Choral Composition. Her music has been sung by the Vancouver Chamber Choir, Canada’s National Youth Choir, the Toronto Children’s Chorus, and others. Her catalogue includes new music for voice, choir, piano, string quartet, and winds; as well as hundreds of custom choral arrangements. 

Elise Letourneau has an active performance schedule. She has performed and recorded with a variety of artists including vocal jazz treasure and NEA Jazz Master award winner Sheila Jordan, baritone Marcus Nance, soprano Doreen Taylor-Claxton, saxophonist-composer Oliver Lake, pianist Harry Pickens, drummer Roger Humphries, Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Janet Lawson, performance-poet Huang Xiang, jazzman Bob Dorough, singer-songwriter Paula Cole, pianist Dan Haerle, and the Impressions in Jazz Orchestra. She was selected for inclusion on the Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour artist roster, and has performed throughout the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States and throughout Ontario.

Elise instructs students in composition, piano, voice, and flute; and she is on the faculty at Carleton University and Alcorn Music Studios. She is recording her fourth CD. Her publishers include Cypress Choral Music and Diamond in the Square Music. Elise is a graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music, where she earned her B.Mus. in composition and arranging. She earned a M.Ed. specializing in creative arts and learning at Lesley College in Cambridge MA. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Please visit www.eliseletourneau.com for additional information.

A Mid-Winter Night’s Dream

by Elise Letourneau

SATB    –    CP 1284   – 2:45
Elise has given a wistful setting to this beautiful poem by William Wilfred Campbell. “By the lonely chimney light, I sit and dream of summer.” This song would work so nicely in a Christmas program, an Autumn program and even a Spring program. (and most choirs take a break during the summer to realize their dream) Elise’s composition won the Atlantic Voices Choral Composition Con – 2013.  .

Peace Prayer

by Elise Letourneau

SATB    –    CP 1190   – 4:35
St. Francis of Assisi wrote this timeless prayer. Elise’s bluesy choral composition won the ACCC Diane Loomer Award.  It was premiered by the Canadian National Youth Choir in 2012 at PODIUM in Ottawa.

“I love this text – so much that I wear it constantly – it’s engraved on a lovely simple bracelet I received years ago as a gift. It’s one of those timeless texts that resonates with people, regardless of their upbringing and religious or spiritual leanings. I’ve performed variations of this piece – with groups of singers, with a rhythm section, or solo from the piano – in formal worship services and more casual vespers settings – in cathedrals and synagogues and under the great sky dome – and it’s always appropriate. In terms of musical feel, the piece must not be rushed, and the backbeat needs to be strong, but not exaggerated. And the rests are very important to framing the anticipated notes – the jazz idea of “playing the rests” is useful here. It’s perhaps helpful to think of Ray Charles for this piece. When he played a slow 4, the quarter note (or dotted quarter note) was fat and luxuriant. He was never in a hurry for beat 2, but when it did arrive it was right where it belonged.”  Elise

Chord chart (guitar) available upon request for free.

Rising Moon

by Elise Letourneau

SAB with piano – CP 1602  – duration 2:10

May the rising moon
smile upon you
all bright around you

And the true light within you
guide your way home

Star in His Pocket

by Elise Letourneau

SATB    –    CP 1603   – 2:00
SSA version available upon request
Quirky lyrics speak words of encouragement to anyone brave enough to follow their dreams.

The composer has never quite gotten over her girlhood crush on Philippe Petit, though it has matured into a deep respect for his special brand of guts and creativity. Philippe Petit is the French high-wire artist who gained fame for his aerial walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City on August 7, 1974. For his unauthorized feat 400 metres above the ground he and his team successfully rigged 200 kilograms of cable between the buildings without getting caught. Petit performed for 45 minutes, making 8 passes along the wire. Authorities arrested him at the conclusion of his performance, but all charges were dropped in exchange for him performing in Central Park for children. In an interview, when Petit was asked what compelled him to do the walk he replied, “When I see three oranges I juggle, when I see two towers I walk.”