Cypress is happy to put you in touch with any of the over 270 Canadian composers we represent – don’t hesitate to inquire. Chances are, any one of them would be thrilled to write for you and your choir.
Composer Dr. Larry Nickel is an Associate Member of the Canadian Music Centre. He has written hundreds of compositions and arrangements for choirs. Above banner; Larry rehearsing his “Requiem for Peace” at Carnegie Hall with the collaboration of 12 choirs from Sweden, Greece, Canada and the USA. His music is performed widely around the world.
Larry gladly accepts Canadian League of Composer rates. However, his commissioning fees are always open to negotiation – taking a choir’s budget constraints into consideration. Any combination of voices and instruments is possible – at all levels of proficiency. Nickel believes that even beginner choirs deserve to have quality writing. “Whether writing for amateur choirs or professional ensembles, Larry Nickel knows how to make a choir sound great.“ – Jon Washburn (Vancouver Chamber Choir founder) – quote used with permission. Washburn was referring to intuitive voice leading, sweet-spot vocal registers and lush harmony; endemic to Larry’s composition style.
Larry specializes in “Made-to-Measure” collaborations with choirs in any voicing combination. For example:
1) “Larry, our Community Choir is touring Europe in April and we’ll have 10 sopranos, 8 altos, 3 tenors and 5 basses. Only a few of the singers have formal music education and the youngest singer is 68 years old. The sopranos can sound good up to an F and the basses can hit a low F on a good day. The tenors struggle above an Eb. Please let the altos carry the melody in a few places. Our piano player is very skilled and we’d like to feature the flute. We want a song that the choir can memorize; something that is fun, inviting, and inclusive; something that talks about the beauty of Canada. One of our singers has written a poem you can use.”
2) “Larry, we’ve been invited to sing at the World Choral Symposium. Our Chamber Choir can sing anything; divisi in all sections is no problem. Soprano high As and bass low Ds are standard for our choir. Go ahead and show off our choir’s abilities. We need something that really depicts the sorrow, agony, and pathos of war – preferably a cappella in a minor key – with lots of counterpoint and dissonance. Please use this text by Dylan Thomas.”
Writing for community choirs does not mean “dumb it down”; rather, it means “smarten it up”. Writing quality choral music within given limitations takes great skill. Capitalize on intuition with user-friendly voice leading and sweet-spot vocal registers. Many of the most approachable, beautiful, and timeless (successful) choral masterpieces fall within these parameters. L.N.
Listen to several samples of Nickel commissions – demonstrating five degrees of challenge. Which level is right for your choir?