Home 9 Composers 9 Ramona Luengen

Dr. Ramona Luengen has composed extensively in the choral genre and her works have been performed by both amateur and professional choirs in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Performances of her music have been broadcast on CBC, BBC, WDR (Germany), WKRP (USA) and radio stations in Denmark, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden. Her large-scale Stabat Mater was named Choral-Composition-of-the-Year and Outstanding-Choral-Event-of-the-Year by the Canadian Association of Choral Conductors. Luengen’s opera for young audiences, Naomi’s Road, has received over 350 performances in North America. Respected for her work as a composer, conductor and educator, Luengen believes that music can be beautiful and transcending. It should be moving. But it should also challenge us to see and hear the world in new ways.


Autumn Glory

by Ramona Luengen

SATB with piano – CP 1873   – duration 4:30
This composition, written in memory of an exceptionally gifted yet humble soprano friend, was inspired by the lyrical poetry of Gregory Orr. The work requires sensitivity to text and a warm intimacy of expression. At m. 59, a suggestion of the stalwart hymn Blessed Assurance begins, eventually finding voice in an intentional gospel-style climax. The textual similarities (“This is my glory, this is my song” in the poem; “This is my story, this is my song” in the hymn) reminds us that even the most humble of lives contribute meaningfully in the glorious fabric of humanity.​

Humble dazzle of autumn.
These leaves on the ground;
each one a page in the Book.

CONKER - from "The Lost Words"

by Ramona Luengen

SSAA with percussion – CP 2194  – duration 3:17

Although all the spells are uniquely enticing, I was attracted to Conker firstly (and simply) because of the noise they make as they fall to the ground. How can this be translated via music relying on the magical capabilities of the human voice? Furthermore, there is a significant second element to this spell-a fabulous little story which quite naturally sets the scene for a modem fairytale being read aloud. What a perfect combination for inspiration!

When the most recent edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary – widely used in schools around the world – was published, a sharp-eyed reader soon noticed that around forty common words concerning nature had been dropped. The words were no longer being used enough by children to merit their place in the dictionary. The list of these “lost words” included acorn, adder, bluebell, dandelion, fern, heron, kingfisher, newt, otter, and willow. Among the words taking their place were attach-ment, blog, broadband, bullet-point, cut-and-paste, and voice-mail. The news of these substitutions – the outdoor and natural being displaced by the indoor and virtual – became seen by many as a powerful sign of the growing gulf between childhood and the natural world.
In response, Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris set out to make a “spell book” that would conjure back twenty of these lost words, and the beings they name, from acorn to wren.
Morna Edmundson, Elektra Women’s Choir director, decided to commission 10 composers to write 2 compositions each – 20 compositions set to the poetry of Robert Macfarlane – and a fabulous concert program was born (premiered in 2022). These pieces are available individually and also as a complete book. They can be performed with piano alone or with instrumentation; flute/piccolo, violin, cello, clarinet/bass clarinet and marimba/percussion.

FERN - from "The Lost Words"

by Ramona Luengen

SSAA with piano – CP 2192  – duration 1:45

I was attracted to Fem for several reasons, including the author’s marvellous use of alliteration and the tightly-wrought, almost stark, writing. I was, however; most intrigued by how active, visual words such as rolling, unfolding, flaring and fanning could be transformed and demonstrated chorally.

How the Blossoms are Falling

by Ramona Luengen

SSAA – CP 1314   – duration 5:15
Ramona has given a exquisite setting to Joy Kogawa’s poem and dedicated it to the late Diane Loomer. Listen to the quality recording by the Elektra Women’s Choir. 


by Ramona Luengen

SATB  –  CP 1047   – duration 3:00
Based on a French poem by Rainer Maria Rilke this piece replicates musically Rilke’s intimacy with the reader, his careful attentiveness and his magical poetic transformation of what is often seen as a common bird. A very gentle, evocative setting, Mésange requires subtle shading and tenderness of tone.

Missa Brevis

by Ramona Luengen

SSAA  –  CP 1038   – duration 5:25
This short mass setting for unaccompanied women’s or treble choir consists of Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei. Although not technically demanding, the work requires sensitivity of phrasing and detailed attention to text and word stress. The heartfelt simplicity of expression underlines the inherent reverence and beauty of this liturgical text. Performance note: Missa Brevis can also be sung by a mixed chorus with tenors doubling sopranos and basses doubling altos.

Salve Regina

by Ramona Luengen

SSAA  –  CP 1010   – duration 4:30
One of the Catholic Church’s four Marian antiphons, is set for unaccompanied women’s choir and solo flute or solo soprano. With thick, luscious harmonies, this is a challenging piece of music, at times requiring 8-part divisi. The work requires a good sense of flow, attention to word stress and a convincing understanding of the pieces structure.

Tenebrae Factae Sunt

by Ramona Luengen

SATB  –  CP 1006   – duration 4:25
This is a challenging work for unaccompanied mixed chorus and alto solo. The biblical text refers to the last hours of Christ on the cross, when “darkness covered the earth.” The work employs a relatively consonant yet contemporary harmonic language and requires controlled, dramatic and well-tuned ensemble singing.

To Everything There is a Season

by Ramona Luengen

SSAA with piano  –  CP 2250   – duration 6:20
I was honoured when Peter Slemon commissioned me to write a work in memory of his sister, a commission deep with personal connections. Peter and I met at the University of British Columbia many, many years ago – and now, decades later, our paths have crossed again. The Toronto-based women’s choir Cantores Celestes is to premiere this piece because of Peter’s friendship with its director, Kelly Galbraith, and also because his niece sings in the choir. Such connections influence both the tenor of the work and the commitment to its performance. I know of no better way to keep the spirit of departed loved ones alive and renewed than through the inherent beauty and human expression of choral music.

Peter asked me to set the well-known text from Ecclesiastes which is, without doubt, perfect in sentiment and viewpoint for this personal commission. And yet, there is a regularity in both the length and structure of the phrases which does not allow for sufficient variation or emotional build-up. We decided to combine Ecclesiastes with a beautiful chant taken from the end of the Stabat Mater Sequence – a chant which emotes hope and a truly remarkable sense of peace. It works in tandem with the Ecclesiastes text and yet also creates contrast and a far richer choral texture. This ancient music expresses the universal and the human – the loss we feel and the peace for which we search when touched by the death of someone we love.

Ubi Caritas

by Ramona Luengen

TTBB  –  CP 1036   – duration 4:55
This composition is a setting of the second verse of the beautiful Maundy Thursday text, Ubi Caritas. The works character and melodic structure is strongly based on chant and, as a result, requires a sensitive approach to subtle tempo changes, text and phrasing. Well-balanced sections are essential. After several climatic sections, the piece ends very simply and poignantly with a request for peace and understanding. Level: moderately difficult.