PROJECT : ENCORE  

Donald Skirvin received The American Prize in Composition for 2020 in the professional division for shorter choral works. He has received National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants together with grants through ArtsWA in Washington State and numerous commissions directly through performing ensembles. He was appointed Resident Composer Emeritus in 2013 for The Esoterics, a Seattle-based a cappella ensemble, after serving fifteen years as Resident Composer for the group for which he has written over forty compositions, a number of which have been accepted into the PROJECT:ENCORE catalog and are recorded and available through Naxos of America. He studied music at the Jordan Conservatory of Music, Indianapolis, and at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is a member of ASCAP, and his music is available through J. W. Pepper, SMP Press, Yelton Rhodes Music, and as self-published works.

Choruses around the US and abroad have performed his music, which is available on eleven CDs. Music critic David Vernier, writing for Classics Today, said that Skirvin’s work “is rich in imagery wrought by imaginative use of harmony and apt, sensitive text-setting. And it’s also just plain gorgeous music that speaks well for this composer’s facility with voices.” Barlow Bradford, renowned composer, teacher, and director of the Utah Chamber Artists has said of Skirvin’s music, “It is meaningful, beautiful, heartfelt, (and) technically superb!” Composer and conductor, Karen P. Thomas, has noted that “Skirvin is a skilled and prolific composer of choral music . . . [he] excels at both expressing the texts in music and at fitting his own musical expression to the rhythm of the poetry.”

About choral composition, Skirvin says, “I want to create choral pieces whose music is deeply imbued with the words of the poet. For such a piece to be successful and effective, I think the music must arise seamlessly and inevitably from the words themselves. Anyone who listens to my music can hear that the soundscape is definitely modern. I value melody in my writing as well as rich and sometimes complex harmonic structures and shifting tonal centers. I am fond of writing unusual sonorities that tend, I think, to surprise the listener.”


Longing, DreamingVoicing: SSAA-TTBB  Accompaniment: Unaccompanied  Performance Length: 2:55  Notation: Standard  Text Source: Gordon E. Abshire  Language: English  Descriptive Terms: Dream, Longing, Love, Passion, Poignant  First Performance: Nov 13, 1998: The Esoterics, Eric Banks, Seattle, WA Text Setting Composer’s Notes Source for Scores (P:E 573/1195~2020-Q3)
The Delight Song of Tsoai-taleeVoicing: SATB  Accompaniment: Unaccompanied  Performance Length: 1:30  Notation: Standard  Text Source: N. Scott Momaday  Language: English  Descriptive Terms: Joyous, Lively, Spiritual  First Performance: September 22, 2000 : The Esoterics, Eric Banks, Seattle, WA Text Setting Composer’s Notes Source for Scores (P:E 573/1516~2021-Q1)
There will come soft rainsVoicing: SSAATTBB  Accompaniment: Unaccompanied  Performance Length: 3:27  Notation: Standard  Text Source: Sara Teasdale  Language: English  Descriptive Terms: Anti-war, Contemplative  First Performance: Dec 02, 2016: The Esoterics, Eric Banks, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Seattle, WA Text Setting Composer’s Notes Source for Scores (P:E 573/574~2017-Q1)
Clear eveningVoicing: SATB  Accompaniment: Unaccompanied  Performance Length: 4:22  Notation: Standard  Text Source: Sara Teasdale: Dark of the Moon   Language: English  Descriptive Terms: Autumnal, Contemplative, Evening, Evocative  First Performance: Oct 17, 2009: The Esoterics, Eric Banks, Seattle Text Setting Composer’s Notes Source for Scores (P:E 573/664~2017-Q3)
Sometimes, for eternityVoicing: SATB  Accompaniment: Violin  Performance Length: 3:19  Notation: Standard  Text Source: Gordon E. Abshire from "A Collection of Poetry"  Language: English  Descriptive Terms: Life In Music, Memorial, Secular Requiem  First Performance: Oct 11, 2014: Opus 7, Loren Pontén, Seattle, WA Text Setting Composer’s Notes Source for Scores (P:E 573/922~2019-Q1)
The Giver of StarsVoicing: SATB  Accompaniment: Piano  Performance Length: 4:20  Notation: Standard  Text Source: Amy Lowell from "Sword Blades and Poppy Seed" (1914)  Language: English  Seasonal/Liturgical Uses: Spring  Descriptive Terms: Beauty, Ecstasy, Life, Love, Soul  First Performance: Sep 13, 2013: Cascadian Chorale, Seattle Bach Choir, and Cantabile of Skagit Valley, Donald Skirvin, St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle, WA Text Setting Composer’s Notes Source for Scores (P:E 573/1113~2020-Q2)
Hymn to the MoonVoicing: SSATBB  Solo(s): Soprano (incidental)  Accompaniment: Unaccompanied  Performance Length: 4:17  Notation: Standard  Text Source: Homer as translated by Percy Bysshe Shelley  Language: English  Descriptive Terms: Celestial, Moon, Hymn, Homer, Shelley  First Performance: June 15, 2001 : The Esoterics, Eric Banks, All Pilgrims Christian Church, Seattle, WA Text Setting Composer’s Notes Source for Scores (P:E 573/1539~2021-Q2)
The Fleeting WorldVoicing: SATB  Accompaniment: Unaccompanied  Performance Length: 6:26  Notation: Standard  Text Source: Diamond Sutra, Gordon E. Abshire  Language: English  Descriptive Terms: Buddhist, Enlightenment, Impermanence, Meditative  First Performance: Dec 10, 2005: The Esoterics, Eric Banks, Seattle, WA Text Setting Composer’s Notes Source for Scores (P:E 573/745~2018-Q1)
Fear No MoreVoicing: SATB  Accompaniment: Unaccompanied  Performance Length: 6:55  Notation: Standard  Text Source: Cymbeline by William Shakespeare, Act IV, Scene 2  Language: English  Seasonal/Liturgical Uses: Memorial Services  Descriptive Terms: Consolation, Death, Threnody  First Performance: Feb 11, 2018: Seattle Pro Musica, Karen P. Thomas, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Olympia WA Text Setting Composer’s Notes Source for Scores (P:E 573/816~2018-Q2)
AlchemyVoicing: SATB  Accompaniment: Unaccompanied  Performance Length: 12:44  Notation: Standard  Text Source: Sara Teasdale  Language: English  Descriptive Terms: Impermanence, Joy, Path Of Love, Transformation  First Performance: Jun 15, 2002: The Esoterics, Eric Banks, Seattle, Washington Text Setting Composer’s Notes Source for Scores (P:E 573/655~2017-Q2)
...stars to holdVoicing: SSATBB  Solo(s): Soprano, Alto, Baritone  Accompaniment: Unaccompanied  Performance Length: 12:30  Notation: Standard  Text Source: Sara Teasdale  Language: English  Descriptive Terms: Celestial, Hope, Human Condition, Loss, Peace  First Performance: Dec 10, 2001: The Esoterics, Eric Banks, Seattle, WA Text Setting Composer’s Notes Source for Scores (P:E 573/729~2017-Q4)
Curve of GoldVoicing: SATB  Solo(s): Soprano  Accompaniment: Piano  Performance Length: 12:55  Notation: Standard  Text Source: Sara Teasdale: Love Songs  Language: English  Descriptive Terms: Celebration, Journey, Loss, Love, Redemption  First Performance: Jun 13, 2015: Seattle Choral Company, Freddie Coleman, St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle, WA Text Setting Composer’s Notes Source for Scores (P:E 573/862~2018-Q3)
Winter ScenesVoicing: SATB, SSAA, TTBB  Accompaniment: Piano, String Orchestra  Performance Length: 18:46  Notation: Standard  Text Source: Bliss Carman  Language: English  Seasonal/Liturgical Uses: Winter  Descriptive Terms: Timelessness, Beauty, Stillness, Tranquility  First Performance: May 02, 2016 : Utah Chamber Artists, Barlow Bradford, Libby Gardner Concert Hall Text Setting Composer’s Notes Source for Scores (P:E 573/1531~2021-Q2)
  Working