UCSB Composition alumnus Lansing McLoskey’s "Zealot Canticles" receives 2018 Grammy Award nomination for Best Choral Performance

Lansing McLoskey (photo by Raniero Tazzi)
Lansing McLoskey (photo by Raniero Tazzi)
A recording of UCSB Composition alumnus Lansing McLoskey’s oratorio, Zealot Canticles: An oratorio for tolerance, has been nominated for a 2018 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance. Based on works by Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, the 80-minute oratorio for choir, soloists, clarinet, and string quartet was a Barlow Commission for The Crossing, a professional chamber choir dedicated to new music and conducted by Donald Nally. The CD was released this fall on Innova Records.
The libretto of McLoskey’s Zealot Canticles incorporates seven poems from Soyinka’s “Twelve Canticles for the Zealot,” which serve as a glimpse into the equally captivating and horrifying minds of fanatics. The composer also drew inspiration from several other works by Soyinka, including The Man Died, the play Madmen and Specialists, and various interviews and speeches given by Soyinka. Following his arrest and imprisonment in 1967 for denouncing the suppression of human rights and free speech by Nigeria’s military dictatorship, Soyinka has remained an outspoken advocate for human rights. Throughout the 20 movements of the piece, Soyinka’s texts and Lansing’s responses serve as universal pleas for peace and tolerance, yet force the audience to look into the mirror and recognize the thin line between devotion and intolerance, zealotry and radicalism. A major work on themes that dominate public discourse every day, the Zealot Canticles has been hailed as “outstanding,” and “a work of extraordinary beauty, filled with knowing worldliness and inner certainty” by Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review.
McLoskey currently serves as Professor of Composition at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami in Miami, FL. He is the recipient of more than three-dozen national & international composition awards, including two awards from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, the 2018 Copland House Award and Commission, and the 2016 American Prize. He has also been named a 2019 Fellow at the Bogliasco Centre (Italy). Recent performances include 19 international performances in the last two seasons alone and the premiere of a new piano work at Carnegie Hall in June of 2018 by pianist Scott Holden. Current projects include an opera commissioned by Guerilla Opera (Boston) for 2019/20, and commissions for Boston Choral Ensemble and Kammerkoret NOVA (Oslo, Norway).
McLoskey received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Composition in 1989 from UC Santa Barbara, where he studied with Edward Applebaum, Peter Lieuwen, Allyson Brown Applebaum (now Allyson Applebaum Wells), and Alejandro Planchart. McLoskey continued his composition studies at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music, and Harvard University (Ph.D.).
Learn more about McLoskey and his work at lansingmcloskey.com.
Stream Zealot Canticles at Spotify.com.
Lansing McLoskey (photo by Raniero Tazzi)