On Working with Michael John Trotta

“Our commissioning process couldn’t have been more optimal. His organization and willingness to meet our vision, combined with infusing his own aesthetic stamp, resulted in a composition that was absolutely perfect.” – Michael Vaughn (College Station, TX)

“His mission was to understand our needs and to write music that would deliver exactly what we were hoping for. Michael understands how to write for the voice and he knows how to touch hearts through his writing. Working with Michael has been a great privilege and pleasure; indeed, a highlight in my career as a conductor, musician, and administrator. – Laurel Sanders (State College, PA)

“His attention to range and difficulty level without sacrificing emotion or musicality allowed my choir to connect their work to the outside world and convey their emotions to the audience. Michael was so helpful and easy to work with. He made our vision come to life in a way no one else could have! ” – Melody Villegas (Mesquite, TX)

“He took time to understand the mission of the project and worked to fulfill it . . . we couldn’t be happier.” – Rebecca Raber (Bismarck, ND)

“His down to earth approachability allowed all of us to access our own artistry and musicality immediately.” – Emily Kaster (Middletown, NJ)

“His music always keeps the singers in mind. He also makes it financial feasible to be part of a consortium of choirs to be able to commission larger works. Our choir loves it.” – Michael Monnikendam (Seattle, WA)

“Writes with consideration of range and tessituras for all voice types . . . a great experience for my high school and community singers.This work brought two of my choirs together for wonderful intergenerational singing.” – David Richardson (Summerville, SC)

Working with Michael was an incredible experience. He truly listened and composed a piece exactly like I had envisioned. I wanted my commission to empower my Treble Choir. Michael thought of everything! [He cleverly combined the everything I wanted] to make a masterpiece. I was able to take my choir to another level because of his work. – Heather Orr (Montgomery, TX)

“He was so encouraging and warm, yet commanded the room and encouraged excellent singing at all times. He challenged my singers to think artistically and perform the piece whole-heartedly.” – Joanna Scarangello (Hackettstown, NJ)

“Amazing to work with! The music was tailored to fit our needs while maintaining flair that drew us to his music to begin with!” – Leigh Grizzard (Pekin, IL)

“Elegant and accessible, the appropriate amount of challenge while retaining a feeling that it is always within reach for any ensemble.” – Aaron Hufty (San Antonio, TX)

“[There is] a keen sense of creativity in his economy of melodic and harmonic material, bringing an organic connection throughout the piece” – Stephen Mitchell (Atlanta, GA)

On the Music

“Soaring melodies and beautiful harmonies.” – Bert Fox (Raleigh, NC)

“This piece is a powerful new additional to the repertory . . . Trotta’s music is emotionally deep and musically interesting.” – John Hughes (Chicago, IL)

“It can be a struggle to find music that is stimulating … without being overcomplicated in voicing or harmonization. His pieces have struck that balance that have allowed my singers to feel successful.” – Emily Kaster (Middletown, NJ)

“Trotta taps into our essential holiness and transports us to a place where creativity and quiet contemplation have room to resonate. – Catherine Mulligan Portsmouth, NH)

“[His] distinctive use of syncopation and dissonance imbue the work with its contemporary freshness . . . intellectual and accessible, lyrical and powerful, this work is a stunning and important addition to 21st century repertoire.” – Laurel Luke Christensen (Philadelphia, PA)

“The music is accessible for developing choirs, yet contains concepts that encourage musical growth and the stretching of concepts to challenge the singers as well.” – Joanna Scarangello (Hackettstown, NJ)

“Wonderful and powerfully moving . . . the use of melodic line and close harmonies really capture the essence of the text.” – Karen Mercer (Philadelphia, PA)

“Michael is absolutely brilliant, yet at the same time approachable and real. His compositions are well written with the singer in mind. Beautiful and intense vocal lines that truly feature the ensemble. ” – Heather Orr (Montgomery, TX)

“Moving, muscular, dramatic, and terrible insightful. He sees into the human soul” – Richard Stafford (New York, NY)

“The orchestra tells a story that the choral parts support and deepen.” – Suzanne Bowan (Louisville, KY)

“What a great piece of modern choral music, accessible to everyone . . . not just classical music buffs.” – William Sterling (London, England)

“An inspired score and much awaited addition to the sacred choral repertoire.” – Timothy Paul Banks (Birmingham, AL)

“The choir really enjoyed singing your canticles. Everything about them (range, style, sight-readability) suits us perfectly.” – Jeremy Summerly (London, England)

Reviews for composer, Michael John Trotta. See what critics are saying about the music:

“tender harmonies and a palette of glowing vocal and instrumental colors . . . rapturous ” – Gramophone

“a work solidly grounded in tradition, yet incorporates a musical language that, in George Gershwin’s words, ‘informs the thoughts and aspirations of the people and the time.’” – Robert Rawlins – The Choral Scholar

“weaves rich harmonies and memorable melodic lines into delightful tapestries of sound” Barnaby Hughes – Stage and Cinema

“inspired and deeply stirring, and the entire listening experience is a rich and vivid one” Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold – Fanfare Magazine

“a fascinating, infectious setting . . . effectively carries out that dialogue between the ancient Latin chant and the modern listener” – Choral Journal

“elegant, singable music with a strong spiritual heft.” Brian Morton – Choir and Organ Magazine

“Michael John Trotta’s choral music is a lineal descendant of Aaron Copland’s. Trotta writes elegant, singable music with a strong spiritual heft. Lovely singing by the Chorale, with that nice blending of male and female forces only American forces seem to manage with such simplicity.” – Choir and Organ Magazine

“There is something remarkably reassuring about the warmth of Michael John Trotta’s devotional music. The choir (Mystical Voices Chorale) is faultless, perfectly balanced, and evidently completely behind the sentiments expressed here. ” – Fanfare Magazine

“New settings with steady pacing display careful craftsmanship and a penchant for sweet, gentle mood painting, engendering reflection and transcendence.” – Artsong Update

“Trotta creates tonal, textured, richly colored tapestries of sound and emotion. His own considerable experience as a choral conductor makes his writing for the voice grateful, and the sound he elicits from the 30-plus singers is a lush, full, blended one that nonetheless shapes the harmonies with great clarity. However, it is the a cappella compositions on the recording that are some of Trotta’s most moving because they showcase his intimate knowledge of the human voice and his sensitivity to the capabilities of a choral ensemble. Veni Creator Spiritus is a haunting combination of modern tonalities with chant.” – Fanfare Magazine

“Response to the concert and recording have also been hugely positive. Choral Scholar called it “a significant achievement, a worthy participant in the choral tradition, and a welcome contribution to the literature,” while Fanfare magazine called it “a monumental, poignant retelling. . .The seven-movement work has a sweep and grandeur at the same time that it achieves a quiet, deeply emotional intimacy. As in all of Trotta’s choral writing, there is a strong sense of archietecture combined with drama, an arresting command of thematic material and melody, and a haunting layer of mysticism that etches the work into memory.” – Scene 4

“Veni, Veni Emmanuel is a fascinating, infectious setting… effectively carries out that dialogue between the ancient Latin chant and the modern listener. The summer may as well be Advent and Christmas for the church musician, and Michael John Trotta’s Veni, Veni Emmanuel explodes on the listener with modern twenty-first- century suspended harmonies and hip-hop inspired percussion rhythms to create a fascinating, infectious setting for these ancient and beloved Advent antiphons.” – Choral Journal

In his famous Poetics of Music of 1939, Stravinsky observes, “A real tradition is not the relic of a past that is irretrievably gone; it is a living force that animates and informs the present.” Michael J. Trotta’s Seven Last Words is a work solidly grounded in tradition, yet incorporates a musical language that, in George Gershwin’s words, “informs the thoughts and aspirations of the people and the time. The dynamic interplay of time-honored musical gestures with present-day sonorities is present at the outset of the piece.” – Choral Scholar

“The American composer Michael John Trotta has concentrated on choral music for most of his career. The newest disc devoted to his works offers both secular and sacred fare. Its title, ‘For a Breath of Ecstasy,’ is a line from one of the seven Sara Teasdale poems Trotta has set for choir, oboe and string quartet. The poems come from an extensive Teasdale collection, Love Songs, that won her the first Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 1918.

The poems in Trotta’s cycle, commissioned to mark the Teasdale-Pulitzer centennial, are reflections by a woman grateful for the affection she has received. The lyrical verses prompted the composer to summon equally lyrical musical responses, with appealing melodic lines, tender harmonies and a palette of glowing vocal and instrumental colors.

Trotta binds the cycle together with a beguiling theme, first played by the oboe, that leads to all manner of lovely choral lines. The ‘ecstasy’ soars in the fifth song, ‘Spend all you have on loveliness’, a poignant and apt thought, especially for a poet who was called ‘first, last and always a singer’ in an early review of Love Songs. The disc is rounded out by three sacred pieces for unaccompanied choir that show Trotta in his rapturous element, whether the texts are English or Latin.

The Northwestern State University Chamber Choir, from Louisiana, perform all of the works with fine sense of ensemble and words under the direction of Nicholaus B Cummins.” – Gramophone

“weaves rich harmonies and memorable melodic lines into delightful tapestries of sound” – Stage and Cinema

“captures the allegorical relationship between the spiritual and temporal” – Spectrum Music

“a beautiful work with evocative text set to beautiful music” – Reprise

“legato vocal lines that unfold to reveal a subtle interplay between voices, a wistful quality to this lyrical composition” – Sounding Board

“a beautiful, fittingly peaceful opening theme, the words are set clearly, but with an imaginative variety of vocal textures, with vocal lines that unfold naturally, emulating flowing chant lines ” – Pastoral Music

“an outstanding example” – Choralnet

“editor’s choice” – JW Pepper

“a fresh new take” – Choral Director Magazine