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Award-winning composer Jake Runestad (b. 1986) is noted for his versatility and wide range of expressive capabilities with music driven by soaring melodies, driving rhythms, and lush textures.Considered “highly imaginative” (Baltimore Sun) and “…a voice for the future of composition” (Jeffrey Biegel, pianist), Jake’s diverse musical experiences, spanning several continents, have inspired him to create music that captures the emotional vibrancy of life experiences while transcending diverse musical genres.

Mr. Runestad was twice named Collegiate Composer of the Year by the Minnesota Music Educators Association and has had performances by professional, student, and community ensembles across the U.S.A. He has received numerous commissions from ensembles and organizations such as the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Seraphic Fire, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, the Baltimore Concerto Orchestra, the Peabody Children’s Chorus, and the Lunar Ensemble. Mr. Runestad has also worked with many ensembles as a guest conductor and clinician of his music. In the summer of 2011, he was awarded a full fellowship for the John Duffy Composer’s Institute at the Virginia Arts Festival where his newest opera, The Abbess and the Acolyte, was workshopped and performed. He also worked closely with acclaimed composers Bernard Rands, Libby Larsen, David Lang, John Musto, and John Duffy. Jake’s Lux Aeterna for SSAA choir was recently selected as a winner for the Essentially Choral Reading Session with Minneapolis-based VocalEssence and conductor Philip Brunelle.

As a conductor, Jake Runestad has worked with student, volunteer, and professional ensembles across the U.S.A. and was the founder and artistic director of the Anima Nova Chamber Choir, a professional ensemble based out of Baltimore, MD, and the Mwimbaji Choir of Winona, MN that performed locally and at the Minnesota Music Educator’s Association state convention. An advocate of new music, he has conducted the premiere of several of his own works as well as programmed those of up-and-coming composers.

A diverse composer, Mr. Runestad has a prolific output represented in many genres including music for wind band, chorus, orchestra, chamber ensembles, jazz ensemble, and opera. He has traveled extensively to experience new cultures and musical sounds and for his bachelor’s degree in music education, he completed his student teaching in Lima, Perú . There, he immersed himself in the musical culture and studied cajón, a traditional Peruvian percussion instrument, with acclaimed percussionist María Del Carmen Dóngo.

Recent performances include I Will Lift Mine Eyes by the Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble Seraphic Fire, Mechanical Minds by the Baltimore Concerto Orchestra, As Rain to the Sea for soprano and orchestra conducted by Maestro Lee Mills, the Baltimore Symphony-Peabody Conducting Fellow, I Will Lift Mine Eyes by Choral Arts (Seattle) under the direction of Dr. Robert Bode (2010 winner of the American Prize), and The Abbess and the Acolyte – a one-act opera performed at the Virginia Arts Festival as a part of the John Duffy Composer Institute. Current commissions include a new work for Seraphic Fire, a work for large choir, piano, and orchestra commissioned by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra for pianist Jeffrey Biegel and a consortium of orchestras, a song cycle for the Baltimore-based Lunar Ensemble conducted by Maestra Gemma New.

Jake Runestad holds a Master’s degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University where he studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts. He has also studied extensively with acclaimed composers Libby Larsen and Donald Fraser. He is currently a composer-in-residence with the Baltimore-based Lunar Ensemble. Mr. Runestad’s music is published by Boosey & Hawkes and Andas Media.

Find out more at: jakerunestad.com

Latest project with pianist Jeffrey Biegel. A consortium commission led by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra:

Dreams of the Fallen - a new work for solo piano, choir, and orchestra.