Ola Gjeilo is a Norwegian composer who currently resides in the United States. Born on May 5, 1978 he grew up in Suki, Norway. When he was 5 years old he began learning to play piano and compose music. By the time he was 7 he was able to read music. He grew up in a very musically eclectic home, listening to classical, jazz, pop, and folk. Ola is currently a New York based full time composer. He has four albums of choral music, along with two albums of work for piano alone. His debut recording as a composer and pianist, the lyrical crossover album Stone Rose, was followed by its sequel, Piano Improvisations. Phoenix Chorale’s best selling Northern Lights collection of Ola’s choral music was named iTunes Best Classical Vocal Album of 2012. Ola Gjeilo is one of the most regularly performed composers in the choral world. An fulfilled piano player, act of spontaneities over his possess distributed choral pieces have ended up a trademark of his collaborations over the world. In spite of the fact that Norwegian by birth, it is maybe Ola’s embraced nation of America that has affected the composer’s unmistakable sound world the most, advancing a fashion that is both modern and recognizable; thick harmonies and wealthy surfaces review film score – music that shapes a major portion of the composer’s motivation.Ola has written many choral pieces of music. One intriguing piece in particular is called Agnus Dei: Phoenix. I chose this piece because I love the harmonies and it is a very gentle and beautiful work. I love that this piece is A Cappella. There are so many sounds to it and it’s all very graceful. It reminds me of peacefulness and grace. While listening to it I like to picture a wide landscape covered in frost and darkness. As the sun rises the frost fades slowly, waiting for the sun’s rays to reach out and touch it. It is my favorite piece that I have listened to by him. This piece is written for A Cappella SATB. It’s a slower piece and sounds almost sad. ” I chose the Agnus Dei text not so much for its literal meaning, but mainly for its singability and comfortable vowels, which lends itself to long notes and melismas” (Gjeilo). The song is written in Latin. http://olagjeilo.com/sheet-music/choral-satb-a-cappella/agnus-dei-phoenix/ The second piece I chose is called Northern Lights. I chose this piece because it is something that feels almost personal. I’m not totally sure how to explain it, but I feel a great connection to this piece. This piece feels like beauty and pain simultaneously. This piece is absolutely beautiful. Just like my last piece, this is also written for SATB A Cappella. The tone sounds almost painful. Like someone is crying out for someone to see the beauty that they see. “Looking out from an attic window one Christmas close to Oslo, over a wintry lake under the stars, I was thinking about how this ‘terrible’ beauty is so profoundly reflected in the northern lights, or aurora borealis, which, having grown up in the southern part of the country, I have only seen once or twice in my life. It is one of the most beautiful natural phenomena I’ve ever witnessed, and has such a powerful, electric quality that must have been both mesmerizing and terrifying to people in the past, when no one knew what it was and when much superstition was attached to these experiences” (Gjeilo). This piece is written in Latin. http://olagjeilo.com/sheet-music/choral-satb-a-cappella/northern-lights/ The third and final piece that I chose is called Wintertide. I find this one particularly interesting, as it is based off of a Norwegian folk song. This piece is actually written in english, and is very seasonal. It describes the changing of autumn to winter, and winter to springtime. It feels a lot happier than the other two pieces. It is written for SATB A Cappella. Ola wrote this piece based off of a favorite Norwegian folk melody. http://olagjeilo.com/sheet-music/choral-satb-a-cappella/wintertide/ Norwegian-born/New York-based composer Ola Gjeilo is a very impressive composer. The works on this program are not innovative as much as they are comfortable in familiar territory of composers. Gjeilo likes to improvise on piano to some of his a cappella choral pieces, which works very well, and in other instances he adds strings, once even a guitar, in an intriguing rhythmic/melodic partnership with piano, and string quartet, in a setting of a couple of stanzas from Yeats’ The Lake Isle of Innisfree. He describes a number of his pieces as cinematically inspired. I agree. The repeated harmonic structures, forms and textures work to advantage in a cinematic score that needs to carry an entire film. I felt a great connection to the works of his that I chose. His music is very light and airy. All of the pieces that I listened to seemed to have this tone to them. Two of the pieced that I chose were written in Latin and the other in English. Ola is very good at creating light and impressive harmonies that sound absolutely amazing. The pieces I chose were also all A Cappella. A good portion of his works are A Cappella. Though he does do a good percent of his pieces with piano, he does the piano himself. He also does improvisational piano in his music. I didn’t choose any of his pieced that incorporated that because I personally preferred his A Cappella works. I find the harmonies very satisfying to listen to. I originally didn’t think much about who I was going to choose as a composer, but now I am glad for who I have chosen. I would gladly go listen to more of his works and get to know him better as a composer and artist. His music was nothing like I expected going into this, but I have definitely discovered a new artist to love. Ola Gjeilo is a well known composer and is greatly recognized for his works. He deserves all the praise and admiration which he receives. His own website is http://olagjeilo.com/.