Commissioned Choral Works

As part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration GNHCC is working with established composers to commission two choral works that are written specifically for GNHCC, our history and our future.  One commissioned work will be rehearsed during the fall 2013 semester and premiered at our November 2013 concert.  The second work will be the culminating artistic effort of our photography and poetry contests, combined with a major commission to be performed at our May 2014 concert.

Fall 2013 – Commissioned Work

GNHCC is proud to announce that Joshua Hummel (Hartford, CT) will be composing the first commissioned work to be performed November 9, 2013

Joshua Hummel (b. 1980)

Born in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina, Josh began his musical training at the age of six.  He earned a BMus in piano and a MA in Dramatic Production from Bob Jones University and MMus in Composition from the Hartt School of Music.

Josh has been the recipient of various composition awards most notably the Frederick Fennel Prize and the Leonard Bernstein Award. His choral work, Later, a setting of the Wassily Kandinsky poem recently won the Cantate Chamber Singers Young Composers Competition. His choral work, Novum Decus Oritur, won First Prize in a Cambridge, MA, choral competition; and though poppies grow, recntely won Second Prize in a London-based choral competition sponsored by Recital Music.

His wind ensemble music has been performed throughout the country by some of the nations top college bands including The University of California at Long Beach, The University of Texas at Austin and the Yale Concert Band.  In February 2011 the Yale Concert Band premiered his award-winning composition, Haiku Symphony No. 4, in Woolsey Hall and Carnegie Hall.  And this summer he won First Prize in the Austin Civic Orchestra 2012 Composition Competition with his orchestra piece, Haiku Symphony No.2.

He has received private composition instruction from composers Michael Hersch, Richard Danielpour, Robert Beaser, soprano, Patrice Michaels, and participated in Master Classes with pianist, Matthew McCright, and composer, Chen Yi. And during the summer of 2011 he will study at La Schola Cantorum in Paris with composers Philip Lasser, David Conte and Mark Shapiro.

Josh is the composer for Colors in Motion, an arts collective in Cambridge, MA, and owns Sinensis Music, a composition studio in Hartford, CT.

Robert James Tomasulo (b. 1991)

For the November performance GNHCC will be working with fast-rising composer and arranger Robert James Tomasulo to bring Broadway to life.  This unique arrangement, built specifically for GNHCC tells a captivating story by seamlessly melding some of Broadways greatest hits!  Thunderous choruses, entertaining duets and solos galore… don’t miss it!

Robert James Tomasulo is currently an undergraduate at the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford where he is pursuing a dual degree in music composition and acoustical engineering. At Hartt, he has studied composition with David Macbride, Tawnie Olsen, and Larry Alan Smith and piano with Paul Rutman. Along with composing/arranging, Robert is an active music director/conductor in both New York and Connecticut.  Most recently he served as Music Director at Ocean Professional Theatre Company in New Jersey.

Spring 2014 - Commissioned Work

The commissioned work for Spring 2014 will be the culminating process of our Photography and Poetry contests.

GNHCC is pleased to announce that Jake Runestad has been selected as the composer of our Spring 2014 Commissioned Work to be performed at our May concert.

Jake Runestad (b. 1986)


Jake RunestadAward-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…with big ideas” (Baltimore Sun) and “stirring and uplifting” (Miami Herald), Jake is a composer with diverse musical experiences, spanning several continents, that have inspired him to create music that captures the emotional vibrancy of life experiences while transcending diverse musical genres.

Mr. Runestad has received commissions and performances from leading ensembles and organizations including the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Seraphic Fire vocal ensemble, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, VocalEssence, the Virginia Arts Festival, the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, the National Lutheran Choir, Cantus, the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, and the Cincinnati Vocal Arts Ensemble. In-demand as a guest conductor and clinician, Mr. Runestad travels extensively to work with musicians of all levels and often gives masterclasses on composing and music business.

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 received awards and grants from ASCAP, the American Composers Forum, the Peabody Conservatory, the Otto Bremmer Foundation, VocalEssence, the Virginia Arts Festival, the National Association for Music Education, the Association for Lutheran Church Musicians, and the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota. In the summers of 2011 and 2012, he was awarded full fellowships for the John Duffy Composer’s Institute at the Virginia Arts Festival where his operas, The Toll and The Abbess and the Acolyte, were performed. He also worked closely with acclaimed composers Bernard Rands, Libby Larsen, David Lang, Tania León, John Musto, and John Duffy. Jake’s Nada Te Turbe was awarded the 2013 Raabe Prize for Excellence in Sacred Music Composition by the Association for Lutheran Church Musicians.

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 vocal ensemble based in Baltimore, MD. An advocate of new music, he has conducted the premiere performances of several of his own works as well as programmed those of up-and-coming composers. As a baritone vocalist, he has performed under renowned conductors including Helmuth Rilling, Dale Warland, Philip Brunelle, Weston Noble, and Ed Polochick.

Mr. Runestad is currently at work on a large commission led by acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Biegel for solo piano, chorus, and orchestra. The new work, Dreams of the Fallen, is a setting of poetry by award-winning poet and Iraq War veteran Brian Turner and focuses on the impact of war on an individual. This new work was commissioned by a group of five orchestras including the Louisiana Philharmonic, Dayton Philharmonic, the Rockford Symphony, the Philharmonic of Southern New Jersey, and the Virginia Arts Festival. Having already garnered attention from the New York Times and other media outlets, Dreams of the Fallen will have its premiere at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, LA in November 2013.

Recent performances include Fear Not, Dear Friend by Cantus – “the premier men’s vocal ensemble in the United States (Fanfare), I Will Lift Mine Eyes by the Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble Seraphic Fire, As Rain to the Sea for soprano and orchestra conducted by Maestro Lee Mills, the Baltimore Symphony-Peabody Conducting Fellow, and The Toll – a one-act opera performed at the Virginia Arts Festival as a part of the John Duffy Composer Institute. Current commissions include Dreams of the Fallen for large choir, solo piano, and orchestra commissioned by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra for pianist Jeffrey Biegel and a consortium of orchestras, a piece for the 2014 Minnesota All-State Chorus, and a new work for the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay conducted by Dr. James Bass.

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 JR Music. Find out more at