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 Shawn L. Kirchner

Shawn Kirchner (b.1970) is a composer and songwriter active in the musical circles of Los Angeles. His choral compositions are performed throughout the United States and abroad. He is best known for his arrangement of the Kenyan song Wana Baraka. The Los Angeles Master Chorale has often presented Kirchner's choral pieces in their concerts at LA's Walt Disney Concert Hall, and also commissioned his 2007 setting of the Pablo Neruda sonnet, Tu Voz. The Master Chorale's final concert of the 2009/2010 season featured a premiere of his most recent arrangements, Heavenly Home: Three American Songs, which received mention in the LA Times concert review as "effectively" written works of "sophistication." In addition to composing, songwriting has become a career focus for Kirchner in recent years. His songs combine emotional warmth with carefully crafted lyrics, and are written in a range of styles including bluegrass, folk, country, gospel and jazz. Kirchner's bluegrass and country songs can be heard on the CD Meet Me on the Mountain, and his original jazz tunes are featured in club and concert performances of the Shawn Kirchner Quartet.

Kirchner also maintains an active performing career as a singer and pianist. A tenor with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, he sings regularly with the Chorale and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Disney Hall and at the Hollywood Bowl in collaborations with the world's leading conductors and composers. Under the Master Chorale’s music director Grant Gershon, he has sung in several projects with Steve Reich, including two recordings for Nonesuch Records and a performance at Lincoln Center in honor of the composer’s 70th birthday. His solo appearances with the Master Chorale include work with Meredith Monk, Ariel Ramirez’ Missa Criolla, and Arvo Part's Miserere. Kirchner's work as a pianist includes performances with the Master Chorale at Disney Hall and on tour as well as free-lance work in recitals, concerts, and studio sessions. Before moving to the Los Angeles area, he was a vocal coach/pianist in Chicago, and played for Neil Rosenshein’s studio at the Lyric Opera’s Center for American Artists. Initially trained in classical music, his improvisational skills now encompass many styles.

Kirchner's growing list of TV/Film credits includes his work as music director/arranger for the 2004 CBS Christmas Eve special Enter the Light of Life, and his singing on such feature film soundtracks as Avatar, X- Men Origins: Wolverine, Horton Hears a Who, National Treasure II: Book of Secrets, Lady in the Water, License to Wed, Race to Witch Mountain, Sex in the City II, The Rite, and X-Men: First Class.

Kirchner was raised with his triplet brother and sister in Cedar Falls, Iowa. His principal piano teachers were Joan Smalley and George Katz, and Susan Beasley and Graeme Cowen were his mentors in choral music. He studied at Manchester College, where he earned a BA in Peace Studies under Kenneth Brown, and was mentored in songwriting by the poet/songwriter Steve Kinzie. He spent his junior year abroad, studying Chinese language, literature, history and music at the Dalian Foreign Language Institute in Dalian, China. He earned an MA in Choral Conducting from the University of Iowa, where he studied with William Hatcher and Richard Bloesch. In recent years, Kirchner has been mentored in choral arranging and music philosophy by Alice Parker.

Shawn L. Kirchner has 13 titles published with Santa Barbara.
Click on any title below to view the complete score and hear a recording if available.

Bright Morning Stars SATB, bar. solo SBMP 594 Audio Audio Video
Bright Morning Stars SSAA SBMP 1077 Audio Audio Video
Bright Morning Stars TTBB SBMP 1246 Audio Audio Video
Cornerstone TTBB SBMP 1385 Audio Video
Cornerstone SATB / bar. / alto solo SBMP 747 Audio Audio Video
Morning Has Broken SATB SBMP 573 Audio Audio Video
Rain Come Down SATB SBMP 503 Audio Audio
Rain Come Down SSA SBMP 669 Audio Audio
Tu sangre en la mía SATB SBMP 1377 Audio Audio Video
Tu Voz SATB SBMP 705 Audio Audio Video
Wana Baraka SSATBB SBMP 482 Audio Audio Video
Wana Baraka SSA div. SBMP 554 Audio Audio Video
Wana Baraka TTTBBB SBMP 807 Audio Audio Video

Audio = See the complete score    Audio = Hear recording   Video = Watch performance video

arr. by
Sean Barnette