Joanne Metcalf won’t receive a funky, little gold statuette for her efforts, but the Lawrence University assistant professor of music says personal satisfaction is its own reward.
Metcalf wrote the main composition on a classical CD by Singer Pur, a German-based sextet that recently won the German Recording Academy’s ECHO Klassik prize for best vocal ensemble performance at an awards ceremony in Munich. The ECHO is considered the most prestigious classical music award in Europe.
Metcalf’s “Il nome del bel fior” (“The Name of that Fair Flower”) is a 25-minute, seven-part vocal composition that was used as the last track on the CD “Rihm, Metcalf, Moody, Sciarino” on the Oehms Classic label. The text of the composition is taken from Dante’s “Paradiso.” The work was performed on the CD by both Singer Pur and London-based The Hilliard Ensemble, one of the world’s premier chamber vocal groups.
“It’s definitely one of the biggest things to ever happen in my life,” Metcalf said of the award. “It’s very gratifying that the CD was recognized and I contributed to it.”
Metcalf, The Hilliard Ensemble and Singer Pur trace their collective roots back a dozen years. In 1994, The Hilliard Ensemble sponsored its first, and because it was overwhelmed with submissions, only international composition competition. Metcalf’s “Music for the Star of the Sea” was named one of the competition’s three winners. Singer Pur was just launching its career at the time and was working with Hilliard Ensemble when Metcalf submitted her winning composition. An ongoing collaboration was instantly born.
Metcalf wrote “Il nome del bel fior” in 1998 and since then, the work has been performed more than 100 times in concerts around the globe.
A member of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music faculty since 2001, Metcalf’s work as a composer has been widely recognized. She earned first-prize honors in 1993 from the International League of Women Composers, was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for study at the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague that same year and more recently earned the Aaron Copland Award from the Copland Heritage Association in 2000.
She earned a Ph.D. in music composition from Duke University.