Marilyn Biery and James Biery November 2013 News
Husband/wife composers, organists, conductors
Marilyn and Jim participated in a cross-cultural arts project sponsored by the Detroit School of the Arts. The "Animated Shakespeare Project" brought together a team of composers and performers to create 2 minute sound tracks that will be used for short animated films to be created by students at the school. Shakespeare's "Macbeth" provided the overall theme for the project. Marilyn and Jim composed pieces specifically for this project, and collaborated with students at DSA to create the recordings in October 2013. Marilyn's piece is "Sound and Fury" LISTEN; Jim's piece is "Double Double" LISTEN.
During the fall of 2013, Marilyn and Jim presented a concert of their music at Holy Angels Church in South Meriden, CT, sponsored by the Hartford Chapter of NPM, and a duet concert at All Saints Episcopal Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, sponsored by the Oklahoma City Chapter of the AGO. Jim presented a solo recital (with one duet with Marilyn) at Third Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan, as part of their Rietberg Concert Series.
Marilyn recently finished a new set of organ pieces that will be available from Augsburg Fortress in March of 2014. "As the Grains of Wheat" will include settings of AS THE GRAINS OF WHEAT, BAPTIZED AND SET FREE, BE NOT AFRAID, GOOD SOIL, NOW WE REMAIN, SHANTI, WE ARE CALLED, YOU ARE MINE, and the previously published ON EAGLE'S WINGS.
The Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Detroit, Michigan, where Jeremy David Tarrant is Canon Precentor, commissioned two new hymns from Jim and Marilyn in 2012. Marilyn's text "The Beauty of this Sacred Place" with Jim's tune "WATTON" (named in honor of Deacon Sharon Watton) was first sung on Pentecost. The second hymn, "The Spirit's Voice Speaks Unity" (tune name DETROIT CATHEDRAL) was premiered in September.
Jim's Recent Commissions
Jim recently completed a new anthem for First Presbyterian Church of Port Huron, Michigan, where John Pavik is Music Director and Organist. The new piece for choir and organ is for the church's 125th anniversary celebration in 2014. A May premiere is planned.
Grosse Pointe Memorial Church Choir members Judy Masserang and Kevin O'Brien commissioned a new anthem, and it received its first performance at Memorial Church on May 19, 2013. The text is a passage from the book of Colossians, and the piece is entitled "Holy and Beloved." Augsburg Fortress will be publishing the anthem. LISTEN
Third Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan, where Linda Strouf is minister of music, commissioned a new anthem in 2012. This piece is a setting of the Fred Pratt Green text "Rejoice in God's Saints" for SATB choir and organ. The anthem was premiered in November of 2012. It has been accepted for publication by GIA Publications.
Michael Silhavy commissioned a concertato setting of Richard Proulx's hymntune "FIAT LUX" in celebration of his ministry with the choir at St. William Church in Fridley, Minnesota. The new setting was premiered on May 27, 2012. This piece is now available from GIA Publications.
St. Paul's Methodist Church in Omaha commissioned a choral setting of the text "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say" for Lent of 2012. The new piece is scored for SATB choir, oboe, and organ, and was premiered in Omaha in March of that year. It will be published by MorningStar. Previously the church commissioned an anthem setting of Psalm 121 in honor of the late Roger B. Arnold, former organist at St. Paul's and Jim's organ teacher. The anthem, "My Help Cometh From the Lord," was premiered on All Saints Sunday 2006 in Omaha. Click here to view Jim's YouTube video interpretation of that anthem, which will be published by GIA Publications.
St. Lorenz Lutheran Church in Frankenmuth, Michigan, commissioned a setting of the Christmas Gospel (Luke 2:1-20) for choir, two violins, cello, and organ. Dr. Scott Hyslop is Director of Music at St. Lorenz. The piece was premiered at St. Lorenz's 60th annual Christmas Festival concerts on December 11 and 12, 2010. A version for woodwinds and cello was performed at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church on Christmas Eve 2010.
Marilyn's Newest Publications
An American Perspective: Settings of Old and New Tunes for Organ (Augsburg-Fortress 9781451401820, 2011)
Settings of AZMON, BETHOLD, BOURBON, BREAD OF LIFE, CONVERSE, INNISFREE FARM, NETTLETON, and SONG OF PRAISE
Jim's Newest Publications
Love Never Ends (MorningStar MSM-50-9426, 2014) VIEW LISTEN
SATB Choir, Keyboard, optional violin and trumpet
This anthem, based on texts from Romans and 1 Corinthians, was commissioned by Chris Kent of St. John Lutheran Church, Louisville, Kentucky, on the occasion of the retirement of their pastor.
Festive Hymn Settings for Congregational Singing, Set 4: General (MorningStar MSM-20-754, 2014) VIEW
Settings of AZMON, HOLY MANNA, JERUSALEM, and NETTLETON for brass quartet, organ, and optional soprano descant, tuba, and timpani. Also available for on-demand download from MorningStar.
Sinfonia Festiva (GIA Publications G-8378, 2013) LISTEN
Brass quartet, organ, optional tuba and timpani
This exciting piece was commissioned by White Memorial Presbyterian Church, Raleigh, North Carolina, where Karl Zinsmeister is Director of Music. Near the end, the tune "Ich halte Treulich still" from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach is quoted.
Nowell, Nowell: Six Carol Settings for Organ with Minimal Pedal (MorningStar 10-173, 2013) VIEW LISTEN
The sequel to the book "The Holly and the Ivy," this volume contains delightful new settings of Carol of the Birds, Cherry Tree Carol, I Am So Glad, Masters In this Hall, Sing Lullaby, and Now the Holly Bears a Berry
Journey to the Cross (Concordia 97-7537, 2013) VIEW LISTEN
New organ settings of 8 hymns for Lent and Holy Week.
It Is Well with My Soul (GIA G-8377) VIEW
SATB Choir, Keyboard
The beloved hymn receives a sensitive and innovative treatment in this new arrangement.
Father, If this Cup Cannot Pass: A Holy Week Meditation (MorningStar MSM-80-315, 2013) VIEW LISTEN
SATB Choir, Organ, opt. treble instrument, opt. cello
The words of Jesus are reflectively set as a refrain for SATB voices and optional congregation, while the more poignant and chromatic verses are to be sung by soloists or sections of the choir. The instrument parts enhance the expressiveness but are optional.
The Lord Will Reign For Ever (MorningStar MSM-50-8920, 2011) VIEW LISTEN
SATB Choir, Trumpet, and Organ
Commissioned by the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington, Virginia, where Richard Gibala is Director of Music, this piece is a festive anthem on Christ the King texts.
Easter Rejoicing (MorningStar MSM-50-8205, 2011) VIEW LISTEN
SATB Choir, organ, and trumpet
Commissioned by St. Mary's Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, where Mary Joy Rieder directs the music and plays the organ, Easter Rejoicing is a joyful anthem for Easter Sunday.