Winter Choral Concert to feature composer Gjeilo

The School of Music at Western Carolina University will stage its Winter Choral Concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 7, in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

Admission is free and open to the public.

The featured student ensembles are the University Chorus and the Concert Choir, both conducted by Michael Lancaster, director of choral activities. The Catamount Singers and Electric Soul instrumental ensemble, led by music faculty members Bruce H. Frazier and Jon Henson, also will perform.

Composer Ola Gjeilo will be the guest performer. A native of Norway, Gjeilo (pronounced yay-lo) came to the U.S. to study at the Juilliard School and now lives in Atlanta. His debut recording as a pianist-composer, the lyrical crossover album “Stone Rose,” was followed by its 2012 sequel, “Piano Improvisations.”

“His compositions for chorus are being performed all across the U.S. and are written very well for the voice, taking advantage of its natural beauty and sonorities,” Lancaster said. “His music is very accessible for musicians and non-musicians alike.”

Accompanied by Gjeilo on the pieces calling for piano, the University Chorus and the Concert Choir will perform several of his compositions. Gjeilo will speak to the audience about the genesis of each of the pieces. Other pieces will include selections by G.F. Handel, Emma Lou Diemer and Bob Chilcott. Additional musicians involved in the concert include Norwegian guitarist Kristian Kvalvaag and Asheville Symphony string musicians Jason Posnock, violin; Debra Anthony, violin; Gina Caldwell, viola; and Katie Hamilton, cello.

The performance is made possible by funding from the WCU Artist-in-Residence Program.

For more information, call the WCU School of Music at 828-227-7242.