Chorale Bel Canto’s Christmas concerts this Saturday, December 7 at 4:00 and 7:30pm will include on the program several carols by local composer and educator, Edward David Zeliff. We will sing Zeliff’s arrangements of several traditional carols: Away in A Manger, Silent Night, Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella, What Child Is This, and the Wexford Carol. In addition, we will perform an original work by Zeliff, Who Are You, My Little One?, a lovely and poignant telling of the nativity story from the perspective of Mary.
A resident of Southern California, Edward David Zeliff (b. 1947) studied piano with Earle Voorhies (a student of Alexander Siloti, who was himself a student of Franz Liszt and a teacher of Rachmaninoff). He earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition at the California Institute of the Arts, and followed that with many years in the religious film community composing and conducting a number of scores for short subjects and features, recording in London and Los Angeles. Later he earned both his Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Composition at Claremont Graduate University, studying with Peter Boyer and Frank Campo. He serves there as adjunct faculty teaching composition. In addition to teaching privately, he continues to serve as a church music director, regularly writing new music for services and special concert programs.
Dr. Zeliff’s catalogue includes works for solo voice, piano literature, choral music, and several substantial works for orchestra, and orchestra with chorus. Highlights from his output include the song cycles Voyager and Of Loss, Life, and Love: Songs on the Poetry of Walt Whitman, both performed recently by the extraordinarily talented young artists Solène and Sarah Le Van with the composer accompanying. In the Memory Of, scored for solo cello and chamber orchestra, received its world premiere at the Royal College of Music under the direction of Marcy Sudock; God Thoughts, for mixed chorus, harp, and strings on select poetry of Emily Dickinson, was featured by Phillip Brunelle and VocalEssence in their Essentially Choral reading sessions; Equatoria, for solo voice and chamber orchestra, was premiered on the CD Composition at Claremont Graduate University with the composer conducting; and Out of Time, a suite for solo piano, is a recital staple given numerous insightful performances by internationally acclaimed pianist Edith Orloff.
Dr. Zeliff’s Christmas music regularly enjoys local performances by the acclaimed Montainside Master Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Sébastien Vallée, and this holiday season sees new performances by the Chorale Bel Canto, led by Stephen Gothold. An original work, Who Are You, My Little One? (scored for mixed chorus, oboe, and piano),was premiered by the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay under the direction of Dr. Richard Zielinski, and another work appropriate to the season, the a cappella setting of My Soul Magnifies the Lord was given its premiere by the Choral Arts Ensemble of Rochester, Minnesota, under the direction of Michael Culloton.