This week I’m speaking with Chandler Branch, Executive Director of Soli Deo Gloria (www.sdgmusic.org), an organization that preserves, promotes, and enhances the classical sacred music repertoire.
LeAnne: Tell me about SDG’s current projects.
Chandler: We are currently preparing to celebrate the world premiere of the largest work we have ever commissioned. This Sunday, March 25, the Grammy-nominated Los Angeles Master Chorale will give the world premiere of this new work, written by Pulitzer prize-winning composer Christopher Rouse. Mr. Rouse has composed a Requiem for large orchestra, double chorus, children’s chorus and baritone soloist. It promises to be a very significant occasion. Meanwhile, we have quite a few other commissioning projects in various stages of development, among them a new oratorio for chorus and orchestra that will highlight the Old Testament story of Daniel and the “Fiery Furnace.” This work is being written by American composer Daniel Kellogg and we are very excited about its introduction into the repertoire next season by a major orchestra on the west coast (I can’t officially announce the details quite yet!).
In the realm of recordings, we are in the midst of a multi-year project to sponsor high definition DVD productions of the three great Bach works I mentioned above, all filmed in the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. The first disc was released early this year on the Virgin Classics label and features the Mass in B Minor, conducted by John Nelson.
LM: How did you get involved with SDG? What is your background in music?
CB: I’ve been a student of music most my life. I began playing the violin at age five, stuck with it and eventually earned my BA in music performance. During my college years I developed an interest in music theory, conducting and composition. The latter discipline eventually blossomed into a wonderfully fulfilling pursuit for me and continues to be a source of joy in my life. Soon after college, a classmate of mine who had studied Music Business and was at that time the Project Manager of Soli Deo Gloria introduced me to the organization and I welcomed the opportunity to join the staff. Since then, almost seven years ago, my responsibility and involvement with the organization has increased and taken on added meaning to me personally. On the business side of things, from the very beginning, Soli Deo Gloria has been a great environment for me in which to learn the mechanics of music administration, but as my involvement has grown, the work has also become more connected to my faith in Christ as I pray for God’s guidance and blessing on our efforts. Among the things I enjoy most about my job is the opportunity to direct projects that attract a diverse interest while remaining rooted in a commitment to honor God.
Coming soon: Q&As with CITA, an actor, a painter, and an expert on creativity and imagination