American art song composer Juliana Hall (b. 1958) is a prolific and highly-regarded composer of vocal music, whose songs have been described as “brilliant” (Washington Post), “beguiling” (Times of London), and “the most genuinely moving music of the afternoon” (Boston Globe). The NATS Journal of Singing wrote that “Hall’s text setting is spot on and exquisite”, and Voix des Arts noted that Hall “perpetuates the American Art Song tradition of Beach, Barber, and Bolcom with music of ingenuity and integrity.”
Having begun her musical career as a pianist, Juliana Hall began formal study of composition at age 26 while she was in graduate school at the Yale School of Music. Her first teacher was Frederic Rzewski, who encouraged her to shift her focus from piano to composition. Study with Martin Bresnick and Leon Kirchner followed; both encouraged her to make a career in composition as well, and in 1987 she was awarded a Master’s degree in Music Composition from Yale.
After Yale, Hall moved to Minneapolis to study with composer Dominick Argento, and in the Spring of 1987 she received her first commission, from the Schubert Club of Saint Paul, MN for a song cycle, NIGHT DANCES, for soprano Dawn Upshaw. A second Schubert Club commission came a few years later, this time for a song cycle, WINTER WINDOWS, for baritone David Malis.
In 1989 Hall received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition, and since that time her works have been heard in dozens of countries on six continents, in venues such as the 92nd Street Y, Ambassador Auditorium, Herbst Theatre, the Library of Congress, the Ordway Theater, Théâtre du Châtelet, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and Wigmore Hall, as well as festivals including the London Festival of American Music, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Ojai Music Festival, and the Tanglewood Music Center.
In 2015 Hall received a Recording Grant from the Sorel Organization for her first solo CD, LOVE’S SIGNATURE, which presents three complete song cycles — her countertenor cycle O MISTRESS MINE (countertenor Darryl Taylor with Hall at the piano), and two soprano cycles, SYLLABLES OF VELVET, SENTENCES OF PLUSH and PROPRIETY (soprano Susan Narucki and pianist Donald Berman).
SongFest awarded Juliana Hall their 2017 Sorel Commission to write a new song cycle, WHEN THE SOUTH WIND SINGS, which was premiered in Los Angeles on June 24, 2017. In addition, she was recently named Guest Composer for the 2018 session of Stephanie Blythe’s Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar, which will take place in May, 2018.