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Award-winning composer Jake Runestad (b. 1986, Rockford, IL) is noted for his versatility and wide range of expressive capabilities with music driven by soaring melodies and lush textures. His diverse musical experiences, spanning several continents, have inspired him to create music that captures the emotional vibrancy of life experiences while transcending diverse musical genres.
Mr. Runestad was twice named Collegiate Composer of the Year by the Minnesota Music Educators Association and has had performances by professional, student, and community ensembles across the U.S.A. He has received numerous commissions from ensembles and organizations such as the Grammy-nominated Peabody Children’s Chorus, Chamber Music Winona, Our Saviors Lutheran Church of Rockford, IL, and the Winona State University Jazz Ensemble. Mr. Runestad has also worked with many ensembles as a guest conductor and clinician of his music.
As a conductor, Jake Runestad has worked with student, volunteer, and professional ensembles across the U.S.A. and was the founder and artistic director of the Mwimbaji Choir of Winona, MN that performed locally and at the Minnesota Music Educator’s Association state convention. An advocate of new music, he has conducted the premiere of several of his own works as well as programmed those by other up-and-coming composers. Mr. Runestad currently serves as the conductor of the Peabody Chamber Singers of Baltimore, MD and conductor of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute’s Choral Society.
A diverse composer, Mr. Runestad has a prolific output represented in many genres including music for wind band, chorus, orchestra, chamber ensembles, jazz ensemble, and opera. He has traveled extensively to experience new cultures and musical sounds and for his bachelor’s degree in music education, he completed his student teaching in Lima, Perú . There, he immersed himself in the musical culture and studied cajón, a traditional Peruvian percussion instrument, with acclaimed percussionist María Del Carmen Dongo.
Recent performances include “The Toll” - a one-act opera premiered at the Peabody Conservatory in the spring of 2010 and “Cityscapes” for double wind quintet, double bass, and percussion by Chamber Music Winona under the baton of Dr. Donald Lovejoy. Current projects include a commission from the Grammy-nominated Peabody Children’s Chorus and settings of poetry by Carl Sandburg for soprano and orchestra commissioned by Maestra Gemma New - both pieces are to be premiered in the fall of 2010.
Mr. Runestad received a bachelor’s degree in music education from Winona State University in Winona, MN where he was awarded as an Outstanding Student in Music Education and the MENC Collegiate Professional Achievement Recognition Award. In 2008 he organized and conducted “Concert for a Cause” – a senior composition recital featuring seven of his choral pieces and a fundraiser for ZOE Ministry; a non-profit organization providing food, medical, and empowerment programs to children across Africa.
Jake Runestad is completing a masters degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University where he studies with Kevin Puts. He also studied extensively with acclaimed composers Libby Larsen and Donald Fraser. Mr. Runestad’s music is published by Boosey & Hawkes and Andas Media.