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Forrest Pierce

Lawrence, KS   

Farhad Forrest Pierce, composer and watcher of the night sky, lives in Lawrence, Kansas. Blessed with an unusual capacity for enthusiasm, and an unnatural delight in delight, he has written 200 or so compositions, which include vocal, chamber, and choral music in equal measure. Winner of the Barlow Prize, the Ortus and Avalon international competitions, as well the international choral competitions of the Boston Chamber Singers and Boston Choral Ensemble, Pierce is nevertheless flatlandishly obscure. Educated at Indiana University, the University of Minnesota, and University of Puget Sound, he was raised in the dry Columbia Plateau region of eastern Washington State, the grandson of Dust Bowl immigrants. At one time or another a student of Tango, piano, North Indian classical singing, cello, poetry, and Chishti Sufism, he teaches and drinks espresso at the University of Kansas, and serves on the vividly convivial faculty of the Cortona Sessions for New Music in Cortona, Tuscany.


His works have been commissioned and performed in sacred and concert settings around the world, on noteworthy concert series and by diverse ensembles such as the BBC Singers, Brave New Works, the Chamber Players of the Society of New Music/ISCM, the BMOP chamber series, DuoSolo, the Chamber Orchestras of Portland and Kansas City, the Indianapolis and Walla Walla Symphonies, the Concord Ensemble, Khorikos, The Latvian Radio Choir, Octarium, the Seattle New Music Ensemble, the Oregon and Northwest Repertory Singers, the Boston Choral Ensemble, Volti, the Dublin and Canadian International Organ Competitions, Songfest, and by numerous distinguished soloists in North America and abroad. His forthcoming CD Bison Circles (Meyer Media, summer 2014) with DuoSolo, encapsulates his large catalog of works for flute and piano. Pierce is the past resident composer of the Seattle New Music Ensemble and the founding artistic director of Portland’s Friends of Rain Contemporary Ensemble.  Upcoming projects include the concert-length theatre work French Mary’s Song About the Werewolf for soprano Laura Bohn and ICE cellist Kivie Cahn-Lipman; The Kansas Rapture, for the H2 saxophone quartet;  and Pierce’s third opera, Zen Master Raven, a chain of 78 miniature scenes for ten singers and four percussionists.


Bison Circles, for flute and piano

An excerpt from “Bison Circles,” for flute and piano, performed by DuoSolo. Depicting the subtle interaction of the tallgrass prairies of Kansas with their native Bison, the work celebrates the resilience of these immense creatures.

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The Twelve Kisses (excerpts)

Symphony for Coloratura and Chamber Orchestra: Movements 3 (Honey-Stuck), 4 (The Old Song), and 5 (The Wild Lands). Setting passages from the Song of Songs in Hebrew and English translation by the composer, “The Twelve Kisses” explores themes of romantic love and Divine Union in six movements. Commissioned and premiered by the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra

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Short is Time, for SATB chorus

Unaccompanied Chorus, setting text of Christina Rossetti.

Short is time, and only time is bleak;
Gauge the exceeding height thou hast to climb:
Long eternity is nigh to seek:
Short is time.
Time is shortening with the wintry rime:
Pray and watch and pray, girt up and meek;
Praying, watching, praying, chime by chime.
Pray by silence if thou canst not speak:
Time is shortening; pray on till the prime:
Time is shortening; soul, fulfil thy week:
Short is time.

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