Sing, Wearing the Sky

The prolific young composer Jake Runestad has won numerous awards for his music, which ranges from opera to works for chamber ensemble. He is particularly valued for his choral compositions which exemplify a desire to write expertly crafted, socially conscious and emotionally potent music. On this album, Runestad explores a profound sea/life journey in The Secret of the Sea, and projects a powerful expression of grief in Let My Love Be Heard. Nature is a recurring theme for the composer and he employs texts that exalt the natural world, as well as finding seldom heard sound combinations in the exhilarating Ner Ner. From sweet and simple to sweeping and cinematic, from profound grief to explosive joy, each piece on “Sing, Wearing the Sky” paints a picture of the human experience and nature’s wonder using different colors and strokes.

This is Kantorei’s second professionally-produced recording on the Naxos label. It was funded in part by Kantorei’s “30/30/30” campaign, a crowdfunding initiative which created a seed fund for the project. It was recorded at Saint John’s Cathedral in Denver, CO by Grammy-award-winning producer Blanton Alspaugh and engineer Brandon Johnson, both of Soundmirror.

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  1. The Secret of the Sea (11:40)
  2. Alleluia (3:34)
  3. Let my Love Be Heard (5:36)
  4. Sing, Wearing the Sky (5:24)
  5. Live the Questions (4:51)
  6. We Can Mend the Sky (8:07)
  7. Fear Not, Dear Friend (7:03)
  8. Proud Music of the Storm (10:00)
  9. I Will Lift Mine Eyes (4:32)
  10. Ner Ner (4:01)

Total 65:20
Released 2020


Jake Runestad is an award-winning and frequently-performed composer of “highly imaginative” (Baltimore Sun) and “stirring and uplifting” (Miami Herald) musical works. He has received commissions and performances from leading ensembles and organizations such as Washington National Opera, VOCES8, the Swedish Radio Symphony, the Netherlands Radio Choir, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Seraphic Fire, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, and more. “The Hope of Loving,” the first album of Jake’s music, recorded by Craig Hella Johnson and Conspirare, was nominated for a GRAMMY award. Jake’s visceral music and charismatic personality have fostered a busy schedule of commissions, residencies, workshops, and speaking engagements, enabling him to be one of the youngest full-time composers in the world. Considered “one of the best of the younger American composers” (Chicago Tribune), Jake Runestad holds a Master’s degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University where he studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts. He has also studied extensively with acclaimed composer Libby Larsen. A native of Rockford, IL, Mr. Runestad is currently based in Minneapolis, MN and his music is published by JR Music.
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Joel and Jake Talk about the Album

What people are saying

"Kantorei is a gem in the American choral scene. I love the passion of the singers and the familial quality of the group. They are continually working together to achieve a high level of musicality as well as deepening their personal relationships.
I felt so welcomed into their family and this album was a beautiful collaboration in which every moment was handled with such care and such deep, spacious musicality."
-Jake Runestad, Explore Classical Music, August 2020

"...An ideally balanced ensemble... In total a much recommended release."
-David Denton, David's Review Corner, August 2020 (Read the full review here)

" That its mission is 'to elevate the human experience through choral excellence' makes it the perfect match for Runestad's music."
-Textura, September 2020 (Read the full review here)

"That he writes well for singers is enthusiastically proved by the all-volunteer Denver-based Kantorei choral ensemble and eight instrumentalists, and some full-blooded recordings."
-Laurence Vittes, Gramophone, October 2020 (Read the full review here or here)

"Kantorei handle a wide variety of texts...with attentive simplicity...a wholly earned outbreak of joy and playfulness..."
-Brian Morton, Choir and Organ, October 2020 (Read the full review here)

"...Always engaging and colorful...sung with depth and conviction by Kantorei."
- Karl W. Nehring, Classical Candor, December 2020 (Read the full review here)

"Kantorei is an outstanding choir...excellent ensemble balance, fine intonation and musical expression...high level of energy."
- Bruce McCollum, MusicWeb International, January 2021 (Read the full review here)