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Amy Gordon

Composer / Los Angeles
Member since April 2018
I am a composer, arranger, singer-songwriter, vocalist, and theory-lover in Los Angeles, CA. I am currently the composer-in-residence for Nova Vocal Ensemble and have been commissioned by numerous ensembles including The Los Angeles Belles, Graham Middle School Vocal Ensemble, Ramona Convent Chamber Singers, South Bay Chamber Singers, and more. I love setting poetry to music and bringing out the meaning of the text through music. In addition to composing classical and choral music, I am an active film composer and singer-songwriter. My song “One Door Opens” was named a finalist in the International SongDoor Songwriting competition. I am also a music educator and teach Bachelor-level Music Theory, Songwriting, and Music Education classes at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA. I received my M.M. in Composition from California State University, Long Beach and her B.A. in Composition from Loyola Marymount University.

My Style

My music has been described as melodic and accessible, yet with surprising harmonic twists. I am very influenced by the musical styles of Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, and Steve Reich. I love blending together many different influences in each project, drawing on my background as a songwriter, film composer, and music theory professor. My favorite part of the commissioning process is assembling a unique musical palette for each commission, based on my collaboration with the commissioner and their vision.

Active Projects

Touchstones to Heaven

SA with Piano
2 · Medium Easy
2 minutes each piece (6 mins total) minutes
This new suite of three pieces for Middle School or High School Choir will set three poems written by my late grandmother, Rhoda Gordon. The suite will begin with two haikus, one about a boy and his guitar and the other about a dog curiously listening to a man on the phone. The suite will end with "Touchstones to Heaven", which explores the amazing power of music to act as a "passport to the spheres" and "lift the curtains of time". My aim for this project is to compose musically satisfying pieces with a wide range of emotions for Middle Schoolers, while always being accessible and singable.
9 spots left
release date
Aug. 1st 2019
$250 / ensemble
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Featured Compositions

Listen to works by Amy Gordon

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Magic (from the song cycle As Time Stops to Rest)

SSAATTBB & Piano (with Soprano Soloists)
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“Magic” (the third and final movement of the choral song cycle As Time Stops To Rest) describes how the narrator senses the closeness of “the spirit kingdom” all around him or her, but only has fleeting glimpses of it. The piece opens with an a cappella dialogue between the altos and tenors, who are then joined by the sopranos and basses. The a cappella opening features lush and tightly packed harmonies that lead to a soprano soloist cueing in a lyrical piano arpeggio. The piece then builds to the joyous climax of the whole song cycle: “But oh, for a moment I grow flowers with my hands!”, alluding to how powerful and wondrous these brief glimpses of the spirit kingdom are. The texture then drops down to lulling a cappella chords in the lower voices as two featured soprano soloists “dance on wings uplifted”. The narrator then finally enters “the kingdom of all” he or she has been sensing, possibly through death. The movement concludes peacefully as the narrator “enter[s] the kingdom of all and AM”. The piano concludes with a peaceful postlude recalling motives used throughout the movement. As Time Stops To Rest is a three-movement song cycle for SSAATTBB Choir and Piano, with featured soprano and tenor soloists. The cycle is dedicated to the composer’s late aunt Susan Jordan. The works sets three poems from a larger set of poetry entitled As Time Stops To Rest, also written by Susan Jordan. The song cycle has an overall arch form of peace followed by tragedy and loss, ultimately giving way to a final sense of peace. Magic may be performed as part of the entire song cycle or as a stand-alone piece.
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What Child Is This

SATB
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What Child Is This is a traditional English Christmas Carol composed in the 1800s. This arrangement, commissioned by Jonathan Bautista and Nova Vocal Ensemble, fuses the melody and lyrics of “What Child is This” with motives and harmonies found in “Carol of the Bells”, a Ukrainian carol. Each voice has a chance to sing the various motives drawn from “Carol of the Bells”, making this a fun choral piece that combines two beloved Christmas carols.
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Nurse's Song

SAT (Opt. SSA) & Piano
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Nurse’s Song (Songs of Innocence), commissioned by Jennifer Gaderlund and dedicated to The Graham Middle School Vocal Ensemble, sets the poignant poem by William Blake from his set of poems “Songs of Innocence and Experience”. While there are actually two “Nurse’s Song” poems, this piece sets the “Nurse’s Song” poem contained in the first set of poems associated with innocence, which deal with youth and childhood. The latter half of “Songs of Innocence and Experience” deals with the loss of childhood innocence that accompanies growing up and gaining experience. The text alternates between the nurse, who wants the children she is caring for to return from play, and the children, who of course want to play as long as possible. The setting of this poem has an overall palindromic form of ABCBA (the first stanza is repeated at the end). The B section, representing the nurse, is slower and more triadic. The C section, representing the children, is playfully defiant and features a lot of fun dialogue between the soprano, alto, and tenor lines. This piece is a great fit for any intermediate to advanced middle school choir. The tenor part range is limited, so it is also possible to use this piece for SSA ensembles.

Testimonials

Ruth Ballenger
Aug 3, 2018
I commissioned a piece for my auditioned women's ensemble from Amy Gordon in the fall of 2017. During the 2017-18 school year, she and I spoke many times about the collaboration, starting with the selection of the text from a book of poetry written by students at my all-girls school. Throughout the process, I was delighted at how carefully Amy listened to my descriptions of the strengths and challenges presented by my ensemble, so that she could create a piece truly tailored to my students. Further, when Amy came to work with the students after we'd prepared the piece, her feedback for my students was kind, genuine, and helpful. I was thrilled that Amy was able to come to the world premiere of the piece at our spring concert, and so were my students! The experience was outstanding, from beginning to end, and I absolutely love the piece Amy wrote.
Jennifer Gaderlund
May 16, 2018
I worked with Ms. Gordon in 2016-2017 to commission a piece for the opening of our new auditorium. From start to finish, it was a wonderful, collaborative experience. Ms. Gordon's musical interpretation of the poem, "Nurse's Song," was inspired, fresh, and fun to sing. I am excited to commission another piece from her in the future!
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