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Mari Esabel Valverde

Composer / Fort Worth, TX
Member since April 2018
Award-winning composer and singer Mari Esabel Valverde has been commissioned by the American Choral Directors Association, Texas Music Educators Association, Seattle Men’s and Women’s Choruses, and Boston Choral Ensemble among others and has appeared with Dallas Chamber Choir, Vox Humana, and Exigence Vocal Ensemble (Detroit). Her works are published by earthsongs, Santa Barbara Music Publishing, and Walton Music and self-published. A translator, she is fluent in French and Spanish and studies Brazilian Portuguese and Swedish. She has translated Messiaen’s cantata La Mort du Nombre and Ravel’s opera L’Enfant et les Sortilèges among other vocal works and documents from French to English. She holds degrees from St. Olaf College, the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, France, and San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Her teachers include Tim Mahr, Justin Merritt, Philip Lasser, Narcis Bonet, David Conte, and David Garner. For more information, please visit MariValverde.com.

My Style

Political, sensual, and neoromantic. I am a self-proclaimed "Frenchy." Tonal with at least some counterpoint, and for me, dissonance is very purposeful and is not to be overindulged. The success of any collaboration will depend on the text selected. As a transgender, Latina composer, the prospect of setting poetry by women, LGBTQ folk, religious minorities, and/or persons of color is very exciting to me. I am privileged to have a working relationship with the trans, two-spirit, disabled, queer, mixed race poet Amir Rabiyah (AmirRabiyah.com). When composing for the voice, I put great care into setting a text. Before drawing a single notehead, I memorize the text. I sing it and sketch the composition with attention to articulation and breath. My goal is to honor the text by ensuring clarity and space for the words and to extend its meaning in melody and harmony. I especially love composing vocal works with acoustic instrumentation. I have written songs with piano, strings, harp, guitar, trumpet, bass clarinet, saxophone, and even taiko! I cannot wait to add more instruments to the list.

Active Projects

Look Down, Fair Moon

SATB chorus and piano
2 · Medium Easy
3 minutes
This will be the SATB arrangement of my original composition for SSA chorus and piano: https://soundcloud.com/mevalverde/look-down-fair-moon. "Look Down, Fair Moon" is a nocturne inspired by poetry contemporary with the American Civil War. In a prayerful tone, Whitman pleads for calm and healing for those who are wounded or fallen. The mysterious, beaming moon is our source of spiritual nourishment. Every time we are made aware of the unspeakable carnage of war or terrorism, foreign or domestic, we are compelled to ponder our humanity and our mortality. In the spirit of such elegy, I want to inspire further introspection and call for the reconciliation and mending of our people.
5 spots left
release date
Aug. 1st 2019
$200 / ensemble
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Featured Compositions

Listen to works by Mari Esabel Valverde

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The Cloths of Heaven

SATB chorus and piano or harp and string ensemble (available for SSA chorus)
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“But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet.” —William Butler Yeats "The Cloths of Heaven" was composed during my first summer at the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, France as a composition assignment. A year later, it was premièred by the St. Olaf Choir and became my first published work, now available through earthsongs: S341 and S414 . The choral-orchestral version of this work was premièred at the Oregon Bach Festival in 2011 by the Strangeland Family Youth Choral Academy under the direction of Anton Armstrong.
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Border Lines

SATB chorus and guitar or cello
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“I wish maps would be without borders & that we belonged to no one & to everyone at once.” —Yesenia Montilla "Border Lines" was composed for Adams State University's choral concert series "An Immigrant's Tale: Hopes, Dreams, and Fears in an Uncertain Time." In collaboration with Harlem-based Afro-Latina poet Yesenia Montilla, this work is born out of empathy for immigrants to the United States who have been separated from their families in the spirit of xenophobia. Her words call out the arbitrary nature of geopolitical borders and implore all of us to unify at our roots in our common humanity. The music is inspired in meter and melody by Central American folk song; and the guitar portrays the undulations of "el río" as the narrative unfolds, expressing a clear yearning for belonging.
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Oracle of Spring

SATB chorus a cappella
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“May they hope? sing to them now, thy cuckoo, thy cuckoo, and again cuckoo, cuckoo.” —Alfred Baskerville after Goethe The "Oracle" is a lively bird—very active in announcing the arrival of spring through its song. Madrigal-like in style, contemporary in feeling, this piece is a fine addition to the seasonal literature befitting spring. Up to date, "Oracle of Spring" is the second of three songs I have composed for the International Orange Chorale of San Francisco, now published in their choral series with Santa Barbara Music Publishing: SBMP 1081.
now playing

Look Down, Fair Moon

SA chorus (div.) and piano
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“On the dead, on their backs, with arms toss’d wide, pour down your unstinted nimbus, sacred moon.” —Walt Whitman "Look Down, Fair Moon" is a nocturne inspired by poetry contemporary with the American Civil War. In a prayerful tone and imperative tense, Whitman pleads for calm and healing for those who are wounded or fallen. The mysterious, beaming moon is our source of spiritual nourishment. Every time we are made aware of the unspeakable carnage of war or terrorism, foreign or domestic, we are compelled to ponder our humanity and our mortality. In the spirit of such elegy, I want to inspire further introspection and call for the reconciliation and mending of our people.

Testimonials

Jane Ramseyer Miller
Nov 26, 2018
I have commissioned two choral compositions from Mari Esabel Valverde and both were exuberantly received by both singers and audience members. These commission have received multiple additional performances by other choirs across North America. Her suburb attention to text selection, voice leading, harmony and phrasing made the rehearsal process a delight. Ms. Valverde's experience as a professional singer beautifully shapes her exquisite writing for choral voices. She is a delight to work with in rehearsal settings, is prompt and respectful about communication, and delivers her compositions in a solid and clear score format.
William McLean
May 1, 2018
I have worked with Mari on multiple commissioning projects for high school singers and my experience with her has been truly outstanding. She is very collaborative on all projects, timely with deadlines, a great communicator, and a champion of the ensembles with which she works. When it comes to Mari's style, she has a unique voice in today's choral world. Her writing is incredibly expressive and harmonically adventurous while being very singable. With her being a professional singer and voice teacher, she is constantly aware of what the voice can do and how a singer would approach each phrase within her works. Whether it is an original composition or an arrangement, Mari's creativity and personality lead to an outstanding commissioning and singing experience for everyone involved.
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