Dan Forrest, the composer of Jubilate Deo! – the centerpiece of our upcoming concert, IN ALL VOICES: JUBILATE DEO! – was kind enough to answer questions from Mike Horanski, artistic director of the Vienna Choral Society. The interview (lightly edited for clarity) is a revealing look into Forrest’s creative process, the pressure to live up to expectations, and unexpected humor.
MIKE HORANSKI: Thank you for taking a few moments to talk with me today. I have enjoyed programming a lot of your music for my chorus at school, church choir, and now the Vienna Choral Society. So, it is a pleasure and honor to speak with you today.
I am always interested in asking people when they “knew” they wanted to become a conductor, composer, teacher, and so on. Was your first exposure to choral music singing in a choir, or did you just start composing and then choral music became one of your creative outlets?
DAN FORREST: I was always the accompanist for the choir, growing up, in both church and school. (smiles) Most of my choir experiences were not that great growing up – I just loved piano. But three things changed that:
- A choir festival in tenth grade where I got to sing in a choir with a very skilled conductor, and we really made music – and I was gobsmacked.
- Attending that festival the next couple years, and actually accompanying it, my senior year of high school, when the regular accompanist couldn’t make it.
- Hearing great choirs and recordings of choirs once I got to college. I was blown away by the sound, the tone quality, and the expressive possibilities of the voice that weren’t possible at the piano.