29 Feb 2012
Morten Lauridsen, Michael Stillwater
"Shining Night" Film to Show at DC Independent Film Festival Opening Night
The event includes choral music at St. Patrick's Church, a film screening at E Street Cinema, and a Q&A with Lauridsen and film director Michael Stillwater. Learn more.
"Shining Night: A Portrait of Composer Morten Lauridsen" celebrates the life and music of the artist whom musicologist Nick Strimple has called "the only American composer in history who can be called a mystic." America’s most frequently performed choral composer, Lauridsen is a National Medal of Arts recipient who spends summers on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest. Exploring the relationship of art, nature, and spirituality, ‘Shining Night’ reveals the composer through the lens of his love for the natural world together with his passion for music and literature, woven with commentaries from composers, conductors, singers, and friends.
Filmed between 2010-2011 in California, Scotland, Germany and Waldron Island, Washington, the documentary conveys the richness and breadth of the award-winning composer’s life, with a soundtrack featuring his masterworks- Lux Aeterna, O Magnum Mysterium, Nocturnes (Sa Nuit D’Ete, Soneto de la Noche, and Sure On This Shining Night), Dirait-On and Madrigali.
Commentaries by Dana Gioia (poet and chairman of National Endowment for the Arts, 2003-2009), Paul Salamunovich (director emeritus of the Los Angeles Master Chorale), Robert Geary (artistic director of Volti and the San Francisco Choral Society) and Paul Mealor (composer and conductor of Con Anima and the University of Aberdeen Choral Society and Orchestra), Alex Shapiro and others. Performances by San Francisco Choral Society, Volti, Aberdeen Choral Society and Orchestra, and Con Anima Chamber Singers are included.
Michael Stillwater is a filmmaker with a background as songwriter, musical artist and educator. His collaborations with film composer Gary Malkin, notably Graceful Passages: A Companion for Living and Dying, and Care for the Journey: Messages and Music for Sustaining the Heart of Healthcare, have provided insight and comfort to people facing the challenges of transition. His first feature documentary, Shining Night, is the initial episode of the series, In Search of The Great Song. Born in Washington, DC in 1953, he resides in Switzerland with his wife, psychotherapist and co-producer Doris Laesser Stillwater.