Episode 126: Expanding our Musical Vocabularies with Christopher Tin

Humans aren’t capable of completely original ideas. Everything is borrowed.

This week, meet international star composer, Christopher Tin. In the choral world, we met Christopher with his blockbuster Baba Yetu, and has not slowed down since. He recently completed a project with Voces8 called “Lost Birds,” and has exciting projects coming up. In this conversation, we discuss the process of creating music for video games, versus concert performance, as well as our ideas of “cultural identity” and the way we blend cultures when music travels around the globe and through time. Christopher has a very cohesive way of describing this and how it formed his own “musical culture.” Tune in and expand your vocabulary!

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Episode 126
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Christopher Tin is a two-time Grammy-winning composer of concert and media music. Time Magazine calls his music ‘rousing’ and ‘anthemic’, while The Guardian calls it ‘joyful’ and ‘an intelligent meeting of melody and theme’. His music has been performed and premiered in many of the world’s most prestigious venues: Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Hollywood Bowl, the United Nations, and Carnegie Hall, where he had an entire concert devoted to his music. He has also been performed by ensembles diverse as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Metropole Orkest, and US Air Force Band.

His song “Baba Yetu”, originally written for the video game Civilization IV, is a modern choral standard, and the first piece of music written for a video game ever to win a Grammy Award. His debut album, the multi-lingual song cycle Calling All Dawns, won him a second Grammy in 2011 for Best Classical Crossover Album, and his follow-up release The Drop That Contained the Sea debuted at #1 on Billboard’s classical charts, and premiered to a sold-out audience at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium. His third album To Shiver the Sky also debuted at #1, and was funded by a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign that raised $221,415, smashing all previous classical music crowdfunding records. His fourth album, The Lost Birds, is a collaboration with acclaimed British vocal ensemble VOCES8, and will be released September 2022 on Decca Classics.

Tin is signed to an exclusive record deal with Universal under their legendary Decca label, published by Concord and Boosey & Hawkes, and is a Yamaha artist. He works out of his own custom-built studio in Santa Monica, CA.

Episode 93: Togetherness Activists with Micah Hendler

The Third Anniversary Episode of the Choralosophy Podcast!

The serendipity of having this episode ready to publish this week, on the third anniversary of the show is incredible. After all, three years ago I was motivated to launch this show because I saw a need stemming from how divided we were becoming as a nation. In the music world, we are more polarized than many due to political alignments and loyalties.

Episode 93

Micah Hendler is the director of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, whose mission is the bringing together of Palestinian and Jewish children together to make music and make connections. He is also a member of the music team at Braver Angels, which is a non-partisan organization that creates events and content designed to bring Republicans and Democrats together. His entire musical identity has been built around the idea that music CAN bring people together that often think they will never reconcile.

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Micah Hendler
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Micah Hendler (Forbes 30 Under 30 for Music) is a musical changemaker working to harness the power in each of our voices to make a difference.

Micah is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, an Israeli-Palestinian music and dialogue project featured for its innovative musicianship and integrity of purpose and process from the Late Show with Stephen Colbert to the New York Times. Through the co-creation of music and the sharing of stories, the chorus empowers young singers from East and West Jerusalem to speak and sing their truths as they become leaders in their communities and inspire singers and listeners around the world to join them in their work for peace, justice, inclusion, and equality.

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Micah is a Founding Partner of Raise Your Voice Labs, a creative culture transformation company that helps organizations, companies, and communities realign and reengage around a shared vision and build cultures of resilience, adaptability, inclusive leadership, and supportive accountability. In the Lab, any team can unleash their creative and collaborative abilities, as they work together to reimagine what is possible and create a stunningly honest and inspiring video that can serve as a musical north star in their pursuit of that future.

Micah has founded, directed, sung with, or played with dozens of musical ensembles of varying global styles, including the Yale Whiffenpoofs. He has studied Community Singing and CircleSinging with GRAMMY-winning composers Ysaye Barnwell and Roger Treece, and uses these two methodologies and others to open up the concept of what a chorus can do and who should be in it.

Micah has also been involved in dialogue work for more than 15 years and has written and presented in many local and global forums about his work with the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, including sharing the keynote presentation of the East-West Philosophers’ Conference with leading Palestinian intellectual and peacemaker Dr. Sari Nusseibeh, as they explored together how sound can be used as a tool to create shared spaces in Jerusalem.

Micah writes for Forbes.com on music, society, and social change in a global context and serves in volunteer leadership capacities in both the Justice Choir and Braver Angels grassroots movements. He currently lives in Washington, DC.

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