Composer Profile: Ola Gjeilo

Stanton's Sheet Music

by Jen Sper, Choral Music Specialist

Ola-Gjeilo-Picture-1“Sweeping,” “floating,” “cinematic” and “lush” are words we often use when listening to new choral works by composer Ola Gjeilo. His musical voice is as fresh and unique as it is comforting and familiar. Often considered in the same compositional vein as Eric Whitacre and Morten Lauridsen, I find Gjeilo’s work to be more conservative in his harmonic language, and his a cappella settings are especially captivating. His use of largely homophonic textures helps make the text easily comprehensible.

Most notable in our choral sphere is his setting of the classic Latin text Ubi Caritas, effective in it’s simplicity; the mixed, women’s and men’s settings have all appeared on adjudicated event lists and choral festivals since their release.

Born in Norway in 1978, Ola Gjeilo (pronounced Yay-lo) moved to the United States in 2001 to begin his composition studies at the…

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