Music with Minnesotans: Philip Brunelle

by Alison Young
December 8, 2010

Listen Music with Minnesotans: Philip Brunelle with Alison Young
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He's one of the great choral conductors and program innovators in our midst - Philip Brunelle. He shares his favorite pieces for the season - a couple that will make you feel misty-eyed and one he plays with Garrison Keillor guaranteed for a lot of laughs! (Krivit Photography)
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It should be no surprise to anyone familiar with Philip Brunelle's work that the The American Composers Forum should name him a "Champion of New Music."

Brunelle is the director of VocalEssence and he works tirelessly to make music present and alive for every kind of listener. He does this by bringing passed-over gems back into the repertoire, by commissioning new pieces and by bringing together varied performing ensembles from the region to create a whole new performance synergy.

Philip took time out of his crazy schedule to pop by Classical MPR and share a few of his favorite, can't-live-without recordings for this holiday season.

There is one of his own group, VocalEssence. It's the piece he asked American composer Conrad Susa to write as a sort of companion to Benjamin Britten's "A Ceremony of Carols." Was Susa daunted? Well, just ask someone to sit down and write a hit!

As well, we'll hear from King's College in Cambridge, where the yearly Advent Lessons and Carols is a big hit here in America as well as selections with the Alfred Deller Consort. St. Jacob's Chamber Choir and even one of Philip's buddies, Garrison Keillor.


Philip Brunelle's playlist:

The Shepherd Carol, Bob Chilcot - Choir of King's College, Cambridge

Pat-a-pan/It Came Upon the Midnight Clear - Alfred Deller and The Deller Consort

Carols and Lullabies, Conrad Susa - VocalEssence Ensemble Singers

Guds Son ar fodd - St. Jacob's Chamber Choir

The Sons of Knute Christmas Dance and Dinner - Garrison Keillor and friends


Check out more on the "Music with Minnesotans" series:

Mayor RT Rybak, Stephen Paulus, Mayor Chris Coleman, Lois Quam, Classical Music in the OR, General Larry Shellito, Joe Dowling, William Gurstelle, The Reverend Spenser Simrell, Karen Hansen, Linda Z. Andrews and Stuart Loughridge.


On a cold winter's day, Minnesota composer Steve Heitzeg contemplates his favorite music for the season. He'll co-host next week's "Music with Minnesotans."