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Minnesota Public Radio premieres new carol: Touch Hands: A Table Grace
posted: Dec 2017
Here's the newest Burt Family Carol! As many of you know, my mom's family has a long tradition of sending an original carol as a Christmas card. This year I found a lovely prose poem by 19th c. conservationist WHH Murray, and set it as a partner song & double canon with the grace "For Health and Strength and Daily Bread." Listen to the radio premiere (sung by my 'spirited' sister Laura and The MPR Carolers) and my interview with Classical MPR host John Birge all right here!

Justice Choir featured in Chorus America!
posted: Sept 2017
Chorus America writes: "Abbie Betinis and Andrea Ramsey were in different parts of the country, but asking themselves the same question: As protests and demonstrations surrounding social justice issues were springing up around the U.S. within the last year, why weren’t more people singing at these events? As composers, the two also shared an additional question: What role do I have to play here as an artist?" [Read the whole article here]

Minnesota Public Radio premieres new carol: Sing Him to Sleep
posted: Dec 2016
The 2016 Burt Family Carol was premiered on Minnesota Public Radio just in time for Christmas. This year I penned original lyrics to create Sing Him to Sleep, what I'm calling an "alternative lullaby." Hear the radio premiere (sung by my fiesty sister Laura and The MPR Carolers) and my MPR interview all right here.

Minnesota Public Radio premieres new carol: Romance in Waltz Time
posted: Dec 2015
Here's the newest Burt Family Carol! As many of you know, my mom's family has a long tradition of sending an original carol as a Christmas card. This year I wrote a countermelody to an unpublished waltz by my late great-uncle Alfred Burt to create Romance in Waltz Time, a wistful holiday waltz. Hear the radio premiere (sung by my beautiful sister Laura!) and the MPR interview with poet Michael Dennis Browne and me all right here!

Composer-in-Residence for NYSSMA 2015
posted: Nov 2015
Start spreadin' the news... I'm heading to New York! At the invitation of the New York State School Music Association, I'll be their Composer-in-Residence this winter. I'll rehearse with the NY All-State choirs (on "i carry your heart with me" and "Cedit Hyems (Be gone, Winter!)," and lead composition workshops with some of the brightest young minds creating music in that great state. Thank you Daniel Deutsch and Rob Deemer for this opportunity!

Featured Presenter: Contemporary Composition in America Symposium
posted: Oct 2015
Excited to share the stage with Rosephanye Powell, Steven Sametz, Jocelyn Hagen, and other noted composers as a featured presenter at North Dakota State University's biennial Choral Symposium. I'll lecture on creativity (which sounds awful, but will be really fun) and unveil some of my newest work. Oct 22-24 at NDSU's Challey School of Music. Details here.

I just won a McKnight Artist Fellowship!
posted: May 2015
I am thrilled to receive the news today of my second McKnight Artist Fellowship! These generous grants are designed by the McKnight Foundation "to award composers whose work is of exceptional artistic merit, who have created a substantial body of work over a period of time, and who are at a career stage that is beyond emerging." Thrilled as well for my friends, composers Reinaldo Moya and Peter O'Gorman, also awardees in this round. What esteemed company!

Lumina records demo of A Blessing of Cranes
posted: Mar 2015
Take a peek behind-the-scenes of our demo recording last week with the lovely ladies of Lumina, Jocelyn Hagen on piano, and Michael Dennis Browne's exquisite poetry in Wild Sound Recording Studio in Minneapolis. It is such a pleasure to make music with these folks.

Minnesota Public Radio premieres new carol: Peace with Me Now
posted: Dec 2014
Here's the newest Burt Family Carol! As many of you know, my mom's family has a long tradition of sending a fresh, new carol as a Christmas card. This year I had the great joy of collaborating with The Fairlanes vocal quartet to develop Peace with Me Now, a dreamy torch song for the dark of winter. Hear my interview, the MPR premiere, and watch my beautiful sister Laura and her husband Anthony read through it at the piano all right here!

New Publication: Carol of the Stranger for SATB chorus
posted: Nov 2014
Now available! Last year's Burt Family Carol was such a special project -- with poet Michael Dennis Browne writing me these most incredible lyrics. What a particularly important idea right now (and always), to be welcoming and warm to others.

RIBCAGE with James Sewell Ballet: "Baroque meets prog rock"
posted: Oct 2014
Our RIBCAGE review is in! "genuinely odd yet hypnotic...The effect is baroque meets prog rock — not an expected pairing at all, but it works quite well." What a fabulous trip it has been to write new music for soprano, violin, electric guitar, and the 18 incredibly long legs of the James Sewell Ballet!

Two of Abbie's pieces at 2014 World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia
posted: July 2014
Very special thanks to Atlanta Young Singers (Paige Mathis, conductor) and Rockford High School (Mandy Mikita Scott, conductor) who both led their choirs on European tours this summer, finishing in Latvia to compete in the World Choir games with my Jerusalem Luminosa and Be Like the Bird. I'm so thrilled to have had a small role in your students' experience of a lifetime!

Two of Abbie's pieces chosen for Texas All-State 2015
posted: May 2014
If you're a high school singer auditioning for Texas All-State, two of my scores are about to become your new best friend. Thank you to conductors Kathleen Rodde and Z. Randall Stroope for choosing these two scores as required audition pieces for TMEA! Good luck everyone!

Mechanical Licensing form is now online -- (do I hear a hip hip...?)
posted: Apr 2014
Are you recording an album with my music on it? Hooray! And also your mechanical licensing just got easier! Submit this online form to my office to get the process started. And thank you so much!

"Of Poets and Fools" to premiere at The Schubert Club
posted: Mar 2014
Which is the poet and which is the fool? Jake Endres (baritone) & Peter Middlecamp (tenor) will battle it out in these texts by W.B. Yeats. Please join us Thurs March 27 at noon. Free! Landmark Ctr, St Paul, MN.

New for Tenor solo: "Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight"
posted: Feb 2014
Are you thinking about why we keep fighting wars? Me too. And so was poet Vachel Lindsay in 1914. Here's a piece I originally wrote for men's chorus, newly-arranged for Tenor soloist, snare drum, and piano.

Minnesota Public Radio premieres the 2013 Burt Family Carol
posted: Dec 2013
In 1922, my mom's family (the Burt family) began annually sending a fresh, new carol as a Christmas card. I took up the tradition in 2001, and had the great joy of collaborating this year with poet Michael Dennis Browne. Hear our interview and the premiere of "Carol of the Stranger" on Minnesota Public Radio!

Chorus America interview: The story of the Burt Family carols
posted: Dec 2013
Read more about the three generations of composers in my family in my interview with Chorus America, and enjoy a listening sampler of some delightful, but rarely-heard (and even more rarely performed) carols by my great-grandfather, the Rev. Bates G. Burt.

Album Review: Song cycle "Nattsanger (Nightsongs)" on Bright Angel
posted: July 2013
New music publication Sequenza21 calls the new album "exquisite" and says "Abbie Betinis' Nattsanger (Nightsongs) presents dark, beautiful music that is skillfully orchestrated." Brava, brava, brava to soprano Lindsay Kesselman, clarinetist Kimberly Cole Luevano, and pianist Midori Koga -- fantastic performances all!

Review: "Songs of Smaller Creatures" performed by LA Master Chorale
posted: June 2013
"The blend of the intricate counterpoint netted my attention with an inescapable allure. A butterfly came alive with her treatment...of repeated nonsense syllables. The singers are fantastic at this sort of device, and in the sublime acoustic of Walt Disney Concert Hall...the result was a beautiful, affective abstract language." -Culture Spot LA

New Release!   "The Mirthful Heart" ~ 3-part women & hand drum
posted: Oct 2013
I'm delighted to announce the publication of "The Mirthful Heart" -- the latest Burt Family Carol! It will be performed "lustily" this Christmas by a handful of women's choirs across the US & Canada. The score is dedicated to three extraordinary women who taught me to keep an inner joy. Preview the score & hear the Public Radio premiere here.

New Release for 2013!   "i carry your heart" for SATB a cappella
posted: Mar 2013
This beautiful text by E. E. Cummings was just begging to be sung, so I got to let out my inner romantic! Come pick it up in the Independent Music Publishers Cooperative booth at National ACDA -- or -- if you just can't wait, preview the score here.

Minnesota Public Radio premieres the new Burt Family Carol
posted: Dec 2012
From 1922-1954, my mom's family (the Burts) sent an original carol every year in their Christmas cards. I took up the tradition in 2001, and sent "The Mirthful Heart" this year to friends and family. Hear the archived broadcast of the premiere on Minnesota Public Radio!

St Olaf Choir premieres "The World Made New" at MN-ACDA
posted: Nov 2012
I've written a little doozy of a piece for The St Olaf Choir (in which I once sang), which is celebrating their centennial with a string of commissions. The text begins with the traditional Lord's Prayer, then opens up into a quite different text: the stirring yet modest prayer Eleanor Roosevelt said each night before going to bed. (And they are singing it stunningly!)

Debra Spurgeon publishes all my women's choir secrets with GIA
posted: Oct 2012
Just kidding (not all my secrets). I'm delighted to have contributed to Debra Spurgeon's new book Conducting Women's Choirs through Nancy Menk's chapter "Writing for Women's Voices: A Conversation with Composers." And I'm not the only one who gave away my tricks, so did some of my heroes: Stephen Hatfield, Joan Szymko, Rosephanye Powell, and Elizabeth Alexander. The result is a fun read!

Pianos on Parade: Abbie's music comes to a *sidewalk* near you
posted: Aug 2012
"Keys 4/4 Kids" is putting pianos all over St. Paul, Minnesota! This creative initiative encourages random acts of piano-playing all over the city. Be sure to look inside the piano bench for new piano music by 22 Minnesota composers! Bring some of your own sheet music for the bench, and you can choose something out of the bench to take home.

Abbie elected president of Independent Music Publishers Cooperative
posted: June 2012
A few of my friends and I have launched a little endeavor we're calling IMP -- a cooperative of self-published composers. We're set to make a splash (fingers crossed) at the Chorus America conference in Minneapolis this month. Come visit our exhibit!

"Carol of the Snow" wins spot in Donne in Jazz festival in Italy
posted: Feb 2012
It's jazz if the singer decides it's jazz, right? My little Carol of the Snow will be given its European debut by Italian jazz vocalist Susanna Stivali this November! (Check out this stunning shot of one of the festival's rural venues.)

Minnesota Public Radio premieres the 45th Burt Family Christmas Carol
posted: Dec 2011
From 1922-1954, my family sent an original carol every year in their Christmas cards. I took up the tradition in 2001, and sent out "Carol of the Snow" this year to friends and family. MPR invited me in to premiere it on the air with my friends! Watch a video of our recording session on MPR.

Abbie joins music faculty at Concordia University
posted: Aug 2011
I've just become "Professor Betinis" (!) with my new position as adjunct Professor of Composition at Concordia University in Saint Paul. I look forward to teaching private composition lessons to a small group of motivated students and alongside a spectacular music faculty.

Boston Globe: "Inspired by Psalms, composer sets to music her years spent battling cancer"
posted: July 2011
My first chorus and orchestra piece, "Expectans expectavi" got a brilliant write-up in the Boston Globe, and was later reviewed: "The highlight was a world premiere by Abbie Betinis...brooding, dissonant...bold...managed to feel both cathartic and unresolved." Thank you Chorus pro Musica and Betsy Burleigh for this extraordinary commission.

Abbie's first New York Times review!
posted: June 2011
The New York Times writes: "...But the freshest of these pieces was the program's finale, Abbie Betinis's inventive, richly melodic 'Long Time Trav'ling.'" Thank you New Amsterdam Singers and conductor Clara Longstreth!

"Run, Toboggan, Run" (SATB chorus) wins Editors' Choice Award 2011
posted: May 2011
Sheet music distributor J.W. Pepper calls the piece "an absolute gem... Composed by the grand-neice of the legendary Alfred Burt (The Alfred Burt Carols), this delightful piece will let your singers feel as though they're on a toboggan, following the contours of the melody over joyful chord progressions and smooth key changes. It's an invigorating ride for everyone! Highly recommended!" Study the score, listen to the recording, or order sheet music here: Run, Toboggan, Run.

NPR Music names Abbie in top 100 "Composers Under 40"
posted: Apr 2011
NPR Music and New York's WQXR received almost 800 suggestions for their listeners' favorite composers under the age of 40 before narrowing it down to 100 of the "most promising young composers in the world." I made the list (!), alongside my heroes Nico Muhly, John Mackey, Tarik O'Regan, Joby Talbot, and Esperanza Spalding.

Launching the Independent Music Publishers Cooperative at ACDA!
posted: Feb 2011
If you're going to be at the National ACDA convention in Chicago March 9-12, please visit the exhibit hall! I will be exhibiting as part of a booth with seven other composers you know and love: Elizabeth Alexander, Jocelyn Hagen, Linda Tutas Haugen, Edie Hill, J. David Moore, Joan Szymko and Tim Takach! We'll have 250 titles that you won't find anywhere else. Look for us near the escalators, 'cause we're goin' up! Haha. (Actually, we are near the escalators.)

2010 Yields Record Sheet Music Sales for abbiebetinis.com!
posted: Dec 2010
Thank you to so many of you who ordered sheet music through this website in 2010! Two pieces have sold nearly 2,000 copies ("Be Like the Bird" and "In the Bleak Midwinter") and the 5-mvt women's chorus piece "From Behind the Caravan" has sold an astonishing 1,246 copies! Thinking about ordering music for next year? Visit the new and improved order form here.

Annual Burt Family Carol postponed
posted: Nov 2010
Many of you know I write a new carol every Christmas to honor the tradition my great-grandfather began in 1922 (and his son Alfred Burt continued). Since my health continues to be my top priority, the 2010 carol (Carol of the Snow) will be premiered on Minnesota Public Radio in 2011. No worries though, it's still getting done! Just slowly. More info here.

G. Schirmer publishes "Dormi, Jesu" in the Dale Warland Series - posted: May 2010
G. Schirmer writes: "With homage to Bruckner and Messiaen, the gentle phrases and rich harmonies of this contemporary Latin setting will resonate throughout your performance space." Study the score, listen to the recording, or click to order here: Dormi Jesu.

Cancer returns, preparing for bone marrow transplant - posted: April 2010
I'm sorry to report I've been recently diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma for the third time. I'll be taking some time away from commissions and other collaborative projects to undergo a bone marrow tranplant in June, and will post updates on my Facebook Fanpage as I am able.

Three pieces being performed at North Central ACDA! - posted: Mar 2010
Hooray! Bar xizam (Upward, I rise) and Chant for Great Compassion will be performed by the St Olaf Choir and Manitou Singers, and Cedit, Hyems will 're-premiere' with Cantamus (Iowa State) in a new arrangement for SSAA, all at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.

St. Olaf Choir champions "Bar xizam (Upward, I rise)" on East Coast tour - posted: Feb 2010
"A whirling, soaring vision of the soul after death," the gestural Bar xizam (Upward I rise), for mixed chorus and soloists on a medieval Persian text, was reviewed as "a high point" on The St. Olaf Choir's winter tour. (And they call Sufi mystics ecstatic!) Read the review from Mechanics Hall.

Listen to Abbie's new carol on Minnesota Public Radio - posted: Dec 2009
Each Christmas, Minnesota Public Radio invites me to premiere a new carol written in the tradition of my great-grandfather (Rev. Bates Burt, father of composer Alfred Burt). The 2009 carol is "Be Like the Bird," a canon for 5 voices.

"In the Bleak Midwinter" has ALMOST sold 1,000 copies! - posted: Nov 2009
Abbie's best-selling piece this year is her arrangement of Holst's "In the Bleak Midwinter," selling 953 copies since the BYU Singers performed it last Christmas. There's a special surprise for the choir member who receives the 1,000th score! Who will it be? Order here!

Cantus to tour the USA with "Yhinx: An Ancient Greek Love Charm" - posted: Sept 2009
Cantus, the award-winning men's vocal chamber ensemble, will include "Yhinx: An Ancient Greek Love Charm," a binding spell cast around a fire, on their 2009-2010 touring program celebrating the energy of the elements. (They're even going to Alaska!) Are they coming to a town near you? Check Cantus's 2009-2010 tour schedule.

Sorel Medallion finalist "Mary and Gabriel" to make Carnegie Hall debut - posted: June 2009
The racy (and somewhat irreverent) Mary and Gabriel for soloists, chorus and percussion has been named one of three finalists for the annual Sorel Medallion award in New York, and will be performed by the acclaimed chorus Voices of Ascension in Carnegie Hall this October.

ABBIE RECEIVES MCKNIGHT ARTIST FELLOWSHIP (and finally uncrosses her fingers) - May 2009
These prestigious fellowships, sponsored by the McKnight Foundation, are intended to reward artistic excellence and to support composers who have reached a critical point in their career development. The judging panel heard three recent works: Nattsanger (Nightsongs), From Behind the Caravan, and Mary and Gabriel.

Summer workshop with Zeitgeist - posted: May 2009
Zeitgeist has generously offered Abbie a place in their Composer Workshop, where, alongside colleagues J. Anthony Allen and Justin Merritt, she will be able to use this fantastic ensemble like the laboratory she's always wanted... while hopefully sketching out a new piece for bass clarinet, piano, and percussion.

"Nattsanger" receives Honorable Mention in ASCAP Morton Gould awards - posted: April 2009
Abbie's song cycle on the Norwegian poetry of Rolf Jacobsen has received honorable mention in ASCAP's esteemed Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. Listen to the cycle for high voice, clarinet, and piano here.

Feb 27-28, 2009: Harvard Festival of Women's Choruses - posted: Feb 2009
Harvard University has invited Abbie to join composers Hilary Tann, Carol Barnett and others at a composer/conductor roundtable, and to hear Cornell University Chorus and Cappella Clausura perform her music. See the calendar for details.

"From Behind the Caravan" on Winnipeg New Music Festival - posted: Feb 2009
I recently had the pleasure of hearing the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra's New Music Festival featuring the University of Manitoba Women's Choir on my five-mvt set "From Behind the Caravan: Songs of Hâfez" and an appearance by cellist Matt Haimovitz. CBC radio archived the show here.

ACF Encore grant supports "Clan of the Lichens" with Lindsay Kesselman - posted: Nov 2008
Thanks to an Encore grant from the American Composers Forum, Ohio-based soprano Lindsay Kesselman will be adding my song cycle "The Clan of the Lichens" to her 2009 tour repertoire, giving concerts at Kent State, Rice University, and The Schubert Club in St. Paul.

Schubert Club commissions two new chamber works - posted: Oct 2008
The Schubert Club (St. Paul, MN) has commissioned a violin/cello duet, and a new work for horn trio, both expected to premiere in the 2009-10 season.

Yale Glee Club to perform "Long Time Trav'ling" on 2009 Tour - posted: Sept 2008
The Yale Glee Club, under the direction of Jeffrey Douma, will be taking Long Time Trav'ling on tour to the Northwest U.S. in January, and to South America this summer. The program also includes a Ned Rorem premiere and the winning piece from Yale's emerging composers competition.

Maria Jette to perform "Nattsanger" at American Composers Forum Showcase - posted: Aug 2008
Soprano Maria Jette, clarinetist Paul Fonfara, and pianist Sonja Thompson will perform the third movement from my newest song cycle Nattsanger (Nightsongs), on September 19, 2008 at 5:30 pm, at MacPhail Center's beautiful new Antonello Hall (501 South Second Street) in Minneapolis.

Looking for new Christmas Carols? - posted: July 2008
If you are a conductor planning your upcoming season, please take a moment to check out my seven original Christmas carols, written in the tradition of my great-uncle, Alfred Burt. View the Burt Family Carol Series.

Subito award will fund travel to Amsterdam - posted: June 6, 2008
The American Composers Forum's subito grant has come through to allow me to travel to Amsterdam in November, where Valborg Chor will be performing a concert called "Betinis and Bruckner." (My work will be the first American music they have ever performed!) I've spent only 4 hours in Amsterdam, once, between flights, so I'm looking forward to seeing the city too.

Maria Jette performs part of "Nattsanger" at St. Paul Summer Song Festival - posted: May 2008
Join Maria Jette, clarinetist John Anderson, and pianist Sonja Thompson at The Schubert Club's finale concert for the Saint Paul Summer Song Festival on June 13, 2008 at 7:00 pm, SPCO Center, Hamm Building (408 St. Peter St, Saint Paul, MN).

Podcast interview on "Bar xizam" - posted: April 17, 2008
The Esoterics (see news post below) have just posted a podcast interview with me about my piece Bar xizam (Upward I rise). Listen to the podcast, or subscribe to their RSS feed on their EsoCast page: http://www.theesoterics.org/esocast.

April 12-20, 2008: Performances of Persian Pieces in Washington - posted: April 12, 2008
Two Seattle-based choruses have taken on my Persian language pieces this month. The Esoterics reprise their performances of Bar xizam (Upward I rise) on their 15th Anniversary concerts. And the women of the Seattle Choral Company perform From Behind the Caravan with vielle, oud, ney flute, and Persian hand drums. For more information, see the Calendar.

Nattsanger (Nightsongs) premiered - posted: April 10, 2008
Soprano Jennifer Swanson gave a magnificent premiere performance of my newest song cycle on April 9, 2008 at the University of Minnesota School of Music in Minneapolis. Commissioned by The Schubert Club, Nattsanger is scored for soprano, clarinet, and piano, and sets seven "night" poems of Rolf Jacobsen in his native Norwegian.

Carmina mei cordis at the Basilica! -- March 29, 2008 - posted: March 2008
The Singers--Minnesota Choral Artists will perform my two-movement piece, Carmina mei cordis (Songs of my heart), at their annual concert at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. The program (also featuring Distler's incredible Singet dem Herrn, and selections from Rachmaninoff's Vespers) promises to be a transcendent experience. Order your tickets here.

North Central ACDA Convention - posted: March 2, 2008
If you're heading to the ACDA convention in Fargo March 5-8, come visit me in the exhibition hall. I will be sharing a booth with my friend and colleague J. David Moore, and between the two of us we're bound to have sheet music to suit your chorus's needs. (Or just stop by to say hi.)

NOTICE: Contact form is fixed - February 15, 2008
So, it's been brought to my attention that my contact form wasn't working for about two weeks. If, by chance, you sent a message during that time, I didn't receive it. Sad. But now it's better than ever and awaiting your messages, or email addresses to add to my mailing list.

Collaboration with Spaghetti Western String Co.! - February, 2008
I'm singing in a new a cappella group, Deviated Septet, and we've been invited to open for the local eclectic string band Spaghetti Western! They're releasing a new CD on Saturday, February 9 at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis. Show starts at 8:00 pm, we'll start singing at 9:00, then continue to "back up" the band throughout the show. See Calendar.

Preview Performance: Nattsanger (Nightsongs) - January 27, 2008
The Schubert Club has commissioned this 20-minute song cycle for soprano Jennifer Swanson, who will give a preview performance of the first three movements at noon on Thursday, January 31 at a Schubert Club Courtroom Concert. The piece is for soprano, clarinet, and piano, and is settings of Rolf Jacobsen's poetry -- all in his native Norwegian. Details here.

A family tradition of carol writing continues - December 24, 2007
This crazy family tradition of writing an annual Christmas Carol, now spanning three generations, is currently being featured on Minnesota Public Radio, including the premiere of my new carol for 2007, "Run, Toboggan, Run." Hear the archived interview on All Things Considered, or see a different feature on Classical Minnesota Public Radio.

Star Tribune: Young Artists On the Verge - November 11, 2007
Apparently I'm on the verge of something... Unfortunately, they didn't tell me what. I intend to figure it out, though, so it's back to the piano for me...

Jerome Composers Commissioning Program Grant - October 24, 2007
Conductor John Lace has commissioned me to write a band piece for his students at Anoka High School here in Minnesota. Today we learned that the Jerome Foundation will fund it! This is my first major grant, so it's all very exciting. (Will premiere in spring 2009)

Simone Dinnerstein, pianist - October 18, 2007
I met her today, here in Saint Paul, after she played some Goldberg Variations for a Schubert Club concert in the cortile of the Landmark Center. Lucky enough to be looking down from the first balcony, I was mesmerized by the intricate visual patterns her fingers made. Philip Lasser's words came back to me, "Play Bach every day... and cry."

NEW: Online Order Form! - posted: September 17, 2007
Yes, it IS an online order form for choral sheet music. Brand spankin' new. Test it out!

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