2019 Composers-in-Residence

2019 Composers-in-Residence


Jake Runestad
2019 COA Nationals for Top Choirs
NYC + Carnegie Hall
March 15-17, 2019

2019 American Choral Festival
Anaheim Area, California
April 5, 2019


Jake Runestad is an award-winning and frequently-performed composer of “highly imaginative” (Baltimore Sun) and “stirring and uplifting” (Miami Herald) musical works. He has received commissions and performances from leading ensembles and organizations such as Washington National Opera, the Netherlands Radio Choir, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the Virginia Arts Festival, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Seraphic Fire, Craig Hella Johnson and Conspirare, and many more. Jake’s visceral music and charismatic personality have fostered a busy schedule of commissions, residencies, workshops, and speaking engagements, enabling him to be one of the youngest full-time composers in the world.

Jake Runestad holds a Master’s degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University where he studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts. Has has also studied extensively with acclaimed composer Libby Larsen. A native of Rockford, IL, Mr. Runestad is currently based in Minneapolis, MN and his music is published by JR Music. Find out more at: JakeRunestad.com


Stacey V. Gibbs
2019 COA Nationals for Top Choirs
NYC + Carnegie Hall
April 11-13, 2019

2019 American Choral Festival
Nashville, Tennessee
April 5, 2019


Stacey V. Gibbs is a prolific and highly sought after composer and arranger. Best known for arrangements of spirituals, he is highly acclaimed for his ability to infuse new energy into familiar works without sacrificing their authenticity or power.

Maestro Gibbs’ spirituals have been performed by the United States Air Force Sergeants, The St. Olaf Choir, the Stellenbosch Choir of Africa, the University of Southern California Chamber Singers, the Winston-Salem State University Singing Rams, Morehouse & the University of Michigan Glee Clubs, the Wartburg Choir, and many other college, university, high school, and professional ensembles both domestically and internationally. His music has been programmed at all state festivals, National Association of Music Educators (MENC) Festivals, the World Choir Games, and regional and national American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Conventions. Several of his works also appear on J.W. Pepper’s Editor’s Choice lists, including Didn’t It Rain: The Spirituals of Stacey V. Gibbs, recorded by the Sunday Night Singers of California, and his setting of Way Over in Beulah Lan’ which was performed at the 57th Inaugural Service for President Barack Obama.

Recently, two of his settings were debuted at the World Choral Symposium in Barcelona and he was also honored by five debuts at the American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Minneapolis. Maestro Gibbs’ made his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall in April, 2017 and debuted his new works Freedom, I’m So Glad and I Wish That I Knew How It Feels to Be Free. He will present another new work From Agony to Glory: the Spiritual in 2018.

Mr. Gibbs serves as a clinician (nationally and internationally) for university, high school, professional, and church choral organizations. He attended Kentucky State University where he served as student conductor. The Stacey V. Gibbs Chorale debuted in July 2016. A management professional with 20 years experience, Mr. Gibbs holds membership in ACDA. He currently resides in Detroit, Michigan.


Z. Randall Stroope
2019 COA Nationals for Top Choirs
NYC + Carnegie Hall
April 25-27, 2019

2019 American Choral Festival
San Francisco, California
March 15, 2019

Z. Randall Stroope is one of the most active choral conductors and composers working today, conducting recently at the American School in Singapore, Canterbury Cathedral (England), Berliner Dom (Germany), Salzburger Dom (Austria), Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and National Presbyterian Cathedral (Washington, D.C.), Carnegie Hall (New York), and four performances at the Vatican in the past three years. He is also the Artistic Director for two summer music festivals in Europe.

Dr. Stroope has toured 21 countries with ensembles under his direction, including China, South Africa, Japan, and Russia. In 2013, he will conduct a tour of France and England with the Oklahoma State University Concert Chorale. Stroope has also directed 37 all-state choirs (Michigan and Florida in 2013).

As a composer, Stroope has published 125 musical works (instrumental, solo voice, and choral), and sells over a quarter million copies each year from his own catalog (zrandallstroope.com), as well as other U.S and English publishers. His We Beheld Once Again the Stars was recently performed by the Philippine Madrigal Singers in their win of the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing. In the United States, his works have been performed by the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Oregon Bach Festival, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Paul Hill Chorale (Washington, D.C.), and other esteemed ensembles. His composition teachers were Normand Lockwood and Cecil Effinger, both students of the famous French teacher/composer, Nadia Boulanger (student of Gabriel Fauré).

Dr. Stroope is the Director of Choral and Vocal Studies at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where he conducts the Concert Chorale, Chamber Choir, and Women’s Chorus. He is also the head of the Choral and Vocal Studies Division and coordinates the undergraduate and graduate choral conducting program. Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Stroope completed a Master of Music (Voice Performance) degree at the University of Colorado – Boulder, and Doctor of Musical Arts (Choral Conducting) degree at Arizona State University. He did post graduate work with Margaret Hillis, Chorus Master of the Chicago Symphony. As a recipient of the Australian-American Fulbright, he has also done work in western Australia. He and his wife, Cheryl (a junior high choral teacher), love to travel and spend time with their sheltie.