Jake Runestad


Jake Runestad

Award-winning composer Jake Runestad (b. 1986) is noted for his versatility and wide range of expressive capabilities with music driven by soaring melodies, driving rhythms, and lush textures. Considered “highly imaginative…with big ideas” (Baltimore Sun) and “stirring and uplifting” (Miami Herald), Jake is a composer with diverse musical experiences, spanning several continents, that have given him a reputation as one of the most creative and innovative composers of his generation.

Mr. Runestad has received commissions and performances from leading ensembles and organizations including Washington National Opera, the Netherlands Radio Choir, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Seraphic Fire, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Virginia Arts Festival, the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Craig Hella Johnson and the Cincinnati Vocal Arts Ensemble, Spire Chamber Ensemble, and the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. In-demand as a guest conductor and clinician, Mr. Runestad travels extensively to work with musicians of all levels and often presents masterclasses on composition and musical interpretation.

A diverse composer, Mr. Runestad has a prolific output represented in many genres including music for orchestra, wind band, chorus, chamber ensembles, jazz ensemble, and opera. He has received awards and grants from ASCAP, the American Composers Forum, the Peabody Conservatory, New Music USA, the Otto Bremmer Foundation, VocalEssence, the Virginia Arts Festival, the National Association for Music Education, the Association for Lutheran Church Musicians, and the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota. In the summers of 2011 and 2012, he was awarded full fellowships for the John Duffy Composer’s Institute at the Virginia Arts Festival where his operas, “The Toll” and “The Abbess and the Acolyte,” were performed. He also worked closely with acclaimed composers Bernard Rands, Libby Larsen, David Lang, Tania León, John Musto, and John Duffy. Jake’s “Nada Te Turbe” was awarded the 2013 Raabe Prize for Excellence in Sacred Music Composition by the Association for Lutheran Church Musicians.

As a conductor, Jake Runestad has worked with student, volunteer, and professional ensembles across the U.S.A. and was the founder and artistic director of the Anima Nova Chamber Choir, a professional vocal ensemble based in Baltimore, MD. An advocate of new music, he has conducted the premiere performances of several of his own works as well as programmed those of up-and-coming composers. As a baritone vocalist, he has performed under renowned conductors including Helmuth Rilling, Dale Warland, Philip Brunelle, Weston Noble, and Ed Polochick.

In November of 2013, Mr. Runestad’s largest work to date, “Dreams of the Fallen,” received its premiere performance with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA. Scored for piano, chorus, and orchestra, this new work is a setting of poetry by award-winning poet and Iraq War veteran Brian Turner and focuses on the impact of war on an individual. Led by pianist Jeffrey Biegel, “Dreams of the Fallen” was commissioned by a group of five orchestras including the Louisiana Philharmonic, Dayton Philharmonic, the Rockford Symphony, the Philharmonic of Southern New Jersey, and the Virginia Arts Festival. Having already garnered attention from Symphony Magazine, the New York Times, and other media outlets, “Dreams of the Fallen” has scheduled performances for the next three years.

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. He has also studied extensively with acclaimed composer Libby Larsen. Mr. Runestad’s music is published by Boosey & Hawkes and JR Music. Find out more: JakeRunestad.com