Jake Runestad, composer
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 inspired him to create music that captures the emotional vibrancy of life experiences while transcending diverse musical genres.
Mr. Runestad has received commissions and performances from leading ensembles and organizations including the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Seraphic Fire vocal ensemble, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, VocalEssence, the Virginia Arts Festival, the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, the National Lutheran Choir, Cantus, the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, and the Cincinnati Vocal Arts Ensemble. In-demand as a guest conductor and clinician, Mr. Runestad travels extensively to work with musicians of all levels and often gives masterclasses on composing and music business.
A diverse composer, Mr. Runestad has a prolific output represented in many genres including music for wind band, chorus, orchestra, chamber ensembles, jazz ensemble, and opera. He has received awards and grants from ASCAP, the American Composers Forum, the Peabody Conservatory, 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.
Recent performances include Fear Not, Dear Friend by Cantus – “the premier men’s vocal ensemble in the United States (Fanfare), I Will Lift Mine Eyes by the Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble Seraphic Fire, As Rain to the Sea for soprano and orchestra conducted by Maestro Lee Mills, the Baltimore Symphony-Peabody Conducting Fellow, and The Toll – a one-act opera performed at the Virginia Arts Festival as a part of the John Duffy Composer Institute. Current commissions include Dreams of the Fallen for large choir, solo piano, and orchestra commissioned by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra for pianist Jeffrey Biegel and a consortium of orchestras, a new work for Craig Hella Johnson and VAE; Cincinnati, a choral work for Spire Chamber Ensemble, and a new work for the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay conducted by Dr. James Bass.
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 composers Libby Larsen and Donald Fraser. Mr. Runestad’s music is published by Boosey & Hawkes and JR Music.