Composer Ola Gjeilo (seated at piano) wrote a piece for and performed with the DV Choirs. Choir director Andrew DeValk is pictured in the center of the front row.

Desert Vista High School choir director Andrew DeValk also sings professionally as a tenor for the Grammy Award-winning Phoenix Chorale.

The Phoenix Chorale has brought composer Ola Gjeilo to Phoenix to write music for them this year, and DeValk thought it would be very special for his students to experience working with a modern composer and having a song written for them as well.

Gjeilo wrote a piece of music called “The Ground” for the Desert Vista Choirs. The Ground is a piece written for Chorus, strings and piano, and the students performed this world premiere at their March 4 concert in the school’s auditorium. This was a unique opportunity for the students to perform a world premiere with the composer on stage playing the piano. Gjeilo rehearsed with the students in the classroom and followed with a question and answer session.

The music of Gjeilo, a Manhattan-based Norwegian composer and pianist, has been performed and recorded in more than 30 countries worldwide in venues such as New York’s Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall, Los Angeles’ Disney Hall, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, Miami’s Knight Concert Hall and Jackie Gleason Theatre, the Copenhagen Opera House and the National Galleries in London and Washington, D.C. His music has been featured on PBS in America, and on all the major Scandinavian television channels.


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