Morehouse College Music Program
Sub-Saharan Africa Commissioning Project

The Morehouse College Music Program invites Sub-Saharan African composers living in Ghana, Kenya, or Nigeria to submit applications for our fourth annual commission, offered with support from the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS).  This commission celebrates the Morehouse College Glee Club’s tradition of performing African choral music under the direction of Wendell Whalum, Uzee Brown, Jr., and David Morrow.  The past recipients of the award are Dr. Ayọ̀ Olúrántí, Dr. Laz Ekwueme, and Mr. Jude Nwankwo.

Eligibility requirements

  • Ghanaian, Kenyan and Nigerian citizens currently residing in their home country
  • Domiciliary account for honorarium payment ($1,000) in US dollars

Timeline

  • Wednesday, August 21, 2019: Call for applications issued
  • Friday, September 20, 2019: Application deadline
  • Tuesday, October 1, 2019: Announcement of commission recipient
  • Friday, November 1, 2019: Deadline for receipt of musical score, performance instructions (including pronunciation) and program notes
  • February 2019 (Date TBA): Premiere of commissioned work

Details for the commission

  • 3-5 minutes in duration
  • TTBB (four-part for male-voice choir)
  • No keyboard accompaniment, optional percussion
  • Text in a Ghanaian, Kenyan or Nigerian language listed in Ethnologue
  • Literal translation and program notes

Application materials

  • All materials should be loaded into a cloud storage and a shared link should be sent to musiccommission@morehouse.edu
  • Brief résumé (highlighting musical composition experience)
  • Sample work (recordings and scores up to 10 minutes)
  • Text of the work to be commissioned (must be in Ghanaian, Kenyan or Nigerian language on secular themes and include a literal English translation)
  • Letter of recommendation (submitted by referee)

Review process

The review committee will consist of Morehouse College music faculty with expertise in the areas of vocal music, composition and West African music. It will be chaired by Dr. David Morrow, conductor of the Morehouse College Glee Club.

The committee reserves the right to withhold the commission if, in the opinion of the panel, there are no applicants that are deemed qualified to complete the project. In the event that no commission is made, a new call for applications will be issued in 2020.

Incentives to commissioned composer

  • $1,000 honorarium
  • Guaranteed performance by Morehouse College Glee Club (including video and audio recording)
  • Invitation letter to attend the performance
  • Recommendation of the piece to music publishers (acknowledgement of the commission is required in the publication and the Morehouse College Glee Club retains the right to perform the work royalty-free indefinitely). For more information, contact musiccommission@morehouse.edu.

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In November 2018, Ayọ̀ Olúrántí was selected as the recipient of the award. Dr. Olúrántí is a Professor and Head of the Department of Music at Mountain Top University in Nigeria.

Dr. Olúrántí was commissioned to write a three- to five-minute piece for TTBB (male-voice) choir on secular themes in one of Nigeria’s roughly 500 languages. He selected the Yorùbá language and the title of the work is “Ọmọlúàbí”.

The premiere of “Ọmọlúàbí” took place on April 17, 2019 at 7:00 P.M. in Morehouse College’s Ray Charles Performing Arts Center.  To watch the performance of the piece, please click here.  A short explanation of the piece by the composer can be accessed here.