The primary goal of the Voices of Los Angeles (VoLA) project was to identify talented local composers, to commission them to write music for the Hollywood Master Chorale (HMC,) and to record the concerts. Building relationships with musicians, local businesses, and an audience support base is crucial to the project.

The VoLA project gives our patrons a rallying point in support of upcoming artists, new music, the Hollywood, West Hollywood, and nearby communities. Artistic Director, Dr. Lauren Buckley, coordinator of the project, envisioned a wonderful educational opportunity as well.

Four talented student composers were selected in December, 2011: Joshua Fishbein, MA (pursuing a doctorate at UCLA;) Saad Haddad (Junior at USC;) Mark Popeney, DMA (USC;) and Jordan Nelson, MA (pursuing a doctorate at USC.) They each wrote choral compositions using William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence” as their inspiration and lyrics. The four works were premiered at the “Voices of LA: Songs of Innocence” concert on June 17, 2012. The audience gave a standing ovation.

In 2012, four established Los Angeles composers joined the project as mentors of the four student composers: Jeffrey Bernstein, PhD, (originator of the VoLA project;) Michelle Green Willner, DMA; Sage Lewis, MFA; Nick Strimple, PhD; All of the composers will write choral compositions using William Blake’s “Songs of Experience” as their lyrics and inspiration.

As an educational component of the project, students from nearby schools that emphasize music will be invited to attend one of three open rehearsals.

The culmination of the project are the two “Voices of LA: Songs of Experience” concerts on June 9 and June 22, 2013, featuring the eight world premiere songs. The HMC is honored to share with the community the work of such talented composers.

The VoLA project has been generously funded in part by grants from the City of West Hollywood and the County of Los Angeles Arts Commission.