Wisconsin Composer Series: Heidi Joosten

As we lead up to our April 18th concert featuring music by Wisconsin composers, we are profiling some of the composers and their pieces that we are featuring. We hope that you come out and join us at Alverno College Chapel on April 18th at 7 p.m.!


Heidi Joosten www.heidijoosten.com

Heidi Joosten: “Adoramus Te, Christe”

Heidi Joosten has been surrounded by musicians since birth. She took up piano when she was barely four years old, and began studying the harp three years later. Throughout the years, she added training in voice, oboe, organ, jazz piano, saxophone, mallet percussion and guitar to her musical arsenal as well.

When she was 18 years old she began composing, and started formal training in composition while studying at the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire, where she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Composition. Currently, she is pursuing her Masters degree in Composition from Roosevelt University: Chicago College of Performing Arts. She has studied under such instructors as J. Michael Roy, Dr. Ethan Wickman, Dr. Chia-Yu Hsu, Dr. Stacy Garrop and Dr. Kyong Mee Choi.

Despite constantly being surrounded by music for her entire life, Joosten’s love of it has not been dampened at all. She finds both composing and performing to be a cathartic experience.

“Music, with or without words, is the oldest language that we have, and that is an incredibly powerful gift we have been given,” she said.

With over 45 original compositions to her name, she enjoys writing for a multitude of genres, such as vocal, choral, opera, chamber, solo piano, orchestral and wind ensemble. She has received commissions from many of her fellow performer colleagues as well as the UWEC Wind Symphony and Lakeland All-Conference Honors Choir.

Her piece that we are performing on our Spring concert is “Adoramus Te, Christe,” one of two settings of that text on our upcoming concert (the other by Eric Barnum). Here are Joosten’s thoughts on the piece:

“In the Academy Award winning movie Life of Pi, the title character Pi Patel makes the statement, ‘None of us knows God until someone introduces us,'” she said. ” In December 2012, I had the privilege of spending the New Year with my family in Southern California to watch my brother perform with the UW-Madison Marching Band at the Rose Bowl. While we were there, we drove from Los Angeles down to San Diego, taking the coastal highway.

“On that breathtaking journey, I was very spiritually moved, and reflecting on this text while watching the incredible imagery just outside the window, I imagined how someone might react when first being introduced to this text, especially if they had never been introduced to God before. The repetition of text to reflect understanding, the transition from one powerful chain of timeless words to the next, and the breadth of emotions expressed in the entire core of the Christian faith in six short lines are the foundation of this piece.”

Here is the text and translation for the piece:

Adoramus te Christe,                                 We adore you, O Christ,
et benedicimus tibi:                                     and we bless you:
quia per sanctam crucem                           because your holy cross
et passionem tuam,                                     and Passion
redemisti mundum.                                    redeemed the world.
Domine, miserere nobis.                            O Lord, have mercy on us.

For more information about Heidi Joosten and her music, visit her website, www.heidijoosten.com.

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