College of Arts and Humanities

World-premiere from Emmy Award-winning composer lands at Clemson University


Clemson University Choirs has commissioned a new choral piece from Emmy Award-winning composer Jake Runestad.

“El Aire Baila” will premiere on April 25 at the spring concert for the Clemson University Singers and Cantorei. Runestad will be in residency at the Department of Performing Arts from April 24-25 to work with Clemson University Choirs and Symphonic Band.

“We are absolutely elated to have such a remarkable American composer at Clemson this April,” said Anthony Bernarducci, Director of Music and Vocal Studies. “This residency began with a commission by the choral program for Clemson Cantorei and piano to highlight our amazing pianist, Grace Berardo. It has now expanded to include masterclasses with CU Singers, CU Women’s Choir, Symphonic Band and several discussion panels with students. This will be an incredible experience for students to talk with and learn from such a highly respected composer as we bring a new piece of art to life for our patrons.”

Tickets for the CU Singers and Cantorei concert are $10 for adults and $5 for Clemson students. They can be purchased at, by phone at 864-656-7787, at the Brooks Center Box Office, or at the door. The box office is open Monday-Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

About Jake Runestad

Considered “one of the best of the younger American composers” (Chicago Tribune), Emmy-winning and Grammy-nominated composer and conductor Jake Runestad has received commissions and performances from leading ensembles and organizations such as VOCES8, Washington National Opera, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Munich Radio Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Pacific Symphony and Chorale, True Concord Voices and Orchestra, the National Chorus of Korea, the Bavarian Radio Choir, the Netherlands Radio Choir, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, Seraphic Fire, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale and many more. “The Hope of Loving,” the first album dedicated to Runestad’s choral music, recorded by professional American choir Conspirare, received a Grammy nomination.

CU Singers performs at a past concert.
A file photo of a past CU Singers performance in the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts.

In 2019, he became one of the youngest composers ever awarded the prestigious Raymond C. Brock commission by the American Choral Directors Association. “Earth Symphony,” Runestad’s ground-breaking choral symphony written with librettist Todd Boss, earned a 2022 Emmy Award for musical composition. His visceral music and charismatic personality have fostered a busy schedule of commissions, residencies, workshops, and conducting engagements, enabling him to share his passion for creativity, expressivity and community with musicians around the world.

Dubbed a “choral rockstar” by American Public Media, Runestad is one of the most frequently performed composers of concert music. His thoughtful and compelling works “that speak to some of the most pressing and moving issues of our time” (Star Tribune), have been heard in thousands of performances across the globe. He 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. Find out more at

About CU Singers and Cantorei

Clemson University Singers and Clemson Cantorei, under the direction of Director of Music and Vocal Studies Anthony Bernarducci, are auditioned mixed-voice ensembles consisting of students across all academic majors.

CU Singers performs literature from all stylistic genres while Cantorei provides an enriching chamber music experience. Both perform throughout the year at the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts. For more information about Clemson’s choral ensembles, visit the Department of Performing Art’s website.

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