"Szymko specializes in choral works of
haunting beauty." *
Joan Szymko's music is sung by distinguished ensembles across North America and abroad, with performances at international competitions and festivals, at state and regional conferences and at seven consecutive National Conferences of the American Choral Directors Association. The ACDA has recognized Joan's lasting contribution to the choral arts by selecting her as the recipient of the 2010 Raymond W. Brock Memorial Commission.
Composing for vocal ensembles is an extension of Szymko's creativity as a choral director; her passion for the art of singing, an embodied approach to sound, her dedication to storytelling and an insistence on quality texts all relate to her predilections as a conductor and are reflected in her choral compositions. A choral conductor since 1980, Joan has led Aurora Chorus of Portland as Artistic Director since 1993. She served on the choral faculty at Portland State University(2012-15)and was a resident composer for Do Jump! Movement Theater (1995-2012).
Szymko is currently composing a major work for SATB chorus and orchestra on the subject of Alzheimer's dementia. "Shadow & Light" will be premiered April 8,2016 by the Eugene Concert Choir & Orchestra
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B.S Music Education, University of Illinois
- 2013, Composer; New Dramtists / Nautilus Music-Theater, Composer-LIbrettist Studio, New York, NY
- 2010, ACDA; Raymond W. Brock Memorial Commissioned Composer
- 2009, Instituto Sacatar; Awarded Fellowship for 7 week residency ( Itaparica, BA Brazil)
- 2002, Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC/Oregon); Project Grant for "A Choral Conspiracy"
- 2001, Oregon Arts Commission; Individual Artist Fellowship
- 2001, ASCAP; juried selection as participant in annual LA Film Scoring Workshop
1995-present, Composer-in Residence, Do Jump! Movement Theater, Portland, Or
1994-2000, Composer in Residence, Concord Community of Choirs, Portland, Or