Biographical Information
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The music of Frank Ferko has been heard in live performances and radio broadcasts around the world. Hailed by critics as a master of text setting and composing for a cappella vocal ensembles, Mr. Ferko is one of the most sought after composers of new choral music today, and his works have been performed by some of the most highly regarded choral ensembles and vocal soloists of our time.

Mr. Ferko's works have been performed all over the world by such by distinguished ensembles as Nederlands Kamerkoor, VU-Kamerkoor, Oost-Nederlands Kamerkoor (The Netherlands), Jubilate Singers (New Zealand), Commotio, BBC Singers, Trinity College Choir, Cambridge, ORA Singers, Holst Singers, Londinium, (United Kingdom), Trinity College Choir, Melbourne, Harvard Glee Club, Volti (San Francisco), Cantori New York, Cerddorion, Conspirare, Seattle Pro Musica, Choral Arts, Opus 7, The Esoterics, Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati, BYU Singers, Magnum Chorum, Ars Nova Singers, Lutheran Choir of Chicago, South Bend Chamber Singers, Bella Voce (formerly known as His Majestie's Clerkes), American Repertory Singers, and the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra. Distinguished solo artists who have performed his works include sopranos Sylvia McNair, Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet, Nancy Gustafson, Claudia Patacca, and Patrice Michaels; tenors Brian Manternach, Michael Hume, and Kurt Hansen; baritones Nathan Gunn, Robert Orth, Keith Phares, and Jeffrey Ray; duet keyboardists Timothy and Nancy LeRoi Nickel, Marilyn and James Biery, and Colin Andrews and Janette Fishell, as well as organists David Schrader, Patrick Wedd, Robert Huw Morgan, David Craighead, Larry Palmer, Dana Robinson, Jonathan Dimmock, McNeil Robinson, Leonard Raver, Russian harpsichordist Tatiana Zenaishvili, and saxophonists Frederick Hemke, Jasmin Lelande, Harry White, and Gail Levinsky.

Notable venues in which Mr. Ferko's music has been presented include Carnegie Hall, Orchestra Hall (Minneapolis), Beurs van Berlage (Amsterdam), Rachmaninov Hall (Moscow), Cathédrale de Notre Dame de Paris, Domkerk, Utrecht (Netherlands), Basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine (Vézelay, France), St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin and The Merce Cunningham Dance Studio (New York). Festivals and concert serieswhich have presented his music include the Sixth World Symposium on Choral Music (2002), Jusqu'aux oreilles (Montreal, 2001-2003, 2005-2006), Festival Oude Muziek (Utrecht, 1998), and Sacred Music in a Sacred Space (Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, New York 2016 and 2017). His works have also been heard at conventions of the American Guild of Organists, American Choral Directors Association and Chorus America.

From 2001 to 2003 Frank Ferko held the position of Composer-in-Residence with the Dale Warland Singers, long regarded as one of America's finest a cappella choirs, and his awards include an ASCAP award nearly every year from 1989 to 2019, as well as awards from Meet the Composer, American Composers Forum, American Music Center, Arts International and the American Guild of Organists. Four times he received the Individual Artist's Fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council, and in 2003, 2005 and 2006 the Illinois Arts Council awarded him the Governor's International Travel Exchange Grant for presentations of his music in The Netherlands and Ireland. His works are published exclusively by E.C. Schirmer, and many of his works have been recorded for compact disc and digital download on the Harmonia Mundi, Hyperion, Arsis, Cedille, Loft/Gothic, Herald, Gasparo, Raven, Pro Organo, ZigZag, Notegun, New Art and Liturgical Press labels. His Stabat Mater for unaccompanied mixed chorus and soprano solo, which received high audience and critical acclaim in the U.S. and abroad, has been recorded twice on compact disc, most recently for Gothic ReZound with soprano Juliana Rambaldi and Choral Arts (Seattle), conducted by Robert Bode, and also for Cedille Records with soprano Nancy Gustafson and His Majestie's Clerkes (former name of Bella Voce), conducted by Anne Heider.

Mr. Ferko has also served as adjudicator in national competitions including the ASCAP Awards in Adventurous Programming, the AGO/ECS Choral Composition Competition and Choral Ventures of the Dale Warland Singers. He has presented his own works in lecture/demonstrations at universities, conservatories and high schools across the country and abroad.

 

As a scholar of the music of Olivier Messiaen, Mr. Ferko has lectured on Messiaen's organ music and has performed many of Messiaen's works in concert. He has also written articles for The American Organist and The Diapason.

Mr. Ferko's compositions based on his research on the life, music and writings of Hildegard von Bingen have gained international attention, and during the summer of 1998 Mr. Ferko was invited to perform his Hildegard Organ Cycle at the Holland Festival Oude Muziek in Utrecht (Netherlands), a performance which marked the European premiere of the work. This was followed by the West Coast U.S. premiere of the work at the Cathedral of St. Mary in San Francisco. Other performances of this work have been presented in major cities across the U.S. since 1991. Similarly, Ferko's Hildegard Motets have been performed by American and European choirs, and his articles about the music of Hildegard and her influence on present-day composers have appeared in the British music journal Choir & Organ.

Frank Ferko photographed while
making a point in a conversation
 

 

Frank Ferko (b. 1950, Barberton, Ohio) began piano study at the age of nine in Barberton, Ohio with Grace Baughman, and in high school he studied with Richard Shirey, a member of the music faculty at the University of Akron. He began work as a church organist at the age of 14, and two years later he began to conduct a small church choir. At 18 he entered Valparaiso University and received a Bachelor of Music degree in piano and organ performance in 1972. He received the Master of Music degree in music theory (with a minor in organ performance) from Syracuse University one year later. He holds a doctorate in music composition from Northwestern University. His teachers have included Richard Wienhorst (composition), Philip Gehring and Will O. Headlee (organ), Newman Powell (piano and music history) and Howard Boatwright (theory). For nearly three decades he held the post of director of music at various churches in the Midwest, primarily in the Chicago area. Mr. Ferko holds memberships in Pi Kappa Lambda, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), and Music Library Association, and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres.

Additional information about Mr. Ferko's compositional work can be found on the ECS Publishing website.