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Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Composer Jeff Beal confronts MS diagnosis in new work with LA Master Chorale
Jeff Beal was reeling from being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when he put on “Cloudburst,” a luminous choral piece by composer Eric Whitacre.
A feeling of calm washed over him.
“I’ve always loved vocal music,” says Beal, the Emmy Award-winning composer behind Netflix’s “House of Cards” and a host of other film and television scores, speaking from his home studio in Agoura Hills. “As a meditative and quiet-your-mind thing, it is extremely powerful and healing.”
Inspired by his experience, Beal mediates on suffering and catharsis in his first original a cappella work, “The Salvage Men,” which has its U.S. premiere Sunday at Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Master Chorale as part of the Made in L.A. Concert.
The composition — a joint commission from the Master Chorale and the Eric Whitacre Singers — is one of several works created in the city that Master Chorale Artistic Director Grant Gershon calls “a hotbed for composers who write beautifully and evocatively for the human voice.”
Beal says he experienced numbness down the left side of his body for years, but it wasn’t until he was hobbling around South by Southwest Film Festival in spring 2007 that it struck him something might actually be wrong.
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