James Quitman Mulholland, composer, is Professor of Music at Butler University and was Director of Music at First Meridian Heights Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. He has received commissions from children’s choirs, middle schools, high schools, universities, professional ensembles, national honor choirs, as well as the American Choral Directors Association and the Music Educators National Conference. His compositions have been chosen as required repertoire by over forty states and his works have been performed at the last ten national conventions of the ACDA. He accepts approximately eight to twelve commissions a year and has received commissions and performances in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and throughout Europe.
The purpose of this study is three-fold: (1) to provide an additional scholarly resource solely devoted to the contributions of James Mulholland, a widely published, commissioned and performed contemporary composer of choral music; (2) to furnish insights into his background, influences, and perspectives; and (3) to provide an analytical approach to Mulholland’s choral compositional style.
Chapter 1, “Introduction,” outlines the need and methodology of the study. Chapter 2, “A Biographical Sketch,” explores Mulholland’s family background, his musical training, career as a professor and composer and prestigious honors and awards. Chapter 3, “Compositional Style Characteristics,” discusses the composer’s compositional style. The information presented is derived from the author’s study and analysis of James Mulholland’s published choral works to date. In addition, three prominent conductors who have programmed and recorded a large body of Mulholland’s works were interviewed for their expertise. The analytical portion of Chapter 4, “A Descriptive Analysis of Selected Choral Works,” focuses on the elements of text, musical form, melody, harmony, and rhythm. The project concludes with a summary of the research in Chapter 5, “Summary and Conclusion.”
The study also includes appendices that provide an annotated list of published choral works specifying performance requirements, text, and publication information. Other appendices include a chronological list of published choral works; a list of choral sets; and a choral discography that includes contact and recording information. Also included are transcripts of phone interviews the author has conducted with the composer and three prominent conductors.