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Dr. Catherine Roma Women Composers Commissioning Project

Fifteen choruses are a part of our first Roma Commission consortium. They will each perform Kala Pierson’s composition in their own community before bringing the commission to GALA Festival 2016 in Denver where it will be performed by over 500 singers! Meet composer Kala Pierson and listen to her music in the tabs below.

Meet Our Composer

Our composer is Kala Pierson, an American composer and sound artist. Her music has won eight national choral composition prizes and honors (several for SSA compositions), and has been performed in more than 30 countries on six continents. Pierson has held season-long composition residencies with San Francisco Choral Artists, American Opera Projects, and Tribeca Performing Arts Center.

Cathy Roma is currently working with Kala on text options and they are leaning toward using a poem by Palestinian-American poet, Suheir Hammad.

Greetings from Composer Kala Pierson

Kala writes:

I'm so excited to be part of this project. I've been a proud queer artist-activist since I was a teenager, and I'm passionate about choral music. A primary focus of my work is finding and setting rarely heard, politically resonant texts by living writers from many different cultures. Dr. Roma and I will work together to choose an ideally meaningful text for my Roma Commission piece.

As I write a new piece to honor Dr. Roma's vision – commitment to social justice through musical community - my piece will be welcoming to singers of all experience levels (both musically accessible and a pleasure to sing).

I'd love to share more about my music and my background with you. At, you can read more about me and listen to many of my choral pieces. You're welcome to email me (see my site's Contact page) if you'd like free perusal PDFs of any of my existing pieces or you'd like to ask me any questions. Thank you!

Listen to Kala's music here.

Commissioning Consortium Choirs

Anna Crusis Women’s Choir

Atlanta Women's Chorus

Calliope Women's Chorus

Grand Rapids Women's Chorus

MUSE: Cincinnati's Women's Choir


Sound Circle

Sacramento Women's Chorus

San Diego Women's Chorus

Seattle Women's Chorus

Sistrum, Lansing Women's Chorus

Common Woman Chorus

Denver Women's Chorus

Renaissance City Women's Chorus

Phoenix Women's Chorus


Nov 2014 Applications open for participating choruses.
Jan 2015 Final text identified by commission committee with composer.
Aug 2015 Commission completed and distributed to participating choruses.
Sept 2015 -
April 2016
Chorus rehearsal and communication with composer. Each chorus performs the composition as part of their 2015-2016 season
July 2-6, 2016 Commissioning choirs arrive in Denver to rehearse with composer. New commission is performed at GALA Festival 2016.

First Muse Concert

Cathy Roma conducting MUSE on International Women's Day in 1984.

Thinking of Commissioning a Work for Your Chorus?

See our Tips for Commissioning, Templates and list of GLBTQI-friendly composers in the Resource Center.