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Brian W. Holmes
1946 -
United States of America, Washington D.C.
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B.W. Holmes
Brian W. Holmes (06/08/1946), an American composer, from Washington D.C. He graduated from Pomona College and earned a PhD in experimental low temperature physics from Boston University. He is now (1999) a professor of Physics at San Jose State University in San Jose, California, and is active as a free-lance horn player, performing with the San Jose Symphony and Opera San Jose. While in Boston, Holmes studied horn with Harry Shapiro and played in the Cambridge Symphonic Brass Quintet. As a composer, Holmes often writes for solo voice and chorus. A choral work for Christmas that shows Holmes natural gift for melody, coupled with fine compositional technique, is the prize-winning carol I Saw a Fair Maiden for unaccompanied mixed voices. Brian Holmes has also composed numerous songs, song cycles, choral works and instrumental works, including a concerto for toy piano and orchestra. Several works have been recorded by the Peninsula Women's Chorus and by the Stanford University Chorale. Holmes interests in physics and music overlap. He does research on the physics of musical instruments and has occasionally composed music related to science. His Updike's Science, for example, is a set of six songs about science, composed to humorous poems of John Updike. He has also lectured on the physics of musical instruments at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oberlin College, Cornell University, Brown University, Boston University, Boston College, Pomona College, the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Physical Society, and the Acoustical Society of America.
Pie Jesu
Composed in:1998
Musical form:fragment
Text/libretto:Latin mass + poem by Emily Dickinson
This piece Pie Jesu is for treble voices, either female or children and is a version of the "Pie Jesu" which will be heard in Amherst Requiem. Pie Jesu for female voices, soprano and alto; and French horn, or clarinet, or cello. Pie Jesu has a Latin text, plus the Emily Dickinson poem "Ample make this bed".
Author:Brian Holmes
Amherst requiem
Period:21st century
Composed in:2006
Musical form:free
Text/libretto:Latin mass + twelve poems of Emily Dickinson
In memory of:the composer's mother
Amherst requiem for soprano, chorus, children's chorus, and orchestra. (In progress). Combines the Latin missa pro defunctis (no "Dies irae") with twelve poems of Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886), an American lyrical poet.
Amherst Requiem is incomplete (May 2005). The forces involved in Amherst Requiem will be soprano solo, chorus, children's chorus, and orchestra. Duration will be 70 minutes. Likely premier in Fall, 2006. Dedicated to the memory of my Mother.
Several other segments have been performed:
- Quam olim Abrahae (Abraham to kill him)
- What Inn is this
- What is "Paradise"
- I shall keep singing?
- In Paradisum (Tie the Strings to my Life, my Lord)

My work Amherst Requiem, which is included in your survey, is now complete. It will be performed Nov 21 and 23 2008 at the Stanford Memorial Church. The performing forces include the Stanford Symphonic Chorus, Vivace Youth Chorus, and the Peninsula Symphony.
Author:Brian Holmes
E. Dickinson