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Michael Kaulkin

Michael Kaulkin (b. 1967) is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory having previously studied at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary. He is active in the San Francisco Bay Area as a teacher and as a composer of works for chorus, orchestra, film and the musical stage. His music has been described as “exceptionally beautiful on many counts.”  Kaulkin also happens to be the founder of Swirly Music.

Choral Music by Michael Kaulkin

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for double SATB chorus (SATB + SATB)
SWM-002a
SATB+SATB
1' 45"
English
This a cappella setting of Emily Dickinson’s poem is an excerpt from Michael Kaulkin’s larger work Cycle of Friends for soprano solo, chorus and chamber orchestra. It is for mixed chorus divided into two ideally antiphonal SATB groups. Program Note Completed and premiered in 1996, Cycle of Friends for soprano solo, chorus and orchestra is […]
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for soprano solo, chorus and chamber orchestra
SWM-002
SATB
SSAATTB
25'
English
Completed and premiered in 1996, Cycle of Friends is  a lush, emotional journey through five texts taken from such diverse sources as Tang Dynasty poetry of China, Sappho and Emily Dickinson, each dealing in its own way with the universal theme of friendship. Cycle of Friends was commissioned and premiered by the Music Group of Philadelphia, Seán […]
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for mixed chorus a cappella
SWM-009
SATB
2'
English
Ducks in the Garden is a short a cappella piece based on a very silly poem by Will T. Laughlin. It was premiered in June, 2012 by the San Francisco Choral Artists, Magen Solomon, Artistic Director.  Hear the work performed in the amusing video embedded above. Morning comes — The day is fine; Ducks in […]
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for SATB choir a cappella
SWM-019
SATB
4'24"
English
Premiered in June 2018 by San Francisco Choral Artists, “Fare Ye Well My Darlin'” is an arrangement of an American folksong, perhaps dating from the Civil War, collected in South Carolina. A soldier bids farewell to his beloved, informing her that he has enlisted to fight in the war.
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for SATB chorus, two pianos and percussion
SWM-003
SATB
12'
English
Scored for SATB chorus, with two pianos and percussion, this uplifting setting of e.e. cummings’ “i thank You God for most this amazing” was commissioned by the Wilmington Friends School to celebrate their 250th Anniversary. It is an excellent choice for pairing with the Killmayer reduction of Orff’s Carmina Burana. There is, unfortunately, no live recording of […]
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for SATB choir and piano
SWM-022
SATB
2'30"
English
Italian
Neapolitan
This arrangement of the Neapolitan Christmas carol, sometimes known as “Canzone d’i Zampognari,” or “Carol of the Bagpipers”, was written for the San Francisco Bach Choir in 2021. It tells the story of the starry night when Bethlehem was visited by three strangers from far away. Sung here in the original Neapolitan language, there is […]
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for SSA adult or children's choir and piano
SWM-020
SSA
2'
Hebrew
Composed in the summer of 2020, Psalm 117 is a fun and uplifting setting of this psalm (“Praise the Lord, all nations!”) sung in Hebrew (IPA pronunciation guide included). The recording here is an electronic demo.
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for two-part equal voices & piano
SWM-021
Equal Voices
4'30"
English
As winner of the Organization of American Kodály Educators’ (OAKE) 2020 Ruth Boshkoff Composition Prize, I composed Redbirds in August/September of 2020 for a premiere at OAKE’s 2022 national conference, conducted by Ruth Dwyer. With the mission of OAKE and children’s choirs in general in mind, I wanted to choose a text for this piece that […]
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for mixed chorus a cappella
SWM-006
SATB
2'50"
English
Roll the Tide is a short, a cappella setting in a quasi-spiritual style of Elisabeth T. Eliassen’s  poem of peace and longing.  
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for unaccompanied mixed choir with soloists
SWM-018
SATB
5'30"
Yiddish
A theatrical setting of Di Balade Funem Farloyrenem Shefel, a colorful allegory by Yiddish poet Itzik Manger telling the story of a shepherd boy searching high and low for his lost lamb, only to discover that he has found something more important that he didn’t know he was looking for. Follow the score with English subtitles in […]
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a fanfare for SATB chorus a cappella
SWM-017
SATB
2'
English
Composed for San Francisco Choral Artists as part of the composer’s 2017-18 stint as Composer-in-Residence, “The Noble Art of Music” is a short, fanfare-like choral setting of two well known quotations by Martin Luther about music: “After the word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.” “As long […]
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for mixed chorus a cappella
SWM-013
SATB
2'24"
Yiddish
Tumbalalayka is one of the most performed and beloved Yiddish folksongs. This choral setting employs the use of instrument-like sounds imitating the strumming of the balalayka, a Russian folk instrument similar to a guitar, and contrasts the upbeat “Tumbalalayka” refrain with dark harmonic colors and occasional smooth polyphonic textures. This Tumbalalayka arrangement has been performed in the […]
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Music for Solo Voice by Michael Kaulkin

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for soprano, clarinet, viola and piano
Clarinet
Piano
Soprano
Viola
9'
Zwei Hülshoff Lieder was commissioned by San Francisco’s LIEDER ALIVE! as part of the organization’s mission to preserve the German lieder tradition through classes, recitals and the creation of new works.  It was premiered in San Francisco in January, 2015 by soprano Jessica Wan, joined by clarinetist Natalie Parker, violist Paul Yarbrough and pianist Laura Dahl. The texts […]
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for soprano and piano
Soprano
3'30"
Originally written for the musical The Ghost of Wu, musical that tells the story of Wu Chao, the only female ruler in Chinese history, who ruled in the 8th Century, “The World Rolls On” is, quite simply, a lullaby.
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for soprano solo, chorus and chamber orchestra
Choral
Orchestra
Soprano
25'
Completed and premiered in 1996, Cycle of Friends is  a lush, emotional journey through five texts taken from such diverse sources as Tang Dynasty poetry of China, Sappho and Emily Dickinson, each dealing in its own way with the universal theme of friendship. Cycle of Friends was commissioned and premiered by the Music Group of Philadelphia, Seán […]
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Music for other instruments by Michael Kaulkin

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for soprano, clarinet, viola and piano
Clarinet
Piano
Soprano
Viola
9'
Zwei Hülshoff Lieder was commissioned by San Francisco’s LIEDER ALIVE! as part of the organization’s mission to preserve the German lieder tradition through classes, recitals and the creation of new works.  It was premiered in San Francisco in January, 2015 by soprano Jessica Wan, joined by clarinetist Natalie Parker, violist Paul Yarbrough and pianist Laura Dahl. The texts […]
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for flute, clarinet and percussion
Clarinet
Flute
Percussion
4' 30"
LYRIC SCHERZO was commissioned in its original form for flute, french horn and percussion by the San Francisco Bay Area’s Teal Crane Trio and premiered by them in 2014.  As the title suggests, it is a tuneful and playful piece with a virtuosic percussion part involving constant interplay between the vibraphone and bongos and other […]
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for string orchestra
Orchestra
15'
Letter to Hungary was premiered in Budapest, Hungary in November, 2005, by the Hungarian Chamber Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alberto Santana. The HCSO commissioned the work to open their inaugural “American Composers’ Podium”. Its U.S. premiere was given by the Mission Chamber Orchestra of San Jose, California in 2007. PROGRAM NOTE Since even before living in […]
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for brass and percussion
Brass
Percussion
Trombone
Trumpet
Tuba
2' 20"
FANFARE was commissioned by the Washington International School, the composer’s alma mater and premiered at a gala event celebrating the school’s 40th anniversary in May, 2006. Score and parts included. Instrumentation 3 trumpets 1 trombone 1 bass trombone 1 tuba Timpani (3) Percussion (bass drum, suspended cymbal, snare drum, tambourine, triangle)
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for soprano solo, chorus and chamber orchestra
Choral
Orchestra
Soprano
25'
Completed and premiered in 1996, Cycle of Friends is  a lush, emotional journey through five texts taken from such diverse sources as Tang Dynasty poetry of China, Sappho and Emily Dickinson, each dealing in its own way with the universal theme of friendship. Cycle of Friends was commissioned and premiered by the Music Group of Philadelphia, Seán […]
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for string quartet
String Quartet
12' 30"
Composed in the first half of 2009, City Walks is a 12-minute piece for string quartet in one movement. It is lyrical and macabre, with a fun, adrenaline-soaked extended coda. It was premiered by the Eidolon Quartet in Berkeley, California in May, 2009 and performed subsequently at the San Francisco Airport’s “You Are Hear” festival and […]
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for clarinet and piano
Clarinet
9'
Michael Kaulkin’s American Standard, for clarinet and piano, has been performed numerous times around the world since it was composed in 1993. It is included on the U.K. label Clarinet Classics release “TIME PIECES: 60 Years of American Music” featuring clarinetist Peter Furniss and pianist David Leiher-Jones. Program Note Originally written for Peter Furniss and […]
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