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John Christian Rommereim

Blanche Johnson Professor of Music


John Christian Rommereim is Blanche Johnson Professor of Music at Grinnell College, where he conducts the Grinnell Singers and the Grinnell Oratorio Society, and teaches composition. During the first part of his career, his scholarly work was centered in the areas of Russian choral music and early music performance. In more recent years, he has established a reputation as a composer as well. In 2006, The New York Times praised the “richly expressive” character of his work for voice and piano, Into the Still Hollow, premiered by baritone Thomas Meglioranza and pianist Reiko Uchida at Symphony Space.  His choral works have been performed by distinguished ensembles across the U.S., including Magnum Chorum, the Princeton Singers, VocalEssence, Voces Novae, and The Rose Ensemble, for whom he served as 2008-09 composer-in-residence. Mr. Rommereim has composed works for choir with various instruments, and works for voice and piano, guitar, flute, saxophone quartet, and string quartet. His choral/orchestral work Utopia was premiered with the Prague Radio Orchestra and the Grinnell Singers in 2000. In 2003, he composed Convivencia, a six-movement work for choir, string quartet, and harp, based on ancient love poetry from Jewish, Islamic, and Christian traditions. Voces Novae, of Bloomington, Indiana, premiered the choral cycle, featuring it on a special concert co-sponsored by Jewish, Muslim, and Christian organizations. He is the recipient of commissions and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Composers Forum, the Iowa Choral Directors Association, the Iowa Composers Forum, and the Iowa Arts Council. He is the 2006 winner of the  Welcome Christmas carol contest sponsored by VocalEssence. He has conducted the Grinnell Singers on concert tours across the U.S., and in Estonia, Finland, Russia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey. The ensemble has been invited to perform at two regional ACDA conventions. During his early years at Grinnell College, Mr. Rommereim founded a professional early music ensemble, the Baroque Orchestra of Iowa, which employed some of the country’s finest baroque specialists. He performed frequently as a harpsichordist, playing continuo in various chamber ensembles, appearing as soloist in J. S. Bach’s Fifth Brandenburg Concerto, and recording a CD that is available on the Centaur label. His translation of Pavel Chesnokov’s seminal treatise, The Choir and How to Direct It is published by Musica Russica. Mr. Rommereim is also recognized as an accomplished singer. He has appeared in numerous recitals, and as baritone soloist for choral/orchestral works such as Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Brahms’s German Requiem, Verdi’s Requiem, Vaughan Williams's Dona Nobis Pacem, and Orff’s Carmina Burana. View his complete works.

Campus Phone: 

(641) 269-3068


faculty info column 1

On-Campus Address: 

258 Bucksbaum Center for the Arts
Grinnell, IA 50112
United States