Who Wrote the Theme Music for On Being?
by Chris Heagle, technical director
We regularly receive inquiries about the theme music that often introduces our radio show and podcast. Such is the case for Marc Martinez from New Castle, Delaware:
“I’m a new fan of the show. Please, please, please tell me the name of the great theme music, which plays at the beginning and ending of every show.”
On Being commissioned the composer Victor Zupanc to create new theme music. He composes scores for theater and has done several films. There are a couple of CDs of his music available, though they are in very different styles from our theme music. One features Chinese folk music and the other is a classical piece he wrote for the early music choral group The Rose Ensemble.
Victor’s artist statement explains this wide range:
“I am a composer who thrives on variety. I am happiest when each successive project is completely different in style and concept from the last project. Many of my commissions involve composing music in the style of cultures from all over the globe which is thrilling for me and as a result I have become an avid student of many ethnic musical cultures.”
Photo of Victor Zupanc courtesy of Mpls/St.Paul Magazine
Colleen Scheck, Producer
I was a history major, and I love learning history through its physical artifacts. Last summer I visited Gettysburg for the first time. While I was brought to tears standing on its hallowed battlefields, I was also riveted by the stories behind the many Civil War relics there — stories told through well-researched exhibits, and then extended to mini-dramas in my own imagination.
So I was intrigued when I received an e-mail that the personal Bible of Johann Sebastian Bach (a commentary Bible) was going to be on display at a local choral concert. We’ve received suggestions to do a program on Bach and his personal faith — an item on our very big, very long list of show ideas. For now, I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to see Bach’s Bible up close, hear about its history, and learn what it reveals about his faith.
Dr. Thomas Rossin kindly gave me the opportunity to photograph the Bible and talk to him about it. Rossin did his doctoral work on translating the handwritten notes in Bach’s Bible and tracing its history. He’s the founder and conductor of Exultate Choir and Chamber Orchestra, and he was allowed to take two of the Bible’s three volumes on tour with him to display during Exultate’s recent performances of Bach’s Mass in B Minor (never will all three volumes travel at the same time). He describes how Bach’s Bible has 350 entrances that give evidence to Bach as a person of faith (II Chronicles 5:12-13 “In devotional music, God is always present with His Grace”), and his understanding of those entrances greatly impacts how he approaches performances of Bach’s works.
An aside: the story of Bach’s Bible reminded me of one of my favorite movies, The Red Violin, a fictional story about a 17th-century, hand-crafted violin that travels over three centuries. It includes a beautiful score with violin solos by Joshua Bell.