Across the Vast, Eternal Sky – The music of Ola Gjeilo


Following the world-wide pandemic that closed concert halls and rehearsal rooms across the globe for much of 2020 and 2021, the RMP successfully returned to live concert performance in Melbourne in December 2021, and launches its 2022 season with a glorious program of music by one of the world’s most successful composers of recent times.

Ola Gjeilo is one of the most frequently performed composers in the choral world. An accomplished pianist, improvisations over his own published choral pieces have become a trademark of his collaborations. Although Norwegian by birth, it is perhaps Ola’s adopted country of America that has influenced the composer’s distinctive soundworld the most, evolving a style that is often described as cinematic and evocative, with a lush, harmonious sound.

Across the Vast, Eternal Sky celebrates the music of Ola Gjeilo. A combination of his best-loved choral, chamber, and solo piano works, this concert will take the listener on a meditative and uplifting journey throughout Gjeilo’s most celebrated compositions, which examine themes inspired by the emotional, spiritual and natural world.  From the famed Northern Lights of the Arctic, to the sweeping Norwegian Tundra (for women’s voices), to the achingly beautiful The Ground (taken from the Sunrise Mass), and works such as Evening Prayer (with improvised soprano saxophone and piano), Ubi Caritas (with piano improvisation) and Ecce Novum Gjeilo’s music combines beautiful harmonies with a sense of space and movement of time with subtle cinomatic and jazz influences.  Dark and Luminous Night (both for 8-part choir, string quartet and piano) provide two outstanding examples of Gjeilo’s ability to communicate directly with the listener’s emotions. Complementing his choral works will be several of his chamber instrumental works, including The Crossing, Reflections, and Home (for Piano and String Quartet).

Ola grew up in a musically eclectic home listening to classical, jazz, pop and folk, a broad background he later incorporated into his classical composition studies at The Juilliard School, the Royal College of Music in London, and currently as a New York City-based freelance composer. He is especially inspired by the improvisational art of film composer Thomas Newman, jazz legends Keith Jarrett and Pat Metheny, glass artist Dale Chihuly and architect Frank Gehry.


Andrew Wailes, conductor
Peter de Jager, piano
Luke Carbon, saxophone
Gjeilo String Quartet
Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir


Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong

Final dates TBC