Seraphim has long been committed to the performance of new music, and has been active in commissioning unaccompanied and accompanied choral works. Often the commissions serve as the focal element in conveying our unique programmatic themes. Our music director, Jennifer Lester, is critically acclaimed for her ingenious, intrepid and imaginative programming, as well as her unflagging advocacy of new music. Among the composers Seraphim has commissioned are Avner Dorman, Thomas Bold, Carson Cooman, Elliott Gyger, Graham Gordon Ramsay, Carlyle Sharpe, Julian Wachner, Polina Nazaykinskaya, Christina Whitten Thomas and James Woodman.
In recent years our commissioning program has turned its focus toward women and people of color. An example is our commission to Shruthi Rajasekar, an Indian-American composer and vocalist. Her piece, “Nevertheless, She Persisted,” is based on the infamous confrontation between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Republicans in the Senate during confirmation hearings for Jeff Sessions. It was performed by Seraphim in February 2020, with the composer present. Edie Hill has been engaged to set a Danielle Deulen poem “Remix with a Few Lines from Keats.” The subject is climate change. “Praise” by Black American poet Angelo Geter has been selected for a commission, and we are searching for a Black American composer to set it. The poem is about the risks Black men face simply by existing.