Listen: Psallite CD

Eriks Esenvalds Psalm 67 excerpt


Gavin Bryars Psalm 141 excerpt


Ily Matthew Maniano Doxologia excerpt


J. P. Sweelinck Chantez a dieu excerpt


Stephen Foster Hard Times, arr. Craig Hella Johnson, excerpt


Psalms Project CD

Psallite CD cover

The SDG Psalms Project has been happening around the world, in concert halls and houses of worship, for three years. The next phase is the early 2016 release of new CD entitled Psallite, which will include 5 of the 15 Psalms Project commissions. Recorded by Cor Cantiamo, conducted by Eric A. Johnson.

The Soli Deo Gloria Psalms Project is a collection of 15 contemporary choral works by the world’s foremost composers, expressing the text of the Hebrew Psalter in the Western Art music tradition for a 21st-century audience. Five of the commissions are included in the Psallite CD:


Psalm 96, Peter Bannister
Psalm 141, Gavin Bryars
Psalm 67, Eriks Ešenvalds
Bless the Lord, o my soul, Galina Grigorjeva
Preserve Me, O God, Daniel Kellogg


The Psallite CD is recorded by Cor Cantiamo, the chamber ensemble in residence at Northern Illinois University, under the direction of Founder and Conductor Eric A. Johnson. Johnson explains that the title “Psallite” is inspired by Renaissance composer Michael Praetorious’s Psallite, unigento, which roughly translates as “sing your psalms.” The CD extends the Psallite concept broadly to include works across the centuries that embody the penitential, celebratory and jubliant quality of King David’s Psalm texts.

It is a great pleasure to record the compositions of the Psalms Project. This body of repertoire encompasses the full range of the sacred journey found in the Psalm texts. From intensely personal and penitential settings to grand, sweeping, celebratory pageantry, these new compositions both honor the traditions of the past and create new sound worlds in which contemporary audiences can experience the divine. The extreme diversity of composers and compositional styles represented in these works creates a wonderful tapestry of new musical ideas created by the leading composers of our era.”—Eric A. Johnson

In addition to SDG’s Psalm Project commissions, the CD includes:

Chantez à Dieu, J. P. Sweelinck 
Exultate Deo, G. P. Palestrina
Doxologia, Ily Matthew Maniano 
Hard Times, Stephen Foster, arr. Craig Hella Johnson
Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel, Traditional, arr. Moses Hogan
By and By, Traditional, arr. Carol Barnett 
We Shall Walk Through the Valley, Traditional, arr. William Appling


Cor Cantiamo recording session, College Church, Wheaton
Cor Cantiamo recording session

Cor Cantiamo is a touring chamber choir in residence at Northern Illinois University, founded with the mission to perform and promote contemporary choral music and foster new composers for the art form. Since their founding in the spring of 2009, the choir has emerged as an energetic and accomplished vocal ensemble, receiving accolades for their performances.  In their inaugural year, Cor Cantiamo performed with Morten Lauridsen, who praised the ensemble for presenting “choral artistry at its finest.”




Eric A. Johnson

Eric A. Johnson,
Founding Artistic Director,
Cor Cantiamo

Founding Artistic Director Eric A. Johnson, D.M.A., is Director of Choral Activities at Northern Illinois University. Ensembles under his direction have performed at multiple national, division, and state conventions, and at Avery Fisher Hall Lincoln Center. Internationally, Johnson has served as a guest conductor of the Clare College Chapel Choir, Cambridge, England, taught at Makumira University, Tanzania, the Universidade do Estado do Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, and directed guest choral residencies at Canterbury and Worcester Cathedrals. He is active nationally as a clinician and leads master classes in conducting. Dr. Johnson has collaborated with many leading composers of our time including Morten Lauridsen, and has commissioned new works from Sir John Tavener, Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, and Stacey Gibbs.


The Psallite cover image is from the Magnificat window at St. Bartholomew’s Church, New York City, created by Hildreth Meière (1892-1961).  Photo © by Hildreth Meière Dunn.