Listen: Lumen de Lumine

Rehearsal of the "Finale" from Lumen de Lumine by Jacob Bancks, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra with pianist William Phemister and Delta David Gier, conductor

Jacob Bancks demonstrates passages from Lumen de Lumine

Additional excerpts from rehearsals for Lumen de Lumnine

Lumen de Lumine - rehearsal excerpt 1

Lumen de Lumine - rehearsal excerpt 2

Lumen de Lumine - rehearsal excerpt 3

Lumen de Lumine audio and video courtesy of the South Dakota Symphony and pianist William Phemister

For information on performing this work or obtaining a perusal score, please contact SDG.



The music of Chicago-based composer Jacob Bancks has been described as “invitingly lyrical” and “colorfully orchestrated” (The New York Times). Recent works have been commissioned and premiered with the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley, eighth blackbird, Pacifica Quartet, Schola Antiqua of Chicago, Cantori New York, pianist Daniel Paul Horn, and marimba virtuoso Makoto Nakura.

Bancks’ second SDG-commission, Mass for All Saints, received its premiere in Chicago in September 2009.

For a complete biography, visit Jacob Bancks website.

Lumen de Lumine ("Light from Light")

Jacob Bancks
Lumen de Lumine
("Light from Light")

Piano & orchestra
DURATION: 20 minutes
Piano concerto in two movements inspired by the traditional Easter Vigil; written in memory of Olivier Messiaen.


World Premiere
March 2008
South Dakota Symphony
Pianist/co-commissioner William Phemister
Delta David Gier, conductor
Washington Pavilion of Arts and Sciences
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Boznia and Herzegovina Performance
April 2015
Sarajevo Philharmonic
Daniel Paul Horn, piano
Nyela Basney, conductor
National Theater Sarajevo and
The House of Culture (Brcko)

See "SDG Commission to be Performed in Sarajevo"




“A heady work of inventive vigor.”—David Xenakis, Argus Leader


Pianist William Phemister in a rehearsal for the premiere of Lumen de Lumine  

Lumen de LumineJacob Bancks’ SDG-commissioned concerto for piano and orchestra, received its premiere in March 2008, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, with piano soloist and co-commissioner William Phemister, performed Bancks’ work under the direction of conductor Delta David Gier.

Bancks intended the concerto to be an homage to Olivier Messiaen, born a century before the world premiere of this work. Messiaen’s music, both concert and liturgical, always maintained a sacred focus, and for Bancks, Messiaen has alway been  one of his “musical heroes.”


“I chose Messiaen’s outstanding wind ensemble piece Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum (“I look for the resurrection of the dead”), with title drawn from the Nicene Creed, as a tangent for my own work . . . I find his artistic approach as imitable as his music, distinguished by, in his words, ‘self-control, respect for others, a sense of wonder of that which is created, meditation on the mystery, and the search for Truth.’ This attitude, aside from any specific musical influence, is what I hope to draw most from Messiaen.”—Jacob Bancks

Conductor Delta David Gier reviewing the score of Lumen de Lumine with composer Jacob Bancks  

The title, Lumen de Lumine, translated from the Latin as “Light from Light,” also comes from the Nicene Creed, where it is used in this traditional confession of faith as a description of Christ. As the composer explains, the piece includes many direct references to parts of the traditional Easter Vigil, the Roman Catholic Mass from which it draws inspiration. Historically, this service is held in the hours of darkness between sunset on Saturday evening and sunrise on Easter morning, as the first official celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus.



“What I have found most striking about [the Easter Vigil] . . . is the sheer variety of rituals that comprise the evening’s proceedings. In writing Lumen de Lumine, I haven’t so much attempted to present the listener with a musical ‘summary’ or ‘narrative’ of the Easter Vigil, as much as I’ve tried to compose music that captures the overall effect of the evening’s various rites.”—Jacob Bancks, in his program notes for Lumen de Lumine (Click here to read the complete program notes.)

  South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, Delta David Gier conducting, rehearsing with pianist William Phemister for the world premiere of Jacob Banck's Lumen de Lumine

In the two movements, "Vigil" and "Alleluia," there are moments where the listener is meant to hear flickers of candles, a priest chanting and the congregation responding, readings from the Old Testament, and the joyful return of the word “Alleluia” after a forty-day hiatus during the season of Lent.







“Audiences in Sioux Falls were fortunate to have heard the first . . . performances of this work, music so far beyond worthy that I think a better term would be very good. I do not use those words lightly, and I am acutely aware of having inserted the adverb. Very good describes a quality that stems from the intelligence, sensitivity, training, and good instincts of the composer. To have been present was a unique gift, not only from the composer, but also from the musicians who brought it into existence.”—David Xenakis, Argus Leader