Raymond Weidner is a nationally recognized composer of instrumental, choral, and organ works. His compositions are found in the catalogues of National Music, MorningStar Music, Paraclete Press, St. James Press, Wayne Leupold Editions, and Zimbel Press, and have been performed by such prestigious choirs as the Westminster Choir (Princeton, NJ) among other professional and collegiate choruses. His works have been featured at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC and nationally over NPR’s Theme and Variations. His compositions have received excellent reviews in both local and national venues: Psalm 130 for chorus and orchestra was called “…a work of epic grandeur” (NPR), O Sacrum Convivium for women’s ensemble and harp was called “…a lovely work…in a style similar to the works of John Taverner.” (American Record Guide), and of the cantata O Vos Omnes for choir, organ, and strings the Annapolis Capital has said, “The piece was easily the most memorable choral work on the program, which is really saying something, considering that it was juxtaposed against Felix Mendelssohn’s O Sacred Head and Jean Langlais’ Missa Salve Regina…This is clearly a work that should become part of the mainstream Lenten choral repertoire.” Of his French Sketches for organ, The American Organist has said, “If these pieces were advertised as recently discovered works by Mulet or the aforementioned composers [Dupré, Duruflé, and Cochereau] there’d be a run on the music store…you’ll want to play them all.” His Missa Brevis was one of five works selected from the entire catalogue of Paraclete Press for performance at a service commemorating their 25th anniversary. In 2011 he won two national competitions sponsored by the American Guild of Organists for its regional conventions in Lexington, KY and Greensboro, NC, and in 2012 his Te Deum for choir, brass, timpani, and organ was premiered under the auspices of the Church Music Institute (Dallas, TX) with Paul Leddington Wright conducting.
Dr. Weidner holds degrees from Westminster Choir College (B. Mus.), Western Michigan University (M. Mus.), and Michigan State University (Ph. D.), and has performed under such notable conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Leopold Stokowski, Roger Wagner, and David Willcocks. He has over forty years experience in the field of church music, having served churches in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Oklahoma, Maryland, and Virginia, and has been active as a clinician and adjudicator. As a choral director, he developed professional and semi-professional choruses in Michigan and Oklahoma, and wrote and produced a weekly radio program devoted to choral music over KCMA-FM. As an organist, he has performed throughout the United States, at Salisbury Cathedral (England), and on the famous Wanamaker organ in Philadelphia. He was Artistic Director and Conductor of the Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra (Jackson, MS), and is the author of two books. He teaches composition at Lynchburg College and is the Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church, Lynchburg, Virginia. Music, by its very nature, brings together composer, performer, and listener, and unites their spirits for but a brief moment. And in that moment, when music is noble and excellent, it has the power to lift the spirit, enabling it to soar to a closer relationship with God: this is the purpose of sacred music—not to entertain, but to inspire.
Personal Thoughts One of the great joys in being a composer is learning that one’s music has stirred someone’s soul and enabled them to catch a glimpse of the majesty of God. When this occurs, it is not only an affirmation that one’s personal stewardship of God’s gift of composition has been rightly used, but it is a humbling experience knowing that His Holy Spirit has been at work in the pieces I have created. To simply serve God in this manner is a divinely intimate partnership and one of the greatest joys of my life.
Click on the video to hear Raymond Weidner talk about “Christ the Lord Has Triumphed Over Death” and listen to the piece…