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Roger Bourland received his education from the University of Wisconsin/Madison, the New England Conservatory of Music (M.M.), and Harvard University. He received the Koussevitzky Prize in Composition at Tanglewood, the John Knowles Paine Fellowship at Harvard, two ASCAP Grants to Young Composers, numerous Meet the Composers grants, and was a co-founder of the Boston-based consortium “Composers in Red Sneakers.” Bourland has composed over one hundred works for all media: solo, instrumental, chamber, vocal and choral music, electro-acoustic music, and music for orchestra, wind ensemble, and other large ensembles, which are published by Yelton Rhodes Music, ECS Publishing, Dorn Publications, Inc. and Associated Music Publishers, Inc. His works have been recorded on Northeastern Records, 1750 Arch, OpenLoop, Cambria, and GM Recordings.

Since 1983, Professor Bourland has taught composition, music theory, orchestration, electronic music, and other classes and seminars in the UCLA Department of Music. As an administrator at UCLA, Bourland has served as the Chair of the Committee on Committees (1997-98, and 2001 – 2003), the Chair of the Faculty Executive Committee in the Arts (5 yrs), and as the President of the UCLA Faculty Center (2004-5). Dr. Bourland was awarded the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award for 2005-6. In 2007, Bourland was appointed Chair of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, Department of Music. In 2013 Bourland took an early retirement from UCLA to focus on composing.

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Healy Madrigals
Premiered at the 2009-2010 concert, Sister my Sister

Words from Roger Bourland:

"Vox Femina, one of the great women’s chorus in America, received a grant from the City of West Hollywood to commission a composer. They chose me! Iris Levine brought me a stack of books by women poets who live around LA, and I chose Eloise Klein Healy.

It is fun getting to musically 'know' a poet for the first time. Trying to figure out what the tone is, and whether to go with it or provide a contrast to it. Is she being funny here? or ironic? Would she mind if I put another word (i.e. syllable) here for rhythm’s sake? Different poets bring out different kinds of melodies from a composer. Having already written two sets of madrigals by Mexican/American poet, Francisco X Alarcon, the music I’ve written for Vox to date has a bit of a south-of-the-border feel to it. Eloise’s poetry, not so much. She has witty sense of humor. For some odd reason, I find myself wanting to write counterpoint with Healy’s poetry.

As I set and copy each poem, I make a PDF of the score, the text, and a mock up/mp3 of the music, and send it to Eloise, Iris, and my husband. Hot off the press."

Healy Madrigals

Alarcón Madrigals, Book III
Premiered at the 2006-2007 concert, Carmina Burana


Translation of lyrics from Movement 2: Lamentario

It is sad to be a glass and never be filled Be a door and always stay locked

To be a bed to feel like a shroud, not a bed

It is sad to be one and never add two

To be a bird without a nest

To be a saint without a candle

Be alone and live dreaming of hugs


After performing Roger Bourland's Alarcón Madrigals Book I and II, Vox was excited to commission the third and final part! Bourland used Francisco X Alarcon's poetry to create this 5 movement work, titled Body in FlamesLamentario, Like a Crazed Flower, Face and Heart, and Guardian Angel. After growing up in Guadelajara, Mexio, Alarcon's origial poetry displays themes of Latino and gay identity, mythology, the Nahuatl language, Mesoamerican history, and American culture.

Words from Roger Bourland:

"Because Vox Femina so loved 'Both Page and Pen [from Book II]' and its erotic imagery, I decided to turn up the erotic flame just a tad in Alarcon Madrigals, Book 3. Commissioned again by Vox Femina, this set was written in Hawaii... You’ll hear some country twang in 'Like a Crazed Flower,' and a reference to the final number of book 1 ('I learned Spanish from my grandma…') closes Book 3, and bookends the set of three books."

Book III

Alarcón Madrigals, Book II
Premiered at the 2001-2002 concert, Celebrating Women, Celebrating our Diversity



After performing some pieces from Roger Bourland's Dickinson Madrigals, as well as Alarcon Madrigals Book IVox commissioned Alarcon Madrigals Book II. This work has six movements, entitled: I Want to Stop Being an Endless Night, Wind, Bird, Both Page and Pen, Matriarch, and Another Language. With lyrics from spanish poet Francisco X Alarcon, Book II has vivid imagery and metaphors relating to Latin American culture. 

Words from Roger Bourland:

"In the late 1990’s, a new women’s chorus was formed in Los Angeles by Iris Levine called Vox Femina. In their early days they sang some of my Dickinson Madrigals and a few of the numbers from Alarcon Madrigals, Book 1. Book 2 was commissioned by Vox Femina and was recorded on their 'Simply' CD in 2002.

We have developed a marvelous relationship since then. They commissioned two more pieces after this one. Their favorite piece of this set has been 'Both Page and Pen' — an erotic number that is fun to sing. This set is a bit less Spanish sounding, carrying on the language set in motion in the Dickinson Madrigals."

Book II
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