My name is Ricky Gessler. Having been exposed almost exclusively to alternative and contemporary rock music (which I still enjoy) for the first 28 years of my life, I have just completed my 8th year of studying classical/art music. I am always looking to expand my color palate and harmonic vocabulary. I am generally drawn to more accessible music that seeks to depict beauty. I tend to write for choir and small ensembles. I graduated from Nyack College in 2014 with a double BMus in Composition and Education. In May 2017 I will receive my Masters in Music Composition from the Greatbatch School of Music at Houghton College.

Feel free to contact me with any questions at: rickygessler@gmail.com

Compositions

A Benediction


PDF score

The word “Benediction” can be transliterated as “good speak;” a spoken blessing. In Luke 1:67-79 the old priest Zacharias, at the birth of his son John, blesses the God of Israel for keeping His promise “to grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days” (NASB). The women's choir anthem "A Benediction" has a modal character, mostly in Eb Dorian. It reflects the influence of Benjamin Britten as well as my recent exposure to the music of Carmina Slovenica. It was also inspired by a performance of Michael Engelhardt's "Gaude te" by the Houghton College Women’s Choir in December 2015. This recording of "A Benediction" is performed by Houghton College students, directed by Danielle Joy Bees and accompanied by Robin McLaughlin.


Eight


PDF score

This short piece was constructed with a scale of eight notes, which include C-D-E-F-Gb-Ab-Bb-Cb. It is essentially a whole-tone scale with two of the half-steps filled in. This recording was performed at Houghton College with saxophonist Jacob Nevill and cellist Carrie Davies for the CFAMC conference in 2014. It is one of two movements.


Go and Build


PDF score

A dear friend (who was also my composition teacher) commissioned me to write a choral piece for his church choir, for three voice parts based on a text from Haggai 2:9: "‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the Lord of hosts.”


Cruiser


PDF score

Cruiser was originally written for its MIDI playback, to be used in a friend's short film. The piano part - which includes quick leaps of a tenth or more - proved difficult to notate without confusing the performer. But Dr. Tammy Lum was a valuable source of advice, as well as a suitable performer for the piece. Here she performs with Dr. Marie Kenote on flute and Shirley Be on cello.