On September 7th, 2008 at 7:00 p.m., Collage Productions presented a concert of new music by its long-time music director and composer in residence Clayton J Horath. The evening featured Mr. Horath at the piano performing original music composed for Collage Productions’ staging of Eugene O’Neill’s A Long Day’s Journey Into Night, as well as vocal compositions based upon passages extracted from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the poetry of Emily Dickinson, and Chicago-area poet David Gecic. Also included within the program were excerpts from Sign of The Times, a contemporary chamber operatic setting of a verse play by Jeff Helgeson which was included in “Chicago Calling” as a part of the 2007 “Chicago Artists Month.”
The final section of the program consisted of a musical setting and full presentation of
Fall From Grace, a one-man play that was originally produced at The Victory Gardens Theatre featuring Dr. William Graham Cole, the retired president of Lake Forest College, and was performed on this occasion by its author, Chicago-based playwright and novelist Jeff Helgeson.
Clayton J Horath began playing piano at an early age, “making it up as he went along,” while his father would improvise melodies on the guitar. Later, Mr. Horath would come home from church and try to play the songs he had heard while he was there. This was the beginning of a love for music that has blossomed in the years since. Clay attended Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, MN, where he was an active participant in the choir and other musical ensembles. There, his desire to create new music was encouraged. After Bethany, Clay went on to Concordia University, in River Forest, to complete a Bachelor of Music degree, studying Composition and Music Theory. At Concordia, he was given the opportunity to work with such Church Music composers as Richard Hillert and Carl Schalk. He composed several pieces there, including a piece for the Kappela choir of the university. Since college, Clay has worked as Associate Director of the Lutheran Festival Chorus and Musical Director for Collage Productions. In that time, he has written a setting of the Mass, arranged and orchestrated songs for a new musical by Huck Walton and Johnny Lombard, as well as several pieces for Collage. Currently, Clay is researching for two large operatic works: “Ithaca,” the story of Ulysses after the Odyssey, based on a play by Jeff Helgeson; and “Prometheus Unbound,” based on the dramatic work of Shelley.