As a result of an early and prolonged involvement with singing, Elliott James Encarnación's early compositions always featured a strong inclination to the human voice. After discovering the works of Wagner, his composing turned exclusively to opera and “proto-opera” (song, choral works, etc.), or instrumental works employing the dramatic form. In 2010, he completed his undergraduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music with the première of unnamable ardors for soprano and orchestra, and his first complete opera, Lilith. Elliott had the esteemed privilege to study with Dr J. Mark Stambaugh during this time. In 2012, Encarnación completed his studies with the renown opera composer, the late Dr Conrad Susa (d. 2013), while completing his Masters' degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. During Dr Susa's extended absence from the conservatory, Elliott was given the honour of a brief but memorable series of lessons with Dr David Garner. The dramatic cycle, Seis canciones sobre el ‘Che’ Guevara, was succeeded at SFCM with the première of El otro Mesías, an oratorio in memory of same. His a cappella choral motet, We Sat Down and Wept recently won first prize at the Conservatory's biannual choral competition. Encarnación crowned his tenure at SFCM with the workshop première of Troilus and Achilles, a chamber opera with dancers. In 2017, Elliott was named composer-in-residence for the International Orange Chorale, during which he composed The Mariner and Dream Triptych. In 2018, CappellaSF commissioned a new work, The Last Laugh which received its premiere under the direction of grammy-winning conductor, Ragnar Bohlin.
The Last Laugh
SATB a cappella with divisi
It is unfortunate that we must return to "the Pity of War," as Owen himself put it, but it remains as salient a theme now as it was for the poet during the Great War, as well as for Benjamin Britten during the setting of his War Requiem, whose influence can be heard in my composition. The text is replete with striking imagery and biting, almost cruel irony. While the poet is righteous and angry, my music is intended to underpin the sorrow and hopelessness of the scene. These complementary emotional states are, I believe, equally required for the task of curbing our entrenchment in this business of death.
O Magnum Mystérium
SATB a cappella, with minimal divisi
Written for Christmas 2014 for The Cathedral Cantorum of Christ the Light in Oakland, CA, this relatively simple setting of the popular Matins text is designed to be accessible to amateur choruses.
We Sat Down and Wept, op. 4a
SATB a cappella, with some divisi
This work was the grand prize winner of SFCM's bi-annual Choral Competition in 2012. The english text is by Byron and its latin underlay Psalm 137, to which Byron makes allusion in his poem.
In 2014, the piece was expanded and incorporated into a large multi-movement work entitled Somnium Uxorem Pilati (Pilate's Wife's Dream).
unnamable ardors, op. 1
Soprano with orchestra
Written especially for soprano Devon Guthrie, this work served as thesis for Elliott's undergraduate degree. The text is from Walt Whitman's Song of Myself.