Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Jefferson Johnson


Joan Szymko (born in 1957) stands out as a notable female composer in the history of American Choral Music. Her extensive contributions to the choral music genre have left a profound impact. Szymko distinctively showcases her individual style in compositions, and for this study, five unaccompanied settings with Latin text have been chosen. These compositions include Ave Maria (1999), Ubi Caritas (1999), Hodie (2000), O Lux Beatissima (2011), and Et in Terra Pax(2002). The analysis of these selected pieces will focus on two main subjects. Firstly, it aims to identify consistent aspects of Szymko’s compositional style, exploring five key elements: Text, Melody, Harmony, Rhythm, and Form. To delve into her distinctive musical characteristics, this study examines these elements as principal features. Secondly, practical rehearsal suggestions will be offered for choral conductors, encompassing effective warm-ups and rehearsal techniques. This DMA project serves as a valuable resource, providing insightful information for optimizing choral rehearsal settings for Szymko’s outputs.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)