Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Document Type



Contemporary American composer Jocelyn Hagen grew up in Valley City, North Dakota, where she found an early love for singing, playing instruments, and composing. After completing degrees at St. Olaf College and the University of Minnesota, Hagen began a career as a full-time composer. Her appointment as Composer-in-Residence for The Singers led to her first major multimovement work, amass (2011).

Though Hagen planned to write a traditional setting of the Catholic Mass, she struggled to accept the text of the “Credo” as the only path to salvation. Thus, she substituted spiritual poems from a variety of faith traditions to create a 65-minute piece linking the mass and oratorio genres. Hagen’s creative use of instrumentation throughout the work provides each movement with a unique texture. Her motivic development, extended instrumental and vocal techniques, mood painting, and nonfunctional harmony result in a decidedly modern work rooted in earlier traditions.

In Jocelyn Hagen’s oratorio amass, she presents a pluralistic view of religion as well as a message of unity and peace for both sacred and secular audiences. By providing background on Jocelyn Hagen’s life and compositional style; analyzing the work’s music, text, and context; and offering performance suggestions for conductors and choirs, the author intends to increase exposure to the first extended work of the composer’s professional career.

Committee Chair

Dickson, John