Metro East District ACE Award

Kyle Pederson

Nominated by: Judy Sagen (photo left)

Presented by: Amy Jo Cherner (photo right)

It gives me great pleasure in introducing the 2022 Metro East’s recipient of the ACE AWARD to Minnesota’s very own, sought after composer, Mr. Kyle Pederson.

Kyle has an undergraduate degree from Augustana University, a Masters Degree in Education from University of St. Thomas, and an MFA in Music Composition from Vermont College of Fine Art.

I had the great fortune to work with Kyle this past spring on what I would consider a great work of Art, when The Minnesota Valley Women’s Chorale commissioned him to compose First Cradle with text by Brian Newhouse. While working on this piece, my choir experienced an array of emotions, which included happiness, grief, gratitude, and most importantly love for another human being. There were many tears shed during rehearsals and these wonderful singers developed their own connection to the meaning of this piece.

While working with Kyle, I have observed that his writing conveys the appropriate mood and tone. He is creative and writes from the heart! And he spends the needed time to sit down to discuss subjects, intention, mood and tone of the proposed piece. Kyle uses music as a medium to express and evoke ideas, emotions, and sensibilities.

One of his strengths is attention to detail. He has something important to say in his music, and as a composer, he has emotions that cry out to be expressed. He expresses the inexpressible!

Kyle’s personality is infectious! He is an artistic individual, creative, intuitive, compassionate, sensitive, articulate, and expressive. He is adventurous, ambitious, energetic, enthusiastic, confident, and optimistic.

Besides being a composer, he is a lyricist, pianist, educator, husband, and father! He is also an avid bike rider. His work has been commissioned and recorded by All State/Honor Choirs, and youth, church, college, and professional choirs around the world.

He has been awarded too many Awards and Commissions to mention them all. He won the ACDA Genesis Prize in 2020 and the American Prize in Choral Composition in 2019 just to name a few.

Here are some additional testimonials from other music educators that have also had the privilege of working with this talented individual:

Dione Peterson Belling, Director of Beau Chant: Working with Kyle on the commission of “Repeat the Joy”, and “When Christmas Morn is Dawning,” was a special venture. He was open to ideas and sensitive to the needs of our choir. His unique creativity and excitement for our requests made this an exceptional experience. Witnessing my former high school student’s artistry is a thrill!

Jamye Casperson: Kyle and I were fellow teachers at McGuire Middle School and he was a fantastic geography teacher!Kids loved him and his fun, creative, safe classroom. “Bringers of Noise” was born over a yummy pizza lunch. Kyle and I had a great conversation about my vision and he was genuine in his desire to create something special and different. He listened to what I wanted but wasn’t shy to share his ideas and then mold them together into something amazing and impactful. He came and worked with my boys, giving them the vision for the piece and cheering them on in their participation in choir. He is incredibly humble, person centered, and has a huge heart. It’s no wonder his compositions are beautiful, exciting, visionary, emotional, and ones that I will be programming every year.

Paul Nesheim, Augustana University: It has been my honor and pleasure to work with Kyle Pederson a number of times over the last few years, preparing and presenting some of his new choral works, and even having him at the piano as we perform them. So I was thrilled when he agreed to compose a commissioned piece for our alumni choir to perform at the Augustana Choir’s 100th anniversary concert this past April. The composition he wrote for us, “Big House“, was everything we could have wanted it to be: upbeat, celebratory, welcoming, hopeful, and a lot of fun! The music is in a blues/rock/gospel style, which the alumni loved, and he provided his own original text that beautifully expresses a vision of inclusion and healing, which was not only very fitting for our celebration, but will also be meaningful to singers and audiences alike wherever this piece is performed. And I believe it will be performed often! It has been so exciting to see Kyle achieve such a high level of success as a composer. That success is certainly due to his musicianship, creativity, and innovation. But perhaps the biggest reason that his works so clearly resonate with people is that the heart of this honest, sincere, caring, and gracious human being, who passionately wants to make the world a better place through his music, shapes and permeates every piece he writes. Kyle is doing amazing and important work that is touching lives and indeed, making the world a better place. We at Augustana University are proud to be able to call him an alum and our dear friend.

This is a guy who I have not only developed a great friendship with, but a gifted and talented musician whom I personally respect and admire! It is an honor to present the Metro East ACE Award to Mr. Kyle Pederson!