film poster
Film Poster for Shining Night

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DC Independent Film Festival
(Best Documentary)
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(Best Documentary, Audience Choice Award)
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(Best Documentary, Nominated)
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American Documentary Film Festival, Palm Springs
Reel Music Festival, Portland OR
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Friday Harbor Film Festival, WA

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O Magnum Mysterium (excerpt)
Composed by Morten Lauridsen
Performed by Dale Warland Singers on Lux Aurumque

Shining Night: A Portrait of Composer Morten Lauridsen

A Song Without Borders Production
A Film by Michael Stillwater
Produced by Michael Stillwater & Doris Laesser Stillwater

Shining Night offers a rare glimpse into the life and music of one of America's greatest contemporary composers, National Medal of Arts recipient Morten Lauridsen, who has written much of his remarkable music in his rustic cabin on Waldron Island and his home on San Juan Island. He has been called 'the only American composer in history who can be called a mystic' by musicologist Nick Strimple.

Exploring the relationship of art, nature, and spirituality, Shining Night reveals the composer through the lens of his love for the natural world together with his passion for music and poetry, interwoven with commentaries from composers, conductors, singers, and friends.

Filmed between 2010-2011 in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Aberdeen, Scotland, and Waldron Island, the documentary conveys the richness and breadth of the award-winning composer's life, with a soundtrack featuring his masterworks- Lux Aeterna, O Magnum Mysterium, Nocturnes (Sa Nuit D'Ete, Soneto de la Noche, and Sure On This Shining Night), Dirait-on and Madrigali.

Winner of four Best Documentary awards since opening on February 7, 2012 in Palm Springs and now being screened throughout the world, Shining Night was named 'a heartening rarity' by Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal. Directed by first- time filmmaker Michael Stillwater and co-produced with his wife Doris Laesser Stillwater, it gives audiences a rare encounter with music that inspires humanity and conveys a spiritual transmission to singers and audiences alike.

In Order of Appearance:
Alex Shapiro (Composer, San Juan Island)
David Loyd (Boat Pilot, Waldron Island)
Ryan Drum (Marine Biologist, Waldron Island)
Dana Gioia(poet and former chairman of National Endowment for the Arts)
Paul Salamunovich (director emeritus of the Los Angeles Master Chorale)
Robert Geary (artistic director of Volti and the San Francisco Choral Society)
Aundrea Schindler (singer, San Francisco)
Paul Mealor (composer and conductor of Con Anima Chamber Choir
and the University of Aberdeen Choral Society and Orchestra)
Gary Malkin (Composer, Ojai, CA)
Giselle Wyers (Conductor, U.W., Seattle, WA)
Nicol Matt (Conductor, Freiburg, Germany)
Ola Gjeilo (Composer, New York)

All Music by Morten Lauridsen
Live performances by San Francisco Choral Society, Volti,
Aberdeen Choral Society and Orchestra, and Con Anima Chamber Singers
Music used courtesy of Peermusic, publisher and copyright holder under the imprints Southern Music Publishing Co., Inc., and Songs of Peer, Ltd. Special thanks to Todd Vunderink of Peermusic Classical New York for permission to use Morten Lauridsen's music in this film.

Re-recording Engineer: Dan Alvarez, San Francisco
Video Compositor: Joel Helmlinger, Ground15 Productions, Zurich, SwitzerlandSpecial thanks to all speakers, singers, musicians, conductors, publishers, record companies and friends for their contributions in the making of this film, and to Ursula Lamberson, Wendy Grace, Camille Adair and Green Hospice for their sponsorship, without whom this film could not have happened.

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