Announcing Our Composer-in-Residence: 
Abbie Betinis


The Worship, Music, and Arts Committee, along with the Session and staff, is proud to announce that we have hired Abbie Betinis as our composer-in-residence for 2018-2019!

Abbie is one of America’s most-performed living composers. From Carnegie Hall to Disney Hall, grade school assemblies to wedding ceremonies, state prisons to capitol buildings, cathedrals to summer camps, her music is being performed somewhere in the world every day. Working largely by commission, she has created new music for over sixty organizations, including the American Choral Directors Association, American Suzuki Foundation, Cantus, Boston’s Chorus Pro Musica, the Dale Warland Singers, Flying Forms Baroque, James Sewell Ballet, LyricFest, Minnesota Chorale, New England Philharmonic, St Olaf Choir, VocalPoint, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, Zeitgeist, and the Zodiac Trio.

An eager collaborator, she has created new work with Minneapolis poet Michael Dennis Browne, soprano Carrie Henneman Shaw, choreographer James Sewell, and renowned British clarinetist Michael Collins. Recent projects incorporate elements from early American shape-note singing, Chinese mantras, Eleanor Roosevelt’s bedtime routine, Gaelic keening, and the mysticism of medieval Sufism. In the 2018-19 season, she will be the American Composers Forum’s “ChoralQuest” composer, traveling to schools around the U.S. to write new choral music with middle school singers.

A two-time McKnight Artist Fellow, Abbie has won awards from the American Composers Forum, ASCAP, and the Minnesota Music Educators Association, among others. At age 31, she was deemed one of the nation’s top 100 Composers Under 40 by New York’s WQXR-FM and National Public Radio.

On Minnesota Public Radio, her annual premiere of a fresh, new Christmas carol has become a beloved holiday tradition. On public television, her early career as a cancer survivor finding her voice is profiled in the Upper Midwest Emmy award-winning documentary “Never Stop Singing.”

Abbie’s publishers include Augsburg Fortress, G. Schirmer, Graphite, Hal Leonard, and others, as well as her own venture, Abbie Betinis Music Co, through which she distributes her scores from her St. Paul studio to musicians around the world. A small business advocate, she has presented on copyright and publishing at national conferences, moderated a publishing panel for Minnesota Orchestra, and is the publisher and co-editor of the new Justice Choir Songbook.

Inspired by deep friendships, new ideas, and other curious minds, Abbie continues to seek partners for creative endeavors. She has held Composer-in-Residence positions with The Rose Ensemble, New York State School Music Association, The Singers-Minnesota Choral Artists (10 years) and The Schubert Club (12 years), where she continues to host the weekly Courtroom Concert series.

Abbie is a graduate of St. Olaf College (B.A.), the University of Minnesota (M.A.), and holds a diplôme from the EAMA Nadia Boulanger Institute in Paris, France. She is Adjunct Professor of Composition at Concordia University-St Paul, and Executive Director of Justice Choir.



Abbie is particularly eager to:

  • Write an original hymn based on our new branding.

  • Create a new table grace, unique to Central, to sing together before our meals.

  • Compose a new anthem for the choir

  • Facilitate creative music-making workshops with the children.

  • Lead an Adult Ed on the creative process.

  • Advise or collaborate on songs and carols for the children’s Christmas pageant.

  • Lead community singing outside of worship, with some possible ideas: grace together before meals, Justice Choir Community Sings, lullaby evening for Project Home families, and more!