Jerry Custer

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“I’ve been writing choral music for more than 40 years. Why do I choose to continue to do so? Because I remain convinced that no other art form is as accessible to as many people from all walks of life as choral music is. And because I remained equally convinced that the opportunity to create beauty and experience it is not only everyone’s birthright but a profoundly powerful way to bring about healing through human connection to this broken world.”

Dr. Jerry Custer is a multifaceted choral musician, active as conductor, composer, and author, and in increasing demand as both clinician and teacher. He holds the Bachelor of Music in choral music education from Westminster Choir College, a Master of Music in orchestral conducting with cognate study in historical musicology from The George Washington University, and earned the Doctor of Musical Arts in choral conducting at Michigan State University. His conducting teachers include Dr. Dennis Shrock, Dr. Joseph Flummerfelt, and Dr. David Rayl, and he took part in master classes with Robert Shaw, Wilhelm Ehmann, and Leonard Bernstein.

A Grammy-nominated, award-winning composer and arranger with more than 100 works and two CDs in print, Dr. Custer was among the final composition students of the late Malcolm Williamson, composer laureate to Queen Elizabeth II. He has had works premiered at Carnegie Hall in New York City, by the Interlochen Arts Academy, the choirs of Westminster Choir College, and other colleges and universities across the country.

Dr. Custer presently teaches music theory and composition at Wayne State University and is the featured choral methods columnist for the GIA Quarterly, a publication which reaches more than 25,000 church musicians around the English-speaking world. With Dr. Blake Henson, he is the co-author of three books: The Composer’s Craft: Practical Advice for Students and Teachers (2012), From Words to Music: A User’s Guide to Text for Choral Musicians (2014), and Arranging: A Beginner’s Guide (2016).

Follow Jerry on Twitter: @DrJerryCuster

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