Vonnegut: Requiem

“If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:
Kurt Vonnegut in A Man Without a Country


In 1985, Kurt Vonnegut attended the premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Requiem and was so shocked when he read the English translation, he stayed up half the night rewriting it. He referred to his new version of the Requiem as a secular humanist paraphrase of "the Council of Trent monstrosity.”


The Project

Voces Novae is Bloomington’s chamber choir for creative concerts that enrich listeners’ daily lives and  connect people to new ideas through artistic experiences. We have secured the rights to Vonnegut’s witty, thought-provoking text, and we are developing an exciting new project as follows:

  • We have commissioned eight nationally recognized composers to create short pieces to portions of the text.
  • The composers have been chosen for their connection to Voces Novae, for their ability to relate to Vonnegut’s trademark irreverent reverence, and for gender parity among the eight composers.
  • Each composer will create a piece of three to five minutes. We foresee a future for these pieces to be used individually or together by community, school, and church choirs.
  • Since Vonnegut also created an alternate text to Stravinsky’s chamber work, A Soldier’s Tale, we have invited the composers to incorporate some of the instruments from that work – thereby creating a clever pairing for subsequent performances and the right amount of continuity for the set.
  • We are talking with the organizers of a new Vonnegut Festival at IU about premiering the work at the Festival in Bloomington, and also hope to perform it in Indianapolis.

Voces Novae performed the first movement of the Requiem, by Cary Boyce, at the inaugural Granfalloon hosted by Indiana University's Arts & Humanities Council on May 11, 2018.


The Composers

Read more about each composer:



You can help us bring this project to the stage! With your financial support, Voces Novae will be able to pay a fair and equitable fee to the composers, hire the best instrumentalists, promote the performance widely to establish a diverse audience, and take care of other necessary expenses. Please see our donor benefits sheet (PDF), including how to fund an entire piece and see your name on the official score, as well as contact details for more information or to make your gift. Thank you for your interest!