Jeff Olmsted

Songs of Rumi

InstrumentationFl, ob, eng hn, clar, bass clar, bassoon, piano, harp, guitar (one player, electric and acoustic), timpani, 3 perc players (inc. marimba, vibraphone, hand drums etc.) string quintet. SATB chorus with four soloists
CommentsThe most beloved poet in the history of Sufism, the mystical form of Islam, Rumi (1207-1273) is also among the most-read poets in America today. His language is Farsi, which is spoken today in Iran, where he is especially revered. For this reason, performances of this piece will have a unique political dimension, and create opportunity for interfaith and cross-cultural outreach.

This piece sets the popular English translations of Coleman Barks to music that is both rousing and contemplative, generally rhythmic and accessible. The tonal language is mostly modal.

Some of these songs are re-imagined versions of songs from Olmsted's new age/world music collection "Don't Go Back To Sleep", released in 2002 and available from Amazon, I-Tunes, and CDBaby.
SourcesPerusal pdf's available from composer. MIDI demos, reviews, more info at
HistoryCommissioned by the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, premiered October 28-29, 2009, conducted by Neal Gittleman.
ContributorJeff Olmsted

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