Born in Indianapolis in 1936, John Schlenck graduated from the Eastman School of Music in 1957. He served for many years on the musical staff of the Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey Dance Schools. As music director of the Vedanta Society of New York since 1961, Schlenck has composed many songs and a number a larger choral works with Vedantic and other spiritual texts from the world’s great traditions.
While grounded in the Western classical tradition, Schlenck’s compositions sometimes incorporate elements of Indian music. His instrumental works include three symphonies, a clarinet concerto, and numerous chamber and solo compositions.
THE INTERIOR CHRIST
Settings from the Christian mystics, the Ordinary of the Mass, the Bible, and the Hesychast Prayer, range from quiet, meditative calm to soaring, searing intensity, all celebrating the joy, struggle and consummation of the spiritual life.
“The Interior Christ” is a wonderful piece… His exploitation of this textural dichotomy, coupled with his intelligent choice of musical material--the modes that Schlenck chooses for his musical material suggest not only Medieval church modes but also non-Western scales--results in a very effective portrayal of the soul moving between states of peace and conflict.
Society News, journal of The Contemporary Record Society