The Director Series

Shining Night: A Portrait of Composer Morten Lauridsen

Expired February 18, 2021 7:45 AM
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Shining Night: A Portrait of Composer Morten Lauridsen celebrates the life and music of the artist named an ‘American Choral Master’ by the National Endowment for the Arts, whom musicologist Nick Strimple describes as “the only American composer in history who can be called a mystic”.


America’s most frequently performed contemporary choral composer, Lauridsen is a National Medal of Arts recipient who spends summers on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest.


Exploring the relationship of art, nature, and spirituality, Shining Night reveals the composer through the lens of his love for the natural world together with his passion for music and literature, interwoven with commentaries from composers, conductors, and singers.


Premiered in Palm Springs on February 7, 2012 as the prelude event to the American Documentary Film Festival, Shining Night has screened at film festivals and performing arts venues across America and Europe, often in combined programs of film and choral singing.

The first biopic made of this iconic composer, its release commemorates the 15th anniversary of the premiere of his masterwork Lux Aeterna and the 25th anniversary of the premiere of Madrigali.


A DVD of the film, published in August, 2012, is distributed in America by Hal Leonard, the world’s largest distributor of written music, in UK by Faber Music, and internationally by Haenssler Classic/SCM. In 2013 it began air- ing on America’s largest public television network, KTSC.

Shining Night is the first episode of In Search of The Great Song, a Song WIthout Borders documentary series exploring and celebrating the transformative power of song.


A giftbook entitled Morten Lauridsen’s Waldron Island Reflections, with pho- tography and text from the film, was published in 2013 by the prestigious music publishing company, GIA Publications, Chicago

A film project of Michael Stillwater and Doris Laesser Stillwater for Song Without Borders




Awards (2012-13)

Best Documentary, DC Independent Film Festival

Best Documentary (Int’l Subject) Eugene Film Festival Audience Choice Award, Friday Harbor Film Festival Best Documentary (Nominated) Cincinnati Film Festival Honorable Mention, LA Movie Awards

Bronze, Oregon Film Awards

  • Year
    2012
  • Runtime
    74 minutes
  • Language
    English
  • Country
    United States, Switzerland, United Kingdom
  • Director
    Michael Stillwater
  • Producer
    Michael Stillwater
  • Co-Producer
    Doris Laesser Stillwater
  • Cast
    Morten Lauridsen
  • Cinematographer
    Michael Stillwater
  • Editor
    Michael Stillwater
  • Composer
    Morten Lauridsen
  • Sound Design
    Michael Stillwater