Jaret Choolun (born in Melbourne, Australia) is an award-winning composer and choral conductor resident in Berlin, Germany. His early training was through the Kodaly method with choral singing, then adding to that piano, and from 2006 until 2010 he studied composition with Stephen Leek at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University. During this time, Jaret Choolun discovered the true breadth of modern music for voices and was particularly motivated to pursue this in his writing, producing pieces for solo voice, unaccompanied choral music as well as chamber operas, and was awarded prizes and honourable mentions for his pieces from organisations such as the Australian Society for Music Education and the Barbara Blackman Prize. Concurrently Jaret sang with and composed for multi internationally awarded ensemble The Australian Voices, led by Stephen Leek and later Gordon Hamilton. This included year-long residencies with the choir as Young Composer as well as Conductor in Training.
In 2012 Jaret relocated to Europe and took over the direction of Northern Spirit, a chamber choir in Bremen, Germany, which had been founded by Gordon Hamilton with the special purpose of championing Australian choral music away from home. As a choral conductor, Jaret has driven Northern Spirit to win multiple awards, including the prize for best foreign choir performing a Polish piece at the 2015 Krakow International Choral Competition, and in 2017 two gold medals in the chamber choir division at the European Choir Games in Riga, Latvia, where among other pieces they performed György Orbàn’s Pange Lingua as well as Choolun’s arrangement of the Australian folk song Botany Bay. That same competition saw Northern Spirit pushed through to the Grand Prix final of the competition, where they also achieved gold medal percentage points. Also in 2017 under Choolun’s direction Northern Spirit produced its first CD, featuring his newest piece, Flight, among a collection of folksong arrangements and pieces from the Classical a cappella canon.
In November 2017 Jaret received second place for his entry Lullaby for the Christ Child in the inaugural VCM Foundation choral composing competition, and had the honour of attending a performance of his piece by renowned British ensemble, Voces8. Though Choolun’s focus is primarily vocal music, his work with instrumentalists has included collaborations with soloists and orchestras. Early in 2018 Jaret premiered his new work for choir, orchestra and viola da gamba, Particles of Cosmic Dust, a reflection on the late astrophysicist Carl Sagan’s novel Kontakt. His most recent contribution to music is Desiderat, a work for choir and organ commissioned for the opening concert of the state of Niedersachsen’s celebration of 300 years of the organ builder Arp Schnitger. Following a move to Berlin at the end of 2018, Jaret continues to collaborate with soloists, schools and choirs in Germany for new music projects. Most recently he is enhancing his collection of German folk song arrangements, as well as offering the Berlin LGBT choral community his skills through conducting and composing. He teaches workshops in composition to highschool students, and most recently arranged orchestral and choral parts for the Berlin International Music Program, an international school initiative that brings young musicians from many schools and countries together. Later in the year Jaret and Northern Spirit will record for a second album, and Jaret will have completed his first larger scale work for choir and instruments.