A Survey of the Choral Music of John Cheetham Including a Conductor's Guide for Performing His "Gloria"

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



First Advisor

Gregory Fuller

Advisor Department



After graduating from the University of Washington in 1969 with a D.M.A. in Composition, John Everett Cheetham was a Professor of Theory and Composition at the University of Missouri where he served until his retirement in 2000. At this writing, Dr. Cheetham is Professor Emeritus of Music Theory and Composition at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and is composing full time. Though Cheetham is best known for his distinguished brass and band compositions, his choral works merit both performance and scholarly attention. His choral works encompass many genres, and employ a variety of performing forces, ranging from several that are performed a cappella to one that is performed with full symphony orchestra. The scope of his choral writing includes shorter works and works of extended duration. Since Cheetham is a composer most distinguished by his brass writing, his Gloria, an extended work for SATB chorus and large brass ensemble, is a work of particular interest. Part of this dissertation is a brief biographical sketch of the life of Dr. Cheetham. The biography, primarily based on seven hours of interviews with the composer, addresses the composer's life, philosophical and religious persuasions, compositional influences, compositional techniques, and some details about specific works. Part of this dissertation is a descriptive survey of Cheetham's published choral works, written with the goals of encouraging performance of this worthwhile choral literature and encouraging additional commissions for this composer to write more choral music. This dissertation also provides a list of Cheetham's complete works through the date of the publication of this document in order to increase general awareness of Cheetham's compositions and to provide a broader musical context for the focus work of the dissertation, Cheetham's Gloria. This principal purpose of this dissertation is to provide a conductor's guide for performing Cheetham's Gloria (the full score is included for reference). The author employs musical analysis, consideration of the technical demands of the score, input from the composer, and consultation of scholarly research to produce this guide. The conductor's guide identifies the most significant issues that will materially assist a conductor to deliver a successful performance of the work.