Vocal Music

Website for composer/pianist Neal Kirkwood


Solo Voice

My Seven Strings Silent (Jan Walker) for voice and piano (1984)

anyone lived in a pretty how town (ee cummings) for voice and piano (2006)

Aqui (Octavio Paz) for voice, clarinet and guitar

2 Songs and an Interlude (Robert Herrick) for soprano, flute, clarinet, bassoon, violin  and cello (also arranged for soprano, clarinet, cello, and piano)

            1. The Argument of his Book

            2. The White Island

In My Craft or Sullen Art (Dylan Thomas) for mezzo soprano, clarinet, and cello (also arranged for voice and piano)

3 Poems from the Chinese, translated by Kenneth Rexroth, for mezzo soprano and thirteen instruments

            1. Full Moon (Tu Fu)

            2. Crescent Moon (Mei Yao Ch’en)

            3. Enlightenment (Ch’en Yu Yi)

4 Poems from the Japanese, translated by Kenneth Rexroth, for mezzo soprano, flute, 

            viola, and harp (2016)

Fragment (Percy Bysshe Shelley) for bass voice and vibraphone (2019)

Spring Night (Su Tung P’o, translated by Kenneth Rexroth) for voice and piano (2020)

Gentle Snow for voice and alto flute (2020)

Cat’s Meat (Harold Munro) for voice and piano (2021)

Vocal Duet

A Clear Midnight (Walt Whitman) for two voices SA, flute, bass clarinet, violin, guitar,   marimba, celesta, piano, bass and percussion (also arranged for two voices and piano)

Within A Dream (Ernest Dowson) for two voices SA and piano (1991)

            (also arranged for three voices, three flutes, piano, bass and drums

So Small (Rumi) for two voices SA and vibraphone

Vocal Trio

Beat Suite for 3 singers, piano, vibes, bass and drums  (2009)

  1. Difficulty Along the Way (Lew Welch)

  2. The World is a Beautiful Place (Lawrence Ferlinghetti)

  3. The Eyes, Too (Bob Kaufman)

  4. No More Jazz in Alcatraz (Bob Kaufman)

  5. Silver Fox Island (James Harmon)


5 Choruses from Mexico City Blues (Jack Kerouac) for jazz chorus and big band (2011)

  1. Singing

  2. When I hear that serenade in blue

  3.  Empty balloons of gorgeous

  4. And how sweet a story it is

  5. Charley Parker looked like Buddha

The Art of Kindness (Jack Kerouac) for jazz chorus and big band

Zoom (Jack Kerouac) for jazz chorus and big band

Ruminations, to texts of Rumi, for chorus and alto sax, cello, vibraphone/marimba, piano, bass and drums  (2011)                                               

3 Poems of Bob Kaufman, SATB chorus a cappella

  1. Perhaps

  2. High on Life

  3. Response

Field of Blackbirds (Paul Zimet) for 12 treble voices SSA a cappella

Orpheus with his lute, text from Shakespeare, for chorus SSAATTBB (2012)

The Airport Is Not Bad for chorus SATB

What Makes Nightfall Come for chorus SATB and piano (2014)

Four Japanese Poems, translated by Kenneth Rexroth, for chorus SATB

  1. This World (Shami Mansei)

  2. I think of the Days (Fujiwara No Atsyutada)

  3. A Worn Out Boat (Yosano Akiko) solo voice and vibraphone

  4. As I Row

Three Rumi Songs for chorus SATTB

  1. Inside Water

  2. Tonight a Singing Competition

  3. We Are the Night Ocean

Three Darwin Songs (Charles Darwin) for chorus SSATB, piano, bass and percussion (2016)

  1. Contemplation

  2. Natural Selection

  3. Endless Forms

Stay With Us (Rumi) for chorus a cappella SATB

3 Poems (Tu Fu, translated by Kenneth Rexroth) for chorus a cappella SSA

  1. Brimming Water

  2. Clear Evening After Rain

  3. Stars and Moon on the River

Caravan of Dreams for chorus SAATTB (2021)

Children’s Chorus

Village Songs, texts by 4th Graders in PS 161 and 199, for children’s chorus and jazz ensemble (2007)    

If We Shadows, text from Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2006)

Within A Dream (Ernest Dowson) (1991)

The Gift (Eve Harmon and Neal Kirkwood) for children’s chorus and jazz ensemble (2007)

City, City (Marci Ridlon) for children’s chorus and piano  (1990)

Somos Hombres for children’s chorus SA, violin, guitar (2008)

Theater Songs

The Sad Cricket (Don Marquis) for voice, clarinet in Bb and vibraphone (2001)

Song of Mehitabel (Don Marquis) for voice and vibraphone or piano (2001)

The Life Romantic (Don Marquis) For voice, clarinet, vibraphone and double bass (2001)

Me Street (Jim Neu)

The Wrong Mistake (Jim Neu)

If I Knew the Future (Jim Neu)

1948 (Jim Neu)

Small Bizness Man (Jim Neu)

Moon Song (Louise Smith)

A Cold Breeze (John Fleming)

Hang On To Your Heart (John Fleming)

Monsters (John Fleming)

Lament for voice, guitar and double bass

Crystalline River for voice, guitar and double bass

Song of Two Theaters (Bertolt Brecht)