Richard Edward Toensing (1940-2014) was an esteemed composer, a respected teacher, and an extraordinary choral conductor. Explore this site in honor of his music and continuing legacy.

News & Reviews

MI0004020705Toensing’s “Children of Light” on American Webster CD receives Gramophone review:

“The most ambitious work is Richard Toensing’s Children of Light, a spiritual journey written for The Websters, set in five movements of differing mood and pace, drawing on the theology, language and music of the Orthodox Church, whose final version is radiant, impressionist haze.”

Note: Scores for “Children of Light,” for flute, clarinet, and piano, are available for purchase. Contact

A Meditation by Richard Toensing

I believe that, after time stops, all music written in the spirit of praise to God (and the inspiration and ennoblement of man) will be performed again—perfectly—in Heaven, as part of the eternal round of God’s praise.  (It may be that all other music will be performed Somewhere Else; upon that I do not care to dwell). Thus, I wish my music to at once foreshadow that heavenly performance, and also to bring, as best as I am able, the music of Heaven down to Earth. May it truly, and ever, be so.
~Richard Toensing, found posthumously in a notebook, written circa 1980s

In Memoriam

  • Faculty Tuesday: The Music of Richard Toensing
    Tuesday, March 31, 2015, 7:30 PM
    Grusin Hall, CU College of Music, Boulder
    For the full Memorial Concert program, including audio, click here.
  • New Music Box (a publication from New Music USA)
    Richard Toensing (1940-2014)—“The Oak Doesn’t Grow as Fast as the Squash”
    By Kristin Kuster (composer and former student), August 5, 2014
    “Dick Toensing gave us some of the most gorgeous music on this earth. Equally important, the distinguishedness of the sheer volume of wisdom he imparted to his students is immeasurable. He was an ever-optimist, an ever-realist, and never a downer. Yes, he could see through the bull-hooey quicker than most and didn’t hesitate to politely call it out. His career was like the slow-growing oak, and as an artist, teacher, and human he expressed himself clearly, gently, with respect and compassion.”
  • Colorado Public Radio – Remembering Colorado composer Richard Toensing, 1940-2014
    : Composer Richard Toensing on hearing his own music performed
  • Remembering Richard Toensing
    By Greg Simon, composer and former student
    “Listening to a Toensing piece might be akin to watching the embers after a fire: a gentle sense of warmth pervades everything, but it’s never stagnant — the glow flickers and dances in languid, unpredictable ways. A perfect starting point is his Kontakion on the Nativity of Christ for a cappella choir, a ‘choral concerto’ born from Dick’s Orthodox Christian faith.”
  • Denver church gives posthumous premiere of Richard Toensing piece
    Colorado Public Radio, 8/13/14