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Cobbers Compose for Lyra Trio

The trio, which consists of three music faculty – Jane Linde Capistran, violin, from Concordia; Amy Mercer, piano, from Concordia; and Elise Buffat Nelson, cello, from NDSU – has been playing together for the past four and half years.

This year, they wanted to play music from emerging composers and asked two young women to write pieces for their program. Natalie Fideler ’19, a music composition major, and recent graduate Kristi Fullerton ’14 agreed to create pieces for the Lyra Trio.

“We thought it was a great idea to champion works of women and emerging composers,” Linde Capistran says. “We are excited because we think this is a unique program.”

Fideler’s piece, “Celebration of the Erotic,” is a romantic and joyful piece. She came up with the title after reading an essay by the poet Audre Lorde that gave new thought to the meaning of the word erotic.

“Lorde argues that eroticism actually refers to things marked by intense passion and joy,” Fideler says. “When I read this essay for the first time, I felt that the emotional backdrop for my piece had finally been put into words.”

Deciding to compose a piece for the Lyra Trio wasn’t a tough decision, Fideler says, because she has deep respect for their work. That coupled with the fact the trio was putting great intention into highlighting music written by women – their whole program is by female composers – and emphasis on new music made it a good fit for the college junior.

“It’s incredibly inspiring to see my professors doing this kind of work, and the fact that they would want to merge my art with theirs deeply motivated me to compose for them,” she says.

Linde Capistran describes Fullerton’s piece, “Monstress,” as using a more modern style of composing with special sound effects. Fullerton says it’s based on the idea of the Sirens from Greek Mythology wooing the sailors to their deaths, playing on adding a feminine suffix to the word monster. The 10-minute work is shaped in four movements.

“Each short piece is composed in such a way as to showcase the power of each monstress,” Fullerton says. “It is striking the difference each brings, although there are underlying components that connect each movement to unify the work.”

The two new composers say a lot of visualization goes into their compositions before the writing begins. Fullerton says she plans out the details of the piece before ever writing a note.

“After I have a conceptual map or idea, I typically sit down and try to hear the piece in real time,” she says. “It can take me a long time to begin notating a piece at all because I spend so much time listening to it in my head beforehand.”

But neither composer will need to just listen in their heads any longer. They can hear the Lyra Trio’s interpretation of their work and know the accomplishment of the works being placed in the trio’s program.