Catch up With...Cherise Leiter
For those who follow our composer spotlights, Cherise Leiter may be a familiar face. She was a finalist in 2014 for her beautiful work for flute/alto flute and cello, Chroma. We loved the timbres she created in that duo and we were pleasantly surprised when it was revealed that she was the winner of this year’s chamber music category for The Life in the Day for flute/alto flute, guitar, and cello. Again, she deftly creates unique and beautiful timbres and beautiful melodies, this time adding the guitar to the ensemble she so skillfully composed for in Chroma. We're pleased to share that Cherise will be meeting with Nicole Riner, our wonderful Membership and Communications chair, in 2018 and we look forward to sharing their conversation, but in the meantime we wanted to give you all an opportunity to catch up with Cherise.
We look forward to hearing two works Cherise completed recently, a duo for two flutes entitled Vignettes and a work for flute and fixed electronics, Penitence and Praise. We’re also really pleased to learn that Chroma has been recorded. There are more details about all of these exciting announcements in the Q&A below!
Q&A with Cherise…
What about new music for the flute appeals to you?
One of the things I love about the flute is that despite its ancient and glorious lineage and the tremendous body of literature written for it, we can still discover new sounds, new techniques, and new effects. That is what appeals to me so much when writing for the flute. I play just enough flute to be a danger when writing for it, and I love experimenting with techniques, fingerings, etc. While my chamber piece "The Life in a Day" is in the more traditional vein, I still had fun exploring meter and tone color. I also love the fact that flutists really dig new music and are not the least bit scared of it! That is VERY attractive from a composer's point of perspective.
Describe your musical background and current activities.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in music theory, and was perfectly content in my Common Practice literature and analysis, until I had to take a class that was intended to introduce theory majors to the art of composing. I entered it kicking and screaming (at least internally), and left it headed to graduate school as a composition major.
I have composed a number of pieces for flute in the past few years—primarily in chamber settings—and have enjoyed it very much. I now have a piece for flute and fixed electronics (Penitence and Praise) that was a commission from Colleen White, which pushed me into a new area. I also recently finished a flute duo which was commissioned and premiered by Naomi Seidman and Cristina Ballatori at the most recent NFA conference. Outside of the flute world I am finishing up a piece for wind ensemble (although it does have flutes in it!) and also working on a piece for solo piano—a set of etude variations on the folk song written by the female outlaw, Belle Starr.
Do you have any upcoming events that you would like our friends and followers to know about?
I am thrilled that “Chroma,” a piece I composed for flute and cello (and that was an FNMC finalist in 2014), has been recorded by the Jano Duo on their recent CD “Dreaming in Color.” They did an AMAZING job with it, and with the pieces of five other composers—all recent pieces!
What advice can you give to flutists about approaching new music in practice?
Advice to flutist when approaching new music: don't be afraid to play around and try new sounds and timbres, even if they are not what we traditionally think of as 'pretty' sounds. As a composer I love all the colors the flute can produce!
More About Cherise…
Born in Florida, Cherise Leiter received a B. M. in Music Theory and an M. M. in Composition from the University of Florida where she studied with Dr. Budd Udell. She is currently Professor of Music at Metropolitan State University of Denver, teaching music theory and composition.
A composer whose output includes works for choir, piano, voice, band, orchestra and assorted chamber ensembles; her compositions have been performed throughout the United States, Canada, Scotland, France, Italy, Romania, and Japan. She was a featured composer at the New Music Symposium, the University of Central Missouri’s New Music Festival, the Aspen Composer’s Conference, the Women Composers Festival, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, June in Buffalo, and Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts.
In her spare time, Ms. Leiter is an avid knitter, hiker, swimmer, cook, and bibliophile. She also has a vested interest in anything made of chocolate. She can be reached at LeiterLieder@gmail.com, or www.cherisedleiter.com.
If you liked The Life in a Day…
American Folk Suite
Instrumentation: flute and soprano
Instrumentation: flute/alto flute and cello
Instrumentation: flute/alto flute, clarinet and bassoon
Penitence and Praise
Instrumentation: flute and fixed electronics
Prelude and Fugue
Instrumentation: flute choir
Instrumentation: flute choir
The Life in a Day
Instrumentation: flute, guitar, cello
Instrumentation: flute and alto flute
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The Flute New Music Consortium is an organization dedicated to the creation and support of new music for the flute.