Compact Disc Features Art Songs
By Women Composers
Posted December 12, 2002
HOLLAND -- Art songs by women composers from the
1700s to the present are featured on compact disc developed
by and featuring the vocal talents of Linda Dykstra of the
Hope College music faculty.
Titled "Treasures: Little-Known Songs by Women
Composers," and released earlier this month, the recording
features a variety of compositional styles, and includes 30
works by 10 composers. Most of the works are in English,
with some in German or Italian.
The composers included on the compact disc range
from Louise Reichardt (1779-1826), whose father had been
director of music for Frederick the Great of Prussia, to
Libby Larsen (1950-), a contemporary American composer whose
"Cowboy Songs" include "Bucking Bronco" with text by Belle
Starr and "Billy the Kid."
Art songs are self-contained compositions -- as
opposed to excerpts from larger operatic works -- for a solo
vocalist accompanied by an instrument. Dykstra's interest
in researching, teaching and performing such songs by women
composers has grown in the past five years, since she joined
the Hope faculty and started performing music by women for
the college's Women's Week in February and March.
Through the compact disc she hopes to preserve and
build awareness of a body of literature that is relatively
unknown and has often been unrecorded. Her work on the
project included research into the lives of the composers.
The liner notes include both the songs' lyrics and
biographical sketches of the 10 women whose works are
Three members of the Hope music faculty accompany
Dykstra: pianist Joan Conway, professor emerita of music,
who taught at Hope from 1969 to 2001; violinist Mihai
Craioveanu, professor of music; and cellist Richard Piippo,
associate professor of music. Dykstra co-produced the
recording with John Erskine, who is a lecturer in music and
recording arts manager at the college.
In addition to Larsen and Reichardt, the composers
featured on the compact disc are: Marion Bauer (1882-1955),
Amy Cheney Beach (1867-1944), Carrie Jacobs Bond (1862-
1946), Katherine K. Davis (1892-1980), Madeline Dring (1923-
77), Eleanor Everest Freer (1864-1942), Alma Schindler
Mahler (1879-1964) and Clara Kathleen Rogers (1844-1931).
The compact disc is available at
the Hope-Geneva Bookstore located on the ground level of the
college's DeWitt Center and at Holland Compact Disc in
downtown Holland, as well as through Amazon.com and Barnes
A native of Hingham, Wis., Dykstra came to Hope in
1997 from Maryland, where her teaching time was divided
between private voice students at her Columbia, Md., voice
studio, the University of Maryland Baltimore County and
Loyola College. Since coming to West Michigan she has also
taught at Grand Valley State University in Allendale.
In March of 1997, she received the Voice Teacher
of the Year Gold Medallion presented by the Rosa Ponselle
Foundation, established in honor of the famed opera singer
in her adopted hometown of Baltimore, Md.
Dykstra spent seven years in Germany, where she
studied voice, performed with the Kleines Opern Ensemble
Berlin, and sang numerous lieder recitals and concerts,
including a recital of Richard Strauss Lieder for the
composer's family at his villa in Garmisch-Partenkirchen,
and a performance of Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" at the
In addition to oratorio and recital performances,
she is a frequent adjudicator at vocal/ensemble festivals,
and has conducted masterclasses for choral groups and
secondary-level vocal music teachers and students, as well
as for the Maryland Music Educators Association State
Convention. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees in
music from the University of Maryland.
Some of her students' awards include the Helen
Hayes Award, Palm Beach Opera Competition Finalist, NAACP
AACTSO winner, and many NATS and Rosa Ponselle Competition
Funding for the project was provided by the
Nokomis Foundation of Grand Rapids. The Nokomis Foundation
strives to make a difference in the lives of women and
girls, primarily by advocating for women-friendly policies,
celebrating women's accomplishments, instilling economic
self-sufficiency, promoting healthy choices and seeking new
opportunities to create a stronger voice for them. The
foundation primarily funds grants in the Kent-Ottawa-Allegan
Additional funding was provided from the college
through the Marjorie Den Uyl Summer Grant fund. The fund is
designed to support members of the music faculty in their
efforts to enrich their music performance or teaching.