June 6, 2022

Linfield composer wins statewide award, work featured in major festival

Andrea Reinkemeyer, a Linfield University associate professor and composer, has a busy summer lined up. In June, she will be honored as the Oregon Music Teachers Association (OMTA) Composer of the Year. A month later, her work will be featured in the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.

Reinkemeyer, a Sherwood resident, will receive the OMTA Composer of the Year Award at the 2022 OMTA State Conference, being held June 22-23 at the Florence Events Center. One of her newest works, “Letter to a Friend,” for soprano, horn in F and piano, will premiere at the conference performed by Youngstown State University’s Dana Trio, a group flying out from Ohio specifically to perform Reinkemeyer’s songs.

“The committee felt that Andrea’s submissions stood out among the rest due to her strong musical voice, lyrical and sophisticated writing and excellent craftsmanship,” OMTA President Sarah Ball said.  

“Letter to a Friend” sets two poems written specifically for this project: “Letter to a Friend on the Return of Spring” by D. Allen and “In Winter” by Megan Levad. Reinkemeyer first asked Allen to write their poem six years ago and intended even then to set the text to music.  

“This project sat for a long time and then came together all at once with the right collaborators,” Reinkemeyer said.  

Another composition, “Water Sings Fire” for orchestra will be performed as part of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, July 24 through August 7, in Santa Cruz, California. In addition to evening concerts, the festival hosts open rehearsals and meet-the-composer events. Grammy Award-winning conductor Cristian Măcelaru – music director and conductor of Cabrillo Festival and Orchestre National de France in Paris – will lead the performances.  

“It is an honor to have my piece selected for this prestigious summer festival,” Reinkemeyer said. “I’m looking forward to working directly with Măcelaru and the world-class musicians at Cabrillo to craft the performance. The musicians come from around the country to share their deep love of contemporary music with the Santa Cruz community.”

“Water Sings Fire” was commissioned by the League of American Orchestras and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra with the generous support of the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. The piece draws inspiration from Leigh Bardugo’s short story, “When Water Sang Fire” – a feminist origin myth to the Hans Christian Andersen classic “The Little Mermaid.”

Reinkemeyer has taught at Linfield since 2014. She received the Alex Shapiro Prize from the International Alliance for Women in Music in 2021, recognizing composing excellence for her composition, “Smoulder.” Her recent projects at the university include the Lacroute Composer Readings and Chamber Music Program in which student composers on campus, as well as youth from the surrounding region, work closely with professional mentor musicians during a residency program. The lessons culminate in a visit by professional musicians who workshop the piece and perform it for an audience. Check out a video from the fall 2021 Lacroute Composer Readings.

“Water Sings Fire” resonates with Reinkemeyer’s teaching at Linfield. Courses such as “Music, Gender, and Dissent” explore the intersection of music and gender in ways that respond directly to recent nationwide conversations and reflect student interest in topics like, “performance as a form of resistance and how gender was encoded into opera,” said Reinkemeyer.

In spring 2022, Reinkemeyer also heard premiere performances of the following pieces: “The Diver” for soprano and piano (Levad, poet), commissioned by Liz Pearse; “Hustle and Bustle” for concert band, commissioned by Lee Hartman and the Mid America Freedom Band; and “thank-you notes” for modular concert band, written to mark the retirement of Sherwood Middle School’s band director Mike Dyer.