posted March 15, 2002

CD Will Feature Women Composers Since Mid-1700s

Support from the Nokomis Foundation of Grand Rapids will help Linda Dykstra of the Hope College music faculty develop a compact disc that will feature art songs by women composers from 1750 to the present.

Her goal is to enhance access to a collection of work that she feels deserves to be better known.

"Most of the songs I propose to record are unknown and unrecorded, but comprise a significant body of literature that should not be lost," said Dykstra, a lyric soprano who is an assistant professor of music at Hope.

"The broad time period will provide a variety of compositional styles, and a variety of nationalities and languages will be represented," she said. "I hope they will be of interest to musicologists, singers, voice teachers, students and those who love art song."

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.

Although the CD's final mix will depend on her on- going effort to secure permission from each composer or publisher, she intends to include a range of European and American women from the past 250 years. Her work on the project will include research to develop liner notes that will include background information about the composers as well as sources for the music.

Dykstra, who also teaches part-time at Grand Valley State University, will record the CD in the Sherman Van Solkema Recital Hall at Grand Valley this summer. Pianist will be Joan Conway, professor emerita of music at Hope, and recording technician will be John Erskine, a part- time lecturer in music at the college.

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. 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 Berliner Philharmonic.

In addition to oratorio and recital performances, she is a frequent adjudicator at vocal solo/ensemble festivals, and has conducted vocal technique workshops 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.

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 County area.