is a composer residing along the North Shore of Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota. Following early piano studies with Bishop Michael Bent in Green Bay, Wisconsin, she attended summer piano academies at University of Wisconsin Whitewater and Indiana University. In 2000, Durrwachter received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota with concentrations in piano performance and composition. While attending, she studied with composer Judith Lang Zaimont and pianist Duncan McNab. In 2021, she received a Master of Music in Film Composition from the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program of the Seattle Film Institute, conducting the Northwest Sinfonia several times in recordings of her works.
In January 2018, a Career Development Grant by the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council supported a concert and recording at Duluth’s Sacred Heart Music Center. The concert included the premiere of her violin concerto ULTRA VIRES with soloist Erin Aldridge, concertmaster of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, and members of that orchestra. The concerto was conducted by Jean R. Perrault, University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD), Director of Orchestras. The concert also featured ELEGY FOR THE ERASED, a work for cello and bass performed by Edward Willett and Vince Osborn. Nationally, Durrwachter is actively engaged with chamber music ensembles and chamber music festivals, arranging more than a dozen arias for tenor, string quartet, and winds for the Pasadena Arts Council and the Three Bridges International Chamber Music Festival. In March 2018, her arrangements were performed at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall with tenor Gustavo Jimenez, the Catalyst String Quartet, Brandt Fredriksen, Lara Slotwiner Nie, Wolfram Koessel, Judith Mendenhall, and conductor Stefano Seghedoni.
2019 was an especially productive year for Durrwachter. She received a second Career Development grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council to compose the wind quintet EL CONTRAPUNTO DE ARENA, inspired by the writings of Jorge Luis Borges and recently performed by the UMD Faculty Wind Quintet. Also in July 2019, she recorded her song cycle THE TWO TREES: A YEATS SONG CYCLE, with tenor Adam Sippola and herself as pianist, releasing the eponymous CD shortly thereafter. In the same year, Durrwachter’s first symphony was commissioned by the Chequamegon Symphony Orchestra. Inspired by the landscape of the Chequamegon Bay region of Lake Superior, its premiere was delayed by COVID and is forthcoming. Curiously, scientists from Northland College, home to the commissioning orchestra, revealed the discovery that flying squirrels emit a fluorescence in the dark, inspiring the symphony’s second movement.
Durrwachter’s body of work includes a piano toccata, the violin concerto Ultra Vires, a collection of tone poems for solo piano Meditations on Lake Superior, a wind quintet, a duet for cello and bass, a song cycle, art songs, SATB choral works, and pieces for various chamber combinations, including a piece for saxophone choir entitled Sax-Zim Bog.
2022 brought an Individual Artist Project Grand from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council to compose a second song cycle, Surface Displacements, with text by Duluth poet Sheila Packa, to be premiered by soprano Jennifer Lien and Durrwachter on piano.
Future commissioned projects include an opera centered upon environmental justice themes, and a concerto grosso for early music ensemble and electric guitars based on the Orfeo myth.
In November 2020, Opera-Oriented Project Sponsorships in Minnesota (OOPS MN) commissioned Durrwachter to compose an aria to a chocolate chip cookie recipe with libretto developed by Pulitzer-Prize winning librettist Mark Campbell. It was performed by MN Opera soprano Tracey Engleman and pianist Jared Miller and recorded to video by HotDishAV.
I wrote this to the words of the ever beloved poet Sheila Packa and it was sung by the outstanding talent of Siena Forest, performed at the Minneapolis Song Slam 2022. It was thoroughly an experience to be imprinted.