Lisa Neher

Fortuna Calvo-Roth Fellow


Composer and mezzo-soprano Lisa Neher writes theatrical, story-driven music for instruments and voices. Trained as a stage actress, her compositions are shaped by her keen sense of dramatic timing and feature aching, lyrical phrases, energetic rhythmic motives, and intense harmonies. Lisa’s particular passion for text and poetry has led to works such as her chamber opera White Horizon, about a nineteenth-century Arctic expedition gone wrong, and her song cycle Snapshots, which she performed at the Cortona Sessions for New Music in Italy. Upcoming projects include premieres for Durward Ensemble, Constellation Men’s Ensemble, and a duo for herself and trumpeter Ben Drury. Lisa is in high demand as a performer, appearing as a soloist in works such as Bach’s Magnificat and Pärt’s Passio with the Chamber Singers of Iowa City and Duruflé’s Requiem with the Grinnell Oratorio Singers. She has premiered numerous works in the United States and abroad, including the leading role of Jennifer in the world premiere of Rita Ueda’s chamber opera One Thousand White Paper Cranes for Japan with the Singaporean ensemble Chamber Sounds. Lisa is the creator of the One Voice Project, a one-woman performance combining contemporary poetry and new musical works for unaccompanied voice chosen through a call for scores initiative. She is planning a second call for scores and poetry for 2017. Lisa is on faculty at Coe College and Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, teaching voice and composition. She holds a Master of Music degree in Composition from the University of Kansas, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa. Born just south of Seattle, Lisa is an outdoor enthusiast and triathlete. She returns to her Pacific Northwest roots every summer, hiking the ridges and valleys of Mount Rainier.


Music created during Cycle Three: