Mendota H.S. Symphony Concert to feature percussionist Kieffer

Olivia Kieffer

Concert is free, reception to follow

MENDOTA - The Mendota High School Concert Band will present the 61st Annual Symphony Band Concert at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 16 at the Mendota High School Auditorium. This year, MHS will be joined on stage by composer, percussionist and educator Olivia Kieffer.

Admission is free and the concert is open to the public. A reception will be held in the high school cafeteria immediately following the concert.

This year’s program will include “First Suite in Eb for Military Band” (Gustav Holst), Three Movements: I. Chaconne, II. Intermezzo, III. March; “The Seal Lullaby” (Eric Whitacre); “Ritual of the Tribe” (Chris Brooks), Percussion Ensemble, “...and then the Universe exploded” (Olivia Keiffer).

Keiffer will work with MHS band students on her composition, “...and then the Universe exploded” for several days prior to the performance, and she will also work with the percussion ensemble.

A native of Wisconsin, Kieffer’s music has been described as “immediately attractive,” “like a knife of light” and “honest, to the point, and joyful!”

Kieffer is currently pursuing a DMA in Music Composition at the Frost School of Music at University of Miami, studying with Lansing McLoskey. She is former adjunct music faculty at Reinhardt University (2009-2017), where she taught Applied Percussion Lessons and World Music, and directed the Percussion Ensemble. She has degrees in percussion from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Allen Otte and the Percussion Group Cincinnati, and at Georgia State University, studying with Stockhausen specialist Stuart Gerber. She studied with Jon Welstead at UW–Milwaukee, where she earned a Master’s degree in Music Theory & Composition. She also studies composition independently with Marc Mellits.

Kieffer feels at home in both the classical and rock worlds and was an active performer in Atlanta’s vibrant contemporary classical music scene for over a decade, including her work as bandleader and drummer for the seven-piece chamber rock band Clibber Jones Ensemble. She is a long-time member of the Chix With Stix Percussion Group, and was timpanist for the Ludwig Symphony Orchestra. She also performed regularly with the Terminus Ensemble and Bent Frequency. From 2015-2017 she was co-director of the Reinhardt Contemporary Arts Festival and Atlanta’s SoundNOW Festival, as well as serving on the music committee at Eyedrum Music & Art Gallery, where she curated the Composer’s Concert Series.

Since 2012, her compositions have been performed both nationally and internationally. She has enjoyed performances by many ensembles and soloists, including the Mana Chamber Players; the A/B Duo; GremlinsDuo; BF Duo; Terminus Ensemble; fivebyfive; Donald Sinta Quartet; toy pianists Amy O’Dell, Stacey Barelos, Drew Dolan, Robert Fleitz, Antonietta Loffredo and Elizabeth A. Baker; percussionists Colleen Phelps and Nathaniel Gworek; pianists Francesco Di Fiore, Marvin Rosen, Ann Yi and Anna Sutyagina; the Dueson Pilington Duo; Italian chamber ensemble Piccola Accademia Degli Specchi; and many university and community bands.

Her projects and compositions have been highlighted in “Journal for the International Alliance for Women in Music,” “ArtsATl,” “TomTom Magazine,” Wide Circles podcast, WABE-FM (90.1), New Music Conflagration, “Eyedrum Periodically,” NewMusicBox, listening to ladies, Moving Classics TV, Music, Polyphony and Polyrhythm. She is also a guest contributor to EarRelevant.

In 2017, Kieffer was Composer in Residence at the Florida International Toy Piano Festival and the Mana Saxophone Institute.


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