The String Compositions of Louise Lincoln Kerr

Analysis and Editing of Five Solo Viola Pieces

by Carolyn Waters Broe

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Synopsis

This research examines the string literature of American composer and violist Louise Lincoln Kerr. A biography of Mrs. Kerr is given, emphasizing compositional training and skill, her style of composition, contributions to musical organizations in the Phoenix area, and her donation of the Kerr Cultural Center and her manuscripts to the Arizona State University College of Fine Arts. Selected string compositions are examined for their historical significance, compositional style, performer accessibility, and significance to the repertoire. Kerr made use of Native American and Spanish folk melodies in some of her compositions in a Southwest Impressionist genre.

It is the findings of this study that Louise Kerr made significant contributions to the string repertoire and that these works should be edited and published for all to enjoy. Five character pieces for viola and piano are edited in this dissertation in preparation for publication. An entire chapter is devoted to the analysis of the Kerr Violin Concerto, including the influences, harmonic content, and formal aspects of this work.

Louise Lincoln Kerr's compositions, as well as compositions by other women composers, comprise "undiscovered treasures" for the violist and the string player. In past centuries, women composers and violists have suffered equally in discrimination and neglect. Historically, women have been denied the opportunity for compositional training, had their creative acumen publicly challenged, and their works rejected for publication on the basis of their sex. Today, women composers are among the most exciting research topics in musicology.

About The Author

Dr. Carolyn Waters Broe, American conductor, composer, and violist has been the featured soloist with orchestras in both California and Arizona. She received her Bachelor of Music Performance from Chapman University, her Master in Fine Arts in Music from California State University Long Beach, and her Doctorate in Music from Arizona State University in Viola Solo Performance. She has studied conducting with John Koshak, and attended master classes with Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, and Herbert Blomstedt. Dr. Broe is the founding conductor of the Four Seasons Orchestra of Scottsdale, Arizona, an all professional chamber orchestra playing since 1992. This excellent ensemble performs Baroque, Contemporary and Classical music genres. The Four Seasons Orchestra was nominated in two Grammy categories in the year 2000 for "Best Small Ensemble" and "Best New Composition." Carolyn Broe and the Four Seasons Orchestra performed at the Haydn Festival in June of 2009 in Vienna, Austria and at the Esterhazy Palace and the Konzerthaus.

Carolyn Broe has conducted the world premieres of the 9-11 works by Tucson composer Thomas Woodson and the Bassoon Concerto of John Cooper. She has given Arizona premieres of works by Baroque and Classical women composers. Dr. Broe conducted the Phoenix and Scottsdale premieres of the Bassoon Concerto by Gwyneth Walker and a narrated work by Alan Feinstein. Carolyn Broe was the founding conductor of the Paradise Valley Orchestra for ten years, and conducted the Glendale Symphony Orchestra in Arizona. She has also guest conducted for the Arizona Repertory Orchestra.