From the composer:
In my compositional work, I frequently take inspiration from literature, art, and the work of other composers. My primary aims are creating meaningful experiences for audiences, collaborating with other professionals, and community engagement.
My fascination with composing began in junior high when I saw Catch Me If You Can. John Williams’s uniquely elusive and tender score penetrated my creative psyche and remains my favorite in the genre. While my musical tastes have since traversed a wide territory of styles, I come back to this moment of discovery as a pivotal event in my journey.
Remembering my obsession with the sounds of that score, like falling in love, refreshes my approach when beginning new projects. I want my music to effect emotional experiences for the audience. Sometimes the intention is to process grief, as with my dance requiem, Life, After; sometimes celestial wonder, as with my electronic work Orion. Bittersweet memories, the feeling of giving in to something overpowering and wonderful, contemplation, and the sheer joy of light-hearted dance: these are the palettes I love to work with. Though I have personal attachments when composing, I prefer audiences to experience my music through their own lenses, which is why I often keep my program notes brief.
Giving others this freedom of perspective plays into how I value collaborative work. This preoccupation with creating with other artists also stems from the inspiration I often take from them. I frequently find myself working with choreographers on both small and large projects. Literature and poetry regularly appear as source material, whether as inspiration for an instrumental work or as text for a vocal work, and on occasion, visual art serves as a muse.
Throughout my life, practicality is key. This manifests in how I explore the sound capabilities of an ensemble beyond what is common. By utilizing some extended or alternative techniques, the need for additional instruments (and thus potentially complicating a performance situation) can be avoided. I use extended techniques only when necessary and true to the work. Alongside my creative impulse is the desire to help performers by understanding their instruments and notating clearly. As a performer I have experienced both the good and bad of expectations, knowledge of my instrument, and notation. I seek out performer input on what works well and how to achieve certain effects in a way that makes sense for the instrument.
Because of my performance background, I also believe in performer interpretation rather than strictly following each indication in the score. This sharing of the creative process is a direct tie to my love of collaboration and audience perspective. The collective experience of compositional impetus and sound combination, the creation of performance, and the receiving of musical thought is why I create.
Krista Vázquez-Connelly is a composer of contemporary art music whose work canvasses solo, chamber, orchestra, wind band, chorus, jazz ensemble, and electronic media. She frequently takes inspiration from other art forms in her music and considers collaboration to be one of her primary aims in her creative work. Aside from compositional work, she is the Director of Music Ministry at St. Michael Catholic Parish in Lincoln, Nebraska. Her career has also included teaching elementary music and at the collegiate level, teaching private lessons, arts management, audio engineering, and trumpet performance.
An avid traveler, she was a featured composer at Electronic Music Midwest 2019 and the 2019 SCI National Conference in Albuquerque. She was also a composer participant in Screen Music Program 2020, Sävellyspaja 2018, the Oregon Bach Festival Composers’ Symposium 2016, and Quatuor Bozzini Lab 2016. Her music has been played on Nebraska Public Media’s “Friday Live” and as part of soundtrack for their “What If…” documentary series in addition to Gathering Her Notes podcast, and Music of Our Mothers, a station that airs in St. Augustine, FL and Frostburg, MD.
Vázquez-Connelly holds a DMA in composition from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a secondary area of orchestral conducting. Raised in western Kansas, she attended Fort Hays State University for her undergraduate degrees in music education and trumpet performance and earned her MM in composition from Central Washington University. She is an active presenter and clinician at universities and festivals, having recently given workshops at Graceland University and Fort Hays State University on the topic of score study through the eyes of a composer. She co-presented over this topic at College Music Society’s National Conference in October 2021.
As a performer, her greatest love is playing in orchestra and brass quintet. When living in Washington, she enjoyed sub performances with the Wenatchee Symphony, and during her time in Kansas she was the principal trumpet of the Salina Symphony and Hutchinson Symphony, both of which have premiered her works: Cycles by the former in 2014 and “Metals” from Symphony No. 1 by the latter in 2016. Vázquez-Connelly was recently a guest clinician at the Graceland University Honor Band 2020.