Dwelling within a world of musical sound, the work of Beryl Lee Heuermann invites the listener to journey beneath the surface, into a place of dynamic possibility. Underlying Lee’s artistic endeavors is exploring the myriad of ways in which the world is connected.
As a composer/singer-actor, pianist, flutist, and teacher of experimental and improvisational music, Lee moves fluidly between jazz, classical, and world musics and loves the intersection and flow between being a composer and performer and collaborating with artists of all genres, including poets, actors, dancer/choreographers, and visual artists.
Lee is especially involved in sound/music in relation to nature and contemplative practices, healing, and researching women composers and bringing their works to light.
Some of the musical traditions that have especially informed her work are the vocal hocketing tradition of African forest communities, waterfall and bird sounds of the Kaluli of Papua New Guinea, Buddhist overtone chanting, the vocal music of Northern India, the music of Brazil, and ongoing research of the nature of vocal timbre cross-culturally.
Lee’s most recent works and works in progress include:
Being Peace and the Power of the Voice –
this talk explores ways the voice has been used as an instrument of peace in bringing about non-violent change in the world, highlighting the work of Hildegard von Bingen (German – 12th Century), Yeshe Tsogyal (Tibetan – 8th Century), Ani Choying Drolma (Nepalese – contemporary) and singers of the Civil Rights Movement (United States – contemporary).
in collaboration with Chris Chafe, composer/celletist (electric cello – the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, CCRMA, Stanford University); Cecilia Wu, composer/singer (UC Santa Barbara)
Lee is now composing a tryptich for this project:
Being Peace – inspired by Thich Naht Hahn’s belief of living peace in everyday life
Fire of Spirit – based on a chant by Hildegard von Bingen
Om Kalaidoscope – based on the Om Mani Padme Om chant
(2 completed and the third in process)
Lee was a featured speaker at the 3rd Annual International Conference of Young Buddhists and Scientists in Hong Kong (July, 2013);
Imagining the Universe Concert – in honor of Khenpo Sodargye Rinpoche (November, 2014) – a telematic concert of compositions and improvisations with Stanford University (Chris Chafe), UC Santa Barbara (Cecilia Wu, Matt Wright, Reshi Tsering Tan), The Institute for Creativity and the Arts (ICAT) at Virginia Tech (Ico Bukvic, Patricia Raun, Alan Weinstein, Richard Masters, Tanner Upthegrove, Lee Heuermann), and the University of Mexico at Guanajuato (Roberto Morales Manzanares).
Voices from the Undergloom –
a multimedia piece focusing on issues of race and gender identity, with Prageeta Sharma, poet, Michael Keck, actor/musician, Amy Ragsdale, dancer/choreographer, Casey Charles, author, and Lee Heuermann, composer/singer.
founder of The Floating Feather Band – a composer/performer collective with Vanessa Tomlinson, percussionist, Erik Griswold, prepared piano, Chris Chafe, celleto, MJ WIlliams, trombone/voice, Scot Ray, slide guitar/electronics, and Lee Heuermann, voice/piano and flute.
created and developed the class “Sound in the Natural World” for The Wilderness and Civilization Institute at the University of Montana –
focuses on cultures whose sound-making is informed by their natural environment and teaches students how to develop a contemplative practice in relation to listening and music-making.
Lee’s composition Ridge of Blue Longing (for two pianos) was the 2011 recipient of the Judith Land Zaimont prize from the International Alliance for Women in Music (IAWM)
performed in “Resonations” at the Banff Center for the Arts – a concert for peace sponsored by the United Nations (with Chris Chafe and Charles Nichols) (2010)
composed and performed in The Montana Suite Project: 100 Miles from Forsyth – in collaboration with Headwaters Dance Company and New York choreographer, Donna Uchizono (2009)
created and performed in Lust Into Small Change, a one-woman cabaret show featuring the works of Kurt Weill/Bertolt Brecht and Edith Piaf (with Rodger French, Walter Limehouse, Lesly Fredman, and Joseph Cullen)
was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts/Interarts Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship for her performance art piece, Wearing Water/Eating Cement – Icons to Kiss, with visual artist, Elizabeth Lide.
Lee has a Ph.D. in Composition from Stony Brook University (2001), a MM degree from the Yale School of Music (1993), and a BA from the New England Conservatory of Music (1981), and was a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University (2001-02).