Advanced Search | Search A!:
Volume 26, Number 5 — May 2019

About the Composer

Evelyn Pursley-Kopitzke is working and reflected in the piano. (Photo by T. Duncan, Johnson City Press)
Evelyn Pursley-Kopitzke is working and reflected in the piano. (Photo by T. Duncan, Johnson City Press)

By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | February 27, 2019

A Tanzania-born American living in Tennessee, Evelyn Pursley-Kopitzke is an active freelance published composer, lyricist and master musical storyteller whose extensive opus includes chamber, choral, art songs and orchestral works. Her music has been heard from coast to coast and in Europe. She holds a master’s in composition and studied with Drs. Margarita Merriman (undergrad), Barney Childs (University of Redlands, California), and Kenneth Jacobs (University of Tennessee). In 1995, sheco-founded the Greater Tri-Cities Composers’ Consortium.

She received top honors in the 2002 Carton Savage International “I Wage Peace” project for her “Salaam, Frieden.” Three of her piano pieces were included in an anthology commissioned in 2005 by the Appalachian Music Teachers’ Association and that year was AMTA Composer of the Year. Pursley-Kopitzke’s “Celtic Homage: Let’s Dance” for piccolo, three C flutes, and alto flute earned a first-place rating at the 2017 Upper East Tennessee Solo and Ensemble Festival. Her ballet “Magic Butterfly” won a 2018 Virginia Commission for the Arts grant toward its production.

Selected works include “Deluge,” an oratorio for soprano, alto, tenor and bass, “Reflections” for marimba, soprano, alto, tenor and bass and organ;“Festival” four movements for flute ensemble; “Magnificat” for two soprano soloists, chorus and orchestra; “Adagio, Beyond the Silence” for soprano and chamber orchestra; “Cetacean Suite,” six movements for brass quintet; “TheConstellations,”a symphony, five movements for large orchestra; and commissions and premieres of multiple smaller works.

She traveled to London, England, in 2012 for the European premiere of her“African Vignettes” by the group Twenty-21, a London-based group directed by Dr. Craig Combs.She was commissioned by the North Cambridge Family Opera to write “Water from the Lovely Lakes”for their H2Oratorio. part of the 2013 Cambridge Science Festival.

The Paramount Chamber Players have been highly instrumental in promoting Pursley-Kopitzke’s music. They premiered three of her larger works: “African Vignettes” and “Victoria Vignettes” and “Second Sight,” a setting of four poems by the late Samuel E. Miller, M.D.

Recently she completed “There’s Music,” a five-movement song cycle for coloratura soprano and piano commissioned by Dr. Sun-Joo Oh, of East Tennessee State University; “The Ballade of Dryope” for harp solo, commissioned by harpist Martha Painter; and “Fantasia” for saxophone and marimba, commissioned by Dr. Elizabeth Soflin; “Poor Valley Pilgrims,” a commission for the Milligan College Orchestra; and “Faces of Spring” for oboe and viola.

For more information, visit https://pursleykopitzke.com.


There's More: Paramount Chamber Players premiere ballet