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Back to music: Wendy Durrwachter will showcase her compositions

In legal circles, "Ultra Vires" is a term that means "beyond the powers." The Latin term is also the title of a four-movement violin concerto written by an emerging local composer.

Wendy Durrwachter
Wendy Durrwachter

In legal circles, "Ultra Vires" is a term that means "beyond the powers." The Latin term is also the title of a four-movement violin concerto written by an emerging local composer.

Wendy Durrwachter will be premiering the piece - along with others - during a showcase concert at 7:30 p.m. today at Sacred Heart Music Center. Tickets are $12 in advance at eventbrite.com, $16 at the door.

Featured soloists include Erin Aldridge, whom she had in mind when she wrote "Ultra Vires," she said, and Adam Sippola and William Bastian, who will sing text by Louis Jenkins and William Butler Yeats, respectively. There is also a duet for bass and cello performed by Vince Osborn and Edward Willett.

Durrwachter studied music at the University of Minnesota, but after college shifted her focus to raising children and restaurant management. She's recently re-committed to making music, she said.

"It's a passion that has haunted me for years," she said. "I've been doing it on the side. Now I'm trying to do it full time."

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Durrwachter said she is inspired by things she sees and feels, experiences and memories. She describes her style as contemplative and said she gravitates toward virtuosity - which is how she ended up writing "Ultra Vires." She studied Aldridge's recordings of Eugene Ysaye and watched her perform live.

"I love not only her skill, but her style," she said. "She almost plays her instrument like she's a rock star."

Durrwachter described the first movement as mysterious and violent, the second as serene and nostalgic. The third movement is a minuet and the fourth is impetuous, she said.

Durrwachter grew up in Green Bay and began studying piano when she was 3 years old. She said she became disenchanted with classical music while studying it in college. And afterward, she feared that if she got back into it she would become to obsessive.

She got serious about it again about five years ago. Durrwachter wrote pieces that are meditations on Lake Superior and has spent time recently considering the link between art and landscape. Her momentum is building.

Durrwachter said it feels good to be writing music again.

"I've described it as feeling like you have birds fluttering around your head," she said. "When you write, you release them."

Related Topics: MUSIC
Christa Lawler is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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