Student composer prepares for upcoming recital


Anyone who knows Harriet Steinke would say she has a very distinct personality.

She is the kind of woman that makes the entire class laugh with her purposefully blunt questions. Steinke is simply a spunky girl from Detroit, Michigan, but she also happens to be a brilliant composer in the school of music.

Steinke has been preparing to premiere four of her new pieces, as well as three other works, in her upcoming recital.

Photos courtesy of Harriet Steinke

Photos courtesy of Harriet Steinke

Steinke always involved herself with music, especially in high school, where she sang in choir and performed with the orchestra.

Steinke sings and plays the viola, piano and guitar. She favors choir music, but she has incorporated many musical ensembles into her showcase.

“I have always liked the creating side of music,” she said. “I like to create things.”

When conjuring up a piece, Steinke said she typically begins with figuring out a melody.

“I like melodies. My writing is, instinctively, melody-based,” she said. “I get melodies stuck in my head and I play around with them and develop them until I get what I want. Additionally, it is important for me to write music that not only I enjoy, but also music that the musicians enjoy performing.

“It is a form of art, a form of expression,” the junior said.  “I like working with musicians a lot. It is a way for me to connect with people.”

Her recital, incorporating over 35 students, allows for a melting pot of musical exposure.


The recital will consist of several choral pieces, a solo vocal piece, a string quartet, a brass quintet, a trombone solo and a larger chamber ensemble piece.

Kim Busic, a junior violin performance major, will take part in the recital, premiering in Steinke’s string quartet. Busic and the other musicians have been rehearsing and helping Steinke with the finishing touches for the past couple weeks.

“Harriet’s music exposes her quirky and inventive personality, which really connects to her audience,” Busic said. “It is an honor to premiere her pieces and be able to share her music with the general public.”

Butler students have the chance to see different instruments as a collaboration. It is representative of the ability to create something, rehearse it and finally experience the joys of performing with fellow Butler musicians.

“It is a fun, short program and it incorporates lots of difference musicians, instruments, and styles,” Steinke said. “One piece on the program is a multi-movement choral setting of the descriptive text on the back of tea boxes; another one is a jazzy solo trombone character piece. There is something for everyone.”

Steinke’s recital will take place on Valentine’s Day at 5 p.m. in Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall. This event is free and open to the public.