Martha Helen Schmidt
Martha Helen Schmidt is a composer and educator in the Twin Cities. She has taught piano,flute, voice and theory/composition at the elementary, secondary, and college levels. She currently teaches secondary choral music, piano, and theory in Burnsville, Minnesota. She was also the principal flutist in the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra in Arizona. Ms. Schmidt holds a BM in Theory/Composition from Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, and an MM in Theory/Composition from Ithaca College. She had the great privilege to study with one of the greatest teachers of the 20th century, Nadia Boulanger, at the Conservatoire Américain de Fontainebleau in France. Other teachers include Louise Talma, James Ming, and Pulitzer Prize winners Steven Stucky and Karel Husa.
Ms. Schmidt currently has five choral octavos published by Theodore Presser. Her choral works have been performed by ensembles here and abroad including St Olaf College, Viterbo College, University of Minnesota, All-State Choir Minnesota, and Dordt College. Her octavos have been performed in various places including Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago, Basilica of St. Mary and St. Mark’s Cathedral Minneapolis, Notre Dame in Paris, St. Peters Basilica in Rome, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. She collaborated with world renowned National Geographic photographer Jim Brandenburg on Earth Teach Me, an SATB choral work based on a beautiful Native American Ute text.
The past six years she has found her passion in writing Art Song cycles. Her song cycle I Open and Fill with Love, is her second set of songs based on the poetry of Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet, theologian, and mystic. It was highly received at its premiere in Paris and Fontainebleau, France including a performance at the 90th Anniversary Jubilee of the Conservatoire Américain.
She also has two French cycles entitled Trois Mélodies and Quatre Chansons based on the poetry of Verlaine, Laforge, Baudelaire, Apollinaire, and Valéry. Ms. Schmidt recently finished a song cycle for bass and piano called Ship of Death with poetry by D. H. Lawrence. “I love music with a lot of heart and we have just that. They are really superb.” – Philipe Entremont. "These songs are treasures! Oh my goodness, an American writing with the absolute presence of the French mélodie. How amazing. They are exquisite!” – Ruth Palmer.
She considers herself fortunate to live in a state so rich in the Arts!