Webster University Music Professor Selected Artist in Residence on Lake Clark, Alaska

Jul. 18, 2017

Composing on the shores of Lake Clark, Alaska
Werfelmann spent much of the time on the shores of Lake Clark, Alaska, for a new choral work to be premiered in 2017-18.

David Werfelmann, assistant professor in the Department of Music in Webster University's Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts, was artist in residence at the Chulitna Lodge Wilderness Retreat in Alaska this summer.

Werfelmann was among 15 artists selected for a residency at Chulitna from over 200 applicants through a juried selection process.

As a resident artist, Werfelmann was given a cabin studio and plenty of unstructured time in which to pursue his creative pursuits. He spent most of his time collecting and setting texts for a new choral work, which includes selections from Johannes Kepler’s 1619 astronomical treatise Harmonices Mundi (The Harmony of the World).

The work will receive a premier performance by the Webster University Chamber Singers in the 2017-18 season.

Department chair Jeffrey Carter endorsed this importance of composer residencies. “This is the second year in a row that David has taken time off the grid to encamp in a wilderness location," Carter said. "He is enlivened by the environment, with the result of important new works of music that are shared and performed by others."

The Chulitna Lodge Wilderness Retreat is located on the shores of Lake Clark, in the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, about 180 miles southwest of Anchorage. The Lodge is accessible by charter flight and boat only and life is completely "off the grid." The seclusion and natural beauty are perfect conditions for the creative exploration and deep thought. In addition to the time and space granted to the resident artists, an award-winning chef prepared all meals and a full-time staff were on hand for general assistance. Guided excursions were also made available to the artists, including a hike to summit of Mount Tanalian, a 3900-foot peak overlooking the surrounding wilderness.

"I was thrilled to be selected as an artist in residence,” Werfelmann said. "I found my time at the Chulitna Lodge to be productive and rejuvenating. I look forward to sharing the work that I did as a resident with the Webster community at a Chamber Singers concert this year.”

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