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Cherise Leiter
Letters (2024)

Coming in 2024 as part of Cherise's sabbatical project, Letters sets diaries entries by the composers great great great grandmother. These deeply personal and moving texts talk about everything from using alcohol as a cure for snake bite, to mourning her late husband, to reminiscing on times they stargazed together in the corn fields. 

Cherise D. Leiter, composer

Eve's Diary (2019)

Whistling Hens approached composer Cherise D. Leiter in May 2019 about writing a new piece. After a few months, "Eve's Diary" was born! This piece uses as its text the first day of Mark Twain’s work “Eve’s Diary.” Eve is one day old, and exploring her new world. Mark Twain’s Eve is a joyous, courageous, exuberant, curious, innocent, adventurous woman, thoroughly interested and involved in the new macrocosm of which she is a part. The work is sectional as Eve moves through her new discoveries, beginning with her own existence, the existence of the world around her (represented by the clarinet), and culminating in her discovery of the ‘other’ experiment--who is not quite as curious and brave as she is...

Eve's Diary was premiered on September 15, 2019 at St. David's Episcopal Church in Baltimore, MD.


Thank you to the generous support of Collington Retirement Community's Women's Committee and the University of Maryland M-Cubator grant for funding this commission.

American Folk Suite (2012, 2019)

Leiter has also transcribed her American Folk Suite (2012) for Whistling Hens, which is originally for soprano and flute.

Born in Florida, Cherise Leiter received a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Theory and a Master of Music degree in Composition from the University of Florida where she studied with Dr. Budd Udell.  She relocated to Colorado and is currently Professor of music at Metropolitan State College of Denver, where she teaches music theory and composition.

A composer with works for choir, piano, opera, voice, carillon, orchestra and assorted chamber ensembles; her compositions have been performed in the United States, Canada, Scotland, France, Italy, Romania, and Japan.  Her works have been finalists in the Ithaca College 25th Annual Choral Composition Contest, the Outside the Bach’s Competition, the Flute New Music Competition, and the Columbia Summer Winds 2016 Composition Contest. She won the Braintree/Nashoba Valley Chorale choral competition and the Ars Nova Composition Competition, and her cycle Love Letters from a War was a vocal winner in the Boston Metro Opera competition and received an Honorable Mention from the 2010 NATS competition. American Folk Suite, a cycle for soprano and flute received a Merit Award from Boston Metro Opera in 2014, and The Life in a Day for flute, guitar, and cello won the Flute New Music Chamber Music competition in 2017.  She was a featured composer at the New Music Symposium in Colorado Springs, the University of Central Missouri’s New Music Festival, the Aspen Composer’s Conference, the Hartford (Connecticut) Women Composer Festival, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Music By Women Festival, Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, and at June in Buffalo. She is a member of ASCAP.

In her spare time, she is an avid knitter, hiker, swimmer, cook, and bibliophile. She also has a vested interest in anything made of chocolate. Visit for more information.

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