Loretta Notareschi is an award-winning composer who creates music that coalesces with the human condition. She received an MA and PhD in composition from the University of California at Berkeley, a BMus in composition from the University of Southern California, and the General Diploma from the Zoltán Kod ly Pedagogical Institute of Music in Kecskemét, Hungary, where she was a Fulbright Scholar.

A recent performer at our It’s About Time event, Loretta is an associate professor of music at Regis University and a summer faculty member of The Walden School. Here we talk about putting poetry to music and losing a year-long chess game.


Do you play any instruments yourself?

I’m more of a composer than a performer, with some exceptions, like when I perform my electronic music or sing in choruses. I do love to play Yamaha pianos, which are very bright sounding.

Have you combined your music with another form of art, like dance?

I have not yet written music for dancers, but that is something I’d love to try. I’ve collaborated with poets, including Margaret Ronda and my husband, Kevin Garlow, to create new works on their words. This is always interesting, because I have to respect their literary sensibility but also make it work as music. Music has its own logic.

 You’ve described yourself as a neo-romantic with a sense of humor. Could you elaborate?

At the same time as I strongly value personal expression, narrative, and lyricism in my music, I try to eschew sentimentality and being overwrought. It’s a fine balance, and sometimes humor can be very helpful. One of my pieces, for saxophone quartet, is called Dimwit’s Delight, and in it I portray a sort of happy, bumbling fool. In other pieces, like From the Inside, I mix the serious and the light-hearted.

Music is clearly your profession. What are your hobbies?

Chess is one of my hobbies. In my department at Regis University, we just finished a year-long team chess game. My team lost, alas. I love thinking about the different scenarios and balancing the long-range strategy with short-term tactics. I also find the patterns in chess beautiful.

Do you have a favorite TED talk?

“The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Are there any Coloradan composers or musicians that you have found yourself listening to?

I’m friends with a large number of Colorado composers whose music I love to listen to. To name just a few, I like to listen to music by Conrad Kehn, Leanna Kirchoff, Nathan Hall, and Brian Ebert. Whenever I hear pieces by these composers, I’m emotionally moved, and I’m also inspired to think about new sounds and ideas I’ve never heard before.

What do you believe It’s About Time for in your life?

I believe it’s about time to (and it’s always a good time to) connect with friends. Between family time and work obligations, I don’t always spend as much time with friends as I’d like. It’s something I want to prioritize more because it adds humor, richness, and meaning to life.