Glass armonica player performs at New Music Arizona concert Sunday
Music talent and math skills tend to go hand-in-hand, and that certainly holds true for Lynn Drye, business manager for Mayer Unified School District. Drye crunches numbers for her daytime job, and plays a strange musical instrument called the glass armonica for after-hours fun.
She performs Claude Debussy's Reverie on the glass armonica at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 9, at the New Music Arizona concert in Prescott. A pianist will accompany her as she plays the melody, although glass armonicas are capable of also playing chords.
Drye's instrument consists of graduated glass orbs that spin on a central shaft. She plays it by placing her fingers on the edges as they rotate, similar to rubbing the rims of different-sized wineglasses.
As with many pieces, classical and modern, Drye often transposes compositions into a different key in order to fit the range of her instrument.
"The bulk of the literature [compositions] that people can get their hands on is 18th century music. Those who specialize on the glass armonica do our own transcriptions, arrangements and compositions," she said. "Everybody's instrument is a little bit different as far as the range available to you. You can't just take piano music and play it on the glass armonica. I'll be playing a single voice melody with piano accompaniment for the Debussy."
Drye, who has lived in Arizona since age 5 and in Prescott Valley since 1987, was working on her master's degree in percussion performance when she made the glass armonica her thesis project.
"I hadn't done too much with it; I was busy teaching lessons in schools," she said.
She taught music in elementary schools, and taught percussion at Northern Arizona University and Yavapai College. She now performs in concerts in Arizona and several other states, and attends the International Glass Festival as often as she can.
"There are so few of us, we pretty much know each other or know of each other," she said.
Her husband, Toby Drye, also is a musician and a retired high school band director. He too writes and records original compositions, provides the background music for Lynn, burns her CDs, and takes care of the website (www.glassvirtuoso.us/lynn-drye).
Lynn said her husband once took a test for right-brained versus left-brained aptitude, and found the general consensus is that musicians are "whole-brained" people.
"We're used to having to flip between creative and analytical thought process," she said.
The New Music Arizona concert "Colors for Fall" starts at 3 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 9, at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 630 Park Ave., Prescott. Tickets are $17 for adults, $5 for ages 18 and younger. Other performers include Chris and Lena Burton-Jacome (Flamenco guitar and dance), Linda Fine and Kate Howell (vocal soloists), the Chaparral Singers, Jeannette Moore (flute), Jonathan Bergeron (saxophone), John Masserini (clarinet), Janice Chiang (piano), Maria Flurry (marimba), and the world premiere of Meditation by Henry Flurry.
The New Music Arizona concert presents works from living composers who currently, or formerly, live in Arizona. Not all pieces are classical in style; the selection criterion is that the music be "fresh and appealing to the audience." For more information and to view the program, visit www.chaparralmusicfest.org