Sydney Kjerstad

Composer, 2012


Sydney Kjerstad is a composer and pianist from Parker, Colorado. She is currently in her final year of earning a B.A. in Music at Luther College, where she studies composition with Dr. Brooke Joyce and Steve Smith and takes piano lessons from Dr. John F. Strauss. She has also received piano lessons from Dr. Xiao Hu, harpsichord lessons from Kathryn Reed, and jazz theory and improvisation from Thomas Bourcier. As work-study, she has learned to regulate and maintain pianos under the guidance of Ryan Mix.

Sydney’s greatest strengths and joys are found in collaboration. During her time at Luther, she has participated in the Theater/Dance department multiple times by writing and playing music on and off stage. Under the guidance of Thomas Bourcier, Jane Hawley and Amanda Hamp, she has accompanied and improvised for dancers. Also an accomplished accompanist, she has played in many recitals showcasing standard repertoire and new music alike, including works of her fellow composition students. Sydney also has experience with the pianoforte and the harpsichord and seeks out opportunities to play them.

She has had the privilege of participating in master classes and lessons with Ann Cravero, Jospeh Di Ponio, Randy Bauer, Robert Pound, Stephen Paulus, Kurt Heineke, and Joshua Shank. She also had the wonderful opportunity of hearing a reading of one of her earlier pieces by the Brentano Quartet in the spring of 2012. In the summer of 2011, Sydney took part of Hummie Mann’s Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Summer Intensive Program. She also took classes about the process of film scoring, video game music, and studio technology. In summer 2012, she wrote two pieces for the Fresh Inc. Festival hosted by the Fifth House Ensemble and
had her works premiered June 16th at the Ravinia Festival and the Cultural Center of Chicago.

Inspired by music from movies and especially video games, Sydney strives to make music that can captivate any audience with any emotion or style. Her dream job is to be a composer for various video games and films. But until then, she looks forward to being a piano teacher, a conductor, a collaborator, a pianist, a technician, and enjoying whatever jobs or opportunities that may come.

Outside of music, Sydney enjoys studying Spanish, playing video games, cycling, kayaking, fishing, hiking the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, cooking and baking gluten-free pastries.


Carried Away
for flute, oboe, and piano


So Totally, Shamelessly Cheesy, You Guys
for soprano saxophone and cello