Mona Lyn Reese has been composing professionally since 1975. In her recent works, she has concentrated on opera and orchestral music. Her work is melodic and accessible with an emphasis on driving or complex rhythms, movement, and contrasting textures. Her music communicates and expresses emotions traditionally or experimentally without allowing a prevailing fashion to dictate style, form, or harmony.

Composer-in-Residence at the Minnesota Opera from 1991-1999, she arranged works for the Minnesota Opera touring company and conducted educational residencies to help students write and produce original operas.

Reese received a Continental Harmony Commission in 2000. The American Composers' Forum and the National Endowment for the Arts created the Continental Harmony program to enable small to mid-size communities in each state to commission new pieces for the millennium. Continental Harmony was an official partner of the White House Millennium Council. Reese composed Suite Carroll County for the Carroll County Orchestra and Chorale in Carrollton, Ohio.


In 1993 she was awarded a Faith Partners Residency sponsored by the American Composers Forum and the Otto Bremer Foundation. During this residency, she collaborated with Delores Dufner, OSB, on the dramatic oratorio Choose Life, Uvacharta Bachayim. The following year, the Otto Bremer Foundation gave her an additional grant to write a symphonic version. The symphonic version was performed by the Billings Symphony & Chorale (Uri Barnea, Music Director) in November of 1996 when she was Composer-in-Residence at the Billings Symphony. Choose Life was also performed in the prestigious "Basilica 2000" series. Teri Larson, Music Director at the Basilica, conducted the Minnesota Sinfonia and the Basilica Choir. Choose Life was nominated for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize.


Goat Hall Productions of San Francisco performed excerpts of her opera The Three Fat Women of Antibes in July of 2003. The opera, a humorous chamber opera for four singers, is based on a W. Somerset Maugham short story by the same name. Thomas Hassing, known for his engaging and comic writing, composed the libretto. The Three Fat Women of Antibes is one of the few operas whose main characters are all female. The opera premiered in Minneapolis in 1998. Other performances include The University of Kansas Opera Studio (2002), Gregory Wiest (Munich, Germany), and Terrence R. Edwards (Pella, Iowa) who perform selected works in recital.



Reese was selected to spend the month of June (2003) as a Studium Scholar-in-Residence at Saint Benedict's monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota. During her time there, she planned the chamber orchestra composition Little Pieces from My Heart, commissioned by the San José Chamber Orchestra.

Reese's orchestral works have been performed by orchestras throughout the country including the Minnesota Orchestra, the Livingston Symphony (New Jersey), the Atlanta Symphony, and the San Jose Chamber Orchestra. She had her first European performance with the Czech Radio Symphony in February of 1997.

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