maris maeve (Maris Maeve O’Tierney) is an Alaskan-born composer and classically trained musician (vocals, guitar, piano) with 3 albums in her discography: flowing still 2010, room to build 2011, and inflection point 2012. Maris has a performance circuit between Alaska, Chicago, and Ireland.
Maris is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and received a 2015 Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Award for Music Composition. She bridges genres for a distinct sound that threads from classical, pop, folk, and Irish traditional music (hear traction). Maris collaborates with her twin sister, violinist/poet Bryce Quinn, as duo maeve & quinn (hear fusion). maeve & quinn debut album forthcoming in 2017 - preview: heart’s divide.
Maris is an interdisciplinary artist. As a musician and architectural historian, she curates soundscape experiences in museum and performance settings that connect music and architecture as parallel forms of design. She has explored her music and design interests through roles at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Washington, D.C., the Block Museum of Art, Chicago, and the Anchorage Museum, Alaska.
Of her musical process, Maris shares:
Songwriting is a way of thinking for me. Setting words to music, I find ways to connect in notes the thoughts and emotions of autobiographical and fictional narratives that navigate the push and pull of the human heart. I write music to understand the complex, intimate relationships—personal, cultural, spiritual—of my own life experiences, the communities in which I dwell, and the change over time in place and people. Each song I write is both a map and compass, tracing the memory of relationships, love, and travels across place and time to orient a path forward. I perform music to respond to a community. The measured structure and tradition of classical music fulfills a part of my personality and perspective. My songwriting bridges the gaps, blending influences from classical, folk, and contemporary music genres. A landscape of love, loss, and reconciliation in the course of womanhood directs me towards a palette of sounds, words, and textures.
My goal in songwriting is to capture in the songs themselves the feeling of live performance. Performing demands vulnerability and a willingness to tap into a core; for me as a singer-songwriter, this is often an intimate story, and as a classical musician, a history (the legacy of a composer’s repertoire). To connect with an audience is the purpose of performing for me—sharing the story is not enough. Feeling the story of the music invites listeners into that vulnerable space, opening the song for a mutual moment of recognition and fulfillment.