Elizabeth McNutt and Shannon Wettstein formed the Calliope Duo in 1999 with a shared vision of new repertoire and new horizons of virtuosity for flute and piano together. Over the years the duo has survived ice storms, tornadoes, and cross-country moves. In their collaborations as the Calliope Duo and in their highly acclaimed solo performances, Dr. McNutt and Dr. Wettstein present the most original, innovative, and excellent newly composed music.
The Calliope Duo’s programs focus on works from the late 20th century to the present, sometimes including innovative repertoire from the more distant past for contrast and a fresh perspective. Through collaborations with composers and outreach to unconventional venues and audiences, the Calliope Duo revitalizes and reconnects avant-garde concert music in new contexts.The name “Calliope” refers to an innovative American hybrid of flute and piano, a keyboard instrument that plays a rank of steam-driven pipes. “Calliope” is also the name of the Greek muse of eloquence and epic poetry, an embodiment of the duo’s mission to convey ideas of heroic intensity with beauty and grace.
The Calliope Duo has presented guest artist residencies at the Festival for New American Music (Sacramento, California), the China-ASEAN Music Festival, and the Hong Kong Flute Association; they have performed many times on the Sounds Modern series at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Their projects have been supported by grants from the American Composers Forum, U.S. Artists International, and the Brannen-Cooper Fund.
Committed to educating as well as performing, the Calliope Duo have taught at the Nirmita Composers’ Workshop in Bangkok, Thailand, and at the Walden School; they have held teaching and performance residencies at various campuses including CU Boulder, CA State University, Univ. of Oklahoma, and the Univ. of Wisconsin (including Eau Claire and La Crosse campuses). Dr. Wettstein is on the faculty at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. At the University of North Texas since 2005, Dr. McNutt teaches flute and contemporary performance practice and directs the new music ensemble Nova.
Calliope has presented lecture-recitals and performances on Franco Donatoni’s music and on works by Mexican and Texan composers at College Music Society National Conferences and National Flute Association Conventions. Recent projects include a new commission by Cambodian-American composer Chinary Ung, and a video series of streaming performances by Cindy McTee, José-Luis Hurtado, and Kristian Twombly, among others.
In addition to their work as a duo, the members of Calliope are avid solo recitalists, having been featured in such venues as the Los Angeles Philharmonic Green Umbrella series, Boston’s Gardner Museum and Jordan Hall, and festivals at Aspen (CO), Scotia (Canada), Darmstadt (Germany), Yellow Barn (VT), Sandpoint (ID), Norfolk (CT), Arcosanti (AZ), and June in Buffalo (NY). Dr. McNutt’s solo CD pipe wrench is music for solo flute and electronics; Dr. Wettstein’s solo piano album is available on the Centaur label. The duo’s recording is in progress, featuring works by late twentieth century Italian master Franco Donatoni (as featured on ScoreFollower) and Soli e Scherzi, a work written for Calliope by Harvey Sollberger.
Visit Calliope’s YouTube playlist to watch live performances.