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Leanna Kirchoff has been writing music since a young age growing up on the high plains of eastern Colorado. Her earliest musical influences were piano lessons and accompanying the choir at her local church, experiences that have shaped her development as a composer. Kirchoff’s expanding catalog of compositions includes vocal and instrumental chamber music, song cycles, choral music, musicals and opera.


Kirchoff has received awards for her staged works and choral music. Most recently, her chamber opera, The Clever Artifice of Harriet and Margaret, won the 2014-2016 National Opera Association Dominick Argento Chamber Opera Competition. Excerpts from the opera were performed at the 2015 NOA convention by the University of North Carolina-Greensboro opera department. The full opera was performed at the 2016 NOA convention by the Indiana Wesleyan University opera department. Clever Artifice has also been performed by Gateway Opera of St. Louis, at the Minnesota Fringe Festival by Really Spicy Opera, and at the University of Colorado.


Her latest staged work is a micro operetta for soprano duet and piano based on an original libretto written by Kirchoff on the topic of scrapbooking. The piece was commissioned by Soprani Compagni for their symposium, “Portraits of Women in Contemporary Soprano Duet.” Kirchoff also was a guest composer for Atlanta Opera’s 24-Hour Opera Project in 2016.


Kirchoff received the Sorel Medallion, an international choral composition prize for her choral piece, Meciendo. The award culminated in a performance at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall by New York-based Voices of Ascension. Other notable performances of Meciendo have been at the American Choral Directors Association conference in Kansas City and the Colorado Music Educators Association conference. Kirchoff has also held an American Composers Forum Faith Partners Residency, composing choral pieces for Boston area Temple Emanuel Synagogue and Twelfth Baptist Church. Early in her career, she won the Denver Women’s Chorus National Composition Competition.


She has collaborated on numerous musical theatre projects, composing music and lyrics for seven musicals produced in Minnesota. Her musical theatre experience also includes work as a conductor, musical director and performance keyboardist for productions in Boston, Minnesota, and Colorado. She served as assistant musical director and keyboardist for the first national tour of Schoolhouse Rock Live.


Kirchoff completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the University of Colorado, where she studied composition with Daniel Kellogg, Carter Pann, Michael Theodore and Richard Toensing. She also holds a Master of Arts in Composition from the University of Minnesota where she studied with Dominick Argento and Judith Lang Zaimont. She has been a composition fellow at the John Duffy Institute, the Ernest Bloch Festival, the Rural America New Music Festival, and the Chamber Music Conference and Composers Forum of the East.


A faculty member at the University of Denver, Dr. Kirchoff teaches composition seminar as well as directs the Lamont Composers Concert Series. Since 2001, she has also been on the faculty of Metropolitan State University of Denver, teaching composition, theory and aural skills. Complete information about her music, performances, recordings and news is available at and also at