Christina Butera

Christina Butera: Creativity, One Beat Away from the Performance

Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition | Conservatory of Music and Dance
Graduation Year: 2017

Where is UMKC taking you?

I am getting my terminal degree here, so it will be the school attached to my name. I am hoping to teach at a university.

Why did you choose UMKC?

I was attracted to the composition faculty. There is a great range from electronic to ensemble music. I wanted exposure to all of those so I wouldn’t be pigeon-holed into one type of music. Also, UMKC gives lots of support for traveling to conferences and for getting lots of exposure.

What led you to UMKC?

I had friends who attended or visited and I wanted to live somewhere in a city or near a city. I met Chen Yi at other points in my academic career and was interested in working with her at UMKC.

What are your lifelong goals?

I want to be an active composer. I also teach now and love it. I’d love to head a music technology program at a university. Music technology involves a compositional slant and tools to compose electronic music. Electronic music breaks the concert hall venue. You can be anywhere from a concert hall to a bar or a smaller theater or with sound installations.

My favorite thing about electronic music is the relationship it creates with the audience.

What got you interested in composition?

I had bad performance anxiety. When I started looking at colleges, I realized that I could major in composition. I had always written for fun and it seemed like a good route for me to take.

Do you still get performance anxiety?

I’m still anxious when I’m sitting in the audience and my work is being performed, but I love watching performers share my music with the audience. I want performers to have an active role, so a beat off of that doesn’t bother me.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor?

The only unsuccessful composers are those who gave up.

What do you admire most at UMKC?

I admire UMKC’s support for its students, particularly the support we receive to participate in opportunities such as conferences, competitions, and research. I know other students and I have been able to take up fantastic opportunities that would otherwise have been impossible. I am so thankful to the composition department, the UMKC Women’s Council and the Student Government Association for the financial assistance I’ve received and the things I’ve been able to experience.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years, I hope I am still actively creating and sharing my own music, as well as fostering the creativity of enthusiastic college music students. I would love to develop a music technology program at a school that is lacking in that area.

What is one word that best describes you and why?

Colorful. Not just in my attire, but my personality, too! I try to contribute a lively energy and unique perspective to every situation I find myself in.