After graduating with her master’s from Juilliard in NYC, Heffter toured France as violist with the award winning Manfred String Quartet. With her travels came an appetite to write, and Heffter composed Eschapé, an impressionist flute quartet, premiered at Carnegie Recital Hall by the Anush Quartet, reviewed by the New York Times as “astonishingly beautiful … an homage to Ravel” and most recently performed at the National Opera Center for the Chamber Music Center of NY. Other classical commissions include the ballet Through the Looking Glass Darkly, performed at Harkness Dance Center by the Manhattan Ballet; Viola Suite in G, premiered at Aspen Summer Music Festival in Colorado; Eight Weeks in the Mountains, a comic opera performed at the Taos Music Festival in New Mexico; From Inside the Volcano, the synthetic symphony recorded in association with Kaleidesound of Berlin produced by Hiromi Abe (SONY) ; Opus 108, a duet for viola and cello, recorded by violist Dan Avshalomov (American String Quartet) and international solo cellist Raphael Jezerski; The Five Elements, song cycle for baritone, performed by John Tedeschi; Aaron and Cyma Stories for piano/flute/violin trio, sponsored by the Chamber Musicians at Great Gorge; Carbon Fiber String Quartet #1 performed by Calhoun Quartet at Mary Lea Johnson Theater in NYC/ recorded by Bordeaux String Quartet (sponsor Rudin Management, NY); Meadows of Gold, a fantasy for Violin & Piano premiered by Nikita Morozov and Martin Perry sponsored by Empire Opera with later recording by violinist Anna Williams; Piano Trio From Deep Space premiered by the Neave Trio in Lenox, MA / performances in Boston and NYC’s Kaufman Center Merkin Hall; petite version of “Oh! The Sport of Love” sold out performances at MRT by soprano Nancy Allen Lundy with pianist Michael Fennelly and violinist Gabriel Smith; Flight Into the Stars of Infinity premiered in Brazil by cellist by Marjana Rutkowski; and Heffter’s furious duet RAGE for violin & piano with heartbreaking second movement played for Japan’s Fukushima Memorial concert; RAGE had its premiere in Lenox MA by violin extraordinaire Laura Goldberg and pianist Jeremy Reger; recently recorded by 2-time grammy nominee Joe Patrych.
As Heffter’s classical works are primarily instrumental, she finds an unparalleled fulfillment composing musicals and rock operas to include storytelling, where she can explore the arcs of emotion that come with everyday people getting caught in extraordinary circumstances. Even though these huge productions take years to create, she is impelled to write for stage using large ensembles, passionate characters, and epic original stories of great adventure. Heffter’s first rock opera Atom & Eve packed the house for two staged readings at the Westbeth Theater in 1994, directed by Tom O’Horgan (Jesus Christ Superstar/Hair). Back then, she was a young pioneer, and there were no such thing as rock operas …by the time Jonathan Larson’s Rent surfaced, other circumstances crowded Heffter’s musical life. Decades later, Atom & Eve was given new breath with sponsorship by Sound Associates and Global Media Music, starring Rocktopia’s Rob Evans and Wicked’s Dan’yelle Willamson. Recorded excerpts from Atom & Eve drew a commission from Canada’s TV/Movie Co. Salter Street Productions and Heffter composed the full musical score for the sung-thru musical Blood & Fire which had a sold out staged reading at the York Theater in spring of 2001, and then won a presentation in New York’s Spring 2002 Ascap/Disney Musical Theater Workshop Showcase, where Heffter’s songs were applauded by the panel as “Each song is a hit out of the ballpark …way out of the ballpark!” Heffter was then hired by Daryl Roth Prd to write and record the full accompanying score for the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway production of Esoterica starring Eric Walton. She also wrote incidental music for award winning off-Broadway productions of Beast on the Moon, Manuscript and contributed to the soundtrack of Will Ferrell’s Broadway hit show You’re Welcome, America.
“Oh! The Sport of Love” a bawdy comic operetta for mezzo-soprano, has been performed from intimate parlors to starlit stages world wide. A performance in Beijing at the Yong-He Villas with hundreds of ex-pats in the audience for Doctors Without Borders brought down the house and filled the coiffures; most recently at Manhattan Theater Rep, a simple production staged by director John Tedeschi, sung by Nancy Allen Lundy, accompanied by pianist Michael Fenelly and Violinist Gabriel Smith sold out the house both nights with many disappointed would-be ticket buyers being turned away at the door. Permission, Heffter’s one-act rock opera about the struggles of a middle aged businessman, is in the process of updating its production after a sold out two week run at The Triad in NYC. “CRISPR” a sung-narrative about the woes of 21st century dating, was written for singer Ashley Klanac, performed as a sketch for MuseMatch at Feinstein’s 54 Below. Click here to listen.
Heffter is currently collaborating with Jean Witter, librettist, on “Mars: 2076,” an epic musical based on the American Revolution of 1776.