Photo by Marcy Stamper Tara Kaiyala Weaver plans to perform and record her original compositions with other musicians.

Photo by Marcy Stamper

Tara Kaiyala Weaver plans to perform and record her original compositions with other musicians.

By Marcy Stamper

When Tara Kaiyala Weaver writes music, it comes to her fully realized — with melodies and harmonies for specific instruments and even a sense of whether it’s a first movement or a finale.

“I’m inspired to write because it’s already flowing. It’s hard for my pencil to keep up,” said Kaiyala Weaver. “I have to put it down as soon as it comes, or it could be lost forever.”

Although Kaiyala Weaver has been absorbed in music from her earliest years — she started playing violin at 18 months — composing music is comparatively recent. Although her first composition, a trio for two violins and viola, was an assignment in a music-theory class three decades ago, Kaiyala Weaver didn’t start composing regularly until 12 years ago, when she wrote a piece for string orchestra.

The inspiration for that piece was completely unexpected. It came to her after an enforced 23-year break from music because pain in her hands and arms prevented her from playing the violin.

But Kaiyala Weaver had begun tentative steps toward reconnecting with music. “The first thing that came was the piece for string orchestra — before I was even playing the violin again,” she said. She wrote the second movement the next day.

Writing that piece helped Kaiyala Weaver make her way back into a life in music. Body work enabled her to play the violin again and she began playing with local orchestras and a quartet and teaching and conducting.

Since writing that piece for string orchestra, Kaiyala Weaver has composed about 10 works, including a duo for violin and piano; a trio for oboe, violin and cello; and a work for eight sopranos set to her original poetry. Sometimes the music comes to her in rapid succession, but there could be a gap of months or even a year.

Those gaps don’t leave Kaiyala Weaver wondering if the flow of music has stopped. Instead, she trusts the process. “I’m not overly attached to whether the music will come again or not,” she said. “I never thought I would be a composer — ever.”

Little revision

Weaver rarely revises her compositions after she writes them down. “Ninety-five to 98 percent of the time, I’m satisfied with the melody, the harmony and the instruments,” she said. “It’s more of an intuitive process than an intellectual one. It’s as if I’m recalling a symphony I already know.”

While Kaiyala Weaver hears complete orchestrations in her head, she wants to hear her music played by professionals– and wants to share it with others. So she has launched a campaign to raise money to present a concert in the Methow Valley and make a professional recording. Kaiyala Weaver has commitments from 31 musicians to join her in the performance and studio recording.

Kaiyala Weaver describes her compositions as motivated by two basic themes. One group is influenced by the composers she’s been exposed to all her life, such as Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms.

Other pieces, with a more contemporary sound, are more personal and emotional, some quite dark — “from the raucous person on the other side,” she said.

“My sense is, it’s this whole, swirling pool. Classical music is part of who I am — it’s sort of in my blood,” she said.

Kaiyala Weaver’s goals for her compositions are ambitious. She believes in compensating musicians for their time and talent and wants to rent a venue with good acoustics and to make a professional recording, so she is seeking to raise more than $26,000.

She hopes to give the concert this June, but would postpone it until next year if necessary to get adequate financial support.

Kaiyala Weaver has launched an online fundraising campaign on, where people can read about her project and vision and make a contribution. For more information, go to, or call Weaver at 341-4194.