A musician must make music,

An artist must paint, a poet must write if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.

-Abraham Maslow


Artistic expression, practice, much hard work and also creative playtime are essential elements in the lives of musicians Maryanne Kremer-Ames and Allen Ames. Whether performing together as Lyra, the duo they created more than thirty years ago or playing independently, they enter their creative flow with knowledge, spontaneity, and inventiveness. Maryanne and Allen were both established musicians before they formed Lyra and to this day, their classical guitar, violin and six-string Violira performances and repertoire of eclectic, emotive music which also includes percussion, captivates wide audiences.

Maryanne and Allen express their relationship to their inner lives and to their external worlds by originating sounds and visions uniquely their own. The Briar Patch Inn, where they have been resident musicians for twenty-eight summers has been a great source of their creative nourishment. As Maryanne says, “the beautiful red rocks and the Oak Creek Canyon itself has been a great inspiration and influence on our music. Many of the compositions that I’ve written for Lyra have resulted from contact with the natural surroundings there. One such piece entitled Anthem, came directly from viewing the red rocks through an arched glass transom in a beautiful cabin. Other pieces came from sitting on the rocks in the middle of the Oak Creek with a guitar in hand listening to the rush of the water and composing the music that resulted from that experience.”

I have had the great pleasure of listening often to the beautiful and emotive music of Maryanne and Allen and recently, I also had the pleasure of interviewing them:

Ellen: What qualities have been essential in making your collaboration work not only well, but also, wonderfully?

Maryanne: Several things: we’re both interested in various styles of music and this unites us. Also, we know how to compromise as well as criticize each other in a constructive not abusive manner. We are jointly committed to performing and we respect each other as musicians and people. Our proficiency on our instruments is well developed both technically and musically. I think the audience senses these things and the result is a performance that all can enjoy, including ourselves!

Allen: There’s a certain mystery about it but I would say, number one, enough basic musicianship to listen to each other, react and adjust to each other in minute ways. Also, there’s a quality of “simpatico” that can only arise from good personal chemistry and shared musical values. It’s our good luck that we’re on the same page most of the time. And when occasionally, we’re not, we are able to work through differences of opinion to find solutions. Over and above that, you have to love what you’re doing enough to keep at it year after year.