In 1998, Louise Dierker enrolled in the Longy School of Music as a degree candidate for a Master of Music in Clarinet Performance. After a year as a performance major, she realized her love for composition and reapplied to the composition program under the chairmanship of Eric Sawyer. She was accepted and graduated with distinction. Since then, Dierker has composed and premiered work across the country, attended several artist residencies, and collaborated with various artists and choreographers.
A native of Ohio, Dierker was born and married in the same country home outside Columbus. Because her father, a metallurgical engineer, was away managing a war plant in South Carolina, Dierker’s Aunt Hilda—a professor of music—stayed with the family to help. While there, she unexpectedly became the assistant to the family physician, Dr. Karrer, when Dierker was born early and delivered at home.
In her youth Dierker excelled at the clarinet, studying for seven years with Donald E. McGinnis, professor at the Ohio State University. At the same time, she was happily playing sports until her best friend accidentally knocked out some of her teeth on the basketball court. Dierker’s clarinet playing was deferred. With this accident she became fascinated with teeth re-implantation, which led, after reading A.J. Cronin's The Green Years, to an interest in medicine. Her mother gave support and encouragement by searching out many books for her, new and used, by and about women physicians. She went on to attend Earlham College and then the Ohio State University College of Medicine where she was one of just eight women in a class of 150 students.
Dierker received her Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree from Ohio State and then a Masters in Public Health from Harvard University before embarking on a twenty-five year career as a psychiatrist. She trained at the Massachusetts General Hospital and The Boston Psychoanalytic Institute, and was clinical and adjunct faculty at the Harvard and Dartmouth Medical Schools.
At the same time she was practicing psychiatry in southern Vermont and New Hampshire, Dierker was also reengaging with her love of the clarinet and music. She left her medical practice to study music education at Keene State College under the mentorship of Professor Douglas Nelson. After receiving a Bachelor of Music degree summa cum laude from Keene State, she spent several years as a freelance clarinetist and teacher in the Monadnock Region. With the goal of improving her proficiency, she began to take clarinet lessons from the world-renowned clarinetist Jonathan Cohler. Under his tutelage and with his encouragement, she auditioned and was accepted into the Masters program in Clarinet Performance at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts. While there, Dierker transitioned to composing and graduated with a Masters in Composition in 2002.
In the years following graduation, in response to a professional musician friend’s comment, “Your music is so visual,” Dierker began to work with film. Using a small digital video camera, she captured scenes of the natural world around her home and began to create short films, scoring them with music and sound. In 2011, she undertook further study at the Vermont College of Fine Arts as a candidate for an MFA in Music Composition, area of concentration Scoring for Media. She produced two films there, Bailey Brook and Strands, receiving her degree in 2013.
Dierker has studied music composition with Ted Mann, Paul Brust, Neal Farwell, Jeremy Van Buskirk, Rick Baitz, Don DiNicola, and John Mallia.
She now composes both traditional and experimental work from her studio in New Hampshire's Monadnock region where she lives with her husband David, one dog, one cat, and assorted wildlife. They have three grown children, who studied philosophy, divinity, and modern dance before having families, and now Dierker and her husband enjoy seven grandchildren.