NSC-02: Dr. Mara Gibson
Composer, Mara Gibson is originally from Charlottesville, VA, graduated from Bennington College and completed her Ph.D. at SUNY Buffalo. She attended London College of Music; L’École des Beaux-Arts, Fontainebleau, France; and the International Music Institute at Darmstadt, Germany. She has received grants and honors from the American Composer’s Forum, the Banff Center, Louisiana Division of the Arts, Arts KC, Meet the Composer, the Kansas Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, the International Bass Society, ASCAP, the John Hendrick Memorial Foundation, Virginia Center for the Arts, Yale University and most recently, the MacDowell Colony. Internationally renowned ensembles and soloists perform her music consistently throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Australia, Asia, and Europe.
Gibson’s music can be described as “shocking, gripping and thought-provoking… conjuring a flurry of emotions” (PARMA recordings). She is a regular cross disciplinary collaborator, having worked with choreographers, visual artists, writers, film makers and musicians. In 2015, she released her first compilation CD ArtIfacts with her second close to follow titled Sky-born coming out November 2017 through Navona/Parma Recordings. The newest cd will feature new works since 2015 including Blackbird featuring Cascade Quartet, drawing inspiration from a variety of artistic mediums, “haunting and epic with visceral energy;” her piano preludes, Conundrums inspired by a series of paintings by Baltimore based painter, Jim Condron performed by Holly Roadfedlt. Pieces by long time collaborators, Michael Hall, several UMKC colleagues and Megan Ihnen are also featured on the new album in Spark and One Voice. In August of 2017, Mara was the first annual commissioned composer for the Baroque on Beaver Orchestra led by Robert Nordling featuring her newest piece, Secret Sky inspired by the bird migration patterns on the island. Collaboration is integral to Mara’s process; whether through her music, collaborations or teaching, she hopes to achieve a relationship between the macro and micro.
Dr. Gibson taught as an Associate Teaching Professor at the UMKC Conservatory for over ten years, where she was founder of the UMKC Composition Workshop and co-director/founder of ArtSounds and from 2015-2017, she coordinated undergraduate composition and tripled undergraduate composition enrollment. She also contributes regularly to NewMusicBox and starting in the fall of 2017, she started as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University.