ETSU professor wins international award for composition05.23.2006
JOHNSON CITY ? Dr. Maria A. Niederberger of East Tennessee State University recently won the international 2006 Miriam Gideon Prize in Musical Composition with her song cycle "Full Pockets" for flute, harp and soprano. Niederberger's song cycle, depicting scenes of nature, includes her own poetry and that of Jane Kenjon and Pablo Neruda. One of the songs, "Dreaming by the Ocean," premiered in Lucerne, Switzerland, in a concert sponsored by the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra.
Niederberger is an associate professor of theory and musical composition in the Department of Music in ETSU's College of Arts and Sciences. She holds a bachelor's degree in music from the University of California-Davis, where she taught from 1985-99 before joining the ETSU faculty, and a Ph.D. from Brandeis University in Massachusetts. Her compositions have been requested by distinguished international artists, and her works have been performed at conferences and festivals throughout the United States and Europe. A former board member of the International Alliance for Women in Music (IAWM), she has organized the annual concert at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.
The Gideon Prize is administered annually by the IAWM and carries a monetary award. It is part of an international "Search for New Music" competition, which resulted this year in 90 submissions of scores from all over the world. The judging is anonymous. The jury selects the winner in a "blind" process based solely on the music; the composers' names remain secret during the judging process.
Miriam Gideon (1906-1996) was one of the earliest well-known U.S. women composers. Her composition teachers included her uncle, Henry Gideon, as well as Lazare Saminsky and Roger Sessions. She earned her bachelor's degree from Boston University, her master's degree in musicology from Columbia University and her doctor of sacred music degree in composition from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Gideon wrote in many genres, and her compositions were performed and recorded throughout the world. RCA Victor, Westminster, Desto, Serenus and CRI distribute her recordings. She earned numerous awards and commissions, and in 1975 became the second woman elected as a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.
Dr. Maria Neiderberger