The deep humanitarian concerns that permeate much of Deon Nielsen Price’s music is represented in her duo War Ends-Song Endures, a tribute to the valiant spirit of Ukrainians, premiered in 2023 at the Mu Phi Epsilon International Convention in Texas by flutist Rik Noyce and commissioning pianist Mary Au.
“Price has a sure command of compositional technique and willingness to encompass a wide universe of expression from despair to jubilation to wry comic commentary.” (IAWM Journal)
“Price’s music has real vitality… fascinating music” and “…no two works particularly resemble each other, although Price’s compositional fingerprints show up in all of them.” (Fanfare)
“…pieces are quite charming and appealing, making use of mixed meter and taut rhythmical gaiety while in no way neglecting those things we like so much about music, such as melody.” (American Record Guide)
Named the “Tom Brady of Composers” (New York Times 12/24/2022), Price feels honored to represent octogenarian composers who are still professionally active. During her truly banner year of 2023, several long-term projects came to fruition with premier performances, album releases, new recording sessions, and two compositions that were finalists for The 2023 American Prize: Ludwig’s Letter to Eternal Beloved, song cycle in the category Vocal Chamber Music; and Ammon and the King, Immigrant Speaks Truth to Power in the Opera/Theater category.
In February, her multi-movement Trio for Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon was premiered by the Redlands Reed Trio in San Francisco. In March, she presented a concert of her own compositions for the Interfaith Center at the Presidio, where she is Composer-in-Residence. The subsequent recording of song cycles and instrumental duos culminated in the album Concert from Presidio Chapel (Cambria label). The album features duos, Three Faces of Kim, the Napalm Girl, and Silver and Gold, with saxophonist Douglas Masek, flutist Suzanne Duffy; pianists James Lent and Susan Azaret Davies, as well as cycles Gallery (James Morehead), Ludwig’s Letter to Eternal Beloved (Beethoven), and To All Women Everywhere (Carol Lynn Pearson), performed by vocal artists Phillip Harris, Darryl Taylor, and Amy Goymerac with pianists Chesley Mok, Susan Davies, and Price herself.
In April 2023, her piece Stile Antico for Viola was released on BOWED COLORS 2, and in June of the same year, Chorales for Organ was released on HEAVY PEDAL 2, both on Navona Records. Also in June, her oratorio CHRISTUS, with choir, orchestra, soloists, and narrators, conducted by Jared Oaks, was premiered and recorded in the Salt Lake Tabernacle (Utah). Two of the orchestra works Price composed in 2020, during the pandemic, and recorded on her recent album, Rendezvous (Cambria), were premiered in New York City: Ludwig’s Letter to Eternal Beloved by countertenor Darryl Taylor and the Brooklyn Chamber Orchestra and If Life Were to Sing by the North/South Chamber Orchestra.
After receiving degrees in piano from Brigham Young University and the University of Michigan, Price received the second ever Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano with Honors in Accompanying (now called Collaborative Piano). Her studies with Gwendolyn Koldofsky, Brooks Smith, Daniel Pollack, and collaborations with master students of Jascha Heifetz, Gregor Piatigorsky, William Primrose, Mitchell Lurie, and others put her on a career path of rich activity: authoring the text Accompanying Skills for Pianists, 1st and 2nd Editions, used in hundreds of college piano departments; collaborating internationally with fine solo artists, touring with several ECHOSPHERE ensembles in the 1980s and 1990s, and, for many especially fulfilling years, performing with her clarinetist son Berkeley as the PRICE DUO. They were booked at the Panama National Theater, Hong Kong City Theater, Beijing Concert Hall, China National Center for the Performing Arts, and as artists-in-residence across the United States, Europe, Panama, and China.
Along the way she composed for the artists with whom she collaborated. She now has some 280 compositions registered with ASCAP, many of the works recorded on Cambria, Navona, Albany, TownHall, and Tantara labels. With principal mentors in composition Leslie Bassett and Samuel Adler, Price has received commissions and grants from the Barlow Endowment for Musical Composition; State Councils on the Arts in Alaska, California, Wyoming, and Iowa; Meet the Composer, Park City (UT) Dance; Malachim Films; Mu Phi Epsilon International Foundation; Ministries of Culture in Spain, Germany, Italy, England, Austria, Panama, Korea; U.S. Artists Abroad, the Interfaith Center at the Presidio; individual artists; and several commissions from the Brooklyn Metro Chamber Orchestra. Her highly acclaimed recordings include Notable Releases on Arkivmusic and Fanfare. Culver Crest Publications publishes Accompanying Skills for Pianists, 2md Ed. and her sheet music (some downloadable). Her recordings are available and numerous videos viewable at culvercrest.com. Southern Music publishes some of her saxophone music.
Price is a retired adjunct professor, President Emeritus of the National Association of Composers/USA, and former President of the International Alliance for Women in Music. After a 45-year residence in Culver City CA where she and her husband raised their five children, she relocated to the Presidio where she curated the Sunday Concerts for the Interfaith Center at the Presidio from 2017 to 2023. She now resides in Arroyo Grande on the Central California Coast.