Composer Mara Gibson is originally from Charlottesville VA. She graduated from Bennington College and completed her Ph.D. at SUNY Buffalo. She also attended London College of Music, L’École des Beaux-Arts in Fontainebleau, France, and the International Music Institute at Darmstadt, Germany. She has earned 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 National Endowment for the Arts; the International Bass Society; ASCAP, the John Hendrick Memorial Foundation; Virginia Center for the Arts; and Yale University. Recently, she enjoyed a residency at the MacDowell Colony. Internationally renowned ensembles and soloists perform her music throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Australia, Asia, and Europe.
Gibson’s music has been 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, filmmakers and musicians. In 2015, Gibson released her first compilation CD, ArtIfacts, with her second recording, SKY-BORN, following in November 2017 through Navona Records. The latest presents new works including Blackbird, which features Cascade Quartet. The music draws inspiration from a variety of artistic mediums: “haunting and epic with visceral energy.” Her piano preludes Conundrums are inspired by a series of paintings by Baltimore-based artist Jim Condron and performed by Holly Roadfeldt. Pieces by long-time collaborators Michael Hall, UMKC colleagues, and Megan Ihnen are also featured on the new album in Spark and One Voice.
As Gramophone magazine describes, “repertoire on this recording was mostly inspired by poetry and paintings. What binds these pieces are Gibson’s concise handling of musical materials and her spectrum of sonic approaches.” SKY-BORN displays a compelling contemporary voice with a restless imagination, able to morph other forms of artistic expression into daring, musical odysseys.”
Gibson is Associate Professor of Composition at Louisiana State University.