Composer Mara Gibson is originally from Charlottesville, VA, graduated from Bennington College, and completed her Ph.D. at SUNY Buffalo. She has received grants and honors from the American Composer’s Forum, the Banff Center, Louisiana Division of the Arts, ArtsKC, Meet the Composer, the Kansas Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, the International Bass Society, ASCAP, the John Hendrick Memorial Commission, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the MacDowell Colony and Yale University. Internationally renowned ensembles and soloists perform her music throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Asia, and Europe. Dr. Gibson has had performances of her works at prestigious festivals and universities around the country and the world, most notably the Bowling Green New Music Festival (Ohio), Amici Della Musica (Udine, Italy), University of Melbourne (Australia), Thailand International Composition Festival (performances in multiple consecutive years), Reaktorhallen (Stockholm, Sweden), Daegu International Computer Music Festival (Korea) and the Beijing Modern Music Festival.
Dr. Gibson has taught at the UMKC Conservatory as Associate Professor where she was the founder of the UMKC Composition Workshop and co-director/founder of ArtSounds. Starting fall 2017, she joined the faculty of Louisiana State University where she is currently Associate Professor of Composition and Area Head with tenure. Mara released her first compilation CD ArtIfacts May 2015, with her second CD Skyborn released in November 2017 and in 2020, she was selected through PARMA Recordings for their recording project with the Athens Philharmonic Orchestra with Secret Sky (Prisma V). Her compositions span numerous media, from chamber and solo works to electroacoustic music and a collection of works that combine video, electronic music and live performance. In her most recent work she incorporates extra-musical materials into vocal and instrumental performance, and integrates increasingly challenging subject matter with effective (and often unusual) instrumental and vocal delivery styles; these techniques extend performance practice and portray strong emotional content that defines the heart of her overall concept — the arc of the musical and theatrical development.
Recently, she completed her bassoon concerto, Escher Keys (2021), funded through a Louisiana Board of Regents (ATLAS grant). During her sabbatical (fall 2023) she will be working on her first opera at the prestigious Moulin a Nef in Auvillar, France.