Portrait Maria A. Niederberger August 2007


Professor Maria A. Niederberger, Ph.D. — Bio 2018

Maria A. Niederberger (Pronunciation: Knee-dare-bare-gaire) is Professor Emerita of Music Theory and Composition at East Tennessee State University. Before joining ETSU in 1999, she taught music at the University of California at Davis (1985 to 1999) and at Brandeis University (1983-85).

Niederberger grew up in Switzerland and moved to the US as a young woman. She earned music degrees from the University of California Davis and Brandeis University in Massachusetts. She trained as violinist, performed as concertmaster and violinist in the UC Symphony. As a student, she developed a strong interest in writing music and concentrated her advanced studies in composition and theory. Since then, years of successful teaching allowed her to share her musical enthusiasm with young and old.

Niederberger’s creativity as music composer is an important facet of her career. She is recipient of the Miriam Gideon Prize for her song cycle “Full Pockets” (2006). The Kiev Philharmonic in Ukraine recorded her Movement for Violin, Harp, and Orchestra in in 2006 for ERMMedia for a CD release. The same orchestral piece has been accepted for performance at the ICWM Congress in Beijing, China, in 2008. Other works have been featured in music festivals, congresses, and international concerts. Niederberger has fulfilled commissions for well-known contemporary ensembles, among them the Empyrean Ensemble (Davis, CA), Ensemble Opus Novum (Lucerne, Switzerland), Ensemble Passages Européens (Boswil), the Roosevelt Ensemble (Washington, D.C.). Collaborations with performers include Finnish violinist Palola, Swiss pianist Mazzola and flutist Durrer, American performers Pitman, Jones, Narucki, and Morehead.

Niederberger was honored by numerous scholarships, fellowships, and grants: the UC Regents’ Scholarship, grants from Pro Helvetia, the National Endowment for the Arts of Switzerland, the American Music Center, the Schindler Foundation are among them. She was resident artist at Dorland Mountain Arts Colony (Temecula, CA), Villa Montalvo, (Saratoga, CA), and Boswil, Switzerland. Her publishers include MAGNON (Switzerland), Capstone, MMB Music, Inc., ERM Media (US), and Schweizer Musik Edition.

Niederberger serves the Tri–Cities (Kingsport TN/Johnson City TN/Bristol VA) on the board of MECCA (Mountain Empire Children’s Choral Academy) and has served internationally on the Board of IAWM (International Alliance for Women in Music), for whom she also chaired the Annual Concerts at the NMWA (National Museum of Women in the Arts) in Washington, D.C.

Note: This biography is a short version, but rather up to date. You may access a page with a detailed biography (until 1998) from here (and here only: this page is not accessible from the navigation.)



 Ehrung durch Studierende der ETSU
Being honored by students at ETSU

Dorland Artists' Colony, 1992
Composer’s Fellowship at Dorland Artists' Colony, 1993...

Komponieren im Bauernhaus, Urnaesch, Schweiz, 1995
...followed, 1995, by two weeks of composing at a remote farm in Urnäsch, Switzerland.

Composer Of The Year, 2003
Composer Of The Year Award, 2003, presentation of the prize by Dr. Benjamin Caton, Past President