Louis W. Ballard (Cherokee/Quapaw)
(July 8, 1931-Feb 9, 2007)
Dr. Ballard has composed works for symphony orchestra, chorus, chamber ensembles, and ballet companies, including premieres at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Walker Art Center, the Smithsonian, Carnegie Hall, Guthrie Theater and the Hollywood Bowl. He is the recipient of many grants, awards and commissions in the United States and abroad. His most frequently performed works include Scenes From Indian Life for orchestra; Incident At Wounded Knee for chamber orchestra; Katchina Dances for cello and piano; Ritmo Indio for woodwind quintet; Cacega Ayuwipi and Music For The Earth And Sky for Native American instruments and standard percussion.
Sharon Burch (Navajo Nation)
Sharon Burch’s music is the contemporary expression of traditional Navajo ways and living. Of the three albums that Ms. Burch has released, (“Yazzie Girl”), (“Colors of My Heart”), “Touch the Sweet Earth” was awarded the 1995 INDIE Award in the “North American Native Music” category. Sharon performs regularly at folk festivals, fairs, schools, universities and in concert has appeared at the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, The Heard Museum in Phoenix, and is quite popular in Japan.
Raven Chacon (Navajo Nation)
Raven Chacon (Dine’) is a Navajo experimental composer, performer and artist. His works range from music for chamber instruments to sounds made from homemade electronics to acoustic phenomena. He is often a solo live performer, but also plays with various ensembles and bands around the U.S. Chacon is also an active educator in the Southwest. A new LP record of his works will be available toward the end of 2009. http://www.spiderwebinthesky.com
Jim Clairmont (Sicangu Lakota)
Mr. Clairmont is a Spiritual Leader. Having survived his St. Francis boarding school experience, Lakota remains his first language. He is a much sought after as a teacher, speaker, and educator. He was lead singer of the drum group, the Porcupine Singers, which won 25 first place awards at powwows. Many of the traditional songs he composes come to him in a spiritual way for naming ceremonies, prayers, or funeral ceremonies. He also serves as emcee for pow wows all over the U.S. and Canada. He currently serves on the Council of Elders at the University of Minnesota.
Barbara Croall (Odawa)
Barbara Croall is active internationally, with work performed in several European countries, as well as Britain and Canada. She is a graduate of the Hochscule fur Musick in Munich, Germany and holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Toronto. From 1993 to 1996 she was a music theory and composition student of Dr. Samuel Dollin (1917 – 2002) whom she regards as one of the most important influences in her classical training. Apart from playing, performing and composing on the traditional Native flute add singing in traditional ceremonies, Barbara also composes for instruments of the European classical and folk traditions. Many of her works confront the post-assimilation reality of aboriginal identity through recovery and reflection. Other works are influenced by her studies, travels and experiences abroad.
Brent M. Davids (Mohican)
Professional Concert and Film Composer, and American Indian citizen of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the Mohican Nation. Born: June 4, 1959, Madison, Wisconsin. Currently operating a music company he founded; Blue Butterfly Group (BBG). American Indian Music Expert, serving as Educator and Consultant to Schools, Festivals, Seminars and Workshops. Founding Artistic Director of the First Nations Composer Initiative (FNCI) with the American Composers Forum (ACF). Master performer of American Indian instruments and styles. Designer of original music instruments. He has consciously and deliberately focused on his indigenous heritage, honoring its unique qualities in a contemporary setting. He blends Eurocentric techniques of classical music with Native musical traditions in a way that is never glib or facile, but rich in resonance. Davids composer career spans 32 years, including awards from ASCAP, NEA, Rockefeller Foundation, InVision, Joffrey Ballet, Chanticleer, Kronos Quartet, Meet-The-Composers, Mir Quartet, Nations Symphony Orchestra, Bush Foundation, McKnight Foundation and Jerome Foundation, among others.
Joy Harjo (Mvskoke Creek)
Joy was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is a member of the Mvskoke Nation. Her seven books of poetry include; She Had Some Horses, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, and How We Became Human, New and Selected Poems. Her poetry has garnered many awards. She has released three award winning CD’s of original music and performances: Letter from the End of the Twentieth Century, Native Joy for Real, and She Had Some Horses. A song from her forthcoming CD, Winding Through the Milky Way, just won a New Mexico Music Award. She has received the Eagle Spirit Achievement Award for overall contributions in the arts, from the American Indian Film Festival and a US Artist Fellowship for 2009. She premiered a preview of her one-woman show, Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light at the Public Theater in NYC and will open at the Wells Fargo Theater in LA March 2009. She is a founding board member for the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. Harjo writes a column “Comings and Goings” for her tribal newspaper, the Muscogee Nation News. She lives in Honolulu, Hawai’i where she is a member of the Hui Nalu Canoe Club and in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Charlotte Heth (Cherokee)
Assistant Director for Public Programs of the National Museum of the American Indian. Professor Emerita and former chairperson of the Department of Ethnomusicology and Systematic Musicology, former Associate Dean of the School of the Arts at UCLA, president of the Society for Ethnomusicology 1993-95. From 1976-1987 she was Director of UCLA’s American Indian Studies Center and from 1987-89 Director of Cornell University’s American Indian Program and Visiting Professor of Music. Her primary research interests are in American Indian music and dance and American Indian education. She is the general editor of Native American Dance: Ceremonies and Social Traditions published by the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution and is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.
Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ (Chickasaw Nation)
A graduate of the composition program of the Cleveland Institute of Music, Jerod’s commissioned works include; Winter Moons ballet score; Iyaaknasha; for Double Bass and Orchestra premiered in 1993 with the Ohio Chamber Orchestra; Dream World Blesses Me premiered in 1997 by the New Jersey Chamber Music Society. In 1997 Itti” Bo’li was commissioned by the Dale Warland Singers in Minneapolis and performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Tracing Mississippi premiered in 2002 with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Jennifer Kreisberg (Tuscarora, North Carolina)
Mother, Singer, Composer, Producer, Teacher and Activist – Jennifer comes from four generations of Seven Singing Sisters through the maternal line, and has been singing since she was young. She is known for her fierce vocals and soaring range. Her lilting, breath-taking harmonies will delight your ears. Jennifer has been singing with the critically acclaimed Native women’s trio, ULALI, for over seventeen years, helping to create a new sound in Indian Country. In February 2007, The Genie Awards (Canadian Oscar) awarded her with the Achievement in Music-Original Song Genie for her song Have Hope, which also received a New York Times “Critic’s Pick”.
R. Carlos Nakai (Navajo/Ute)
R.Carlos Nakai earned his MA in American Indian studies from the University of Arizona and received an honorary doctorate from Northern Arizona University. Originally trained in classical trumpet and music theory, Nakai was given a traditional cedar wood flute as a gift and challenged to see what he could with it. His first album Changes, was released on the Canyon Records label in 1983; he has since released more than 28 recordings with Canyon in several musical genres. Founder of the ethnic jazz ensemble the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet, he has made appearances throughout the U.S., Europe, and Japan.
George Quincy (Choctaw)
George Quincy holds two degrees from Julliard and has won several ASCAP and Meet the Composer Awards. The world premiere of his piece Pocahontas at the Court of James I, Part 1 was performed in 2006 by the Queen’s Chamber Band at Merkin Concert Hall and Part 2 was premiered in the same hall by the same group in 2007. He has also served as musical director for both the New Dance Group Arts Center and the Times Square Kidz. Quincy’s music is a mixture of Native and Western, in other words, classical contemporary.
N. Bird Runningwater (Cheyenne/Apache)
N. Bird Runningwater is born of the Cheyenne and Mescalero Apache peoples, and was reared on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico. He is currently based in Los Angeles, California with the Sundance Institute where he serves as the Associate Director of the Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Program. He also oversees the Sundance Institute Ford Foundation Film Fellowship established for emerging Native American filmmakers and the Indigenous Producers Initiative. Filmmakers and projects he has identified for support include Sterlin Harjo and his Spirit Award-nominated Four Sheets To The Wind; Academy Award nominee Taika Waititi and his feature debut Eagle vs Shark; Billy Luther’s award-winning Miss Navajo; And Andrew Okpeaha MacLean’s Sundance Jury Prize winning SIKUMI. A past Woodrow Wilson Fellow and an alumnus of the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs. Runningwater has served as the executive director of the Fund of the Four Directions, and as program associate in the Ford Foundation’s Media, Arts and Culture Program.
Joanne Shenandoah (Oneida Nation)
Ms. Shenandoah is a multiple award winning Native American composer, vocalist and performer. Her original compositions, combined with a striking voice, enable her to embellish the ancient songs of the Iroquois using a blend of traditional and contemporary instrumentation. Ms. Shenandoah has appeared on stage at the White House, Woodstock 94, Earth Day on The Mall, the Special Olympics, music festivals, state fairs, at President Clinton’s Inaugural with a private performance for First Lady Hillary Clinton and Mrs. Tipper Gore.
Ed Wapp (Sac and Fox/Comanche)
Ed Wapp is an ethnomusicologist, who has specialized in Native American music. He is one of the few Native American Indian flute players who maintains a repertoire of traditional Native American flute music. He has been instrumental in the revitalization of the instrument and its music and has performed throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. As well as Native American flute and Native American Music Performance, he is now retired from teaching piano, harpsichord, and world music at the Institute of American Indian Arts.