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Miriam Gerberg

Saint Paul, MN

Miriam Gerberg – Composer, performer, ethnomusicologist                        miriam.gerberg@mac.com

  • Miriam Gerberg has written commissions for chamber orchestra, opera, music theater, theater, choirs and for dance which have been performed across the U.S., in Israel, Palestine, Holland, Australia, Japan and Sumatra, included commissions written for, among others: Taiseer Elias of El F’waar, Israel, Michiyo Yagi of Tokyo, Ben Pasaribu of Medan, Sumatra, the Minnesota Opera Co., the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Schubert Club (St Paul).
  • She has collaborated with a number of librettists and playwrights including Kathy Welch, Lauren Marshall, Leslie Brody, Marilyn Seven and Marisha Chamberlain and has written some of her own librettos as well.  Some of the theater companies her work has been seen in include Green T Productions, The Minnesota Opera New Works Ensemble, Nautilus Music Theater (MN), New York State Theatre Institute (Albany, NY), Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT), The Childrens Theater Co.,(MN), Village Theater (Seattle,WA), New York Theater Ensemble (NYC), Manhasset Bay Opera Co., Theatre Noh (San Francisco),  Popper Theater (UCLA), The Schubert Club ( MN), History Theatre (MN), Cherry Creek Theater Co. (MN); and  the Waterbury Regional Arts Project, (CT)    
  • In her work as a composer for dance she collaborated with choreographer John Munger from 1992 – 2013 in a music-dance improvising duo “Footloose in Motley”, and wrote scores for other works by Munger and choreographers Suzanna Rivers and Marylee Hardenberg.
  • She regularly performs world musics, recently with her Middle East group Ensemble Mezze  at venues like the Cedar Cultural Center, Worthington International Festival, etc. Miriam’s instruments include piano, Arabic qanun, accordion, flute, Javanese gamelan, Japanese koto
  • Miriam has taught and worked at UCLA, Lesley College (MA), College of St. Catherine, the U MN and has been teaching world musics at Hamline University since 2005. She also produces world music concerts and residencies in Los Angeles at UCLA (formerly) and at Hamline (currently).
  • Miriam has received numerous awards and grants for her musical work including:

Grants: from the Minnesota State Arts Board (artist awards and traditional arts program grants), a Next Step Artists Project Grant (Metropolitan Regional Arts Grant), Race, Gender & Beyond Grant (Hamline University), and Meet The Composer Inc. National Education Program Grants

Fellowships: Asia Pacific Arts Exchange Fellowship from the Center for Intercultural Performance at UCLA, funded by the Ford Foundation, an Arts International Artist Exploration Fellowship and a McKnight Foundation Composer Fellowship

Awards: such as the Eli Wiesel Composition Awards  in Arts & Culture from the Hillel Foundation, music scholarships from the Arab American Arts Institute  and a Brooklyn Opera Theatre’s Chamber Opera Award,  Composer in Residence at Hilai (The Israeli Center for the Creative Arts), Maalot-Tarshiha, Israel;) and a 416 Cedar Cultural Center Commission 

Sample Press Reviews on Miriam’s work has included:

 “The (2001: Space Odyssey) production’s MVP is composer and sound designer Miriam Gerberg, who reimagines the film’s otherworldly soundtrack for traditional Japanese instruments. Gerberg’s stunning work is reason enough to hear this show—and there are plenty of reasons to see it, too.”           Vita MN 

 “Miriam’s musical work speaks a special language of its own…the music is intoxicating.  … she is also working with creative artists of Eastern music and though they all speak different languages, the language of her music has overcome all barriers.”                    Hagalil Newspaper, Maalot, Israel

“Other than the bodies of the actors themselves, the major element transforming the environment is the elaborate and impressive sound design and original music by Miriam Gerberg” Twin Cities Daily Planet

“The future is here.  2001:A Space Odyssey has to be one of the most ambitious productions ever. …….   Sound design doesn’t get mentioned very often and it should. Miriam Gerberg has created a soundscape of synthesized sounds mixed with traditional instruments and human voices that is really a character in its own right.”  MN Playlist

“Sultani Yegah is a Turkish classical music septet that blends traditional compositions with more adventurous contemporary fare such as Gerberg’s originals”. City Pages A-List Recommended

“Miriam Gerberg’s (music) provides original color and elegance.” Show Business (NY)

” Miriam Gerberg’s music captures an ancient earthiness with the sounds of a modern cityscape”    Skyway News

• Compositions (a partial listing, in reverse chronological order) my catalog includes compositions for chamber ensembles, orchestra, opera, music theater, choir & dance.

Rashomon (2016) extensive underscores for dance-drama  by Green T Productions

Kaidan: Stories and Studies from the Strange (2015) extensive underscores, dances, songs for play by Green T Productions at the Twin Cities Horror Festival

To Mars With Tesla or The Interplanetary Machinations of Evil Thomas Edison (2013) continuous underscore for the play by English Scrimshaw Theatrical Novelties

2001 Space Odyssey (2013 & 2014) continuous underscores for the dance-drama recreation of the movie by Arthur C Clarke, by Green T Productions

Desert Dreams: Naomi and Ruth (2010) music drama, Theater Or, Sabes JCC May 2010 with performers Nirmala and Shruthi Rajasekar, Dick Hensold, Will Kemperman, Peggy Larsen

Festival of Lights (2006) music for theater, Illusion Theater for December 2006 & 2007 runs

Zankulah Saz Semai (2004) instrumental quartet premier: Arab Music Inst (MA) (4:45)

Conversations (2004) collaborative improvisational quartet created and performed with Nirmala Rajasekar, Pat O’Keefe & Bob Hale (5:00)

Saba Central (2001) instrumental improvisational structure premiered as a solo at MicroFest, Los Angeles May 2001, revised for trio in 2004 (7:00)

Sama’i Huseyni (2000) classical Arabic taht (sextet) premieres: LA & MA. (8:00)

Customs (1999) piano suite (14 movements) for the Third Rabbit Dance Co. premier at Hennepin Center for the Arts, concert premier at UCLA (23:00)

Ladrang Lital (1997) accapella chamber choir (Javanese influenced work) (5:00)

Abraham’s Land (1996) 2-Act music theater work for Village Theater, Seattle

Fasl Taiseer (1995) suite for Arabic oud & string orchestra, commissioned by Taiseer Elias, premiered in St. Paul, Los Angeles and Tel Aviv (11:00)

Hadiqah (1995) 8 part vocal ensemble, for Calliope Chorus, Minneapolis (4:00)

The Alhambra Decree (1992) cantata/edict for Voices of the Sepharad Ensemble (14:00)

Dressing The Moon (1992) chamber opera for soprano, mezzo and baritone with koto, piano, percussion, commissioned & premiered by the MN Opera (23:00)

Kotoledon (1990) koto duet for Michiyo Yagi of the Sawaii Koto School, Tokyo

Ruchot Mizrachiot (1988) chamber orchestra suite in 3 movements commissioned and premiered by the Minneapolis JCC Chamber Orchestra (17:00)

Lilith By The Sea (1986) chamber opera, text by Leslie Brody commissioned and premiered by the Minnesota Opera’s New Works Project (25:00)

Desert Dreams: Naomi and Ruth – Scene 11 – proposal excerpt

In this original music-dance-drama by Miriam Gerberg, the story of Naomi and Ruth is told simultaneously in chronological order and reverse order, using musical forms from a variety of world cultures. This is the scene where Ruth proposes marriage to her future husband. The music melds Carnatic and Arabic modal approaches to music. Vocals – Shruti Rajasekar, qanun – Miriam Gerberg, guitar – Matt Levitt, percussion – Will Kemperman

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Without Memories (Abraham’s Land)

This duet from the musical “Abraham’s Land” © 1996 music by Miriam Gerberg, libretto by Lauren Marshall, is from a scene between a Holocaust survivor and a Palestinian student with amnesia. Vocals by David Moore and Nancy Cox, piano by Miriam Gerberg.

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Footloose in Motley (excerpts)

“Footloose in Motley” is the name of a duo between myself and the late choreographer John Munger. We spent over 10 years developing and performing duo works of a large range of styles, topics and approaches. This is a collection of excerpts from a number of our pieces including Mariposa, Gouffe Voce, D’accord, Cunningly Fashioned Image and a tale for family audiences called “Miriam’s Tambourine”.

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