Heather Gilligan               
                                          composer and pianist

Composer, Pianist, Professor

This and That


This page is meant to capture some of the highlights of Dr. Gilligan's diverse and varied musical life.

From local accompanying to international travel, from classroom teaching to pre-concert discussions, 

every week, every month, every semester offers new and exciting opportunities to write, perform, discuss, and teach music.

Not a bad life.




These past two years, I've spent a lot of hours editing in this studio with Christopher Swist. 
Today, we earned our celebratory brew as we finished the last song. 

The CD is called Living in Light.  
It is an album of my vocal chamber music, sung by the lovely and amazing soprano, Margot Rood.  
6 song cycles, 20 tracks.  I hope you check it out!

Heather Gilligan, composer
Margot Rood, soprano
Apple Hill String Quartet
Damien Francoeur-Krzyzek, piano
Patrick Owen, cello
Seelan Manickam, trumpet
Ken Radnofsky, alto saxophone
Caleb Herron, percussion
Christopher Swist, recording engineer


Gilligan's All-Stars!

            These are my all-stars. Our composition program at Keene                     State is only a few years old, and already some of these                         students are standing out as talented composers who are                       moving forward in their careers. Thom Fox received a                             Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Summer 2015               and graduated in Spring 2016 with a BA in Composition. Jordan             Chase just started in a doctoral program in Composition at the                Peabody Institute. Max Kliegle is working toward a masters 

            degree in composition from the Longy School of Music.  

Left to right:

Thom Fox

Heather Gilligan

Jordan Chase

Max Kliegle


Lehigh University's Sesquicentennial Celebration

6 composers from the 

March 6, 2016  East Winds Quintet concert at Lehigh University

Left to right:

John Heiss

Tae Sakamoto

Heather Gilligan

Mike D'Ambrosio

Paul Salerni

Steven Sametz

In March, 2016, I traveled to Lehigh University, my alma mater, to hear the premiere of my woodwind quintet which was commissioned by Lehigh University in celebration of its 150 years. My former teacher, Paul Salerni, arranged for 4 Lehigh alumni to contribute new works for the concert. In addition, he and Steven Sametz, both current faculty members at Lehigh, had pieces on the concert. 

What a performance!  With 6 new quintets to perform, the East Winds Quintet did a fantastic job.   


Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavor Summer Institutes

2014 and 2015 

Two years ago, my colleague Nick Germana and I put together the first URCE Summer Institute for full-time faculty in the Arts & Humanities at Keene State College.  The first Institute took place in early June 2014 and was attended by 8 faculty members in 6 different disciplines in A&H.  We spent a wonderful week putting our heads together to discuss the challenges, to develop plans for promoting opportunities, and to implement specific projects.  The following year, we offered a similar workshop to 10 faculty members, and the 2nd annual Institute took place in June 2015.   

This year, with the creation of Keene State's new Center for Creative Inquiry, the 2016 Institute will be offered to faculty across all disciplines within KSC's three schools (Sciences & Social Sciences, Professional & Graduate Studies, and Arts & Humanities).

UPPER LEFT:  Nick Germana, Associate Professor of History and Coordinator of Undergraduate Research, contributes to the conversation.

UPPER RIGHT:  Faculty members spend time at the College Camp to discuss undergraduate research in A&H.

BELOW:  The institute was attended by 8 faculty members in 6 different departments in A&H.  We were also privileged to have Jenny Shanahan, Director of Undergraduate Research at Bridgewater State, as our resident expert.  Nick and I played an organizational role; we also presented a few talks and facilitated discussions.


Far right, the seven members of the Boston Composers' Coalition.  Front row: Andrew Smith, Heather Gilligan, PoChun Wang, Jeremy Van Buskirk, Ramon Castillo.  Back row: Justin Casinghino, Brett Abigana.

Near right, I display a poster entitled, "12 Reasons Why Women Should Vote." 

Below, Anthology vocal quartet members (left to right) Sophie Michaux, Allegra Martin, Anney Barrett, Vicky Reichert. 

Boston Composers Coalition

On October 4 and 5, 2013, Anthology vocal quartet premiered my new

piece, A Woman Knows: 8 Songs on the Progress of Women.  It was 


They have since performed it several more times, at the Green Room in Somerville and at Club Passim in Cambridge.


The 2013 conference of the 


took place at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, April 11-13, 2013.  Two of my 

students, Miriam Sharrock and Kerri McCormack, presented and performed.  

Their session was called Composition & Performance of a Contemporary Art Song.

Five of my students present at the Academic Excellence Conference at Keene State

on April 6, 2013, including Miriam and Kerri's presentation and performance.  

Here is a list of the other presentations that I was involved with:

         Dave Pastore - The Composer’s Process: From Concept to Concert

         Travis CorcoranChoices: One Composer’s Approach to Writing For His Own Instrument

      Josh HanauerBehind the Scenes: the Creation of Multimedia Music

Kerri McCormack (left) and Miriam Sharrock pose at the University of Wisconsin, following a succesful presentation.


Keene State's music composition program is growing.  With 6 upperclass students currently enrolled in composition applied lessons and 7 students in the Composition II class, we now have our largest participation to date.

Beginning in the 2013-14 school year, we will offer a B.M. in Composition.  This is the only degree of its kind in the state of New Hampshire.

Here, I talk with my composition students 

about a new choral work by sophomore 

Gabe Belluscio (standing, right).

Photo by Steven Lenhard, December 2012  


The Annual Keene State College Call for Scores

This year, for our Call for Scores, we requested choral works on the topic of land conservation.  Our winning composer was Max Vladimiroff.  

On Saturday, December 2, 2012, the KSC Chamber Singers premiered Max's piece, Let Them Be Left.  Before the concert, we held a pre-concert lecture with Ryan Owens (Executive Director of the Monadnock Conservancy), Max, and myself.  We talked about the links between sustainability and music. 




Left to right:

Ryan Owens

Max Vladimiroff

Heather Gilligan



I am enjoying my post as accompanist and Composer-In-Residence for the Chamber Singers of Keene.  The group has sung a few of my works, including The Scarlet Letter, Images of Autumn, and A Prayer in Spring.  Next fall the singers will premiere my complete Seasons cycle, to include Leaf Blankets, A Prayer in Spring, and two works still to be written for winter and summer. 

Here, I accompany the 

Chamber Singers of Keene 

during a weekend retreat 

to Apple Hill.  

Photo by Richard Hale


Einbeck, Germany 

July, 2012

As part of the Keene-Einbeck Partner City Exchange, the Chamber Singers of Keene performed in Einbeck, Germany with the Voices of Salzderhelden.  In appreciation of our visit, the mayor of Einbeck designated a square in the small German city to be called "Keene-Platz."

           Here, I accompany a combined ensemble comprised of Chamber 

           Singers of Keene, Voices of Salzderhelden, and orchestra players.

                  Members of the Chamber Singers of Keene pose in front 

.                      of the newly erected Keene-Platz sign in Einbeck.


One of the great things about teaching at

Keene State is the rapport and positive energy that 

everyone in the Music Department seems to have.     

Here,  Dr. James Chesebrough and I pose for a 

post-concert photo.  This was taken after a concert of 

the KSC Concert Band in November 2011.  The concer

featured our first Call for Scores winner and  pre-concert

discussion, which we seem to have felt pretty good about.  



Keene State College's YCSI

In summer 2011, we held the first ever Young Composers Summer Institute for 3 lovely days in June.  Eight students attended the institute which included workshops, master classes, lessons, faculty recitals, and a culminating recital of student works.  We also managed to squeeze in a Swamp Bats baseball game.