Shopping Cart
Your Cart is Empty
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
CelebrateThank you for your business!You should be receiving an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Cart

Heather Gilligan

composer and pianist


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

From local playing 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.



In March 2021, we did a video shoot of my new piece, Rhapsody, for violin & piano - brilliantly achieved as a single straight take by my colleagues Christina Wright-Ivanova and Paul Grobey. The arts are very much alive at Keene State!


Happy 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment!

This song, Twelve Reasons, is part of my song cycle called "A Woman Knows: 8 Songs on the Progress of Women." It excerpts lines from a suffrage poster. The artistic crew for this fun September 2019 recording includes Margot Rood, soprano; Sarah Brailey, soprano; Christina English, alto; Emily Marvosh, alto; recorded in EvenFall Studio LLC; Christopher Swist, engineer. Can't wait to collaborate with this crew again!


The Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, based in Los Angeles, California, chose my song cycle Living in Light as a winner of its 2019 Call for Scores. The competition had over 2,200 submissions from more than 90 countries. It was wonderful that the group brought me to LA for three performances, which took place in Santa Barbara, Pasadena, and Santa Monica. What a wonderful week of music making and community building.

On September 21-23,

Living in Light received three wonderful

performances by

Lisa Jordheim, soprano and Allan Hon, cello.

Left to right:

Irene Kim, cello

Heather Gilligan, composer

Alisa Jordheim, soprano

Benjamin Hoffman, violin

Allan Hon, cello

Benjamin Mitchell, clarinet


We were so pleased to win second place in the NYC SongSLAM Festival! The event showcased art song in an audience-choice competition in which composer-performer teams presented individual songs written expressly for the competition. Our song was called "I'm a Girl. What's your superpower?" We were an all-female team comprised of poet Lisa DeSiro, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Weiss, pianist Christina Wright-Ivanova, and yours truly who wrote the song. What a fun event!  

Left to right:

Lisa DeSiro, poet

Heather Gilligan, composer

Stephanie Weiss, mezzo-soprano

Christina Wright-Ivanova, piano


From 2015-2017, I spent a lot of hours editing in this studio with Christopher Swist.

Finally, we earned our celebratory brew as we finished the last song.

The CD, called Living in Light, was commercially released in April 2017.

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 Corcoran - Choices: One Composer’s Approach to Writing For His Own Instrument

Josh Hanauer - Behind 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 concert

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.