Born: Buffalo, N.Y., U.S.
Nils Vigeland is an American composer, musician, and teacher. The son of musicians, he was born and raised in Buffalo, New York in 1950 during a significant period in the city’s musical life. His introduction to his most important mentors, Lukas Foss, Leo Smit, Yvar Mikhashoff, and Morton Feldman, grew out of the city’s renaissance. In 1969 he made his professional debut as a pianist with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Foss conducting, and later studied with Foss at Harvard College, earning a B.A. in 1972. A year in Rome followed where Smit, on leave from SUNY Buffalo, was composer in residence at the American Academy. In 1973, Vigeland began graduate studies at SUNY Buffalo. In 1980 he founded the Bowery Ensemble, a new music group which gave an annual series of concerts for eight years at Cooper Union in New York City, and presented the first performance of over thirty works by composers including John Cage, Jo Kondo, Pauline Oliveros, and Christian Wolff. During this time, he traveled extensively throughout Europe with Feldman, Eberhard Blum, and Jan Williams, performing Feldman’s extended-length works for flute, percussion, and piano, all of which were recorded on the HAT ART label. His own work has been performed by, among others, the orchestras of Milwaukee and Buffalo, both conducted by Foss; his Piano Concerto was first performed with the Oslo Radio Orchestra with Mikhashoff as soloist. Through the fortuitous coincidence of time and place, mentors became colleagues. Since 1984 Vigeland has taught at Manhattan School of Music, becoming the chair of the Composition Department in 1998. In 2016, the Burchfield Penney Art presented a retrospective of his career, featuring colleagues and former students David Adamczyk, Tiffany Dumouchelle, Dan Lippel, John Popham, and Steven Solook joining Vigeland in a program of his work and that of his own mentors.
For more information, please visit http://nilsvigeland.com/ .