P A T R I C I A    V A N    N E S S

Biography

Cor meum est templum sacrum is one of our favorite songs to sing and to program. It has created a transcendent moment on many of our sacred programs.”
Chanticleer

Patricia Van Ness

Composer, violinist, and poet Patricia Van Ness (1951) draws upon elements of medieval and Renaissance music to create a signature voice that has been hailed by musicians, audiences, and critics. She has been called a modern-day Hildegard von Bingen (1,2), with her ability to compose music “ecstatic and ethereal,” “both ancient and new.” (2,3) As in medieval aesthetics, her music and poetry explore the relationship between beauty and the Divine.

Patricia Van Ness’s work has had an impact that is both local and global. She has been commissioned, recorded and performed by many ensembles, including The King’s Singers; St. Martin’s Voices, St. Martin in the Fields; The Heidelberg New Music Festival  and Chanticleer, among numerous others, and performed internationally (Italy, Holland, England, Austria, Finland, China, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, Latvia; Scotland; Sweden, Latin America, Canada, Latvia, Russia and the United States). She is Staff Composer (1996-) for First Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts (Peter Sykes, Music Director); Composer-In-Residence at St. Paul’s Episcopal in Burlingame, CA (Susan Jane Matthews DMA, ARSCM, Music Director) and has been an invited lecturer at Harvard University and Boston University.  

She is currently composing new music for each of the 150 psalms. The texts are in English, Hebrew and Latin using the Psalter, the Hebrew Text, and the Liber Usualis.

Ms. Van Ness’s awards include Europe’s prestigious Echo Klassik Prize awarded to the ensemble Tapestry for their recording of Sapphire Night, containing a nine-movement work by Van Ness;  Chamber Music America’s  “Album of the Year,” awarded to Tapestry for The Fourth River, containing two of Van Ness’s works;  Chorus America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming to Coro Allegro (David Hodgkins, Artistic Director) in the season that the twelve-movement Psalms of Luminous Rescue was commissioned and premiered; and the Daniel Pinkham Award from Coro Allegro (David Hodgkins, Artistic Director). 

Ms. Van Ness’s music may be found on The Best of the King’s Singers (My Heart is a Holy Place); on Telarc International; Warner Classics; MDG; and numerous other commercially-released recordings that are available on Amazon, Spotify, and all other on-line platforms.  Her scores are available at www.patriciavanness.comMy Heart is a Holy Place is published by The King’s Singers Choral Series, distributed by the Hal Leonard Corporation and available here. Ms. Van Ness is a member of American Composers Forum, ASCAP, the International Alliance for Women in Music, and a former member of the Board of the Cambridge Society for Early Music.  For more information, please go to www.patriciavanness.com.
1 Gary Higginson, Music Web UK
2 Gaby Beinhorn, Suedwestrundfunk, Germany
3 Susan Larson, The Boston Globe

SHORT BIO

COMPOSER, VIOLINIST AND POET PATRICIA VAN NESS (1951) draws upon elements of medieval and Renaissance music to create a signature voice that has been hailed by musicians, audiences, and critics. She has been called a modern-day Hildegard von Bingen (1,2,) with her ability to compose music “ecstatic and ethereal,” “both ancient and new” (2,3). As in medieval aesthetics, her music and poetry explore the relationship between beauty and the Divine.  Her work-in-progress is Music for the Psalms, creating a new anthem for each of the 150 psalms.  She has been commissioned, recorded and performed by many ensembles, including The King’s Singers; St. Martin’s Voices, St. Martin in the Fields; The Heidelberg New Music Festival; and Chanticleer, among numerous others, and performed internationally.  Van Ness is Staff Composer (1996-) at First Church in Cambridge, Congregational (Peter Sykes, Music Director).  For more information and scores please go to www.patriciavanness.com.
1 Gary Higginson, Music Web UK
2 Gaby Beinhorn, Suedwestrundfunk, Germany
3 Susan Larson, The Boston Globe

SELECTED FUNDING AND PRIZES

2015 Composition Grant awarded by the Special Projects Committee and Special Projects Fund of the San Francisco Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
2011 The Daniel Pinkham Award, by Coro Allegro, David Hodgkins, Artistic Director
1997–2015, 2017-2021 ASCAPLUS Awards
2005 The Echo Classic Prize: Tapestry, Laurie Monahan Director, for von Bingen/Van Ness’s Sapphire Night
2004 Alfred Nash Patterson Foundation Award from Choral Arts New England for Requiem, Coro Allegro
2002 America Composers Forum, Boston Chapter and ParkArts for The Boston Landmarks Orchestra Residency and Commission
2002 Alfred Nash Patterson Foundation Award for In Principio (In the Beginning), Youth pro Musica
2000 Alfred Nash Patterson Foundation Award for Nocturnes, Newton Choral Society
1998 Meet the Composer Fund Award for Voice of the Tenth Muse, Coro Allegro
1998 Meet the Composer Fund Award/Arts Midwest, Fort Wayne Children’s Choir
1998 Massachusetts Cultural Council Grants, as administered by the City of Somerville for Music Composition
1997 First Prize, His Majestie’s Clerkes Choral Composition Competition, Cor mei cordis
1994 Finalist, Schola Cantorum of Oxford University, The Barbara Johnston International Prize for Composers, for Five Meditations
1993 Special Recognition, Barlow International Competition for Choral Works, Evensong
1989 New England Biolabs Foundation Grant, for music composition
1982 Recording Artist, A&M Records (violinist, “Private Lightning”)

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Border art by Patricia Van Ness
"Cloister Garden #3" (2015) 8½" x 15½"
No Pattern Embroidery
Click here for more information about fiber art by Patricia Van Ness.


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