Dr. Darleen Mitchell
UNK Department of Music and Performing Arts, 308.865.8632

Dr. Darleen Mitchell, a University of Nebraska at Kearney composer and music professor, has been named the recipient of the $5,000 Individual Artist Fellowship in Performing Arts for 2011 from the Nebraska Arts Council.

Dr. Mitchell, who teaches courses in composition and organ, as well as coordinates the UNK music theory curriculum, has published more than 115 of her original compositions. The works are written for orchestra, chorus, voice, and various ensembles. Most of the works are published by the American Composers Editions in New York.

Her compositions are performed nationally and internationally by many notable groups, including the Contemporary Chamber Players and the American Chamber Symphony in Chicago, the Aurora String Quartet in San Francisco, the North-South Consonance in New York, the Harmoniemusik Ensemble in Lowell, Mass., and Duo 46, among others

Dr. Mitchell has received numerous awards, grants and fellowships, including, the 2006 Composer’s Commission for the Nebraska Music Teacher’s Association, a commission from the Lincoln-based Third Chair Chamber Players for Music Remembrance in 2007, an Illinois Arts Council Grant, Artist Fellowships, Meet the Composer grants and a Florida Arts Council Artist Fellowship.

In 2002, Dr. Mitchell established the New Music Festival at UNK, an annual event that draws submissions by composers from across the nation, and occasionally, internationally. A five-member committee of UNK department of music faculty reviews the festival submissions, from which three are selected to be performed in a series of three concerts. UNK musicians and area guest artists perform the works featured in the festival.

Dr. Mitchell also founded the American Women Composers-Midwest, an organization based in Chicago which performs and champions work by women composers.

After earning a bachelor’s of music from De Paul University, Dr. Mitchell went on to get a master’s of music from Northwestern University, where she won the Faricy Award for Creative Composition. She then earned a doctorate in music composition from the University of Chicago where she studied with Ralph Shapey and Pulitzer Prize winning composer Shulamit Ran, the second woman to win the prestigious award.

Before joining the music faculty at UNK, Dr. Mitchell taught at De Paul University, Chicago City College’s European Division in Belgium, Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, Ill., and Chattahoochee Valley Community College in Phenix City, Ala., and chaired the musicianship and composition department at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago.

The IAF program, which is a part of the Nebraska Art Council (NAC), annually recognizes exemplary achievements by Nebraska artists, and supports originating artists in their respective fields by providing public recognition and monetary awards.

To be eligible for an IAF award, applicants must be at least 19 years of age, a resident of the state of Nebraska for at least two years, provide proof of residency via notarized affidavit of residency, must not be enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate or certificate-granting program in the artistic field for which the application is being made. Applicants must also exhibit professional commitment to the artistic field in which the application is being made and must be the originator of the work, not an interpreter of someone else’s work.

The submitted work is reviewed through a professional peer review process. Three jurors living outside the state of Nebraska, who are selected for their expertise as established career professionals in the artistic discipline, evaluate the merit of the work based on quality. This includes innovation demonstrated by significant critical and aesthetic considerations explored through the art form.

The IAF program focuses on various major artistic disciplines, including literature, visual arts, performing arts and filmmaking, on a three-year rotation. Next year the program will recognize artistic achievements in literature and the award for performing arts and filmmaking will be given again in 2014.

For more information on the IAF program, contact J.D. Hutton, artist services and communications manager, at jayne.hutton@nebraska.gov.