Sakari Dixon Vanderveer’s work is primarily inspired by the unique artistry of the individuals for whom she composes. At the University of Redlands, her collaborations engendered commissions from Spencer Baldwin, Kelsey Broersma, and the PHAZE Ensemble. Her studies with Kira Blumberg, Dr. Anthony Suter, and later, Reena Esmail enabled her to engage with the music community as a composer, performer, educator, and advocate for contemporary music. Moved by the passionate musicianship of several local community ensembles and Joan Tower’s express fondness for writing for amateurs, Vanderveer composed The Castle Upon Crystal Shores, a selection in the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra EarShot New Music Readings in January 2020.
A “Sounds Promising Young Composer” of the Salastina Music Society for 2018-2019, Vanderveer composed Obsidian, rippled in moonlight, gleams for their Sounds Local program under the mentorship of Derrick Spiva, Jr. Her commission Fire Season premiered in their Sounds Festive program in the following year. Vanderveer’s most recent works include premieres by Derek Bermel for Connecting ACO Community and HOCKET for #What2020SoundsLike. Others include a commission for guitarist Ciyadh Wells and a work for bass trombonist Maxine Troglauer in the 2020 Composers Conference as a Fromm Foundation Composer Fellow.
An active teaching artist, her desire to empower youth remains a catalyst behind much of her work. Her multi-level orchestral piece The Enigma of the Twilight Stallion was premiered by MÚSICA! (El Sistema USA) in 2019. She also founded the You(th) Can Compose! Summer Workshop, a personalized, online intensive for students who are new to composing. Vanderveer’s aim is that children from all walks of life will gain access to contemporary music and composition, allowing them to develop a better appreciation and understanding of concert music – new and old – so that they can cherish it and engage in it throughout their lives.