Photography by William Vasta, 2014.

Sakari Dixon Vanderveer’s compositions are primarily inspired by a desire to write music for those around her. While at the University of Redlands, Vanderveer’s relationships with her colleagues developed into commissions from Spencer Baldwin, Kelsey Broersma, and years later, the PHAZE Ensemble. Her studies with Kira Blumberg and Dr. Anthony Suter enabled her to engage with the music community equally as a composer, performer, and advocate for contemporary music. Moved by the passionate musicianship of several community orchestras local to her as well as Joan Tower’s express fondness for writing for amateurs, she composed The Castle Upon Crystal Shores which was featured at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra EarShot New Music Readings in January 2020.

In recent years, Vanderveer has continued to study primarily with Reena Esmail. Named a “Sounds Promising Young Composer” of the Salastina Music Society for the 2018-2019 season, Vanderveer composed the piano quintet Obsidian, rippled in moonlight, gleams for their annual Sounds Local program under the mentorship of Derrick Spiva, Jr. They later commissioned her to write the chamber work Fire Season for their Sounds Festive: The Four Seasons x 2 program in December 2019.

As a teacher of orchestral strings, working with youth also remains a driving inspiration behind much of her work. In May 2019, The Enigma of the Twilight Stallion was premiered by MÚSICA!, an El Sistema program in San Jacinto, CA. Vanderveer’s desire is that giving children from all walks of life access to contemporary music and composition will provide them with a better appreciation and understanding of concert music – new and old – so that they can cherish it and engage in it throughout their lives.

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