Award winning composer Nan Avant writes original music for concert, symphonic orchestra, jazz ensemble, film, animation and documentary. Avant is a four time nominee in the Hollywood Music in Media Awards: 2018 Musica Bella~ A Bossa Nova for Jazz Ensemble a Strings, 2016 Bijoux~ the Nebulae for Symphony Orchestra, 2014 Roses for Oso ~ a Piano Solo and 2013 Tributum ~ for Celtic Bagpipes and Chamber Orchestra. Avant won the 13th Annual Independent Music Vox Populi Award for Best Instrumental Song (Tributum).
Avant’s music embraces thematic and rhythmic intentions, often reflecting her Latin heritage and encompasses her passion for classical composers, jazz, world music, movie soundtracks and electronic sound design. Avant has collaborated with Indie filmmakers throughout the U. S. and has created music for Burmer Music LLC on several concerts and CD’s creating original music for symphonic orchestra and jazz ensemble. Avant’s music can be purchased at CD Baby and Apple Music. Scores and sheet music is available online at JW Pepper and Sheet Music Plus.
Nan is constantly expanding as a composer and musician exploring new expressions in music and was recently commissioned by the highly recognized non profit educational program, Composers and Schools in Concert which unites composers of today with schools and youth orchestras in the US. The Celtic Winds Suite, composed for the Olmsted Academy South Wind Band in Louisville Kentucky premiered on March 17, 2016 and is now available at Sheet Music Plus. Nan is a graduate of California Institute of the Arts and studied Film Scoring at the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program in Seattle under the direction of Hummie Mann. She has written articles for Deane Ogden’s ScoreCast Online and No Strings Attached E-News.
Early Years . Music . Travel
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest in a peaceful country setting near Seattle. The family on my mother’s side are artists and the rich culture of South America embraces my father’s side.
We had music playing all the time in our home, soundtracks, musicals, symphonies, music from South America and recordings of Peruvian waltzes were a constant background and I loved listening to all of this music.
I began studying the piano as a young child and continued my studies through college. I also wrote music when I was in my teens and composed music in various styles, usually depicting the type of music I was currently studying. I wrote a classical sonatina, a Russian themed piece, a piano piece in the style of Nino Rota, Spanish music and several more piano works.
Traveling was a priority in our family. We traveled to Peru when I was in grade school and visited our vast family in Lima. We also drove through Europe visiting several countries. Experiencing South American and Europe at a young age was enlightening and opened my view on life.
During high school my parents decided to try a new adventure and rode motorcycles from Seattle through Central America to the border of Panama and Columbia with the intention of continuing on through South America. During that time my sister and I lived with our relatives in Lima Peru. We learned Spanish and were immersed in the vivid mores of our Peruvian heritage.Living internationally was life enriching and opened new vistas to me as a young person. Returning to the U.S. I continued piano studies and expanded my horizon by learning to play the balalaika, becoming a member of the Seattle Balalaika Orchestra. It was also during this time in my life that I began composing music for piano. These early compositions reflected my Latin heritage, the classical piano studies I was taking and Russian music.
After graduating from High School I started college at Cornish School of the Arts in Seattle and studied piano with pianist/ composer William Doppman. I had always wanted to attend California Institute of the Arts and so I auditioned at CalArts, and was accepted as a piano major. I devoted my studies to the piano literature and performing.
My time at CalAtts was amazing. I studied with Leonid Hambro and had coaching sessions with several professors at CIA including Leonard Stein (a teaching assistant of Schoenberg), Alan Vogel, Mel Powell (Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer), Cesare Pascarella as well as Master Classes with Aaron Copeland and Richard Goode. I also studied outside of CalArts with Leah Effenbach, Earl Voorhies and Joanna Graudan in Los Angeles. Hambro ,Effenbach and Voorhies were students of the illustrious pianist and teacher Rosina Lhevinne.
At CalArts I performed in chamber music concerts, solo piano recitals and accompanied vocalists. I was a semi finalist in the Concerto Competition at Cal Arts and also performed the Mendelsshon Piano Concerto #1 in G minor with the CalArts Youth Orchestra. I graduated with a BFA degree in Piano Performance. CalArts was an enriching experience and the literature and performed has added to the depth of my creativity today.
I returned to the Pacific Northwest and taught piano, performed for various venues and continued composing. I had always wanted to score music for film and a great opportunity opened up to study film scoring with two-time Emmy Award winning composer Hummie Mann at the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program based in Seattle.
Experience . Film Scoring . Concert Music
I have collaborated with directors from San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and New York.
I have scored numerous short films, documentaries, and recently the award winning feature length sci fi thriller Unremembered directed by Greg Kerr. Documentary films have included Postcards from Tora Bora directed by New York directors Wazhmah and Kelly Dollak a documentary about Afghanistan which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.
My collaborative work with Virginia Borgert and Women in Film-Seattle on The Moyer Foundation”s Camp Erin PSA has aired on Network and Cable TV in the Northwest and Philadelphia. Music awards have included a Silver Medal for Excellence Award at the Park Cit Film Music Festival 2009 for the score Alistair MacLean:Y”did Nefesh, and in 2008 The Best Musical Score Award for The 48 Hour Film Project in Seattle.
I have had the amazing opportunity to work on several projects with Dr. Glenna Burmer, Burmer Music LLC. Alongside several Seattle composers, we have created two major concerts and CDs with a DVD. Origins: Life and the Universe, a concert and video collaboration premiered at Benaroya Hall in Seattle in 2015 and Celebrate World Music premiered in 2013. These were orchestral works which were amazing to work on. The latest concert with Burmer Music was in 2018, Celebrate Jazz! Awesome experience!
Thanks to Lisa Oman for asking me to create a new work for Middle School Wind Band in Kentucky, The Celtic Winds Suite!
Muse . Inspiration . Life
There are many muses in my life which inspire beautiful music.I love living in the Pacific Northwest and sharing my life with Walt, my husband. I have always traveled and love experiencing new things in life. Life is inspiring in itself.
I am continually inspired by the music of the great Masters, Beethoven, Bach, Ravel, Chopin and I love the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Bill Evans, John Zorn, Rachel Portman, Ennio Morricone, Nino Rota, Hans Zimmer and scores of talented artists.
ASCAP, American Composers Forum, New York Women in Film and Television, Seattle Composers Alliance.
- Begin studying piano at age 7
- Composing music at 17
- California Institute of the Arts -BFA degree in Piano Performance
- Graduate of the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program studying film scoring and orchestration with Hummie Mann
- Berklee School of Music Online: Classes include Arranging for Small Ensemble and Horns with Jerry Gates and Writing and Producing Advertising Music with Peter Bell