Janice Giteck - Composer
Whidbey Island


Janice Giteck (born New York, 1946) is a composer of music for concert, multi-media, dance and theater. Her work is most celebrated for its visceral connection to social issues, and is inspired by a variety of musical traditions. Giteck currently lives on Whidbey Island, Northwest of Seattle, and is a professor at Cornish College of the Arts teaching music, and classes focused on how artists respond to their social environments.

Janice Giteck

Giteck's most recent composition, Potlatch Symphony, was commissioned by the Seattle Symphony, and is the result of a two-year residency with SSO and Native American Tribes in the greater Seattle area (2013-2015). Her concert music is known internationally, and includes being the first woman commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony, with Edo deWaart (1981) for TREE. She held a Meet The Composer residency (1998-2000) in Seattle, producing two major works: "Tikkun-Mending" tenor and orchestra; and Navigating the Light concert soprano, jazz alto, chamber orchestra, based on the lives of inmates at Echo Glen Children's Center (Washington State Correctional Center). In 2004 Ishi (Yahi for 'man') was premiered by the Seattle Chamber Players; and in 2005 She Who Dances Through the Sky was premiered by the Esoterics (a capella ensemble), In a Camel's Ear for 9 flutes, 2005; Snow Mandala for Jane Harty, 2007; and Tara's Love Will Melt the Sword for Vicky Ray, 2003, both for solo piano; Where Can You Live Safely Then? In Surrender and Ricercare (Dream Upon Arrival) for the Saint Helens String Quartet, 2004, 2012 respectively. Among other concert music commissions are works for the ensembles: Bang on a Can Festival in New York, Thamyris of Atlanta, Relache of Philadelphia. Giteck's music is recorded on CD for Mode, New Albion, Periplum, and Innova labels. Films are on PBS, Wabi Sabi, Hearts and Hands, IslandWood and Persistent Visions films.

Janice Giteck has scored the music for six award-winning feature documentaries including Emiko Omori's Rabbit in the Moon (Sundance, Emmy Awards-1999); Johnny Simon's Daddy and Pappa, 2001; Katie Jenning's Teachings of the Tree People, 2007; and three films by Pat Ferrero: Hopi, Songs of the Fourth World, 1985; Hearts and Hands, 1988; and Yield to Total Elation, 2000. She has also scored as series of films for IslandWood (Environmental Learning Center) Washington, supported by National Geographic and National Science Institute.


In the past three decades Giteck's music has been performed and broadcast throughout the US, Canada, Europe and in Australia, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Japan, China and India. Her chamber music has been presented at festivals including: Beijing Festival of Contemporary Music, Composer-to-Composer Festival in Telluride, Other Minds in San Francisco, Bang on a Can in New York, Aspen Music Festival, Las Vegas New Music Festival, First National Congress on Women in Music in New York, New Music America in San Francisco, New Music Across America in Seattle, Focus Festival at Juilliard, Gaudeamus , Holland, Banff Center for Arts, Canada; UNESCO in Paris; Berlin Arts, Germany Ottawa Fringe, Canada.

Compositions by Giteck have also been featured at American music festivals of the Belgian Radio, the French National Radio and VPRO Radio in Holland, GALA Festival III in Seattle and Women in the Arts, Emory University, Atlanta. She was a 1993-94 Composer-in-Residence with Music in Motion, and has held composer residencies at Djerassi Artist Program in California; Lewis and Clark College in Portland; the Universities of Texas in Austin; and Oregon in Eugene, Alaska in Fairbanks. Feature documentary films with her musical scores have been presented at major festivals and on public television around the world.

Janice Giteck holds BA, MA in Composition from Mills College (1969) and an MA in Psychology from Antioch University (1986). She attended the Paris Conservatory and primary teachers include composers Darius Milhaud, Olivier Messiaen, and pianist Rebecca Weinstock. She also studied West African percussion with Obo Addy, and Javanese Gamelan with Daniel Schmidt.