Soprano Neva Pilgrim, a native Minnesota, graduated magna cum laude from Hamline University, received a Master of Music from Yale, and studied at the Vienna Academy of Music on a Ditson Fellowship. The recipient of a Martha Baird Rockefeller grant, NEA and Fromm Foundation commission grants, she has also received a Certificate of Merit from the Yale School of Music, an outstanding alumni award from Hamline University, the "Laurel Leaf" Award from the American Composers Alliance in 1994, and awards for her teaching and services to the field form the Syracuse Newspapers, Civic Morning Musicals, the New York State Music Teachers Association, the Cultural Resources Council and Onondaga County.
Ms. Pilgrim is known throughout the country for her extensive work with composers, many of whom have written for her. She appeared regularly in recital, and as soloist with orchestras, having performed with the Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Syracuse Symphony and Clarion Concerts. She concertized in Japan, Canada, and Europe and appeared at such festivals as Tanglewood, Marlboro, Monadnock, Ravinia, Saratoga Baroque, and Chatauqua, as well as the International Computer Music Festival. Conductors with whom she has worked include Christopher Keene, Lukas Foss, Luciano Berio, Karel Husa, Pierre Boulez, David Loebel, Robert Black, David Stock, Gustav Meier, James Bolle, Rhonda Kess, Charles Schneider, Edward Murray, Calvin Custer, and others.
Ms. Pilgrim has soloed with such distinguished ensembles as the Da Capo Chamber Players, Speculum Musicae, the Baltimore Chamber Music Society, and with the Concord, Tremont, and Madison Quartets, to name but a few. She has recorded for CRI, Desto, Orion, Opus One, Master Musicians, North/South Consonance (Albany), Spectrum, Redwood, Serenus, Musical Heritage, Leonarda and Innova. Ms. Pilgrim serves as artist-in-residence in voice at Colgate University, having also taught at Hamilton College and Syracuse University. For 11 years she maintained a private studio in New York City. Her CRI CD, a re-release of music written or premiered by her by George Rochberg, Richard Wernick, Erst Krenek, and R. Murray Schafer, was release Fall of 1999. It garnered rave reviews in the national press, from Fanfare's "enormously expressive artist" and American Record Guide's " her soprano is warm and elegant" to Soundcheck's "flawless" and 21st C. Music "first-rate chanteuse." An Innova CD of Michael Gandolfi's Pinocchio and R. Murray Schafer's Beauty & the Beast was released in 2005, along with a 5-CD set on Innova of works by 29 Society for New Music commissioned composers American Master for the 21st Century.
Ms. Pilgrim has served on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Copland Fund, the McKnight Foundation, Chamber Music America, Meet the Composer and other funding panels. A board member and past vice-president of the American Music Center, she has also served on numerous regional boards, including the Performing Arts Medicine Association. A founding member of the Society for New Music, now in its 44th season, she continues to serve as Program Advisor and produces Fresh Ink (20 years), a weekly hour program for WCNY-FM and its Watertown and Utica affiliates. She is a Past-President of New York State Music Teachers Association, and served 4 years as New York Governor for the National Association of Teachers of Singing.