When Donna Kelly Eastman was 3 years old, her mother noticed her ability to sing and identify notes. Although no one in the family was in the music industry, they encouraged her to develop her talents and supported her as she sought to find her place. Ms. Eastman’s journey first brought her to the University of Colorado, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music education in 1967. She later furthered her knowledge with a Master of Music from the University of Maryland in 1973 and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Maryland in 1992.
While Ms. Eastman was honing her skills in school, she was also making a name for herself in her professional community. She garnered invaluable experience in roles like choral director of the Department of Defense Overseas School in Japan, director of the Choraleers Choral Ensemble in Germany, director of the Bangkok Music Society Ensemble and Madrigal Singers, and music instructor at North Virginia Community College. Additionally, Ms. Eastman served as the creator, pianist, and vocalist for American Music Programs for the U.S. Mission in Thailand, a visiting assistant professor at Illinois Wesleyan University, and a visiting composter at Sweet Briar College and Grinnell College, as well as a composer of choral, orchestral, opera, vocal, instrumental, chamber, and electronic works. She continues to contribute to the field as a private studio teacher and coach to this day.
As a testament to her success, Ms. Eastman has received many accolades over the years. She was notably honored with the Miriam Gideon Prize for New Music from the National League of American Pen Women in 2002, the National Music Composition Competition Award in 2000, the Margaret Fairbank Jory Copying Assistance Award from the American Music Center in 1999, and the Keyboard Award from the Delius Composition Competition in 1997. Other honors include the International Choral Composition Award from Florilège Vocal de Tours in France, the Glad-Robinson-Youse Composition Award from the National Federation of Music Clubs, the International Piano Composition Award from Roodepoort International Eisteddfod of South Africa, grants from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and the Ragdale Foundation, and a fellowship from the Charles Ives Center for American Music.
When Ms. Eastman has free time, she enjoys pursuing interests like photography, jewelry design, art glasswork, and traveling.