Janice Hamer graduated from Harvard and received her Ph.D. at the City University of New York; her main composition teachers were Earl Kim and Thea Musgrave. She lived for some years in England, where her music was performed on BBC radio and in London concert halls. Dr. Hamer previously taught at Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and the Curtis Institute.
Her awards and fellowships as a composer include the Radcliffe Institute Fellowship at Harvard, grants from the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Councils on the Arts, Meet the Composer, American Music Center and ASCAP, and residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Performing groups and/or commissions include Orchestra 2001, Dale Warland Singers, BBC Singers, Contemporary Music Forum of Washington, DC, Bowling Green (OH) Festival, I Cantori, Double Image (UK), Pittsburgh Trio, Philadelphia Concerto Soloists, Apple Hill Chamber Players, Tacoma (WA) Symphony, University of Wisconsin Choir, Kharkov (Ukraine) Philharmonic, and others.
Hamer has recently completed a full-length opera, Lost Childhood, commissioned and developed by American Opera Projects. The work is based on a Holocaust memoir, and on a dialogue between a Holocaust survivor and his German colleague born after the war. It received its first complete concert performance in November 2013, by the National Philharmonic at Strathmore Music Center in Washington DC.