Recognized as a leading authority in music for dance and theater. she co-authored the definitive book Music for the Modern Dance, and wrote numerous articles on that topic. Professor Gilbert was the subject of an extensive oral history project, published by the UCLA research library in 1987:(-two volumes,700 pages,) entitled Life in Several Keys. Ms. Gilbert has written many scores for choreographers Valerie Bettis, Marion Scott, Gus Solomons, Carol Scothorn, Al Huag amongst others and created music for theater events such as Gordon Gavidson's productions of The Deputy, The Devils,Murderous Angels and Tales from Hollywood at the Mark Taper forum and in New York. Souvenir was presented at the L.A. Schubert Theater.
Within the past years, Pia Gilbert has concentrated more on commisioned, independent "music per se" work, such as Transmutations for Organ and Percussion; Interrupted Suite for clarinet and three pianos, both of which were commercially recorded on the Protone label.Vociano, based on imaginary languages, was premiered by Jan De Gaetani and Robert Spillman at the Aspen Music Festival and later repeated by them in Alice Tully Hall and at the Eastman School.Food, based on texts by John Cage for soprano, baritone, trumpet, piano and snare drum was performed in Los Angeles, Washington, Cincinnati, Essen, Cologne and Berlin. Gestures, for large orchestra, was premiered by the Cincinnati Philharmonia under Gerhard Samuel and Subsequently at the Aspen Music Festival under Lawrence Foster.Quotations and Interludes for soprano, violin, clarinet, piano, and balloons was taken to Europe by the Continuum Ensemble. Her opera,Dialectics, commissioned by the Bonn Opera House, was given six performances on its Werkstattbuehne in 1994.
Prof. Gilbert has participated in the Aspen Music Festival and school as visiting composer and lecturer. She was also a founding member of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute and was the recipient of the ASI award in 1990. As the recipient of the William Schumann Scholars Chair for the year 2000-2001, she presented two public lectures under the umbrella title of Two Artists-Two Arts, the first on Schoenberg and Kandinsky and the second on music and dance.