She was born in Seattle, Washington in 1946,she started her piano studies at the age of five. In 1968 she received Bachelor of Arts degree from University of California at Berkeley, and had her Ph.D from Brandeis University, Mass. in 1976. Her music is powerful and full of emotions, as Chicago Tribune music reviewing said "Silver speaks a musical language of her own, one rich in sonority, lyrical intensity and poetic feeling."
During her career she has won many awards, including the George Ladd Prix de Paris, the Rome Prize (1978), and the ISCM National Composers Competition (twice). Her works include an opera, The Thief of Love, and a piano concerto written for Alexander Paley. She is married to film director John Feldman.