FEATURED COMPOSERS

Featured Composers2019-02-12T02:54:38+00:00

Current Season

Martin Blessinger
Martin BlessingerFt Worth, TX

Martin Blessinger is an Associate Professor of Music Theory and Composition at Texas Christian University. He holds a DM in music composition from the Florida State University where he was a University Research Fellow, studying with Ladislav Kubik and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. He received BM and MM from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, studying with Sheila Silver and Perry Goldstein. Prior to arriving at TCU, he worked as a Lecturer in Music Theory at the Ithaca College School of Music.
His orchestration of Jessica Grace Wing’s score for the critically-acclaimed off-Broadway musical Lost won Best Music in the 2003 New York City Fringe Festival and received a revival performance by the Arizona Onstage Theater Company.

Shih-Hui Chen
Shih-Hui ChenHouston, TX

Shih-Hui Chen serves as Professor of Music at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Born in Taiwan, Shih-Hui Chen has lived in the United States since 1982 and holds a degree from the National Academy for the Arts, an MM from Northern Illinois University, and a DMA from Boston University. In addition to garnering a Koussevitzky Music Foundation Commission, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an American Academy in Rome Prize, her compositions have been performed widely throughout the U.S. and abroad, including China, Japan, England, Germany, and Italy. Chen’s work has also been the subject of analysis by scholars such as German ethnomusicologist Barbara Mittler, who wrote Chen’s biographical entry in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

Phillip Elder
Phillip ElderHouston, TX
Phillip Elder is a 2012 graduate of the University of Houston Moores School of Music with degrees in music education and composition. While there, he studied composition with Dr. Rob Smith and percussion with Dr. Blake Wilkins. He is the winner of the 2011 Sarofim Composer’s Award – undergraduate division, and a finalist in the 2012 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. Recent and current projects include a commission by the AURA Contemporary Ensemble, a song cycle for the Houston Grand Opera’s HGOco, and a commission by DiverseWorks.
Robert J Frank
Robert J FrankHouston, TX

Robert Frank’s music spans many mediums and genres: His orchestral works have been performed in Carnegie Hall in New York, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, The Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, the Mozarteum at the opening of the Salzburg Summer Music Festival, Church of St. Augustin in Paris, and in the Kremlin in Moscow. His electro-acoustic music has been featured in prominent computer music concerts throughout the U.S. and abroad in Beijing, Hong Kong, the rain forests of Costa Rica, festivals in the Ukraine and Kazakhstan, the planetarium at the University of North Texas, and many other interesting venues. His music is published by Brixton Publications and recorded on several CD labels. He is also co-author with Kenneth Metz of Fundamentals for the Aspiring Musician (Routledge, New York, London, 2010).   For more, visit RobertFrankMusic.com

J. Todd Frazier
J. Todd FrazierHouston, TX
Jefferson Todd Frazier is a composer, educator and non-profit leader. He is the Director of The Center for Performing Arts Medicine at Houston Methodist Hospital, Founder of the American Festival for the Arts and Houston Arts Partners, and is the former Executive Director of Young Audiences of Houston. He is currently leading research, education and accessibility collaborations between the K-12 Education, University, Texas Medical Center, and the Arts and Culture communities in Houston, TX. On the occasion of the Juilliard School’s 100th anniversary in 2006, Frazier was recognized as one of 100 distinguished alumni and profiled in the Juilliard Journal’s “A Quiet Revolution: Juilliard Alumni and The Transformation of Education in America Through the Arts.”
Joseph Klein
Joseph KleinDenton, TX
Joseph is a composer of solo, chamber, and large ensemble works, including instrumental, vocal, electroacoustic, and intermedia compositions. His works have been performed internationally, and have been recognized by such organizations as the NEA, the American Composers Forum/Jerome Foundation, the American Music Center, the Gaudeamus Foundation, and ASCAP. Klein holds degrees in composition from Indiana Univ., UC San Diego, and California State Polytechnic Univ., and his composition teachers have included Harvey Sollberger and Roger Reynolds. Klein is currently Distinguished Teaching Professor at the Univ. of North Texas College of Music, where he has served as Chair of Composition Studies since 1999.
Stephen Lias
Stephen LiasNacogdoches, TX

Stephen Lias received degrees from Messiah College, Stephen F. Austin State University, and Louisiana State University. He is the Texas delegate to the International Society of Contemporary Music and serves as the Chair of the judging panel for the ISCM-IAMIC Young Composers Award. He currently resides in Nacogdoches, Texas where he is Professor of Composition at Stephen F. Austin State University. His passion for wilderness and outdoor pursuits has led to a growing series of works about the national parks of the US. He has had residencies at Rocky Mountain, Glacier, Denali, Glacier Bay, Bering Land Bridge, and Gates of the Arctic National Parks, and has written over a dozen park-related pieces that have been premiered at conferences and festivals in such places as Colorado, Texas, Sydney, and Taiwan.
Lias is also active as a composer of theatrical incidental music and served for eleven years as Composer in Residence and Music Director at the Texas Shakespeare Festival.

Mei-Fang Lin
Mei-Fang LinLubbock, TX

Mei-Fang Lin received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and her master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she also taught as Visiting Assistant Professor in Composition/Theory prior to moving to Texas Tech University, where she is Associate Professor of Theory/Composition. Supported by the Frank Huntington Beebe Foundation in Boston and a George Ladd Paris Prize from UC Berkeley, she also spent three years in France studying composition and participated in the one-year computer music course “Cursus de Composition” at IRCAM in Paris.
Awards for her music include those from the Seoul International Competition for Composers (2nd Prize), Bourges Competition in France (Finalist & Residence Prize), Look & Listen Festival Prize in US (1st Prize), Pierre Schaeffer Competition in Italy (3rd Prize)

Peter Lieuwen
Peter LieuwenCollege Station, TX

Peter Lieuwen was born in Utrecht, The Netherlands, in 1953, and grew up in New Mexico. He studied at the University of New Mexico and the University of California, Santa Barbara with composers Scott Wilkinson, William Wood, Edward Applebaum, Emma Lou Diemer, and Peter Racine Fricker. From 1984 to 1987 he taught composition at UC Santa Barbara. Since 1988 he has been on the faculty of Texas A&M University. From 2000-2005 Lieuwen served as the inaugural head of the Department of Performance Studies at TAMU, where he is currently Professor of Music and Composer-in-Residence.
Commissions include those for The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Pacific Symphony Orchestra (25th Anniversary Commission), San Antonio Symphony (75th Anniversary Commission), Grosseto Symphony Orchestra, Slazburg Chamber Soloists, Leipzig Academic Orchestra, Texas Guitar Quartet, New Mexico Brass Quintet, Quintessence Winds, the Core Ensemble, Iridium Saxophone Quartet, SOLI Chamber Ensemble, Isaac Bustos, Andrzej Grabiec, Wonkak Kim and Doc Severinsen.

Joel Love
Joel LoveHouston, TX

Hailed as “extremely moving” by New Music Box and “especially sweet” by the Austin American Statesman, the music of Joel Love (b. 1982) explores an eclectic mix of genres, from short video pieces to works for chamber and large ensembles.

Joel was commissioned to compose a new work, Lightscape, for the opening of light artist James Turrell’s The Color Inside in2013. The Houston Chronicle commented that Lightscape “evocatively captures the emotion of The Color Inside.” Joel is the only two-time winner of the PARMA Recordings Composition Competition, which selected Lux and Synchronicity in Purple Minor for publication. His first work for wind ensemble, Aurora Borealis, was selected as finalist in the 3rd International Franck Ticheli Composition Contest.

Joel’s works have been performed by a number of large and small ensembles, exhibited at art galleries, and screened at theatres and festivals around the world. Recent highlights include a number of performances of his new saxophone octet,Three Images, including the Royal College of Music Saxophone Ensemble and the faculty of the American Saxophone Academy, both in the summer of 2017, and a performance of his first work saxophone quartet, In memoriam, by the award-winning Kenari Quartet during the Grand Prize Gayla Concert at the inaugural M-Prize competition in 2016. Recent commissions include a nation-wide consortium led by Connie Frigo for a new concerto for alto saxophone with wind ensemble accompaniment, a new set of saxophone miniatures for Musiqa in Houston, TX, and commission for a new work for chorus, soloists, and orchestra from the Austin-based Panoramic Voices.

His film scores include the documentary film Stitched, official selection at the 2011 Carmel Art and Film Festival, as well as a short film Kidfellas, “Best Musical Score” at Houston’s 2011 48-Hour Film Project. Last year, Joel’s score for Socks in the City won honorable mention for “Best Musical Score” at New York City’s 2015 48-Hour Film Project. Other notable collaborations with artists from other disciplines feature a city-wide public art exhibit with artist Karyn Olivier, Inboud: Houstonand a 3-month installation by Prince V. Thomas, On Joy, On Sorrow at the Houston Center for Photography, praised by the Houston Chronicle as ”a beautiful piece that feels cleansing to watch.”

Joel recently completed a D.M.A. in Composition from the University of Texas at Austin and holds degrees from The University of Houston’s Moores School of Music (M.Music) and Lamar University’s Mary Morgan Department of Music (B.Music). He lives in Houston, TX, where he teaches music at Houston Community College’s Southwest location in Stafford, TX.

Marcus Karl Maroney
Marcus Karl MaroneyHouston, TX
Mr. Maroney is currently the Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music. He has won the First Hearing award from the Chicago Symphony, the ASCAP/Morton Gould Young Composer’s award, the Charles Ives Scholarship from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Woods Chandler Memorial award from Yale University. He has been a Composer in Residence at the Copland House and a Tanglewood Music Center Fellow. He has had works commissioned by Eighth Blackbird, the Orchestra of St. Lukes, and the Texas Music Festival.
Chad Robinson
Chad RobinsonHouston, TX

Houston native, Dr. Chad Robinson is the Artistic Director and founder of Texas New Music Ensemble, a Houston-based, mixed chamber ensemble focused solely on the work of Texas composers. As a composer, he has worked with many other prestigious ensembles and soloists, such as: Ethel, Lontano, The Jack Quartet, The Parker Quartet, Musiqa, George Vosburgh, Mary Dullea, and Emma Steele. His music has been performed throughout North America, as well as in Europe and Turkey. He has received multiple awards and grants throughout his career, including: 1st Prize in the CMU Orchestral Composition Competition, 2nd Prize in the Louisa Stude Sarofim Composition Competition, KCL Music Research Grant, and the KCL Arts and Humanities Research Grant. Chad has learned from some of America’s and Europe’s most distinguished composers, including Marcus Maroney (University of Houston – BM), Leonardo Balada (Carnegie Mellon University – MM), and Rob Keeley (King’s College, London – PhD). He currently serves on the faculty of several Houston area colleges and keeps a private studio of piano and composition students. Additionally, he serves as a theory tutor for local high school and college students and offers distance composition lessons via Skype.

Yevgeniy Sharlat
Yevgeniy SharlatAustin, TX

Yevgeniy Sharlat has composed music for orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo, theater, ballet and film. He was the recipient of the 2006 Charles Ives Fellowship from American Academy of Arts and Letters; other honors include a Fromm Music Foundation Commission, ASCAP’s Morton Gould, Boosey & Hawkes, and Leiber & Stoller awards, Yale University’s Rena Greenwald Award, fellowships from MacDowell and Yaddo.
Mr. Sharlat was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1977. He majored in violin, piano, and music theory at the Academy of Moscow Conservatory. After immigrating to the United States in 1994, he studied composition at the Juilliard Pre-College, Curtis Institute of Music (B.M.) and Yale University (M.M., D.M.A.)
Mr. Sharlat is Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches composition and music theory.

Rob Smith
Rob SmithHouston, TX
The innovative and highly energetic music of Rob Smith is frequently performed throughout the United States and abroad. His music has received numerous awards, including those from the Aaron Copland House, ASCAP and the National Band Association. Commissions have come from the Texas Music Festival Orchestra, the New York Youth Symphony Chamber Music Program, the American Composers Forum (as a part of their Continental Harmony project) and several nationally renowned university wind ensembles, among others.
Dan Welcher
Dan WelcherAustin, TX
Mr. Welcher’s catalogue now numbers well over 130 works in every conceivable genre, including three operas, seven concertos, five symphonies; plus vocal literature, piano solos, and various kinds of chamber music. Dan Welcher is now one of the most-played composers of his generation. He has won numerous awards and prizes from institutions such as the American Academy of Arts and Letters, The Guggenheim Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Reader’s Digest/Lila Wallace foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Meet The Composer, The MacDowell Colony, The Camargo Foundation, The Corporation at Yaddo, The Atlantic Center for the Arts, the American Music Center, and ASCAP. Dan Welcher holds the Lee Hage Jamail Regents Professorship in Fine Arts at the Butler School of Music (The University of Texas at Austin), where he directs the New Music Ensemble.

Previous Seasons

Karim Al-Zand
Karim Al-ZandHouston, TX

His compositions are wide-ranging in influence and inspiration, encompassing solo, chamber, vocal and orchestral works. His scores explore connections between music and other arts, and draw inspiration from varied sources such as graphic art, myths and fables, folk music of the world, film, spoken word, jazz, and his own Middle Eastern heritage. Al-Zand is the recipient of several national awards, including the Sackler Composition Prize, the ArtSong Prize, the Louisville Orchestra Competition Prize and the “Arts and Letters Award in Music” from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is a founding and artistic board member of Musiqa, Houston’s premier contemporary music group, which presents concerts featuring new and classic repertoire of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Al-Zand was born in Tunis, Tunisia, raised in Ottawa, Canada. Since 2000 he has taught composition and music theory in Houston at the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University.

Aaron Alon
Aaron AlonHouston, TX
Aaron Alon is an Associate Professor of Music and Lead Faculty for the Music and Drama Department at Lone Star College-CyFair. He is also the Director of the Composition program at the American Festival for the Arts and has also taught for the Women’s Institute of Houston and Rice University. Since 2009, Alon has also been highly active as a playwright and musical theatre composer-lyricist. He has been awarded numerous national and international composition honors.
Alejandro Basulto-Mtz
Alejandro Basulto-MtzHouston, TX

Winner: 2017 Student Composer Competition
Alejandro’s composition style is characterized by a blend of diverse composition techniques and references to contemporary popular music. His music has been performed by the Morgan Szymanski and the Orchestra of the Swan (UK), Jalisco Philharmonic, Barcelona Symphonic Band, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Bratislava Symphony Orchestra, CEPROMUSIC, Mexico City Wood Wind Quintet and Sequenza Sur, among others. Alejandro’s music has been performed in venues such as the Fine Arts Palace (México City), Catalonian National Auditorium (Spain) and Santos Degollado Concert Hall (Jalisco), among others. Alejandro’s awards include the First Prize in the National Orchestral Composition Competition in Jalisco (2016), Second Prize (professional category) and Audience Award in the Robert Avalon International Composition Competition (2016), the First Prize in the Alabama Orchestra Association Composition Competition (2016), First Prize in the International Composition Competition “Manuel Enríquez” (2015), Second Prize in the Composition Competition “Nuestra América” (2014), the “Youth Award in Arts” from the State of Yucatán (2012), First Place in the National Competition for Composition Students (2010), among others.

Alejandro has composed music for several award-winning multimedia projects and films, including numerous collaborations with Mexican studio AVA (Artes Visuales y Animación), which range from the world’s biggest projection mapping in Romania (iMapp Bucharest) to the Russian festival Circles of Light at the Bolshoi Theater.

Alejandro holds a Bachelor’s degree from the “Conservatorio de las Rosas” (cum laude) where his principal teacher was Dr. Javier Álvarez, a Master’s degree in Film Scoring and a graduate diploma in Orchestral Conducting from the ESMUC (Barcelona, Spain) where he studied with Dr. Salvador Brotons. He earned the Fulbright-García Robles scholarship to study a Master’s Degree in Music Composition at the Moores School of Music-University of Houston, under the guidance of Dr. Rob Smith, where he is the Assistant Director of AURA Contemporary Music Ensemble. Alejandro was born and raised in Mérida, Yucatán in the southeast of México.

Karl Blench
Karl BlenchTexas

Karl Blench is a composer and conductor who holds Bachelor’s degrees in education and music theory from the University of New Hampshire and a Master’s degree and DMA in composition from Rice University. His music has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Cuba. Recent engagements include performances of his work by the Shepherd School Chamber Symphony, the h2 Saxophone Quartet, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Notable prizes include the H. Robert Reynolds Composer’s Competition, the Cooper Prize from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice, and an ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award.

As a conductor he focuses mainly on music from the 20th and 21st centuries and frequently conducts premieres of new works throughout the country. He has recently worked with the Foundation of Modern Music in Houston, and Syzygy, the new music series at Rice. He currently teaches in the Houston area.

Anthony Brandt
Anthony BrandtHouston, TX

Composer Anthony Brandt earned his degrees from California Institute of the Arts (MA ’87) and Harvard University (BA ’83, PhD ’93). His honors include a Koussevitzky Commission from the Library of Congress and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet-the-Composer, the Houston Arts Alliance, the New England Foundation for the Arts and the Margaret Fairbank Jory Copying Assistance Program.  He has been commissioned by the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra, Da Camera of Houston, the SOLI ensemble, Houston Ballet II, the Bowdoin International Festival, the Moores School of Music Percussion Ensemble, the Webster Trio, the Fischer Duo and others. He has been a fellow at the Wellesley Composers Conference, the Tanglewood Institute, the MacDowell Colony and the Djerassi Resident Artists Colony, a Visiting Composer at the Bowdoin International Festival, the FICA Festival at the University of Veracruz, the Bremen Musikfest, Baltimore’s New Chamber Arts Festival, Southwestern University, SUNY- Buffalo and Cleveland State University, and Composer-in-Residence of Houston’s OrchestraX and the International Festival of Music in Morelia, Mexico.   Recent works include the chamber opera Ulysses, Home, with a libretto by playwright Neena Beber, about a soldier with post-traumatic stress disorder.  An album of his vocal music, including his chamber opera The Birth of Something, with a libretto by playwright Will Eno, is available on Albany Records (Troy 1144).

Dr. Brandt is co-founder and Artistic Director of the Houston-based contemporary music ensemble Musiqa, two-time winners of Adventurous Programming Awards from Chamber Music America and ASCAP (2013 and ’16).  Musiqa presents subscription concerts at the Hobby Center and free loft concerts at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.  Musiqa’s free educational programs have served over 50,000 public elementary school students in the past twelve years and have won eight awards from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Dr. Brandt is a Professor of Composition and Theory at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.  He has been awarded the University’s Phi Beta Kappa and George R. Brown teaching prizes.

Kirsten Broberg
Kirsten BrobergDenton, TX
Her works are performed by ensembles recognized worldwide, and she has won a Fromm Foundation Commissioning Grant from Harvard, two Encore Grants from the American Composers Forum, first place in the Accent ’04 International Call for String Quartets at Cincinnati Conservatory, and first place in the Univ. of Minnesota Call for Orchestral Scores. She has been an Assistant Professor in Music Composition at the Univ. of North Texas since 2013.
Donald Grantham
Donald GranthamAustin, TX
Mr. Grantham is currently the Professor of Composition at the University of Texas, Austin. He is the winner of numerous prizes such as the Prix Lili Boulanger and Nissim/ASCAP Orchestral Composition Prize. He has won first prize in the Concordia Chamber Symphony’s Awards to American Composers, the NBA/William Revelli Competition, the ABA/Ostwald Competition, and the National Opera Association’s Biennial Composition Competition. He has been a Guggenheim fellow and has had his works performed by the Atlanta Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra and Dallas Symphony among others.
Moni (Jasmine) Guo
Moni (Jasmine) GuoHouston, TX

Composer/pianist Moni (Jasmine) Guo, born in China, has studied music since she was three. 

After her piano and composition studies at Interlochen Arts Academy and The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, she is currently a second year Master student at Rice University studying composition under Pierre Jalbert. Her previous composition teachers include Shih-hui Chen, Michael Hersch, Samuel Adler, Jason Eckardt, Amy Kirsten and Cynthia Van Mannen. She has also had master classes with Steven Stucky, Shulamit Ran, George Lewis, Scott McAllister, Christopher Rouse, David Ludwig, Donald Crockett, George Tsontakis, Hannah Lash, Ken Ueno, Nils Vigeland, Robert Cuckson, Emil Awad and Robert Paterson.

Her pieces have been read and performed by famous soloists such as Miranda Cuckson, Courtney Orlando, Michael Kannen, Kyung Wha Chu, also ensembles such as IIIZ+ and Deviant Septet. Jasmine is now a member of The Pi Kappa Lambda Society, she has received the P. Bruce Blair Award in Composition and the Pauline Favin Memorial Award in Piano in 2016. She is also being awarded the JCCAA Scholarship in 2017. Her music has been performed in the US and Europe.

Neil Anderson-Himmelspach
Neil Anderson-HimmelspachHouston, TX

Kokoras is an internationally award-winning composer and computer music innovator. He is Associate Professor at the University of North Texas. Born in Greece, he studied classical guitar and composition in Athens, Greece and York, England; he taught for many years at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki (among others). Kokoras’s sound compositions use timbre as the main element of form. His concept of “holophony” describes his goal that each independent sound (phonos), contributes equally into the synthesis of the total (holos). In both instrumental and electroacoustic writing, his music calls upon a “virtuosity of sound,” emphasizing the precise production of variable sound possibilities and the correct distinction between one timbre and another to convey the musical ideas and structure of the piece. His compositional output is also informed by musical research in Music Information Retrieval compositional strategies, Extended techniques, Tactile sound, Augmented reality, Robotics, Spatial Sound, Synesthesia.

His compositional output consists of 65 works ranging from solo, ensemble and orchestral works to mixed media, improvisation and tape. His works have been commissioned by institutes and festivals such as the Fromm Music Foundation (Harvard), IRCAM (France), MATA (New York), Gaudeamus (Netherlands), ZKM (Germany), IMEB (France), Siemens Musikstiftung (Germany) and have been performed in over 600 concerts around the world. His compositions have been selected by juries in more than 130 international calls for scores and have received 60 distinctions and prizes in international competitions, among others Franco Evangelisti Prix 2012 (Italy), Destellos Prize 2011 (Argentina), Prix Ars Electronica 2011 (Austria), Métamorphoses 2010 & 2000 (Belgium), Giga-Hertz Music Award 2009 (Germany), Bourges 2009, 2008 and 2004 (France), Gianni Bergamo 2007 (Switzerland), Pierre Schaeffer 2005 (Italy), Musica Viva 2005 and 2002 (Portugal), Gaudeamus 2004 and 2003 (Holland), Jurgenson Competition 2003 (Russia), Takemitsu Composition Award 2002 (Japan). He is founding member of the Hellenic Electroacoustic Music Composers Association (HELMCA) and from 2004 to 2012 he was board member and president. He is currently secretary of the Interactional Confederation of Electroacoustic Music (CIME/ICEM) and Conference Chair for the ICMC 2015.

Michael Ippolito, DMA
Michael Ippolito, DMASan Marcos, TX
Michael Ippolito is a versatile composer and performer who has collaborated with classical, folk and jazz musicians in performances ranging from experimental improvisation to traditional Klezmer music. He studied with John Corigliano at The Juilliard School and with Joel Hoffman and Michael Fiday at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at Texas State University.
Pierre Jalbert
Pierre JalbertHouston, TX
Mr. Jalbert is currently the Professor of Composition at Rice University. A world-renown composer, Mr. Jalbert has received the Rome Prize, the BBC Master prize, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Stoeger Award, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters award. He has had works commissioned by the Houston Symphony, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the Emerson String Quartet. Works of his have been performed by such esteemed musicians as Marin Alsop, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the Borromeo String Quartet and Midori.
Stephen Ryan Jackson
Stephen Ryan JacksonAbilene, TX
Stephen Ryan Jackson is a recent graduate of Hardin-Simmons University with a Bachelor of Music degree, with a dual major in Music Theory and Composition as well as Trumpet Performance. He has studied composition with Dr. Bernard Scherr and Dr. Jeffrey Cottrell. He has composed works for a variety of ensembles, from solo pieces to chamber music to large-scale wind ensembles. He has won several composition competitions, such as the California based group The Choral Project’s 2015 call for scores, the Clarinet/Bass Clarinet Society of Amsterdam’s 2015 Bass Clarinet Miniatures Project, and the Texas New Music Ensemble’s Commission Competition. He has recently received commissions from numerous groups throughout Texas and California. Spark Brass, a professional brass quintet based in Pennsylvania, will be taking his Brass Quintet No. 1 on their 2016 New England Tour. He is currently working on forming a new music ensemble, the Abilene New Music Collective. This ensemble will be a chamber group of musicians devoted to performing the works of Abilene area composers.
John Kiefer
John Kiefer Houston, TX

John Kiefer founded the COM Electric Guitar Orchestra, which has premiered many new pieces by composers around the world. Kiefer has also hosted electric guitar master classes at COM by Ron Jarzombek, Marshall Harrison and Rusty Cooley, among others.

Kiefer holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music composition from the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston. He is also a graduate of the Guitar Institute of Technology in Los Angeles. Kiefer is the author of a series of classical transcriptions for electric guitar published by Mel Bay including “J.S. Bach for Electric Guitar” (MB97068M) and “Mozart for Electric Guitar” (MB99972) as well as “Etudes Electric” (MB20801), a set of modern studies for electric guitar.

His sextet (1999) was selected as the winner of the 2000 Brown New Music Composition Competition at Brown University. The percussion octet, ritmica (2001) was awarded the graduate prize of the 2001 Louisa Stude Sarofim Composition Competition. The piece was also featured on NPR’s Theme and Variations radio program. Three orchestral pieces: “Hexenbrau” (2001), “Ursa Major” (2003) and “Karankawa” (2005) were commissioned and premiered by the Baytown Symphony Orchestra. His classical guitar solo, “San Saba,” (2007) was recently featured in Soundboard: Journal of the Guitar Foundation of America.

Panayiotis Kokoras
Panayiotis KokorasDenton, TX

Kokoras is an internationally award-winning composer and computer music innovator. He is Associate Professor at the University of North Texas. Born in Greece, he studied classical guitar and composition in Athens, Greece and York, England; he taught for many years at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki (among others). Kokoras’s sound compositions use timbre as the main element of form. His concept of “holophony” describes his goal that each independent sound (phonos), contributes equally into the synthesis of the total (holos). In both instrumental and electroacoustic writing, his music calls upon a “virtuosity of sound,” emphasizing the precise production of variable sound possibilities and the correct distinction between one timbre and another to convey the musical ideas and structure of the piece. His compositional output is also informed by musical research in Music Information Retrieval compositional strategies, Extended techniques, Tactile sound, Augmented reality, Robotics, Spatial Sound, Synesthesia.

His compositional output consists of 65 works ranging from solo, ensemble and orchestral works to mixed media, improvisation and tape. His works have been commissioned by institutes and festivals such as the Fromm Music Foundation (Harvard), IRCAM (France), MATA (New York), Gaudeamus (Netherlands), ZKM (Germany), IMEB (France), Siemens Musikstiftung (Germany) and have been performed in over 600 concerts around the world. His compositions have been selected by juries in more than 130 international calls for scores and have received 60 distinctions and prizes in international competitions, among others Franco Evangelisti Prix 2012 (Italy), Destellos Prize 2011 (Argentina), Prix Ars Electronica 2011 (Austria), Métamorphoses 2010 & 2000 (Belgium), Giga-Hertz Music Award 2009 (Germany), Bourges 2009, 2008 and 2004 (France), Gianni Bergamo 2007 (Switzerland), Pierre Schaeffer 2005 (Italy), Musica Viva 2005 and 2002 (Portugal), Gaudeamus 2004 and 2003 (Holland), Jurgenson Competition 2003 (Russia), Takemitsu Composition Award 2002 (Japan). He is founding member of the Hellenic Electroacoustic Music Composers Association (HELMCA) and from 2004 to 2012 he was board member and president. He is currently secretary of the Interactional Confederation of Electroacoustic Music (CIME/ICEM) and Conference Chair for the ICMC 2015.

Richard Lavenda
Richard LavendaHouston, TX
A native of New Jersey, he received his education at Dartmouth College, Rice University, and the University of Michigan, where he received a doctorate. He joined the faculty of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice in 1987, and is now Professor of Composition and Theory and Director of Graduate Studies. The recipient of many grants and awards for innovative teaching, his catalog of more than sixty works includes pieces for orchestras and a wide range of chamber ensembles.
Hugh Lobel
Hugh LobelHouston, TX

His works have been performed in Switzerland, Brazil, Alaska, Boston, California, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, New Mexico, New York, and several cities in Texas, including Austin, San Marcos, McAllen, and his hometown Houston. Hugh’s commercial music has aired on network television. Hugh has also received many awards, including the Colorado University Atlas Fellowship, the Spark Award, the Edward Levy composition award, the Kent Kennan Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Music Composition, and the Hirsch Endowed Scholarship.
As a research assistant at the University of Texas, Hugh worked on a multi-year grant to develop an adaptive system for accompanimental improvisation to live performers. Recently, he taught the upper level theory course “Introduction to Music Technology” at Colorado University, and currently teaches the continuing education course “Electronic Composition.”
Hugh received his Doctorate in Music Composition from the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he held the title of Atlas Fellow. Hugh received his M.M. in Composition from the University of Texas, Austin and his B.M. in Composition from the University of Houston.

Joe LoCascio
Joe LoCascioHouston, TX

Joe LoCascio has spent a lifetime creating and performing music. He has composed music using a variety of techniques and has performed and recorded jazz prolifically and to much critical acclaim.

A student of David Barnett, John Mehegan and Neil Slater at the University of Bridgeport, LoCascio went on to perform and record with major jazz figures such as Chet Baker, Randy Brecker, Dave Liebman, Frank Rehak, Freddie Hubbard, Mel Lewis, Bob Brookmeyer, George Coleman, Pharoah Sanders, Marvin Stamm, Carl Fontana, Hank Crawford, Ernie Watts, Arnett Cobb and Jon Faddis, among others.

A prolific composer in traditional and jazz idioms, recent commissioned works include Concerto for Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra; Concerto for Contrabass and Chamber Orchestra; “Ben Turner’s Blues” for Woodwind Ensemble; 13 for Piano; 4 Bagatelles for Saxophone Quartet; “Scars” for Tenor Saxophone and Fixed Media; “Tattoo” for Solo Tenor Saxophone; and “In the Wilderness, the Cities” a 3 movement work for Piano,Violin and Violoncello.

He is currently Assistant Chairman of Jazz Studies and Composition at Houston Community College, a position he has held since 1995. He teaches Improvisation, Arranging and Composition, Jazz Ensemble, Music Fundamentals, Music Appreciation, and Improvisation Theory.

LoCascio is now working in collaboration with Saxophonist Woody Witt on various projects.

Andrew May
Andrew MayDenton, TX

Andrew May is a composer and computer music researcher whose music has been performed in Japan, Korea, Singapore, Greece, Switzerland, Germany, England, and throughout the United States. He recently joined the composition faculty at the University of North Texas, where he is also director of the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia (CEMI). Born and raised in Chicago, May received his PhD from University of California at San Diego, where he studied composition with Roger Reynolds, computer music with Miller Puckette and improvisation with George Lewis. He has also studied composition with Mel Powell and violin with Laura Kuennen-Poper at the California Institute of the Arts, where he received his MFA in composition and violin performance; and with Jonathan Berger, John Sichel, and Deniz Ulben at Yale University, where he received his BA in music (summa cum laude). He studied computer music at the Stage d’Informatique Musicale at IRCAM in 1998.

May has composed for orchestra, chorus, wind ensemble, and diverse other forces; he is best known for chamber music in which some of the performers are computer systems. May’s music has been presented widely in festivals and conferences (June in Buffalo, National Flute Association Convention, Third International New Music Festival in Las Vegas, Southeastern Composers’ League, Darmstadt Summer Courses, Arcosanti Young Composers’ Conference), new music concert series (LA Philharmonic Green Umbrella Series, New Music Circle of St. Louis, Birmingham Art Music Alliance), and music schools (Juilliard, New England Conservatory, Peabody, Curtis, Brown, Dartmouth, Louisiana State, San Francisco State, Sookmyung University). May has presented computer music and research at such venues as SEAMUS National Conferences, International Computer Music Conferences, Third Practice Festivals, Electronic Music Midwest, and Scarborough Electro Acoustic.

May has written pieces for the EAR Unit, SONOR, Canto Battuto (voice and percussion), clarinetist F. Gerard Errante, percussionists Robert Damm, Vanessa Tomlinson, and Brett Reed, flutist Elizabeth McNutt, violinists Jonathan Dubay and Persephone Gibbs, the Third Unitarian Church Ensemble of Chicago, and the Yale Bach Society Orchestra. May’s music can be heard on Music from SEAMUS Volumes 9 and 15 and on Elizabeth McNutt’s solo CD pipe wrench.

Also a violinist, improviser, and conductor, May has performed in Germany and Switzerland and across the United States, and has been recorded on CRI. He is co-founder of the contemporary mic presenting organization Atomic Clock Music Events, and serves as Americas regional director, Secretary, and Treasurer for the International Computer Music Association. May’s work has been supported by grants from the American Music Center, the Center for Research and Creative Work at the University of Colorado, and numerous commissions.

Till Meyn
Till MeynHouston, TX

Till MacIvor Meyn is Professor of Theory and Composition at Texas Christian University. He earned degrees from U.C. San Diego, Indiana University, and USC’s Thornton School of Music. Till’s music has had international performances in France, Italy, Cuba, China, Spain, Ukraine, and Slovenia. Performances of his music in the United States include those at Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall); Clarinet Fest in Oklahoma City, MO and in Lincoln, NE; the Biennial Saxophone Congress in South Carolina; the Florida State University Festival of New Music; the SCI/CMS National Convention in San Antonio; the National Flute Association Conventions in Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Diego, and Pittsburgh; at the Manhattan School of Music; and at the Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses National Seminar at Harvard. Till was recently commissioned to compose a work for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra’s Kinderconcerts Series; he was a finalist in the Areon Flutes Commissioning Project for 2016; he was a featured composer at the 2015 Cliburn at the Modern series; he was a finalist in the NFA Newly Published Music Competition for ‘Urban Ragas’ (2013); and he earned first prize in the NACUSA Texas 2011 Composition Contest for Celestial Mechanics. Till’s music is published by Alliance Music Publications, GIA Publications, ECS Publishing, C. Alan Publications, and Alry Publications. He is a member of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Board since 2015.

Meyn enjoys composing pieces in a wide variety of genres, from chamber to orchestral, choral to band.

Russell Pinkston
Russell PinkstonAustin, TX

Russell Pinkston currently resides in Austin, Texas, where he is Professor of Music Composition and Director of Electronic Music Studios at The University of Texas at Austin. He holds degrees from Dartmouth College (BA 1975) and Columbia University (MA 1979, DMA 1984). He is active both as a composer and as a prominent pedagogue and researcher in the field of computer music. His compositions span a wide range of different media, including symphonic, choral, and chamber works, electronic music for modern dance, and interactive performance pieces. He has received a number of significant honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and a senior Fulbright Fellowship to Brazil. He is a founding member and former President of the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the U. S., and has served as Regional Representative for the Americas for the International Computer Music Association.

David Ashley White
David Ashley WhiteHouston, TX
Mr. White, Moores School of Music Professor of Composition, with degrees from the University of Houston (B.M. and M.M.) and the UT at Austin (D.M.A.), served as Director of the Moores School from 1999-2014, during which time he held the Margaret M. Alkek and Margaret Alkek Williams Endowed Chair. A seventh-generation Texan, White is an active member of the Houston arts community, serving on boards that include a mayoral appointment to the Houston Arts Alliance. He has recently been appointed composer-in-residence at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston, his home parish. White’s hymns are found in a number of denominational books, including the Episcopal Church’s The Hymnal 1982 and its supplement, Wonder, Love, and Praise; The United Methodist Hymnal and its supplement, The Faith We Sing; and the United Church of Christ in Japan. In April 2015, he received the Esther Farfel Award from the UH, the university’s highest honor in recognition of overall career excellence.
Ethan Wickman
Ethan WickmanSan Antonio, TX

Described as a “composer of facility and imagination, the kind to whom both performers and audiences respond” (The New York Times), composer Ethan Wickman’s music has been performed by soloists and ensembles in venues in the U.S. and around the world. He has received grants and commissions from the Barlow Endowment, Meet the Composer, the American Composers Forum, the Wisconsin Music Teachers Association, the Utah Arts Festival, the San Antonio Opera Guild, and Chicago’s Music In The Loft where he was the 2014-15 Composer-In-Residence. He was awarded the Jacob Druckman prize for his orchestral work Night Prayers Ascending at the Aspen Music Festival, the Harvey Phillips Award for his work Summit from the International Tuba Euphonium Association, first place in the Utah Arts Festival Chamber Commission Competition, and was a finalist in the 25th annual ASCAP Rudolf Nissim Orchestral Composition Competition. He has received fellowships from the Aspen Music Festival, the Norfolk Contemporary Music Workshop/Yale Summer School of Music, the Wellesley Composers Conference, the American Composers Orchestra/Earshot New Music Readings, and from the U.S. State Department as a Fulbright Fellow in Madrid, Spain. His works have been performed by such ensembles as the Aspen Concert Orchestra, the Avalon String Quartet, the Soli Ensemble, the Newton Symphony, the Gryphon Trio, Flexible Music, the Minneapolis Trio, the Novo Ensemble, Ensemble 61, the Post-Haste Reed Duo, Zeitgeist, and by many performers at venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and at universities and concert halls both domestic and international. Recent recordings have garnered critical acclaim as “the most attractive new string quartet I have heard in a long while” (Fanfare), “epic and dreamy” (The New York Times), “absorbing” (American Record Guide), and possessing “stunning breadth and poise” (Time Out Chicago).

Wickman holds a DMA in composition from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, with additional degrees from Boston University (MM) and Brigham Young University (BM). Formerly on the faculties of Indiana University-South Bend and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, he is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Texas at San Antonio. In addition, he is Executive Director of the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University.