Liza Sobel, composer

Liza Sobel is a composer and singer who combines the lyricism of vocal music with the timbral exploration in instrumental music. Her work has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival, Symphony Space, Aldeburgh Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, Brevard Music Institute, and Bowdoin’s International Music Festival. Performers that have played her music include Spektral String Quartet; Cygnus Ensemble; Third Coast Percussion; Nouveau Classical Project; Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble; New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra; Cuatro Puntos; Helix; and Joseph Lin, first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet. Her “Requiem” won the American Prize and was a finalist in the BMI Young Composers Award. Her orchestra piece “Tocsin” was a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers’ Award. Other awards include a Fulbright scholarship, and Cornell’s endorsed candidate and/or finalist for the Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, and Keasbey scholarships. As a singer, Liza regularly performs both new and standard repertoire, as well as her own music. Liza frequently performs music by living emerging composers. Many composers have written pieces specifically for her. In addition, she regularly collaborates with Dr. Walter Hilse, composer, organist, and professor at Manhattan School of Music. Hilse has composed eight pieces for Liza, several of which she has premiered over the last two years.

Liza is in her DMA for composition at Northwestern University where she also teaches Aural Skills. She previously studied at Rutgers University’ Mason Gross Conservatory (MA); Cornell University (BA), and Manhattan School of Music (exchange student). She currently studies composition with Hans Thomalla. Past composition teachers include Steven Stucky, Richard Danielpour, Tarik O’Regan, Derek Bermel, Robert Aldridge, David Dzubay, Gerald Chenoweth, and Jay Yim. She studies voice with Theresa Brancaccio at Northwestern. Past voice teachers include: Judith Nicosia and Judith Kellock.

Nina Shekhar, composer

Nina Shekhar (b. 1995) is an emerging composer currently based in Michigan whose music explores the intersection of identity, vulnerability, love, and laughter.  Her works have been performed in concert by leading artists such as ETHEL, soprano Tony Arnold, Third Angle New Music, Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, and saxophonist Jan Berry Baker and have been featured by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Flute Association, North American Saxophone Alliance, I Care if You Listen, WQXR New Sounds, TUTTI Festival, Bowdoin International Music Festival, and Detroit REVIVAL Project in collaboration with dance troupe ArtLab J. She has also previously collaborated with the JACK Quartet, and upcoming events include premieres at National Sawdust and a feature on her piece Quirkhead, about O.C.D. and mental illness, in a forthcoming PBS documentary chronicling the inaugural Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music.  Nina is a recipient of the 2015 ASCAP Morton Gould Award and a finalist in the 2017 Morton Gould Awards.

Aside from composing, Nina is a versatile performing artist. As a flutist, she currently studies with Amy Porter and has previously performed in masterclasses given by Flutronix (Nathalie Joachim and Allison Loggins-Hull), Tim Munro, Claire Chase, and composer/flutist Ian Clarke. She has also premiered fellow composers’ works at the Midwest Composers Symposium and New Music on the Point Summer Festival. As a pianist, she has performed in the Poland International Piano Festival as a soloist with the Lublin Philharmonic and studied under Tomoko Mack. Nina was selected to perform in the Detroit International Jazz Festival with her jazz band in 2012 and 2013 as lead alto saxophonist.

Nina is completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan receiving dual degrees in music composition and chemical engineering, and will begin pursuing composition graduate studies in the fall.  Her mentors include Evan Chambers, Bright Sheng, Michael Daugherty, Kristin Kuster, Erik Santos, Gabriela Lena Frank, Derek Bermel, and James Hartway.

Annika Socolofsky, composer

Annika Socolofsky is a composer, avant-folk vocalist, and fiddler. Her music is rooted in nuanced timbre and resonance of the human voice, how those resonances feel within the performer’s body, and how that timbral wash of warmth can be communicated with the audience.

The 2017 – 2018 season included works for Eighth Blackbird, sean-nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, Albany Symphony, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, and saxophonist Jonathan Hulting-Cohen, Third Coast Percussion and the Albany Symphony this past summer. She performed as avant- folk vocal soloist with the Albany Symphony for Michael Daugherty’s stunning and leftist work “This Land Sings”, which was recorded for Naxos.

Annika has also composed for the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Emissary Quartet, Shattered Glass, Donald Sinta Quartet, JACK Quartet, Latitude 49, and Mobius Percussion. She received a 2014 Fromm Foundation Commission and a 2017 BMI Student Composer Award.

Annika is a doctoral candidate in composition at Princeton University where her research focuses on physiology in contemporary vocal music, using analysis of Dolly Parton’s vocal technique to create a pedagogical approach to vocal composition that does not box the composer into an either/or decision of straight tone vs. operatic vocals. She received her Masters Degree in composition at the University of Michigan. Her main mentors have been Evan Chambers, Dan Trueman, and Kristin Kuster.

Nick Benavides, composer

Nick Benavides’ music has been described as “wonderfully structured and harmonically imaginative…” (Music vs Theater) and “… sadly reflective… not a note was wasted” (San Francisco Classical Voice). He has worked with prominent groups such as Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, The Bay Brass, The International Orange Chorale, for change dance collective, and Friction Quartet. His music has been featured all over North America and Europe at festivals as well as on the radio.

Nick was 2016’s winner of the Heartland Symphony Annual Composition Competition, placed first in SFCM’s biennial Choir Composition Competition (’14), and was a finalist for the Morton Gould Young Composer Award (’13 & ’17).

Upcoming commissions include an evening length work incorporating projections with windoctet Nomad Session based on small hidden spaces in San Francisco, a new work forFriction Quartet based on the Southwestern United States, an evening length dance piece for change dance collective incorporating Teatro Catalina in Nicaragua, and a 25th season anniversary serenade for Left Coast Chamber Ensemble.

As the Artistic Director of the Guerrilla Composers Guild (, he hasbeen called a “new music impresario of San Francisco” (Cy Musiker, KQED Arts). As a performer he has sung with Opera San Jose, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. He is currently in composer in residence with Nomad Session and was composer in residence with Elevate Ensemble. He recently held residencies at Avaloch Farm in New Hampshire, and at he Visby International Composers Centre in Visby, Sweden.

Nick has studied composition with Dan Becker, David Conte, Jack Perla, Pamela Quist, and Kurt Rohde and has received degrees in music at Santa Clara University (BA) and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (MM). He also studied with Philip Lasser as part of the EAMA-Nadia Boulanger Institute. He is the managing director of Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Academy of Art University, and is a teaching artist with the San Francisco Opera.

Gemma Peacocke, composer

Gemma Peacocke is a US-based composer from New Zealand. She writes music that seamlessly combines electronics with acoustic instruments and voices. Her multimedia song cycle, “Waves + Lines”, based on Eliza Griswold’s book I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan, premiered in June 2017 at Roulette Intermedium in Brooklyn with the support of a commission from the Jerome L Green Foundation, and it also was premiered in Australia by Rubiks as part of the Metropolis Festival at the Melbourne Recital Centre in April 2018. Her song cycle “Pacific”, for chamber choir, piano four-hands and electronics was premiered by the Tudor Consort at the National Cathedral in Wellington, New Zealand, in September 2017 with the support of a PADET grant and recorded by Radio New Zealand.

Gemma often collaborate with filmmakers, choreographers, and theatre practitioners, including with Australian director Benita de Wit on Undrown’d, a play about asylum seekers held in offshore detention centers, which has been presented in two seasons in New York. She is a cofounder of multidisciplinary arts company Anothershore, developing a new work about refugees held on Manus Island by the Australian government. She has collaborated with renowned choreographer Sylvain Émard and emerging choreographers Kyle Mullins and Fairul Zahid. She was the Creative New Zealand Edwin Carr Scholar for 2014 and 2015 and a 2015 Bang on a Can composition fellow. Gemma was awarded the NYU Steinhardt prize for Graduate Composition in 2016 having completed a Master of Music in Composition with Julia Wolfe on a Walter Reinhold Scholarship. She spent the autumn of 2015 studying at the Institute for Music/Acoustic Research and Coordination (IRCAM) in Paris, and is am currently a Ph.D. candidate in composition at Princeton University. Her music has been performed in New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Brazil, the United States, and Denmark.

Oliver Lewin, composer

Oliver Lewin (b. 1991) is a composer from Los Angeles, CA. He studied composition under David Loeb, and also under Leo Edwards, at the New School’s Mannes School of Music in New York City. Beyond composition, he also studied ethnomusicology, with focuses on music from Asia, Latin America, and Australia. At The New School, Lewin also had the opportunity to take courses at Parsons School of Design, and was able to realize his passion for musical installations and sound art. While in New York, Oliver studied turntablism under DJ Rob Swift. Recently, Lewin’s “Dialogues for two violins” was performed throughout Los Angeles as a part of the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra concert series. Outside of music, Oliver is a supporter of the Los Angeles Clippers and Chelsea Football Club. He has scored award-winning short films, videogames, and films. His favorite composer is J.S. Bach.

Fjóla Evans, composer

Fjóla Evans is a Canadian/Icelandic composer and cellist. Her work draws inspiration from the behavioural patterns of natural phenomena, the droning lilt of Icelandic folk music, and the experience of ascribing significance to happenstance. Autocorrect describes her work as a “texturing fog.” Commissions and performances have come from ensembles such as the JACK Quartet, Bang on a Can All-Stars pianist Vicky Chow, Contemporaneous, ensemble reconsil, and Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble. Her work has been featured on the MATA Festival, Ung Nordisk Musik, and the SONiC Festival. Upcoming projects include a commission from Thin Edge New Music Collective, and the commercial release of Bearthoven’s recording of Shoaling on Cantaloupe Music.

As a performer, she has presented her own work at Cluster Festival of New Music, núna (now), and at Toronto’s the Music Gallery. She has performed with ensembles such as Hotel Elefant, singer/producer Lydia Ainsworth, and Bing & Ruth. She was the winner of GroundSwell’s Emerging Canadian Composers Competition, and collaborated with instrument maker Merche Blasco on a piece for three sopranos and Theremin Orchestra. Fjóla has participated in the Bang on a Can contemporary music festival, both as a composer and as a cellist, in the Soundstreams 2016 Emerging Composer Workshop studying with mentor composer Steve Reich, and has attended residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts, KulturKontakt Austria, and the Old School Arthouse in Hrísey, Iceland. Her work has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the SOCAN Foundation. A graduate of McGill University where she studied with cellist Matt Haimovitz, Fjóla recently completed her master’s degree in composition with Julia Wolfe at NYU Steinhardt. Fjóla is currently pursuing graduate studies in composition at the Yale School of Music, as a student of Martin Bresnick and Christopher Theofanidis.


Molly Herron, composer

Molly HerronMolly Herron is a composer whose music is inspired by the complicated, messy sounds of our every day environment and the energy of interaction. Her rhythmically driven work has been called “a beautiful collusion” (Seen and Heard International) and described as “showcasing a wonderful consideration of counterpoint and sound-in- time” (I Care If You Listen).

Herron has composed for a broad range of instruments from full orchestra to flower pot and her work includes pieces for film, theater, and dance. She has written for The JACK Quartet, The Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Contemporaneous, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, Concert Black, and ECCE among others. Her work has been supported by the New York Foundation for the Arts, MATA, The Brooklyn Arts Council, and the Copland Fund. She has had residencies with Exploring the Metropolis, Avaloch Farm Music Institute, La Pietra Forum, and the School of Making Thinking; and her work has been presented on the American Composers Orchestra’s SONiC Festival, the Fast Forward Austin festival and the Berlin Film Festival.

Herron’s music often veers outside of traditional western classical instruments. She works frequently with Baroque instruments and everyday objects and collaborates with instrument inventors to find new avenues for sound.

Herron is an active participant in the promotion of new music through performance, education, and arts advocacy. She is a co-founder and artistic director of the composer collective West 4th New Music, which has been producing concerts since 2010. The group has been praised for their “exquisitely curated” concerts.

She received her Masters of Music degree in 2012 from The Steinhardt School at New York University. While there she studied privately with Joan La Barbara and Michael Gordon. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in composition at Princeton University.

Danny Clay, composer

Danny Clay is a composer and teaching artist from Ohio, currently based in San Francisco. His work is deeply rooted in curiosity, collaboration, and the sheer joy of making things with people. His projects often incorporate musical games, open forms, found objects, archival media, toy instruments, classrooms of elementary schoolers, graphic notation, digital errata, cross-disciplinary research, and the everything-in-between.

Recent collaborators include Kronos Quartet, Third Coast Percussion, Sarah Cahill, Phyllis Chen, Post:Ballet, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, Areon Flutes, Mobius Trio, the Living Earth Show, Friction Quartet, MUSA Baroque, Anne Rainwater, Elevate Ensemble, the Trinity Alps Chamber Players, Mabel Kwan, David Grollman, Karl Fousek, Greg Gorlen, Jon Fischer, Joseph Edward Yonker, Quinn Walker, Wil Bolton, Stijn Hüwels, and Nobuto Suda.

As a teaching artist specializing in composition with elementary schoolers, he frequently collaborates with his music students in San Francisco, orchestrating projects with professional musicians and composers alike including Phyllis Chen, Friction Quartet, John Lane, Jerod Sommerfeldt and others. He has taught workshops for young artists with organizations such as Little Opera, the San Francisco Opera, 826 Valencia, Thingamajigs, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Composers and Schools in Concert (CSIC), and the Buckeye Valley Local School District. He currently curates Project Object, a net-label of experimental music by kids.

His work has been released on Parlour Tapes+, Patient Sounds, Hibernate Recordings, IIKKI Editions, Unknown Tone Records, Eilean Records, Rural Colours, Phinery Recordings, Heat Death Records, Futuresequence, Tessellate Recordings, and Turmeric Magnitudes

He also serves as a resident curator at the Center for New Music in San Francisco, a frequent host of Music from Other Minds on KALW radio.

Molly Joyce, composer

Molly Joyce’s music has been described as “impassioned” (The Washington Post), written to “superb effect” (The Wire), and “vibrant, inventive music that communicates straight from the heart” (Prufrock’s Dilemma). Her works have been commissioned and performed by several distinguished ensembles including the New World Symphony, New York Youth Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the New Juilliard, Decoda, and Contemporaneous ensembles. Additionally, her work has been performed at the Bang on a Can Marathon and VisionIntoArt’s FERUS Festival, and featured in outlets such as Pitchfork, WNYC’s New Sounds, Q2 Music, and I Care If You Listen.

The 2016-17 season will see the first commercial releases of Molly’s music, both on New Amsterdam Records. These releases include Molly’s debut solo release, an EP featuring two violin and electronics pieces performed by violinists Monica Germino and Adrianna Mateo, and a work on Bang on a Can All-Stars member Vicky Chow’s album of electroacoustic piano compositions. In addition, Molly will continue her wide variety of performances and collaborations involving her vintage toy organ, including a performance at the Metropolis Ensemble’s 10th Anniversary Celebration and a collaboration with choreographer Ying Cai for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas Festival.

As a performer, Molly often performs on her vintage Magnus toy organ, an instrument she bought on eBay and has performed on in multiple capacities; including solo, with toy piano, and with a beatboxer.

Also an active participant in other aspects of the music industry, Molly is currently the Digital Content Manager for New Amsterdam Presents/Records and has served as an assistant to Glenn Kotche, Missy Mazzoli, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and Shara Nova, among others.

Molly has studied at The Juilliard School, the Koninklijk Conservatorium, and the Yale School of Music.

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