Composers

Victoria Cheah (b. 1988, New York, NY) is a composer and installation artist.  Her music has been performed by ensembles such as the Trio de Kooning, Talujon Percussion Quartet, PRISM Saxophone Quartet, and others. She has participated in festivals such as the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice (SICPP), the International Composition Workshop at the Conservatoire de Blanc-Mesnil,  The Walden School, and others. Past  teachers include David Rakowski, Yu-Hui Chang, Eric Chasalow and Steven Takasugi.

Cheah is the Executive Director of Sound Icon, a Boston new music sinfonietta committed to performing progressive new music repertoire from the past few decades that has changed how we understand music.  For more information about Sound Icon, please visit www.soundicon.orgShe has also worked with other leading new music organizations (in administrative and production capacities) including the Manhattan Sinfonietta, the Argento Chamber Ensemble, and the Composit new music festival in Rieti, Italy, among others.

Cheah holds a B.A. in music from Hunter College and the Macaulay Honors College. She is currently a doctoral candidate in composition at Brandeis University.

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Richard Chowenhill is an award-winning composer and guitarist. His music has been performed across North America by the Lydian String Quartet, the Talujon Percussion Ensemble, the Beat City Percussion Ensemble, the Wellesley Composers Conference Orchestra, Music From China, members of the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra, members of the UC Davis Early Music Ensemble, the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble, and numerous other soloists and ensembles. Originally from California, Richard has performed as a guitar player in numerous California-based bands and chamber ensembles. Currently he performs with the Boston-based experimental group Ehnahre, and will appear on the group’s forthcoming record. Drawing influence from his experiences performing in rock and metal bands, chamber ensembles, orchestras, jazz groups, an early music ensemble, several theatre productions, and a Hindustani vocal ensemble, his compositions frequently reflect his diverse musical background. Richard is currently the resident composer and associate artistic director with the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble and is pursuing a Ph.D. in music composition and theory at Brandeis University.

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David Dominique is a composer and performer living in Boston, MA.  He has worked in a variety of genres including chamber music, jazz, electroacoustic music, installation, rock and experimental theater.

David has recently written pieces for the Lydian String Quartet, the Radnofsky Saxophone Quartet, the Formalist String Quartet, Nimbus Ensemble and Killsonic, a mobile band of horns, drums and accordions with whom he sometimes performs on trombone and flugabone.  His works have been performed and presented in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Nashville and Berlin, among others.  As a trombonist, he has performed at such festivals as Bumbershoot, Coachella, San Diego Street Scene, and San Francisco Outside Lands.

In the summer of 2010, David co-composed and performed in “Tongues Bloody Tongues”, an experimental opera commissioned by the Roy E. Disney CalArts Theater (REDCAT) “.  After three sold out performances, the work was described by the LA Times as “a world that seduces with a glorious exaltation of brassy breath and accented rat-a-tat percussion” that “left one wanting more.”  The company was recently invited to produce the opera in Stockholm.  His latest projects are an album of experimental jazz, which he will perform with various ensembles in multiple cities, and a new theater work about infamous NASA astronaut, Lisa Nowak.

David’s teachers have included Samuel Adler, Chaya Czernowin, Steven Takasugi, Liviu Marinescu, and Daniel Hosken.  Currently, David is a PhD candidate in Music Composition and Theory at Brandeis University, where he teaches music theory and studies composition with Eric Chasalow and David Rakowski.

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Todd Kitchen (M.F.A. candidate in composition, Brandeis University)

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Emily Koh is an award-winning young composer of contemporary classical music based in Boston MA, and a native of Singapore. Winner of the 2013 Irino Prize, 2012 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award, PARMA student competition, 2011 Prix d’Ete and others, Emily’s music has been heard at various venues in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Israel, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. She has also been commissioned by the Barlow Endowment, Composers Conference at Wellesley College, Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble, Amigo Saxophone Collective, The Philharmonic Orchestra Society and others. Emily is currently the composer-in-residence of the LUNAR Ensemble (Baltimore MD), Director of Concert Series at the Boston New Music Initiative and a Ph.D. candidate in Music Composition and Theory at Brandeis University.

For more information, visit http://www.emilykoh.net

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Bradley Kuhn-McKearin (M.F.A. candidate in composition, Brandeis University).

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Frank S. Li is a Chinese-American composer, writer, and conductor. He graduated with a double degree in Music Composition and Urban Planning from the University of California, San Diego, and is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Composition and Theory at Brandeis University. His primary teachers include David Rakowski, Eric Chasalow, Lei Liang, and Philippe Manoury.

Frank’s music is eclectic and still ever-changing. He is currently interested in non-traditional structures, sociopolitical issues, eclecticism, and absurdity, but his past work has explored such varied themes as unreliable narrative, imperfect patterns, and meditation. His background reflects this well; though beginning as a classical violinist, he has also since performed as an instrumentalist, vocalist, and conductor in contexts ranging from drum corps to klezmer bands. As a conductor, he has worked primarily in theater (musical theater and opera).

Frank is also an aspiring author who writes poetry and fiction. This work explores many of the same themes as his music, especially unreliable narrative – for example, persona poetry involving major revelations about the nature of the poem’s narrator. He has studied poetry with Elizabeth Bradfield and is currently working on his first full-length novel, an introspective literary science fiction story.

Frank’s music has been presented by such performers as the magnificent Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, the multifaceted Genkin Philharmonic, and the incomparable Tony Arnold/Michael Norsworthy duo. He was the recipient of the 2011 UCSD Stewart Prize and a West Coast semifinalist in the 2012 Rapido! Composition Contest.

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Born in Taipei, Taiwan, LIN Mu-Xuan (b. 1984) is a versatile composer, writer, visual artist, as well as an active vocalist. Her music has been heard in Taiwan, USA (Boston and New York), the Netherland (Amsterdam), Austria (Mittersill), and Switzerland. She is the 2011 selected composer from USA to attend KoFoMi (KomponistInnenforum Mittersill) in Mittersill and the special residency in Salzburg, Austria, a fully funded auditing participant at the Acanthes de Metz 2011 in France, the first and two-time winner of the scholarship award in honor of Gardner Read, 2010 composition fellow at Etchings Festival for Contemporary Music at Auvillar in France, a fellow at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and a featured composer for the New Gallery Concert Series’ “Young Composers’ Portrait” in 2008.

Frequently exposed to Beijing Opera, contemporary theatre, and literature from an early age, Mu-Xuan’s passion for synthesizing various art forms to create a kind of Gesamtkunstwerks has been progressively coming into realization in the recent years. Praised as “beautiful, powerful, and imaginative,” her percussion quartet Melancholia (2011-12) written for the renown Talujon Percussion Group is a successful experiment on form and process, a quaint acoustic architecture that is both a gigantic gestural envelop and a multi-layered, constantly self-generating linear unfolding unrelenting to the larger structure housing it. Another one of her latest pieces, the vocal sextet Journal Entry : i : (2010) written for New York Virtuoso Singers was a theatrical treatment of music as an autonomous third-person agent that superimposes over human emotion’s first-person dramatic discourse. Her saxophone quartet The Sea, the Sea (2010), described by Melinda Wagner as “achingly beautiful,” was composed with the same visceral vigor. Her other works include the project A room of French windows and limestone sculptures (2009) — which she calls “an experience envisioned by a dream, transformed into words, realized through music, and complemented by dance and video” — for which she was the writer/librettist, composer, choreographer, and video artist. She was commissioned by choreographer Betsi Graves Akerstein and the Urbanity Dance Project for their 2010 winter revue piece Little Blue Dot in which she composed the original score inspired and constructed upon the pre-choreographed dance. Mu-Xuan received her BM from New England Conservatory where she studied with Michael Gandolfi, and is presently a Ph.D student in Composition and Theory at Brandeis University, studying with David Rakowsky, Yu-Hui Chang, Eric Chasalow, and Melinda Wagner. She has also taken lessons with Philippe Hurel, Louis Karchin, Fabian Levy, and Oscar Strasnoy.

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James Praznik (Ph.D. candidate in composition, Brandeis University).

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Jared Redmond is a pianist and composer.

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Rebecca Sacks is an M.F.A. student in composition and theory. She graduated from Tufts University in 2006 with a B.A. in Music (summa cum laude). Her compositions have been performed by members of the Radnofsky Quartet, the Talujon Percussion Group, the Tufts University Chamber Singers and the Tufts University Chorale (under Andrew Clark), Tufts’ West African Percussion Ensemble, the Mockingbird Trio, and the Cantata Singers of Elmira, NY. In the 2012-13 academic year, her work will be performed by the University of Alabama’s Percussion Ensemble (under Tim Feeney), John McDonald (piano) and Masako Kunimoto (percussion) at Tufts University, and the Genkin Philharmonic at Brandeis University.

In 2002, Sacks attended the European American Musical Alliance (EAMA) Summer Composition Program at the Schola Cantorum in Paris, where she studied counterpoint, harmony, and analysis in the tradition of Nadia Boulanger. In 2005, Sacks received the Etta and Harry Winokur Award for Outstanding Achievement in Artistic or Scholarly Work from the Tufts Music Department. In 2007, she was a finalist at the Ithaca College Choral Composition Festival for her composition “The Mirror,” which was performed the previous year in Spain by the Tufts Chamber Singers.

Sacks has a background in piano (classical and jazz), jazz voice, and West African music, which she has studied with David Locke since 2005. While at Brandeis, she has studied with Eric Chasalow, Yu-Hui Chang, Marty Boykan and Melinda Wagner.

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Kyo Shimizu is a Japanese music composer and producer based in the Tokyo and Boston areas, originally from Takasaki, Japan.

Kyo’s music career started taking private violin lessons when he was a child in Takasaki city. At the age of fifteen, he started playing the guitar, and began to study music theory. In his high school years, he frequently had performances at clubs and festivals in the Takasaki Area. At the age of eighteen, he moved to Tokyo to enter Sophia University, and became a researcher in Nuclear Theory Laboratory conducted by Kiyotaka Shimizu. He also started his career as a mathematics / science teacher in a private school. However, Kyo could not give up the hope of pursuing a career as a musician; therefore, he moved to Boston to study music engineering immediately after his graduation.

In Boston, Kyo started a bachelor program at Berklee College of Music, majoring in music composition and production. In the process of getting a bachelor degree, he met a Russian composer, Alla Elana Cohen who recommended him to have a formal training of classical composition. Through studying with her, eventually he resolved to devote himself to classical music composition.

Kyo is currently pursuing Master of Fine Arts in Music Composition and Theory at Brandeis University, and working as a course assistant at Department of German, Russian and Asian Language and Literature.

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Joseph Sowa (b. 1984) has written for a variety of forces, including chamber, electronic, choral, and orchestral groups.

Recently, he participated in the “From USA” commissioning project by clarinetist Arianna Tieghi, and his flute and saxophone duet, fangled contraption, has received multiple performances by the Tower Duo and the Awea Duo. In December 2011, His violin concerto, Myths and Legends, was premiered by the BYU Chamber Orchestra. In 2010, he was commissioned by the Barlow Endowment to write a chamber piece for bassist Eric Hansen that was premiered at the 2011 Convention of the International Society of Bassists.

Joseph has received commissions from the BYU Laycock Endowment, the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, Douglas Bush, Neil Thornock, and Arianna Tieghi. His music has been performed in Europe by the Quartetto Indaco, clarinetist Arianna Tieghi, and organist Douglas Bush and throughout the United States by the Awea Duo, Ron Brough, Douglas Bush, Eric Hansen, Jaren Hinckley, Scott Holden, Jed Moss, Ray Smith, the Tower Duo, and Neil Thornock, among others.

He studied primarily with Stephen JonesNeil ThornockMichael HicksSteve Ricks, and David Sargent. He has also attend the EAMA, Brevard, and highSCORE summer music festivals. His longest, still-unfulfilled musical dream is to write a piece for tuba ensemble.

Outside of music, Joseph currently works as managing editor of external relations for the BYU College of Fine Arts and Communications.

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Yiguo Yan (M.F.A. candidate in composition, Brandeis University).

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Michele Zaccagnini (b. 1974) is from Rome. He studied clarinet at Conservatorio di Musica S. Cecilia, holds a B.A. in Economics, earned a degree in film-scoring at UCLA and is about to graduate with a Ph.D. in Music Composition and Theory at Brandeis University. He has scored several video-theatre projects and worked as a composer/producer for commercial labels. He also worked as a sound-designer on staff for Cinecittà Studios (Rome). His main interests are algorithmic composition, electroacoustic music and the interaction between video and sound.

He is now serving as a teaching fellow at Harvard University and as a primary instructor at Middlesex Community College.

His dissertation piece “Variazioni su AlDo ClemEnti” has received wide praise and has been selected as a finalist in the international  composition competition “… A Camillo Togni”

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