The composition and music technology program is among the most vibrant and progressive in the country, featuring internationally recognized faculty members whose works are regularly performed by top orchestras, chamber ensembles, and soloists throughout the world.

Because of the program’s emphasis on individuality, the student body is impressively diverse, representing a wide range of stylistic interests, techniques, notations, performance venues and audiences. Students draw upon the excellent resources of the Bienen School of Music, comprising premier researchers and performers, a music library that houses the largest collection of post-1945 music in the world, and the thriving cultural community in nearby Chicago.

The school’s Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition provides a special dimension to the program, as prizewinners—thus far John Adams, Oliver Knussen, Kaija Saariaho, John Luther Adams, Aaron Jay Kernis, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Steve Reich, Jennifer Higdon, and William Bolcom—spend two to three weeks on campus, closely interacting with students and faculty.

The graduate student support provided to PhD students includes year-round tuition and stipend and fully subsidized health insurance.

About the Composition and Music Technology Program

Performance Opportunities

The performance of student compositions is a central focus of the program. Numerous opportunities exist for collaborative work with graduate and undergraduate performance majors, both in solo and ensemble settings, including:

  • three Student Composer Concerts per year

  • performances and readings by visiting artists, who in recent years have included Claire Chase, Ensemble Recherche, Eighth Blackbird, ICE, Ensemble Linea, Callithumpian Consort, JACK Quartet, Spektral Quartet, Ensemble Dal Niente, Lucas Fels, Fonema Consort, Third Coast Percussion, and loadbang

  • annual performances and reading sessions by large Bienen School ensembles, including the Contemporary Music Ensemble, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and Symphony Orchestra

  • 200+ solo and chamber ensemble recitals presented annually by performance students

Course Offerings

Undergraduate and doctoral student composers regularly take cutting-edge, upper-level courses in subjects such as:

  • Phenomenology of Sound

  • Sound Installation Art

  • Contemporary Opera

  • Materials of Music Since 1945

  • The Art of Noise

  • Technology-Based Performance

  • Aesthetics for Composers

  • Producing in the Virtual Studio

  • Current Compositional Praxis

Additionally, all students participate in the Composition Colloquium, a weekly forum where students and faculty present and discuss their current work. The Colloquium regularly hosts guest composers of international renown.

Institute for New Music

New music plays a vital role in Northwestern’s musical life. Student composers regularly work with guest performers under the aegis of the Institute for New Music, the nerve center of all contemporary music activities at the Bienen School.

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Undergraduate Program

The composition and music technology faculty believes that a successful composer is not merely a master of craft and technique, but rather someone with curiosity and a broad knowledge in diverse fields across the arts, sciences, and humanities. An intensive composition curriculum, therefore, is paired with the broad academic and cultural resources available at an elite research university.

Students construct a flexible course of study that best matches their musical and career goals. Most students pursue the Bachelor of Music, a professional degree, but the liberal arts-oriented Bachelor of Arts in Music and Bachelor of Science in Music degrees are also available. Many composition and music technology majors take advantage of the dual degree program; the ad hoc, or self-designed degree; or a double major within the Bienen School of Music, such as the pairing of a major in composition with one in performance. Another option that BM composition students have undertaken is combining their composition studies with a minor in music technology.

See Undergraduate Admission Requirements

PhD Program

Students in this program are strongly supported in their efforts to build not only technical proficiency but also a unique and original musical voice. As a result, they are surrounded and enriched by colleagues of a wide diversity of perspective. All students are actively assisted in developing relationships with professional soloists and ensembles outside of the University setting, both locally and internationally.

The composition program provides significant support to students for the purposes of travel and logistics for performances, research, and other professional development activities. Funding level is based on merit of the project, with 10-20 proposals funded each year.

Note: Graduate students interested in pursuing the PhD degree may enter either after the completion of a master's degree or, for especially gifted students, after earning an undergraduate degree.

See PhD Admission Requirements

Music Library

Among the largest music collections in the U.S., the Northwestern University Music Library has an unmatched strength in 20th century and contemporary classical music, and holds at least one copy of nearly every new score published since 1945. The library’s notable John Cage collection documents the life and work of one the 20th century’s most revolutionary composer.

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After Northwestern

Composition program alumni have gone on to establish notable careers as composers, performers, educators, and scholars. Their achievements include:

  • performances at major international festivals including Gaudeamus, Huddersfield, ISCM World Music Days, Donaueschingen, SEAMUS, and Wien Modern

  • courses and residencies at Darmstadt, Royaumont, Acanthes, June in Buffalo, DAAD Künstlerprogramm, Tanglewood, and Aspen

  • performances by such ensembles as Arditti Quartet, Ensemble Modern, ensemble recherche, Apartment House, Neue Vocalisten Stuttgart, Champ d’Action, ASKO Ensemble, Ensemble SurPlus, Ictus Ensemble, the Bozzini, Diotima, and Kairos String Quartets, and numerous soloists

  • teaching positions at colleges and universities throughout the U.S.

 

Current Composition Students

PhD Candidate

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Luis Fernando Amaya

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PhD Candidate

LFAmaya@u.northwestern.edu

Born in Aguascalientes, México, Luis Fernando Amaya is a Chicago-based composer and percussionist. Topics such as collective memory, "flaw," and the relationship between humans and non-human others (such as plants and animals, imaginary or not) are commonly present in his work. He studied composition and music theory at the Centro de Investigación y Estudios Musicales (CIEM) in México City. Amaya's music has been performed throughout North America (México, the US, Canada), South America, and Europe. Performers of his music include the Arditti Quartet (UK), Yuko Yoshikawa (Japan), Cuarteto Arcano (México), Quartetto Indaco (Italy), Spektral Quartet, and Ensemble Dal Niente (USA). He is the recipient of various awards and fellowships such as the Fonca-Conacyt Scholarship, Presidential Fellowship (Northwestern University), and representing México in the 61st International Rostrum of Composers of the UNESCO in Helsinki, Finland. As a performer, Amaya is a member of the collective composition and free improvisation trio Fat Pigeon.

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PhD Candidate

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Mathew Arrellin

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PhD Candidate

MathewArrellin2020@u.northwestern.edu

Mathew Arrellin, born in El Paso, Texas, is a composer and cellist currently based in Chicago. He has written solo and chamber works, which have been performed by ~Nois Saxophone Quartet, the Low Frequency Trio, the Fonema Consort, Ensemble Dal Niente, the Mivos Quartet, and himself, among others. His music has been performed in festivals such as the Valencia International Performance Academy (VIPA), June in Buffalo, and the SCI National Conference. Forthcoming projects include a piece for piano and large ensemble, to be presented at the NUNC! 4 festival, an electric guitar solo, a bassoon solo in collaboration with Ben Roidl-Ward, and an orchestra piece commissioned by the Chicago Composers Orchestra, to be performed in the fall of 2021. Mathew holds a bachelor's degree in music theory, composition, and cello performance from the University of New Mexico, where his cello teacher was David Schepps and his theory/composition teacher was José-Luis Hurtado. At Northwestern, he has studied composition with Jay Alan Yim, Alex Mincek, and Hans Thomalla. He has taught first year aural skills, class composition for majors and non-majors, and a general music class titled "Music and the Visual Arts."

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4th year PhD

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Lisa Atkinson

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4th year PhD

LisaAtkinson2023@u.northwestern.edu

Lisa Atkinson is a Chicago-based composer whose work explores interiority through the tactile nature of live performance and the emotional context of gesture while examining issues of fragility, memory, and perception. 

Atkinson's works have been performed by ensembles such as Wet Ink, loadbang, the Amaranth String Quartet, and the International Contemporary Ensemble and by soloists Ammie Brod, Gregory Oakes, and Amber Evans. She has participated as a composition fellow at the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice, the Cortona Sessions for New Music, New Music on the Point, and Ensemble Evolution at the Banff Center for Arts and Creativity.

Atkinson is pursuing a PhD in Composition at Northwestern University under the guidance of Alex Mincek, Hans Thomalla, and Jay Alan Yim. She completed her MA at Montclair State University, working with Marcos Balter and Nathan Davis, and her B.Mus. at Arizona State University.

2nd year PhD

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Carlos Bandera

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2nd year PhD

CarlosBandera2025@u.northwestern.edu

Carlos Bandera is a composer whose music searches for a feeling of transcendence and reflects on aspects of the human experience. He often draws on a deep appreciation of the music of the past and experiments with the interplay of seemingly disparate musical materials.

Carlos received the Underwood Commission to write a new work for the American Composers Orchestra after his piece Lux in Tenebris was performed at the 2018 Underwood New Music Readings. His music has been performed by groups such as the Illinois Philharmonic, Hastings Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, Dogs of Desire, Hotel Elefant, Earspace, Hebrides Ensemble, Nebula Ensemble, Omnibus Ensemble, and Now Hear This. He has attended Composers Conference, Copland House’s CULTIVATE program, the Delian Academy for New Music, and Time of Music.

In 2015, Carlos earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Montclair State University, where he studied with Elizabeth Brown, Dean Drummond, and Marcos Balter. Carlos received his Master of Music degree in 2017 from Peabody Conservatory, where he participated in masterclasses with Christopher Rouse and Georg Friedrich Haas and studied privately with Kevin Puts. Carlos is currently pursuing a PhD in Composition and Music Technology from Northwestern University.

Luis Fernando Amaya

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PhD Candidate

LFAmaya@u.northwestern.edu

Born in Aguascalientes, México, Luis Fernando Amaya is a Chicago-based composer and percussionist. Topics such as collective memory, "flaw," and the relationship between humans and non-human others (such as plants and animals, imaginary or not) are commonly present in his work. He studied composition and music theory at the Centro de Investigación y Estudios Musicales (CIEM) in México City. Amaya's music has been performed throughout North America (México, the US, Canada), South America, and Europe. Performers of his music include the Arditti Quartet (UK), Yuko Yoshikawa (Japan), Cuarteto Arcano (México), Quartetto Indaco (Italy), Spektral Quartet, and Ensemble Dal Niente (USA). He is the recipient of various awards and fellowships such as the Fonca-Conacyt Scholarship, Presidential Fellowship (Northwestern University), and representing México in the 61st International Rostrum of Composers of the UNESCO in Helsinki, Finland. As a performer, Amaya is a member of the collective composition and free improvisation trio Fat Pigeon.

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Mathew Arrellin

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PhD Candidate

MathewArrellin2020@u.northwestern.edu

Mathew Arrellin, born in El Paso, Texas, is a composer and cellist currently based in Chicago. He has written solo and chamber works, which have been performed by ~Nois Saxophone Quartet, the Low Frequency Trio, the Fonema Consort, Ensemble Dal Niente, the Mivos Quartet, and himself, among others. His music has been performed in festivals such as the Valencia International Performance Academy (VIPA), June in Buffalo, and the SCI National Conference. Forthcoming projects include a piece for piano and large ensemble, to be presented at the NUNC! 4 festival, an electric guitar solo, a bassoon solo in collaboration with Ben Roidl-Ward, and an orchestra piece commissioned by the Chicago Composers Orchestra, to be performed in the fall of 2021. Mathew holds a bachelor's degree in music theory, composition, and cello performance from the University of New Mexico, where his cello teacher was David Schepps and his theory/composition teacher was José-Luis Hurtado. At Northwestern, he has studied composition with Jay Alan Yim, Alex Mincek, and Hans Thomalla. He has taught first year aural skills, class composition for majors and non-majors, and a general music class titled "Music and the Visual Arts."

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Lisa Atkinson

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4th year PhD

LisaAtkinson2023@u.northwestern.edu

Lisa Atkinson is a Chicago-based composer whose work explores interiority through the tactile nature of live performance and the emotional context of gesture while examining issues of fragility, memory, and perception. 

Atkinson's works have been performed by ensembles such as Wet Ink, loadbang, the Amaranth String Quartet, and the International Contemporary Ensemble and by soloists Ammie Brod, Gregory Oakes, and Amber Evans. She has participated as a composition fellow at the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice, the Cortona Sessions for New Music, New Music on the Point, and Ensemble Evolution at the Banff Center for Arts and Creativity.

Atkinson is pursuing a PhD in Composition at Northwestern University under the guidance of Alex Mincek, Hans Thomalla, and Jay Alan Yim. She completed her MA at Montclair State University, working with Marcos Balter and Nathan Davis, and her B.Mus. at Arizona State University.

Carlos Bandera

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2nd year PhD

CarlosBandera2025@u.northwestern.edu

Carlos Bandera is a composer whose music searches for a feeling of transcendence and reflects on aspects of the human experience. He often draws on a deep appreciation of the music of the past and experiments with the interplay of seemingly disparate musical materials.

Carlos received the Underwood Commission to write a new work for the American Composers Orchestra after his piece Lux in Tenebris was performed at the 2018 Underwood New Music Readings. His music has been performed by groups such as the Illinois Philharmonic, Hastings Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, Dogs of Desire, Hotel Elefant, Earspace, Hebrides Ensemble, Nebula Ensemble, Omnibus Ensemble, and Now Hear This. He has attended Composers Conference, Copland House’s CULTIVATE program, the Delian Academy for New Music, and Time of Music.

In 2015, Carlos earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Montclair State University, where he studied with Elizabeth Brown, Dean Drummond, and Marcos Balter. Carlos received his Master of Music degree in 2017 from Peabody Conservatory, where he participated in masterclasses with Christopher Rouse and Georg Friedrich Haas and studied privately with Kevin Puts. Carlos is currently pursuing a PhD in Composition and Music Technology from Northwestern University.

1st Year PhD

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Konstantinos Baras

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1st Year PhD

KonstantinosBaras2026@u.northwestern.edu

Konstantinos Baras is a Greek composer of instrumental and electroacoustic music. His music focuses on the recreation of saturated soundscapes through the use of aggressive gestures, instrumental preparation, and extended techniques. He is deeply interested in exploring various tools of Digital Signal Processing (DSP) and live interactivity to further extend the acoustic profile of traditional instruments. This allows Baras to create electroacoustic hybrids, enabling him to blend seemingly juxtaposing sounds into a unified sonic structure. Baras organizes his compositions through various processes of iteration and fragmented circularity - manipulating the duration, density, and complexity of musical layering in order to shape heterogeneous sound blocks into unified phrasal structures.

DMA Candidate

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Craig Davis Pinson

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DMA Candidate

craigdavispinson2014@u.northwestern.edu

Born and raised in Mexico City, Craig Davis Pinson is a composer interested in the relationship between abstract structural experimentation and intuitive musical impulse. Performance locations include London, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Maine, Mexico, and Italy, by ensembles such as International Contemporary Ensemble, Ludovico Ensemble, The Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble, Atlantic Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble, Quartetto Maurice. Readings have included artists such as Irvine Arditti and Parker Quartet. Davis Pinson was the winner of The Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble Composition Competition 2013-2014, his music has been featured in the online publication Boing Boing and in the Atlantic Music Festival, Fresh Inc, and highSCORE festivals. He has participated in masterclasses with Esa-Pekka Salonen, Christopher Theofanidis, and Hilda Paredes. Davis Pinson holds a Bachelor of Music degree in composition from The Boston Conservatory.

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PhD Candidate

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Niki Harlafti

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PhD Candidate

NikiCharlafti2023@u.northwestern.edu

Niki Harlafti is a Greek, Chicago-based composer and educator, currently pursuing her PhD in Music Composition at Bienen School of Music (Northwestern University), under the mentorship of Jay Alan Yim, Hans Thomalla, and Alex Mincek. Ms. Harlafti also holds a M.M. in Composition and Theory from New England Conservatory of Music (Boston), where she studied with Efstratios Minakakis and Anthony Coleman. 

Musically, she is currently exploring the physicality of sound, the performing body and its musical dramaturgy, improvisation, and language. Aesthetically, she is interested in contradiction and surprise, continuity and transformation, as well as in the dissolution and disruption of patterns. Her work pivots between the extremes of sensitivity and violence, comedy and drama, sense and the nonsensical, musical and theatrical narrativity, as well as their common denominators.

Her upcoming collaborations include “(Demilitarized Zone),” a choral work for the Bienen Contemporary Ensemble under the baton of Donald Nally (Chicago), a solo work for harpist Ben Melsky (member of Dal Niente), and the premiere of her complete song cycle SPEAK in the U.S. and Europe. Her latest works include "Kintsugi" for The Megalopolis Saxophone Orchestra (Boston/New York) as Composer-in-Residence (2018-19), music for contemporary dance at "The Playground" (Rambert Dance, London), "Question" for solo guitar commissioned by Ruben Mattia Santorsa (Darmstadt, Germany), “Vaisseau Fantôme,” a multimedia project premiered by ~Nois saxophone quartet (Chicago) in collaboration with iconic painter Francisco Ledesma (Mexico) and filmmaker Sophie Gordon, solo and chamber vocal works for countertenor Carl Alexander, soprano Bahareh Poureslami, collaborative pianist Christos Marinos, and others. She has also collaborated with ECCE Festival (France), Charlotte New Music Festival and loadbang, June in Buffalo Festival (NY), Musikinstitut Darmstadt, and more.

2nd year PhD

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Wan Heo

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2nd year PhD

WanHeo2025@u.northwestern.edu

Born in South Korea, Wan Heo is a composer and a violinist whose works have been performed in South Korea, Italy, Singapore, Spain, and the United States by artists including Tony Arnold, Keuris Quartet, John Pickford Richards, Philippe Spiesser, and yMusic. Her percussion solo piece Unveiled Future has been selected to be published by Alfonce Production. Wan’s recent commissioners include line upon line, New Music On the Point, highSCORE festival, VIPA (Valencia International Performance Academy), among others. Her works frequently explore timbre and spatiality along with non-traditional notation that realizes her interest in the linear approach to each part and their combination.

Recently, she began her own research on Korean ancestors’ appreciation to nature by touring and recording sounds at historical sites in South Korea, which are located in mountains. Her first work on this project, From Air to Mind, was presented at Composition In Asia conference at University of South Florida.

Wan holds B.M. in Composition from Ewha Womans University in South Korea and M.M. in Composition from Florida State University. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Composition and Music Technology at Northwestern University under the guidance of Alex Mincek, Hans Thomalla, and Jay Alan Yim.

Konstantinos Baras

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1st Year PhD

KonstantinosBaras2026@u.northwestern.edu

Konstantinos Baras is a Greek composer of instrumental and electroacoustic music. His music focuses on the recreation of saturated soundscapes through the use of aggressive gestures, instrumental preparation, and extended techniques. He is deeply interested in exploring various tools of Digital Signal Processing (DSP) and live interactivity to further extend the acoustic profile of traditional instruments. This allows Baras to create electroacoustic hybrids, enabling him to blend seemingly juxtaposing sounds into a unified sonic structure. Baras organizes his compositions through various processes of iteration and fragmented circularity - manipulating the duration, density, and complexity of musical layering in order to shape heterogeneous sound blocks into unified phrasal structures.

Craig Davis Pinson

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DMA Candidate

craigdavispinson2014@u.northwestern.edu

Born and raised in Mexico City, Craig Davis Pinson is a composer interested in the relationship between abstract structural experimentation and intuitive musical impulse. Performance locations include London, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Maine, Mexico, and Italy, by ensembles such as International Contemporary Ensemble, Ludovico Ensemble, The Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble, Atlantic Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble, Quartetto Maurice. Readings have included artists such as Irvine Arditti and Parker Quartet. Davis Pinson was the winner of The Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble Composition Competition 2013-2014, his music has been featured in the online publication Boing Boing and in the Atlantic Music Festival, Fresh Inc, and highSCORE festivals. He has participated in masterclasses with Esa-Pekka Salonen, Christopher Theofanidis, and Hilda Paredes. Davis Pinson holds a Bachelor of Music degree in composition from The Boston Conservatory.

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Niki Harlafti

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PhD Candidate

NikiCharlafti2023@u.northwestern.edu

Niki Harlafti is a Greek, Chicago-based composer and educator, currently pursuing her PhD in Music Composition at Bienen School of Music (Northwestern University), under the mentorship of Jay Alan Yim, Hans Thomalla, and Alex Mincek. Ms. Harlafti also holds a M.M. in Composition and Theory from New England Conservatory of Music (Boston), where she studied with Efstratios Minakakis and Anthony Coleman. 

Musically, she is currently exploring the physicality of sound, the performing body and its musical dramaturgy, improvisation, and language. Aesthetically, she is interested in contradiction and surprise, continuity and transformation, as well as in the dissolution and disruption of patterns. Her work pivots between the extremes of sensitivity and violence, comedy and drama, sense and the nonsensical, musical and theatrical narrativity, as well as their common denominators.

Her upcoming collaborations include “(Demilitarized Zone),” a choral work for the Bienen Contemporary Ensemble under the baton of Donald Nally (Chicago), a solo work for harpist Ben Melsky (member of Dal Niente), and the premiere of her complete song cycle SPEAK in the U.S. and Europe. Her latest works include "Kintsugi" for The Megalopolis Saxophone Orchestra (Boston/New York) as Composer-in-Residence (2018-19), music for contemporary dance at "The Playground" (Rambert Dance, London), "Question" for solo guitar commissioned by Ruben Mattia Santorsa (Darmstadt, Germany), “Vaisseau Fantôme,” a multimedia project premiered by ~Nois saxophone quartet (Chicago) in collaboration with iconic painter Francisco Ledesma (Mexico) and filmmaker Sophie Gordon, solo and chamber vocal works for countertenor Carl Alexander, soprano Bahareh Poureslami, collaborative pianist Christos Marinos, and others. She has also collaborated with ECCE Festival (France), Charlotte New Music Festival and loadbang, June in Buffalo Festival (NY), Musikinstitut Darmstadt, and more.

Wan Heo

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2nd year PhD

WanHeo2025@u.northwestern.edu

Born in South Korea, Wan Heo is a composer and a violinist whose works have been performed in South Korea, Italy, Singapore, Spain, and the United States by artists including Tony Arnold, Keuris Quartet, John Pickford Richards, Philippe Spiesser, and yMusic. Her percussion solo piece Unveiled Future has been selected to be published by Alfonce Production. Wan’s recent commissioners include line upon line, New Music On the Point, highSCORE festival, VIPA (Valencia International Performance Academy), among others. Her works frequently explore timbre and spatiality along with non-traditional notation that realizes her interest in the linear approach to each part and their combination.

Recently, she began her own research on Korean ancestors’ appreciation to nature by touring and recording sounds at historical sites in South Korea, which are located in mountains. Her first work on this project, From Air to Mind, was presented at Composition In Asia conference at University of South Florida.

Wan holds B.M. in Composition from Ewha Womans University in South Korea and M.M. in Composition from Florida State University. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Composition and Music Technology at Northwestern University under the guidance of Alex Mincek, Hans Thomalla, and Jay Alan Yim.

PhD Candidate

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Noah Jenkins

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PhD Candidate

noahfjenkins@gmail.com

Noah Jenkins is a composer and violinist from Oregon now living in Chicago. Much of his recent work is inspired by drone music, field recording, acoustic phenomena, audible processes, and thresholds of perception.

Noah’s music has been honored by leading ensembles of the contemporary music community including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Wild Up (2020 LA Phil National Composers Intensive), Mivos Quartet (2020 Kanter Prize finalist), and Wet Ink (2018 Wet Ink Large Ensemble Readings). 

Noah holds degrees in composition and violin performance from the University of Oregon and is currently a PhD candidate at Northwestern University studying composition with Hans Thomalla, Alex Mincek, and Jay Alan Yim.

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4th year PhD

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Yi-Ting Lu

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4th year PhD

Yi-tingLu2022@u.northwestern.edu

Yi-Ting Lu is a Taiwanese composer. Her music focuses on exploring the experience of timelessness evoked through fragmented musical materials. She has received numerous prizes, awards, scholarships, and commissions, including the 2021 Nief-Norf International Call for Scores, 2021 Transient Canvas Composition Fellowship program, 2020 Thailand New Music and Arts Symposium Call for Scores, a finalist of 2020 Talea Ensemble Emerging Composer Commissioning Program, 2019 the Ilsuono Contemporary Music Academy’s Choice to be published by AltrEdizioni Casa Editrice, 2019 the nominated exchange composer of the Académie Voix Nouvelles (Royaumont), 2018 the Representative Piece of Taiwan in the 66th International Rostrum of Composers, among others. 

Her compositions have been performed, awarded, and/or commissioned by ensembles such as the Arditti Quartet, Ensemble Suono Giallo, Ensemble vocal Les Métaboles, Ensemble Mise-en, Mdi Ensemble, Mivos Quartet, Orkest De Ereprijs, PushBack Collective, Quatuor Tana, Yarn/Wire, 3 People Music, Clarinetist Vasko Dukovski, MSM Orchestra (under the baton of George Manahan), National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, and many others. 

Yi-Ting is currently pursuing a PhD in Music Composition at Northwestern University under the tutelage of Alex Mincek, Hans Thomalla, and Jay Alan Yim. She completed a master's degree in Music Composition at the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Reiko Füting and Susan Botti. Prior to her graduate studies in the United States, she studied with Tsung-Hsien Yang and Wan-Jen Huang, and received her bachelor's degree in Music Composition and Theory at the Taipei National University of the Arts.

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3rd year PhD

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Elliott Lupp

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3rd year PhD

ElliottLupp2024@u.northwestern.edu

Elliott Lupp is a composer, improviser, visual artist, and sound designer whose work often invokes images of the distorted, chaotic, visceral, and absurd. This aesthetic approach as it relates to both acoustic and electroacoustic composition has led to a body of work that, at the root of its construction, focuses on the manipulation of noise, extreme gesture, shifting timbre, and performer/computer improvisation as core elements. 

Elliott has received a number of awards and honors for his work, including a 2019 SEAMUS/ASCAP Commission, the 2019 Franklin G. Fisk Composition Award for Chamber Music, and Departmental and All-University awards in Graduate Research and Creative Scholarship. His music has been performed at a variety of electroacoustic festivals including N_SEME, CHIMEfest, Electronic Music Midwest, MOXsonic, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, SEAMUS, and Electroacoustic Barn Dance, and by such ensembles as the Dutch/American trio Sonic Hedgehog (flute, clarinet, and electric guitar), the Atar Piano Trio, Found Sound New Music Ensemble, various members of MOCREP, The Chicago Composer's Orchestra, Fonema Consort, and Ensemble Dal Niente. 

Elliott received his MM from Western Michigan University, where he studied composition and music technology under Christopher Biggs and Lisa R. Coons, and his BM from Columbia College Chicago, where he studied under Eliza Brown and Kenn Kumpf.

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PhD Candidate

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Andrew Maxbauer

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PhD Candidate

AndrewMaxbauer2020@u.northwestern.edu

Andrew Maxbauer (United States) is a Chicago based composer currently pursuing a PhD in Music at Northwestern University. He holds a MM in composition from the University of Louisville where he was a Moritz von Bomhard Fellow.

Andrew has had his music presented at various festivals across the United States and Europe including June in Buffalo, Kalvfestivalen, Université d'Altitude, Composit, Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice, the Loretto Project, and others. His work has been performed by Talea Ensemble, Ensemble Dal Niente, mdi ensemble, Mivos Quartet, Mimitabu, Ensemble Multilatérale, Longleash, New York New Music Ensemble, and Luca Piovesan.

Andrew currently studies composition with Alex Mincek and Hans Thomalla. He previously studied with Krzysztof Wołek, Lisa R. Coons, and Christopher Biggs. Additionally, he has participated in masterclasses with Brian Ferneyhough and Kaija Saariaho, and he has taken private lessons with Pierluigi Billone, Raphaël Cendo, Yann Robin, and Hans Abrahamsen.

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Noah Jenkins

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PhD Candidate

noahfjenkins@gmail.com

Noah Jenkins is a composer and violinist from Oregon now living in Chicago. Much of his recent work is inspired by drone music, field recording, acoustic phenomena, audible processes, and thresholds of perception.

Noah’s music has been honored by leading ensembles of the contemporary music community including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Wild Up (2020 LA Phil National Composers Intensive), Mivos Quartet (2020 Kanter Prize finalist), and Wet Ink (2018 Wet Ink Large Ensemble Readings). 

Noah holds degrees in composition and violin performance from the University of Oregon and is currently a PhD candidate at Northwestern University studying composition with Hans Thomalla, Alex Mincek, and Jay Alan Yim.

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Yi-Ting Lu

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4th year PhD

Yi-tingLu2022@u.northwestern.edu

Yi-Ting Lu is a Taiwanese composer. Her music focuses on exploring the experience of timelessness evoked through fragmented musical materials. She has received numerous prizes, awards, scholarships, and commissions, including the 2021 Nief-Norf International Call for Scores, 2021 Transient Canvas Composition Fellowship program, 2020 Thailand New Music and Arts Symposium Call for Scores, a finalist of 2020 Talea Ensemble Emerging Composer Commissioning Program, 2019 the Ilsuono Contemporary Music Academy’s Choice to be published by AltrEdizioni Casa Editrice, 2019 the nominated exchange composer of the Académie Voix Nouvelles (Royaumont), 2018 the Representative Piece of Taiwan in the 66th International Rostrum of Composers, among others. 

Her compositions have been performed, awarded, and/or commissioned by ensembles such as the Arditti Quartet, Ensemble Suono Giallo, Ensemble vocal Les Métaboles, Ensemble Mise-en, Mdi Ensemble, Mivos Quartet, Orkest De Ereprijs, PushBack Collective, Quatuor Tana, Yarn/Wire, 3 People Music, Clarinetist Vasko Dukovski, MSM Orchestra (under the baton of George Manahan), National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, and many others. 

Yi-Ting is currently pursuing a PhD in Music Composition at Northwestern University under the tutelage of Alex Mincek, Hans Thomalla, and Jay Alan Yim. She completed a master's degree in Music Composition at the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Reiko Füting and Susan Botti. Prior to her graduate studies in the United States, she studied with Tsung-Hsien Yang and Wan-Jen Huang, and received her bachelor's degree in Music Composition and Theory at the Taipei National University of the Arts.

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Elliott Lupp

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3rd year PhD

ElliottLupp2024@u.northwestern.edu

Elliott Lupp is a composer, improviser, visual artist, and sound designer whose work often invokes images of the distorted, chaotic, visceral, and absurd. This aesthetic approach as it relates to both acoustic and electroacoustic composition has led to a body of work that, at the root of its construction, focuses on the manipulation of noise, extreme gesture, shifting timbre, and performer/computer improvisation as core elements. 

Elliott has received a number of awards and honors for his work, including a 2019 SEAMUS/ASCAP Commission, the 2019 Franklin G. Fisk Composition Award for Chamber Music, and Departmental and All-University awards in Graduate Research and Creative Scholarship. His music has been performed at a variety of electroacoustic festivals including N_SEME, CHIMEfest, Electronic Music Midwest, MOXsonic, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, SEAMUS, and Electroacoustic Barn Dance, and by such ensembles as the Dutch/American trio Sonic Hedgehog (flute, clarinet, and electric guitar), the Atar Piano Trio, Found Sound New Music Ensemble, various members of MOCREP, The Chicago Composer's Orchestra, Fonema Consort, and Ensemble Dal Niente. 

Elliott received his MM from Western Michigan University, where he studied composition and music technology under Christopher Biggs and Lisa R. Coons, and his BM from Columbia College Chicago, where he studied under Eliza Brown and Kenn Kumpf.

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Andrew Maxbauer

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PhD Candidate

AndrewMaxbauer2020@u.northwestern.edu

Andrew Maxbauer (United States) is a Chicago based composer currently pursuing a PhD in Music at Northwestern University. He holds a MM in composition from the University of Louisville where he was a Moritz von Bomhard Fellow.

Andrew has had his music presented at various festivals across the United States and Europe including June in Buffalo, Kalvfestivalen, Université d'Altitude, Composit, Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice, the Loretto Project, and others. His work has been performed by Talea Ensemble, Ensemble Dal Niente, mdi ensemble, Mivos Quartet, Mimitabu, Ensemble Multilatérale, Longleash, New York New Music Ensemble, and Luca Piovesan.

Andrew currently studies composition with Alex Mincek and Hans Thomalla. He previously studied with Krzysztof Wołek, Lisa R. Coons, and Christopher Biggs. Additionally, he has participated in masterclasses with Brian Ferneyhough and Kaija Saariaho, and he has taken private lessons with Pierluigi Billone, Raphaël Cendo, Yann Robin, and Hans Abrahamsen.

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3rd Year PhD

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Benjamin J. Penwell

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3rd Year PhD

BenjaminPenwell2022@u.northwestern.edu

Benjamin J. Penwell is a composer and sound artist based out of Chicago. Originally from Oregon, he completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon with Robert Kyr and David Crumb, and his Master’s in Composition at Boston University with Joshua Fineberg. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Composition and Music Technology at Northwestern University, working with Jay Alan Yim and Alex Mincek.
 
Benjamin is interested in soundscape composition, drone and noise music, electroacoustic music, ambient and dark ambient music, and various metal subgenres, all of which inform his stylistic choices.

Musical ideas he is intrigued with include (in no particular order) temporal distortion, frailty and fragility, violence, submersion, acoustic and psychological phenomena, perceptual limits, masking, and synthesis. This list is not comprehensive.

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1st year PhD

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Catherine Phang

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1st year PhD

CatherinePhang2021@u.northwestern.edu

Catherine Phang is a composer and educator currently based in Evanston, IL. She has collaborated with artists and ensembles including Vasko Dukovsky, Unheard-of// Ensemble, Either/or Ensemble, New Asia Chamber Music Society, Mise-en Ensemble and Tactus Ensemble. Her orchestra pieces were conducted by David Hoose and Kalena Bovell. 

Catherine received her MM from Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Richard Danielpour and Reiko Fueting, and her BM from University of Hartford - the Hartt School, where she studied composition with Larry Alan Smith and Ken Steen, and piano with David Westfall, Paul Rutman and Susan Cheng. Catherine was selected for a Kountz Fellowship 2013-14 based on her commendable work during the course of studies as a BM composer at the Hartt School.

Catherine is currently pursuing a PhD in Music Composition and Technology at Northwestern University under the guidance of Alex Mincek, Hans Thomalla, and Jay Alan Yim.

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PhD Candidate

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Ruud Roelofsen

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PhD Candidate

RudolfRoelofsen2022@u.northwestern.edu

Ruud Roelofsen (*16-11-1985, Rhenen NL) is a composer currently based in Chicago (USA). He is attending Northwestern University for a PhD in composition. Prior to this he studied classical percussion in the conservatories of Arnhem (NL), Brussels (B), and Münster (D).

Ruud participated in master classes in composition with Dmitri Kourliandski, Carola Bauckholt, Hanna Hartman, Tristan Murail, Mark André, Hèctor Parra, Bryn Harrison, Martin Schüttler, Bernard Cavanna, Ted Hearne, and Martijn Padding.

As a composer he has worked with Het Vers Ensemble (NL), the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble (RUS), Orkest de Ereprijs (NL), Gyre Ensemble (CH), Flubax Trio (LT), Ensemble Polygon (CH), Ensemble Soundinitiative (Fr), Parallel Asteroid (D), Ensemble Spaziomusica (It), FRAMES percussion (Esp), aTonal Hits (USA), Platypus Ensemble (At), 20° dans le noir (Fr), Kroiser Ensemble (Ukr), Bart de Vrees (NL), Miriam Overlach (DE), Wilbert Bulsink (NL), Dario Calderone (It), a.o.

His music has been performed in such festivals as the Gaudeamus Muziekweek (Utrecht, NL), Musica Viva Festival Lissabon (Pt), Sirga Festival (Flix, Esp), Ferienkurse für neue Musik (Darmstadt, D), MIXTUR Barcelona (Esp), Young Composers Meeting (Apeldoorn, NL), MUSICAPOI (Cagliari, It), Kiev Contemporary Music Days (Ukr), Florida International Toy Piano Festiavl (USA), and the IX International Composers Academy in Tschaikovsky City (RUS).

In 2012 he received the "Ingeborg Köberle" award as a highly promising student and for his exceptional performance skill in the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. In 2013 he was selected for the "Young Composers Meeting" in Apeldoorn. In 2013 he was a finalist for the famous Luigi Russolo Award. In 2015 he attended Matrix15 at SWR Experimentalstudio in Freiburg (D). In 2005 Ruud won the composition project of the Dutch Ensemble "Orkest de Ereprijs" and in 2011 he was a semifinalist in the Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition. In 2013 he took part in the International Ensemble Modern Academy in the Klangspuren Festival led by Ensemble Modern Frankfurt (D).

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PhD Candidate

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Samuel R. Scranton

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PhD Candidate

SamuelScranton2019@u.northwestern.edu

Sam Scranton is a composer/performer. He has been described in New Music Box as "an artist taking wholehearted risks" and in the New York Times as a "killer drummer". 

Sam has worked with ensembles and performers such as International Contemporary Ensemble, Jack Quartet, Nadar, Mocrep, Weston Olencki, Natacha Diels, Spektral Quartet, Gyre Ensemble, ZRL, among others. Sam has presented his work nationally and internationally at festivals, conferences and performance series such as the 2018 Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, Indexical, Composit, NUNC! 3, New Music Gathering, the International Conference on Music and Minimalism, Outer Ear Festival, and Omaha Under the Radar. 

Sam's music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Borealis Festival Radio Space, WFMT, and released by Parlour Tapes+. As part of the band volcano!, Sam has performed onstage in Berlin, Moscow, London, and Paris, with albums released by Leaf Label (UK).

Currently, Sam lives and works in Chicago, pursuing a PhD in composition at Northwestern University. 

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Benjamin J. Penwell

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3rd Year PhD

BenjaminPenwell2022@u.northwestern.edu

Benjamin J. Penwell is a composer and sound artist based out of Chicago. Originally from Oregon, he completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon with Robert Kyr and David Crumb, and his Master’s in Composition at Boston University with Joshua Fineberg. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Composition and Music Technology at Northwestern University, working with Jay Alan Yim and Alex Mincek.
 
Benjamin is interested in soundscape composition, drone and noise music, electroacoustic music, ambient and dark ambient music, and various metal subgenres, all of which inform his stylistic choices.

Musical ideas he is intrigued with include (in no particular order) temporal distortion, frailty and fragility, violence, submersion, acoustic and psychological phenomena, perceptual limits, masking, and synthesis. This list is not comprehensive.

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Catherine Phang

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1st year PhD

CatherinePhang2021@u.northwestern.edu

Catherine Phang is a composer and educator currently based in Evanston, IL. She has collaborated with artists and ensembles including Vasko Dukovsky, Unheard-of// Ensemble, Either/or Ensemble, New Asia Chamber Music Society, Mise-en Ensemble and Tactus Ensemble. Her orchestra pieces were conducted by David Hoose and Kalena Bovell. 

Catherine received her MM from Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Richard Danielpour and Reiko Fueting, and her BM from University of Hartford - the Hartt School, where she studied composition with Larry Alan Smith and Ken Steen, and piano with David Westfall, Paul Rutman and Susan Cheng. Catherine was selected for a Kountz Fellowship 2013-14 based on her commendable work during the course of studies as a BM composer at the Hartt School.

Catherine is currently pursuing a PhD in Music Composition and Technology at Northwestern University under the guidance of Alex Mincek, Hans Thomalla, and Jay Alan Yim.

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Ruud Roelofsen

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PhD Candidate

RudolfRoelofsen2022@u.northwestern.edu

Ruud Roelofsen (*16-11-1985, Rhenen NL) is a composer currently based in Chicago (USA). He is attending Northwestern University for a PhD in composition. Prior to this he studied classical percussion in the conservatories of Arnhem (NL), Brussels (B), and Münster (D).

Ruud participated in master classes in composition with Dmitri Kourliandski, Carola Bauckholt, Hanna Hartman, Tristan Murail, Mark André, Hèctor Parra, Bryn Harrison, Martin Schüttler, Bernard Cavanna, Ted Hearne, and Martijn Padding.

As a composer he has worked with Het Vers Ensemble (NL), the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble (RUS), Orkest de Ereprijs (NL), Gyre Ensemble (CH), Flubax Trio (LT), Ensemble Polygon (CH), Ensemble Soundinitiative (Fr), Parallel Asteroid (D), Ensemble Spaziomusica (It), FRAMES percussion (Esp), aTonal Hits (USA), Platypus Ensemble (At), 20° dans le noir (Fr), Kroiser Ensemble (Ukr), Bart de Vrees (NL), Miriam Overlach (DE), Wilbert Bulsink (NL), Dario Calderone (It), a.o.

His music has been performed in such festivals as the Gaudeamus Muziekweek (Utrecht, NL), Musica Viva Festival Lissabon (Pt), Sirga Festival (Flix, Esp), Ferienkurse für neue Musik (Darmstadt, D), MIXTUR Barcelona (Esp), Young Composers Meeting (Apeldoorn, NL), MUSICAPOI (Cagliari, It), Kiev Contemporary Music Days (Ukr), Florida International Toy Piano Festiavl (USA), and the IX International Composers Academy in Tschaikovsky City (RUS).

In 2012 he received the "Ingeborg Köberle" award as a highly promising student and for his exceptional performance skill in the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. In 2013 he was selected for the "Young Composers Meeting" in Apeldoorn. In 2013 he was a finalist for the famous Luigi Russolo Award. In 2015 he attended Matrix15 at SWR Experimentalstudio in Freiburg (D). In 2005 Ruud won the composition project of the Dutch Ensemble "Orkest de Ereprijs" and in 2011 he was a semifinalist in the Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition. In 2013 he took part in the International Ensemble Modern Academy in the Klangspuren Festival led by Ensemble Modern Frankfurt (D).

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Samuel R. Scranton

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PhD Candidate

SamuelScranton2019@u.northwestern.edu

Sam Scranton is a composer/performer. He has been described in New Music Box as "an artist taking wholehearted risks" and in the New York Times as a "killer drummer". 

Sam has worked with ensembles and performers such as International Contemporary Ensemble, Jack Quartet, Nadar, Mocrep, Weston Olencki, Natacha Diels, Spektral Quartet, Gyre Ensemble, ZRL, among others. Sam has presented his work nationally and internationally at festivals, conferences and performance series such as the 2018 Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, Indexical, Composit, NUNC! 3, New Music Gathering, the International Conference on Music and Minimalism, Outer Ear Festival, and Omaha Under the Radar. 

Sam's music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Borealis Festival Radio Space, WFMT, and released by Parlour Tapes+. As part of the band volcano!, Sam has performed onstage in Berlin, Moscow, London, and Paris, with albums released by Leaf Label (UK).

Currently, Sam lives and works in Chicago, pursuing a PhD in composition at Northwestern University. 

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DMA Student

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Liza Sobel

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DMA Student

lizasobel2018@u.northwestern.edu

Liza Sobel is a composer and soprano whose compositions are often influenced by current social issues. Recent inspirations include anxiety and stress in today's society, the negative impact of social media and its link with depression and suicide, and sexual assault.

Liza's music has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, Symphony Space, Bang on a Can, the Aspen Music Festival, Eighth Blackbird's Creative Lab, Aldeburgh Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, Brevard Music Institute, Bowdoin's International Music Festival, and nief-norf Summer Festival. Her music has been performed by the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the Spektral Quartet, Cygnus Ensemble, Third Coast Percussion, Nouveau Classical Project, Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble, orkest de ereprijs, West Point Woodwind Quintet, New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra, Skyros String Quartet, and Joseph Lin, first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet.

Liza's Ticking Time Bomb was selected for the 2020 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute. Her Requiem won the American Prize in the choral division and was a finalist in the BMI Young Composers Award competition. Liza's orchestral work Tocsin was a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers' Award. Liza was a Fulbright scholar to the UK.

As a singer, Liza regularly performs both standard and new repertoire, including her own music. She frequently performs music by living emerging composers and has sung world premieres of music by Nicholas Cline, Maxwell Ramage, Tom Schneller, and Zachary Wadsworth. Numerous composers have written pieces specifically for her, including Nathan Canfield, Chung Eun Kim, Tyler Kramlich, and Tom Peterson. In addition, she regularly collaborates with Walter Hilse, a composer, organist, and professor at the Manhattan School of Music, who has composed eight pieces for Liza. She sang in Rutgers University's opera program, and she also attended the Castleton Artists Training Seminar festival, founded by the late Maestro Lorin Maazel. Recent performances include singing at Thirsty Ears, Chicago's only contemporary classical music street fair.

Liza is a doctoral candidate in composition at Northwestern University. She teaches a broad spectrum of music courses at Northwestern, including Music Theory, Aural Skills, History of the Symphony, Introduction to Music for Non-Majors, and Composition for Non-Majors. She previously studied at Rutgers University's Mason Gross Conservatory (MA); Cornell University (BA with honors); and the Manhattan School of Music.

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3rd year PhD

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Jasmine Thomasian

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3rd year PhD

JasmineThomasian2023@u.northwestern.edu

Originally from Astoria, Oregon, Jasmine Thomasian (they/them) is a Chicago-based composer passionate about sound, identity formation, and the interpersonal dynamics of Western art music. While their artistic output spans a range of musical aesthetics, they particularly enjoy taking on projects that challenge them to think and create in new ways.

Jasmine’s compositional process is driven by their love of collaboration. Current and recent collaborators include Katie Amrine (trumpet) and Ford Fourqurean (video), Lane Champa (violin), Claire DiVizio (poet & soprano), Fuse Quartet (saxophones), and Zhen Piao (organ). Jasmine has been commissioned by the American Guild of Organists and OSSIA New Music, and their music has been performed on programs by Chicago Fringe Opera, I/O Fest, Atlantic Music Festival, New Music on the Point, and malai ensemble.

In addition to their work as a composer, Jasmine is an experienced arts administrator. Jasmine is currently Board Operations Manager for Thompson Street Opera Company, a Chicago-based organization which exclusively performs works by living composers. Jasmine has also been a Chair of the Student Composers Committee (NU), Co-Director of the Graduate Composers Sinfonietta (Eastman), and Co-Producer of “Music Matters,” a new-music radio show on WAYO FM (Rochester, NY). Jasmine holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (MA), Union Theological Seminary (MA), and Williams College (BA). In 2020-2021, Jasmine is teaching 2nd-Year Aural Skills.

2nd year PhD

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Alissa Voth

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2nd year PhD

AlissaVoth2026@u.northwestern.edu

Alissa Voth (she/her) is a composer and adaptive arts educator who creates conceptual works inspired by intersections of language, data, and music. Her composition and teaching practices are guided by exploration, playfulness, collaboration, and facilitating connection through shared musical experiences. She composes mainly for soloists, chamber ensembles, and experimental theater projects.

Her music has been performed at the UT Contemporary Music Festival, Cortona Sessions for New Music, Harvard Music Festival, Isador Bajic School, Rivers School Conservatory, and the Longy Divergent Studio by performers including Loadbang, Sarah Brady, and Antonina Styczén. A frequent collaborator with Boston-based collective Sparkhaven Theater, she has composed, performed, and directed music for multiple original productions both in person and virtually. Upcoming events include performances with the Boston New Music Initiative and the Montreal Creative Music Lab, as well as premieres by Nightingale Vocal Ensemble and cellist Seth Parker Woods.

Alissa is a first year PhD student at Northwestern University under the mentorship of Alex Mincek, Jay Alan Yim, and Hans Thomalla. She holds a master's degree from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee where she studied with Marti Epstein and Felipe Lara, and was awarded the Roger Sessions Memorial Composition Award. She completed her bachelor's degree at Oral Roberts University in her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Alissa also teaches music to students with autism and other cognitive, physical, and behavioral disabilities virtually in the Boston Public School system through Open Door Arts.

PhD Candidate

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Ben Zucker

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PhD Candidate

BenjaminZucker2022@u.northwestern.edu

Ben Zucker practices acts of conceptual juxtaposition and experiential speculation, as an intentionally wide-ranging composer, audiovisual artist, and multi-instrumentalist. He has contributed to experimental music scenes of the Bay Area, Connecticut, London, Chicago, and beyond, working with musicians including Anthony Braxton, Matana Roberts, Myra Melford, Karen Borca, The Crossing, The Vocal Constructivists, Rinde Eckert, and the San Francisco Choral Artists, in addition to frequent performances as a soloist, bandleader, and ensemble contributor. His composed works have received awards and performances by ensembles including the Mivos Quartet, the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, Khorikos, Ensemble Entropy, and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, as well as being performed at DOCNYC, the Darmstadt Fereinkurse, Art Omi, Trinity College Dublin, and the Banff Centre. He has been acclaimed as a "master of improvisation" (IMPOSE Magazine) and “more than a little bit remarkable” (Free Jazz Blog) for his solo albums combining brass, percussion, voice, and electronics, released on labels including Not Art Records, Dinzu Artefacts, Verz Imprint, and I Low You. He currently lives in Chicago, studying, performing, teaching, and organizing as a doctoral student at Northwestern University.

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Liza Sobel

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DMA Student

lizasobel2018@u.northwestern.edu

Liza Sobel is a composer and soprano whose compositions are often influenced by current social issues. Recent inspirations include anxiety and stress in today's society, the negative impact of social media and its link with depression and suicide, and sexual assault.

Liza's music has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, Symphony Space, Bang on a Can, the Aspen Music Festival, Eighth Blackbird's Creative Lab, Aldeburgh Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, Brevard Music Institute, Bowdoin's International Music Festival, and nief-norf Summer Festival. Her music has been performed by the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the Spektral Quartet, Cygnus Ensemble, Third Coast Percussion, Nouveau Classical Project, Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble, orkest de ereprijs, West Point Woodwind Quintet, New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra, Skyros String Quartet, and Joseph Lin, first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet.

Liza's Ticking Time Bomb was selected for the 2020 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute. Her Requiem won the American Prize in the choral division and was a finalist in the BMI Young Composers Award competition. Liza's orchestral work Tocsin was a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers' Award. Liza was a Fulbright scholar to the UK.

As a singer, Liza regularly performs both standard and new repertoire, including her own music. She frequently performs music by living emerging composers and has sung world premieres of music by Nicholas Cline, Maxwell Ramage, Tom Schneller, and Zachary Wadsworth. Numerous composers have written pieces specifically for her, including Nathan Canfield, Chung Eun Kim, Tyler Kramlich, and Tom Peterson. In addition, she regularly collaborates with Walter Hilse, a composer, organist, and professor at the Manhattan School of Music, who has composed eight pieces for Liza. She sang in Rutgers University's opera program, and she also attended the Castleton Artists Training Seminar festival, founded by the late Maestro Lorin Maazel. Recent performances include singing at Thirsty Ears, Chicago's only contemporary classical music street fair.

Liza is a doctoral candidate in composition at Northwestern University. She teaches a broad spectrum of music courses at Northwestern, including Music Theory, Aural Skills, History of the Symphony, Introduction to Music for Non-Majors, and Composition for Non-Majors. She previously studied at Rutgers University's Mason Gross Conservatory (MA); Cornell University (BA with honors); and the Manhattan School of Music.

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Jasmine Thomasian

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3rd year PhD

JasmineThomasian2023@u.northwestern.edu

Originally from Astoria, Oregon, Jasmine Thomasian (they/them) is a Chicago-based composer passionate about sound, identity formation, and the interpersonal dynamics of Western art music. While their artistic output spans a range of musical aesthetics, they particularly enjoy taking on projects that challenge them to think and create in new ways.

Jasmine’s compositional process is driven by their love of collaboration. Current and recent collaborators include Katie Amrine (trumpet) and Ford Fourqurean (video), Lane Champa (violin), Claire DiVizio (poet & soprano), Fuse Quartet (saxophones), and Zhen Piao (organ). Jasmine has been commissioned by the American Guild of Organists and OSSIA New Music, and their music has been performed on programs by Chicago Fringe Opera, I/O Fest, Atlantic Music Festival, New Music on the Point, and malai ensemble.

In addition to their work as a composer, Jasmine is an experienced arts administrator. Jasmine is currently Board Operations Manager for Thompson Street Opera Company, a Chicago-based organization which exclusively performs works by living composers. Jasmine has also been a Chair of the Student Composers Committee (NU), Co-Director of the Graduate Composers Sinfonietta (Eastman), and Co-Producer of “Music Matters,” a new-music radio show on WAYO FM (Rochester, NY). Jasmine holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (MA), Union Theological Seminary (MA), and Williams College (BA). In 2020-2021, Jasmine is teaching 2nd-Year Aural Skills.

Alissa Voth

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2nd year PhD

AlissaVoth2026@u.northwestern.edu

Alissa Voth (she/her) is a composer and adaptive arts educator who creates conceptual works inspired by intersections of language, data, and music. Her composition and teaching practices are guided by exploration, playfulness, collaboration, and facilitating connection through shared musical experiences. She composes mainly for soloists, chamber ensembles, and experimental theater projects.

Her music has been performed at the UT Contemporary Music Festival, Cortona Sessions for New Music, Harvard Music Festival, Isador Bajic School, Rivers School Conservatory, and the Longy Divergent Studio by performers including Loadbang, Sarah Brady, and Antonina Styczén. A frequent collaborator with Boston-based collective Sparkhaven Theater, she has composed, performed, and directed music for multiple original productions both in person and virtually. Upcoming events include performances with the Boston New Music Initiative and the Montreal Creative Music Lab, as well as premieres by Nightingale Vocal Ensemble and cellist Seth Parker Woods.

Alissa is a first year PhD student at Northwestern University under the mentorship of Alex Mincek, Jay Alan Yim, and Hans Thomalla. She holds a master's degree from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee where she studied with Marti Epstein and Felipe Lara, and was awarded the Roger Sessions Memorial Composition Award. She completed her bachelor's degree at Oral Roberts University in her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Alissa also teaches music to students with autism and other cognitive, physical, and behavioral disabilities virtually in the Boston Public School system through Open Door Arts.

Ben Zucker

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PhD Candidate

BenjaminZucker2022@u.northwestern.edu

Ben Zucker practices acts of conceptual juxtaposition and experiential speculation, as an intentionally wide-ranging composer, audiovisual artist, and multi-instrumentalist. He has contributed to experimental music scenes of the Bay Area, Connecticut, London, Chicago, and beyond, working with musicians including Anthony Braxton, Matana Roberts, Myra Melford, Karen Borca, The Crossing, The Vocal Constructivists, Rinde Eckert, and the San Francisco Choral Artists, in addition to frequent performances as a soloist, bandleader, and ensemble contributor. His composed works have received awards and performances by ensembles including the Mivos Quartet, the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, Khorikos, Ensemble Entropy, and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, as well as being performed at DOCNYC, the Darmstadt Fereinkurse, Art Omi, Trinity College Dublin, and the Banff Centre. He has been acclaimed as a "master of improvisation" (IMPOSE Magazine) and “more than a little bit remarkable” (Free Jazz Blog) for his solo albums combining brass, percussion, voice, and electronics, released on labels including Not Art Records, Dinzu Artefacts, Verz Imprint, and I Low You. He currently lives in Chicago, studying, performing, teaching, and organizing as a doctoral student at Northwestern University.

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