2010 Featured Composers

Jim Altieri loves listening. Through his music and software, he tries to share this love with other listeners. Based in New York City, Jim is an active composer and violinist. His own music often uses the harmonies and rhythms of the harmonic series and explores the relationship between attention and awareness.

In addition to solo work, Jim has two main bands with which he regularly performs. Glissando bin Laden and his Musichideen combines just intonation, polyrhythmic patterns, Hindustani and Scandanavian music in a pungent blend of synthesized, live-processed, and fiddled sound. GbL's album is available by download at the Carrier Records website. Tatters and Rags is a skronky, droney, alt-country band. T&R self-released a 7" single record featuring the single Heartache. The full album is due to be released in late 2010.

In NYC, Jim also has collaborated and played with many other excellent composers and bands, including Pearl and the Beard, Wet Ink Ensemble, Tristan Perich, Tom Swafford's String Power, Rocky Heron, Duane Pitre, Owen Lake and the Tragic Loves, Katie Young, and Corey Dargel.

Carl Christian Bettendorf is a New York-based composer and conductor. Born in Hamburg, Germany, he studied composition with Hans-Jürgen von Bose and Wolfgang Rihm in Munich and Karlsruhe before moving to New York, where he received his doctorate from Columbia University under Tristan Murail. He attended Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Summer School for Young Composers in the Orkney Islands and was a fellow at the Composers Conference (Wellesley College, Massachusetts) and the Centre Acanthes (Metz, France).

Bettendorf’s works have been played at major new-music festivals and venues in Europe, North America, and Australia. In July 1997, his first opera Escorial after Michelde Ghelderode was premiered at the Prinzregententheater in Munich. He has received numerous awards, among them a fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), a six-month residency at the Cité des Arts in Paris, and a Fromm Foundation commission.

Increasingly active as a conductor, he is a member of the Wet Ink Ensemble in New York and has appeared with various other new-music groups in the city, including counter)induction, the Talea Ensemble, and TACTUS. He was also artistic director and conductor of the Munich-based ensemble piano possibile and has served as assistant conductor for the Columbia University Orchestra and the American Composers Orchestra. In addition, he was the administrative director of the Manhattan Sinfonietta for four seasons.

Mr. Bettendorf has recorded for Albany and Carrier Records, ArtVoice, and Cybele, and his music was broadcast on German, Swiss, Canadian, U.S. and Australian radio.

Davið Brynjar Franzson is an icelandic composer currently residing in New York. His works have been performed by ensembles such as Ensemble Adapter, Ensemble Surplus, Avanti!, Eighth Blackbird, Ensemble Aventure, Either Or, Yarn/Wire, Oslo Sinfonietta, Caput, UUSYNTA , Asamisimasa, +/-, red fish blue fish and Inauthentica. He holds a doctorate degree from Stanford University where he worked with Brian Ferneyhough and Mark Applebaum as well as with Tristan Murail at Columbia University. He is a founding member of the icelandic composer's collective s.L.Á.T.U.R. And co-runs the record label Carrier Records with Sam Pluta and Jeff Snyder.

His music has been performed at festivals such as Maerz Musik, Global Interplay, ISCM World Music Days 2006 and 2008, ICMC International Computer Music Conference 2008, Nordic Music Days 2008 and 2009, Dark Days of Music in Reykjavik, Running Hoofs Festival in Ulan Bator and at the Internationales Musikinstitute Darmstadt where he received a Stipendiumpreiz in 2008. In 2009, il Dolce far Niente received first prize at the Music 09 competition and was subsequently performed by Eighth Blackbird. Performances in 2010 include the staging of a Guide for the Dead through the Underworld––a one hour long collection of works––at the ultraschall festival in berlin by Ensemble Adapter and the premiere of on Sameness and Similarities, commissioned by the Darmstadt Ferienkurse. Recordings of his music are available on Innova, Spektral and Smekkleysa labels, as well as on carrier records, which will put out a live recording of a Guide for the Dead through the Underworld in spring 2011. Other 2011 projects include a new string quartet commissioned by the Arditti quartet which will be premiered at Musica Nova in Helsinki in february.

Troy Herion is a composer, sound designer, musical director and improviser. His compositions bring together interests in fields relating to biology, traditional cultures, visual art, drama, and improvisation. Compositions include two Italian operas, symphonic and chamber works, and improvised scores. Dramatic collaborations have included music for International Opera Theater, Pig Iron Theatre, The Wilma Theater, The Arden Theatre, and Azuka Theater. His work for theater has garnered him two Barrymore Award nominations for Outstanding Sound Design and Outstanding Musical Direction and Philadelphia Weekly pronounced his work Best Sound Design of 2006. His sound design for Pig Iron's "Love Unpunished" will be featured in the 2011 Prague Quandrennial. In the summer of 2008 Troy was awarded an Independence Foundation Fellowship to study and perform gamelan music in Bali, Indonesia with the world-renowned Cudamani ensemble. In 2009 he completed an artist residency in the theater department of Swarthmore College. Troy is a finalist for the F. Otto Haas Emerging Artist Award and the NEA/TGC Career Development Fellowship and is the recipient of the Perkins Prize of Princeton University. He is currently pursuing a PhD in music composition at Princeton University.

Sam Pluta is a New York City-based composer and improviser working in the fields of acoustic and electronic music. He is technical director for the Wet Ink Ensemble, a New York City based group dedicated to the performance of new music by young composers. As a founding member of the improvising quintet Glissando Bin Laden, he has focused in recent years on fusing the worlds of acoustic and electronic sounds through improvisation. In 2009 he won the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer's Award for his work SWITCHES.

Jude Traxler is a performer and composer of experimental and conceptual music living in New York City. He has received awards in both composition and percussion including the prestigious Yamaha Young Artist Award in 2006. Jude's works have been performed across the country by such groups as futureCities, Hamirüge, The UMBC New Music Group, Tempus Fugit Percussion Ensemble, VOX Trio, Pittsburg New Music Ensemble, ThingNY, wild UP, among others. He is a founding member of the Sister Sylvester experimental theater company in New York City and the contemporary music duo futureCities with pianist Anne Rainwater. A native of Baton Rouge, Jude completed his Bachelor of Music degrees in Composition and Percussion Performance from Louisiana State University and his Master of Music in Contemporary Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. He has performed and conducted works for Cat Crisis, Stanley Leonard Music, Bourbon Thomas, and New World Records. He also plays in rock bands, enjoys video games, and reads poetry.

Traxler believes that performance exists in the moment and that any performance should not be possible to repeat. He achieves this in his music by writing a series of game structures and actions filling in a constantly shifting structure of mobile forms. In essence; the performer(s) could not repeat a work the same way twice (even if they tried). This process creates surprise and intrigue - for the listener and performer(s) - by allowing extraordinary moments to occur without intention. Through game structures, the composer's ego is taken away while the performer's ego is employed to create the piece, making decisions and even occasionally cheating the game system to attempt a predictable outcome (besides, what's the fun of playing if one can't cheat?).

2009 Featured Composers

Alex Mincek is a New York-based composer and performer. His music is typically characterized by elements of timbral and dynamic extremes and also explores ways in which various forms of repetition affect our sense of time, memory and perception of difference. Mincek’s music has been programmed by major music festivals such as the Royaumont Voix Nouvelles and Musiques Demesurees festivals in France, the Darmstadt and Magdeburg music festivals in Germany, the Ostrava New Music Days festival in the Czech Republic and the World Music Institute’s Interpretations series in New York City. Mincek has collaborated with groups including the Ensemble Cairn, the Orchestra of the SEM Ensemble, the Janecek Philharmonic, the Second Instrumental Unit, Red Light, TACTUS, the Vega String Quartet, Zs and the Scarborough Trio. Mincek’s music has also been recognized through commissions and grants from the New Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra Leipzig, Ensemble XXI, Les Percussions de Strasbourg, MATA, Meet The Composer, National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, Due East, and Present Music.

Adam Mirza is based in New York. Since 2004, he has directed the new music organization, Amp, which presents a few specialized concerts each year (such as this season's Mikrophonie I and last year's feature of the acousmatic music of Jonty Harrison). In 2008, Mirza was a co-organizer with Michael Ibrahim of the HiFi New Music Festival. The Festival presented 14 ensembles at 5 NYC venues around NYC, a concert (or more) almost every night for two weeks. As a graduate student at NYU he researches contemporary aesthetics with particular interests in musical embodiment, gesture, improvisation and their intersection with continental philosophy.

Robert Morris, born in Cheltenham, England in 1943, received his musical education at the Eastman School of Music (B.M. in composition with distinction) and the University of Michigan (M.M. and D.M.A. in composition and ethnomusicology). Morris has taught composition, electronic music, and music theory at the University of Hawaii and at Yale University. In 1980 Morris joined the faculty of the Eastman School of Music where he presently teaches as Professor of Composition.

Morris has written music for a wide diversity of musical forms and media. He has composed over 160 works including computer and improvisational music. Much of his output from the 1970s is influenced by non-Western music and uses structural principles from Arabic, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, and early Western musics. While such influences are less noticeable in his more recent works, the temporal and ornamental qualities of Eastern music have permanently affected Morris's style. Moreover, Morris has found much resonance among his musical aesthetics, his experiences in hiking (especially in the Southwestern United States), his study and appreciation of Carnatic Music of South India, and his reading of ancient Indian, Chinese, and Japanese Buddhist texts.

(notes abridged from composer's website.)

Christopher Otto studied composition at the Eastman School of Music with Martin Bresnick, David Liptak, and Robert Morris. As a violinist, Christopher has premiered many compositions and worked with such composers as Harrison Birtwistle, Pierre Boulez, Helmut Lachenmann, and Steve Reich. Christopher has participated as composer and performer in such contemporary music festivals as the Lucerne Festival Academy, Internationale Musikinstitut Darmstadt, Karlheinz Stockhausen Courses, Institute and Festival for Contemporary Performance at the Mannes College of Music, June in Buffalo, and Festival Internacional de Musica Contemporanea de Michoacan.

Karlheinz Stockhausen is the most bewilderingly provocative composer of the European post-war avant-garde—a genre itself heavily delimited by the wake of his incredible musical imagination. His works display an unfailing faith in unhesitatingly trusting intuition—musical or otherwise—along whatever material path it might construct to any psychic-social situation it may reveal.

In the 50’s and 60’s, his pieces successively reinvented the possibilities of musical language, matter and context, of which his pioneering work with electronic synthesis is perhaps merely the most concrete form. He then turned to a massive 7-part opera cycle Licht: Die sieben Tage der Woche (Light: The Seven Days of the Week), that freely incorporated theater, dance, electronics, and individual, varied forms of classical music into an unbounded artistic attempt at totality. After completing the final opera in 2003, he began a new cycle of mostly instrumental works that was unfinished at his death in 2007.

(notes by Adam Mirza)

Scott Wollschleger is a founding member and co-director of Red Light New Music, a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting work of emerging and often unknown composers. Scott Wollschleger is an active member of New York City’s contemporary music scene. His works have been performed at The Stone, Tenri Cultural Institute, Weill Hall, and numerous other important venues throughout the city. As a composer Mr. Wollschleger is concerned with developing new creative practices and perceptions, ones which engender new ways of being a listener or a performer. In 2008 Wollschleger served as composer-in-residence with Ensemble Pamplemouse for their annual Seedlot Project. During his residency he composed Secret Machines no’s 1-4, a series of works exploring the schizophrenic nature of musical creation. Recent notable performances include, New Music Collective, Charleston NC, Hochschule fur Music, "Hanns Eisler," Berlin, and the premiere of Secret Machine no. 5 at the Kennedy Center.