Leaha Maria Villarreal
Louisa Proske is originally from Berlin, Germany. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Directing from Yale School of Drama. Her theatre and opera productions include the opera La Voix Humaine (Yale Opera/ Yale School of Drama); the world premiere of the opera Invisible Cities by Christopher Cerrone at the Italian Academy in New York; her thesis production Cymbeline at Yale School of Drama; Rum ‘n Coca Cola in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad; an international tour of Macbeth; As You Like It (Yale Summer Cabaret Shakespeare Festival); Pierrot Lunaire (The Wild Project, NYC); ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore (The Tank, NYC); The Lover (Yale School of Drama); REVELS (Manhattan School of Music); A Servant To Two Masters (Edinburgh Fringe Festival); The Barber Shop (Cambridge Footlights); 4.48 Psychosis; The Importance of Being Earnest; No Exit (all Apollonysus Theatre, York, UK); and a tour of a company-devised piece (Lucy’s Dream) through schools in India and Nepal.
Louisa is currently making a translation of Fassbinder’s film script In a Year with 13 Moons for an adaptation directed by Robert Woodruff and featuring Bill Camp at Yale Repertory Theatre in April 2013. Upcoming projects: Borges and the Other by Matthew Welch at American Composers Alliance (June 2013); Cosí Fan Tutte at Princeton Opera Company (Spring 2014).
Louisa Proske contributes as the New Shorts video director and stage director for The Three Truths, The Collector, and The Mother
Robert Ashley is known for his work in new forms of opera. In the 1960s, Ashley organized Ann Arbor’s legendary ONCE Festival and directed the ONCE Group. During the 1970s, he directed the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College, toured with the Sonic Arts Union, and produced and directed Music with Roots in the Aether, a 14-hour television opera/documentary about the work and ideas of seven American composers. Ashley wrote and produced Perfect Lives, an opera for television widely considered the precursor of “music-television.” Staged versions of Perfect Lives and Atalanta (Acts of God) and the monumental opera tetralogy, Now Eleanor’s Idea, have toured throughout Europe, Asia and the United States. He wrote and directed Balseros for Florida Grand Opera, Dust for premiere at the Kanagawa Arts Foundation in Yokohama, and Celestial Excursions for the Berlin Festival and Hebbel Theater Berlin. Made Out of Concrete was premiered at La MaMa E.T.C. in New York in 2009. Ashley is working on his latest opera, Quicksand. Kyle Gann’s biography of Robert Ashley is forthcoming from the University of Illinois Press.
For more information, visit Robert’s website.
Joe Diebes creates works that converge around music, visual art, and performance. From 1996-2003 he was a core member as well as the composer for all productions by the hybrid arts group GAle GAtes et al. described by The New York Times as “an adventurous troupe with one foot in the world of postmodern art and the other in downtown performance.” Since then he has continued to create performance work that fuses sound, visual media, and the human voice into a unique form of contemporary opera. His opera environment, STRANGE BIRDS, received its U.K. premiere in 2005 at Tramway (Glasgow) and his sound-theatre collaboration with Phil Soltanoff, I/O, was presented at Fusebox (Austin 2007) and Theatre Garonne (Toulouse 2008). He is currently developing a new opera inspired by the story of Milli Vanilli at The Watermill Center with director David Levine and poet Christian Hawkey as well as a sound-driven performance work, BOTCH, in residency at HERE Arts Center. He has also exhibited internationally his sound installations, video, and works on paper for art galleries, museums, and public spaces including Paul Rodgers/9W (New York), The ’06 Olympics (Torino, Italy), Yuanfen Gallery (Beijing), and the Liverpool Biennial.
For more information, visit Joe’s website.
Baltimore-based composer Ruby Fulton (b. 1981) grew up in Northwest Iowa. Along with composer George Lam, she is co-director of Rhymes With Opera, a company dedicated to bringing new opera to unconventional spaces.
Her music has been played recently by the Holland Symfonia, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, orkest de ereprijs, Volti, REDSHIFT, the quux duo, and musicians from the Tanglewood Music Center, the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA and the A*Devantgarde Festival in Munich.
She has received recognition from the Fromm Foundation (2011 Commission), Musik Centrum Nederland (2010 Gaudeamus Prize Nomination), ASCAP (2009 Morton Gould Young Composers Award), Meet the Composer and the League of American Orchestras (Music Alive: New Partnerships), and the American Composers Forum (2006 Encore Grant with the West End String Quartet); and has been in residency at the Hermitage Artist Retreat, Atlantic Center for the Arts (with composer David Lang) and Yaddo.
She has studied with composers Julia Wolfe, Christopher Theofanidis, Moritz Eggert, Elinor Armer, Dan Becker, Charles Fussell, Tison Street and Martin Amlin. She holds degrees from the Peabody Institute, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Boston University.
For more information, visit Ruby’s website.
Gabrielle Herbst resides in Brooklyn. She studied composition at Bard College with Joan Tower, Zeena Parkins and Marina Rosenfeld. As a featured vocalist she has performed with Zeena Parkins, Elliott Sharp, Da Capo Chamber Players, Beyond the Mind at the 2009 Russian American Cultural Center Gala at the Ana Tzarev Gallery, The Green Death at Saint Mark’s Church, Allie Tsypin’s Low Culture Symphony at the former convent of St. Cecilia’s Parish, Brooklyn, at La MaMa E.T.C, and Marina Rosenfeld’s Teenage Lontano in the Whitney Biennial. She has premiered her compositions at Roulette Intermedium, The Stone, Cabinet Magazine’s Exhibition Space, Club Helsinki and HERE Arts Center. Recipient of the 2011 Artist Residency at Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center in partnership with New York Theater Workshop, her upcoming projects include commissions from the new music ensemble Contemporaneous. She is also the 2012 recipient of the Con Edison Composers-in-Residence through Exploring the Metropolis, Inc.
Mary Kouyoumdjian is dedicated to composing music that pushes the boundaries of expectation and musical tradition. As a first generation Armenian-American and having come from a family directly affected by the Lebanese Civil War and Armenian Genocide, she uses a sonic pallet that draws on her heritage, interest in folk music, and background in experimental composition to progressively blend the old with the new.
With compositions ranging from concert works to multimedia collaborations and film scores, Kouyoumdjian has received commissions from the American Composers Forum/JFund for her piece Dzov Yerku Kooynov [Sea of Two Colors], REDSHIFT for their “Arctic Sounds” series, the Los Angeles New Music Ensemble, and violinist Andie Springer for her work Dandelion [for Andie Springer]. Her chamber and multimedia pieces have been recorded by such performers as internationally acclaimed cellist Charles Curtis and flautist John Fonville and have been presented by the Boston New Music Initiative and Ear Heart Music. Currently based in New York, Kouyoumdjian also actively promotes the growth of new music in her native state of California and has frequently collaborated with the Los Angeles New Music Ensemble.
Holding a B.A. in Music Composition from the University of California, San Diego and an M.A. in Scoring for Film & Multimedia from New York University, Kouyoumdjian has studied contemporary composition with Chaya Czernowin, Steven Kazuo Takasugi, and Chinary Ung; new music performance with Steve Schick; and modern jazz with Anthony Davis.
Kouyoumdjian is also a co-founder and the executive director of the contemporary music ensemble Hotel Elefant.
For more information, visit Mary’s website.
Blending literature and visual art with experimental composition, LEAHA MARIA VILLARREAL brings a contemporary focus to classical music. Fascinated by themes of home, loss, and memory, her works side-step boundaries and defy convention.
Villarreal’s music has premiered on both coasts featuring the JACK Quartet, violinist Andie Tanning Springer, and members of the percussion ensemble red fish blue fish. Her work has been sought out by the Composers’ Voice concert series, the Boston New Music Initiative, and the PUBLIQuartet. Past composition teachers include Pulitzer-prize winner Roger Reynolds, Steven Kazuo Takasugi, Chinary Ung, and Tania Leon. She holds a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego and is pursuing her M.M. at New York University with Julia Wolfe and Michael Gordon.
In addition to her work as a composer, Villarreal is an avid supporter of the performing arts. She has lent her services to such preeminent organizations as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Wordless Music Series, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, MATA, the Unsound Festival, and the FIGMENT Arts Festival on Governor’s Island.
Villarreal is a co-founder and the Artistic Director of the New York-based contemporary music ensemble Hotel Elefant.
For more information, visit Leaha’s website.
JUSTIN TIERNEY’S music was declared “superb, robust, and grand” by the Boston Globe who avowed that “Tierney’s dark-hued music had polished, ominous richness… and sound-worlds that were cogent and immediate.”
His music has been performed and recorded by ensembles such as WetInk, The Firebird Ensemble, Experiments in Opera, the Kyodai Brass Quintet, the Ciompi String Quartet, the Yale Trombone Quartet, the Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale, Tufts Symphony Orchestra, and soloists such as Joanna Kurkowicz, and Fumito Nunoya, among others.
Tierney has worked with composers such as Martin Bresnick, Aaron Jay Kernis, Christopher Theofanidis, Ezra Laderman, Ryan Vigil, John McDonald, Jeffrey Johnson and Douglas Townsend. He holds degrees from Yale, Tufts, and the University of Bridgeport, and is currently pursuing a PhD at Duke University under Stephen Jaffe.
Tierney has taught music composition at Yale College and Music Notation at the University of Bridgeport. He was born in West Haven, CT (1984) and currently resides in Durham, NC with his wife Michiko Tierney, a photographer.
For more information, visit Justin’s website.
Cough Button is a creative troika dedicated to exploring the narrative and sonic possibilities of mixing radio transmissions into live performance and installation. Cough Button consists of Aliza Simons, Lynn Levy, & Dave Ruder.
Lynn Levy is a documentary producer who has worked in film, television and radio. She is currently working for WNYC’s Radiolab. Lynn graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in Film Studies and a cardboard box full of blank cassette tapes (still waiting to be used).
Dave Ruder has spent much of the last year performing in, arranging, and creating new mutlimedia & site-specific operas. He performed in Robert Ashley’s That Morning Thing, co-arranged and performed in Ashley’s Perfect Lives Manhattan as 1/5 of Varispeed, took part in a performance of Aaron Siegel’s Brother Brother, and has worked with Panoply Performance Laboratory on Nature Fetish, Institute_Institut, and TIME: A Complete Explanation in 3 parts (with thingNY). Dave is an active clarinetist/guitarist/vocalist/electronicist and composer (among other things). In addition to Cough Button, he is a member of Varispeed (durational performance & opera), Gamelan Kusuma Laras (NYC’s only Javanese gamelan), Sweat Lodge (new music composing/performing squad), Why Lie? (song & storytelling duo), and helps run Performers Forum (a monthly series at Exapno). Dave studied music at Wesleyan University and Brooklyn College. For more information about Dave, visit his website at: daveruder.com
New York City native Aliza Simons wears many different hats: transmission artist, musician, composer, oral historian, championwhistler. A graduate of Wesleyan University, she was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship in 2010 to spend a year visiting community radio stations and conducting interviews with radio DJs and journalists in Northern Canada, South America and Western Africa. In 2011, she collaborated in arranging and performing a site-specific adaptation of Robert Ashley’s made-for-TV opera Perfect Lives with composer-collective Varispeed as part of Performa ’11. She also performed in a restaging of Ashley’sThat Morning Thing at The Kitchen as well as the premier of World War III Just the Highlights, alongside baritone vocalist Thomas Buckner. She is a member of Why Lie? the band, WHY LIE? the ensemble and yet-to-be-named duo with percussionist David Grollman.
Visit the Cough Button website for more information.
Jason Cady is a composer of experimental vocal and chamber music. The Wire described his one-act opera, Post-Madonna Prima Donna, as, “thoughtful satire, sharp composition.” WQXR’s Operavore described his two-act opera Happiness is the Problem as keeping “the energy hovering at 11 consistently, fusing the stilettoed [sic] coloratura of Mozart’s ‘Queen of the Night’ with Glass at his most hyper-caffeinated; you’re left gasping at the end for a reprieve, while admiring the psychological underpinnings of Cady’s work.”
Cady’s CDs have been released on Lockstep records and Peacock recordings. He has received funding from Brooklyn Arts Council, New Music USA, free103point9, and the American Music Center. His music has been performed at Roulette, Issue Project Room, The Stone, (le) Poisson Rouge, Tonic and in many other venues in New York City and throughout the US from Arizona to Alaska. He has lectured on his music at New York University, New School University, and Arizona State University. He has been interviewed by WBEZ, WNYC, WPIR, and East Village Radio. He was featured in NPR’s “The Mix: 100 Composers Under 40.”
Cady co-founded Experiments in Opera with composers Matt Welch and Aaron Siegel, which has presented the music of John Zorn, Georges Aperghis, and Cough Button in addition to the music of the co-founders. In February 2013 they will premiere new works by Robert Ashley, Joe Diebes, Ruby Fulton, Gabrielle Herbst, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Justin Tierney, Leaha Maria Villarreal, et al.
Cady teaches piano, guitar and drum lessons. He also works as the senior researcher at The Earle Brown Music Foundation. In January 2013 he presented a paper at Beyond Notation: An Earle Brown Symposium at Northeastern University.
Cady has an M.A. in composition from Wesleyan University, where he studied with Alvin Lucier and Anthony Braxton. His undergraduate degree is in Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance from Arizona State University, where he studied composition with Richard Lerman and Harold Budd, in addition to training in visual art. He was born in 1974 in Flint, Michigan and has lived in Brooklyn, New York since 2001.
For more information, visit: numbermadeaudible.com
Regarded as “a composer possessed of both rich imagination and the skill to bring his fancies to life” by Time Out New York, composer and bagpipe virtuoso Matthew Welch (b.1976) holds two degrees in Music Composition, a BFA from Simon Fraser University (1999), and an MA from Wesleyan University (2001), having studied with noted composers such as Barry Truax, Rodney Sharman, Alvin Lucier and Anthony Braxton. After locating to New York City in 2001, he has worked with a host of other artists such as John Zorn, Julia Wolfe, Zeena Parkins, and Ikue Mori. The eclectic breadth of his interests in Scottish bagpipe music, Balinese gamelan, minimalism, improvisation and rock converge in compositional amalgams ranging from traditional-like bagpipe tunes to electronic pieces, improvisation strategies and fully notated works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, orchestra and non-western instruments. Since 2002, Mr. Welch has been running and composing for his own eclectic ensemble, Blarvuster, whose repertoire the New York Times has claimed as “border-busting music; original and catchy.” Mr. Welch has recorded for the Tzadik, Mode, Cantaloupe, Leo, Porter, Muud, Avian, Newsonic and Parallactic record labels.
For more information, visit: blarvuster.com
Experiments in Opera co-founder Aaron Siegel’s inquisitive and playful work represents a personal vision of how we live with and respond to the sounds in our world. Percussionist Jonathan Ovalle will premiere his Dioramas for Prepared Vibraphone in Fall 2012 and Experiments In Opera will premiere his new monodrama, The Collector, in February 2013 as part of its New Shorts concert. Siegel has most recently partnered with Mantra Percussion Ensemble and The Young People’s Chorus of New York City for performances at the Music at First Series, and the 92nd Street Y . His CD Science is Only a Sometimes Friend for eight glockenspiels and organ was released in May 2011 on LockStep Records and hailed as “one continuous ecstatic sonic event,” and as one of the best records of 2011 by Time Out New York. He is currently working on an opera for percussion, strings, singers and actors called Brother Brother, based on the lives of Orville and Wilbur Wright.
In addition to his work as a composer, Siegel has performed with Memorize the Sky, Anthony Braxton and Robert Ashley. His work can be found on numerous recordings including Cabinet for solo percussion and Every Morning a History for chamber ensemble and solo piano. Siegel is on the education staff at Carnegie Hall.
For more information visit: aaronsiegel.net.
Megan Schubert (lead producer, singer – Sextour) recently created the role of Saint Francis of Assisi in a world premiere of Sasha Zamler-Carhart’s opera I Fioretti at La Mama E.T.C., the role of Scientist/Athena in Likeness to Lily’s COMMAND VOICE, sang in the world premiere of James Ilgenfritz’s opera, The Ticket that Exploded, and performed and produced the NY premiere of Georges Aperghis’s Sextuor: L’origine des especes with Avant Media. Recent and upcoming engagements include a set of Eve Beglarian’s works at Joyce SoHo and Wild Project with members of Ekmeles; the New York Premiere of Robert Ashley’s opera, That Morning Thing, at The Kitchen; and a staged performance of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire.
Schubert has performed music by Stockhausen for an audience under umbrellas in a torrential downpour for Make Music New York; world premieres at Carnegie Hall; with robots while locked inside a Van de Graaff Generator at Boston’s Museum of Science; on a bike flying by the audience in an installation piece at McCarren Park Pool, Brooklyn; in a giant potato sack while video was projected onto her frontside at Webster Hall; for inmates at a maximum security prison in Ossining, NY; with puppets at E 4th Street Fab! Fest; for Elliot Carter at a celebration of his 100th birthday; and with many ensembles championing art music and experimental jazz of today. Schubert holds degrees from Bennington College and Manhattan School of Music.
Georges Aperghis was born in Athens in 1945. He has lived and worked in Paris since 1963. In 1971, after a few instrumental pieces more or less inspired by serial technique, Georges Aperghis composed the tragic story of the necromancer Hieronimo and the mirror (for two female voices: singing and speaking, a lute, a cello). This piece was his first music theater piece and the source of much of his future investigations into the relationship between music and text, between music and stage.
The creation of the l’Atelier Théâtre et Musique (ATEM) in the Paris suburbs of Bagnolet (1976 to 1991) and Nanterre (at the Theatre des Amandiers from 1992 to 1997) completely renewed Aperghis’ practice as a composer. Using musicians as well as actors, shows with the ATEM were inspired by the everyday social facts translated into a poetic world that was often absurd and satirical. All ingredients (vocal, instrumental, gestural, theatrical …) were treated equally and contributed – outside of a pre-existing text – to the drama. (translated text from Antoine Gindt, official biographer)