Daniel Allas (b. 1993, Boston, MA) is a composer of instrumental and electronic music. His recent work researches performative interpretation, the physicality of sound, and the poetics of musical symbols. His work has been performed by many performers and music groups including the LA Philharmonic, Peter Evans and the International Contemporary Ensemble, wild Up, and the Lydian String Quartet, among others. His music has been performed at festivals and academies including the Next on Grand festival, So Percussion Summer Academy, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s 2015 Composer Institute. His teachers include Andrew Norman, Yu-Hui Chang, David Rakowski, and Davide Ianni. He lives in Los Angeles, CA (October 2017).
Dan Caputo (b. 1991) is a composer of instrumental and electronic works that explore themes of human experience, behavior, cognition, and psychology. His music is further inspired by physical location, with numerous works intended to evoke or be performed in environments outside of the concert hall.
Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Caputo is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Southern California and holds a B.M. from USC and an M.Mus. from the University of Texas at Austin. He has studied under composers Ted Hearne, Sean Friar, Donald Crockett, Dan Welcher, Stephen Hartke, Frank Ticheli, Donald Grantham, and Samuel Adler.
A composition fellow at the inaugural Blackbird Creative Lab in 2017, Caputo worked closely with members of renowned ensemble Eighth Blackbird and composition faculty Jennifer Higdon and Ted Hearne over the course of two weeks to bring his work Dream Mechanics to life, a piece commissioned by Elizabeth and Justus Schlichting for performance at the Lab. Caputo’s Southwest Landscapes was performed at the 2015 “Oh. My. Ears.” new-music marathon in Phoenix, AZ, and Caputo had an electronic work featured at the 2014 Electric LaTex Festival in Denton, TX. His works have been additionally performed and recorded by the University of Texas New Music Ensemble, the UT Percussion Ensemble, the USC Thornton Symphony, and the USC Thornton Wind Ensemble, with world premieres occurring across five states and in Berlin, Germany.
Links to works by Dan Caputo:
Dream Mechanics - https://youtu.be/QZtuXyyUaeQ
Tommy Dougherty (b. 1990) is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is a composer of orchestral, chamber, and solo works. He received his Bachelor’s degrees in both composition and violin performance from The Eastman School of Music in 2013 and his Master of Music degree in composition from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in 2015.
In the summer of 2015, Tommy was selected to attend the Mizzou International Composers Festival where Alarm Will Sound premiered his piece Particularly Competitive. He was also Composer in Residence and the Theory Instructor at the Luzerne Music Center, Junior Session. More recently, Tommy was awarded the Cactus Pear Music Festival Composition Competition X-Prize in 2015, an Aspen Fellowship as part of the Susan and Ford Schumann Center for Composition Studies for the summer of 2016, and two ASCAP Morton Gould Awards in 2016 and 2017.
Also an active violinist, Tommy is a substitute violinist with the San Diego Symphony and has performed with the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra in Los Angeles, California, and The Kinetic Conductorless Ensemble in Houston, Texas. He frequently performs with USC’s new music ensemble, Thornton Edge, in addition to serving as the ensemble’s manager. Currently residing in Los Angeles, California, Tommy is pursuing a DMA at USC’s Thornton School of Music, studying composition with Andrew Norman and Sean Friar.
Links to works by Tommy Dougherty:
Giancore - https://soundcloud.com/tommy-s-dougherty/giancore
Three Dances for Orchestra -https://soundcloud.com/tommy-s-dougherty/three-dances-for-orchestra
Tamzin Elliott is a composer from northern San Diego, now based in Los Angeles. She graduated from Bard College and Conservatory in New York with a Bachelors of Music in Composition and a Bachelors of Art in Poetry, and is currently working on her Masters of Composition at University of Southern California studying with Sean Friar. At Bard she studied composition with George Tsontakis and Joan Tower, and was advised by Ann Lauterbach through working on her thesis in Poetry.
In recent years Tamzin has been focusing on writing vocal work for herself and others, on writing lyrics, and experimenting with traditional parameters of live performance - her work often making genre lines ambiguous. She loves performing, whether it be her own work, classical harp repertoire, or Georgian folk music.
Tyler Eschendal (b.1993) is a composer and percussionist originally from the suburbs of Detroit and now resides in Los Angeles, CA. A love for rhythm, pulse, and layering heavily influences his music, as well as an interest in introducing sample-based procedures found in electronic music to acoustic and live instrumentations. Tyler's music has been performed at institutions across the U.S. including Indiana University, George Mason University, Boston University, and internationally at Soochow University in China. His compositions have also been showcased at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), Giovani Vecchi Concert Series, UT Percussion Night, Nief-Norf Summer Festival, and Sō Percussion Summer Institute (SoSI) at Princeton University.
Recent projects and collaborations include a new work for the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet and music for ymusic in collaboration with the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.
He holds a B.M. in music composition from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati studying with Michael Fiday and Mara Helmuth, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in composition at the University of Southern California studying with Ted Hearne, Sean Friar and Don Crockett.
Tyler frequently performs with USC's contemporary music ensemble Thornton EDGE, and heads the sample-based electronic project x e m x.
Links to works by Tyler Eschendal:
My Bones -
Daniel Leo, 25, began playing the violin at 5 and composing at 12. He has had works performed by the New York Youth Symphony, Manhattan School of Music Orchestra, CIRCE (Composer-in- Residence Chamber Ensemble), the Alaria chamber ensemble, students of Mannes College The New School for Music, Manhattan School of Music, University of California Berkeley, members of the Bowdoin International Music Festival, Atlantic Music Festival, California Summer Music festival, and the Las Vegas Academy Symphony and Philharmonic orchestras. Daniel’s works have been performed across the country in locations such as Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, New York’s Symphony Space, Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College, University of California Berkeley, Brunswick, Maine, and Las Vegas, Nevada. He is also an avid conductor of his works as well as the works of other composers and colleagues. Daniel is a recipient of the Carl Kanter Prize in Orchestral Composition, Presser Foundation Scholarship, Jean Schneider Goberman award in composition, winner of the CIRCE competition, and finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer’s Award 2014-16. He has been an active member of the New York Youth Symphony composition program from 2012-2014. Daniel received his Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music and his Bachelor of Music at Mannes College. His principal teachers are Richard Danielpour and David Tcimpidis. He has also received lessons from renowned composers such as Derek Bermel, Lowell Liebermann, Martin Bresnick, David Ludwig, Robert Paterson, Ken Ueno, Joan Tower, George Tsontakis, and Steven Stucky. Daniel is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Southern California under the tutelage of Frank Ticheli.
Links to works by Daniel Leo:
Blowing Mad Clouds -
No Nerve In It -https://soundcloud.com/danny_leo/no-nerve-in-it
Born in Lyon, France in 1995, organist/composer Thomas Mellan was awarded first place in the keyboard division of the 2015 and 2016 national competitions sponsored by the Musical Merit Foundation. In 2011, he was one of six organists invited to record on the official Walt Disney Concert Hall Organ DVD. He performed as Rising Star in the American Guild of Organists’ West Region Regional Convention in 2015. He was invited as Rising Star to perform in the Centennial International Summer Organ Festival at the Spreckels Pavilion. As Young Artist of the Year, he performed a solo recital in the 23rd Organ Festival at St. Eustache in Paris, France.
He has studied composition, counterpoint and harmony since the age of twelve. His catalogue of over thirty compositions includes orchestral, chamber and solo works. His work …on transcendence…, for five solo cellos and orchestra, was premiered by the Sakura cello quintet and the USC Thornton Symphony under the direction of Donald Crockett in 2016. His current projects and commissions include a new violin concerto, two more movements of …on transcendence… and a large organ concerto. Compositions have been performed in such venues as the Chautauqua Institute (New York), Rider University and the Princeton University Chapel (Princeton, New Jersey), the Spreckels Organ Pavilion (San Diego, California), Walt Disney Concert Hall, (Los Angeles, California), the University of Southern California and Église St. Eustache (Paris, France).
Mellan was the Outstanding Graduate of the undergraduate class of 2017 at the University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music. He graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree with a double major in organ performance and composition. He is pursuing a Master of Music degree at Thornton, retaining the double emphasis in organ and composition. He is studying organ with Cherry Rhodes and composition with Frank Ticheli. Mellan received the Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award in 2016. He was awarded the Thornton Faculty Award in 2013, the most prestigious scholarship awarded to an undergraduate at the USC Thornton School of Music.
JP Merz is a composer who works with classical, jazz, and rock musicians, as well as improvisers, dancers, electrical engineers, internet researchers, programming languages, and robots. His recent work explores intimate, emotion-driven, and kinesthetic experiences of sound. JP’s work has been performed by members of the JACK Quartet, Altius Quartet, Playground Ensemble, Iowa Center for New Music, and Colorado Music Festival Orchestra at places such as the Weill Hall of Carnegie Hall, New Music Gathering, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison New Music Festival, San Francisco Fringe Festival, the Abrons Arts Center, record stores, coffee shops and living rooms. In 2016, he received support from the American Composers Forum's JFund for New Music and interned with his favorite new music series, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music. In addition to composing, JP performs on electric viola, guitar, and electronics with an eclectic variety of groups ranging from new music/improv ensembles to folk-rock bands. He received a BM in music theory and composition from Lawrence University, a MM in composition (emph. in music technology) from CU-Boulder and is currently pursuing a DMA in composition at the University of Southern California.
Links to works by JP Merz:
through fog -
drops on a living surface -
Celka Ojakangas (b. 1992) was born to a Finnish-American family in the Midwest and played viola in a string trio with her brothers as an essential part to her musical upbringing. Celka gets inspiration for her pieces from the musical backgrounds of her ancestry, from the musical history of her nuclear family and also from her family’s history of working in geology and physics. As an undergraduate, Celka was the assistant conductor to Drury University’s local Civic Orchestra and played viola professionally in three different symphonies. Celka received a BA in Music Composition from Drury University in Springfield, Missouri studying under Dr. Carlyle Sharpe, studied independently with Dr. Mara Gibson at UMKC, and is presently pursuing her Master’s of Music Composition at USC as both a teaching assistant and student, where she has studied with esteemed professors Dr. Frank Ticheli and Dr. Sean Friar. Celka was a finalist for the Morton Gould Young Composers' Award in 2016-2017, and most recently won USC’s New Music for Wind Ensemble Contest with her piece “Bonehead Fizzix,” which is set to premiere in February 2018.
Links to works by Celka Ojakangas:
Bonehead Fizzix (Preview) -
II. Ennio -
Ali Can Puskulcu
Turkish-American composer and violinist Ali Can Puskulcu recently performed his solo violin piece “Point G” at Lincoln Center in New York City. His chamber music piece “Wired” was premiered by wild-Up ensemble at Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Noon to Midnight series in Walt Disney Hall. He has also received the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award for his ensemble piece “Broken”. Additional performances took place at Gaudeamus Muzikweek (Netherlands), Saint-Martin-Vésubie (France), Rutgers University, and the University of Southern California.
In 2007, Ali entered the Robert Schumann Musikhochschule in Dusseldorf, Germany under the instruction of Professor Ida Bieler. In 2010 he was invited to the renowned Schwetzingen Festspiele as a guest artist to perform music by contemporary Turkish composers. In July 2012, Ali graduated from the violin class of distinguished pedagogue Rosa Fain. He holds both a Bachelor and Master of Arts Diploma from the Robert Schumann Musikhochschule. In March, 2013 Ali made his Carnegie Hall debut as the Second Prize Winner of the American Protégé Strings and Piano Competition. He is the winner of Ereprijs Commission at YCM 2017, and will be writing a new piece for Orkest de Ereprijs to be premiered next year.
He is currently pursuing his Master of Music in music composition at the University of Southern California under the guidance of Andrew Norman.
Links to works by Ali Can Puskulcu:
Malkovich - https://soundcloud.com/ali-can-puskulcu/malkovich
Wired - https://soundcloud.com/ali-can-puskulcu/wired
Leaha Maria Villareal
With works described as "visceral" (Lucid
Culture), "propulsive" (Bachtrack) and "austere" (New Music Box), composer Leaha Maria Villarreal’s output includes music for dance, film, opera, and the concert hall.
She has worked with organizations and
ensembles such as Beth Morrison Projects and the Los Angeles Philharmonic; ETHEL and Friends concert series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; andPlay; Wild Rumpus; JACK Quartet; Experiments in Opera; and TRANSIT New Music, among others. Past composition teachers include Roger Reynolds, Steven Kazuo Takasugi, and Chinary Ung. Villarreal holds a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego and an M.M. from New York University where she studied with Julia Wolfe and Michael Gordon. She is a co-founder of contemporary music ensemble Hotel Elefant; a Jerome Fund for New Music recipient; and taught composition with New York Philharmonic's Very Young Composers Bridge Program. Villarreal is pursuing a D.M.A. at the University of Southern California.