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, and Jennifer Higdon – 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.

Composition & Music Technology Faculty

Christopher Alan Mercer

Lecturer, Composition and Music Technology

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Alex Mincek

Assistant Professor, Composition and Music Technology

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Hans Thomalla

Professor, Composition and Music Technology

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Jay Alan Yim

Associate Professor, Composition and Music Technology

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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.

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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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4th Year PhD

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Mathew Arrellin

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4th Year PhD

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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2nd year PhD

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Lisa Atkinson

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2nd 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.

4th year PhD

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Niki Charlafti

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4th year PhD

NikiCharlafti2023@u.northwestern.edu

Niki Charlafti is a Greek composer pursuing her PhD in Music Composition at the Bienen School of Music. She is currently in the studio of Alex Mincek and previously studied with Hans Thomalla. Ms. Charlafti holds a MM in Composition and Theory from New England Conservatory of Music (Boston), where she studied with Efstratios Minakakis and Anthony Coleman. Her works have been performed in Chicago, New York, Boston, Greece, the U.K., France, Germany and the Netherlands. Her upcoming collaborations include new works for Ensemble Dal Niente, guitarist Ruben Mattia Santorsa (Italy), ~Nois saxophone quartet (Chicago), as well as interdisciplinary projects with painters and choreographers in Germany (Berlin) and Mexico (Aguascalientes). Her recent collaborations and performances include ECCE (FR), CNMF and loadbang, June in Buffalo Festival and more. Musically, she is currently exploring the physicality of sound, the performing body and its musical dramaturgy, improvisation, extended vocal techniques and language, instrumental narrativity, as well as live electronics. Aesthetically, she is interested in contradiction. Her work balances between extreme sensitivity and violence, comedy and drama, sense and the nonsensical, reality, illusion and their common denominators.

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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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Mathew Arrellin

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4th Year PhD

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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2nd 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.

Niki Charlafti

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4th year PhD

NikiCharlafti2023@u.northwestern.edu

Niki Charlafti is a Greek composer pursuing her PhD in Music Composition at the Bienen School of Music. She is currently in the studio of Alex Mincek and previously studied with Hans Thomalla. Ms. Charlafti holds a MM in Composition and Theory from New England Conservatory of Music (Boston), where she studied with Efstratios Minakakis and Anthony Coleman. Her works have been performed in Chicago, New York, Boston, Greece, the U.K., France, Germany and the Netherlands. Her upcoming collaborations include new works for Ensemble Dal Niente, guitarist Ruben Mattia Santorsa (Italy), ~Nois saxophone quartet (Chicago), as well as interdisciplinary projects with painters and choreographers in Germany (Berlin) and Mexico (Aguascalientes). Her recent collaborations and performances include ECCE (FR), CNMF and loadbang, June in Buffalo Festival and more. Musically, she is currently exploring the physicality of sound, the performing body and its musical dramaturgy, improvisation, extended vocal techniques and language, instrumental narrativity, as well as live electronics. Aesthetically, she is interested in contradiction. Her work balances between extreme sensitivity and violence, comedy and drama, sense and the nonsensical, reality, illusion and their common denominators.

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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 music takes an experimental approach to the exploration of audible processes, acoustic phenomena, and thresholds of perception. Noah’s music has recently been performed by Ensemble Linea, ~Nois, Fonema Consort, and pianist Jonathan Hannau. He holds degrees in composition and violin performance from the University of Oregon and is currently a PhD candidate at Northwestern University studying composition with Alex Mincek, Jay Alan Yim, Hans Thomalla, and Chris Mercer.

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2nd year PhD

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Yi-Ting Lu

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2nd year PhD

Yi-tingLu2022@u.northwestern.edu

Yi-Ting Lu is a Taiwanese composer. Her work has represented Taiwan in the 66th 2019 International Rostrum of Composers in San Carlos de Bariloche, Province of Rio Negro, Argentina, and was awarded the Carl Kanter Prize. She was also selected as a finalist in the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Competition and awarded the Young Composers' Competition Annual Rudolph Award. Recently her work written for Ilsuono Academy was selected to be published by AltrEdizioni Casa Editrice.

Her compositions have been performed in Asia, Europe, and the United States by artists including the Arditti Quartet, Mivos Quartet, mdi ensemble, Yarn/Wire, Ensemble Suono Giallo, Ensemble Vocal Les Métaboles, Ensemble Mise-en, clarinetist Vasko Dukovski, the MSM Orchestra (under the baton of George Manahan), and the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, among others. She has participated in such festivals as Voix Nouvelles Academy in Royaumont (FR), Musiikin Aiko Time of Music (FI), Musikinstitut Darmstadt (GR), Ilsuono Academy (IT), Sound of Wander (IT), Art Incubator (KR), Yarn Wire Academy in Stony Brook (USA), Sforzando New Music (USA).

Yi-Ting is currently pursuing her PhD in composition at Northwestern University under the tutelage of Hans Thomalla, Jay Alan Yim, and Alex Mincek. 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.

1st year PhD

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Elliott Lupp

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1st 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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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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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 music takes an experimental approach to the exploration of audible processes, acoustic phenomena, and thresholds of perception. Noah’s music has recently been performed by Ensemble Linea, ~Nois, Fonema Consort, and pianist Jonathan Hannau. He holds degrees in composition and violin performance from the University of Oregon and is currently a PhD candidate at Northwestern University studying composition with Alex Mincek, Jay Alan Yim, Hans Thomalla, and Chris Mercer.

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Yi-Ting Lu

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2nd year PhD

Yi-tingLu2022@u.northwestern.edu

Yi-Ting Lu is a Taiwanese composer. Her work has represented Taiwan in the 66th 2019 International Rostrum of Composers in San Carlos de Bariloche, Province of Rio Negro, Argentina, and was awarded the Carl Kanter Prize. She was also selected as a finalist in the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Competition and awarded the Young Composers' Competition Annual Rudolph Award. Recently her work written for Ilsuono Academy was selected to be published by AltrEdizioni Casa Editrice.

Her compositions have been performed in Asia, Europe, and the United States by artists including the Arditti Quartet, Mivos Quartet, mdi ensemble, Yarn/Wire, Ensemble Suono Giallo, Ensemble Vocal Les Métaboles, Ensemble Mise-en, clarinetist Vasko Dukovski, the MSM Orchestra (under the baton of George Manahan), and the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, among others. She has participated in such festivals as Voix Nouvelles Academy in Royaumont (FR), Musiikin Aiko Time of Music (FI), Musikinstitut Darmstadt (GR), Ilsuono Academy (IT), Sound of Wander (IT), Art Incubator (KR), Yarn Wire Academy in Stony Brook (USA), Sforzando New Music (USA).

Yi-Ting is currently pursuing her PhD in composition at Northwestern University under the tutelage of Hans Thomalla, Jay Alan Yim, and Alex Mincek. 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.

Elliott Lupp

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1st 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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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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2nd year PhD

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Ruud Roelofsen

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2nd year PhD

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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DMA Candidate

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Liza Sobel

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DMA Candidate

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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Ben Zucker

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3rd year PhD

BenjaminZucker2022@u.northwestern.edu

Ben Zucker is a composer, improviser, sound designer, and multi-instrumentalist, using the voice, percussion, piano, brass instruments, synthesizers and programming, and movement and performance art to create constellations of conceptual and stylistic relations. His work crosses and intentionally plays with genre and discipline; it has been performed by artists including the Mivos Quartet, Apartment House, New York Virtuoso Singers, Distractfold Ensemble, and Rinde Eckert. He was recognized as a "New Composer Talent" by the International Audio Branding Academy, and his work has won awards from the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, C4 Collective, San Francisco Choral Artists, and San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. Additionally, he maintains an active career as a vocalist, trumpeter, pianist, and percussionist performing jazz, new music, and improvisations solo and with ensembles around the world, including performances with Anthony Braxton, Myra Melford, Notes Inegales, Luciano Chessa, as a founding member of The Improviser’s Choir, electro-salsa collective Arcadio, and the Apres-Garde Ensemble, and on solo records released on Not Art Records and Verz Imprint. Ben received a BA in music and critical theory at Wesleyan University, and recently completed postgraduate studies at Brunel University London with Jennifer Walshe and Christopher Fox.

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Ruud Roelofsen

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2nd year PhD

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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Liza Sobel

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DMA Candidate

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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Ben Zucker

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3rd year PhD

BenjaminZucker2022@u.northwestern.edu

Ben Zucker is a composer, improviser, sound designer, and multi-instrumentalist, using the voice, percussion, piano, brass instruments, synthesizers and programming, and movement and performance art to create constellations of conceptual and stylistic relations. His work crosses and intentionally plays with genre and discipline; it has been performed by artists including the Mivos Quartet, Apartment House, New York Virtuoso Singers, Distractfold Ensemble, and Rinde Eckert. He was recognized as a "New Composer Talent" by the International Audio Branding Academy, and his work has won awards from the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, C4 Collective, San Francisco Choral Artists, and San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. Additionally, he maintains an active career as a vocalist, trumpeter, pianist, and percussionist performing jazz, new music, and improvisations solo and with ensembles around the world, including performances with Anthony Braxton, Myra Melford, Notes Inegales, Luciano Chessa, as a founding member of The Improviser’s Choir, electro-salsa collective Arcadio, and the Apres-Garde Ensemble, and on solo records released on Not Art Records and Verz Imprint. Ben received a BA in music and critical theory at Wesleyan University, and recently completed postgraduate studies at Brunel University London with Jennifer Walshe and Christopher Fox.

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