Connecticut Composers, Inc.
is a non-profit organization of composers who are either now living in Connecticut or have lived there. It was founded in 1981 by eighteen charter members and has grown to over forty from all regions of the state. Its composers have written for such diverse media as orchestra, chorus, solo, chamber ensemble, opera, and ballet; their many genres also include jazz, improvisation, folk, electronic, and experimental music.
Born in Baltimore, Dr. Elizabeth R. Austin received her early musical training at The Peabody Conservatory. When Nadia Boulanger visited Goucher College, she awarded the composer a scholarship to study in Fontainebleau, France. Her awards have included a Connecticut Commission on the Arts grant, selection by GEDOK (Society of Women Artists in Germany/Austria) in its 70th anniversary exhibition, and First Prize in IAWM’s 1998 Miriam Gideon Competition. In 2001 The Rockefeller Foundation awarded her a residency at Bellagio, Italy. Dr. Michael K. Slayton, Professor of Theory/Composition at Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University, wrote his DMA dissertation (University of Houston, 2000) on Austin’s music. He also edited Women of Influence in Contemporary Music: Nine American Composers published by Scarecrow Press in 2011 that included his chapter on Austin’s music. Dr. Austin was the BMI/Vanderbilt University Composer-in-Residence in 2015. An excerpt from her opera I am one and double too was performed there in a portrait concert. In 2018, the final scene will be staged through the Hartford Women Composers Festival. The Hartford Musical Club’s commissioned choral music was premiered in an Austin portrait concert in honor of its 125th anniversary in 2016. Her music has also recently been performed in Berlin and New York City. It is published by Arsis Press, Tonger Musikverlag, Peer Musik, Certosa and recorded on the Parma (Capstone) and Leonarda labels among others. All of her scores are available through the American Composers Alliance.
Born in Wheeling, West Virginia, John Alan Rose has been performing as pianist and composer since the age of 14. Acclaimed European pianist Andreas Haefliger once played from John’s sketchbook and was so taken with his music that he predicted his future as a composer/performer. In November of 2015, John performed his piano concerto with the Moravian Philharmonic in Olomouc, The Czech Republic, followed by a collaboration with the same orchestra and the talents of cellist JungWon Choi, violinist Simeon Simeonov, soprano Sing Rose, narrator Tyler Bunch, and conductor Miran Vaupotic on a major recording project of his four concerti (cello, piano, violin and voice) for release on the Navona Label. His music has also been performed by the Dubrovnik Philharmonic Orchestra, the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra (Russia), and the Lugansk Philharmonic (Ukraine). Guitarist Diego Campagna selected John's solo guitar piece The Children Are Playing for inclusion on his new guitar CD, featuring the piece as well on his American tour. In addition to large-scale orchestral works, John has also composed a full-length opera, a major choral work, and many pieces for chamber ensemble and piano solo. At the age of eighteen he played the complete Chopin Etudes in concerts throughout Ohio and West Virginia. He has studied piano at Duquesne University, Indiana University, and Baldwin-Wallace University; teachers include David Allen Wehr, Robert Mayerovitch, Dina Khudaiberdieva, Karen Shaw, and Frederic Chiu. John resides with his family in Ohio and is a member of ASCAP.
American art song composer Juliana Hall (b. 1958) is a prolific and highly-regarded composer of vocal music whose songs have been described as "brilliant" (Washington Post), "beguiling" (Times of London), and "the most genuinely moving music of the afternoon" (Boston Globe). Among her more than 50 song cycles and works of vocal chamber music are pieces for renowned countertenor Brian Asawa and star soprano Dawn Upshaw. SongFest awarded Hall its 2017 Sorel Commission, and she was invited to be Guest Composer for the 2018 Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar by artistic director and acclaimed mezzo soprano Stephanie Blythe, for whom Hall has also composed songs. Hall graduated from the Yale School of Music in 1987 (studying with Martin Bresnick, Leon Kirchner, and Frederic Rzewski) and completed her studies in Minnesota with Dominick Argento. Since receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1989 her music has been heard in 29 countries on six continents at venues including Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, the Library of Congress, and Wigmore Hall as well as in concerts at the London Festival of American Music, the Ojai Music Festival, and the Tanglewood Music Center. Her music has been recorded on the Albany, MSR Classics, and Vienna Modern Masters labels and broadcast on the BBC and NPR radio networks. Her art songs and vocal chamber music are published by E. C. Schirmer and Boosey & Hawkes.
Ryan Jesperson is a composer whose music is steeped in the modern practice of blurring genres and skewing expectations. Ryan holds degrees from Washington State
University and The Hartt School and earned his doctorate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he was a Chancellor’s Doctoral Fellow and recipient of the
2011 Outstanding Dissertation Award. Winners of multiple awards and prizes, most recently the 2013 Verismo Trio Composition Award, the 2011 Gerald Kemner Prize for
Orchestral Composition, and the 2010 Beethoven Club/Belvedere Festival Composition Contest, Ryan’s compositions have been performed across North America, South America, and Europe, with recent performances in Hartford, Boston, New York, Montreal, Sweden, Romania, Bolivia, and the UK. Ryan is published through Sound Music Publications, Warwick Music, and his own imprint, Jazzperson Music, and his music is available on Navona Records. For more information please visit www.ryanjesperson.com.
Composer and tenor saxophonist Frank Vasi graduated from the Mannes College of Music in New York City. His compositions straddle the classical and jazz worlds of music incorporating their various techniques in his pieces. A member of ASCAP, he has written compositions for saxophone quartet, choral cantatas, chamber and orchestra works and is the founder and arranger for The Thimble Islands Saxophone Quartet.
Nancy Tucker is a gifted musician who “inhabits an offbeat alternative universe that inspires music to tumble into riotous abandon” says the Los Angeles Times. She approaches the guitar as if it were a miniature playground, exploring every sound from the strings to the wood to the pegs to the strap. Whether she is playing her heart-felt melodic finger-style compositions or her inventive percussion-isms, her engaging approach to acoustic guitar shines with personality. In addition, she is a lyricist, humorist and performer. Her music centers around a passion for life and laughter. From rural schools to urban theaters she captures each audience’s imagination and heart with gentle invitation and contagious lunacy.
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