Hayes Biggs was born in Huntsville, Alabama and raised in Helena, Arkansas. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition from Columbia University. His teachers include Don Freund, Mario Davidovsky, Jack Beeson, Fred Lerdahl and Donald Erb. Biggs has been a fellow in composition at the Composers Conference and Chamber Music Center at Wellesley, at the Tanglewood Music Center, at Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Millay Colony for the Arts and the MacDowell Colony. Among his honors are a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship and an Aaron Copland Award, which afforded him the opportunity to live and compose at Copland House in upstate New York for several weeks. Since 1992 he has been on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, teaching courses in the theory and composition departments.
Recent works include Symphonia brevis (2010), composed for Riverside Symphony; Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs (2011), for soprano Susan Narucki and pianist Christopher Oldfather; Three Hymn Tune Preludes (2010), commissioned by organist Gail Archer; The Caged Skylark (2011), Goe lovely Rose (2014), Fortunes Pantoum (2016, on a poem by Jane Shore), and who are you? (2017, on a poem by Zsuzsanna Ardó), all composed for C4: The Choral Composer/Conductor Collective, an ensemble in which Biggs also participates as a member of the bass section; Chorale Prelude on Nun komm der Heiden Heiland (2016), for organ; Prelude & Freund's Fuguing Tune in E (Noch einmal nach Bach) (2012), for solo piano; The Trill Is Gone (2013), for solo tenor saxophone; Inquieto (attraverso il rumore) (2015), composed for violinist Rolf Schulte; and three piano preludes, The secret that silent Lazarus would not reveal (2015), The presence of still water (2017), and „du aber bist der Baum” ("but you are tree") (2018), commissioned by Thomas Stumpf. Current projects include a work for the eleven-piece saxophone orchestra Megalopolis; Reveries. Passions, a quartet for piano and strings; and a work for singers and chamber orchestra based on Keats's The Eve of St. Agnes. In 2006 Biggs's String Quartet: O Sapientia/Steal Away (2004) was given its premiere at New York City’s Merkin Concert Hall by the Avalon String Quartet on a Washington Square Contemporary Music Society concert; it was recorded by the Avalon String Quartet in 2008, and released on Albany Records. Biggs’s music is published by C. F. Peters Corporation, APNM (Association for the Promotion of New Music) and Margun Music, Inc.
James Blachly is a conductor dedicated to artistic excellence and broader accessibility. In addition to performing as session conductor for PARMA Records, he currently serves as Music Director of the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Experiential Orchestra, and Music Director of Geneva Light Opera.
Blachly’s innovative programming aims to increase audience engagement and empower audiences. Under his direction the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra has performed in a former steel mill in a performance featured on Katie Couric’s America Inside Out; with the Experiential Orchestra, he has invited audiences to dance to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, sit within the orchestra at Lincoln Center, and engage with Symphonie fantastique and Petrouchka with circus choreography in an ongoing collaboration with The Muse in Brooklyn.
A strong supporter of composers of our time, he has commissioned and premiered more than 40 works from composers such as Jessie Montgomery, Courtney Bryan, Kate Copeland Ettinger, Patrick Castillo, Viet Cuong, Brad and Doug Balliett, Matthew Browne, and many others. Dedicated to finding new ways of empowering audiences, he is also in demand as a speaker on Listening as Leadership, bringing his expertise as a conductor and passion for music to Fortune 500 companies, schools, and other organizations. www.jamesblachly.com
The playing of violinist Curtis Macomber was praised recently by the New York Times for its “thrilling virtuosity” and by Strad Magazine for its “panache.” He enjoys a varied and distinguished career as soloist, chamber musician, and teacher, and he has for several decades been recognized as one of this country’s foremost interpreters and proponents of new music.
Mr. Macomber’s extensive discography includes the complete Brahms and Grieg Sonatas as well as hundreds of critically praised recordings of contemporary solo and chamber works.
As a member of the New World String Quartet from 1982-93, he performed in virtually all of the important concert series in this country, and toured abroad. He is the violinist of the Da Capo Chamber Players, a founding member of the Apollo Trio and the newest member of both the Manhattan String Quartet and the Walden Chamber Players. Mr. Macomber is presently a member of the chamber music faculty of the Juilliard School, where he earned BM, MM, and DMA degrees as a student of Joseph Fuchs. He is also on the violin faculties of the Manhattan and Mannes Schools of Music, and has taught at the Tanglewood, Taos, and Yellow Barn Music Festivals.
One of New York’s most gifted, trusted, respected, often-requested, and well-liked pianists, Christopher Oldfather has devoted himself to the performance of twentieth-century music for more than 30 years. He has participated in innumerable world-premiere performances, with every possible combination of instruments, in cities all over America. He has been a member of Boston’s Collage New Music since 1979, New York City’s Parnassus since 1997, New York Philomusica since 2007, and as a collaborator has joined singers and instrumentalists of all kinds in recitals throughout the United States. In 1986 Mr. Oldfather presented his recital debut in Carnegie Recital Hall. His work as a freelance musician has taken him as far afield as Moscow and Tokyo, and he has worked on every sort of keyboard ever made, including, of all things, the Chromelodeon. Widely known for his expertise on the harpsichord, he is one of the leading interpreters of twentieth century works for that instrument.
As soloist Mr. Oldfather has appeared with the MET Chamber Players, the San Francisco Symphony, and Ensemble Modern in Frankfurt, Germany. His recording of Elliott Carter's violin-piano Duo with Robert Mann was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 1990. He collaborated with the late Robert Craft, and can be heard on several of his recordings.
Saxophonist and conductor Andrew R. Steinberg has been recognized for his “beautiful tone” as well as his “astute and refined leadership” as an ensemble musician and conductor throughout North America, Asia, and Europe. As a concertizing soloist and music director of the Megalopolis Saxophone Orchestra, Mr. Steinberg has sought to perform needlessly neglected works from the repertoire alongside music by today’s composers. An advocate of music that challenges popular conceptions of the saxophone, Mr. Steinberg’s performances focus on works that highlight the sound of the saxophone in ways never heard before, particularly in terms of timbre and aesthetic approach.
In addition to performance activities, Mr. Steinberg’s passion for the rich history of the saxophone has led to lectures at venues including Boston University, New England Conservatory, Brookline Adult & Community Education, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The scope of his research has focused on topics such as The Life of Adolphe Sax, The Saxophone in the Weimar Republic, Historically Informed Performance Practice of the Saxophone Repertoire, and The “Rascherian” Approach.
Mr. Steinberg is currently a doctoral candidate at New England Conservatory. He serves on the faculty of the Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts, and is Founder and Music Director of the Megalopolis Saxophone Orchestra. Learn more: andrewrsteinberg.com
Conductor Joel Eric Suben has led recordings of works by more than 80 American and European composers (among them Pulitzer Prize winners Roger Sessions and Leslie Bassett) and appears as conductor on over 60 commercial recordings made since 1993. An active composer in his own right, Suben has some 40 published works to his credit. Learn more: www.suben.info
Eric Moe, composer and pianist, has received numerous recognitions for his compositions, including awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Guggenheim Fellowship; multiple commissions from both the Fromm and Koussevitzky Foundations, the Barlow Endowment, Meet-the-Composer USA, and New Music USA; fellowships from the Wellesley Composers Conference and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; and residencies at MacDowell, Yaddo, Bellagio, Camargo, VCCA, UCross, Aaron Copland House, Ragdale, Hambidge, Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians, and the American Dance Festival, among others. His discography includes more than ten all-Moe CDs, on Naxos, Koch, New World, Albany, BMOP/sound, and other labels.
As a pianist, Moe has premiered and performed works by a wide variety of composers. His playing can be heard on the Koch, CRI, Mode, Albany, New World, and Innova labels in the music of John Cage, Roger Zahab, Marc-Antonio Consoli, Mathew Rosenblum, Jay Reise, Ezra Sims, David Keberle, Felix Draeseke, and many others in addition to his own. His solo recording The Waltz Project Revisited - New Waltzes for Piano, a CD of waltzes for piano by two generations of American composers, was released in 2004 on Albany. Gramophone magazine said of the CD, “Moe’s command of the varied styles is nothing short of remarkable.” He founded and currently co-directs Pittsburgh’s Music on the Edge new music concert series. Moe studied at Princeton University and U.C. Berkeley and is currently the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Music at the University of Pittsburgh. Learn more: ericmoe.net
C4 (The Choral Composer/Conductor Collective) is a unique, award-winning chorus directed and operated collectively by its singing members, functioning not only as a presenting ensemble in its own right but also as an ongoing workshop and recital chorus for the emerging composers and conductors who form the core of the group. It is the first organization of its kind and one of the few choral groups in the nation to focus exclusively on the music of our time.
C4 exists to enrich artists and audiences alike through passionate advocacy of new choral works, performing pieces written within the last 25 years, premiering and commissioning new choral works, and mentoring emerging singers, composers, and conductors of today's choral music. C4's adventurous programming fills an important niche in the cultural life of New York, and the ensemble has proven its commitment to presenting high-caliber music in a welcoming atmosphere.
Frequently sought after to perform with other ensembles, artists, and organizations, the members of C4 lend their unique expertise to a wide variety of repertoire. Recent collaborators include the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Men's Ensemble, Music from Japan, and the New York Composers Circle, among others. More information about C4 can be found at c4ensemble.org.
Ben Arendsen is an active conductor of choral and orchestral music throughout the New York and Long Island area. Ben serves as the Director of Choral Activities at Nassau Community College, where he also teaches music history and ear training. He is also currently serving as Music Director of the Forest Hills Choir, and is a singer and conductor with C4: The Choral Composer Conductor Collective, a group committed to performing choral music written within the last 25 years. Past appointments include Associate Conductor of the Oratorio Society of Queens, music director of the Nassau Symphony Orchestra (a program of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York), interim Music Director of the Sound Symphony, and Music Director of the Gilbert and Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island.
Ben holds a masters degree in Orchestral Conducting from the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College, where he studied with Maurice Peress. As a guitarist, Ben has performed throughout New York and New England, including the Carnegie Hall premiere of Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint with William Anderson in 2006.
Florilegium Chamber Choir, currently directed by Dr. Ronnie Oliver, Jr., is a group of highly trained avocational and professional musicians based in New York City. The choir is dedicated to the highest level of performance in repertoire from all eras of Western music, from pre-Renaissance to the newly commissioned. JoAnn Rice founded the choir in 1976 and led it for its first 32 seasons. Florilegium has commissioned and premiered more than 30 compositions, including works by Hayes Biggs, Nancy Chance, Reiko Füting, Donald Grantham, Leo Kraft, Hugo Weisgall, Judith Lang Zaimont, and Richard Burchard. Learn more: www.florilegiumchamberchoir.org
JoAnn Rice is a native of Oklahoma, and is now living in New Mexico. She lived and worked in New York City for 45 years, founding the Florilegium Chamber Choir and serving as its Music Director from 1976 until 2009. Under her direction that ensemble gave many performances, including concerts in Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall, and commissioned and premiered numerous new works. Rice holds a Diploma of Hazzan and a Master of Sacred Music degree from New York City’s Jewish Theological Seminary, a Master of Sacred Music degree from Union Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Tulsa.
She has served as Cantor at Adat Torah Congregation in Wilton, CT, and Congregation Beth El in Norwalk, CT, and as organist and music director for numerous churches, including Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Manhattan, and St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in New Canaan, CT. Currently she is organist at Christ United Methodist Church in Albuquerque, NM. Recordings featuring her conducting include Music of Thea Musgrave and Judith Lang Zaimont (on the Leonarda label), performed by Florilegium Chamber Choir, a compact disc of the music of Paul Zim, produced by the composer, and two compact discs issued by the Jewish Theological Seminary: Voices from the Psalms and Music of the High Holy Days.
Desiree Glazier-Nazro is an extremely versatile percussionist bringing her classical training and her love of pop together with perfect execution. She began her musical adventure at age 5 with the piano and shortly after added drums and percussion to the mix resulting in a summa cum laude B.M. in percussion from The Hartt School and a M.M. from The Boston Conservatory (now The Boston Conservatory at Berklee).