Anthony Brandt, composer, earned his degrees from Harvard University (B.A., 1983, Ph.D., 1993) and the California Institute of the Arts (M.A., 1987). His catalog includes three chamber operas as well as orchestral, chamber, vocal, theater, dance, and television scores, and sound-and-art installations. His honors include a Koussevitzky Commission from the Library of Congress, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet-the-Composer, and the Houston Arts Alliance, and fellowships to the MacDowell and Djerassi arts colonies, the Tanglewood Festival, and the Wellesley Composers Conference. He has been a visiting composer at the Bremen Musikfest, the Universidad Veracruzana, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Baltimore New Chamber Festival, Cleveland State University, and SUNY-Buffalo, and composer-in-residence of the International Festival of Music in Morelia, Mexico, and Houston’s OrchestraX. Recordings of his music are also available on the Albany and Crystal labels.


Brandt is Artistic Director of the contemporary music ensemble Musiqa and winner of two CMA/ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming. With Musiqa, he presents inter-disciplinary public concerts and free educational programs that have served nearly 60,000 public school students and teachers. Brandt and neuroscientist David Eagleman have co-authored The Runaway Species: How Creativity Remakes the World. Their book, which is being published in 13 countries, was the official selection of the 2018-19 Common Reading Experience at Texas State University and the inspiration for the Netflix documentary “The Creative Brain.” Brandt has contributed a chapter to the book Mobile Brain-Body Imaging and the Neuroscience of Art, Innovation, and Creativity, and co-authored a chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology and articles for the journals Frontiers and Brain Connectivity. A Professor of Composition and Theory at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, he has been awarded the University’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Professional Service and Leadership (2019), a George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching (2007), and a Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award (2001).

photo: Tommy Lavergne







Neena Beber’s plays include A Foreign Body, Jump/Cut, The Dew Point, Hard Feelings, Tomorrowland, A Common Vision, and Misreadings, all published by Samuel French. An alumna of New Dramatists, she is a current participant in the BMI Advanced Musical Theater Workshop, and has been the recipient of a Lilly Award, an Obie Grant, the Weissberger Award, a Sloan Commission, and an A.S.K. Exchange to The Royal Court Theatre. Beber grew up in Miami FL and holds a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.F.A. N.Y.U.’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she was a Paulette Goddard Fellow. She is currently collaborating with composer Anthony Brandt on a chamber opera retelling the myth of Cassandra.


Karol Bennett

Hailed for her “sumptuous sound, wrenching poignancy, and faultless musicianship” (the New York Times), “resonant focus, glimmering tone and creamy fluidity” (the Los Angeles Times), and “ravishing tone and fire of imagination” (the Boston Globe), soprano Karol Bennett has been heard worldwide in lieder, oratorio, opera, and new music. Her honors include the Pro Musicis International Award, a fellowship from the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, an Artistic Ambassadorship, and a Duo Recitalists Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.


Bennett has appeared as soloist with numerous ensembles, including the Houston Symphony, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Sinfonia Cracovia, Da Camera of Houston, the New York New Music Ensemble, the Boston Cecilia, the Boston Masterworks Chorale, the Boston Musica Viva, Collage, the Quarteto Latino-Americano and the Borromeo, Cassatt, Chiara, Boston Composers, Del Sol, Enso, Flux, Maia, and Mendelssohn String Quartets. Bennett has been a participant at the Round Top, Bowdoin, San Luis Obispo, and Marlboro International Festivals, and Artist-in-Residence at the Universidad Veracruzana and International Festival of Music in Morelia, Mexico. She is Resident Artist for the new music group Musiqa.


Her recording of music of Earl Kim with the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra was chosen for the “Critics’ Choices: Classical Music” by the New York Times. Other acclaimed recordings include music by Anthony Brandt, Benjamin Britten, Sebastian Currier, Arthur Gottschalk, Jonathan Harvey, John Harbison, and Tod Machover.


Liam Bonner, Executive Director of the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, enjoyed a successful ten-year career in performance, having earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Vocal Performance from Carnegie Mellon University and his Master of Music in Voice from the Manhattan School of Music. In his former career as an artist, Bonner was praised by Opera News for his “rich, versatile voice” and “beautiful instrument.” Highlights of his performing career included his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2010 as Morales in Carmen and the role of Horatio in Hamlet–which was one of the Metropolitan Opera’s HD broadcasts that same season. He created the role of Lieutenant Audebert in the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Silent Night with Minnesota Opera. Bonner’s repertoire included the title role in Billy Budd with LA Opera, Ned Keene in Peter Grimes with the St. Louis Symphony and performed at Carnegie Hall, Pelléas in Debussy’s Pelléas and Mélisande, Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles, and the title role of Hamlet with Washington National Opera and conducted by Plácido Domingo. Notable international engagements included roles with English National Opera, Wexford Festival Opera, and Teatro dell’Opera Roma.


Del Sol String Quartet

Hailed by Gramophone as “masters of all musical things they survey” and two-time winner of the top Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, the Del Sol String Quartet shares living music with an ever-growing community of adventurous listeners.


Fascinated by the feedback loop between social change, technology, and artistic innovation, the San Francisco-based ensemble is a leading force in 21st-century chamber music, whether introducing Ben Johnston’s microtonal Americana at the Library of Congress, exploring Andean soundscapes with Gabriela Lena Frank and traditional musicians, deconstructing Ruth Crawford’s radical experimental processes with schoolchildren, or rocking Mason Bates’ techno grooves in his San Francisco club dance party.


Del Sol has commissioned and premiered hundreds of works and is recognized as a “vigorous champion of living composers,” focusing on music that reflects the cultural diversity of our community, advocating works by both world-renowned and emerging composers, and collaborating across disciplines.


David Eagleman is a neuroscientist, an internationally bestselling author, a Guggenheim Fellow, and an adjunct professor at Stanford University. He is the writer and presenter of The Brain, an Emmy-nominated television series on PBS and BBC. Eagleman’s areas of research include sensory substitution, time perception, vision, and synesthesia; he also studies the intersection of neuroscience with the legal system, and in that capacity he directs the Center for Science and Law. Collaborating with Anthony Brandt, he co-authored The Runaway Species, which was subsequently turned into the Netflix documentary The Creative Brain. Eagleman’s other books include The Brain, Incognito, and Wednesday is Indigo Blue. He is also the author of a widely adopted textbook on cognitive neuroscience, Brain and Behavior, as well as a bestselling book of literary fiction, Sum, which has been translated into 32 languages, turned into two operas, and named a Best Book of the Year by Barnes and Noble. Eagleman writes for The Atlantic, The New York Times, Discover Magazine, Slate, Wired, and New Scientist, and appears regularly on National Public Radio and BBC to discuss both science and literature. He has been a TED speaker, a guest on the Colbert Report, and profiled in The New Yorker. He has spun several companies out of his lab, including NeoSensory, a company which uses haptics for sensory substitution and addition.


Jerry Hou, Associate Conductor of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, is establishing himself as a dynamic and versatile conductor on concert stages and in opera houses around the world. At the Shepherd School, Hou leads the Contemporary Ensemble, conducts the Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, and works closely with the opera program. In addition he is founder and artistic director of the contemporary music series, Hear&Now.


A frequent guest conductor of distinguished orchestras and new music ensembles, he has gained widespread recognition for his versatility, commanding technique, and insightful interpretations. His flexibility in a variety of settings has led him to conduct a broad range of repertoire from classical to contemporary works, and to direct projects including orchestra, opera, multimedia, and mixed ensemble. Hou has led orchestras such as the Dallas Symphony, Houston Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra, Orchestra of Teatro Colon, and the Luxembourg Philharmonic. In addition, he has worked with renowned contemporary music ensembles including Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Signal, Remix Ensemble, Musiqa, and Alarm Will Sound.


River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO) is a dynamic and innovative professional music ensemble that ranges from 1 to 40 players from all over the United States and Canada, with guest artists from around the world. Performing intimate concerts in dozens of venues, ROCO’s mission is to shape the future of classical music. Expanding the repertoire, ROCO has premiered over 75 commissions from living American composers. ROCO embraces technology, with free worldwide concert livestreams and real-time artist commentary via a smartphone app. A vital part of the community, ROCO sends concert DVDs to nursing homes and hospitals to bring music to those immobile communities, and their music education/childcare program attracts multigenerational audiences.


Alastair Willis is the Music Director of the South Bend Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Symphonia Boca Raton’s “New Directions.” As a guest conductor, he has worked with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra, Deutsches Symphony Orchestra Berlin, Győr Philharmonic Orchestra, Qatar Philharmonic, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. Previous positions include Music Director of the Illinois Symphony, Principal Guest Conductor with the Florida Orchestra’s Coffee Concert series, Associate Conductor of the Seattle Symphony, and Assistant Conductor with the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras.  His recording of Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges with the Nashville Symphony was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Album in 2009.



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