Composer

Visiting Artist

Payton MacDonald

Payton MacDonald (b. 1974, Idaho Falls, Idaho) is musician, filmmaker, and ultra-endurance cyclist. He has created a unique body of work that draws upon his extensive experience with East Indian tabla drumming and Dhrupad singing, Jazz, European classical music, and the American experimental tradition. He works across multiple musical genres, often at the same time.

The New York Times described MacDonald as an “energetic soloist.” The Los Angeles Times described him as an “. . . inventive, stylistically omnivorous composer and gifted performer . . .” His compositions have been described as “hypnotically beautiful” (The New York Times and “. . . engaging and utterly beautiful.” (Sequenza 21)

As a composer numerous ensembles have performed his music around the world, including Alarm Will Sound, Medeski, Martin, and Wood, Los Angeles Philharmonic, JACK Quartet, New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, So Percussion, To Hit Duo, Young Voices of Colorado, Quintet Mont Royal, Classical Jam, guitarists Mak Grgic and Eliot Fisk, tabla soloist Shawn Mativetsky, accordionist Bill Schimmel, french hornist John Clark, and many others. He has received grants and awards from ASCAP, Meet the Composer, American Music Center, American Institute of Indian Studies, as well as fellowships from Yaddo and Ragdale. He has also composed music for the Silken Dance Company.

As a percussionist he was a founding member of Alarm Will Sound, a new-music chamber orchestra. Alarm Will Sound is currently regarded as one of the foremost new music ensembles in the country and MacDonald made five recordings with them, on the Nonesuch and Cantaloupe labels.  Alarm Will Sound has performed in the finest concert halls all over the world. MacDonald currently performs with the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble and with that group has appeared on a PASIC Showcase concert as well as events in New York City and New Jersey. As a solo marimbist, MacDonald has commissioned many works from other composers, including Charles Wuorinen, Robert Morris, Caleb Burhans, Don Freund, Peter Jarvis, Elliott Sharp, David Saperstein, Michael Udow, and Stuart Saunders Smith. MacDonald has released five solo marimba recordings on a variety of labels. As an improviser MacDonald has performed with Elliott Sharp, Billy Martin, Kevin Norton, Aakash Mittal, Peter Evans, Tim Feeney, Todd Sickafoose, Theo Metz, and many others. MacDonald has released several recordings and YouTube videos of his improvisations. From 1994-2004 MacDonald performed with Verederos, a flute and percussion duo. Verederos recorded two CDs under the Equilibrium label. He has also appeared as a soloist in England and Croatia, performed with Present Music and the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, toured Japan with Keiko Abe and the Galaxy percussion group, and performed and recorded with acclaimed singer/songwriter Noe Venable. MacDonald has been a featured performer of his own music on festivals in Montreal (Voyages) and Minneapolis (Electric Eyes). He was a TEDx speaker at Elevate, TEDx Bozeman.

MacDonald is also a singer and is currently studying Dhrupad vocal with the legendary Gundecha Brothers. Payton has performed as a Dhrupad singer at concert halls, yoga centers, and universities in India, the U.S., Europe, and Canada. He has performed at the Dhrupad Mela in Varanasi, India, as well as festivals in Chennai, Kolkata, and Bangalore. He has also appeared on the Ragas Live Festival in New York City, the Brooklyn Raga Massive, and the Dhrupad Days of Seattle and Wayne. He was awarded a Senior Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship to spend nine months in India studying with the Gundecha Brothers. He has performed with pakhawaj and jori drummers Pandit Akhilesh Gundecha, Roman Das, Dibyarka Chatterjee, Peter Fagiola, Dnyaneshvara Deshmukh, Tejas Tope, and Shawn Mativetsky.

As an educator MacDonald serves as a Full Professor of Music at William Paterson University, where he teaches contemporary music, percussion, composition, improvisation, and Hindustani music. He is also the Co-Artistic director of SHASTRA, an organization dedicated to bringing together the music of India and the West.

Payton MacDonald is a filmmaker whose films and music videos focus on the extreme and the avant-garde. His first documentary film, Sonic Divide, was placed in six international film festivals and won “Best Documentary” at the Helper Utah Film Festival and “Honorable Mention” at the Backpackinglight.com film festival. Sonic Divide has been screened dozens of times at festivals, universities, art galleries, and cycling events. He is currently finishing his second feature-length documentary film, “Ringing Changes, 50 Years of New Jersey Percussion Ensemble.”

MacDonald studied music at the University of Michigan (BFA) and the Eastman School of Music (MM and DMA). His composition teachers include Sydney Hodkinson, Robert Morris, Dave Rivello, Bright Sheng, and Augusta Read Thomas. His primary percussion teachers were John Beck and Michael Udow. Further studies include tabla with Bob Becker and Pandit Sharda Sahai, Dhrupad vocal with the Gundecha Brothers, and percussion from Julie Spencer, Richard Landauer, and John Alfieri.

Visiting artist at Arts Letters & Numbers Creative Music Intensive Summer 2018.

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Visiting Artist

Anne Lanzilotti

Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti is a "leading composer-performer" (The New York Times), dedicated to the music of our time. In Fall 2019, Lanzilotti will begin her tenure as the new Curator of Music at The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Lanzilotti has performed with contemporary music ensembles such as A Far Cry, Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Ensemble Échappé, and Ensemble Signal. As a recording artist, she has played on albums from Björk's Vulnicura Live and Joan Osborne's Love and Hate, to Dai Fujikura's Chance Monsoon and Ted Hearne's The Source. Lanzilotti’s current commissioning initiative, The 20/19 Project, includes new works by Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Andrew Norman, and Scott Wollschleger.

As a composer, Lanzilotti is interested in translating sounds from everyday life onto traditional instruments using nontraditional playing methods. Her compositions often deal with unique instrument-objects, such as her commissions from The Noguchi Museum involving sound sculptures or the Akari Light Sculpture installation, and collaborations with Nina C. Young and Senem Pirler. Lanzilotti has been featured as a composer-performer on Tulsa Living Arts OK Electric Festival, the Dots+Loops series and Sound School series in Australia, and a guest composer at Thailand International Composers Festival.

To reach new audiences and share contemporary music, Lanzilotti has published articles in Music & Literature and Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, and written program notes for London Symphony Orchestra. Lanzilotti's dissertation is an analysis of Andrew Norman’s The Companion Guide to Rome showing the influence of architecture and visual art on the work. As an extension of the research, she created Shaken Not Stuttered, a free online resource demonstrating extended techniques for strings.

A passionate teaching artist, Lanzilotti is viola and composition faculty at Point CounterPoint (Vermont) and Montecito International Music Festival (California). Previously she was on the faculty at New York University, University of Northern Colorado, and Casalmaggiore International Music Festival. Lanzilotti is a co-founder and Artistic Consultant for Kalikolehua — El Sistema Hawai‘i, a free orchestra program for underserved youth.

Dr. Lanzilotti studied at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Yale School of Music, and Manhattan School of Music. In addition, Lanzilotti was an orchestral fellow in the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and the New World Symphony. She participated in the Lucerne Festival Academy under Pierre Boulez, and was the original violist in the Lucerne Festival Alumni Ensemble. Her mentors include Hiroko Primrose, Peter Slowik, Jesse Levine, Martin Bresnick, Wilfried Strehle, Karen Ritscher, and Reiko Füting.

Visiting artist at Arts Letters & Numbers Creative Music Intensive Summer 2018.

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Visiting Artist

Nina C. Young

New York-based composer Nina C. Young (b.1984) writes music characterized by an acute sensitivity to tone color, manifested in aural images of vibrant, arresting immediacy. Her experience in the electronic music studio informs her acoustic work, which takes as its given not melody and harmony, but sound itself, continuously metamorphosing from one state to another. Her unique musical voice draws equally from elements of the classical canon, modernism, spectralism, American experimentalism, minimalism, electronic music, and popular idioms. Her projects strive to create unique sonic environments that can be appreciated by a wide variety of audiences while challenging stylistic boundaries, auditory perception, and notions of temporality.  

Young’s works have been presented by leading cultural institutions such as Carnegie Hall, the National Gallery, the Whitney, LA Phil’s Next on Grand, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series. Her music has garnered international acclaim through performances by the American Composers Orchestra, Inscape Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Phoenix Symphony, Orkest de ereprijs, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, the Argento Chamber Ensemble, Divertimento Ensemble, Either/Or, the JACK Quartet, mise-en, Scharoun Ensemble, Sixtrum, wild Up, and Yarn/Wire. Winner of the 2015-16 Rome Prize in Musical Composition at the American Academy in Rome, Young has also received a Koussevitzky Commission from the Library of Congress, a Civitella-Ranieri Fellowship, a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Salvatore Martirano Memorial Award, Aspen Music Festival's Jacob Druckman Prize, and honors from BMI, IAWM, and ASCAP/SEAMUS. Young has held fellowship residencies at the Aspen and Atlantic Festivals, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Nouvel Ensemble Modern's 2014 FORUM, and the Tanglewood Music Center.

Recent commissions include Tête-a-Tête for two toy pianos, deskbells, and video projection for the HOCKET Ensemble supported by the LA Phil, a violin concerto for Jennifer Koh, a community sound installation and performance for Miller Theatre’s Morningside Lights Processional Arts Workshop, a solo guitar piece for Jiji Kim supported by Concert Artists Guild and the BMI Foundation, a new work for the PRISM quartet, a new work the American Brass Quintet and EMPAC’s wavefield synthesis audio system, and a work for solo snare drum and transducers for percussionist Mike Compitello.

Young’s interests are now headed in the direction of collaborative, multidisciplinary works. While in Rome, Young worked with choreographer Miro Magloire and the New Chamber Ballet to develop a site-specific piece, Temenos, around the intersection of movement, architecture, and sound at the Tempietto Del Bramante. During the 2016-17 season the American Composers Orchestra Underground premiered Out of whose womb came the ice(commissioned by the Jerome Foundation) – a work for baritone, orchestra, electronics, and generative video commenting on the ill-fated Ernest Shackleton Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914-17. In 2016 Young collaborated with performance artist and women’s rights activist Erin Helfert to develop the sound design and 8-channel sonic installation of RITE OF PASSAGE – a performance piece that explores death, liminality, and rebirth as inspired by Helfert’s five-year rape trial in a Moroccan court. Young is collaborating with vocal bassist Andrew Munn on an evening-length, multimedia ritual opera titled Making Tellus: An Opera for the Anthropocene that addresses the current socio-political conversation surrounding human intervention and the Earth’s rapidly changing geology.

A graduate of McGill and MIT, Nina completed her DMA at Columbia University where she was an active participant at the Columbia Computer Music Center. Nina is an Assistant Professor of Composition and Director of Electronic Music at UT Austin, and a Visiting Composer at the Peabody Institute. She serves as Co-Artistic Director of NY-based new music sinfonietta Ensemble Échappé, a visiting artist at Arts Letters & Numbers, and board member of Qubit’s Harlem pop-up-venue Project-Q.  Peermusic Classical publishes her compositions.

Visiting artist at Arts Letters & Numbers Creative Music Intensive Summer 2018.

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Visiting Artist

Reiko Fueting

Born 1970 in Königs Wusterhausen of the German Democratic Republic, Reiko Füting was educated at the Wernigerode State High School for Music, the Hochschule für Musik in Dresden “Carl Maria von Weber”, the Shepherd School at Rice University in Houston, Manhattan School of Music in New York City, and Seoul National University.  Some of his most influential teachers have been the composers Jörg Herchet and Nils Vigeland, and the pianist Winfried Apel.  During his studies, he attended master classes with Edisson Denissov, Tristan Murail, and Christian Wolff (composition), and with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Olaf Bär, and Semion Skigin (vocal accompanying).

Reiko Fueting joined the theory faculty at the Manhattan School of Music in 2000; five years later, he became a member of the composition faculty and was appointed chair of the theory department.  He has also taught vocal accompanying at the Conservatory of Music and Theater in Rostock, Germany, and appeared as guest faculty and lecturer at universities and conservatories in China (Changchun, Beijing, Shenyang), Colombia (Bogotá, Medellîn), Germany (Berlin, Dresden, Rostock, Leipzig), Italy (Rome), Russia (Moscow), and the United States (Baltimore, Boston, Hempstead, New York, Oberlin, Philadelphia, Princeton).

As a composer, Reiko Fueting has received numerous prizes, awards, scholarships, grants, and commissions.  His music has been performed at prestigious venues (Berlin Cathedral, Semper Opera House Dresden, Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall New York) by renowned instrumentalists (Miranda Cuckson, Aki Takahashi, Dan Lippel), vocalists (Gertrud Günther, Monica Meier-Schmid, Matthias Vieweg), conductors (Roland Kluttig, Jeff Milarsky, Hans-Christoph Rademann), chamber groups (elole Piano Trio, loadbang, Mivos String Quartet), ensembles (Ensemble courage, International Contemporary Ensemble ICE, Oerknal), orchestras (Dresdner Barockorchester, Sinfonietta Dresden, Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra), vocal ensembles (AuditivVokal Dresden, Calmus, Singer Pur), choirs (Dresdner Chamber Choir, RIAS Chamber Choir, Berlin Radio Choir) in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Iran, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Luxemburg, Norway, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Spain, the United States, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam, broadcast on radio and television, and released on CDs (New Focus Recordings, Oehms Classics, Deutsche Schallplatten).  His publications (Schott, Carus, Routledge) include compositions, arrangements, and analytical articles.

"With my music, I aim to explore the psychological nature of memory through the use of musical quotations that are treated to the processes of assimilation, integration, disintegration, and segregation (inclusion vs. exclusion) while moving freely between clear borders and gradual transitions. Therefore, memory and quotation may function as a means to reflect upon contemporary artistic, cultural, social, and political phenomena."

Visiting artist at Arts Letters & Numbers Creative Music Intensive Summer 2019.

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Advisory Council, Visiting Artist

Michael Harrison

Composer and pianist Michael Harrison occupies a unique place in the world of music. His works are a blend of European musical traditions and those of North Indian classical music, forging an entirely new approach to composition through tunings and methodologies that employ and extend the ancient concept of “just intonation.”  

Harrison earned international recognition when Revelation, his 75-minute work for piano in his own “just intonation” tuning, was selected as one of the Best Classical Recordings of the Year by The New York Times, Boston Globe and TimeOut New York, and Time Loops, with cellist Maya Beiser, was selected in NPR’s Top 10 Classical Albums of 2012.

Equally at home writing for voices (Roomful of Teeth), chamber orchestra (Alarm Will Sound), and Indian classical musicians, his music defies classification; yet many composers and critics confer that he is one of the most innovative artists of his generation, including Philip Glass, who called him an “American Maverick.” Inspired by both the Beatles and Bach, post-modern and jazz, Harrison blends Renaissance beauty with minimalist methodology, Eastern aesthetics with modern technology. The result is a body of concert music, interdisciplinary collaborations, and acclaimed solo albums.

Harrison's  music was transformed by discovering La Monte Young’s The Well-Tuned Piano, a work which he spent years learning, performing and perfecting the tuning. He also performs Indian classical music, having studied in India with Pandit Pran Nath, Mashkoor Ali Khan, and Terry Riley. Harrison not only mixes styles and traditions but also works interdisciplinarily on multimedia collaborations that use sound to illustrate the cosmos and to explore universal truths. 

Harrison invented the "harmonic piano" which plays 24 notes per octave. He lives in New York and is the recipient of a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship.

“The intelligent discrimination with which he approaches his work is something that I have heard only in a tiny handful of classical recordings starting with Glenn Gould.” – Stephen Hill, National Public Radio

“Michael Harrison's Revelation: Music in Pure Intonation is probably the most brilliant and original extended composition for solo piano since the early works of Frederic Rzewski three decades ago (and no, I’m not forgetting Elliott Carter).” – Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic, Tim Page

 

Visiting Artist at Arts Letters & Numbers Summer Workshops 2013-2018 and Creative Music Intensives 2018-2019.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

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Visiting Artist

Sam Torres

Sam Torres is a Troy, NY based composer, saxophonist, and audio engineer.

Tilted Arc, an electroacoustic duo with pianist Sophia Vastek; Stretto, Sam’s modern jazz quartet; and Little Wing, an indie chamber ensemble are among Sam’s ongoing ensemble projects. Sam is also involved in forming a new collective of musicians based in Troy, NY, which will be co-directed by Sophia Subbayya Vastek. In addition to these, Sam has written music for live electronics and saxophone, string quartet, percussion quartet and live electronics, and solo piano. He has been commissioned by The Witches, the Peabody Community Chorus, the public school district of Bedford, NY, Music of Reality, bassist Sam Zagnit, and pianist Sophia Vastek. Sam’s music frequently uses live, interactive electronics to expand or augment the sonic capacity of an acoustic instrument.

Sam’s music has been performed in many house concerts and coffee shops in Baltimore and New York City, as well as at Thalia Theater at Symphony Space, Spectrum, University of Cape Town in South Africa, Arts Letters & Numbers, Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University, and Manhattan School of Music. As a saxophonist and woodwind doubler, Sam has performed at Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, Spectrum, the RISD Museum, SMOKE, The Shrine, and others with Stretto, ensembles from Manhattan School of Music, New York Youth Symphony, New York Jazz Academy, and others. As an audio engineer or technical assistant, Sam has worked with Talea Ensemble, Yarn/Wire, Wet Ink Ensemble, Columbia University Composers, composer Michael Harrison, Music of Reality, pianist Sophia Vastek, and violinist Todd Reynolds in performances at the Dimenna Center, EMPAC, University of Chicago, MIT, and the Jewish Museum. Sam has been a technical assistant for compositions recorded by cellist Clarice Jensen, released on Miasmah Recordings, and Mari Kimura, released on New World Records.

Sam holds degrees in jazz saxophone performance from Manhattan School of Music and computer music composition from Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University.

Visiting artist at Arts Letters & Numbers Summer Workshop 2016, 2018 and Creative Music Intensives 2018-2019.

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