Hongwei Cai (b.1988) is a Chinese composer and pianist living in the Iowa City. He is currently a second-year Ph.D. student majoring in music composition at the University of Iowa. He has composed for various ensembles and his works have been premiered by renowned musicians such as the JACK Quartet. He is active as both composer and pianist in the Midwest Composers’ Symposium, the Exchange of Midwest Collegiate Composers, and the Composers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. Hongwei Cai received his MM degree in composition at the Oklahoma City University and a BM degree in composition in Shenyang Conservatory of Music (China). His teachers have included David Gompper, Josh Levine, Edward Knight, and Shenglin Jiang (China).
Carlos Cotallo Solares (b. 1989) is a Spanish composer. His work deals with subjects such as the relationship between music and language, quotation, and poly-metric and poly-temporal structures. His pieces often focus on a single concept or technique that is interpreted in multiple ways.
Cotallo Solares’ music has been performed internationally in festivals like the Summer Course for New Music (Darmstadt), NYCEMF (New York), SCI National Conference, Time of Music (Viitasaari), Crescendo Festival (Berlin), Ciclo de Música Actual (Badajoz), Blurred Edges Festival (Hamburg), Mehrklang Festival (Freiburg), and Blind Spot Festival (Berlin). He has work with ensembles such as the JACK Quartet, handwerk, Ensemble Chronophonie, POING, Ensemble Container, Ensemble Alarm, and Ensemble Kuraia.
Carlos is currently pursuing a PhD in composition at the University of Iowa, completing previously a Master's degree at the Universität der Künste in Berlin and a Bachelor's degree at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg. He works as a teaching assistant in music theory and composition and is one of the organizers of the concert series IHearIC.
Lydia Dempsey is a composer and oboist currently based in Iowa City, Iowa. Since the completion of her ballet The Wishing Well, her music is increasingly shaped by the consideration of movement and gesture. In 2017, Nermis Mieses and Xavier Suarez premiered Dempsey’s piece Pas de Deux at the International Double Reed Society Conference. Her music has received readings by the JACK Quartet and Toledo Symphony Orchestra. Dempsey graduated summa cum laude from Bowling Green State University with a B.M. in Music Composition and Oboe Performance, and she is completing a M.A. in Music Composition at the University of Iowa, studying with Josh Levine.
Paul Duffy (b. 1989) is a doctoral candidate in composition at the University of Iowa. He has studied composition privately with Josh Levine, Nomi Epstein, Lawrence Fritts, David Gompper, and Craig Weston, and has attended master classes with Michael Fiday, David Lang, Elainie Lillios, Louis Karchin, Augusta Read Thomas, and Caroline Shaw. His works have been performed recently at the Alba Music Festival, the International Computer Music Conference, and Electronic Music Midwest.
Jonah Elrod is a composer and Associate Director of the Electronic Music Studios at the University of Iowa. He serves as a board member of the Iowa Composers Forum, and is an executive officer of the University of Iowa Society of Composers, Inc. student chapter. Jonah also works as the audio engineer and composer for the O-ffended podcast. He is a PhD candidate in music composition at the University of Iowa. His work A Spotless Moon was the winner of the 2013 Scott Wilkinson Composition Contest, and his work Twin Dreams was selected for performance at the 2014 Midwest Composers Symposium. Jonah's The Vulture, a new piece for solo mezzo-soprano, was selected as a winner of the One Voice Project, and will be performed by Lisa Neher during her 2015-2016 concert season. Jonah has studied privately with Christopher Shultis, Richard Hermann, Karola Oberm¨ller, Peter Gilbert, José Luis Hurtado, Lawrence Fritts, Josh Levine, and David Gompper. Jonah's music has been performed around the United States including Arizona, New Mexico, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. He currently lives and works in Iowa City, IA.
Jinwon Kim (b.1984) is a Korean composer. He is currently in a Ph.D. program in composition at The University of Iowa, school of music. Jinwon holds the Master of Music degree in composition from the University of Arizona. Jinwon Kim studied composition with Josh Levine, Daniel Asia, and Seil Oh. His music has been performed in South Korea, Japan, and the United States.
Luke Kottemann is a composer and violinist who is currently pursuing a BM in Music Composition and a BSE in Electrical Engineering at the University of Iowa. Luke’s music has been performed throughout the Midwest by ensembles such as CNM. He is currently studying composition with Jean-François Charles and has studied with Nomi Epstein, Josh Levine, David Gompper, Lawrence Fritts, Joshua Marquez, and Nima Hamidi.
Jeremy Maas is a composition student pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Iowa. Originally from Appleton, WI, he holds a BA in music from Luther College, where he studied with Brooke Joyce and Steve Smith.
Joseph Mattingly is a composer living and working in Iowa City, IA. His teachers and mentors include Allen Koepke, Daniel Kleinkenecht, Jerry Owen, Allen Schmitz, Jon Schwabe, Sam Adler, Josh Levine, David Gompper, and David Lang. His works have been played throughout the United States and Europe. In his parallel musical life as a composer of Catholic liturgical and inspirational music he has been widely published and performed in many venues, including performances for Pope John Paul II.
Zachery S. Meier (b. 1992), from Duluth, MN, is a composer currently living in Iowa City, Iowa. Prior to his arrival in Iowa, Meier has studied composition at Washington State University and the University of Minnesota. As a composer, Meier has written for a wide range of ensembles and soloists that have been featured internationally and locally. His music has been heard in venues and festivals throughout the United States, Canada, and Vietnam, and has received a guest spotlight recognition for MPR’s Regional Spotlight Showcase. He was selected as a participant in the 2017 National Band Association’s Young Composers/Conductors Mentor Project, where the United States Air Force Band performed his wind ensemble work, Reigniere. Meier is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Iowa as a graduate teaching assistant where he is studying with Josh Levine. Along with his studies at the University of Iowa, his additional composition mentors include Ryan Hare, Scott Blasco, Gregory Yasinitsky, and Justin Rubin.
Joseph Norman is in his third year of the PhD program for music composition at the University of Iowa and is Research Assistant/Composer/Sound Technician for the University of Iowa Department of Dance. Mr. Norman is currently studying composition with Dr. Joshua Levine. Previously, Mr. Norman studied with Dr. Nomi Epstein and Dr. Lawrence Fritts and has participated in master classes with Dimitri Papageorgio, Erin Gee, Ketty Nez, Elanie Lillios, David Lang, Augusta Read Thomas, and Louis Karchin.
Andrew Novitskiy is a student in his 3rd year studying composition with Nima Hamidi. He is a major in both Computer Science and Music. His pieces have been performed by the JACK quartet and at previous Composer's Workshops.
Rebecca Pape is a first year graduate student at the University of Iowa studying Music Composition with Josh Levine. She is originally from Illinois, but completed her undergraduate degree at Anderson University in SC with a major in Piano Performance and a minor in Composition. She has studied composition with Dr. Richard Williamson, attended a master class hosted by Paul Ayres, and worked as a music theory tutor.
Kris Peysen is a composer currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Music Composition at the University of Iowa. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Texas and a Master of Music degree from the University of Louisville, both specializing in composition. He has written for a wide variety of instruments, ranging from solo to chamber ensemble to full orchestra.
His music is typically rhythmically active, formally inventive, orchestrationally vivid, and harmonically a mix of tonal and non-tonal elements. Influences range from classical composers such as Stravinsky, Beethoven, Shostakovich, and numerous others to progressive rock bands such as Tool, Anglagard, and The Mars Volta. His music often strives for a synthesis of these disparate elements.
Notable awards include the 9th Annual Russell Horn Young Composer’s Award for his piece Pagan Dance and the WMSA Scholarship to attend Wintergreen Summer Music Festival. For more information, visit his website at www.krispeysen.com.
Bernard Short (b. 1979, Harlem, NYC), raised in Far Rockaway, Queens, earned a BA in music with a focus in composition at Morehouse College (2007) and a Masters in Music Education at The University of Georgia (2012). He is currently enrolled in the PhD music composition program at the University of Iowa, where he was awarded a Dean’s Fellowship and is working as a research assistant for the Center for New Music. He studies with Lawrence Fritts and David Gompper.
From 2008-2014 he was the Director of Bands and Orchestra at Cross Keys High School in Atlanta, GA. While director, he was responsible for the rebirth of both programs, which received a grant from the Grammy Organization for its performance and outreach activities. In 2015, he received a commission from The Julien Chamber Winds Ensemble at The University of Dubuque. To Bernard, music is the expression of a person’s soul that is best used as a way to communicate to others without allowing words to obliterate the message.
Jacob P. Simmons (b. 1987) is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in music composition at the University of Iowa. He holds Masters and Bachelor degrees in composition from Belmont University and Cornerstone University respectively. Jacob's music has been performed by the JACK Quartet, and has been featured at the Midwest Composers Symposium and the Exchange of Midwest Collegiate Composers. Jacob is presently studying composition with David Gompper, and has previously studied with Josh Levine, Nomi Epstein, Lawrence Fritts, Bill Pursell, Mark Volker, and David Culross. Additionally, he has participated in masterclasses or received individual lessons with Louis Karchin, Michael Fiday, Elainie Lillios, Ofer Ben-Amots, Caroline Shaw, and David Lang.
Alexander Spenceri (b. 1996) is a composer, performer, and improviser at the University of Iowa under the instruction of Jean-François Charles. His music attempts to explore themes such as media saturation and the tension between fixed aesthetic constructions and intuitive sonic manifestations.
Alexandros Spyrou is a Greek composer and music theorist. His music has been performed in Greece, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States by such ensembles as the London Sinfonietta, JACK Quartet, Ensemble MDI Milano, Musica Nova Ensemble and Ensemble DissonArt. Alexandros studied composition with Michael Finnissy, David Gompper, Evangelia Kikou, Josh Levine and Athanasios Zervas. He has been a scholar of the Fulbright Foundation, IKY Foundation, Stanley Foundation, City Council of Ioannina, University of Iowa, and Harry Triantafillu Foundation. He is a PhD candidate at the University of Iowa
Carlos Toro-Tobón, a composer born and raised in Colombia, received his MA degree in composition from the Universidad EAFIT in 2011. Since 2005, he has been a professor of music theory and composition at the Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia, where also coordinated the music education program. In 2014 Carlos Toro-Tobón was granted a Fulbright scholarship to study in the U.S., and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in music composition at the University of Iowa.
His composition teachers have been, Andrés Posada S, Moisés Bertrán, Marco Alunno, Lawrence Fritts, Nomi Epstein, and Josh Levine.
Alexander Toth is in his fourth year of undergraduate studies at the University of Iowa. He is pursuing an honors degree in vocal performance with licensure, focusing on composition as an independent study. His compositional interests are centered around the role of the body in music, preoccupied with tensional and nonconscious responses. As a singer, Alexander has performed in several operas with the University of Iowa Opera and with Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. As a future educator, he volunteers as the co-director/accompanist for the Men's Chorus of Combined Efforts, an Iowa City collaborative between artists with and without disabilities. As an aspiring composer, Alexander has had works performed by the Center for New Music and arranges music for the Iowa Hawkapellas. He studies voice with Dr. Katherine Eberle Fink and composition with Professor Jean-François Charles.
Jonathan Wilson is an adjunct faculty member at Saint Ambrose University and a candidate for the doctorate in music composition at the University of Iowa. His works have been performed at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, European Media Art Festival, the Experimental Superstars Film Festival, the Big Muddy Film Festival, SEAMUS, NYCEMF, NSEME, the Iowa Music Teachers Association State Conference, and the Midwest Composers Symposium. He is the winner of the 2014 Iowa Music Teachers Association Composition Competition and a runner-up for the 2014 Donald Sinta Saxophone Quartet National Composition Competition. Receiving his Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees in music composition from Western Illinois University, Jonathan has studied composition with Josh Levine, David Gompper, Lawrence Fritts, James Romig, James Caldwell, Paul Paccione, and John Cooper. In addition to composition, Jonathan has studied conducting under Richard Hughey and Mike Fansler. Jonathan is a member of the Society of Composers, Inc., SEAMUS, the Iowa Composers Forum, and the American Composers Forum.
Benjamin Wolfe is a junior studying vocal performance with Rachel Joselson. A musician with a wide range of interests, he also studies composition with Jean-François Charles and has completed his Associate of Arts degree in Music at Iowa Western Community College, where he studied flute.