the first concert in Season 53 of UI composers' recent works
adjudicated and chosen by their peers

Composers’ Workshop I


Sunday, October 14, 2018 at 7:30p in the Concert Hall



Pas de Deux (2017)


Jenna Sehmann, oboe
Nicha Pimthong, piano
In 2016, I finished writing and staging a ballet, titled The Wishing Well, which encouraged me to take my first ballet class since dancing as a child. This work is a glimpse of the beauty and intensity I found when learning to dance. In ballet, pas de deux is a duet. A love story drama is captured in the interaction between the oboe and piano. The piano depicts the strength and solidity required from the danseur. The oboe represents the ballerina, often using timbre trills to imitate a ballerina whose small, fast steps make her appear to be floating.
Lydia Dempsey is a composer and oboist based in Iowa City, Iowa. 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 with a B.M. in Music Composition and Oboe Performance from Bowling Green State University in 2016 and is completing a M.A. in Music Composition at the University of Iowa. Her music is shaped by the consideration of gesture and texture. Her teachers include Sivan Cohen Elias, Josh Levine, Marilyn Shrude, and Christopher Dietz.



for solo cello
Eva Richards, violoncello
Inspired by Japanese Haiku, I have always thought about the role of silence in music; not from a Cagean point of view, but from a psycho-acoustic perspective. Also, our conception of repetition [or repetitive structures with slight but notable changes] in relation to silence between materials is explored and developed.
Ramin Roshandel (b.1987) started studying the setar (an Iranian classical music instrument) at the age of 14. He completed his Bachelor’s in Iranian Music Performance at the Tehran University of Art, and his Master’s in Music Composition at the University of Tehran. In the first year of his PhD in composition at the University of Iowa, he worked with Josh Levine, and is currently pursuing the second year with Sivan Cohen Elias. His pieces have been performed in EMCC Festival of New Music (Exchange of Midwest Collegiate Composers) and read by the JACK quartet.

Agravic Phrase (2016)

JinWon KIM

for violin and piano
Yixue Zhang, violin
Nicha Pimthong, piano
Two melodies float without gravity. They make numerous possibilities by ascending, descending, uniting, separating, and sustaining.
Jinwon Kim is a Korean composer. He is currently in a PhD program in composition at the University of Iowa, school of music. He always composes his work with three conceptions: repetition, permutation, and insertion. Jinwon holds M.M degree in composition from the University of Arizona. Jinwon Kim studied composition with David Gompper, Josh Levine, Daniel Asia, and Seil Oh. His music has been performed in S.Korea, Japan, and the United States.

Distorted Distribution (2018)


Mauricio Silva, clarinet
Will Yager, double bass
Distorted Distributions examines the opposition of rhythmic articulations mapped from Vuza canons and articulations/density culled stochastically from 1/f noise and Poisson distributions. This bifurcated rhythmic generation is paired with a pitch material derived from an approximated harmonic series that interpolates towards inharmonicity. Canonic material in the duet is based on melodic contour, and points of articulation in the canonic sections are distorted with temporal fluctuation; a folding of time.
Joseph Norman is a PhD candidate for music composition in his fifth year at the University of Iowa and is Research Assistant/Composer/Sound Technician for the University of Iowa Department of Dance. Mr. Norman is currently advised by David Gompper. Mr. Norman's music has been performed at the Exchange of Midwest Collegiate Composers in Kansas City and Boulder, SCI University of Iowa, and the Alba Music Festival. He has also had works read and premiered by the JACK Quartet, the Center for New Music at the University of Iowa, and LOUi, the Lap Top Orchestra also from University of Iowa. Additionally, Mr. Norman has composed collaboratively with actors, dancers, choreographers, and filmmakers. He is also active as a performer with LOUi, has taken part in IRCAM's Electroacoustic workshop and performed at Manifeste 2017 in Paris, France.

The X Train (2018)


for voice and fixed media
Benjamin Wolfe, countertenor
From the perspective of three characters this piece reflects on different aspects of the armed conflict in Colombia mixing facts occurred along the last 80 years.
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 he 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.

Woodwind Trio (2017)

Tyler KATZ

for solo woodblock player
Travis Newman, percussion
This piece came about from a stint of writers’ block I had when planning to write a woodwind trio. I had a good opening statement for the piece, but I was having problems writing anything past that statement. My composition professor gave me a brief exercise: write a page of straight eighth notes, on one pitch, for a woodblock, and make small alterations, so I could see how small variations could make a piece interesting. I did, making alterations through intuition, and after realizing the potential in the exercise, I decided to turn it into a full-length piece. I noticed numerical patterns through my alterations, and I used these number patterns as a basis for almost entire piece, with occasional intuitive processes as well. I created a “theme and variations”-like formal structure, where each new variation became progressively less predictable. Thus, the beginning of the piece is simple, with eighth notes using only two pitches (one pitch in the first measure), but at the end, the piece finishes with changing meter and unpredictable rhythms in a fast frenzy, leaving the listener on edge.
Tyler Katz (b. 1995) is a composer and M.A. student at the University of Iowa. They have previously studied music composition at the University of Miami, where they received their B.M in Composition, as well as a B.S. in applied physics with minors in political science and mathematics. Raised in a musical family, they have been studying violin since 1999 and composition since 2010. Their music has been read by the JACK Quartet and performed by the Passepartout Duo. They are currently a teaching assistant in Music Theory and Aural Skills and are a violinist in the UI Chamber Orchestra.

extra-temporal deviations (2018)

Alexander SPENCERI

Alexandro Cazares, double bass
Sean Miller, saxophone
Two performers are given three types of sound objects: the static, the variation, and the deviation. The static is a constant to which they must always return. The variation is a subordinate quality applied to the static object. The deviation is one of many possible lines the performer may follow. The resulting texture is such that any formal relationship between the parts is more or less coincidental.
Alexander Spenceri is a student pursuing a B.M. in music composition at the University of Iowa. His music is predominantly concerned with the act of listening and the fluid roles of participants in the musical process.