Workshop Composers


Day Beyer

Day Beyer's work integrates theater, dance, and mathematics to navigate music within a physical space. Her compositions utilize reimagined acoustic instruments and digital instruments of her own design to construct harmonies that reside within the gaps of the conventional musical scale. The first movement of Eclipses, a string quartet using just intonation, was read by the JACK quartet.
She graduated from Berklee College of Music summa cum laude in 2015. She is currently a teaching assistant in the MA degree program at the University of Iowa, and studies composition with Jean-François Charles.


Hongwei Cai

Hongwei Cai (b.1988), a Chinese composer and pianist, is currently a Ph.D. candidate in music composition at the University of Iowa, where he holds a teaching assistantship with the Center for New Music. He has composed for various ensembles, and his works have been performed by the University of Cincinnati Collage-Conservatory of Music Chamber Orchestra, the University of Iowa Center for New Music, and the JACK Quartet. He has been active as both a composer and a pianist in the Midwest Composers’ Symposium, the Exchange of Midwest Collegiate Composers, and for Composers’ Workshop concerts at the University of Iowa. Hongwei Cai received his MM degree in composition at Oklahoma City University and a BM degree in composition from Shenyang Conservatory of Music (China). His teachers have included David Gompper, Josh Levine, Edward Knight, and Shenglin Jiang (China).


Carlos Cotallo Solares

Carlos Cotallo Solares was born in Vitoria, Spain, in 1989. He started his composition studies with Cornelius Schwehr at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, where he completed a Bachelor's degree. He then finished a Master's degree in Berlin at the Universität der Künste, studying with Iris ter Schiphorst and Daniel Ott. He recently started his PhD at the University of Iowa.
     His pieces have been performed in Freiburg, Cologne, Berlin, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Krakow, San Sebastian, and Iowa City, by ensembles such as Ensemble Alarm, Ensemble Chronophonie, hand werk, and Ensemble Kuraia. His music is characterized by simplicity and reduction, both in the selection of material and the compositional techniques used. Rhythm plays a strong role in most of his pieces.


Lydia Dempsey

Lydia Dempsey is a composer based in Iowa City, Iowa. Her work spans an array of genres, including chamber music, orchestra, and ballet. Her piece Pas de Deux, commissioned by Nermis Mieses and Xavier Suarez, was awarded the 2018 Libby Larsen Prize by the International Alliance for Women in Music. Dempsey’s music has been performed at the Society of Composers, Inc. Student National Conference, the International Double Reed Society Conference, and the Midwest Composers Symposium. Additionally, her music has received readings by the Toledo Symphony Orchestra (Ohio) and the JACK Quartet.
Dempsey is currently is completing an M.A. in Music Composition at the University of Iowa, where she studies with Sivan Cohen Elias, teaches musicianship, and serves as a research assistant in the composition area. In 2016, she graduated summa cum laude with a B.M. in Music Composition and Oboe Performance from Bowling Green State University. Her former teachers include Josh Levine, Marilyn Shrude, and Christopher Dietz.


Tyler Katz

Tyler Katz (b. 1995) (pronouns: they/them) 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 performed by the JACK Quartet and the Passepartout Duo. They have also had their music performed at the Midwest Composers Symposium. They are currently a teaching assistant in Music Theory and Aural Skills and are a violinist in the UI Chamber Orchestra.


Jinwon Kim

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.


Wenxin Li

Wenxin Li (b.1994) is a native of Chongqing, China, currently pursuing her PhD in composition at the University of Iowa. She received her master’s degree in composition from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and bachelor’s degree from Sichuan Conservatory of Music. Wenxin’s works have been selected for the 2016 Midwest Graduate Music Consortium New Music Concert, the 2017 Caroga Lake Music Festival and the 2018 SCI Student National Conference. She has also received awards such as the Mullen Sacred Music Composition Prize and the Chinese Government Scholarship. She has worked as composer and pianist with Cygnus Ensemble, Western Percussion Ensemble, Sound Out Loud Ensemble, Neume Music Ensemble, Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, UW-Madison University Chorus and University Symphony Orchestra. In addition to composition, Wenxin plays the piano and harp.


Zachery Meier

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 David Gompper. Along with his studies at the University of Iowa, his additional composition mentors include Josh Levine, Ryan Hare, Scott Blasco, Gregory Yasinitsky, and Justin Rubin.


Joseph Norman

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 Dr. 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.


Rebecca Pape

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

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. His works have been performed by internationally renowned ensembles such as Voices of Change, Invoke, the Out of Bounds Ensemble, and members of the Beo String Quartet.
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 in 2008 for his piece Pagan Dance, the WMSA Scholarship to attend Wintergreen Summer Music Festival in the summer of 2014, and the Steven S. Gerber Scholarship to attend Fresh Inc. Festival in 2018. For more information, visit his website at


Mark Rheaume

Mark Rheaume (b.1990) offers an array of compositions, poetics, and research that integrate ideas both foreign and intimate. His works, ranging from symphonies to haiku, seek the purity of efficient design and the clarity of efficient delivery.
Featured on programs by the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, the American Trombone Quartet, Qu4tre a 4, the UIS Chamber Orchestra, the Illinois College Wind Ensemble, the 2017 and 2018 International Trombone Festivals, and the Eastern Illinois New Music Ensemble, Mark balances a career of composing, conducting, teaching, and writing. He holds a Master of Arts in Music Composition and a Bachelor of Music in Trombone Performance from Eastern Illinois University. In August 2018 Mark will begin doctoral studies at the University of Iowa.


Ramin Roshandel

Ramin Roshandel (b.1987, Iran) 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 and UI Kantorei. Also, two of his papers on Hossein Alizadeh’s Neynavâ and Elliott Carter’s Dialogues have been published in Persian journals.


Alexander Spenceri

Alexander Spenceri (b. 1996) is a sophomore at the University of Iowa. His interests include bird-watching, polka dancing, and aglet collecting. He sometimes writes music.


Alexandros Spyrou

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

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

Alexander Toth is a vocalist, composer, and educator currently living in Ankeny, Iowa. He studied voice at the University of Iowa with Dr. Katherine Eberle Fink and composition with Alexandros Spyrou and Dr. Jean-François Charles. Alexander’s music has been performed in several University of Iowa New Music and Electronic Music concerts. His music tends to be preoccupied with form and proportion, implementing rigid strictures freely upon sonic and temporal material.