Hongwei Cai is currently a graduate composition major student studying with Josh Levine at University of Iowa. He began learning piano at age four, and later developed an interest in composition. After learning basic compositional techniques, he was accepted by Shenyang Conservatory of Music (China) in September 2008, where he studied music theory and composition. After his graduation, he came to Oklahoma City University studied with Edward Knight to pursue his Master’s degree.
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.
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.
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.
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 sophomore at the University of Iowa. His interests include bird-watching, polka dancing, and aglet collecting. He sometimes writes music.
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 a sophomore vocal performance major studying composition with Alexandros Spyrou. His past experiences with music include performances in the 2013 Iowa All-State Choir, the 2014 Iowa State Honor Choir, Ankeny High School’s production of Grease as Johnny Casino, two vocal recitals with the Katherine Eberle voice studio at the University of Iowa, and two of the University of Iowa’s opera productions as an ensemble member. “Puzzles” is Alexander’s first attempt at post-tonal composition.
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.