Kronos’ Fifty for the Future Composers & Materials

Composers: Year 1
  • Franghiz Ali-Zadeh

    Azerbaijan / Germany

    A pioneer of “new music” in the former Soviet Union, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh has enjoyed a celebrated career as both pianist and composer. Performed internationally in festivals and concerts by esteemed musicians, her compositions written for soloists, chamber ensembles, and orchestras—including three written for Kronos—draw from the vocabulary of modern European classical music and incorporate the sounds of mugham music traditional to her native Azerbaijan. Ali-Zadeh’s 2008 designation as “UNESCO Artist for Peace” also acknowledges her extensive contributions toward creating a cultural dialogue between East and West.

    See Franghiz Ali-Zadeh's Available Resources

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  • Ken Benshoof

    USA

    Composer/pianist Ken Benshoof studied in both the United States and as a Fulbright Scholar in London. Primarily a composer of chamber pieces, he has received commissions from a wide variety of sources. He served as resident composer at San Diego’s Old Globe Theater and the Seattle Repertory Theater, and was on the faculty of the University of Washington for many years. Benshoof’s 1973 Traveling Music was the very first piece written for the Kronos Quartet, for whom he has subsequently produced seven other works.

    See Ken Benshoof's Available Resources

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  • Fodé Lassana Diabaté

    Mali

    Born into a family of virtuoso balafon players, Mali’s Lassana Diabaté has been feted as one of the country’s most gifted players of the balafon, performing and recording with Mali’s top artists. Lassana was a member of the Grammy-nominated Mali-Cuba collaboration, AfroCubism. He is the leader of Trio Da Kali, a trio of Malian griots whose aim is to bring back forgotten repertoires and styles of the Mande griot tradition, both at home and internationally in collaboration with musicians from other cultures. Trio Da Kali made its US debut in concert with Kronos in 2013.

    See Fodé Lassana Diabaté's Available Resources

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  • Rhiannon Giddens

    USA

    Rhiannon Giddens is best known as the lead singer, violinist, banjo player, and founding member of the Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, an eclectic string band which routinely brings sold-out audiences to their feet. Her interest in country, blues, and old-time folk music began in the Piedmont area of North Carolina, where she was raised. Following on a highly acclaimed Town Hall performance in 2013, her first solo album, Tomorrow is My Turn, was released in 2015. Kronos has performed with Giddens at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and at the Barbican in London.

    See Rhiannon Giddens's Available Resources

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  • Yotam Haber

    Netherlands / Israel / USA

    Yotam Haber was born in the Netherlands and grew up in Israel, Nigeria, and Milwaukee. He is a recipient of many revered honors, including a 2013 From Music Foundation commission, a 2013 New York Foundation of the Arts (NYFA) award, the 2007 Rome Prize, and a 2005 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. His work has been commissioned internationally by orchestras, festivals, and ensembles, and his debut album of chamber music, Torus, was released in 2015.

    See Yotam Haber's Available Resources

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  • Garth Knox

    Ireland / France

    As a virtuoso violist and one of today’s leading performers of contemporary music, Garth Knox is at the forefront of new music in many arenas. He was a member of Pierre Boulez’s Ensemble InterContemporain and the Arditti Quartet. Since 1998, he has pursued a solo career, performing internationally, composing, and collaborating in theater, dance, and film projects. Always at home as an improviser, his recent deepened interests in the viola d’amore, medieval fiddle, and the music of his Irish and Scottish roots have taken his creative endeavors in new and exciting directions.

    See Garth Knox's Available Resources

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  • Tanya Tagaq

    Canada

    Nunavut-born Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq’s style defies categorization, with “orchestral,” “hip-hop infused,” and “primal,” used collectively to describe her work. She has collaborated on touring and recording projects with Björk, Kronos Quartet, and others. Her solo ventures have received great acclaim, including an award for Best Female Artist from the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. In 2014, her album Animism was awarded the Polaris Music Prize.

    See Tanya Tagaq's Available Resources

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  • Merlijn Twaalfhoven

    Netherlands

    Merlijn Twaalfhoven is a composer working in conflict areas and unconventional locations, and occasionally in a concert hall. In 2011, he received a UNESCO award for his collaborations between musicians, children, and audiences in Jerusalem, Damascus, the West Bank, and in refugee camps in Jordan and Palestine. He recently composed a short opera based on Postcards from Aleppo, performed by an ensemble of musicians from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Syrian refugees in Amsterdam.

    See Merlijn Twaalfhoven's Available Resources

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  • Aleksandra Vrebalov

    Serbia / USA

    Aleksandra Vrebalov moved to the United States from her native Serbia in 1995. Receiving numerous commissions from institutions and performers, her works have been performed internationally by soloists, ensembles, and orchestras. She has written or arranged nine works for Kronos. Vrebalov was named 2011 Composer of the Year by Muzika Klasika for her opera Mileva that was commissioned by the Serbian Nation Theater. She has also received acclaim for her collaborations with dance companies and filmmakers, and her music can be heard on Nonesuch and other record labels.

    See Aleksandra Vrebalov's Available Resources

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  • Wu Man

    China / USA

    Recognized as the world’s premier pipa virtuoso, Grammy-nominated Wu Man is a celebrated and beloved soloist, educator, and composer. She moved to the United States in 1990 from her native China, and has been a frequent collaborator with Kronos since then. A leading ambassador of Chinese music, Wu Man has premiered hundreds of new works for the pipa, while spearheading multimedia projects to preserve and create awareness of China’s ancient musical traditions. She was named Musical America’s 2013 Instrumentalist of the Year.

    See Wu Man's Available Resources

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  • Composers: Year 2
    • Laurie Anderson

      USA

      Known as one of America’s most daring creative pioneers, Laurie Anderson is a New York City–based musician, writer, director, and visual artist who has created groundbreaking works throughout the worlds of art, theater, and experimental music. Recognized for her innovative use of technology—a prominent feature of Landfall, her work for herself and Kronos—Anderson was appointed the first artist-in-residence of NASA in 2002. She is also the recipient of several awards honoring her contribution to the arts, including the 2007 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize and the Pratt Institute’s Honorary Legends Award.

      See Laurie Anderson's Available Resources

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    • Raven Chacon

      Navajo Nation/USA

      Originally from the Navajo Nation, Raven Chacon is a composer, performer, and installation artist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is also a member of the Indigenous art collective, Postcommodity. As composer-in-residence for the Native American Composer Apprentice Project, Chacon has taught composition to hundreds of American Indian students living on reservations in the US, a project that was awarded the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in 2011. He has served on the faculty at the University of New Mexico, and as a visiting artist in the New Media Art & Performance program at Long Island University.

      See Raven Chacon's Available Resources

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    • Guillermo Galindo

      Mexico / USA

      Guillermo Galindo is a post-Mexican composer who, in addition to exploring time perception, computer interaction, and live improvisation, writes pieces for instruments made from objects found along the Mexican-US border. Galindo’s work has been performed at major music festivals, concert halls, and museums throughout the world, as well as featured in esteemed publications throughout Europe and North America. Previously a composition professor at Mills College and a tutor for Jovenes Creadores in Mexico City, Galindo is currently a senior adjunct professor at the California College of Arts.

      See Guillermo Galindo's Available Resources

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    • Philip Glass

      USA

      Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Philip Glass is a composer for opera, dance, theater, chamber ensemble, orchestra, and film. After graduating from the University of Chicago and the Juilliard School, Glass embarked on a number of innovative projects for The Philip Glass Ensemble and the Mabou Mines Theater Company, culminating in his landmark opera, Einstein on the Beach. In 1983, he wrote the first of several pieces and arrangements for Kronos. His scores have been performed in a variety of venues worldwide, and have received Academy Award nominations and a Golden Globe. In August of 2011, Glass launched the inaugural season of The Days And Nights Festival, a multi-disciplinary arts festival in Carmel, California.

      See Philip Glass's Available Resources

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    • Aleksander Kościów

      Poland

      Aleksander Kościów, born in Opole, Poland, studied composition and viola at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, where he has been teaching since his graduation. In addition to lecturing in Germany and the US, he has served as visiting professor at Keimyung University in Daegu, South Korea. A Fulbright Scholarship recipient, Kościów has written extensively for instrumental and vocal chamber ensembles, including one piece for Kronos, and also writes for theater, modern dance, and choral symphonies. Outside of composition, Kościów has published three novels—the first of which was acclaimed the best debut in Poland (Świat nura, 2006)—as well as several essays and short stories.

      See Aleksander Kościów's Available Resources

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    • Nicole Lizée

      Canada

      Nicole Lizée, composer, sound artist, and keyboardist based in Montréal, Canada, writes for orchestra, solo turntables, Atari consoles, karaoke tapes, and more. With a Master of Music from McGill University, Lizée has been commissioned for over 40 works, including three works for Kronos, and her music is regularly performed worldwide. This Will Not Be Televised, her seminal piece for chamber ensemble and turntables, was voted a Top 10 Work in the 2008 UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers, and in 2015, she was selected by composer and conductor Howard Shore to be his protégée as part of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Mentorship Program.

      See Nicole Lizée's Available Resources

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    • Anna Meredith

      United Kingdom

      Hailing from Scotland, Anna Meredith is a composer, producer and performer of acoustic and electronic music. Her music has been performed everywhere from BBC’s Last Night of the Proms to fashion campaigns, from films and installations to pop festivals and classical concert halls worldwide. As a composer, she won the 2010 Paul Hamlyn Award and has served as Composer-in-Residence with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; as an instrumentalist, she has released two EPs in the last five years—Black Prince Fury and Jet Black Raider. Meredith’s debut album Varmints was released in March 2016.

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    • Kala Ramnath

      India/USA

      Grammy-nominated violinist Kala Ramnath has been recognized as one of the fifty best instrumentalists in the world by Songlines Magazine. A disciple of vocalist Pandit Jasraj, Ramnath has performed at every major music festival in her home country of India, as well as at many prestigious stages around the world. In addition to performing with Kronos at the group’s Terry Riley Festival in 2015, Ramnath has collaborated with several international music legends, incorporating elements of Western classical, jazz, flamenco and traditional African music into her varied repertoire.

      See Kala Ramnath's Available Resources

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    • Karin Rehnqvist

      Sweden

      One of Sweden’s best-known composers, Karin Rehnqvist has written for chamber, orchestral, and vocal music, including one piece for Kronos. Her interest in cross-genre forms is evident in her widely performed compositions, as well as in her frequent use of Kulning—archaic herding calls. Rehnqvist has also been praised for her pieces for young performers, such as Light of Light, her children’s choral symphony, which received critical acclaim at its 2004 premiere in Paris. In 2009, Rehnqvist was appointed Professor of Composition at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, making her the first woman to hold a chair in composition in Sweden.

      See Karin Rehnqvist's Available Resources

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    • Trey Spruance

      USA

      Raised in Eureka, California, Trey Spruance is now based in the Bay Area, where he composes and produces for his ensemble, Secret Chiefs 3, and avant-rock band, Mr. Bungle. As a performer, his years of international touring have taken him to more than 500 concerts in 50 countries, and as a composer, his works have ranged from the New Music Works to a 61-piece Russian Traditional Orchestra of Krasnoyarsk. Spruance’s music weaves together diverse disciplines, including Iranian Dastgah, Pythagorean mathematics, 1970s Italian horror film music aesthetics, 19th-century French Occult Musical Theory, Black Metal, and the Bollywood sound.

      See Trey Spruance's Available Resources

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    • Composers: Year 3
      • Islam Chipsy

        Egypt

        Islam Chipsy and his band EEK are a three-way force of nature from Cairo, Egypt described by those who’ve been caught in the eye of their storm as one of the most exciting live propositions on the planet. At the core of the group lies keyboard pioneer Islam Chipsy, whose joyous, freewheeling sonic blitz warps the standard oriental scale system into otherworldly shapes, as flanked by Mohamed Karam and Mahmoud Refat raining down a percussive maelstrom behind dual drum kits.

        See Islam Chipsy's Available Resources

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      • Aftab Darvishi

        Iran / Netherlands

        Born in Tehran, Iran in 1987, Aftab Darvishi started playing violin at age five, and later, the Kamancheh (Iranian string instrument) and classical Piano. Darvishi studied Music Performance at University of Tehran, Composition at Royal Conservatory of The Hague and Composing for film and Karnatic Music (South Indian music) at Conservatory of Amsterdam. In 2014, Darvishi was short listed for the 20th Young Composer meeting in Apeldoorn (Netherlands) and in 2015, she won the Music Education award from Listhus Artist Residency to hold workshops for presenting Persian music to music teachers at Music School of Fjallabyggd, Iceland. In October 2016, Darvishi was awarded the prestigious Tenso Young Composers Award for her piece And the world stopped Lacking you... for a cappella choir.

        See Aftab Darvishi's Available Resources

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      • Zakir Hussain

        India / USA

        The pre-eminent classical tabla virtuoso of our time, Zakir Hussain is appreciated both in the field of percussion and in the music world at large as an international phenomenon. The foremost disciple of his father, the legendary Ustad Allarakha, Hussain was a child prodigy who began his professional career at the age of 12, touring internationally with great success by the age of 18. As a composer, he has scored music for numerous feature films, major events, and productions. A Grammy award winner, he is the recipient of countless awards and honors, and as an educator, he has been in residence at Princeton University and Stanford University, and, in 2015, was appointed Regents Lecturer at UC Berkeley. He is the founder and president of Moment Records, an independent record label presenting rare live concert recordings of Indian classical music and world music. Hussain was resident artistic director at SFJAZZ from 2013 until 2016.

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      • Joan Jeanrenaud

        USA

        Cellist and Composer Joan Jeanrenaud has been involved in music for over 40 years. She learned to play her instrument from cellists Peter Spurbeck, Fritz Magg, and Pierre Fournier, studied jazz with David Baker and Joe Henderson, and worked with Kronos Quartet as cellist for 20 years. Now for the past 18 years she has been involved with projects in composition, improvisation, electronics, and multi-disciplinary performance. She has completed more than 70 compositions for cello and small ensembles, many of these multimedia works.

        See Joan Jeanrenaud's Available Resources

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      • Erin Gee

        USA

        In January 2014, Erin Gee was cited by Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, as one of the most influential composer-vocalists of the 21st century; since then she has been awarded the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Bogliasco Fellowship. Gee’s awards for composition include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship, the 2008 Rome Prize, Zürich Opera House’s Teatro Minimo, a Schloss Solitude Fellowship, and the Picasso-Mirò Medal (Rostrum of Composers) among others. Gee is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at Brandeis University.

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      • Soo Yeon Lyuh

        Korea / USA

        Soo Yeon Lyuh is a haegeum (Korean two-string bowed instrument) player, composer, and improviser currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Rigorously trained in court and folk repertories from a young age, Lyuh is known for her masterful performances of new compositions for the haegeum. Lyuh holds a BA, MA, and Ph.D. in Korean Musicology from Seoul National University where she taught for six years. More recently, she has organized workshops and lecture concerts in collaboration with composition and ethnomusicology faculty at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, Mills College, and University of Hawai’i at Manoa. She is currently a Scholar-Artist in Residence at Mills College.

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      • Tod Machover

        USA

        Tod Machover is Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music and Media and director of the Media Lab’s Opera of the Future group. Machover is an influential composer and inventor, praised for creating music that breaks traditional artistic and cultural boundaries and for developing technologies that expand music’s potential for everyone, from celebrated virtuosi to musicians of all abilities. Machover studied with Elliott Carter and Roger Sessions at The Juilliard School and was the first Director of Musical Research at Pierre Boulez’s IRCAM in Paris. Since 2006, he has been Visiting Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

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      • Onutė Narbutaitė

        Lithuania

        Onutė Narbutaitė is one of Lithuania’s best-known composers. She learned the basics of composition from Bronius Kutavičius, graduating in 1979 from the Lithuanian State Conservatory (now the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre) where she studied composition under Prof. Julius Juzeliūnas. From 1979 to 1982, she taught music theory and history at the Klaipėda Faculty of the Lithuanian State Conservatory. Sine then, she has concentrated solely on her creative work and lives in Vilnius.

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      • Yevgeniy Sharlat

        Russia / USA

        Yevgeniy Sharlat has composed music for orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo, theater, ballet, mechanical sculptures, animations, and film. Born in Moscow, Russia, Sharlat majored in violin, piano, and music theory at the Academy of Moscow Conservatory. After immigrating to the United States in 1994, he studied composition at Juilliard Pre-College, received his bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Yale University. Sharlat is associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches composition and music theory.

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      • Stephan Thelen

        USA / Switzerland

        Raised in Santa Rosa, California, Swiss citizen Stephan Thelen is a composer, electric guitarist, and mathematician based in Zürich. Aside from teaching mathematics, he is a member of the Swiss minimal-rock band SONAR (Cuneiform Records), a quartet that produces a unique blend of music that explores polymetrical structures and the harmonic possibilities of guitars tuned in tritones. He studied mathematics and music at the University of Zürich, where he obtained a PhD in mathematics in 1990.

        See Stephan Thelen's Available Resources

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      • Composers: Year 4
        • Bryce Dessner

          USA

          Bryce Dessner is one of the most sought-after composers of his generation, with a rapidly expanding catalog of works commissioned by leading ensembles. Known to many as a guitarist with The National, he is also active as a curator, a vital force in the realm of new creative music. In 2006, he founded MusicNOW, the Cincinnati-based contemporary music festival that recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary with an album comprised of the festival’s best live performances. Dessner earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University. He now resides in Paris and has been increasingly active composing for major European ensembles and soloists.

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        • Mario Galeano Toro

          Colombia

          Mario Galeano Toro, born in Bogotá, has been focused over the past 15 years on researching Colombian tropical music and its diaspora throughout the continent. His search has resulted in included influential tropicalista projects that range from roots music to experimental music, such as Frente Cumbiero, Los Pirañas, and Ondatrópica. He studied composition in the World Music department of Rotterdam’s Conservatory in the Netherlands, and has achieved grants and distinctions from cultural organizations from Colombia and abroad, as well as a Latin Grammy for musical production. Galeano is a university teacher of music history, and a record cutting apprentice. 

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        • Susie Ibarra

          USA

          Composer/Percussionist Susie Ibarra creates live and immersive music that explores rhythm, indigenous practices and interaction with cities and the natural world. Ibarra is a Yamaha, Paiste and Vic Firth Drum Artist, as well as a 2014 TEDSenior Fellow. She is a Faculty member at Bennington College where she teaches Performance, Percussion, and at the Center for Advancement of Public Action. Her teaching at the Center focuses on her work in urban and rural revitalization with the arts, art intervention and advocacy for human rights extended equally to women and girls.

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        • Jlin

          USA

          Jlin, one of the most prominent electronic producers of the current generation, first appeared on Planet Mu’s second Bangs & Works compilation, which had a huge impact on electronic/club music. Though she is known for bringing footwork to a wider audience, Jlin doesn’t consider herself a footwork artist.

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        • Lu Yun

          Taiwan

          Lu Yun began studying music at the age of four. From 2000, she began to study composition with Professor Hung Chung-Kun. Lu enrolled at the National Taipei University of Arts in 2004, where she obtained a master’s degree in music theory and composition. She pursued her Ph.D. studying at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2009 and received her DMA in May 2014 under the tutelage of composers Zhou Long and Chen Yi. She is currently an assistant professor at Department of Chinese Music of Tainan National University of the Arts.

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        • Vladimir Martynov

          Russia

          Vladimir Martynov studied piano as a child. Gaining an interest in composition, he enrolled in the Moscow Conservatory where he studied piano under Mikhail Mezhlumov and composition under Nikolai Sidelnikov, graduating in 1971. Martynov is known as a serious ethnomusicologist, specializing in the music of the Caucasian peoples, Tajikistan, and other ethnic groups in Russia. He studied medieval Russian and European music, as well as religious musical history and musicology. Martynov’s composition The Beatitudes, as performed by Kronos Quartet, featured in La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty), the winner of the 2014 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

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        • Missy Mazzoli

          USA

          Recently deemed “one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working in New York” (New York Times), Missy Mazzoli has had her music performed globally by the Kronos Quartet, eighth blackbird, violinist Jennifer Koh, LA Opera, New York City Opera, and many others. From 2012–15 she was Composer-in-Residence with Opera Philadelphia, Gotham Chamber Opera and Music Theatre-Group, and in 2011–12 was composer-in-residence with the Albany Symphony. With composer Ellen Reid, she founded Luna Lab, a mentorship program for young female composers in collaboration with the Kaufman Music Center in New York. Mazzoli teaches composition at the Mannes School of Music (The New School).

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        • Misato Mochizuki

          Japan / France

          Born in 1969 in Tokyo, Misato Mochizuki is equally active in Europe and in Japan. After receiving a Masters degree in composition at the National University of Fine Arts and Music in Tokyo, she was awarded first prize for composition at the Conservatoire National Supérieur in Paris in 1995, and then integrated the “Composition and Computer Music” program at IRCAM (1996–1997). Since 2007, she has been professor of artistic disciplines at the Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo. Mochizuki also writes about music and culture in her own column for the renowned Yomiuri Shimbun, the most widely read daily newspaper in Japan.

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        • Terry Riley

          USA

          Terry Riley first came to prominence in 1964 when, with the groundbreaking In C, he subverted the world of tightly organized atonal composition then in fashion and pioneered the musical aesthetic known as minimalism. Following In C, he quit formal composition in order to concentrate on improvisation, and devoted himself to studying North Indian vocal techniques under the legendary Pandit Pran Nath. In 1979, Riley began notating music again when both he and the Kronos Quartet were on the faculty at Mills College in Oakland. This nearly four-decade-long relationship has yielded 27 works for string quartet.

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        • Henry Threadgill

          USA

          Born in Chicago in 1944, Threadgill grew up on the South Side, where he played percussion and then clarinet, but switched to sax at 16. Threadgill has been recognized with a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2008 United States Artist Fellowship, a 2015 Doris Duke Impact Award, a 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award, and a 2016 Pulitzer Prize for In For A Penny, In For A Pound, the album by Zooid, his unconventional sextet. He is also the first black non-classical musician to get a Copland House Residency Award.

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