Contemporary Composer's Biographies:
Sean Kelly Ball Tom Benjamin Giampaolo Bracali Daniel Gall Jon Jeffrey Grier Teppo Hauta-aho
Sojourner Hodges Kari Henrik Juusela Matthew Mairs Liz Malys Jeff McAuley Patrick Neher
Klaus George Roy Haskell Small Camil Van Hulse Don Wheelock
Sean Kelly Ball, was a gifted composer and double bass player who was tragically killed in a car accident on February 28, 1997. Though he only lived for 27 years, his life was dedicated to discovering new avenues of musical expression and passions. He was, as well, a talented percussionist, and many of his early compositions involved percussion and double bass. Breakfast at Patrick's was written for Patrick Neher and was first performed by Sean at the Neher residence during a surprise breakfast party. The piece was given it's official premiere in 1992.
Tom Benjamin was born in Bennington, Vermont, USA, in 1940. He received his degrees from Bard College, Harvard, Brandeis, and Eastman, studying composition with Leon Kirchner, Carlos Surinach, Ernst Krenek, Arthur Berger and Bernard Rogers. Dr. Benjamin has composed works for all media, including concertos for violin, piano, and viola, symphonies, oratorios, cantatas, six operas, and a great deal of choral and chamber music. Over 60 of his works have been published, and several have been commercially recorded. He is a member of ASCAP and the author of two books on counterpoint published by Schimer Books, and he is co-author of three music theory texts, published by Wadsworth. He has won prizes in a wide variety of composition contests, and has received numerous grants, awards, and commissions from the National Endowment of the Arts, the American Society of Composers Arrangers and Publishers, Meet-the-Composer, the National Music Theatre Network, and the Barlow Foundation. He is a Fellow of the McDowell Colony, the Corporation of Yaddo and the Virginia Center. Also active as a clarinetist and choral conductor, Dr. Benjamin taught for many years at the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan, the Univ. of Houston's School of Music, and is retired from teaching at the Peabody Conservatory of Music where he was for many years Chair of the Department of Music Theory.
Giampaolo Bracali, recently deceased, was born in Rome, where he received his degree in piano, composition, and conducting from the Santa Cecilia Conservatory. In addition, he studied with Nadia Boulanger and came to the United States as a Fulbright Scholar. Among his many honors are the Prince Pierre de Monaco International Competition and the Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund, whose jury included Igor Stravinsky and Aaron Copland. Mr. Bracali’s works have been performed by the National Academy Orchestra of Santa Cecilia, the Symphony Orchestra of Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI), and the American and Tokyo string quartets. As a conductor, he has led orchestras including the Brooklyn Philharmonic; the Philharmonic of Mexico City; the Hungarian State Orchestra; the Hong Kong Philharmonic; and numerous opera companies in Europe, America, and Asia. Mr. Bracali served as musical director of the Treasure Coast Opera Company in Florida. He was one of the faculty members of the Corso Internazionale d’Arte Vocale at Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy, and taught composition and orchestration at the Manhattan School of Music. His work for solo double bass, Soliloquy, was commissioned by the International Society of Bassists for the 2005 Solo Competition.
Daniel Gall is a young composer living in Hollywood, California. More information is available on his web-site.
Jon Jeffrey Grier holds a D.M.A. in Composition from the University of South Carolina and since 1988 has been Instructor of Music Theory, Music History, and Composer in Residence at the Greenville Fine Arts Center.
Finland's Teppo Hauta-aho, is considered to be one of today's top composers. His compositions have been premiered throughout the world, and as performer he has performed with most of the world's great musicians. Both a jazz and classical bassist, Teppo finds improvisation his most comfortable medium composition at the moment! Teppo has written music for almost every instrument, yet as a bassist, he specializes in compositions for the bass. He is a well respected teacher and has given clinics around the world.
Sojourner Hodges was born in Florida, USA in 1986. She started composing music at age five and at age six began taking piano and music theory lessons with Juanita Becker. Singe age thirteen she has been studying composition. In the summer of 2004 she appeared as composer and pianist on From the Top, a nationally sindicated radio show hosted by Christopher O'Riley, where she premiered the second movement of her Trio for violin, cello, and piano, and her solo piano piece Achromatopsia. Also during 2004, Ms. Hodges participated in the Czech-American Summer Music Institute in Prague, Czech Republic. Sojourner Hodges is an accomplished and acclaimed young composer who will be making waves in the new music scene for decades to come. Her new solo cello piece, Arcturus, is a lyrical full-ranged, short soliloquy for cello, and is based on the Greek "arktos" meaning "bear."
Kari Henrik Juusela, a Finnish/American composer and cellist, is presently Dean of Professional Writing at the Berklee College of Music. His compositions have won numerous awards including the 1995 Vienna Intl. Full-Length Opera Composition Competition, the Schirmer 1995 Young American's Art-Song Competition, First Prize in the 1989 GASTA String Quartet Composition Competition, numerous awards from the Composer's Guild, and from ASCAP as well. In 1997, he was awarded the Stetson University Hand Award for Faculty Research and Creativity. His work Vorjot was chosen by the Jacksonville Symphony to be featured in its 2002 Fresh Ink Series. Night Calls, Kari's twelve cello ensemble composition was commissioned and premiered by Cellobration 2002. Professor Juusela's works span the gamete of works for instrumentalists and vocalists. His style is truly virtuosic and yet immediately accessible by today's audiences. Ensembles around the globe have premiered his music, including Quartetto Latinoamericano, The CORE Ensemble, the London Chamber Group, Florida's Electro-Acoustic Festival, SEAMUS, the Society of Composers Inc, and the Berklee College of Music, to name a few. Individual collaborators include violinist Beth Newdome, guitarist Stephen Robinson, organist Boyd Jones, cellist David Bjella, and santoorist virtuoso Nandkishor Muley.
Amateur bassist and computer programmer, Matthew Mairs, was studying composition at the University of Arizona when he wrote this minimalist-style piece, Rhapsody for solo bass. Though not a difficult piece, the music provides challenge and interest and was designed to give the performer a tool to be truly expressive through simple melody. Matthew resides in New York where he programs computers and supports the arts in the community.
Liz Malys , has been playing the piano and singing since the age of nine, and took up the cello at age 17. She is currently studying composition with Dan Asia at the University of Arizona, where she has had numerous works performed, and has also organized a choir specializing in the performance of music by living composers. Liz enjoys collaborating with film, dance and other disciplines, and is also an avid singer/songwriter.
Jeff McAuley was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He studied cello performance at the Aaron Copland School of Music where his primary teachers were Stephen Kates and Barbara Stein Mallow. Before entering into graduate school, Jeff spent three oddly productive years in San Francisco, where he was able to explore more alternative forms of music outside the realm of his more traditional classical undergraduate training. It was during this period that Jeff first began composing. He later went on to recieve a M.M. degree from Northern Illinois University under the guidance of Marc Johnson and other members of the Vermeer String Quartet. After completing his graduate studies, Jeff moved to Istanbul, Turkey where he still currently resides.
Internationally acclaimed double bass soloist and clinician, teacher and composer, Patrick Neher, began his music career at the age of eight, with studies on the cello. He "graduated" to the bass when he was twelve and then wrote his first composition, Sonatina no.1. Similar to some who write diaries, Mr. Neher composes music in an "auto- biographical manner," documenting his life through his music. Mr. Neher's numerous commissioned works have been premiered around the world and include music for instrumentalists and singers. He also composes music for classical and modern dance, and for commercial and film use. A graduate of the Juilliard School (MM, 1981), he has been Professor of Double Bass at the University of Arizona since 1984 and has taught double bass techniques, ear-training, and composition in master classes and clinics in major music centers throughout Europe, South America, Canada, Australia, and the United States. Check out Patrick Neher's web site at the Univ. of Arizona and at www.patrickneher.com.
Klaus George Roy died in May 2010, but was born in Vienna, Austria in 1924. He emigrated to the United States in 1940 and served in the US Army from 1944 to 1946. In 1949 he completed a Master of Music Degree from Harvard University where his composition teacher was Walter Piston. A member of the musical community of the United States and in Europe, for over 50 years, Dr. Roy enjoyed a wide variety of musical endeavors including composition (over 500 works!), music criticism, program annotating, teaching composition and music criticism, and lecturing. He gave more than 30 years of service to the Cleveland Orchestra as program annotator, editor, and pre-concert lecturer, and was presented with numerous awards including: the Cleveland Arts Prize, the Arthur Shepard Prize, an honorary doctorate from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and a Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University. Dr. Roy received commissions and honors for works in instrumental and vocal genres, his music is presented in performances around the globe, and is published by at least 11 different publishers. His discography includes recordings on the CRI, Crystal, Advent, Dimension, and TrueMedia labels.Duet in Ancient Style for bassoon and double bass, was presented to Laura Koepke, bassoonist, and Jordan Frazier, double bassist, on September 3, 2001 in honor of their betrothal. About the Duet in Ancient Style, Dr. Roy commented; "The style of the Duet looks back a bit wistfully at that of past centuries, the adventurous 20th recently completed, and even the much-lamented 19th, with a muffled cheer for the incipient 21st."
Haskell Small is a pianist and composer who, hailed by England's Musical Times for his "dazzlingly prodigious technique," has concertized with great success in major European capitals, South America, Japan and China, and has been enthusiastically received by American audiences in such venues as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and the Spoleto Festival. A semifinalist in the Johann Sebastian Bach International Piano Competition, Mr. Small has received numerous awards and has been featured in the nationally broadcast PBS special, "A Celebration of the Piano". Following in the tradition of 18th and 19th century pianist/composers, Haskell Small is also an accomplished composer, who often performs his own works. He has received commissions from such organizations as the Washington Ballet, Three Rivers Piano Competition, Georgetown Symphony and Paul Hill Chorale, and he was the winner of the 1999 Marin Ballet Dance Score Competition. Since 2000, he has been composer-in-residence with the Mount Vernon Orchestra. He is currently at work on RENOIR'S FEAST, a commission by the Phillips Collection to set to music Renoir's painting, LUNCHEON OF THE BOATING PARTY. Prof. Small has recorded a number of CDs. In recent seasons, he has made several tours of Japan, played recitals in Paris and London, and has extensively performed Bach's GOLDBERG VARIATIONS. Haskell Small received his musical training at the San Francisco Conservatory and Carnegie-Mellon University, where he studied piano with Leon Fleisher, William Masselos, Harry Franklin and Jeanne Behrend, and composition with Roland Leich and Vincent Persichetti. Currently, he is the piano department Chair of the Washington Conservatory of Music.
Camil Van Hulse, was born in Belgium in 1897 and died in Tucson, Arizona, in 1988, after a lengthy career in music, particularly symphonic direction and opera composition. Though not a bass player, Camil wrote the composition, Sonatine-Etude, after hearing the incomparable Gary Karr performing works of Bottesini on the local classical music radio station. Sonatine-Etude is both lyrical and technically challenging, yet surprisingly, it is written quite idiomatically for the bass. Camil's knowledge of orchestration is evident and the piece is a welcome addition to the repertory.
Donald Wheelock studied composition at Union College and the University of Ediburgh, and Yale University where he was a student of Quincy Porter and Yehudi Wyner. He has served on the faculty of Colgate Univeristy and Amhurst College, and is presently the Irwin and Pauline Alper Glass Professor of Music at Smith College. His compositions include four string quartets, many works for solo instruments, eleven song cycles, and many large ensemble and orchestral works. He has received fellowships and awards from the Hartford Symphony, the National Endowment for the Arts, and two from the Guggenheim Foundation. His music can be heard on the Gasparo, Albany, Harmonia Mundi, and New Aria record labels.