Coaches will be guiding the participants throughout the unAcademy, helping them develop their projects with their particular expertise.
Amelia Brey’s music has been described as possessing “haunting beauty” and “a deep, disquieting power” (National Sawdust Log). Her orchestral work, Two, was premiered by the Juilliard Orchestra under the direction of Jeffrey Milarsky as a winner of the Juilliard Composers’ Orchestra Competition, and received an Honorable Mention from the Nashville Symphony’s Composer Lab; her wind quintet, AR(i/e)AS, was the recipient of a BMI Student Composer Award. Other accomplishments have included premieres by Ensemble Dal Niente, Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect, and members of Ensemble Intercontemporain and the New York Philharmonic, in addition to commissions from the Musical Mentors Collaborative, HUP! Productions, Project eGALitarian, Music City Trombones, and the University of Nebraska Chamber Music Institute. Brey serves as the Composition Coordinator for zFestival, a virtual new music summer course for composers, performers, and audio engineers. Hailing from Tallahassee, Florida, Brey studied with Michael Slayton and Stan Link at Vanderbilt University as the Harold Stirling Vanderbilt Honor Scholar in Music; she is currently a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow at the Juilliard School, where she studies with Robert Beaser.
Luke Damrosch is a recording engineer based in Boston, Massachusetts. Beginning at age six with lessons in classical piano and drum-set, he later gravitated towards improvisation, electro-acoustic music, and composition, studying at New England Conservatory’s pre-college program and subsequently at the New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music in New York City, graduating with a B.F.A. in 2009. His instructors there included drummers Amir Ziv, Chico Hamilton, Gerry Hemingway, Andrew Cyrille, and Joe Chambers, composer Kirk Nurock, bassists Reggie Workman and Shahzad Ismaily, trumpeter/composer Jordan McLean, pianist Junior Mance, saxophonist George Garzone, and composer/historian Bill Kirchner. He has also studied West African music from Ghana, Togo, and Benin, Indonesian Gamelan, Brazilian Samba and Maracatu, Traditional Middle Eastern and Turkish music, Afro-Cuban percussion, and computer music with tools like Max/MSP and SuperCollider.
While completing his undergraduate studies, his creative work in electronic sound design opened the door to music recording and sound engineering. He found this discipline’s uniquely harmonious integration of art and science deeply captivating and was delighted by how organically his diverse musical training could inform so many aspects of his work in this more universal, technical field. He has dedicated himself to it ever since, with a focus on recording contemporary chamber music, classical, jazz, and other acoustic music. In addition to his freelance recording work, he is a staff sound engineer and electronics/media technician at Harvard University and a recording engineer for the Boston-based Non-Event concert series. He is a member of the Audio Engineering Society, holds a Level 3 Dante Certification from Audinate, and has been a guest lecturer on music recording and sound design at Tufts University and MIT. He is very interested in techniques which may improve the depth and realism of sound recording, and frequently conducts experiments as part of an ongoing personal research project — microphone array designs informed by current psychoacoustics research and semi-analogous fields like antenna design. More at: www.efferentproductions.com
John Rot is a composer, teacher, conductor and pianist based in Denver, Colorado. As a composer, he strives to create art that challenges and confounds preconceived notions regarding form, rhythm, and development, while employing unique conceptualizations of division and simultaneity to create powerful temporal and sonic experiences. His work often straddles divisions between free atonality and tonality/spectralism, employing traditional acoustic instruments alongside electronic and mechanical elements, and breaking down typical paradigms concerning the performer-audience relationship and the concert structure as a whole. He has been performed and commissioned by a diverse group
of ensembles and performers including the International Contemporary Ensemble, Talea Ensemble, JACK Quartet, Mivos Quartet, Ensemble Court-circuit, loadbang, and TAK Ensemble, as well as music festivals in the United States and Europe. As a pianist and conductor, John has also competed and performed nationally and internationally. Beyond composition and performance, teaching is a fundamental facet of John’s artistic life. In addition to being an enthusiastic purveyor of progressive and non-traditional pedagogy, he is fundamentally committed to the study of composition as a crucial element of an educational paradigm in which contemporary music functions as a potent means of discourse and discovery. John holds degrees in composition from Columbia University and Oberlin Conservatory. He recently served as Visiting Assistant Professor and Composition Department Chair at The University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, and is currently working to expand non-institutional composition pedagogy in the Denver area and beyond.
Guest artists will each present a few times to participants on specific topics, that are designed to get them to engage with new ideas.
Eschewing the collection of traditional titles that describe single elements of her body of work, Elizabeth refers to herself as a “New Renaissance Artist” that embraces a constant stream of change and rebirth in practice, which expands into a variety of media, chiefly an exploration of how sonic and spatial worlds can be manipulated to personify a variety of philosophies and principles both tangible as well as intangible. Elizabeth has received recognition from press as well as scholars, for her conceptual compositions and commitment to inclusive programming. In addition to studies of her work, Elizabeth has been awarded several fellowships, grants, and residencies, in addition to sponsorships from Schoenhut Piano Company and Source Audio LLC. As an experimental filmmaker, her work has been shown at festivals including Women of the Lens (United Kingdom), and the African Smartphone International Film Festival (Nigeria). As a solo recording artist, Elizabeth is represented by Aerocade Music, her first solo album on the California-based label Quadrivium released worldwide in May 2018 to rave reviews. She is founder of the Florida International Toy Piano Festival, The New Music Conflagration, Inc., author of three books, and the subject of a number of scholarly articles, thesis papers, and other academic research. In March 2018, Elizabeth retired from nonprofit arts administration to focus on her international solo career, though she remains committed to the community through workshops and public speaking engagements. Elizabeth is a recipient of a 2019-2020 Individual Artist Grant from the State of Florida as well as a commission for The Great Black Music Ensemble through the American Composers Forum (ACF) Connect programme in partnership with The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM Chicago).
“A profoundly gifted and innovative flutist” (Pittsburgh in the Round), Zoe Sorrell (she/her) is a performer, educator, and skeptic who is committed to the intersection of classical music and community care.
Zoe believes that in order to decolonize classical music, musicians must refocus their energy on the communities they inhabit. Zoe is currently focused on shifting the paradigm at Westminster College, where she teaches flute, ethnomusicology, music appreciation, and music entrepreneurship; Chatham University, where she is flute faculty; and at the Winchester Thurston K12 school, where she teaches private lessons in piano and flute.
A 2015 Pittsburgh transplant, Zoe feels an immense sense of responsibility to the city of black and gold, and practices good citizenship through her roles with the Pittsburgh Festival of New Music and Make Music Pittsburgh. For four years, Zoe directed and performed with NAT 28, the new music ensemble responsible for the Pittsburgh Composers’ Project, which provides performance opportunities for local composers.
When performing, the flute is a conduit through which Zoe expresses and explores crises of social and environmental justice. Her Syrinx Project is a “stunning, cohesive” (Pittsburgh in the Round) multidisciplinary series that tells the stories of mythological women through lenses of contemporary feminism. The Syrinx Project was a featured performance at the Pittsburgh Festival of New Music 2016 and was named Best Music Production at the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival 2019. This intense fascination with feminist storytelling was expanded into a solo flute album entitled My Own Route, which will be released in the fall of 2020.
Zoe is a lifelong student of equity, accessibility, and inclusion and is personally and professionally committed to the work of undoing the racism, patriarchy, ableism, and capitalism upon which the classical music industry is founded. She owes much of her success to the education she received at Oberlin Conservatory and Carnegie Mellon University, where she received degrees in flute performance and English literature. In addition to being a musician, Zoe is a yogi, gardener, reader, animal lover, partner, daughter, sister, and granddaughter.
Isaac Schankler is a composer, accordionist, and electronic musician living in Los Angeles. Schankler’s recent album Because Patterns, released on Aerocade Music in 2019, has been lauded as “beautiful, algorithmic, organic, dystopian” (I Care If You Listen) and “remarkable listening… a new benchmark” (Sequenza21). Their music has also been described as “ingenious” (The Artificialist), “masterfully composed” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), and “the antidote to sentimentality” (LA Times).
Schankler’s recent music also includes works for Autoduplicity, Nouveau Classical Project, the Ray-Kallay Duo, Friction Quartet, gnarwhallaby, and the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet. Additionally, Schankler has written music for critically acclaimed and award-winning video games, including Ladykiller in a Bind, Analogue: A Hate Story, and Depression Quest.
Schankler is the artistic director of the concert series People Inside Electronics, and Assistant Professor of Music at Cal Poly Pomona, where they teach composition and music technology.