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Meet the Composers!
Eight young composers from around the country were chosen for this inaugural MATA Jr. festival. Learn about them below and join us on Monday November 17th to hear their music!
Composer and pianist Brandon Lincoln Snyder was born in 1995 in Laguna Beach, California, graduating from the Orange County School of the Arts where he studied piano with Dan St. Marseille, Mark Masset, Kevin Richardson, and Gary Gould and composition with Brett Banducci, Joey Sellers, and Tom Hynes. Snyder is currently a student at Harvard College studying music composition with Richard Beaudoin. Equally versed in jazz and popular music, he has written film scores, original works, and arrangements for jazz combo, big band, and chamber ensembles. In 2013 he attended the Young Composers Program at the Tanglewood Institute.
Emily DeLia is a 13-year-old harpist, composer, and vocalist. She has won numerous awards, including five consecutive gold awards in the VOICES Chorale Young Composers’ Contest and the Paul W. Hofreiter Memorial Scholarship at Westminster Conservatory; at age ten, her choral work That’s What Christmas Is to Me was premiered by VOICES Chorale as part of their Christmas concert series. Emily has performed throughout the Tri-state area as a member of various ensembles, in community theater, and as a soloist. She studies harp and composition with Elizabeth Huston, and has studied composition/theory with Paul Undreiner at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts Extension Program, and jazz piano/composition with Michael Carl Green at Westminster Conservatory. She is currently in her first year with the Face the Music Philharmonic. Emily is inspired by the idea of pushing the performance limits of the lever harp, a traditional folk instrument, and of writing new and exciting music for all harps.
A senior at The Rivers School and The Rivers School Conservatory, John Nydam has twice been selected to attend the Boston University Tanglewood Young Artists Summer Program in Composition. His composition 7604319145 won First Place for Electronic Music at the national 2014 Bass School of Music Project 21 Music Competition. In addition to his composition honors, John has received several national-level awards for outstanding musicianship in jazz piano, including being selected as the jazz pianist in the 2014 NAfME “All- National Jazz Ensemble.”
Julian Fueyo was born in Tampico, a coastal city in the Gulf of Mexico in 1996 and began violin and piano lessons before age four, playing chamber music with his brother, a cellist, and eventually becoming concertmaster of the Orquesta de Camara “Ma. Teresa Cortinas” at age thirteen. Fueyo began theory lessons at the same time. In 2013, he won first place in The Santiago de Queretaro Music Composition Competition and applied and was accepted to the composition class at Interlochen Arts Academy, where he is currently a senior. At IAA, Julian has participated in numerous collaborative projects, including composing music for short films, conducting student opera projects and participating in multiple forums where his music has been played. Fueyo hopes to continue his music studies in college, combining his passions for music composition and orchestral conducting.
Renata Vallecillo is fifteen years old and attends tenth grade at Basis Chandler School in Arizona. She began playing piano at four and composing at seven. She has been the recipient of numerous awards from the ASCAP Foundation: 2011 Young Jazz Composer Award for Forgiveness; and three Morton Gould Young Composer Award for just under the surface (2012), Loca’s Heaven (2013), and Forever…it seems (2014). She has performed her works at venues throughout America and worldwide, including at the Chandler Jazz Festival, Yamaha National Junior Original Concert (Boston 2010; La Mirada, California 2011; Phoenix 2012), Yamaha International JOC Concert (Tokyo, 2012) and at the 2014 Canadian National JOC in Whistler, Canada.
Born in 2004, Shashaank Narayanan started learning music at the age of five and is the first musician in his family. Early on, he received ear training instruction with Dr. Edwin Gordon and started to improvise and compose music. Shashaank plays piano, violin, and flute and mallet instruments in his school band. He is studying audio production techniques and uses his virtual instrument library to record his songs. He is the youngest student to complete the “Specialist Certificate” from the online Berklee College of Music program. Shashaank has received numerous honors for his compositions including the prestigious ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award. His works have been performed in the NAfME, NYSSMA Young Composers Concerts. He has received National Award of Excellence in the National PTA Reflections contest. Shashaank also enjoys playing games on his iPad, Solving Rubik’s cube, and playing outdoor with his friends.
Rachel Jenna Epperly (b. 1996) is an aspiring pianist and composer. She began composing at the age of eleven and in 2009 began formal studies with jazz musician Kurt Ellenberger. Beginning in 2011 she studied music composition and music theory with oboist and composer Alexander L. Miller. Her compositions have won several awards at the state, regional, and national levels with the Music Teachers National Association and the National Federation of Music. In 2013, Epperly became the youngest composer in the Grand Rapids Symphony’s 84-year history, to receive a commission. She enjoys a wide variety of music, and is currently collaborating with Korean rock musician, Yaya, on her upcoming album. This year she began her studies at the University of Michigan on scholarship, and is majoring in composition with Evan Chambers.
A native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Andrew D. Herring has recently begun to achieve national acclaim as a composer, having a number of works selected for various notable prizes and performances. Drawing influence from such diverse fields as literature, history, mathematics, and physics, he aims to view music without the constraints of ‘genre.’ His High of 95 for big band was performed in 2013 at the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Eastern Division and All-National Young Composer Concerts in Nashville. His Chorale No. 1 in Db Major was premiered by the Lebanon Valley College Strings in March 2014, and his Stars and Silence for bass flute and cello will be performed in New York City with Vox Novus. Additionally, Andy has/will have two original fanfares premiered with the Dallas Winds at Meyerson Symphony Center in 2014/15. The recipient of three of DownBeat Magazine’s 37th Annual Student music awards, and finalist in the 2013 ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards, Andy currently attends Shenandoah Conservatory, where he studies composition with David T. Little and jazz composition/arranging with Alan Baylock.
Selected Composers and Mentors
MATA has long been recognized for its broad embrace of all styles and aesthetics in modern concert music. For all the submissions we receive for our Festival Call for Scores, we receive very few submissions from pre-college composers; it was clear that this was a constituency that we were not serving. At the same time, we saw that many pre-college composers were working in a vacuum, writing works that lived only in their heads and through tinny midi renditions.
Our inaugural edition of MATA Jr, began as an effort to solve both these problems. In late 2013 we ran a call for submissions from pre-college composers, to seek the most unique young voices and showcase them in a fall concert event. To perform the music we partnered with Face the Music, the ensemble of high-school aged new music aficionados based at New York’s Kaufman Center. We chose this group for two reasons: first, we hoped that having young composers work with their peers might set the stage for future collaborations; second, we felt that the relationship might be mutual, the young musicians could meet composers they might not otherwise encounter. In late February 2014, a jury – Nico Muhly, Richard Carrick, Jacob Cooper and Jenny Undercofler – met to assess the submissions.
What we found was an astoundingly high quality of work: some ready-to-wear, some needing some alterations. It became clear to us that MATA Jr. could not only be a concert of the “best” precollege composers’ music, but rather should be an arena for these young voices to explore and develop their own ideas over time.
Based on the jury’s recommendations, MATA selected eight young composers – five wrote works specifically for this event; three will have previously-written works performed. Each selected composer was paired with one of four MATA mentors, who was charged with shepherding them through the development of a work from idea to score to rehearsal to performance. As of today, scores have been received and are being rehearsed by the musicians. A concert has been scheduled for November 17 at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music.
The selected composers and works are:
Emily DeLia (b. 2001) Aria of a New Age for Harp and String Quartet (WP)
Rachel Epperly (b. 1996) La Extranjera for Mezzo-Soprano and Strings (WP)
Julian Fueyo (b. 1996) Catrina’s Dance (WP)
Andrew Herring (b. 1996) Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow for saxophone quartet (WP)
Shashaank Narayanan (b. 2004) Heroes of All Eras (WP)
John Nydam (b. 1997) Swells for wind quartet with electronics (WP)
Brandon Snyder: (b. 1995) Strain for brass quintet (WP)
Renata Vallecillo: (b. 1999) Loca’s Heaven for cello and piano
MATA mentors are:
Bryan Jacobs (MATA alum 2013)
Taylor Brook (MATA alum 2013)
Tristan Perich (MATA alum 2010)
Missy Mazzoli (MATA alum 2008, 2009, 2010)
MATA has long been recognized for its broad embrace of all styles and aesthetics in modern concert music. With MATA Jr. we expand our work to include very young composers by applying the same rigorous standards of selection, support, and performance to those composers who have not yet entered college.
In October 2013, MATA opened a free global call for submissions from composers who have not yet enrolled in college. From these submissions MATA’s directors, after consultation with a panel of outside judges, have selected six composers to have their works performed and recorded by the Kaufman Music Center’s Face the Music – the crack ensemble of high-school aged performer under the direction of Jennifer Undercofler – in two performances scheduled for November 2014.
Each of the six selected composers will be paired with a MATA alumni emerging composer who will act as their mentor and guide, shepherding them through the rehearsal and performance process, and working with these young composers to develop and edit their scores on an as-needed basis. For those selected composers who will be unable to be physically present for rehearsals, the mentor will serve as an onsite proxy. Performances will be professionally recorded for the composers’ and performers’ review.
Face the Music performs “Fearful Symmetries” by John Adams Sunday April 28, 2013 LeFrak Concert Hall, Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College, CUNY
An excerpt from the March 19, 2013 concert at Baryshnikov Arts Center’s Jerome Robbins Theater.
Start and End Dates
10/15/2013 — 11/30/2014
New York, New York