In the sphere
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Michael Flynn is a composer of acoustic and electronic music whose works present familiar musical ideas in inventive sonic and structural contexts. To this end, his music juxtaposes timbral exploration and metric complexity with stylistically referential harmony and beat-driven groove. This compositional style lends itself well to chamber ensembles, and much of his work thus far has been for smaller groups of performers. Michael has written for ensembles including the Chicago Composer's Orchestra, the Dutch/American trio Sonic Hedgehog (flute, clarinet, and electric guitar), the Atar Piano Trio, as well as the PRISM Quartet (saxophones).
Kristopher Bendrick’s acoustic and electronic compositions explore a balance between the seriousness of academic processes and the levity of absurdism. Often working in extremes, he asks his performers to create complex sounds with flailing gestures while his electronic music works with shaping harsh noise aggregation, which, at times, grates against the comfort level of his audience.
Elliott Lupp is a composer, improviser, and visual artist whose work invokes images of the distorted, chaotic, and visceral. This aesthetic approach as it relates to both acoustic and electroacoustic composition has led to a body of work that, at the root of its construction, focuses on the manipulation of extreme gesture and shifting timbre as core musical elements. This style of writing has found a home with a variety of chamber ensembles, solo performers, performer(s) with live electronics, and fixed media. Elliott is native to Chicago and holds a Bachelors of Music in composition from Columbia College Chicago where his primary teachers included Kenn Kumpf, Eliza Brown, and Francisco Castillo-Trigueros. Elliott is currently pursuing his master's degree in composition at Western Michigan University, where he holds an assistantship in research. His primary teachers at WMU include Dr. Chris Biggs and Dr. Lisa Renee Coons.
Graeme Shields is a Canadian-born composer residing in Kalamazoo, MI. Currently working as an organist in southwest MI, Graeme has had works performed in the US, Canada, and Russia. As an instrumentalist, he has held numerous organist and accompanist positions across Minnesota and Michigan. He has regularly worked as an accompanist in state competitions and musical theatre settings, fostering his love for collaboration with other musicians. Winner of numerous academic scholarships, Graeme has secured artist residencies in the US and Canada. He holds degrees from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and Western Michigan University.
J. R. Speake is an Alabama-born composer, arranger, and conductor currently residing in Tuscaloosa, AL. In the fall of 2017, Speake received his Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Composition while studying with Amir Zaheri, and formerly with C. P. First.
Kennedy Taylor Dixon is a violist, composer, and collaborator based out of Kalamazoo, MI. After completing a double degree in Viola Performance and Composition from Western Michigan University in Spring 2020, she is continuing her education at WMU by pursuing a Master of Arts in Composition, with an expected graduation of May 2021. Throughout her time at WMU, Kennedy has diligently worked to combine her two majors, as she often writes for herself and the string family, while also collaborating with other musicians. As a composer, Kennedy has attended the MOXsonic (Missouri Experimental Sonic Arts) Festival at the University of Central Missouri to perform her piece, pretty on paper, for solo viola and improvised electronics, with colleague and friend Kristopher Bendrick. Dixon has also been awarded an Immediate Needs Grant from the Kalamazoo Arts Council to assist in her second year of attending the Nief-Norf Summer New Music Festival at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville, as a Performer-Composer Fellow with an Alumni Scholarship Award in June 2020. Due to cancellation of the event, Dixon participated in a livestream concert of the Festival in July 2020.
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