contemporary chamber music [performance + composition + research]

nief-norf Summer Festival Faculty

Andrew Bliss (Artistic Director / Percussion)

Andrew Bliss is a versatile percussionist, specializing in the performance and education of contemporary solo and chamber music. His work has been heard at the Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada), the Darmstadt International Summer Course for New Music (Germany), the Patagonia Percussion Festival (Argentina), the SEAMUS National Conference (IN), the LiveWire Festival (Baltimore, MD), the Intermedia Festival (Indianapolis, IN), and in Bangkok (Thailand).



Allison Adams (Saxophone)

Allison Adams is the Assistant Professor of Saxophone at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. An avid performer, Adams has played with the Knoxville Symphony and been featured in recitals across the country. She is the tenor saxophonist in the Estrella Consort, a saxophone quartet devoted to the performance of new music. As a soloist, Adams is actively involved in commissioning new works. She has recently premiered pieces by Dominick DiOrio and Keane Southard. Besides her study of the saxophone, Adams’ main area of research centers around performance injuries, wellness for musicians, and the integration of yoga into music performance. She was a contributing author for Notes of Hope: Stories of Musicians Coping with Injuries, as well as the multi-media resource Cross Training for Musicians. Her main teachers include Timothy McAllister, Eugene Rousseau, and Steven Mauk. She is a D’Addario Performing Artist.

Christopher Adler (Composition Program Director)

Christopher Adler is a composer, performer and improviser living in San Diego, California. His compositions encompass cross-culturally hybrid forms drawn from contemporary concert music and traditional musics of Thailand and Laos, the application of mathematics to composition, and the integration of improvisation into structured composition. He is a foremost performer of traditional and new music for the khaen, a free-reed mouth organ from Laos and Northeast Thailand. He is a pianist for the nief-norf Project, NOISE, an Affiliated Artist with San Diego New Music, a co-founder of the soundON Festival of Modern Music, Director of Composition for the nief-norf Summer Festival, and Professor of Music at the University of San Diego.

Lisa Cella (Flute)

As a champion of contemporary music, Lisa Cella has performed throughout the United States and abroad. She is Artistic Director of San Diego New Music and a founding member of its resident ensemble NOISE. With NOISE she has performed the works of young composers all around the world including at the Acousmania Festival in Bucharest, Romania in May of 2004, the Pacific Rim Festival at the University of California, Santa Cruz in May of 2005 and as ensemble-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 2007. NOISE also presents a three day festival of modern music entitled soundON. Lisa also performs with Jane Rigler in the flute duo inHale, a group dedicated to developing challenging and experimental repertoire for two flutes. inHale was an invited ensemble at the National Flute Association Convention in San Diego in August of 2005. She, along with Franklin Cox, is a founding member of C2, a touring flute and cello duo. C2 has commissioned and premiered many new works in their short history. As a soloist, she has performed around the world and is a faculty member of the Soundscape Festival of Contemporary Music in Maccagno, Italy. She is an associate professor of music at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a founding member of its faculty contemporary music ensemble, Ruckus. Her undergraduate work was completed at Syracuse University under the tutelage of John Oberbrunner and she received a Master of Music degree and a Graduate Performance Diploma from Peabody Conservatory where she studied with Robert Willoughby. Lisa received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in contemporary flute performance under John Fonville at the University of California, San Diego.

Andrea Lodge (Piano)

Pianist Andrea Lodge has been called a “Must See” (The Telegram, St. John’s, Canada).  A specialist in the performance of contemporary piano music, she has premiered new works by composers Herbert Deutsch, Salvatore Macchia and C. Curtis Smith, among others.

Andrea was awarded top prizes at the Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition for the Performance of New Music. Her recording of works for voice and piano by Marga Richter with tenor William George has recently been released by Redshift Records.

Andrea lives in NYC where she performs regularly as soloist, with the Sorce/Lodge Duo and with Hypercube, a contemporary music quartet. Since 2014 she has been on faculty with the nief-norf contemporary music organization. Andrea has been a featured artist at festivals such as the Big Ears Festival, Sound Symposium, NYC Electroacoustic Music Festival, UNPLAY Festival, International Computer Music Conference and Qubit Noise Non-Ference.

As an educator, she teaches piano, music theory and chamber music at the Greenwich House Music School and Bloomingdale School of Music and is on faculty at Five Towns College and Suffolk County Community College. Andrea received her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from Stony Brook University, where she studied with Gilbert Kalish and Christina Dahl.

Kerry O'Brien (Research Director / Percussion)

Kerry O'Brien a musicologist specializing in post-1945 experimental music. She lives in New Haven, where she is a Lecturer in the Yale University Department of Music. O'Brien has presented her work at the national meeting of the American Musicological Society, the Society for Minimalist Music, the Royal Musicological Association Music and/as Process Symposium, and the New Music Gathering. With research supported by a Presser Foundation Music Award, a Paul Sacher Stiftung Research Grant, a Getty Research Library Grant, and an American Fellowship from the American Association of University Women, her writings have appeared in the Mitteilungen der Paul Sacher StiftungNewMusicBoxThe New York Times, and The New Yorker online. O'Brien is a percussionist with Nief-Norf and directs the research component of the Nief-Norf Summer Festival. 

Jay Sorce (Guitar)

Jay Sorce is a classical guitarist noted for his “...unique blend of refinement, intensity, and virtuosic technique”, he has appeared in performance throughout the United States and in Canada, Mexico and Germany as a soloist and chamber musician. Highlight appearances include performances at the Long Island Guitar Festival, Iserlohn Guitar Festival, Tuckamore Festival, Brooklyn’s UNPLAY festival, the East Bank concert series, and at New York’s Staller Center for the Performing Arts where his solo recital was hailed as “simply brilliant” (Jerry Willard).

Jay is a founding member of Sorce/Lodge Duo, a piano and guitar duo and Iktus Quartet an ensemble of guitar, piano, percussion and saxophone. Jay is strong advocate for new music and is committed to expanding the role of guitar as a chamber instrument. He has premiered many new pieces and champions works by living composers; his current season features premieres of ensemble works by Cerrone, Lang, Phillips, Epstein, Tacke, Trigos and more. Jay’s 2015/16 performance season includes several solo and ensemble performances around the US, notably at Oberlin College, Cincinnatti College-Conservatory of Music, Kent State, Constellation (Chicago), Bowling Green State University, the Versipel Festival, and Arkansas State University and in NYC at Queens College, Greenwich Music House, Purchase College, and at the Wintergarden (to be broadcast on WNYC’s New Sounds with John Schaefer). Concerto highlights include his performance of Malcolm Arnorld’s Guitar Concerto with the Symphony Orchestra of Guanajuato, a Mexican premiere, and Juan Trigos’ Guitar Concerto (Ricercare VI) with Stony Brook’s Contemporary Chamber Players. 

Jay is a graduate of Manhattan School of Music, University of Arizona, from and Stony Brook University, where he recently completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree. 

Jay is a recipient of the Toccata Award from the Aaron Brock Foundation, the Manhattan School of Music Excellence Award, as well as full-tuition scholarships from the University of Arizona, and Stony Brook University. Jay is currently a faculty member of the SUNY, Suffolk.

Mike Truesdell (Percussion)

Mike Truesdell is a constant niefer and an avid norfer.  His desire to nief has taken him across the United States, Europe, and Asia.  As a soloist, he was the 2nd-prize winner of the 2010 TROMP International Percussion Competition in the Netherlands.  Recently, he has performed with ICE, Ensemble Échappé, and was featured on DVD and CD during a concert celebration of Elliott Carter’s 103rd birthday, with the composer in attendance.

In the field of norf, he is the newly-appointed Assistant Professor of Percussion at University of Northern Colorado and loving it!  In addition to nnSF, he is an administrator and faculty at the Zeltsman Marimba Festival and can be found performing at Ojai Music Festival and Wellesley Composers Conference, among others.  

A native of Wisconsin, he recently completed his Doctoral of Musical Arts degree at The Juilliard School with a dissertation focusing on Igor Stravinsky’s Histoire du Soldat.  More information about Mike can be found at

Ashley Walters (Cello)

Cellist Ashley Walters has been described as performing "...with the kind of brilliance that beckons a major new performer on the new music scene." (LA Times) Walters has gained attention as an interpreter of new music and a prodigious performer in chamber music. As a solo artist, Ashley has been the dedicatee of many works by composers such as Nicholas Deyoe, Andrew McIntosh, Lewis Nielson, Daniel Rothman, and Wadada Leo Smith. She is also known for her performances of Luciano Berio's Sequenza XIV and Plainsound-Litany by Wolfgang von Schweinitz. Ashley has performed numerous times with Pulitzer Prize-nominated composer Wadada Leo Smith playing with his legendary Golden Quartet, Pacific Coral Reef Ensemble, and Silver Orchestra. With Smith she has performed in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York, Austria, Brazil, France, and Turkey. Ashley is a founding member of the Formalist Quartet. The group has premiered dozens of works and is known for its adventurous programming. The Formalists have appeared in concert in Iceland, Austria, Italy, Germany, and throughout California and the United States. They have held residencies at Princeton University, Stanford University, CalArts and Oberlin College (upcoming). Dr. Walters holds degrees from the UCSD, CalArts, and Vanderbilt University.