contemporary chamber music [performance + composition + research]

2017 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.

Randy Gibson (2017 Guest Artist)

Randy Gibson is a composer, installation artist, and performer based in Brooklyn, NY working with structure, naturalistic compositional models, and improvisation to create enveloping and ritualistic works in just intonation. Gibson’s work unfolds at a glacial pace and treats time as a defining factor in thematic development and as a tool for the precise tuning of pure intervals. His music has been described as “engag(ing) with rhythms and temporality existing outside of our socially-constructed rhythms, offering a glimpse of time outside of time” (I Care If You Listen), "luxuriantly unhurried, intensely focused" (Thought Catalog), “an hypnotic mass of slowly mutating sound” (Textura) “a booming, throbbing sine wave that filled the room” (New York Times), and “a gorgeously expansive dronescape” (Aquarius).  

Gibson has received commissions from choreographers Kim Olson/Sweetedge, Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble, Transit New Music Festival, Erik Carlson, R. Andrew Lee, The Tapeworm, and Cassauna. The 2010 London Premiere of The Third Analog Pillar..., hailed by Liminal's Scott McMillan as "a moment of relative calm, of stillness, and of pleasingly soporific and mind-emptying purity," was made possible by a grant from the American Music Center (now called New Music USA). Gibson was awarded a fellowship in Music and Sound from the New York Foundation for The Arts in 2016. His solo just intonation piano album, Aqua Madora V-ii-2008 21:07:26" - 21:54:40" (NYC), was selected by Textura as one of the top 10 albums of 2011. 

Gibson’s studies of rāga singing in the Kirana tradition with Khan Sahib La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela, and Jung Hee Choi, and extensive direct exposure to many of Young and Zazeela’s seminal works, have brought intense focus to the environments he creates. In late 2009, inspired by Young’s systemic and eternal approach to pitch and Vertical Hearing, Gibson began developing a set of tuning theories called The Four Pillars which has provided the harmonic, conceptual, and tonal language for all of his subsequent work including his recent works with pure projected light.

He has presented performances and installations at festivals around the world including the Avant Music Festival in New York City, the Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Art in Minnesota, The Transit New Music Festival in Belgium, The Internationale Tanzmesse NRW in Düsseldorf, The Boulder and Minnesota International Fringe Festivals, HOT DAM: the opening festival of the Denver Art Museum, the Sans Souci International Festival of Dance Cinema, the ISIM 3rd annual conference, the Erick Hawkins Legacy Forum in New York, the Korea Experimental Arts Festival in Seoul, and the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, Darmstadt.

Gibson was raised in Boulder, Colorado, traveling into the high mountains to look at the stars and the Milky Way and meditate on the expanses of life. This formative experience has instilled in his work a grand spaciousness and scale. In 2001, Gibson moved to New York City and since 2003, has studied music and composition with seminal Minimalist pioneer La Monte Young. 

In 2003 Gibson founded Avant Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to expansive collaborative artistic endeavors, and, since 2010, curated the Avant Music Festival, celebrating composers’ singular visions in dedicated concerts and installation experiences.

Russell Hartenberger (2017 Guest Artist)

Russell Hartenberger is Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto. He has been a member of both the percussion group Nexus and Steve Reich and Musicians since 1971. As a member of Nexus, he has performed with leading orchestras in North America, Europe and Asia, and along with members of Nexus created the sound track for the Academy Award winning Full Length Documentary, The Man Who Skied Down Everest. The recently released Nexus CD, Persian Songs, includes his arrangements of music by Moondog and of Persian classical music with Iranian vocalist, Sepideh Raissadat. He has recorded all of Reich’s early music with percussion, including the Grammy Award winning Music for 18 Musicians. His compositions include The Invisible Proverb, Telisi Odyssey, Cadence, Raghavan, and Birth of Time. He is editor of The Cambridge Companion to Percussion and author of Performance Practice in the Music of Steve Reich, both published by Cambridge University Press.

Andy Lee (2017 Guest Artist)

My name is R. Andrew Lee, but you can call me Andy. I’m a pianist who plays a lot of new music, particularly of a minimalist bent, some of which I’ve recorded. I live in Denver, and I’m a proud to say I’m from Kansas City. I’m married and have two daughters and one son. I take my grilling and drinking seriously and have a penchant for interesting socks. What follows is the professional bio I am obliged to maintain.

Pianist R. Andrew Lee is one of the foremost interpreters of minimal music. He has been described as having “consistently impressive solo releases” (New York Times), and his CD, Eva-Maria Houben: Piano Music, was chosen by Alex Ross in The New Yorker as one of the Top 10 Classical Recordings of 2013. In his tenure with the Irritable Hedgehog label, he has recorded ten albums, including the premiere recording of Dennis Johnson’s 5-hour minimalist epic, November, which was selected by Time Out New York as the best classical recording of 2013. 

Lee has performed in a number of venues and festivals dedicated to experimental music around the world, including the Skaņu Mežs Festival (Riga, Latvia), Unsound Festival (Kraków, Poland), Café OTO (London), ISSUE Project Room (New York), Roulette (New York), Constellation (Chicago), and The Wild Beast (Los Angeles).

The intersection of minimal music and temporality is a primary research interest for Lee. As such, he has presented papers and lecture-recitals at several international conferences, including the Fourth International Conference on Minimalist Music (California State University, Long Beach) and Time's Excesses and Eccentricities in Music, Literature and Art (Université de Caen Basse-Normandie). His writing has been published by Divergence Press. 

Lee currently teaches at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, and was most recently Artist-in-Residence at Avila University. Lee received his DMA in Piano Performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, where he studied under the direction of Prof. John McIntyre.

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.

Marc Mellits (2017 Composer-in-Residence)

Composer Marc Mellits is one of the leading American composers of his generation, enjoying hundreds of performances throughout the world every year, making him one of the most performed living composers in the United States.  From Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, to prestigious music festivals in Europe and the US, Mellits’ music is a constant mainstay on programs throughout the world.  His unique musical style is an eclectic combination of driving rhythms, soaring lyricism, and colorful orchestrations that all combine to communicate directly with the listener.  Mellits' music is often described as being visceral, making a deep connection with the audience.  “This was music as sensual as it was intelligent; I saw audience members swaying, nodding, making little motions with their hands” (New York Press).  He started composing very early, and was writing piano music long before he started formal piano lessons at age 6.  He went on to study at the Eastman School of Music, Yale School of Music, Cornell University, and Tanglewood.  Mellits often is a miniaturist, composing works that are comprised of short, contrasting movements or sections.  His music is eclectic, all-encompassing, colourful, and always has a sense of forward motion.

Mellits' music has been played by major ensembles across the globe and he has been commissioned by groups such as the Kronos Quartet, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Holland), Duo Assad, Bang On A Can All-Stars, Eliot Fisk, Canadian Brass, Nexus Percussion, Debussy Quartet, Real Quiet, New Music Detroit, Four-In-Correspondence (National Symphony Orchestra), Musique En Roue Libre (France), Fiarì Ensemble (Italy), Percussions Claviers de Lyon (France), Third Coast Percussion, Talujon, the Society for New Music, Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, and the Albany Symphony's Dog's Of Desire.  Additionally, Mellits’ music has been performed, toured, and/or recorded by members of the Detroit Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Minneapolis Symhony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, eighth blackbird, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New Millenium Ensemble, Da Capo Chamber Players, and the American Modern Ensemble, among many others.

On film, Mellits has composed numerous scores, including the PBS mini-series “Beyond The Light Switch” which won a 2012 Dupont-Columbia award, the most prestigious award in documentaries.  Mellits also directs and plays keyboards in his own unique ensemble, the Mellits Consort.  He was awarded the prestigious 2004 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award.  On CD, there are over 50 recorded works of Mellits' music that can be found on Black Box, Endeavour Classics, Cantaloupe, CRI/Emergency Music, Santa Fe New Music, Innova, & Dacia Music.  Marc Mellits is an Assistant Proferssor of music at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two daughters, and spends significant time in Romania.

Kerry O'Brien (Research Director / Percussion)

Kerry O'Brien is a percussionist and PhD candidate in musicology at Indiana University. She has recently presented her work at the the American Musicological Society meeting in Louisville and the New Music Gathering in Baltimore. O'Brien's research has been supported by a Presser Foundation Presser Music Award, a Paul Sacher Stiftung Research Grant, and a Getty Research Library Grant, and an American Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Her writings have appeared in the Mitteilungen der Paul Sacher Stiftung, NewMusicBox, The New York Times, and The New Yorker online. She currently lives in Seattle, where she is writing a dissertation on Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), 1966-1971 and teaching adjunct at Cornish College of the Arts.

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.

Nina C. Young (2017 Composer-in-Residence)

New York-based composer Nina C. Young (b.1984) writes music characterized by an acute sensitivity to tone color, manifested in aural images of vibrant, arresting immediacy. Her experience in the electronic music studio informs her acoustic work, which takes as its given not melody and harmony, but sound itself, continuously metamorphosing from one state to another.

Young's music has garnered international acclaim through performances by the American Composers Orchestra, Inscape Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Orkest de ereprijs, Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Argento Chamber Ensemble, Divertimento Ensemble, Either/Or, the JACK Quartet, mise-en, Scharoun, Sixtrum, and Yarn/Wire. Winner of the 2015-16 Rome Prize in Musical Composition, Young has received a Koussevitzky Commission from the Library of Congress, a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Salvatore Martirano Memorial Award, Aspen Music Festival's Jacob Druckman Prize, and honors from BMI, The International Alliance for Women in Music, and ASCAP/SEAMUS. Young has held fellowship residencies at the Aspen and Atlantic Music Festivals, the Nouvel Ensemble Modern's 2014 FORUM, and the Tanglewood Music Center.

Recent commissions include a bassoon pocket concerto for Brad Balliett and the Metropolis Ensemble, Agnosco Veteris for Robert Spano and the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra, When Eyes Meet for wild Up with support of the American Composer Forum’s National Composition Competition, EarPlay – a viola concerto for Jocelin Pan and Ensemble Échappé, as well as new works for the American Brass Quintet, cellist Anssi Karttunen, and pianist Marilyn Nonken. 

Young’s interests are now headed in the direction of collaborative, multidisciplinary works. While in Rome, Young worked with choreographer Miro Magloire and the New Chamber Ballet to develop a site-specific piece, Temenos, around the intersection of movement, architecture, and sound at the Tempietto Del Bramante. In September she designed a soundscape and interactive performance in Morningside Park for the Processional Arts Workshops 2016 Morningside Lights: TRAVERSE, presented by Miller Theatre. Young recently collaborated with performance artist and women’s rights activist Erin Helfert for a presentation (Federal Hall) of RITE OF PASSAGE - a performance, with 8-channel interactive audio, about Helfert’s 5-year rape trial in Moroccan Court. In May 2017 the American Composers Orchestra Underground will premiere Out of whose womb came the ice (commissioned by the Jerome Foundation) – a work for baritone, orchestra, electronics, and generative video commenting on the ill-fated Ernest Shackleton Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914-17. Young is collaborating with vocal bassist Andrew Munn and the Nouveau Classical Project on an evening-length, interdisciplinary cantata titled Making Tellus: Sketches of a Cosmogram for the Anthropocene – a work for voices, mixed chamber ensemble, sustainable fashion, and interactive media that addresses the current socio-political conversation surrounding human intervention and the Earth’s rapidly changing geology.

Young completed her doctorate at Columbia University, with Fred Lerdahl, George Lewis, Georg Friedrich Haas, and Brad Garton, where she was an active participant at the Columbia Computer Music Center. In 2011 she earned a Master's degree in music composition from McGill University. While in Montreal she worked as a research assistant at the Centre for Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT) and as a studio and teaching assistant at the McGill Digital Composition Studios. Nina completed her undergraduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) receiving degrees in ocean engineering and music, in addition to holding a research assistanship at the MIT Media Lab. 

This fall Young joined Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) as Assistant Professor in the Department of Arts. She currently serves as Co-Artistic Director of NY-based new music sinfonietta Ensemble Échappé. Her music is published by Peermusic Classical.