contemporary chamber music [performance + composition + research]

Andrew M. Bliss, DMA - Festival Director / Percussion Faculty

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 Patagonia Percussion Festival (Argentina), the SEAMUS National Conference (IN), the LiveWire Festival (Baltimore, MD), the Intermedia Festival (Indianapolis, IN), and in Bangkok (Thailand).

Andrew is the Artistic Director of nief-norf, where he directs the annual Summer Festival & Research Summit and performs with the nief-norf Project, the organization’s contemporary chamber music ensemble. The group’s recent performance projects include evening-length offerings of John Luther Adams’ Strange & Sacred Noise and Michael Gordon’s TimberThe ensemble also regularly presents their work at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, including recent showcase performances of Christopher Adler’s Pines Long Slept in Sunshine, Mark Applebaum’sStraitjacketand Steve Reich’s Six Marimbas for PAS’s 50th Anniversary Focus Day events.

Equally committed to education, Andrew spends a significant amount of time sharing the contemporary musical repertory with students. He has recently directed student performances of Iannis Xenakis’ Perspephassa, conducted Stefano Gervasoni’s Bleu Jusqu’ua Blanc, and worked with composer Lewis Nielson while conducting his percussion sextet Tocsin. Bliss is the Assistant Professor of Percussion at the University of Tennessee, where he serves as Director of Percussion Studies and the conductor of the UT Contemporary Music Ensemble.

He has been a featured presenter at the Midwest Band & Orchestra Clinic, theNational Conference on Percussion Pedagogy (NCPP), and at the Association for Technology in Music Instruction’s (ATMI) National Conference and serves on the Percussive Arts Society’s New Music Research and Music Technology committees and as President of the PAS Tennessee Chapter. Andrew received his DMA and MM in percussion performance from the University of Kentucky and his Bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University. He is proud to be a Yamaha Performing Artist and to have the generous support of Zildjian, Innovative PercussionEvans Drumheads, Latin Percussion, and Black Swamp Percussion Instruments and Accessories. A native of Milan, IL, Andrew’s percussion studies were mentored by James Campbell, Rich Holly, Robert Chappell, and Orlando Cotto.


Molly Barth, Woodwinds Faculty

Described as "ferociously talented" (The Oregonian), Grammy-Award winning flutist Molly Alicia Barth is an active solo, chamber, and orchestral musician, specializing in the music of today. In demand as a soloist, Molly has recently performed in Australia, Korea, and Mexico and has played solo recitals and led clinics at esteemed institutions including the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, Cincinnati Conservatory, and Northwestern University Bienen School of Music.

Contemporary chamber music is Molly’s primary musical interest, and she is currently involved with three ensembles. Formed by Molly Barth and guitarist Dieter Hennings, Duo Damiana has commissioned numerous works and toured throughout the Midwest. Duo Damiana is focused on broadening the cutting-edge body of repertoire for flute and guitar. As co-founder of the Beta Collide New Music Project, Molly has collaborated with individuals from a broad spectrum of disciplines such as dance, art, sound sculpture and theoretical physics.  With Beta Collide, she has recorded two CDs and one DVD with Innova Records. Molly is the Assistant Professor of Flute at the University of Oregon, where she is a member of the Oregon Wind Quintet. The Oregon Wind Quintet, which regularly tours throughout the Pacific Northwest, performs a large body of contemporary music along with standard wind quintet repertoire.

As a founding member of the new music sextet eighth blackbird from 1996-2006, Molly toured extensively, recorded four CDs with Cedille Records, and was granted the 2000 Naumburg Chamber Music Award and first prize at the 1998 Concert Artists Guild International Competition. Molly has taught at Willamette University and held residencies at the University of Chicago and at the University of Richmond. She is a graduate of the Oberlin College- Conservatory of Music, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and Northwestern University School of Music. Molly plays a Burkart flute and piccolo, and a 1953 Haynes alto flute.


Andrea Lodge, Piano Faculty

Pianist Andrea Lodge has been called a "Must See" (The Telegram - St. John's, Canada). A native of Newfoundland, Canada, Andrea specializes in the performance of contemporary piano music. She was awarded top prizes at the Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition for the Performance of New Music in 2010. Her playing has been heard on CBC radio on numerous occasions. Andrea has premiered new works by composers Herbert Deutsch, Salvatore Macchia, Marga Richter and C. Curtis Smith, among others

Andrea lives in NYC where she performs regularly as soloist, with Iktus+ new music ensemble and with the Sorce/Lodge piano/guitar duo. She is Co-Artistic Director of the Chamber Music@Southampton concert series, directs the Stony Brook University Community Chamber Music program, coaches chamber music with the Stony Brook Pre-College Program, and holds the position of Staff Pianist at SUNY Suffolk. Andrea has been a featured artist at festivals such as the Qubit Noise Non-Ference, NYC Electroacoustic Music Festival, UNPLAY Festival, International Computer Music Conference and Sound Symposium. She is currently completing a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree at Stony Brook Univerity with Gilbert Kalish and Christina Dahl.


Mike Truesdell - Percussion Faculty

Percussionist Mike Truesdell’s solo and chamber-music opportunities have brought him across the United States, Europe and Japan.  As a soloist, he was the 2nd-prize winner of the 2010 TROMP International Percussion Competition in the Netherlands, and continues to maintain an active schedule of solo recitals, chamber music, and orchestral performances.  In addition, Mike has performed with numerous ensembles, including the New York City Ballet, New York New Music Ensemble, Lucerne Festival Ensemble conducted by Pierre Boulez, and with members of the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, Chamber Music Society (New York), ICE and Alarm Will Sound.  In late 2011, he was featured as a soloist and ensemble member in a concert celebrating the late Elliott Carter’s 103rd and final birthday, with the composer in attendance, and recently performed for Charles Wuorinen’s 75th birthday, with the composer conducting.

Highlights to the 2013-14 season include: a Miller Theatre Composer Portrait commemorating John Zorn’s 60th birthday; a celebration of the life and music of Richard Rodney Bennett as featured soloist, along with acclaimed cellist Fred Sherry; multiple performances with the New York City Ballet; a tour with the Talea Ensemble performing music of Pierluigi Billone; a concert of music by Charles Wuorinen and George Crumb at the Kennedy Center; and performance/master class tours to Japan and China during the summer.

As an educator, Mike is on faculty at Rutgers University as Adjunct Professor of Keyboard Percussion and Columbia University as Adjunct Professor of Percussion.  During the summer months, Mike is a regular faculty member at the Zeltsman Marimba Festival and the nief-norf Summer Festival (collegiate-level chamber music and scholarship), and is the founder and Artistic Director of the Wildcat Percussion Camp for middle and high-school percussionists.  He is an active teaching artist in schools from elementary school through universities with subject matter ranging from world percussion to instrument making to contemporary solo and chamber music.  In the spring of 2013, he was acting Lecturer of Percussion at Lawrence University in Wisconsin, where he taught private lessons, group lessons, coached chamber music and directed the percussion ensemble.  Mike also maintains an active private studio of students ranging from 16-60 years of age.  

A native of Wisconsin, he is currently a candidate for the selective Doctoral of Musical Arts degree at The Juilliard School.   More information about Mike can be found at


Ashley Walters, Strings Faculty

Cellist Ashley Walters has gained attention as an interpreter of new music, a prodigious performer in chamber music, and a dedicated teacher. After a performance in Los Angeles, Mark Swed of the LA Times wrote: "Ashley Walters, a cellist finishing her doctorate at UCSD, played Berio's late Sequenza XIV with the kind of brilliance that beckons a major new performer on the new music scene."

A native of Oak Hill, VA, Ashley holds a DMA in Contemporary Cello Performance from the University of California, San Diego, where she was twice awarded for excellence in teaching for her work with undergraduate students. She graduated from California Institute of the Arts with a MFA in Cello Performance. In 2005, Ashley graduated from Vanderbilt University, Magna Cum Laude. She had her solo debut in 2006 performing Sciarrino’s Melencolia I at the REDCAT hall in Los Angeles. In 2008, Ashley worked with Kaija Saariaho performing her work Spins and Spells as part of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. 

Ashley is a founding member of the Formalist Quartet, a Los Angeles based new music string quartet that tours in the U.S. and internationally, focusing on adventurous contemporary repertoire. Ashley's concert engagements have taken her to stages around the world. She has performed in Brazil, Iceland, Italy, Germany, Austria, France, Turkey, and throughout the United States. 

Ashley has served on the cello faculty of the California State Summer School and as an Associate-in-Music at UCSD and currently serves as faculty at the Academy of Creative Education, the Academy at Harmony Project, and the nief-norf Summer Festival. As a member of Wadada Leo Smith's Pacifica Red Coral ensemble, Ashley has recently been touring the Pulitzer Prize nominated work, Ten Freedom Summers. An enthusiastic performer of new music, Ashley is dedicated to working with composers and premiering new works for solo cello. In 2014, Ashley will release her debut album, which features Sequenza XIV by Luciano Berio and Plainsound-Litany by Wolfgang von Schweinitz, as well as new works written for her by Nicholas Deyoe, Andrew McIntosh, and Wadada Leo Smith.