8 Commissions at 2 Festivals this Summer

It’s summer, and it’s time to make some new music! Akropolis is proud to be an artist-in-residence at the Connecticut Summerfest and I-Park Foundation festivals this summer where we will be working collaboratively with 8 incredibly talented composers to commission, record, and perform their new works for reed quintet at several all-premiere performances in Connecticut and New York City.

The composers hail from the U.S., Spain, and Iran, holding numerous awards and fellowships, including a Grammy nomination and Pulitzer Prize finalist. Their works have been performed at venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and Tanglewood, and have been featured in numerous recordings and on film. We hope to see you at one of these memorable concerts. To learn more about all these events and more, click here.

Meet the Composers
I-Park Festival Composers + Musicians Collaborative Residency

Theo Chandler is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Musical Arts at the Rice University Shepherd School of Music, studying with Anthony Brandt. Chandler is the recipient of a Charles Ives Scholarship from the Academy of Arts and Letters and a Morton Gould Award from ASCAP. He was selected as the winner of Juilliard’s Orchestra Competition, Juilliard’s Gena Raps Competition, the New Juilliard Ensemble Competition, and the Maryland Wind Festival Call for Scores. Chandler has received commissions from the New York Youth Symphony, Tanglewood Music Center, Les Délices, Golden West Winds from the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West, Amir Eldan, George Sakakeeny, Alexa Still, Michael Rosen, and others.

Natalie Draper is based in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Praised for her “individual and strong voice” (Colin Clarke, Fanfare Magazine), Draper aims to explore new challenges and concepts in each new work. Her music has been programmed by several festivals, symposiums, and conferences, including GAMMA-UT, MusicX, SEAMUS, the Charles E. Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music, and the Tanglewood Music Center. She has collaborated with a variety of ensembles and performers–recent projects have involved soprano Danielle Buonaiuto, Baltimore’s Occasional Symphony, and the Empyrean Ensemble. Upcoming projects include a solo piano piece commissioned by Lior Willinger, and a cello and bass duet commissioned by Katy Bell.

The works of Michael Gilbertson have been described as “elegant” and “particularly beautiful” by The New York Times, “vivid, tightly woven” and “delectably subtle” by the Baltimore Sun, “genuinely moving” by the Washington Post, and “a compelling fusion of new and ancient” by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Gilbertson is the BMI Composer in Residence with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and is a professor at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

He was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Quartet.


Described as “stark” by WNPR, Iranian composer Niloufar Nourbakhsh’s music has been commissioned and performed by Symphony Number One, Spark and Echo Project, Women Composers Festival of Hartford, Pianist Erika Dohi for Metropolis Ensemble Piano Series, Calidore String Quartet and Cassatt String Quartet at numerous festivals including Atlantic Music Festival, Seal Bay Festival of American Chamber Music, New Paltz Piano Summer, SPLICE institute, New Music for String, Stony Brook Chamber Music Festival,University of Tennessee Contemporary Music Festival, and many more. She is currently a Teaching Artist Associate for composition students of NY Philharmonic Young Composers program and teaches piano at Brooklyn Music School.

The music of Octavio Vazquez has been performed throughout the US, Europe, and Asia, in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the National Auditorium of Spain, Cologne’s Philharmonie, and the Big Hall of the St. Petersburg Conservatory. He has also written for film and collaborated with world music artists as an arranger, orchestrator and producer, most notably with Grammy Award-winner Cristina Pato. His orchestration of “Negro Caravel” for Ms Pato’s CD “Muller” was nominated for the 2011 Spanish Music Academy Awards. A winner of numerous national and international prizes, recent recognition includes I-Park Foundation and MacDowell Fellowships.


Connecticut Summerfest Contemporary Music Festival

Becky Turro, 21, is an undergraduate composition major at Rutgers University where she studies under Vadim Neselovsky, Brian Landrus, and Robert Aldridge, and often has pieces performed by the graduate and
undergraduate ensembles, Helix! and RUNME. Her works include orchestra, chamber, and solo piano pieces,
with a growing interest in orchestral music. She has collaborated in three dance works, one being with the
New York City based dance company, the Kinesis Project. She also participated in the 2017 New York
Musical Festival’s (NYMF) songwriting workshop. Some of her influences are Joni Mitchell, John Luther Adams, Steve Reich, and Sibelius.

Mario Godoy is a composer, saxophonist, and music educator based in Oakland, CA. His works have been
described as “rhythmically brilliant” and “imaginatively colorful.” He has written for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, wind ensemble, works with electronics, as well as music for video games and films. He holds a Master’s degree in composition from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he studied under David Garner and Dan Becker. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Saxophone Performance from the University of Redlands where he studied saxophone with Eddie Smith and composition with Anthony Suter.


Patrick Holcomb is a composer pursuing his Master’s degree in composition at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he is Assistant Director of the New Music Ensemble. His composition teachers have included Evis Sammoutis, Dana Wilson, Jorge Villavicencio Grossmann, and Mark Camphouse. Honors include the 2018 Richard K. Joseph Composition Prize, first prize in the 2017 Mu Phi Epsilon Original Composition Contest, and first prize in the 2014 Neva Greenwood Memorial Student Composition Competition. Holcomb is also an active performer, having studied horn with Alex Shuhan, piano with Deborah Martin, and tabla and Indian harmonium with Denise Nuttall.

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