Mentor Composers: James Stephenson, Jessie Montgomery
About the Composers
Born in Hunan, China, Daixuan Ai’s music combines tradition with modernism and connects Eastern and Western cultures. She is a composer, performer, and teacher who is dedicated to learning and understanding the musical legacy from the past and opening her ears and heart to absorbing and creating music of today’s world. Her compositions are well-crafted, formally precise, and deeply thoughtful. Daixuan’s music has been performed by ensembles and performers including Chicago Civic Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Baldwin Wallace Symphonic Orchestra & Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Indiana University Symphony Orchestra & New Music Ensemble, CityMusic Cleveland, Hub New Music, and Cleveland Orchestra Trumpeter Jack Sutte. Her teachers include Han Lash, David Dzubay, Katherine Balch, Clint Needham, Philip Lasser, Emile Naoumoff, and Luke Gillespie.
Daixuan received her bachelor’s degree in composition from Baldwin Wallace Conservatory and master’s degree from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at IU while serving as lecturer for undergraduate theory class and president of the Student Composers' Association. Daixuan is also the composition fellow at 2022 Aspen Music Festival and 2023 National Orchestral Institute + Festival.
Chris Neiner (b. 1994) is a Cleveland-based composer of contemporary classical music. His recent commissions include Time Machine Hyperboles for NO EXIT New Music Ensemble; Red Riding Pictures Proudly Presents for Stars in the Classics; Aurora Fanfare & Dance for the Aurora School of Music; and Playtime for a consortium of collegiate horn professors across the United States. Neiner’s work has been praised by Cleveland Classical for "incorporating the zazzy colors of the current new music dialect," and "pleasant shocks and melting cadences."
The music of Chris Neiner has appeared on programs by the Grammy award-winning Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Sinfonia, American Modern Ensemble, Boston New Music Initiative, Cochran Chamber Commissioning Project, Copper Street Brass Quintet, Red Hedgehog Trio, loadbang, Minnesota Symphonic Winds, Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies, Rocky Ridge Music Center, Sewanee Summer Music Festival, MacPhail Center for Music, and more.
Osnat Netzer /osˈnat ˈnɛtsɛʁ/ is a composer, performer and educator. Osnat creates her compositions collaboratively, tailoring her work to the performer’s sensibilities, physicality, and improvisational inclinations. She takes inspiration from cognitive linguistics, and in dialogue with the embodied experience of physical forces, such as potential and kinetic energy, resulting in compositions that are rich in musical languages and connected to the fulsome pursuit for tension and relaxation.
Born in Haifa, Israel, Netzer studied composition and piano at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, where her primary composition teacher was Menachem Zur. She came to the United States in 2003 for graduate studies in composition with Robert Cuckson at Mannes School of Music and continued her studies with Lee Hyla at New England Conservatory, where she earned her doctorate in 2011. In 2019, she joined the faculty of DePaul University as Assistant Professor of Composition and Musicianship.
Netzer’s works have been commissioned and performed by Ensemble Dal Niente, ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble), Patchwork, mezzo-soprano Lucy Dhegrae, bass David Salsbery Fry, saxophonists Kenneth Radnofsky, Doug O’Connor and Geoffrey Landman, Spektral Quartet, and Winsor Music, among many others, published by Edition Peters and earthsongs, and recorded on Bridge Records and New Focus Recordings.
Her opera, The Wondrous Woman Within, was described as “riotously funny” in The New York Times when its first scene was performed at New York City Opera’s VOX festival in 2012 and “challenging and fascinating” by critic Amir Kidron when it received its world premiere in a sold-out run at Tel Aviv’s Cameri Theatre in 2015.
As a pianist and performer, she regularly plays and conducts new music by fellow composers, as well as her own songs and compositions. Also a committed and passionate educator, Netzer teaches at The Walden School and has served on the faculties of New England Conservatory, Longy School of Music of Bard College, and Harvard University.
Sepehr Pirasteh is a composer, conductor, and activist born in Shiraz, Iran. His compositions draw on Persian classical and folk as well as contemporary classical music vocabularies to express his concerns and fears about the political and social realities of the world we are living in. Sepehr's works have been commissioned and performed by ensembles such as Argus String Quartet, PRISM saxophone quartet, MISE-EN Ensemble, Arcana Ensemble, Pushback Ensemble, Unheard-of Ensemble, Composers Conference Ensemble, Chamber Music Workshop of the Composers Conference, and ENA chamber opera ensemble.
As a conductor, he has been focusing on premiering new music written by young and emerging composers as well as conducting the classical repertoire. Sepehr served as the director of the CMU New Music Ensemble, Pierrot Ensemble, and Concert Orchestra, and Vintage Community Orchestra in Michigan. He was also the assistant conductor of the CMU Symphony Orchestra where he worked under tuteladge of Jose-Luis Maurtua. In 2020 he started serving as the director of Temple Composers’ Orchestra (TCO). Sepehr currently serves as the artisticdirector of Temple University’s New Music Ensemble.
Sepehr currently is a Ph.D. student in Music Studies at Temple University. He pursued his MM in Composition and Orchestral Conducting at Central Michigan University and his BM in Composition from Tehran University of Art (Iran). He plays the Persian Kamancheh and Tanbour and is currently based in Philadelphia.