Leila Adu

Leila Adu is a New Zealand composer of Ghanaian descent who has composed for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Brentano String Quartet, So Percussion, Gamelan Padhang Moncar and Orchestra Wellington. Based in Brooklyn, she is a currently a Princeton doctoral fellow and also teaches music to prisoners at Sing Sing Correctional Facility as a faculty member of Musicambia – music for social change.

With a “voice like hot treacle on broken glass,” she has performed her original piano songs and improvisations alongside international artists at festivals and venues in the UK, mainland Europe, the US, Russia, Ghana and Asia. Leilahas been voted as MTV Iggy’s Artist of the Week, performed on the BBC World Service, composed, produced a short-film and documentary soundtrack with screenings on BBC Knowledge TV channel and the NZ Film Festival and performed with Luscious Jackson on ‘MTV VH1’ and ‘Late Night with David Letterman.’

She has released four acclaimed albums including, ‘Dark Joan,’ recorded by Steve Albini and ‘Ode to the Unknown Factory Worker’ produced for the Italian National Radio. London’s ‘Time Out’ called her music, ‘Avante-garde pop that recalls Nina Simone and Tim Buckley” and reviewers have placed in an arena with other female icons Joni Mitchell, PJ Harvey, Micachu, and Esperanza Spalding.

For Edna for cello and voice (2016)

When Amanda Gookin said that she’d like to participate in her women’s social justice Forward Music Project, I wanted to write a piece that encapsulated the strength of women. At first, I was going to write something physically and aurally demanding — hard. Then I realized that our strength is perseverance and endurance, adaptability and openness, and connection to others. I wrote this thinking about women loving their man who has come home from war; women who have lost their children; women who have been beaten by men, the system, or both, and who still have the strength to love.


I dedicate this piece to my friend, activist and scholar Edna Bonhomme, because in the struggle of being a black woman from a working-class family, she perseveres to be one of the most loyal, hard-working, inspirational and devoted people I have ever met. With her Haitian background and American upbringing, she has continued to keep her heart open and share her intellect with me, including around issues of colonialism, black struggle, police brutality, the prison justice system and her tangible fears for her own family. A few years ago on my 12/12/12 birthday, Edna gave me a copy of Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth, and she wrote this dedication in the front page: “Continue to recover the voices of “other” and the marginalized and show that their music is important too.” Thank you Edna and Amanda for being part of the creative inspiration of this piece.

Angélica Negrón

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1981 and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York. Interested in creating intricate yet simple narratives that evoke intangible moments in time, she writes music for accordions, robotic instruments, toys and electronics as well as chamber ensembles and orchestras. Her music has been described as “wistfully idiosyncratic and contemplative” (WQXR/Q2) and “mesmerizing and affecting” (Feast of Music) while The New York Times noted her “capacity to surprise” and her “quirky approach to scoring”.  She was recently selected by Q2 and NPR listeners as part of “The Mix: 100 Composers Under 40” and by Flavorpill as one of the “10 Young Female Composers You Should Know”.

Las Desaparecidas for cello and electronics (2016)

“Las Desaparecidas” is a piece for cello and electronics written for Amanda Gookin’s Forward Music Project. It’s inspired by young girls abducted and used for human trafficking, more specifically the case of the disappeared girls from Juárez in Mexico. Through processed vocal samples, found sounds & restless rhythms the piece focuses on the loss of innocence and the exhaustion of survival instincts as well as the role of machismo and sexism in gender-directed violence. 

AMANDA FEERY

Hello, I'm an Irish composer, currently completing a PhD in Composition at Princeton University. I graduated from Trinity College Dublin, having completed a B.A in Music in 2006 and an M.Phil in Music and Media Technologies in 2009.  Past collaborators include Crash Ensemble, Fidelio Trio, Contempo String Quartet, Dither Quartet, Dublin Guitar Quartet, Mivos String Quartet, Orkest de Ereprijs, Quince Vocal Ensemble, Lisa Moore, Michelle O'Rourke, Cora-Venus Lunny, Zoe Conway, and Paul Roe. Over the past few years I've participated as a composer fellow at festivals and residencies including Ostrava Days Festival (Czech Republic), Soundscape Festival (Italy), Bang on a Can Summer Festival (U.S) and the International Young Composers Meeting (Netherlands).  Nice things like this and this happened too.


A lot of my musical ideas come from literaturelandscapehumour, and the mundanities and upheavals of everyday life. I'm interested in how place, folklore, and migration hold clues to the style and identity of Irish traditional music and song, in the hope of uprooting hidden histories and connections to folk music from Europe and beyond.  I also sing, play piano as often as possible, and make visual things when music ideas are few and far.  

Current and future projects include a large-scale multimedia work for vocal quartet and So Percussion based on the diary entries of Donald Crowhurst, and commissions from Ensemble Mise-en, Bearthoven, Jacquin Trio, and cellist Amanda Gookin.

Stray Sods for cello and electronics

Through Amanda's brilliant Forward Music Project, each of the composers were encouraged to think about a female issue we would like to focus on and explore in our works. The obvious choice for me was to somehow explore the issue of reproductive rights in Ireland. When I wrote this piece, abortion was still illegal in Ireland unless it occurred as a result of a medical intervention to save the life of the mother. When a woman's life was not considered at risk, a termination carried a 14 year prison sentence. For decades, up to 12 women per day traveled by ferry or plane to the UK to access medical care for an abortion, sometimes alone and in secrecy. I was thinking about the wealth of old folk songs and lullabies sung from the female perspective of missing and fretting for the husband who is working at sea. I felt that the act of traveling by air or by sea, alone, to another country for a procedure which can have associations of such sorrow, deserved its own textless melody, a hybrid lullaby and song or mourning for something intangible. On May 25th 2018, Ireland voted in a referendum to legalize abortion, with 66.4% of the voters voting yes, so my piece now takes on an added meaning.

Jessica Meyer

With playing that is “fierce and lyrical” and works that are “other-worldly” (The Strad) and “evocative” (NY Times), Jessica Meyer is a versatile composer and violist whose passionate musicianship radiates accessibility, generosity, and emotional clarity. As a soloist and member of the award-winning and critically-acclaimed contemporary music collective counter)induction, Jessica has premiered pieces for solo viola around the country, and is committed to expanding the repertoire for viola by championing new works while also composing her own.

Ms. Meyer’s compositions explore the wide palette of emotionally expressive colors available to each instrument while using traditional and extended techniques inspired by her varied experiences as a contemporary and period instrumentalist. Recent commissions include a work for the Nautilus Brass Quintet as the composer in residence at the 2016 Women Composers Festival of Hartford, and soprano Melissa Wimbish for her Carnegie Hall debut. Upcoming commissions include works for cellist Amanda Gookin of the Public String Quartet, flutist/dancer Zara Lawler, and NOVUS NY of Trinity Wall Street under the direction of Julian Wachner.

Her current solo show and “intriguingly vivid” debut CD, Sounds of Being, is a surround-sound sensory experience of her own compositions for viola and loop pedal where she turns her voice and viola into an orchestra to take the audience on a journey filled with joy, anxiety, closeness, anger, bliss, torment, loneliness, and passion. Performances include iconic NYC Clubs such as Joe’s Pub and SubCulture, to the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and across the pond at Sunset Sunside in Paris.

Swerve for cello and loop pedal

'Swerve' is about making a conscious effort to get everything grooving the way it should, in balance with all the feelings and responsibilities that are unique to women. In essence.... that moment when you "get your swerve on".

Nathalie Joachim

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Nathalie Joachim is “an edgy multi-genre performing artist who has long been pushing boundaries”. (The Washington Post) She regularly combines her exceptional performance skill as a flutist with her creative talents as a composer, vocalist and producer, navigating genres ranging from classical and jazz to indie-rock and electronic. Ms. Joachim is flutist of the four-time Grammy winning contemporary chamber ensemble, Eighth Blackbird, and co-founder of the critically acclaimed urban art pop duo, Flutronix.


As a composer, Joachim writes in a signature electroacoustic style. Upcoming works include Discourse, an evening length performance, community engagement and social change initiative commissioned by Carolina Performing Arts, set to premiere in the 2019-20 season. Joachim's 2018 centerpiece Fanm d’Ayiti (Women of Haiti), an evening-length work for flute, voice, string quartet and electronics, is a celebration of some of Haiti’s most iconic yet under recognized female artists, as well as an exploration of Joachim's Haitian heritage. Commissioned by St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music series, Fanm d'Ayiti will be released on New Amsterdam Records and will tour nationally in the 2019-20 season with Grammy-nominated ensemble Spektral Quartet.


Other recent projects include Land Bridge, an evening-length score for Helen Simoneau Danse (2016), and Dam Mwen Yo for solo cello written for Amanda Gookin’s Forward Music Project and featured in a TEDX Talk. (2017). Ms. Joachim is Director of Contemporary Chamber Music at the Perlman Music Program, and a visiting faculty member at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

Dam Mwen Yo for cello and electronics (2016)

Dam Mwen Yo in Haitian creole simply translates to “these are my ladies”. In Haiti, the cultural image of women is one of strength. They are pillars of their homes and communities, and are both fearless and loving, all while carrying the weight of their families and children on their backs. As a first generation Haitian-American, these women - my mother, grandmothers, sisters, aunts - were central to my upbringing and my understanding of what it means to be a woman. In Dantan, Haiti-Sud, where my family is from, it is rare to walk down the countryside roads without hearing the voices of women - in the fields, cooking for their loved ones, gathering water at the wells with their babies.  This piece and the voices within it are representative of these ladies - my ladies. And the cello sings their song - one of strength, beauty, pain and simplicity in a familiar landscape.

MORGAN KRAUS

Morgan Krauss (b. 1985) is a composer currently living in Chicago. She received her Bachelor of Music in Composition at Columbia College Chicago in the winter of 2012. She is now continuing her studies in Music Composition as a Doctoral student at Northwestern University.

Krauss’ ambitions in her works are to produce tactile explorations based on ones physical awareness and elements of allurement. Her music is focused on the latent instability of seemingly fixed gestures where the interaction between performer and the score creates yet a third entity, often guided by improvisation and the clashing of emotional opposites.

memories lie dormant: they are reviled before they are revealed for cello and vocal effects (2016)

"memories lie dormant: they are reviled before they are revealed" is a piece that expresses what it means to be a survivor of sexual abuse/assault, I realize it is more than one should ever have to endure. One time, in any form, is too much. After hearing stories from friends and colleagues more and more, it became alarming to me and made me think about this unfortunate commonality we share, men and women alike. I used to find these stories/interactions to be triggers that would lead me to my "dark place." However, I took a step back and noticed that through my work as a composer I have a voice. I can choose to regain agency over my body and most importantly the way I exist in the world; not through fear and anxiety but as a person who has worth.

ALLISON LOGGINS-HULL

Flutist and composer, Allison Loggins-Hull maintains an active career performing music of multiple genres. She is co-founder of the critically acclaimed urban art pop duo, Flutronix, known best for “redefining the flute and modernizing its sound by hauling it squarely into the world of popular music.”(MTV Iggy)

Allison has performed and recorded with a contrasting array of ensembles and artists like the International Contemporary Ensemble, Frank Ocean, Diplo, members of Snarky Puppy and many others. Her original compositions have been broadcast on NPR, WNYC, WQXR, Q2, J-Wave, Tokyo FM, FM Yokohama and more.  In addition, Allison has been featured in television segments on Telemundo, AriseTV, and The Daily Buzz, as well as an internationally broadcast ESPN super bowl commercial.

Named an official Burkart Flutes & Piccolos artist, she has appeared throughout the United States, Europe and Japan, where she is signed to Village Again Records.  Performance highlights include appearances at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Brooklyn Museum, National Flute Association Conventions, the Virginia Arts Festival, and WNYC’s Greenespace among others.  

In the fall of 2015, Allison will join the flute faculty of the Juilliard School's Music Advancement Program. Ms. Loggins-Hull is a graduate of SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Tara Helen O'Connor.  She completed her masters in composition at NYU.

Stolen for solo cello (2016)

Stolen is a sonatine of 3 short movements exploring the journey of a young girl who is sold into marriage. The first movement represents her stolen youth and the lamentation of saying goodbye to childhood. She is reflective of playtime, family memories and former dreams. While she is remembering pleasantries, she is also recognizing they are things of the past. The second movement explores the anxiety and sense of urgency felt about being forced into womanhood. She is full of complex feelings ranging from fear, unpreparedness, resentment and sadness. She also knows she has to bravely and quickly become an adult and sooner than later, a young parent. The third movement is her reluctant acceptance of and submission to an undesired life. She has assumed her new role, but is deeply yearning for the childhood she barely had and to have ownership of herself. Despite this, she must tend to her adult responsibilities as a matter of life or death.

Today, one third of girls in the developing world are married before the age of 18 and 1 in 9 are married before the age of 15.