Was there a particular reason you chose to study composition at UB?
I came to UB primarily to study with David Felder and to enjoy the unusual diversity amongst the composers in the program. The low cost of living in Buffalo and the relative generosity of my fellowship has also allowed me to live comfortably while pursuing my degree. I could not imagine a more supportive mentor than Professor Felder. Since bringing me to UB, he has been a strong source of support and well-informed perspective. His lessons have always been friendly and to-the-point, making for a thought-provoking and trustworthy interaction. Moreover, Professor Felder has taken every opportunity to make professional opportunities for me, both as a composer and conductor. In my estimation, his mentorship is the single best feature of the program.
Is there a particular experience that stands out in your mind?
In June of 2016, I had the good fortune to conduct the Slee Sinfonietta at the June in Buffalo festival. We performed two pieces by my former composition teacher, Josh Levine. The performers were excellent, the music was great, and together we made a memorable concert. During my time at UB, I've had a chance to meet and work with many wonderful performers and composers. In a field where so many professional opportunities hinge on who you know, those relationships will no doubt lead to further valuable experiences. I'm very grateful for all of these opportunities.
What are you most looking forward to before graduation? After?
I'm looking forward to my dissertation defense, not only because it will reflect the huge amount of effort I've put into my work over the past few years, but because it will be a welcome opportunity to consider my compositional practice from a broader perspective than usual and to share it with others. Of course, I'll be happy to receive my degree, but I'm also excited to build a lecture that intrigues people of many backgrounds and which I can use in future professional engagements. After graduation, I'm looking forward to conducting the Contemporary Music Ensemble at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, my alma mater.