Meet our Alumni

Our illustrious Composition alumni include:

  • Aaron Cassidy is an American composer and conductor based in England since 2007. His work has been programmed by leading international contemporary music specialists including ELISION, Ensemble SurPlus, EXAUDI, Musikfabrik, ensemble recherche, Talea Ensemble, the JACK quartet, and soloists including Garth Knox, Ian Pace, Carl Rosman, Peter Veale, Ryan Muncy, at major international festivals and venues including Donaueschingen, Huddersfield, Darmstadt, Gaudeamus, Bludenz, Bendigo (BIFEM), Tage für Neue Musik Zürich, June In Buffalo, and Monday Evening Concerts. Cassidy joined the staff of the University of Huddersfield in 2007 and currently serves as Professor of Composition and Director of the Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM).
  • Evan Johnson (b. 1980) is an American composer whose works are being commissioned and programmed with increasing frequency by prominent soloists and ensembles throughout the USA, Europe, and beyond, including at several prominent European festivals.  The recipient of numerous prizes, awards and fellowships, Johnson received his doctorate at SUNY Buffalo under David Felder after undergraduate work at Yale University.  His music emphasizes issues of temporal form, proportion and repetition, while also creating performative situations in which the physical, human aspects of musical performance are subtly paramount.
  • Amy Williams was born in Buffalo, NY in 1969, the daughter of Diane, now retired violist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and Jan, percussionist and Professor Emeritus at the University at Buffalo. She started playing the piano at the age of four and took up the flute a few years later (her first teacher was the legendary Robert Dick, so she could soon play “Chopsticks” in multiphonics…). She grew up in the heyday of the Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, hearing all the latest contemporary music and meeting composers who would later become influential to her: John Cage, Morton Feldman, Lukas Foss, Elliott Carter and many others. She went to Bennington College and, while there, decided to devote her life to performing and composing contemporary music. After a fellowship year in Denmark, she returned to Buffalo to complete her Master’s degree in piano performance at the University at Buffalo with pianist-composer Yvar Mikhashoff and her Ph.D. in composition, working primarily with David Felder. She returned to Bennington in 1998 as a member of the music faculty and she then moved on to a faculty position at Northwestern University in 2000. Since 2005, she has been teaching composition and theory at the University of Pittsburgh, where she is an Associate Professor.
  • Derek Charke is a JUNO and four-time ECMA award-winning composer and flutist. He has had various high profile commissions and performances, including several by Canada’s major symphony orchestras, Duo Turgeon, Cheng2 Duo, Land’s End Ensemble, WIRED!, cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, the Kronos Quartet, and the St. Lawrence String Quartet, as well as an impressive list of other performers and organizations. His music is eclectic, often defying categorization due to wide-ranging influences. Described as minimalist and post-minimal, modernist, inventive, rich textured, full of colour, and imbued with drama and rhythmic vitality, his compositions often incorporate tonality and/or modality, electronics and soundscapes, explorations of contemporary instrumental techniques, and improvisation. 
  • Rodney Sharman is Composer-in-Residence of Early Music Vancouver’s “New Music for Old Instruments”. He has been Composer-in-Residence of the Victoria Symphony, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, as well as Composer-Host of the Calgary Philharmonic’s New Music Festival, "Hear and Now". In addition to concert music, Rodney Sharman writes music for cabaret, opera and dance. He works regularly with choreographer James Kudelka, for whom he has written scores for Oregon Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet and Coleman Lemieux Compagnie (Toronto). Sharman was awarded First Prize in the 1984 CBC Competition for Young Composers and the 1990 Kranichsteiner Prize in Music, Darmstadt, Germany. His score for the dance-opera From The House Of Mirth won the 2013 Dora Mavor Moore Award for outstanding sound design/composition (choreography by James Kudelka, text by Alex Poch Goldin after Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth). 
  • Diana Soh, born in 1984, is a young Singaporean composer whose musical interest has always been directed at exploring performance interactivity. she is interested in writing music that includes the physical aspects of music making. her music tends to be characterised by interruptive oppositions between surface activities and passivity with a new passion for the use of electronics. her works have been performed in venues and festivals as varied as the Manifeste Festival, Acanthes Festival, Royaumont Voix Nouvelles, Musica Strasbourg, and the June in Buffalo Festival among many others. It has also been broadcasted on BBC Radio 3, Danmarks Radio, Österreichischer Rundfunk, Deutschlandfunk, and of course, France Musique.
  • Robert Phillips (b. 1981) is an American chamber and electroacoustic music composer/performer whose music integrates a diverse vocabulary of sound samples, multimedia tools, and interrogative approaches to musical style. A range of microtonal and notational strategies are employed to inflect glissandi and vibrati variations within signature harmonic fields, and explore a broad, hyper-expressionist palette, across a diverse array of materials and samples from a variety of musical tropes and genres.
  • Buffalo-based composer Nathan Heidelberger (b. 1987, Cortlandt Manor, NY) focuses on writing chamber and vocal music. His pieces range in character from the uncannily beautiful to the unrelentingly didactic. Recent musical preoccupations have included lists and repetition, text, distance and ephemerality, and the distortion of traditional musical objects. Nathan received his PhD, with distinction, from the University at Buffalo. He also holds undergraduate degrees in Composition and English from Oberlin College and Conservatory, where he was awarded the Walter E. Aschaffenburg Composition Prize. His primary teachers have included David Felder, Lewis Nielson, and Richard Carrick.
  • Joseph Andrew Lake (b. 1979, San Francisco, California) received a B.A., Magna cum laude, in Music and Classics from Harvard University (2002), an M.F.A. in Experimental Sound Practices from the California Institute of the Arts (2004), and a PhD from the University at Buffalo in the composition studio of David Felder. In 2013 he completed a Meisterschüler in Composition with Mark Andre at the Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber Dresden with support of a Fulbright Scholarship (2011—2012) and DAAD Stipendium (2012—2013).
  • Matt Sargent (b. 1984) is a composer, guitarist, and music technologist based in upstate New York. His work grows from interests in resonance and recursive systems, computer models of intelligence, and the making/breaking of long-form patterns. His music has been described as "a powerfully organic experience" (Paul Muller, Sequenza21) and "so simple and so natural, and yet sets up a complex set of interactions." (Jennie Gottschalk, SoundExpanse)
  • Chinese composer Weijun Chen’s music has been played by renowned orchestras and chamber ensembles across the United States, including the Arditti Quartet, the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Ensemble Dal Niente, Ensemble Linea, the Mivos Quartet, the Momenta Quartet, the New York New Music Ensemble, the Slee Sinfonietta, the Spektral Quartet, Talea Ensemble, and The Rhythm Method. With a strong background in classical music and a great passion for storytelling, Weijun traverses between the worlds of concert music and media. He currently works and trains under many accomplished composers in Los Angeles, CA. Weijun received his BM in composition from the Eastman School of Music, and his PhD in composition from the University at Buffalo.
  • Dr. Chikashi Miyama is a composer, video artist, interface designer, performer, and author. He received a MA (Sonology/2004) from Kunitachi College of Music, Tokyo, Japan, a Nachdiplom (Komposition im Elektronischen Studio/2007) from Music academy of Basel, Switzerland, and a Ph.D (Composition/2011) from University at Buffalo, New york, USA. He has studied with Takayuki RaiGeorg Friedrich HaasJacob UlmannErik Oña, and Cort Lippe. His compositions have received an ICMA award (2011/UK) from the International Computer Music Association, a second prize in SEAMUScommission competition (2010/St. Cloud, USA), a special prize in Destellos Competition (2009/Argentina), and a honorable mention in the Bourges Electroacoustic Music Competition (2002/France). His works and papers have been accepted by ICMC twelve times, by NIME four times, and selected by various international festivals in 18 countries, such as Mix, Re:New (Denmark), Musica Viva (Portugal), Espace sonore, dBâle, SHIFT (Switzerland), Next generation (Germany), Agora Resonance, Scrime (France), Lica-Mantis, BEAM (UK), June in Buffalo, NWEAMO, SPARK, NYCEMF, SEAMUS (USA), Sonoimágenes (Argentina), SuperCollider symposium, and Pdcon. Several works of him are included on the DVD of the Computer Music Journal Vol.28 by MIT press, and ICMC official CD/DVD(2005/2011). In 2011, he received a research grant from DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) and worked as a visiting researcher at ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany. He has taught computer music at  University at Buffalo, USA,  Music Academy Basel, and College of Arts Bern, Switzerland. Between 2015 and 2017, He worked as a research associate in the field of software development and developed Zirkonium Ver 3. He is currently teaching at College of Music and Dance, Cologne, and working as a software developer at ICST Zürich in addition to Dear Reality GmbHDüsseldorf.
  • Matthew Chamberlain Matthew Cham­ber­lain is a com­pos­er and con­duc­tor work­ing in New Haven, Connecticut. His works have been per­formed by numer­ous ensem­bles in the USand Europe, includ­ing the JACK quar­tet, Ensem­ble Mul­ti­lat­erale, Quatuor Tana, Ensem­ble LIN­EA, and the Ardit­ti Quar­tet. He has con­duct­ed numer­ous per­for­mances of con­tem­po­rary music, includ­ing more than 50 world pre­mieres with ensem­bles rang­ing from the Slee Sin­foni­et­ta (US) and THReNSeM­Ble (Hun­gary) to the Ober­lin Con­tem­po­rary Music Ensem­ble and the North­ern Ohio Youth Orchestra. Recent­ly, Matt attend­ed the Fon­da­tion Roy­au­mon­t’s Acad­e­mie Voix Nou­velles 2017where his piece Office Park was pre­miered and where he was award­ed a com­mis­sion for a new piano solo. Matt earned a Bach­e­lor’s degree in Com­po­si­tion and a Mas­ter’s in Con­duct­ing from the Ober­lin Con­ser­va­to­ry of Music, where he stud­ied with Josh Levine, Tim Weiss, and Raphael Jimenez. He his cur­rent­ly fin­ish­ing a PhD in com­po­si­tion at SUNY Buf­fa­lo with David Felder.