A native of Rochester, New York, hiking the Appalachian Trail several years ago left indelible impressions on Jordan Fasoldt, and the memory of these experiences finds distinctly evocative echoes in this groundbreaking composition. Describing the transformative adventure and the impact that it would have on his creative impulses, Fasoldt writes: “It expresses the feelings that overtook me as I looked out over woods and lakes and was overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the nature around me.” During his trek of the Appalachians, Fasoldt would find himself equally inspired by the music of the region, which finds bold voice in this composition: “This piece was inspired by the simple yet eloquent harmonies of American folk music. My deep love for the modality and the familiarity of folk-tunes served as a large influence on my writing.”

Fasoldt studied music composition at the University of Michigan under the direction of Michael Daugherty and currently resides in Ann Arbor, MI.

Daily walks on the beach during his summer retreats to North Topsail Beach, one of the long string of islands off the coast of North Carolina, provided the serendipitous inspiration for Laroussini’s composition Ocean Cycles. Exploring the relationship between the ocean and moon, this work contains many cycles including a foundational pattern of seventeen notes that return throughout the work, and it is typified by sonic high and low points representing “tides” of music. A composition of nuanced impressions, Laroussini moves away from traditional musical formality and audience expectation toward the experiential and experimental, evoking the very feeling of standing in the ocean surrounded by the rhythmic, hypnotic power of waves: “My work is a representation of my own experience with nature…. Ocean Tides is very slow, immersive, and patient” permitting listeners to become fully encapsulated in the music, like the tide cycles of the mid-Atlantic.

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, and composition student at the Eastman School of Music, Marc Laroussini has studied composition with Robert Aldridge and David Dzubay, among others.  He currently attends California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles, CA.

From her years residing in New Haven, Connecticut, Nazaykinskaya draws upon the area’s scenic beauty for musical inspiration: “Connecticut enchanted me with its magical diversity, whether I was meandering along the green alleys in downtown New Haven in the long days of summer, or seeking shelter in the shades of Sleeping Giant Park or watching the sunset on the stunning beaches of Old Saybrook, or catching the breathtaking views of the shores of East Haven.” In Dances of Memory, Nazaykinskaya pushes the boundaries of musical expression in her exploration of the nature of life in the Age of Anxiety including, “the dialectical processes and contradictions of the anxious mind (characteristic of the modern persona), the bifurcation and fragmentation of the human consciousness and the fleeting emotions which alternate between dream-like delirium and being fully awake and present in the moment.”   

Born in Togliatti, Russia, Polina Nazaykinskaya studied composition at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Russia and Yale University where she received a Master of Music Degree and Artist Diploma. At Yale, she studied with Christopher Theofanidis and Ezra Laderman. She is now completing her Doctorate in Composition at the CUNY Graduate Center with Tania León. Polina is also a Teaching Artist at the New York Philharmonic Composers Bridge Program and an Adjunct Lecturer of Composition at Brooklyn College Conservatory. Website

In Three Asterisms, Oickle returns to his roots through an exploration of the sonic remembrances of his youth growing up along the Atlantic Coast of Canada: “My composition is centered on my favourite thing about summer in Nova Scotia: singing frogs on a clear evening. Because of the many hours I spent by our pond in rural Nova Scotia at night throughout the summers, I will always associate the sound of frogs chirping with the vast mosaic of stars above.” Oickle’s inspiration derives not only from a deep desire to represent the wonders of pristine natural settings but also as a reaction to the urbanization of the world, which is devastating local ecologies and soundscapes worldwide: “Sound pollution is perhaps even more rapid and insidious than air pollution—and it violates…one of the most valuable facets of being in nature.”    

Lucas currently lives in Shizuoka, Japan with his wife Chihiro and their two cats Taro and Ponzu. Originally from Nova Scotia, Lucas is an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre. Website

Of his composition Night Music, Pegram writes, “Night is the period when my musical ideas are at their most introspective and romantic, yet I also feel the most musically energetic once the sun has set. Thus, Night Music for Violin and Piano is a sonic exploration of nighttime, my favorite part of the day.” Far more than just a musical representation of night, Pegram strives to synthesize the artistic and natural through this work: “Every bar of the piece represents my desire to unite the musical world of black-and-white notes with the organic environment of our planet.”

Jules Pegram graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Composition from the University of Southern California where he studied with Oscar-nominated composer Bruce Broughton among many others. He lived for a while in Ann Arbor where he studied composition with Michael Daugherty at the University of Michigan. In 2013, Jules Pegram’s orchestral work Neon Nights was selected as the winning composition in both the Marilyn K. Glick Young Composers’ Competition and the Symphony in C Young Composers’ Competition. Jules currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. For more information check out his website!