Ben Roidl-Ward is a bassoonist dedicated to working with and advocating for composers of his generation. He has commissioned and premiered numerous solo and chamber works featuring the bassoon with the goal of broadening the repertoire and expanding the possibilities of the instrument. Since 2021, Ben has served as Assistant Professor of Bassoon at the University of Northern Iowa. He is also the bassoonist of Ensemble Dal Niente, the second bassoonist of the Illinois Symphony, and a Contemporary Leader for the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland. Ben received his DMA from Northwestern University, where he studied with David McGill. His previous teachers include Ben Kamins at Rice University, George Sakakeeny at the Oberlin Conservatory, and Francine Peterson in the Seattle area.

Daniel Pesca is a composer, pianist, and improvisor whose interpretations of the piano literature stand out for their creativity and dynamism. A fervent champion of contemporary music, Daniel is a member of several ensembles noted for their innovative approach to the development of new work, including the Grossman Ensemble and the Zohn Collective. Daniel has performed the premieres of over 100 pieces, many composed specifically for him. Formerly artist-in­residence at the University of Chicago, Daniel is now assistant professor at University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

 

Zachary Good is a Chicago-based clarinetist, Baroque recorder player, composer, arranger, improviser, and educator. Zachary is clarinetist of the sextet Eighth Blackbird, a founding Co-Artistic Director of the performance collective Mocrep, and one-third of the clarinet/percussion/cello trio ZRL. Praised for her "great control" (Chicago Classical Review), cellist Isidora Nojkovic is an active soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician. She has a passion for contemporary music and commissioning, having premiered over 50 works, and is one half of the contemporary violin/cello duo Orbit ("the new cross­continental duo to pay attention to." - Classical Post).

 

Liza Lim's music focuses on collaborative and transcultural practices. Ideas of beauty, ecological connection, and ritual transformation are ongoing concerns in her compositional work. Her four operas: The Oresteia 1993), Moon Spirit Feasting (2000), The Navigator (2007), and Tree of Codes (2016), and the major ensemble work Extinction Events and Dawn Chorus (2018) explore themes of desire, memory and the uncanny. Widely commissioned by some of the world's preeminent orchestras and ensembles, Lim is Sculthorpe Chair of Australian Music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and is a Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in 2021-22. Her music is published by Casa Ricordi Berlin.

 

Tania León (b. Havana, Cuba) is highly regarded as a composer, conductor, educator, and advisor to arts organizations. Her orchestral work Stride, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, was awarded the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Music.

Honors include the New York Governor's Lifetime Achievement, inductions into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and fellowship awards from ASCAP Victor Herbert Award and The Koussevitzky Music and Guggenheim Foundations, among others. She also received a proclamation for Composers Now by New York City Mayor, and the MadWoman Festival Award in Music (Spain).

Leon has received Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Colgate University, Oberlin, SUNY Purchase College, and The Curtis Institute of Music, and served as U.S. Artistic Ambassador of American Culture in Madrid, Spain. A CUNY Professor Emerita, she was awarded a 2018 United States Artists Fellowship, and Chamber Music America's 2022 National Service Award.

 

Born In Aguascallentes, México, Luls Fernando Amaya is a composer and percussionlst currently based in Barcelona. Toplcs such as collective memory and the relationshlp between humans and non-humans (plants, anlmals, environments, objects) are commonly present In hls work. He studied composition and music theory at the Centro de Investigación y Estudios de la Música (CIEM) and holds a PhD In composition and music technology from Northwestern University. As a performer, Amaya is a member of the collective composition and free Improvisation trlo Fat Plgeon. Hls scores are published by BabelScores. 

Mathew Arrellin is a composer and cellist based in Chicago. His music has been performed by the Mivos Quartet, Third Coast Percussion, Ensemble Dal Niente, ~Nois, the Low Frequency Trio, the Fonema Consort, and himself, among others. His music has been performed in festivals such as the Valencia International Performance Academy(VIPA), June in Buffalo, Foro Internacional de Musica Nueva, and the SCI National Conference. Mathew holds a bachelor's degree in musict theory, composition, and cello performance from the University of New Mexico. He received his PhD in Music Composition from Northwestern University, where he studied composition with Jay Alan Yim, Alex Mincek, and Hans Thomalla.

 

Tom Kelly is a composer, performer, and field recordist from Chicago, IL. Tom's acoustic works have been performed regionally by members of International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Dal Niente, Mocrep, and Cuarteto Q-Arte. He has performed in a diverse range of settings, including solo on modular synthesizer as accompanist for live dance (Merce Cunningham MinEvent, 2017), on laptop as a guest orchestra member (Chicago Sinfonietta, Chicago Symphony Center, 2018), and nationally as bassist for avant-prog trio Guzzlemug (2006-2016). As a field recordist, Tom explores both urban and remote spaces and is enriched by listening to the nuances of his immediate surroundings.

 

Winner of a 2020 John Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, composer Jose-Luis Hurtado's music has been played across continents by ensembles such as BMOP, le NEM, JACK Quartet, Talea Ensemble, and the Arditti Quartet, among many others. He has been the recipient of composition prizes in Mexico, U.S., Austria, Argentina, Canada, and Italy. Hurtado holds a PhD from Harvard University, where he studied under Davidovsky, Czernowin, Ferneyhough, and Lachenmann.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This album is dedicated to my wife, Isidora Nojkovic, who was with me every step of the way.

I would like to thank Liza, Luis, Tania, Mathew, Tom, and Jose-Luis, the composers whose extraordinary music inspired me to make this album and pushed me to be a better musician. Thank you, Daniel, Isidora, and Zach, for being such wonderful collaborators, and Dan for making this album sound as good as it can. Thank you to Chris and Hans for believing in the project, and for the extraordinary service you do to the Chicago new music community. I would also like to thank the Illinois Arts Council, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and the International Double Reed Society, all of whom helped to make this project possible. Finally, thank you to my teachers, my students, my colleagues, and my friends, for making it all worthwhile.

Ben Roidl-Ward