Second Stage

The Composers Now Second Stage Project (CNSS) is a commissioning, mentoring and professional development initiative designed at the invitation of and with underwriting from the Toulmin Foundation. Launching with the 2022-23 season, CNSS provides an in-depth experience for a cohort of three creators that culminates with a concert of world premieres in New York City in spring 2023.
  
With CNSS Composers Now extends the trajectory of Luna Composition Lab, created by composers Missy Mazzoli and Ellen Reid. Luna Lab provides opportunities to young composers, generally middle school through high school age, who are female, nonbinary or gender nonconforming.  With a set of recommendations from Mazzoli and Reid, Composers Now listened to works, spoke with composers and chose three, all graduates of the Luna Composition Lab Fellowship Program as the CNSS cohort for the pilot year.
The Mentors were selected by Composers Now for their creativity, backgrounds, artistic practices, work as educators and extra-musical skill sets to inspire the young composers. In addition to a set of meetings between mentor and composer during the writing process, the young composers will meet with professionals within and from aligned fields to expand their knowledge.
 
A primary question posed by Composers Now during the early meetings was:
If chosen, the compositional goal will be for you to venture into a type, style, genre, technology or instrumentation that you have not yet had any significant exposure to. In other words, a new 'frontier' for your creative expansion and an experience of discovery.

2022 Composers & Mentors 


Alisha Heng & Jane Ira Bloom

 
composer: Alisha Heng
compositional goal: a work that expands her jazz vocabulary -- likely jazz fusion or free jazz with improvisation
 
Alisha Heng
Alisha Heng (she/her) is a composer and filmmaker based in NYC. Her compositions have been performed across Europe and the USA by performers and ensembles including Christopher Herbert, International Contemporary Ensemble, members of the Juilliard Pre-College, and Barbora Kolářová. Through her work, Alisha explores the relationship between art and music, music as the means of creating the world we see before ourselves every day, and the balance between sound, silence, motion, and clarity. Her passion for composing comes from both instrumental study and a fascination to create works that provoke the mind. Alisha currently studies Composition under Kevin Puts at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University as well as Applied Mathematics and Statistics. She also studies clarinet privately. A U.S. Presidential Scholar semifinalist, Alisha was a 2020-2021 Luna Lab Fellow, a 2021 National YoungArts Foundation Finalist, and an Adobe x Sundance Fellowship Finalist. When she isn't composing she enjoys reading, investing, and volunteering at the National Archives.
 
mentor: Jane Ira Bloom
Jane Ira Bloom
Jane Ira Bloom, soprano saxophonist/composer, has been developing her unique voice on the soprano saxophone for over 40 years. She is a pioneer in the use of live electronics and movement in jazz. Winner of the Guggenheim Fellowship for music composition, the Downbeat International Critics Poll & Jazz Journalists Association Award for soprano saxophone, the Mary Lou Williams Award for lifetime service to jazz and the Charlie Parker Fellowship for jazz innovation. She is the first musician ever commissioned by the NASA Art Program and has an asteroid named in her honor by the International Astronomical Union (asteroid: 6083janeirabloom). Her critically acclaimed CD "Early Americans" received a Grammy Award for Best Surround Sound Album and made numerous year-end best lists. Her most recent digital release of duets, "Picturing the Invisible - Focus 1" featuring drummer Allison Miller, koto artist Miya Masaoka, and bassist Mark Helias is available as a high-definition immersive audio recording.  Her recent critically acclaimed duo projects "Tues Days" with drummer Allison Miller and "See Our Way" with Helias appear on Bandcamp. JIB finds inspiration in creating exploratory music with improvising musicians around the world and has participated in several international 'remote' events including a performance at the United Nations that linked improvising musicians in Korea, China, New York, and San Diego. Bloom is a professor at the New School's College of the Performing Arts, School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in NYC.

Jane Meenaghan & Mari Kimura

 
composer: Jane Meenaghan
compositional goal: a work that expands her creative horizons, bridges her background and cultural influences and explores self-controlled electronics

Jane Meenaghan

Jane Meenaghan (she/her) (age 21) is a composer, vocalist, and songwriter who frequently explores spiritual philosophy and states of consciousness through works that incorporate electronics and theatrical elements. Under the tutelage of Andrew Norman, Jane studies theology and music composition at Columbia and Juilliard respectively as a dual-degree student. A recipient of multiple ASCAP and BMI awards as well as the highest honor from National YoungArts, Jane has worked with ensembles and venues including Los Angeles Philharmonic, International Contemporary Ensemble, Seattle Symphony, Lyris Quartet, HOCKET, and members of New World Symphony, Houston Symphony, and Orlando Philharmonic. She is also an alumnus of Luna Lab, Hear Now Festival, National Young Composers Challenge, and NextNotes Awards. Most recently, Jane is preparing for a Carnegie Hall debut with American Composers Orchestra and collaborations with Bergamot Quartet.

mentor: Mari Kimura

Maria Kimura
photo by Jill Steinberg

Mari Kimura is at the forefront of violinists who are extending the technical and expressive capabilities of the instrument. As a composer, performer, researcher, and entrepreneur, she has opened up new sonic worlds and new musical possibilities for the violin. Notably, she has mastered the production of pitches that sound up to an octave below the violin's lowest string without re-tuning. This technique, which she calls Subharmonics, has earned Mari considerable renown in the concert music world and beyond. She is also a pioneer in the field of interactive computer music. At the same time, she has earned international acclaim as a soloist and recitalist in both standard and contemporary repertoire. Her most recent efforts involve entrepreneurship, bringing her prototype motion sensor MUGIC™, (pronounced "mu" as in music +"gic" as in magic) to the market.
 
  


Azalea Twining & Erica Lindsay

composer: Azalea Twining
compositional goal: writing for a group of 'same instruments', likely four saxophones

Azalea Twining

Azalea Twining (she/her) is a sixteen-year-old composer, vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter from Harrisonburg, VA. As a 2020-2021 fellow of the Luna Composition Lab at Kaufman Music Center, Azalea studied composition with Ellen Reid and composed Under Her Voices for piano trio, which was the winner of the 2021 G. Schirmer for Luna Lab Prize. She has continued to study composition with Gity Razaz and create pieces with a focus on singing her own work. Azalea's most recent projects include Evelyn/Evelyn, a dance/opera written and performed by her family, Ensemble InterTwining, "Echo" for solo flute commissioned by Intersection, and a song cycle set to the poetry of the Brontë sisters. She also composes and performs original work for voice, string quartet, prepared piano, and more through her school's Fine Arts Academy. Azalea has been studying voice with Eileen Clark since 2014. An alumnus of the WNO Opera Institute and Eastman Summer Classical Studies programs, Azalea has a passion for art songs and arias. More recently, she has fostered a love for performing small vocal ensemble music- both early and experimental. She hopes to one day compose and sing in her own experimental operas.

mentor: Erica Lindsay

Erica Lindsay
photo by Jean Laffitau

Erica Lindsay, composer and tenor saxophonist, is an Artist-in-Residence at Bard College where she teaches jazz composition and improvisation. She has toured and appeared in the U.S. with jazz legends including Dizzy Gillespie and Melba Liston and made guest appearances with Frank Zappa and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. She has performed and recorded with Baikida Carroll, Oliver Lake and many others and has led her own jazz ensembles. Inspired by her work as a jazz improviser, Lindsay attended the first ever Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute, leading to writing orchestral works for the American Composers Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony. She has also written musical scores for two Off-Broadway plays, the television series Tales from the Darkside, and collaborated with choreographers. Lindsay is a featured artist in Sally Placksin's book American Women in Jazz and Burrill Crohn's PBS documentary Women in Jazz. Her recent recordings include Initiation, a collaboration with Sumi Tonooka and three recordings from Alchemy Sound Project: Further Explorations, Adventures in Time and Space and Afrika Love. Lindsay is a San Francisco native.