Composers Now announces IMPACT. Each installment in this series offers a composer the opportunity to reflect on one's creativity, influences, pathways, and responsibility as a living artist in our ever-changing world. Designed for the virtual space, every session shares a composer's essential thoughts directly with you, the audience, in the safety and comfort of your own place.
These commentaries, interwoven with performance videos and other materials, articulate a creator's IMPACT.

2020-21 Season

February brings two more IMPACT events: FRANK J. OTERI on Tuesday, February 23, and LUKAS LIGETI on Thursday, February 25.

Frank J. Oteri
photo by Jeffrey Herman

Frank J. Oteri is a composer and music journalist based in New York City whose syncretic compositional style has been described as "distinctive" in The Grove Dictionary of American Music.

His compositions include: Fair and Balanced, a saxophone quartet in quartertones premiered and recorded by the PRISM Quartet; Imagined Overtures, for rock band in sixth-tones recorded by the Los Angeles Electric 8; Love Games, settings of poems by Elizabethan sonneteer Mary Wroth premiered at SubCulture by the Young People's Chorus of New York City conducted by Francisco Núñez; and Versions of the Truth, a 12-song cycle based on the poetry of Stephen Crane for dual-voiced singer and piano commissioned by the ASCAP Foundation Charles Kingsford Fund and premiered by Phillip Cheah and Trudy Chan (The Cheah Chan Duo). MACHUNAS, the performance oratorio inspired by the life of Fluxus-founder George Maciunas which Oteri created in collaboration with Lucio Pozzi, premiered under the direction of Donatas Katkus during the Christopher Festival in Vilnius, Lithuania in 2005.

Other interpreters of Oteri's music include pianist Sarah Cahill, harpsichordist Rebecca Pechefsky, guitarists Dominic Frasca and David Starobin, the Ray-Kallay Duo, Pentasonic Winds, Sylvan Winds, Magellan String Quartet, the Locrian Chamber Players, and Central City Chorus.

In addition to his compositional activities, Oteri is the Composer Advocate at New Music USA and the Editor of NewMusicBox, a web magazine he founded which has been online since May 1999. He is also the Vice President of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) and serves on the board of directors of the International Association of Music Information Centres (IAMIC).

An outspoken crusader for new music and the breaking down of barriers between genres, he has written for numerous publications and is also a frequent radio guest and pre-concert speaker.

Oteri is a graduate of New York City's High School of Music and Art and holds a B.A. and an M.A. (in Ethnomusicology) from Columbia University where he served as Classical Music Director and World Music Director for WKCR-FM. He was the recipient of ASCAP's Victor Herbert Award in 2007 and he received the Composers Now Visionary Award in 2018.

Lukas Ligeti
photo by Markus Sepperer
The composer and drummer/electronic percussionist/improvisor Lukas Ligeti has forged a fiercely independent path at the cutting edge of new music, creating strikingly original work cognizant of a multitude of traditions yet belonging to none of contemporary music's known streams or groupings. At the intersection of contemporary composition, Downtown New York experimentalism, jazz, and electronics, his work builds strongly on concepts from various music traditions from around the world, especially from Africa. Often characterized by complex polymetric structures, his music ranges from the through-composed to the free-improvised. He is deeply engaged in the field of "experimental intercultural collaboration", a phrase he has coined. Born in Austria, he lived mainly in New York City from 1998 until 2015. He is currently a core faculty member of the PhD program "Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology" at the University of California, Irvine and divides his time between southern California and South Africa.

The first four composers offering sessions in December and January are BILL BANFIELD, GUSTAVO CASENAVE, SUSIE IBARRA and ANGÉLICA NEGRÓN.
Gustavo Casenave
Thursday, December 10, 2020
Get to know Casenave's work:
Third movement from "Concerto"
Susie Ibarra
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Bill Banfield
Thursday, December 17, 2020

Angélica Negrón
Thursday, January 28, 2021
Watch on our Digital Library

Bill Banfield

Bill Banfield has produced a body of music, arts scholarship and creative activities, teaching and lecturing, writing, producing recordings, and multiple avenues of professional service that combine to form a rich life within contemporary arts and leadership. He was the founding director of the Africana Studies Center at Berklee College of Music, and Dr. Banfield taught in the College from 2005 until his retirement in 2020. Other scholarly honors include the following: appointments as a 2019 research associate with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, as a W.E.B. Dubois fellow at Harvard University, and by Toni Morrison to serve as the visiting Atelier Professor, Princeton University (2003).  

Banfield's award-winning music output includes symphonies, operas, and chamber works that have been commissioned, performed and recorded by major ensembles including the National, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Dallas, Akron, Detroit, New York Virtuoso, Grand Rapids, Akron, Richmond, Toledo, Savannah, Chicago Symphonia, Indianapolis, Sphinx, Sacramento, and San Diego Symphonies and the Havana Camerata of Cuba. His works as a composer and performing jazz artist are carried on Atlantic, TelArc, CollinsClassics (London), Centaur, Albany/Visionary and Innova Records labels. His music has been performed and/or recorded by George Duke, Patrice Rushen, Don Byron, Leon Bates, Najee, Ron Carter, Delfeayo Marsalis, Oliver Lake, Regina Carter, Rachel Z, Jon Faddis, Marcus Belgrave, Billy Childs, Nnenna Freelon, Alphonso Johnson, Ndugu Chancelor and Nelson Rangel. 

He has authored 6 books on music, arts and cultural criticism, history and biographies, covering everything from contemporary Black composers, to Ornette Coleman, Nikki Manaj and Kendrick Lamar. Titles include: Landscapes in Color: Conversations With Black American Composers (2002); Black Notes: Essays Of A Musician Writing In A Post Album Age(2004); Cultural Codes: Makings Of A Black Music Philosophy (2010, Scarecrow Press); Representing Black Music Culture (2011); Ethnomusicologizing: Essays On Music In a The New Paradigms; and Pat Patrick: American Musician and Cultural Visionary ( Scarecrow Press). He was commissioned by Quincy Jones to write approaches and curriculum to teaching the history of American popular music (2010).

He is founder/director of JazzUrbane, a contemporary jazz art recording label. The seminal project, released in 2014, was produced by legendary icon George Duke and included such leading artists as Christian Scott, Terri Lyn Carrington, Najee, Greg Osby, and Grace Kelly.

Bill Banfield has served as a Pulitzer Prize judge and chair in American Music and is recognized as a national public radio show host, having served as arts and culture correspondent for the Tavis Smiley Show. He was founding chair of Black Music Culture for the Association of  American Culture and the Popular Culture Association of America conferences. His awards include recognition and grants from: National Endowment For The Humanities, ASCAP, National Endowment For The Arts, Jerome, Lily, Lila Wallace, McKnight, Unisys, and Telluride Foundations. He has served on panels of the American Symphony Orchestra League, American Guild of Organists, Opera America, Motown Museum, and National Endowment for the Arts.

A native Detroiter, William Banfield received his Bachelor of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, a Master of Theological Studies from Boston University and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition from the University of Michigan. His formal composition studies were under T.J Anderson, George Russell, Theodore Antoniou, Bill Bolcom, and Bill Albright. Dr. Cornel West has called him "one of the last grand Renaissance men in our time...a towering artist, exemplary educator, rigorous scholar, courageous freedom fighter..." Henry Louis Gates wrote of him: "Bill Banfield is one of the most original voices on the scene today...he tunes us into the conversation happening worldwide between the notes of contemporary musical culture..." 

Gustavo Casenave

Gustavo Casenave, 2019 Latin GRAMMY®WINNER, six-time nominated, Uruguayan composer and pianist, is a Steinway Artist, two-time Gold Medal Winner at the Global Music Awards, ACE Awardee, American Prize in composition Awardee, selected as one of 10 best composers in 30 years' time by the Berklee College of Music, and considered among 'The Greatest Uruguayan Musicians' by the city of Montevideo. Based in New York City since 1997, he has performed worldwide, collaborated and recorded with artists as diverse as: Yo-Yo Ma, Bette Midler, Deepak Chopra, Robert Duvall, Paquito D'Rivera, Neil Sedaca, John Patitucci, Eddie Gomez, Mark Egan, Miguel Zenon, Charlélie Couture, Jane Ira Bloom, Manolo Badrena, John Benitez, Federico Britos, Avishai Cohen, Pedro Giraudo, Nestor Torres, Ray Vega and Hector del Curto.

With 34 albums featuring his compositions, Casenave has performed at the most distinguished venues worldwide in the three Americas, Europe and Asia, including: Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Blue Note, Taiwan National Theater, Teatro Solis (Uruguay) The A Train (Berlin), Porgy & Bess Jazz Club (Vienna), Chung Mu Art Hall (Korea), Sony Studio (Japan), Centro de Bellas Artes de Caguas (Puerto Rico) and Dolby Theater (Los Angeles) among many others. He is a former Jazz Department Director at the Harbor Conservatory, in addition to giving master classes at Juilliard, Oberlin, Eastman, Yale University and serves as a permanent faculty member at the Stowe Tango Music Festival.

Susie Ibarra
Susie Ibarra is a Filipinx composer, drummer/percussionist, and sound artist who creates live and immersive music that invites people to connect to their natural and built environments. She is passionate about working to preserve and support Indigenous music and culture, Musika Katatubo, in the Philippines, and advocates to preserve freshwater towers with sound recordings and the creation of new works focused around glaciers and fresh water.

Ibarra's new works and album releases include: Rhythm Cycles, a drum solo performance commissioned by the Bagri Foundation (November 2020 on OTO Projects UK); Talking Gong, a composer portrait disc, featuring solos, duets and trio for Claire Chase, Alex Peh and herself (January 2021 on New Focus Recordings); Walking on Water, commissioned for an installation with Nihonga and abstract painter Makoto Fujimura, and Fragility Etudes, commissioned for the Asia Society Triennial in 2021, both of these works for DreamTime Ensemble, Ibarra's 6 piece band; Water Rhythms: Listening to Climate Change, in collaboration with glaciologist and geographer Michele Koppes, commissioned by Fine Acts Foundation and TED Countdown on Climate Change; and an LP with experimental guitarist Tashi Dorji (May 2021 for Astral Spirits). The artist is a 2020 National Geographic Explorer in Storytelling, a 2019 United States Artist Fellow in Music, and a 2018 Asian Cultural Council Scholar supported by the Rockefeller Foundation.  Ibarra is also a Senior TED Fellow and a Yamaha, Zildjian, and Vic Firth Drum Artist.

Angélica Negrón
photo by Quique-Cabanillas

Puerto Rican-born composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón writes music for accordions, robotic instruments, toys and electronics as well as chamber ensembles and orchestras. Her music has been described as "wistfully idiosyncratic and contemplative" (WQXR/Q2) and "mesmerizing and affecting" (Feast of Music) while The New York Times noted her "capacity to surprise" and her "quirky approach to scoring". Angélica has been commissioned by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, loadbang, MATA Festival, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Sō Percussion, the American Composers Orchestra, and the New York Botanical Garden, among others.  Her music has been performed at the Kennedy Center, the Ecstatic Music Festival, EMPAC, Bang on a Can Marathon and the 2016 New York Philharmonic Biennial and her film scores have been heard numerous times at the Tribeca Film Festival. She has collaborated with artists like Sō Percussion, The Knights, Face the Music, and NOVUS NY, among others and is a founding member of the tropical electronic band Balún.  Angélica holds a Master's degree in music composition from New York University and pursued doctoral studies at The Graduate Center (CUNY) under the guidance of Tania León.  She's a teaching artist for New York Philharmonic's Very Young Composers Program working with young learners on creative composition projects. Upcoming premieres include works for the LA Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Girls Chorus, and NY Philharmonic Project 19 initiative. Negrón continues to perform and compose for film.