Collaborate from Fifth House Ensemble on Vimeo.

An inside look at 5HE’s collaborative process in creating its genre-bending narrative chamber music productions. Featuring Ezra Claytan Daniels ( and Omar Robles ( Created by Paul Hamilton and Caleb Vinson with the support of the Arts Work Fund.


When you link up with fresh inc, not only will you work side-by-side with Fifth House Ensemble members, you’ll also get  to work with some of the best professional and artistic  collaborators around.  If you think that “a graphic artist, a marketing executive, and a mime” is just the start of one of those “walked into a bar” jokes, think again.  This diverse array of creative minds will help you redefine the way that you think of yourself as an artist.



Born on horseback, active in the art world, wrote a book on fashion, used to make movies for DreamWorks, found my home running Corporate Marketing at Twitter.








In the past decade Cliff Colnot has emerged as a distinguished conductor and a musician of uncommon range.

One of few musicians to have studied orchestral repertory with Daniel Barenboim, Colnot has served as assistant conductor for Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Workshops for young musicians from Israel, Egypt, Syria, and other Middle Eastern countries. Colnot has also worked extensively with Pierre Boulez and has served as assistant conductor to Boulez at the Lucerne Festival Academy. He regularly conducts the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), with whom he recently recorded Richard Wernick’s The Name of the Game for Bridge Records, and he collaborates regularly with the internationally acclaimed contemporary music ensemble eighth blackbird. Colnot has served as principal conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s contemporary MusicNOW series since its inception and as principal conductor of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago since 1994. Colnot also conducts Contempo at the University of Chicago, the DePaul University Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, and orchestras at Indiana University. He has appeared as a guest conductor with the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Utah Symphony.

Colnot is also a master arranger. His orchestration of Shulamit Ran’s Three Fantasy Pieces for Cello and Piano was recorded by the English Chamber Orchestra. For the chamber orchestra of the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, Colnot has arranged the Adagio from Mahler’s Symphony No. 10, Schoenberg’s Pelleas and Melisande (both published by Universal) and Manuel De Falla’s Three Cornered Hat. For ICE and Julia Bentley, Colnot arranged Olivier Messiaen’s Chants de Terre et de Ciel for chamber orchestra and mezzo-soprano, also published by Universal. For members of the Yellow Barn Music Festival, Colnot arranged Shulamit Ran’s Soliloquy for Violin, Cello, and Piano, to be published by Theodore Presser. Colnot recently re-orchestrated the Bottesini Concerto No. 2 in B Minor for Double Bass, correcting many errors in existing editions and providing a more viable performance version. He has also been commissioned to write works for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Percussion Scholarship Group. His orchestration of Duke Ellington’s New World Coming was premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Daniel Barenboim as piano soloist in 2000, and Colnot also arranged, conducted, and co-produced the CD Tribute to Ellington featuring Barenboim at the piano. He wrote music for the MGM/UA motion picture Hoodlum and has written for rock-and-roll, pop, and jazz artists such as Richard Marx, Phil Ramone, Hugh Jackman, Leann Rimes, SheDaisy, Patricia Barber, Emerson Drive, and Brian Culbertson.

Colnot graduated with honors from Florida State University and in 1995 received the Ernst von Dohnányi Certificate of Excellence. He has also received the prestigious Alumni Merit Award from Northwestern University, where he earned his doctorate. In 2001 the Chicago Tribune named Cliff Colnot a “Chicagoan of the Year” in music, and in 2005 he received the William Hall Sherwood Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts. He has studied with master jazz teacher David Bloom and has taught jazz arranging at DePaul University. He also teaches advanced orchestration at the University of Chicago and film scoring at Columbia College. As a bassoonist, he was a member of the Lyric Opera Orchestra of Chicago, Music of the Baroque, and the Contemporary Chamber Players.



Ezra Claytan Daniels is a writer and illustrator based in Chicago, IL. His critically acclaimed graphic novel series, The Changers, began a unique comics career peppered with a number of collaborative multimedia projects including, with interactive artist Erik Loyer, the groundbreaking experimental iPhone App, Ruben & Lullaby. Ezra is also the creator of the popular live art spectacle, The Comic Art Battle, and Loaded Blanks Greetings, a line of fill-in-the-blanks comic-art greeting cards featuring both established as well as up and coming comics artists. Ezra is currently working on the narrative art meets live chamber music concert series, Black Violet, with Chicago-based chamber group, Fifth House Ensemble.






Omar is a graduate of L’École Internationale de Mimodrame de Paris Marcel Marceau, where he learned the trade under the mentorship of Marcel Marceau. Omar has performed in theatres across France, Spain, Israel, Poland, Russia, Puerto Rico and the United States. His work is notable for the lyricism and emphasis of movements and gestures that express the emotional intensity of his characters. Today he is known as one of the most outstanding exponents of contemporary mime emerging from Puerto Rico.








Augusta Read Thomas (born in 1964 in Glen Cove, New York) was the Mead Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1997 through 2006. In 2007, her ASTRAL CANTICLE was one of the two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Music. Thomas has also been on the Board of Directors of the American Music Center ( since 2000, as well as on the boards and advisory boards of several chamber music groups. She was elected Chair of the Board of the American Music Center, a volunteer position that ran from 2005 to 2008.

Augusta is a passionate and devoted teacher who is in tune with her students. Teaching is a natural extension of her creative process and of her avid enthusiasm for the music of others. She is a devoted listener to the music of others and as such has a broad and deep knowledge of the music of our time. For Augusta, working with students is a joy, a deeply felt commitment, and an integrated part of her creative existence.

Augusta was an assistant, then associate professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music from 1993-2001, and served from 2001 until 2006 as the Wyatt Professor of Music (Endowed Chair) at Northwestern University. She currently continues her involvement with Northwestern University by serving on the Dean’s Music Advisory Board. In the summers she often teaches at the Tanglewood Music Center. Augusta was the Director of the Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood in 2009. Frequently Ms. Thomas undertakes residencies in colleges, universities, and festivals across the country and in Europe. From time to time she teaches private composition lessons for advanced students. For 2009-2011 she is teaching and mentoring 10 high school-aged composers in the state of Connecticut. Each composer will have his or her new piece premiered by the New Haven Symphony in May 2011.

Give musicians a piece of music, and they’ll play for a few hours (assuming the parts are printed correctly and the cellist decides to show up). Teach people to write music, and they’ll play for generations to come.   Check out the composition faculty who will team up with you at fresh inc:


David Rakowski was born and raised in St. Albans, Vermont, where he played trombone in high school and community bands, and keyboards in a mediocre rock band called the Silver Finger. Early musical challenges included taking pop songs off the radio for his band to play. He was his high school class’s valedictorian and its best Thespian.

He received his musical training at New England Conservatory, Princeton, and Tanglewood, where he studied with Robert Ceely, John Heiss, Milton Babbitt, Paul Lansky, Peter Westergaard, and Luciano Berio. He spent the four years after graduate school not writing his dissertation, holding down dismal part-time word processing jobs, and helping to run the Griffin Music Ensemble in Boston. At the end of those four years, he took a running leap into academia with a one-year appointment at Stanford University. Seven years later, he finished his dissertation.

Rakowski’s most widely-traveled music is his collection of one hundred highly varied and high-energy piano etudes; these pieces approach the idea of etude from many different angles, be they technical, conceptual, compositional, or stylistic; many of them may be viewed on YouTube. He is now at work on a set of piano preludes and has finished one book of ten. He has also written three symphonies, seven concertos, three large wind ensemble pieces, a sizable collection of chamber and vocal music, as well as incidental music and music for children.

Rakowski’s awards include the Rome Prize, an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the 2006 Barlow Prize, and the 2004-6 Elise L. Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, as well as awards and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Tanglewood Music Center, BMI, Columbia University, the Orleans International Piano Competition (the Chevillion-Bonnaud composition prize), the International Horn Society, and various artist colonies. He has been commissioned by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the U.S. Marine Band, Sequitur, Network for New Music, Koussevitzky Music Foundation (with Ensemble 21 in 1996 and with Boston Modern Orchestra Project in 2006), Collage New Music, the Kaufman Center/Merkin Hall, Boston Musica Viva, the Fromm Foundation (twice), Dinosaur Annex, the Crosstown Ensemble, Speculum Musicae, the Riverside Symphony, Parnassus, The Composers Ensemble, Alea II, Alea III, Triple Helix, and others. In 1999 his Persistent Memory, commissioned by Orpheus, was a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music, and in 2002 his Ten of a Kind, commissioned by “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band, was also a Pulitzer finalist. He has been composer-in-residence at the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival, Guest Composer at the Wellesley Composers Conference, and a Master Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. His music is published by C.F. Peters, is recorded on New World/CRI, Innova, Americus, Albany, Capstone, and Bridge, and has been performed worldwide.

After his year at Stanford, he taught at Columbia University for six years, and then skipped town to join the faculty of Brandeis University, where he is now the Walter W. Naumburg Professor of Composition. While at Brandeis, he has also taken part-time appointments teaching at Harvard University (twice) and New England Conservatory (also twice). Now a failed trombonist, he lives in Boston exurbia and in Maine with his wife Beth Wiemann and exactly two cats named Sunset and Camden.


Stacy Garrop’s music is centered on direct and dramatic narrative. The sharing of stories is a defining element of our humanity; we strive to share with others the experiences and concepts that we find compelling. In Stacy’s works, this manifests itself in programmatic pieces without text (sometimes subtly, sometimes overtly) and more directly in pieces that draw upon poets and writers for source material.

Dr. Garrop has received numerous awards and grants including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble’s Harvey Gaul Composition Competition, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Music Composition Prize, two Barlow Endowment commissions, Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s First Hearing Composition Competition, Omaha Symphony Guild’s International New Music Competition, San Francisco Song Festival’s Phyllis C. Wattis Prize for Song Competition, and the New England Philharmonic’s Call for Scores Competition. She has participated in reading session programs given by the American Composers Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra (the Composers Institute), and the Dale Warland Singers.

Theodore Presser Company publishes her chamber and orchestral works. Cedille Records, Innova, Equillibrium, Chicago a cappella Records, and Ravello Records have recorded her music on twelve CDs. Of particular note, Cedille Records released in February 2011 the first all-Garrop CD that includes String Quartet No. 3: GAIA, Silver Dagger, and In Eleanor’s Words.

Dr. Garrop was in residence with the Skaneateles Festival and the Volti Choral Institute for High School Singers in 2011, Albany Symphony Orchestra in 2009/10, and Chicago’s Music in the Loft chamber music series in 2004/05 and 2006/07. She has attended residences at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Aspen Music Festival, Banff Centre for the Arts, MacDowell Colony, Millay Colony, Oxford Summer Institute, Ragdale Colony, Round Top Music Festival, Wellesley Composers Conference, and Yaddo Colony.

Her orchestra works have been performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Amarillo Symphony, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Erato Chamber Orchestra, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Youth Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra, New England Philharmonic, Omaha Symphony, Santa Cruz Symphony, and the Women’s Philharmonic; her string quartets by the Cecilia, Chiara, Biava, Enso, and Artaria String Quartets; her chamber ensemble works by the Ambassador Duo, Anaphora Ensemble, Callisto Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex, EARPLAY, Empyrean Ensemble, Helikon Ensemble, Indiana University’s New Music Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Lincoln Trio, New EAR, Orion Ensemble, Pilgrim Chamber Players, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Seattle New Music Ensemble, Society for New Music, Third Angle, mezzo-sopranos Buffy Baggott and Julia Bentley, and pianists Amy Briggs, Winston Choi, and Kuang-Hao Huang; and her choir works by Chicago A Cappella, C4, Grant Park Chorus, musica intima, Peninsula Women’s Chorus, Princeton Singers, Santa Cruz Chamber Singers, University of Michigan Chamber Choir, and Volti. Her works have been choreographed by the a-ha! Dance Theatre of Kansas City, and she has worked with numerous conductors including Martín Benvenuto, Christopher Bell, Jerry Blackstone, Cliff Colnot, Karen Lynne Deal, Robert Geary, Apo Hsu, Paul Hostetter, Carlos Kalmar, Jonathan McPhee, David Alan Miller, Peter Oundjian, Donald Portnoy, Jeffrey Renshaw, Steven Sametz, James Setapen, Stephen Squires, and Victor Yampolsky.

She is Head of Composition and Associate Professor of Composition at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.



At fresh inc, members of Fifth House Ensemble will be working, rehearsing, and performing alongside you.  Fifth House Ensemble is comprised of 10 musicians from various backgrounds.  Each one of them brings their unique background, training, and professional experience to lessons, coachings, workshops, and performances.  Here are the members of Fifth House Ensemble:



A passionate advocate for chamber music, Melissa Snoza currently performs with the Peninsula Music Festival and freelances throughout the Chicago area. Also an active educator, Melissa currently serves as Adjunct Professor of Flute at Carthage College, teaches a music entrepreneurship course at DePaul University, and maintains a private studio. As a member of 5HE, Melissa has presented workshops at Northwestern University, Yale, NEIU, UW-Milwaukee, and the Colburn Conservatory on arts entrepreneurship and creative programming, and contributes to the Entrepreneur the Arts blog.

Previous award credits include First Prize at the National Flute Association’s Orchestral Audition Competition, as well as being selected as a winner of Northwestern University’s Concerto Competition. She has been a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, has performed with the New World Symphony, the National Repertory Orchestra, the Aspen Music Festival, and was the only American flutist invited to the first Music Master’s Course in Kazusa, Japan. Melissa is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and Northwestern University, with principal teachers including Bonita Boyd and Walfrid Kujala. Melissa is not only a well-known flutist and teacher in Chicago – she also makes a mean spread of Brazilian food and a mouth-watering chocolate pecan bourbon pie.




Originally from St. Paul, MN, Crystal Stohr Hall currently resides in Chicago, IL, where she is an active freelance musician, appearing with many area orchestras. She is currently second oboe/English horn with the Rockford Symphony, and has also appeared with the Louisiana Philharmonic and the Florida West Coast Symphony. Crystal earned degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Texas at Austin. Her teachers include James Caldwell, Rebecca Henderson, Richard Killmer, and Basil Reeve. Recent summer appearances have included the Midsummer’s Music Festival in Door County, WI and the Marrowstone Music Festival in Bellingham, WA. From 2004-2006 she was a regular member of the oboe section of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and a Musicorps fellow. In addition to playing, Crystal maintains a large private teaching studio and sells professional oboe reeds on her website, When not herding baby (oboe) ducks, she enjoys visiting the live ducks in the park with her husband Matt and daughter Tyyna (born Nov 2009).






Jennifer Woodrum, born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago , maintains a busy schedule playing and teaching clarinet throughout Illinois . Jennifer holds a bachelors and masters degree from Northwestern University , where she studied with Russell Dagon. Her other principal teachers have included Aris Chavez and Leslie Grimm. Ms. Woodrum holds many awards from local competitions including the Evanston Music Club, the Farwell award from the Chicago Musicians’ Club of Women, the Union League Civic and Arts Foundation, and the American Opera Society, and performs several solo recitals a year. Jennifer has been a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the Rockford Symphony. She has performed with the Elgin Symphony, the Ravinia Festival Orchestra, the South Bend Symphony, and the Grant Park Symphony. Jennifer is the proud parent of a pit bull pointer mix, named after one of her favorite vocalists, Miss Peggy Lee. When not involved in clarinet activites, you’ll probably find Jennifer at the Evanston Pooch Park or singing karaoke at the nearest karaoke bar.






A native of Manchester, NH, Karl holds a Bachelors Degree from Oberlin College and a Masters Degree from University of Massachussetts Amherst. Karl was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago from 2004-2006. Aside from the Civic Orchestra, Karl has become a professional substitute of sorts, appearing with the Vermont, Albany (NY), Chicago, and Elgin Symphonies. Karl has also recently played with MusicNOW and the International Contemporary Ensemble. Karl serves as bassoon faculty at the Vermont Youth Orchestra Reveille! festival in Burlington, VT every summer and attended the Banff Centre for the Arts in Banff, Alberta, Canada as a member of the Hara Quintet in the summer of 2006. Karl’s principal teachers include Janet Polk, George Sakakeeny, Stephen Walt, and Bill Buchman.








A proud citizen of Chicago since 2003, Matt Monroe currently plays with the Kalamazoo Symphony and the Oregon Ballet Theatre Orchestra in his hometown of Portland. As an educator, Matt has particular interest in urban music programs, teaching French horn lessons and ensembles at Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago’s West Loop since 2006. He is on faculty at the Merit School of Music where he works with the horn ensemble classes on Saturdays at the Tuition-free Conservatory. Matt has degrees from Arizona State University, the University of Oregon, and Northwestern University. He is also a member of the Millar Brass Ensemble based at Northwestern’s Alice Millar Chapel. He has also played with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Chicago Sinfonietta, the Milwaukee Symphony, Garrison Keillor, Pink Martini, The Moody Blues, and for the Chicago Bulls in a pre-game National Anthem performance. In less musical moments Matt enjoys training for various distance running events with his wife and their husky Zora.







Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Andrew Williams is an active performer throughout the Chicagoland area. In addition to being a member of the Fifth House Ensemble, he is principal second violin of the Rockford Symphony. He has received degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Rice University, and has a Performance Certificate from DePaul University. His previous teachers include David Cerone, Kathleen Winkler, and Ilya Kaler. He has attended summer music festivals such as Encore School for Strings and Kent/Blossom Music Festival. He also teaches at the annual Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra Camp in Monte Toyon, California. Andrew’s favorite color is blue and he likes baseball. He is a wannabe vegan who eats seafood (sometimes).








A graduate of the University of Georgia (BM) and Northwestern University (MM), Clark Carruth currently performs with the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra, the New Philharmonic and the DuPage Opera Theatre. A former member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and South Bend Symphony, previous performance credits also include appearances on WFMT, the International Harp Festival in Viroqua, WI, and the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Between racquetball games and mountain biking adventures, Clark also finds time to educate young musicians as a sectional coach for the Northwest Indiana Symphony Youth Orchestra.








Cellist Herine Coetzee, originally from South Africa, holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from the Indiana University School of Music, where she was a student of Janos Starker and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi. Ms. Coetzee has appeared as a featured soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Nittany Valley Symphony and the National Repertory Orchestra, as well as in recital as a soloist and chamber musician thoughout the East Coast and in the Mid-West. Her master class performances include those for Yo-Yo Ma, Anner Byslma, Truls Mork, and Orlando Cole. In 2002 she was a prizewinner in the Indiana University Cello Concerto Competition, playing Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo – Hebraic Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra. Herine has held titled positions in such groups as the National Repertory Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. As a teacher, she serves on the faculty of the Merit School of Music. She resides in Evanston and enjoys taking on the Viking Breakfast at Svea’s in Andersonville.







Eric Snoza has been a double bass performer before he could even properly reach the fingerboard. He received his Bachelors and continuing Masters degrees from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY . At Eastman, Eric studied solo performance with one of the world’s leading double bass performers, James VanDemark. He has performed with many leading new music ensembles including OSSIA, Musica Nova, and Ensemble X. Eric’s solo accomplishments include the Rochester debut of the Eduard Tubin Double Bass Concerto and his own world premier transcription of the Elgar Cello Concerto for Double Bass led by Rochester Philharmonic Pops Conductor, Jeff Tyzik. Also a fourth degree black belt, Eric is a visiting instructor with the American School of Karate and Judo.








Pianist and lecturer Adam Marks is best known for his innovative and impassioned performances of contemporary works including numerous premieres. A laureate of the 2008 Orleans International Piano Competition, he has performed throughout the United States, as well as in France and The Netherlands, including being a featured soloist with the National Repertory Orchestra, the Manchester Symphony Orchestra, and the Brandeis-Wellesley Symphony Orchestra. Also an active educator, Adam taught at New York University, and has led masterclasses and workshops at The Juilliard School, Mannes College of Music, Manhattan School of Music, New York University and Yale University . Adam currently serves as a Core Consultant for New Triad for Collaborative Arts, where he teaches audience engagement, public speaking, and coaches musicians as they craft theatrical recitals. Adam holds degrees from Brandeis University and the Manhattan School of Music. A former EMT and professional puppeteer, he is currently a candidate for the Ph.D in piano performance at New York University.