Guest Expert Bios

Jason Charney

Jason CharneyJason Charney is a composer and artist based in Baltimore, MD. His notated music for instruments and voices often includes electronics, and he is an active electroacoustic performer and improviser. As an artist, he works with sound, light, objects, and code to create works that explore technological (mis)translations, physical phenomena, and embodied gesture. He is a founding member and serves as Technical Director of Mind on Fire, a contemporary music ensemble in Baltimore. Jason was a composer participant in the very first fresh inc festival in 2012!

Cliff Colnot

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 repertoire 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 the late Pierre Boulez and served as assistant conductor to Boulez at the Lucerne Festival Academy. He regularly conducts the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), with whom he recorded Richard Wernick’s The Name of the Game for Bridge Records, and he collaborates with the internationally acclaimed contemporary music ensemble eighth blackbird. Colnot has been principal conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s contemporary MusicNOW ensemble since its inception. Colnot was principal conductor of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, an orchestra he conducted for more than twenty-two years and was principal conductor of the University of Chicago’s Contempo Ensemble for over fifteen years. Currently, Colnot conducts the DePaul University Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. He has appeared as a guest conductor with the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Utah Symphony, and the Chicago Philharmonic.

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, 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 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 has also written for rock-and-roll, pop, and jazz artists 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. Most recently, Colnot has been awarded the 2016 Alice M. Ditson Conductor’s Award in recognition for his excellent commitment to the performance of works by American Composers. He has studied with master jazz teacher David Bloom, has taught jazz arranging at DePaul University, film scoring at Columbia College, and advanced orchestration at the University of Chicago. As a bassoonist, he was a member of the Lyric Opera Orchestra of Chicago, Music of the Baroque, and the Contemporary Chamber Players.

Daniel Dorff

Daniel Dorff’s music for flute and piccolo has entered the standard repertoire and is frequently performed and recorded worldwide. He has composed 7 commissioned works for the Philadelphia Orchestra’s education department, and the Minnesota Orchestra’s Kinder Konzert series has performed his music over 200 times. 

Dorff’s teachers included George Crumb, George Rochberg, Karel Husa, Henry Brant, Ralph Shapey, and Elie Siegmeister. He studied saxophone with Sigurd Rascher. Dorff served 1996 2015 as Composer-In-Residence for Symphony in C, in which he played bass clarinet from 1980 through 2002.

Daniel Dorff is VP of Publishing for Theodore Presser Company; a sought-after expert on music engraving and notation, he has lectured at many colleges as well as Carnegie Hall, and advises the leading notation software companies. He serves on the Boards of Directors for the Music Publishers’ Association of the USA, Charles Ives Society, Vincent Persichetti Society, Flute Society of Greater Philadelphia, and has served on the Board of the National Flute Association.

Dorff’s compositions are published by Presser, and recorded on Albany, Bridge, Crystal, Azica, and many other labels.

Tad Gray

With a background in music, Tad Gray brings a diverse skill set to the practice of wealth management at Buckingham Strategic Wealth. He received a music degree from the University of Colorado and enjoyed further musical studies at Aspen, Banff, and Yale. After earning an MBA from the Wharton School, he served in leadership and business development roles in corporate banking, derivatives, and capital markets with Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

Tad transitioned to personal wealth management to more directly impact people’s lives. He enjoys seeing people experience “aha” moments when they become empowered to make changes that will truly impact their family’s future in a positive way. Tad is passionate about helping others create the future they want and fulfilling their most important promises. He holds the Certified Investment Management Analyst® designation. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, Tad has held leadership positions with the Financial Planning Association of Illinois, including as president of the North Shore Council.

Tad is also a certified leadership coach and serves people by co-creating behaviors and habits to achieve a greater impact in their relationships, families, organizations, and communities. In particular, he helps arts leaders and musicians grow professionally and fully realize their artistic visions through workshops and seminars on leadership and personal financial management.

Steve Horowitz

Steve Horowitz is a composer, producer and bass player perhaps best known for his original score to the Academy Award nominated film Super Size Me. He is also the creative artist behind twenty three albums of original music. Horowitz writes for Classical Ensembles, Dance, Film, Television, Cartoons, and Video Games. As audio director at Nickelodeon Digital, Steve has literally worked on hundreds of games and interactive projects, where he garnered Kid Screen, BDA and Webby awards for his interactive audio designs. Steve was honored with a Grammy award for his engineering work on the compact disc “True Life Blues, the Songs of Bill Monroe”, winner best Bluegrass album 1996. Mr. Horowitz is the co-author of “The Essential Guide to Game Audio: The Theory and Practice of Sound for Games” published by Focal press. He studied music composition at the California Institute of the Arts with Morton Subotnik, and has received performance underwriting and commissions from: Meet the Composer, the Lab SF, The Kitchen NYC, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Music at the Anthology (MATA, executive producer Phillip Glass), The Astoria Symphony, the Flux String Quartet, The Guerrilla Composers Collective and the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble. He has also been featured in Bass Player magazine and books The Art of Digital Music and The Guerrilla Guide to the Music Business. Currently living in San Francisco with his wife and son, Steve composes, teaches, plays bass and continues to release strange and beautiful new sounds on an unsuspecting world.

Ryan Ingebritsen

Ryan IngebritsenComposer, sound designer, and electronic performer Ryan Ingebritsen’s music and sound art focus on the multi-dimensional aspects of sound while attaining a degree of clarity and lyricism to permeate and reveal the musical structures he creates. Though grounded with an education of the cannon, Ingebritsen’s music stands with both feet firmly planted in the 21st. Challenging performers to extend beyond themselves into the realm of interaction with visual, electronic, and natural experience, his music provides audiences a window to observe our multi-dimensional universe through the interplay and interaction of sound.
A graduate of St. Olaf College (B.M. 1995) and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (M.M. 2000), and a 2000-2001 Fulbright Scholar in Poland where he studied under the tutelage of composer Zbigniew Bujarski and composer/audio artist Marek Choloniewski. Since then he has appeared on international festivals and created music for various mediums in Chicago and abroad such as the MATA and Tune In festivals in New York City, Ingenuity Festival in Cleveland, and Audio Art Festival in Poland to name a few.   

Recent composition projects include Songpath:
a compositionally guided sound tour of the Minnesota State Parks; Audio
Playground: an interactive playground sound installation commissioned by the Chicago Park District; Train
Time: a collaborative sound installation on the theme of trains for Chicago’s state of the art J. Pritzker Pavilion sound system as a part of the 2008 Chicago Humanities Festival; New
Painting: a collaboration with 4 composers, International Contemporary Ensemble, and collaborative visual artists the Zhou Brothers.  He has collaborated with artists such as Todd Reynolds, International Contemporary Ensemble, Third Coast Percussion, Beta Collide, Firewire, Till by Turring, Gold Sparkle and Stars Like Fleas.  In 2011, he began an ongoing collaboration with movement artist Erica Mott that has resulted in several movement based interactive works including the Victory Project (2011) and the Vikings and Cowboys Project 2012) with future collaborations in the works.
As a sound designer and engineer, he has worked with groups such as Grammy award winning ensemble eighth blackbird, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and has premiered works by Steve Reich (Pulitzer Prize willing Double Sextet), David Lang, Julia Wolf, Michael Gordon, Steve Mackey and Rinde Eckert (Slide).  Ryan recently designed sound for the Tune In festival at the Park Avenue Armory including the New York premier of John Luther Adams’ Iniksuit as well as for the 2011 Reich 75th birthday celebration in Millennium Park.
Ingebritsen was recently awarded an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Composition as well as the Mc Knight Foundations Visiting Composer Fellowship to produce a new compositionally guided sound tour of a Minnesota State Park during the summer of 2010.  He has also received awards and commissions from CEC Artslink, Chicago Community Trust, and the Chicago Composers Forum.

Matthew Koschak

Matthew Koschak is an acoustical engineer with an extensive background in telecom and professional audio applications. He has over 18 years of product development experience working on multi-disciplinary teams to design and test acoustical systems including microphones, loudspeakers, earphones and mobile devices. 

Utilizing industry standard software such as MatLab, NX Modeling, SoundCheck, Klippel Measurement System, EASE, Pro-Tools, Logic, and Maxwell, he has helped realize dozens of products from concept to production. His project work experience includes everything from transducer design, to specifying and qualifying OEM solutions for acoustic systems, to recording and editing audio.project is the animated feature “Vincent the Artist” for which he is currently writing the songs for the film.

Annie Lesser

Annie, as a photographer, is primarily a live performance documentarian, photojournalist, portrait artist, and event photographer, but she also works in product, trade show, wedding, and branded photography. Her clients have included Vice, iHeartMedia, NY Magazine, Zoom, AT&T, LACMA, Pizza Hut, LA Pride, KPCC, and Gothamist amongst others. Her images have been licensed by Variety, Rolling Stone, Billboard, Goldenvoice, US Weekly, and others.

Hummie Mann

Composer Hummie Mann has collaborated with some of Hollwood’s most celebrated directors.  His feature film scores have ranged from Mel Brooks’ “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” and “Dracula: Dead & Loving It” to Peter Yates’ “Year of the Comet.” He also scored the children’s film “Thomas and the Magic Railroad”, “Wooly Boys” starring Peter Fonda and Kris Kristofferson and the IMAX digital animated film “Cyberworld 3D”.

For television, he has scored projects for Simon Wincer (the miniseries “P.T. Barnum”), Jonathan Kaplan (the miniseries re-make of “In Cold Blood”), Norman Jewison (“Picture Windows – Soir Bleu”), Peter Bogdanovich (“The Rescuers: Tales of Courage – Two Women”), Joe Dante (“Masters of Horror: Homecoming” & “The Second Civil War”), Jim Abrahams (“First Do No Harm”) and Richard Friedenberg (“Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas”).
He was awarded his first Emmy for arranging Billy Crystal’s opening number for the 1992 Oscars and a second Emmy for his original score to an episode of Showtime’s Picture Windows series entitled “Language of the Heart.” He has also been honored with a Distinguished Alumnus Award from his under graduate alma mater Berklee College of Music.

He is the creator and lead instructor of the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program (currently the music department of the Seattle Film Institute) and has taught film composition courses in Scotland, Denmark and China. In 2010 he ran a film composition workshop at the Dakhla Film Festival in Morocco and Variety Magazine listed him as a “Leader in Learning” in its 2010 Education Impact Report.  Last year he received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Salford in Manchester, UK.  His thesis title was “The Temporal and Rhythmic Effect on Musical Composition and Form When Scoring Dramatic Moving Picture”.

His latest composing project is the animated feature “Vincent the Artist” for which he is currently writing the songs for the film.

Daniel McKemie

Daniel McKemie (né Steffey) is an electronic musician, percussionist, and composer based in New York City. Currently, he is focusing on technology that seeks to utilize the internet and browser technology to realize a more accessible platform for multimedia art. He is also researching and developing new ways to interface modular synthesizers to software and vice versa. This recent work has allowed for complex, interactive performance environments to emerge, in which the software generates compositional processes and actions in the form of control voltage generation sent to the synthesizer, and conversely can analyze control voltage signals from the synthesizer to determine future activity.

His music focuses on the boundaries of musical systems, both electronic and acoustic, that are on the verge of collapse. The power in the brittleness of these boundaries, often dictates more than the composer or performers can control, which is very welcomed. In addition to electronic music, Daniel is an active percussionist, having premiered dozens of new works for the repertoire, including many with The William Winant Percussion Group. Active as an instrumental composer, he has written for solo, chamber, mixed media, and radio broadcast formats, and also served as an assistant transcriber and orchestrator for Roscoe Mitchell on pieces from his Conversations collection. 

Daniel has provided music for and worked with a number of different artists and companies in various capacities including: Roscoe Mitchell, New York Deaf Theatre, Pauline Oliveros, Funsch Dance Experience, Ryan Ross Smith, The William Winant Percussion Group Iceland Symphony Orchestra, The Montreal-Toronto Art Orchestra, Nick Wang, Christian Wolff, Bob Ostertag, and Steve Schick, among others. 

Parker Nelson

Parker Nelson is redefining the limits of what the horn can do with innovative programs that include his own original arrangements, transcriptions, techniques, commissions, and new context for standard practices and repertoire. As a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, and educator, Parker actively works with communities both home and abroad to continually expand the cultural, educational, and artistic reach of the 21st century horn player.

Parker is a dynamic soloist and consistently creates new concert and recital programs to highlight his wealth of original arrangements for horn that include unaccompanied horn, horn and piano, and horn with looping pedal. By no means shy of the traditional, Parker has also been a featured soloist in series programs at universities and with orchestras around the country.

As a chamber musician, Parker continues his love of breaking musical boundaries with Chicago’s Fifth House Ensemble, a concert organization that presents innovative programs including collaborations with pop musicians from other cultures, educational partnerships with incarcerated and at-risk youth, and the world’s first audience-interactive video game concert.

Parker is an active educator, currently serving as High Brass Instructor for the Ravinia Festival’s El Sistema program, Horn Instructor at numerous high schools and previously serving as the Educational Programming Coordinator for Fifth House Ensemble. Parker is also a faculty member at the Fresh Inc Festival, maintains a private studio, and is always interested in new opportunities to teach at any level.

Parker also continues to play frequently with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, and the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, among many others.

Parker received a Master of Music degree with distinction in Horn Performance from DePaul University, and received a Bachelor of Music degree from Boston University. Parker’s primary instructors have been Eric Ruske, James Smelser, and Dale Clevenger.

Brian Pertl

Brian Pertl is an improviser, ethnomusicologist, and is currently the Dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music. He is passionate about reframing the conventions of a classical music education, and classical music performance. He has staged musical events inside racquetball courts, stairwells, sandstone canyons, and cedar forests. His piece, Land of Snows, for Tibetan horn, didjeridu, conch shell trumpet, and harmonic singing, was recorded in the Dan Harpole Cistern in Port Townsend Washington which boasts a 45 second reverb. Pauline Oliveros requested that Brian perform the piece with her on her 80 birthday concert at Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Renssalaer. Trained as a trombonist, Brian also plays the didjeridu, Tibetan horns, and many other instruments from around the world. Brian and his wife Leila co-teach the Deep Listening Lab at Lawrence University lead creativity workshops and retreats in a wide variety of settings from hallway houses to corporate board rooms.

Leila Ramagopal Pertl

Leila Ramagopal Pertl is a creator, collaborator, innovator, and improviser who firmly believes that music is a human birthright. Everything she does stems from that profound belief. Her collaborative compositions are designed to help all participants rediscover their inner musicianship through shared musical creation. All participants leave knowing that their voices were absolutely critical in creating a transformational work that never existed before. Leila is one of 6 International Deep Listening certification instructors, teaches in the Music Education Department at Lawrence University, and has created and led two innovative music programs in elementary schools where every student drums, sings, dances, composes and improvises. As the Music Education Curator for the Mile of Music Festival in Appleton Wisconsin. Leila and her team lead 60 hands-on music-making events for the 75,000 visitors. She is the Wisconsin Music Education Association Chair for Composition and Improvisation and was recently appointed to the Smithsonian Folkways International Music Education Committee.

Michael Rohd

Michael Rohd is founding artistic director of 17 year-old ensemble-based Sojourn Theatre. He recently accepted a Professorship at Arizona State University’s Herberger Insititute for Design & Art, where he, Liz Lerman and Daniel Bernard Romain are launching a think tank/action space called the The Ensemble Lab. He is author of the widely translated book Theatre for Community, Conflict, and Dialogue.  

He leads the Center for Performance and Civic Practice, where current projects include The Catalyst Initiative, a national program supported by The Andrew Mellon Foundation, and Local Landscapes, through which he is currently collaborating with Arts Councils at the State and Local level around the US.

In 2015, he received an Otto Rene Castillo award for Political Theater and The Robert Gard Foundation Award for Excellence. He was the 2013-2016 Doris Duke Artist-in-Residence at Lookingglass Theater Company in Chicago. Recent/Current projects include leading a two year Sojourn Artist-in-Residence collaboration with Catholic Charities USA poverty reduction sites around the US; a Sojourn partnership with Planning Commissions around the country utilizing civic practice in public engagement settings to help communities deal with difficult conversations and resource allotment; and, collaborating with theaters and universities around the country to mount locally specific projects based on Sojourn’s model performance/engagement process/production How To End Poverty in 90 Minutes.

Benjamin Sabey

Benjamin Sabey USEBenjamin Sabey writes music that has been described by Gramophone as revealing, “a brilliant technique and a keen ear for sound, timbre and arc.” With performances by the Arditti Quartet, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, New York New Music Ensemble and many others, his music appears on the Albany and Fleur do Son record labels. Recent awards include a Barlow Commission for the Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart and the Royaumont Prize of Domaine Forget in Paris. He has recently been a featured composer at the Ultraschall Festival in Berlin and the SoundOn and NWEAMO Festivals in San Diego. Benjamin Sabey holds a PhD from the University of California, San Diego where he studied primarily with Roger Reynolds.

John Scanlon

Accomplished media professional with more than 20 years experience in audio and video systems design and integration, audio engineering, project management, education, sales, event, and multi-media production. Certifications include ProTools Expert in music, post, and ICON, as well as Avid certified instructor and Media Composer. Strong leadership, organization, management, and people skills, with the ability to motivate others and achieve positive results. Experience supervising large numbers of employees across multiple disciplines, and managing budgets for multiple departments. Expertise in professional audio recording systems, A/V Design and integration of recording studios and classroom environments, and curriculum development. Highly adaptable with the ability to quickly problem solve, and direct diverse teams of employees focused on different projects simultaneously. Freelance work on numerous different full-length albums and DVD projects in the role of producer, engineer, and assistant engineer, with artists such as Ozomatli, Michael Franti and Spearhead, and Crown City Rockers, as well as numerous other projects for radio and T.V. including Sammy Hagar, Ben Harper, Dave Grohl, Tori Amos, Widespread Panic, Hoobastank, Disturbed, Three Doors Down, Tears for Fears, Jimmy Eat World, and Jack Johnson to name a few.

Specialties: AV and Recording Studio Design and Integration, Project Management, Music Engineering, Audio Post Production, ProTools Certified Instructor-ICON Mixer-Expert Music-Expert Post, Education, Purchasing, Independent online distribution and promotion.

Donovan Seidle

Donovan Seidle is a versatile musician, working steadily as composer, arranger, orchestrator, violinist, teacher and coach.

He holds a BMus in Performance and Composition from the University of Calgary (studio of Edmond Agopian, violin; and William Jordan, composition) and a MMus in Performance from Northwestern University (Roland and Almita Vamos, violin).

Since 2003, he has served as one of the three concertmasters of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, which has included soloing and new works commissions. He is an active participant in the municipal artistic community, participating regularly in chamber ensembles and multi-disciplinary projects outside of the orchestra, including having been the Artistic Director of Calgary’s own Kensington Sinfonia for 13 years. He travels to contribute with the I Musici Chamber Orchestra of Montreal, and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Past projects have included the inaugural YouTube Symphony Orchestra project at Carnegie Hall, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, amongst numerous recording sessions, summer festivals and guest-solo spots locally and internationally.

Donovan continues to be a commissioned composer/arranger writing for various media. He has successfully delivered original commissions to several orchestras, produced soundtracks for television and film, live theatre, orchestra shows, and the concert stage; and spent his 09/10 sabbatical from the Philharmonic as Associate Music Director for the Emmy Award-winning ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

Donovan encourages his students to set, check and evaluate goals regularly in order to succeed in hitting targets, emphasizing structure and processes. He is enthusiastic about incorporating new technology into the practice room including regular recording (video and audio); audio analysis (pitch recognition and tempo manipulation for analysis); motion capture and VR, and more.

Paul Wang

Paul Wang is an associate professor in the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program at Northwestern University.  Paul specializes in marketing strategy and other customer relationship issues.  His work addresses the issue of how marketers can take advantage of arts and crafts education to add value to their products and services.  The primary focus is on how companies can create stronger relationships with their customers by providing them with benefits that are especially relevant to their specific needs and wants. He obtained a Ph.D. in communications studies and an M.S. in advertising from Northwestern University.