Associate Professor of Music
Born in Brazil and based in the United States, composer Marcos Balter’s works have been praised by the New York Times as “whimsical” and “surreal,” and the Washington Post as “dark and deeply poetic.” They have been featured worldwide at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to Tokyo Bunka Kaykan. He has received commissions and fellowships from Harvard University’s Fromm Foundation, and the MacArthur, Tanglewood/Leonard Bernstein and Guggenheim Foundations, as well as first prizes in several international competitions. He has been commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, yMusic, Amazonas Filarmonica, Nadia Sirota (viola), Ryan Muncy (saxophone), Peter Evans (trumpet), Claire Chase (flute) and Svet Stoyanov (percussion) and others. Artists performing and recording his work include Spektral Quartet, xophone Quartet, ensemble cross.art. Recent collaborators include the rock band Deerhoof, Ensemble Dal Niente, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Chicago Composers Orchestra, Orquestra Experimental da Amazonas Filarmonica, and conductors Steven Schick, Federico Sardella and Mathew Kasper. Mr. Balter holds a doctorate from Northwestern University where his main teachers were Augusta Read Thomas, Amy Williams and Jay Alan Yim. He has also worked with many composers including Pierre Boulez, Elliott Carter and Kaija Saariaho.
Professor of Music
Piano / Theory / Music History
Theory Program Coordinator
Ruth Rendleman was educated at the North Carolina School of the Arts, Manhattan School of Music and Columbia University. She is a specialist in the performance of eighteenth-century music. She has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities for research and studies at the University of Maryland and has served on the faculty of the Aston Magna Performance Institute. She has performed as a solo artist and in chamber recitals throughout the New York metropolitan area. Her tours abroad have included performances in Korea, China (where she was artist-in-residence at the Shanghai Conservatory) and Australia. In the New York Times, Joseph Horowitz wrote that “The performance showed force and fluency, consistently communicative. Her work had a firmness of design and continuity of emotion.” Her interest in contemporary music led her to commission her colleague, Ting Ho, to write a piano sonata for her. She has received two major commissions from the New Jersey State Arts Council for new piano works. Prof. Rendleman founded Montclair State’s Preparatory Center for the Arts and Stokes Forest Music Camp. She has served as the music coordinator of the New Jersey School of the Arts and served on the board of the College Music Society. She also served as chair of the Committee on the Status of Women for the College Music Society.
Scott Davenport Richards holds a BA degree from Yale University and MFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts. He is a recipient of the Jonathan Larson and Frederick Loewe awards. His works bridge many different forms of music and drama. In spring 2008, Charlie Crosses the Nation (music, libretto, orchestration) was performed by the New York City Opera as part of the VOX festival of new opera and A Thousand Words Come to Mind (written with playwright Michele Lowe) opened at The Zipper Theatre. A Star Across the Ocean, a work for four voices and orchestra, was premiered by the Montclair State University Symphony in 2007, featuring Tony Award-winner Chuck Cooper. His works for children include a number of commissions from Theatreworks USA: Corduroy (music, lyrics, orchestration), Sundiata! The Lion King of Mali (music, lyrics, orchestration), Island of the Blue Dolphins (orchestrations) and Junie B. Jones (orchestration). His play-scores have been heard at resident theatres around the country including The Public, The Old Globe, The Alliance and Madison Repertory Theatre. Highlights include the world premiere of Lee Blessing’s Cobb featuring Oscar Winner, Chris Cooper and Delroy Lindo at The Yale Repertory and the U. S. premiere of Nikos Kazantzakis’s Christopher Columbus at the New Federal Theater. As an actor, Mr. Richards originated the role of Sylvester in the original Broadway production of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Krists Auznieks is a New York based Latvian composer. His quintet was featured in The NewYork Times among the week’s best classical music moments. His opera NeoArctic, co-written with British techno producer Andy Stott, won Danish Reumert Prize and had its US premier atThe Kennedy Center. Recent commissions include works for Atlanta Symphony, Aspen MusicFestival, Capella Amsterdam, Latvian Radio Choir, Contemporaneous, and Sinfonietta Riga. Auznieks’ music has been performed at The Lincoln Center, The Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Royal Danish Theatre, Beijing National Arts Centre, Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw, London’s Southbank Center and featured in Gaudeamus, MATA, World Cultures Festival (Hong Kong),and UNESCO International Rostrum. Recognitions include Jacob Druckman Prize, Latvian Grand Music Award, fellowships from Aspen, Norfolk, Bennington, NEXT festivals, American Academy of Fontainebleau, Hermitage Artist Retreat, Serenbe Institute, and ACO Earshot. He has served on the faculty of Yale School of Music and has taught for NY Philharmonic’s Very Young Composers Program.
Patrick Burns (b. 1969) teaches courses in orchestration, counterpoint, and music composition at the Cali School, and also teaches instrumental music in the Caldwell-West Caldwell Public Schools. His compositions for symphonic band are performed by bands of every level throughout the country. The United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own”, has performed his music in Washington, D.C. and at Carnegie Hall. His music has also been performed at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago. He has been featured as guest conductor and clinician with public school, community, university and honor bands in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia and has recorded and, as director of Imperial Brass, has concertized with world-renowned brass artists Philip Smith, Warren Vache, Roger Webster and Chris Jaudes. Patrick’s music has appeared on Bandworld magazine’s Top 100 list of band compositions twice and is published by G. Schirmer, Daehn Publications, FJH Music Company, Wingert-Jones Music and TRN Music Publisher. The Instrumentalist and School Music News have also printed favorable reviews of Mr. Burns’ band music and The Classical New Jersey Society Journal has praised his chamber music. His music can be heard at his websites.
Recent compositions by Chin draw inspiration from the narratives of film and literature, phonetic structures in text, and the use of idiosyncratic transcription and conversion methods that enable imaginative exploration of pre-existent musics. His works have been performed in South, Central and North America, in Israel, Hong Kong and in Europe. He has been commissioned by Ensemble Recherche, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), members of the Anubis Quartet, and Ensemble Dal Niente, among others. His music has also been performed by artists including Chicago Composers Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of Heredia, Ostravská Banda, Donatienne Michel-Dansaq, Pierre-Stéphane Meugé, Marino Formenti, Claire Chase, Eric Lamb, Gan Lev and Marcuss Weiss. Chin earned a doctoral degree in composition from Northwestern University under the mentorship of Hans Thomalla, Jay Alan Yim and Aaron Cassidy. Chin is also co-founder and artistic director of the Fonema Consort and his music has been featured in recent albums under New Focus Recordings and Parlour Tapes+ labels.
Nathan Davis “writes music that deals deftly and poetically with timbre and sonority” (NYTimes). He has received commissions from Donaueschinger Musiktage, International Contemporary Ensemble, American Opera Projects, Tanglewood, Calder Quartet, Yarn/Wire, Steven Schick, Claire Chase, Miller Theatre and the Ojai Festival. His opera/ballet “Hagoromo” premiered at the BAM Next Wave Festival. Lincoln Center presented “Bells” for ensemble, multi-channel audio, and live diffusion broadcast through a conference system to audience members’ mobile phones. Other performances have been presented at Mostly Mozart Festival, Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, the Park Avenue Armory, The Kitchen, Roulette, Darmstadt, Helsinki Musica Nova and Acht Brücken Köln. Davis was a fellow at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France, and received awards from Meet The Composer, Fromm Foundation at Harvard, Copland Fund, Jerome Foundation, American Music Center, MATA and ASCAP. CDs of his music include “The Bright and Hollow Sky” and “On the Nature of Thingness”. An active percussionist, he is a member of ICE and has appeared as a concerto soloist with the Seattle Symphony, Tokyo Symphony and Nagoya Philharmonic. A dedicated instructor, Davis served on the faculty at Dartmouth College for eight years. He holds degrees from Yale, Rice and the Rotterdam Conservatorium, with a Fulbright Fellowship.
A native of Queens, NY, Christina Lee is currently pursuing a PhD in music theory at the CUNY Graduate Center with a concentration in Schenkerian Analysis and the music of Paul Hindemith. She has received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Mannes College of Music, where she majored in both piano performance and music theory. Upon graduation, Ms. Lee was named a Presser Scholar and received the Felix Salzer Techniques of Music Award. She has given papers at the Mannes Graduate Theory Conference and studied theory with Carl Schachter, Robert Cuckson, Joseph Straus and Bill Rothstein. A pianist, Ms. Lee studies with Yuri Kim and has performed in master classes given by Richard Goode, Robert McDonald, Oxana Yablonskaya and Claude Frank. She was also an active member of the New Music ensembles at Mannes and was able to perform under such composers as Lowell Lieberman and Derek Bermel. In addition to teaching at Montclair, Ms. Lee also serves as an adjunct professor on the Juilliard Pre-College faculty.
Nate May is a composer, performer, and educator whose interest in human ecosystems has impelled explorations of a wide variety of sounds and interactions. He is an accomplished keyboardist and improviser as well as an electronic musician and producer, collaborating with Paris-based choreographer Wanjiru Kamuyu on the world-touring work Spiral and South African indigenous experimental trio Khoi Khonnexion on their debut album Kalahari Waits. His chamber, choral, and orchestral music, characterized by textural intricacy, rhythmic drive, and repurposed sounds, has been performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Dal Niente, Wild UP, the Yale Philharmonia, Patchwork Duo, and many others. Currently a doctoral candidate in composition at Yale, he holds degrees from Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (M.M., Composition) and the University of Michigan (B.F.A., Jazz and Contemplative Studies), and has studied with Aaron Jay Kernis, David Lang, Christopher Theofanidis, Geri Allen, Stephen Rush, and Michael Fiday. He serves as a teaching artist with the American Composers Orchestra and on faculty at the Walden School, where he was awarded the 2018 Arno and Ruth Drucker Faculty Chair.
Coordinator of Theory
Director, Preparatory Center for the Arts
Marla Meissner holds degrees from Ithaca College (BM), Montclair State University (MA), and New York University (PhD). Her training includes electronic music composition studies with Peter Rothbart; acoustic music composition with Ting Ho and Ruth Schonthal; saxophone studies with David Henderson, Steven Mauk and Daniel Trimboli; music theory and analysis studies with Lawrence Ferrara, John Gilbert and Marc Holland. She has studied and has extensive knowledge of the music and performance practices of the Lenape Indian. Her CD, Selections from the Kaleidoscope, was released in 1999. Dr. Meissner’s compositional output includes an eclectic variety of electronic, electroacoustic and traditional compositions for various types of instrumental ensembles as well as film soundtracks, theater music, rock and jazz compositions. Her music has been performed in various venues including Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall and New York City’s Angelika Film Center.
Eric Olsen (MM, Jazz Studies, Indiana University, MM, Piano Performance, Indiana University, BM in Piano Performance with an Organ Minor, Syracuse University) is distinguished as both a classical and jazz pianist, organist, composer and conductor. Mr. Olsen is Music Director and Organist at Union Congregational Church in Montclair, where he has conducted numerous major works with chamber orchestras, featuring musicians from the New Jersey Symphony. He has composed classical works for chorus, piano and organ, and jazz works for various ensembles. He has performed as a classical and jazz pianist at Carnegie Hall, Birdland, the Knitting Factory, and overseas in France, Germany, New Zealand and India. Mr. Olsen has recorded six classical albums and four jazz albums and has worked with many outstanding jazz and classical artists, including Eliot Zigmund, George Garzone, Glenn Davis, Ed Cherry, David N. Baker, Bucky Pizzarelli and Kevin Maynor. His latest recording is Dyad, a duo album with saxophonist Lou Caimano. Paquito D’Rivera, Grammy-winning saxophonist and composer, says of Dyad: “Caimano and Olsen go back and forth through the too often forbidden borders between Classical and Jazz, with the ease of a couple of North-Mexican coyotes crossing the Rio Grande.” Mr. Olsen has been a featured soloist with the Livingston Symphony, the Central Jersey Symphony and the Orchard Park Symphony. He has been a featured jazz performer at the AT&T, Berk’s and Asbury Park Jazz Festivals.
Amy Reich holds a BFA from New England Conservatory and a PhD from Harvard University. Her principal teachers were William Thomas McKinley, Earl Kim and Leon Kirchner. Her compositions have been performed throughout the U.S. and Europe, including performances by the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, the Cleveland Chamber Collective, Dinosaur Annex, Josquin Cage, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Green Umbrella Chamber Series, Composers in Red Sneakers (of which Ms. Reich was a founding member), Ciao! Intergenerational Orchestra, and the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey. Ms. Reich has received grants and fellowships from Meet-the-Composer, the Massachusetts Council on the Arts, the American Harp Society, Harvard University. and the Tanglewood Music Center.
DM R (Diana M. Rodriguez) was born and raised in Bogotá, has lived in Miami and Boston, and is currently based in NYC. She is a composer of electroacoustic music, a concert series curator (C3 and CanvaSound), and a 90s anime aficionado. Having its footholds in pop culture, Colombian folk, and Rock en Español, her work has been presented by artists like ICE, Yarn Wire, ECCE Ensemble, Ludovico Ensemble, Boston Musica Viva, Berrow Duo, Eric Drescher and Josh Modney at the BANFF Centre for the Arts and Creativity, the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, the Boston Conservatory, University of North Colorado, the Coral Gables Museum, and the New England Conservatory. Currently a doctoral candidate at Columbia University, DM R holds a master’s degree from the Boston Conservatory and a bachelor’s degree from the New World School of the Arts at the University of Florida. Her ongoing projects include collaborations with TAK ensemble, Oasi Trio, and Alejandro Guardia.
Tyler J. Rubin is a NYC/NJ based composer, copyist, and music educator. Rubin’s music lives at the intersection of opera and musical theatre. His works include Ten Minutes in the Life or Death of… and I Celebrate (libretti by Marella Martin Koch), How To Create A Young Girl (libretto by Laura Barati), and most recently, Nightlife (libretto by Deepali Gupta), praised for its “deft combination of sultry jazz and angular modernism” (National Sawdust) which premiered at the Stonewall Inn as part of a collaboration between NYU and American Opera Projects for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. His compositions have been performed in NYC at St. Luke’s Theatre, Don’t Tell Mama, the PIT Loft, the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning and the Celemente Soto Velez Cultural Center as well as Columbia University, New York University, Muhlenberg College, and Montclair State University. He obtained his M.F.A. at NYU Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program and his B.M. in Music Theory/Composition with a concentration in clarinet from Montclair State University where he studied under Scott Davenport Richards, Robert Livingston Aldridge, and David Singer.
A choral musician for over a decade, Sedek completed his master’s degree in music at Montclair State’s Cali School of Music in 2009 and is pursuing a PhD at Rutgers University. He is on the choral and theory faculties at the Cali School of Music, where he serves as assistant conductor for choirs and visiting professor of theory and aural skills. Sedek is also an award-winning composer of choral and orchestral music, and Montclair State University’s University Singers have premiered his music in Kasser Theater, the Cathedral Basilica in Newark, Providence, RI, and the choral ensemble Vocal Accord gave his work She Walks in Beauty its European premiere this past summer as the group toured Austria & Italy. Martin also sings professionally throughout the New York-New Jersey area and maintains a private teaching studio.
Joseph Turrin is active as a composer, orchestrator, conductor, pianist and teacher. He studied composition at the Eastman School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. His works have been performed by the New York Philharmonic, St. Martin-in-the-Fields Academy Orchestra. Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, Baltimore Symphony, Gewandhaus-orchester (Leipzig, Germany) and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Turrin has appeared as a conductor with the Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New Orleans, Detroit and New Jersey Symphonies; he has performed as a pianist on many recordings and as orchestral pianist for the New Jersey Symphony. His compositions for film and theater include scores for Alan Alda’s film A New Life, Little Darlings, Weeds (with Nick Nolte), Tough Guys Don’t Dance (Directed by Norman Mailer), Verna-USO Girl (with Sissy Spacek and William Hurt and nominated for three Emmy Awards), Nightmare on Elm Street 3, Kingdom of Shadows (narrated by Rod Steiger), Broken Blossoms (1919 silent film classic directed by D.W. Griffith, starring Lillian Gish) and for the restoration of the silent film classic Sadie Thompson. Other silent film classics that he has scored include, Diary of a Lost Girl, Intolerance and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. His work in musical theater includes performances on Broadway with Michael Feinstein as well as the score for Frankie, with a libretto by Broadway legend George Abbott.