picture of Cali School

Theory / Composition


Scott Davenport Richards
Associate Professor
Composition
Musical Theatre
973-655-2099
Chapin G46
richardssc@montclair.edu
Scott Richards – Website
Bio

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.

Aaron Helgeson

Aaron Helgeson
Associate Professor
Music Theory/Composition Area Coordinator.
helgesona@montclair.edu
Aaron Helgeson – Website

Bio

Aaron Helgeson uses transcription, adaptation, and collage to find new ways of engaging with old musical traditions. Described by Cleveland Classical as “eerily beautiful” and the New York Times as “virtuoso display and engaging instrumental drama,” Helgeson’s music has received awards from institutions like the Aaron Copland Foundation, the Barlow Endowment, ASCAP, and American Composers Forum. In 2016, he received an Ohio Arts Council Award for his Snow Requiem, an “anti-cantata” combining fragments of Norwegian-American folk music with sonifications of weather data, orchestral tone clusters, wordless vocal chorales, and percussive noise. His upcoming choral cycle, The Book of Never, for Grammy Award winning chorus The Crossing collages ancient hymns from the Novgorod Codex (a medieval book of Ukrainian psalm chant covered up with heretical sermons by an excommunicated Pagan missionary) and contemporary texts by writers in various states of exile. Other recent projects include a set of songs commissioned by soprano Susan Narucki and the Talea Ensemble using fragmented realizations of ancient Occitan troubadour poems, a woodwind quintet for Imani Winds on 19th-century French hunting calls and 20th-century American military signals, and an orchestral overture for Ensemble Dal Niente assembled from scraps of Baroque opera entr’actes and bits of Helgeson’s own previous music. Previously Chair of Composition and Theory at the Longy School of Music of Bard College, he also taught as Assistant Professor of Composition at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, with other visiting appointments at the Hartt School of Performing Arts, University of Chicago, New York University, and the University of California Washington Center. A former Fletcher Jones Dissertation Fellow, he holds degrees in music and theater from the University of California San Diego (PhD, MA) and Oberlin College (BMus, BA).



Nora Bartosik
Adjunct Professor
Music Theory
bartosikn@montclair.edu
Bio

 


Kevin Brown
Adjunct Professor
Music Theory
brownke@montclair.edu
Bio

Kevin Eliot Brown, double bass and baritone, earned his M.M. in double bass performance (classical) and B.M. in Jazz Studies (double bass performance) from the University of North Texas, where he studied with Jeff Bradetich and Fred Hamilton. His performance and recording experience includes appearances with Marvin Hamlisch, Rich Little, Regis Philbin, Joan Rivers, Bob Newhart, Daryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels, David Sanborn, the Drifters, Monkeyworks, Mike Richmond, the Staten Island Symphony, the Capital Philharmonic, Metro Lyric Opera, Orchestra of St. Peter-by-the-Sea, the Paper Mill Playhouse, the New Jersey Pops, and the New Jersey Ballet. He holds faculty positions in the music schools of both Montclair State University and Fairleigh Dickinson University. At MSU, Mr. Brown has taught double bass, Music Theory, Audition Repertoire for double bass, Aural Skills, coached chamber music, taught Intro to Music for nonmajors, and directed the MSU New Music Ensemble. At FDU, Mr. Brown teaches Jazz History, History of Classical Music, World Music, and History of American Popular Music.

Patrick Burns
Adjunct Professor
Composition
Music Theory
burnsp@montclair.edu
Patrick Burns – Website
myspace.com/pjbmusic
Bio
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.


Murat Çolak
Adjunct Professor
Composition
olakm@montclair.edu
Bio



David Crowell
Adjunct Professor
Music Theory
crowelld@montclair.edu
Bio

Max Grafe

Max Grafe
Adjunct Professor
Composition
grafem@montclair.edu

Bio

Max Grafe writes music characterized by “jagged declamations and muffled filigree” (Gramophone) with the aim of striking a distinctive balance between the stylistic immediacy of modernism and the dramatic power of romanticism. Grafe’s music has been performed by a wide range of prominent and emerging ensembles—including the New York Philharmonic, Contemporaneous, ekmeles, Yarn/Wire, Hypercube, and Quince Ensemble—and has been featured at numerous music festivals across the country, including the Tanglewood Music Center, the Resonant Bodies Festival, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, which commissioned his 2018 Quintet. Grafe is a founding member of the New York composer collective ICEBERG New Music, which is preparing to launch its fifth season in collaboration with Bent Knee and Ayanna Witter-Johnson. Grafe’s music appears on commercial recordings by the New York Philharmonic, harpist Emily Levin, and pianists Mika Sasaki and Jenny Lin, and has received recognition from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Tanglewood Music Center, the American Composers Orchestra, BMI, and ASCAP. Grafe has been a member of the music faculties at Hofstra University, the Juilliard School, and the Kaufman Music Center, and holds degrees from the Juilliard School and Indiana University.


Trevor Haughton
Adjunct Professor
Music Theory
Haughtont@montclair.edu

Bio


Michael Mahadeen
Adjunct Professor
Music Theory
mahadeenm@montclair.edu
Bio

Michael Mahadeen is an orchestrator/arranger, conductor, composer, educator, multiple-woodwind instrumentalist, and music engraver in the NY/NJ metropolitan area.  Select Broadway/NYC credits: On the Twentieth Century (Roundabout); The Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes (Radio City); Show Boat (NY Philharmonic).  Film/TV: The Hip Hop Nutcracker (Disney+).  Off-Broadway/Regional: Pamela’s First Musical (Two River Theatre); Hadestown (NYTW); Sweeney Todd (Barrow).  Select orchestrations: Jarrod Spector; Kelli Barrett; Erika Henningsen; Jenn Colella; Eric Petersen; Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra; Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra; Czech Radio Orchestra.  His piece Winter Lights was chosen as the winner of the 2006 Colonial Symphony Composition Contest, and he has written scores to several installments in the Wing Commander video game series.  At its launch in 2022, Michael joined the team at Full Circle Artists as a collaborator, actively orchestrating and arranging shows and concerts for their performing artists.

Michael is a graduate of Montclair State University, recipient of the NJ Distinguished Student Teacher Award, and studied at the New York Conducting Studio under Dr. Gary Fagin.  He serves on the music faculty at Caldwell University, Montclair State University, and Mendham Township School District.  Affiliations: AFM 802, ASCAP, NAfME, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Eagle Scout.  His music is published by Bandworks Publications.



Marla Meissner
Adjunct Professor
Music Theory
973-655-4443
Chapin 450
meissnerm@montclair.edu
Bio

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.



Amir Mortezai
Adjunct Professor
Music Theory
mortezaia@montclair.edu
Bio

Eric Olsen

Eric Olsen
Adjunct Professor
Music Theory
olsene@montclair.edu
Eric Olsen – Website
Bio

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

Amy Reich
Adjunct Professor
Music Theory
reicha@montclair.edu
Bio

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.

Tyler Rubin
Adjunct Professor
Composition
Music Theory
tylerr@montclair.edu
Bio

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.


Joseph Turrin
Adjunct Professor
Composition
turrinj@montclair.edu
Joseph Turrin – Website
Bio

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.



Seth Velez
Adjunct Professor
Music Theory
velezs@montclair.edu
Bio


Connor Elias Way
Adjunct Professor
Music Theory
wayc@montclair.edu
Bio

Connor Elias Way is a composer based in Brooklyn, NY whose music explores resonance through carefully wrought networks of imitative counterpoint and a spectrally informed approach to sonority and timbre. His music has been performed by groups such as the Minnesota Orchestra, Alarm Will Sound, JACK Quartet, Aizuri Quartet, Contemporaneous, Sō Percussion, Arx Duo, Bergamot Quartet, and the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, among others. Current projects include a forthcoming solo marimba work for Jisu Jung and an album-length project for the Irish singer Iarla Ó Lionáird and harpist Parker Ramsey which will premiere in Dublin in October of 2024 thanks to a commission from the Arts Council of Ireland. Connor holds a B.M. from Georgia State University (summa cum laude) and an M.M. from Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University where he was presented with the Gustav Klemm Award in Composition. He is currently a PhD candidate at Princeton University, where he has taught courses in theory and music technology, as well as private composition lessons. In the summer of 2024, Connor will serve as the composer-in-residence at the Luzerne Music Festival.