The Peabody Composition Department is pleased to announce a new initiative, “Virtual Residencies” featuring performers and ensembles regarded among the most influential in the contemporary music field. Composition majors will have the opportunity to compose new works for solo violin, cello, percussion, piano, clarinet, saxophone, French horn, electric guitar, and piano, as well as chamber music pieces for the Talea Ensemble (US), Omnibus Ensemble (Uzbekistan), and vocal ensembles at Peabody. The performers, based in the US, Europe, and Central Asia, will be giving workshops, seminars, and recording sessions during the Fall semester.

Avenue Azure in performanceAvenue Azure: Saskia Lankhoorn and Pete Harden, Piano and Electric Guitar

Pete Harden’s (electric guitar) and Saskia Lankhoorn’s (piano) 15-year shared history of playing and touring together, principally with Ensemble Klang, inspires their duo Avenue Azure. They created an initial set, comprising ‘almost-songs’, works that trace landscapes, cities and seas, atmospheres from other worlds, music of transition, ungrounded in time, that is at once familiar and unfamiliar, shrouding the listener in a dark comfort.

“… a virtuoso of contemporary music…” (New York Times) Saskia Lankhoorn is an active soloist and chamber musician. Her solo album on ECM Records, featuring a suite of piano works by Kate Moore, was nominated for the Edison Award. Her performances which combine commissioned new music with striking light and sound design, have been featured at festivals such as Punkt (Norway), Apples & Olives (Switzerland) and the Ankara Piano Festival (Turkey).

Pete Harden has been working as a guitarist and composer in the Netherlands since studying composition with Louis Andriessen from 2000-3. Works for concert and dance have been called “a beautiful, brilliant highlight” ( and forming “a phantasmagorical folio” (Libération). As a guitarist he performs with contemporary chamber ensembles including ASKO | Schoenberg (NL), Red Note Ensemble (UK), and I Solisti (BE).

They are both founding members of Ensemble Klang, for whom Pete Harden is artistic director. The ensemble performs across the Netherlands and internationally, with noted performances at festivals such as Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Cultural Olympiad UK 2012 and Sonic Festival in New York.

David Byrd-MarrowDavid Byrd-Marrow, French Horn

Atlanta native David Byrd-Marrow is the Solo hornist of the International Contemporary Ensemble, a new music collective that performs internationally and serves as ensemble-in-residence at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival. Working with a uniquely wide range of performers, he has premiered works by Matthias Pintscher, Arthur Kampela, George Lewis, Tyshawn Sorey, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Du Yun, Marcos Balter, Wang Lu, Kate Soper, Nicholas Deyoe, Miguel Zenón, and Chick Corea. He has performed at festivals including the Ojai Music Festival, Bay Chamber Concerts, the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Tanglewood Music Center, the Brevard Music Center and as faculty at the Banff Music Centre. Formerly a member of Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect, he has also made appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Decoda, the Atlanta and Tokyo symphony orchestras, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, the Washington National Opera and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He has recorded on many labels including Tundra, More Is More, Nonesuch, EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, and Naxos. Mr. Byrd-Marrow received his Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School and Master of Music from Stony Brook University.

David is the Assistant Professor of Horn at the Lamont School of Music at The University of Denver.

Tim FainTim Fain, Violin

With his adventuresome spirit and vast musical gifts, violinist Tim Fain has earned a reputation as a mesmerizing presence on the music scene. The violinist with a “honeyed tone, spectacular technique and engrossing musicality” (Los Angeles Times), was seen on screen and heard on the Grammy nominated soundtrack to the film Black Swan, can be heard on the soundtrack to Moonlight, Glass, Indignation, Free State of Jones and gave “voice” to the violin of the lead actor in the hit film 12 Years a Slave, as he did with Richard Gere’s violin in the film Bee Season. Fain captured the Avery Fisher Career Grant and launched his career with Young Concert Artists.

He electrified audiences in performances with the Pittsburgh, Chautauqua, and Cabrillo and Baltimore (both with Marin Alsop) Symphonies, at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and with the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Fain has also appeared with the Mexico City, Tucson, and Cincinnati Chamber Symphonies, Brooklyn, Buffalo and Hague Philharmonics, National Orchestra of Spain (with conductor Dennis Russell Davies), London Contemporary Orchestra (at the Barbican) and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in a special performance at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center. In addition, he was the featured soloist with the Philip Glass Ensemble at Carnegie Hall in a concert version of Einstein on the Beach and continues to tour the US and Europe in a duo-recital program with Philip Glass.

He co-created Light, with Jacob Marshall, for Forbes as the first ever virtual reality experience sync-ed to a live musical performance, and collaborated with director Jessica Brillhart and Google on Resonance, a 360VR music film for which he composed the score and performed throughout on camera. Tim has written and performed music for numerous other films and VR experiences, and collaborated with artists such as Leonard Cohen, Justin Vernon, Rahzel, Richard Goode, Darren Aronofsky, Lou Reed, and Christina Aguilera.

Chris GrossChris Gross, Cello

Cellist Christopher Gross‘ performances have been praised by The New York Times (“beautifully meshed readings….lustrous tone”) and The Strad Magazine (“…the tone of Gross’ cello enveloped the crowd [as he] showed energy and intonational accuracy, even when racing around the fingerboard”). He is a founding member of the Talea Ensemble, a member of the Da Capo Chamber Players, and has appeared at venues and festivals throughout the US and Europe including Weill Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Disney Hall, Darmstadt Festival, Mostly Mozart Festival, Wien Modern, the Composers Conference and many others. As a soloist and ensemble member his premieres of new works are numerous, including works by Pierre Boulez, Milton Babbitt, Charles Wuorinen, Georg Friedrich Haas, Brian Ferneyhough, Olga Neuwirth, James Dillon, Augusta Read Thomas, and many others. He has appeared on recordings on various labels, including Bridge, New Focus, Tzadik, and New World. As an orchestral musician, he has played with the New York Philharmonic and the Riverside Symphony. An active educator, he is a Teaching Artist with the New York Philharmonic and has given classes and lectures at Harvard University, Columbia University, Peabody Conservatory, Sydney Conservatory, Cleveland Cello Society, Brooklyn College, and the Walnut Hill School for the Arts. He is also the creator of Cello Solos Today, which commissions new works for young cellists and creates online educational resources. He received his doctoral degree from Juilliard in New York and teaches at Lehigh University, where he was the university’s Horger Artist-in-Residence in 2016-17.

Ross KarreRoss Karre, Percussion

Ross Karre (b. 1983 in Battle Creek, MI) is a percussionist, documentarian, and projection designer based in New York City. After completing his Doctorate in Music at UCSD with Steven Schick, Ross formalized his intermedia studies with a Master of Fine Arts from UCSD. He is a percussionist and artistic director of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and has performed regularly with red fish blue fish, Third Coast Percussion (Chicago), and Yarn/Wire (NYC). His projection design work has been presented all over the world in prestigious venues such as the BBC Scotland, the Park Avenue Armory, the Kennedy Center, and the National Gallery of Art. His most recent release, 10.67 Cycles, features the music of Ashley Fure and Pauline Oliveros and is available on Bandcamp.

OmnibusOmnibus Ensemble

Omnibus Ensemble is a pioneer for contemporary music in Central Asia. Founded in 2004 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, by young musicians under the artistic leadership of composer and conductor Artyom Kim, Omnibus today is a worldwide recognized collective, with its unique voice. From the very beginning, the key concept of the group was to play music, which has never been played before in Central Asia, and to present the widest possible spectrum of phenomena and processes in the world new music to the Central Asian audience. The years of work in artistic and educational projects, in collaboration with outstanding artists from Europe and America, created Omnibus’ reputation of a platform, where Innovation meets Tradition, and East meets West.

All projects of the ensemble are based on the “Method for Collective Resonance Composing” – the unique system of structuring the creative process within the group of artists. The Method manifests a belief that future artistic discoveries will happen not in the domain of technology, but in the domain of spirituality, proposing the practical tools for embodying this belief into physical results.

In 2019 Omnibus has received a prestigious international “Aga Khan Music Award” for its educational activities.

The project “Omnibus/Peabody 2020” is the second edition of the collaboration between Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University and Omnibus Ensemble.

Heather RocheHeather Roche, Clarinet

Recently referred to as “The Queen of Multiphonics” and “a figurehead for contemporary music performance practice” on BBC Radio 3, Heather Roche appears regularly at European festivals, including LCMF, Acht Brücken, Wittener Tage, Musica Nova, MusikFest, HCMF etc. She was a founding member of ensemble hand werk, and currently plays with Apartment House (London). She has a duo with the accordionist, Eva Zöllner. She has also worked with Musikfabrik (Cologne), the WDR (Cologne), the LSO, the London Sinfonietta, etc. She wrote her doctoral thesis at the University of Huddersfield. Her blog on writing for the clarinet attracts 90,000 viewers each year. She is also reviews editor of TEMPO, published by Cambridge University Press, and teaches clarinet at Goldsmiths University, London. Her debut solo CD, Ptelea, is out on HCR/NMC, and her CD featuring the clarinet works of Christopher Fox, Headlong, appears on Métier. She also records regularly for Another Timbre.

Talea EnsembleTalea Ensemble

Heralded as “a crucial part of the New York cultural ecosphere” by the New York Times, the Talea Ensemble’s mission is to champion musical creativity, cultivate curious listeners, and bring visionary new works to life with vibrant performances that remain in the audience’s imagination long after a concert.

Recipients of the 2014 Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, Talea has brought to life more than 40 commissions of major new works since it was founded in 2008. Talea has helped introduce NYC audiences to important works of such esteemed composers as Pierre Boulez, Georg Friedrich Haas, Steve Coleman, Olga Neuwirth, Unsuk Chin, and Hans Abrahamsen.

Praised for their “verve and immaculate virtuosity” by the Washington Post, Talea is sought after both in the U.S. and Europe for its range, precision, risk-taking, and superior performance quality. Recent festival engagements include performances at Lincoln Center Festival, Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, the Fromm Concerts at Harvard University, Warsaw Autumn Festival, Wien Modern, Vancouver New Music, and many more.

The ensemble has also partnered with institutions from across disciplines, such as the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, the City of Ideas Festival in Mexico, or the Storm King Art Center. Talea’s recordings have been distributed worldwide on the Kairos, Wergo, Gravina Musica, Tzadik, Innova, and New World Records labels, and been broadcast on ORF (Austria), HRF (Germany), and WQXR’s Q2.

Talea assumes an ongoing role in supporting a new generation of composers, and has undertaken residencies in music departments at Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, New York University, and many others.

Conrad TaoConrad Tao, Piano

Conrad Tao has appeared worldwide as a pianist and composer, and has been dubbed a musician of “probing intellect and open-hearted vision” by The New York Times, who also cited him “one of five classical music faces to watch” in the 2018-19 season. Tao is a recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, and was named a Gilmore Young Artist—an honor awarded every two years highlighting the most promising American pianists of the new generation. At the 2019 New York Dance and Performance Award (“Bessies”), Tao was the recipient of the award for Outstanding Sound Design / Music Composition, for his work on More Forever, his collaboration with Caleb Teicher.

A Warner Classics recording artist, Tao’s debut disc Voyages was declared a “spiky debut” by The New Yorker’s Alex Ross. Of the album, NPR wrote: “Tao proves himself to be a musician of deep intellectual and emotional means – as the thoughtful programming on this album…proclaims.” His next album, Pictures, with works by David Lang, Toru Takemitsu, Elliott Carter, Mussorgsky, and Tao himself, was hailed by The New York Times as “a fascinating album [by] a thoughtful artist and dynamic performer…played with enormous imagination, color and command.” His latest album, American Rage, was released to acclaim in Fall 2019 and features works by Julia Wolfe, Frederic Rzewski and Aaron Copland. Conrad’s creative process behind the album was highlighted as part of a November 2019 profile in The New York Times.

Tao was born in Urbana, Illinois, in 1994. He has studied piano with Emilio del Rosario in Chicago and Yoheved Kaplinsky in New York, and composition with Christopher Theofanidis.

Beth WillerBeth Willer, Choral Conductor – Peabody Vocal Ensembles

Noted for her “directorial command” and “technical expertise,” conductor Beth Willer is recognized as a bold, 21st-century artist with her finger on the pulse of the vocal ensemble art. Her commitment to expanding and deepening the repertoire for vocal ensembles through creative collaboration and culturally-relevant programming can be seen in her work with professional and student ensembles alike. A champion of new music, Willer frequently collaborates with established and emerging composers, including significant projects with David Lang, Julia Wolfe, George Benjamin, Kati Agócs, Kareem Roustom, James Kallembach, Shawn Kirchner, and Jessica Meyer.

As founder and artistic director of Boston’s Lorelei Ensemble, Willer has led the octet to international acclaim, performing at celebrated venues across the country, including Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tanglewood Music Center, and Boston’s Symphony Hall. Committed to fulfilling Lorelei’s mission to elevate and expand the repertoire for women’s voices, she frequently initiates collaborations with composers from the U.S. and abroad, leading the ensemble in more than 60 world, U.S., and regional premieres since its founding. Nationwide performances in 2019-20 featured the world premiere of Jessica Meyer’s I long and seek after (winner of the 2019 Chorus America Dale Warland Commissioning Award). Recent recordings include David Lang’s love fail (Cantaloupe, 2020) and Impermanence (Sono Luminus, 2018) featuring motets of Guillaume Du Fay, selections from the Turin Manuscript and the Codex Calixtinus, and the premiere recording of Peter Gilbert’s Tsukimi.

Lorelei Ensemble maintains a robust national touring schedule, including recent collaboration with Grammy-nominated ensembles A Far Cry and Cantus. In 2020-21, Lorelei Ensemble is proud to present the world premiere of Julia Wolfe’s Her Story,  in performances with five co-commissioning orchestras: the Nashville Symphony (Giancarlo Guerrero), the San Francisco Symphony (Guerrero), the Chicago Symphony (Marin Alsop), the National Symphony Orchestra (Gianandrea Noseda), and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Guerrero). Written for Lorelei Ensemble to commemorate the centennial of the 1920 ratification of the 19th Amendment, Her Story is the latest in a series of Wolfe’s compositions highlighting monumental and turbulent moments in American history and culture. Additional Lorelei appearances in 2020-21 include The National Gallery, Eastman School of Music, Princeton University, Duke University, and a performance of Holst’s The Planets at the Tanglewood Music Center with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Thomas Adès). Future projects include work with choreographer Renée Jaworski (Pilobolus), Grammy-nominated composer Christopher Cerrone, video artist Hannah Wasileski, and a trio of composer-performers: Ken Thomson (Bang on a Can), Nathalie Joachim (Eighth Blackbird), and Jason Treuting (Sō Percussion).

As guest conductor, Willer has been privileged to lead premiere ensembles from across the country, including performances with Seraphic Fire, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, New York Baroque Incorporated, and Roomful of Teeth. Symphonic work includes performance and recording of standard repertoire and multiple world and U.S. premieres with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Andris Nelsons), the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra (Stefan Asbury), Boston Modern Orchestra Project (Gil Rose), and Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute (Ken-David Masur).

Prior to joining the Peabody faculty, Willer served as director of choral activities at Bucknell University, where she led the University Choir and Camerata and taught courses in conducting, chamber music, arts entrepreneurship, and choral music education. Previous academic appointments include positions at Harvard University and The Boston Conservatory. A passionate music educator, Willer has led numerous young artist ensembles, including choruses at Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute, New England Conservatory’s Preparatory School, the Boston Arts Academy, The Walnut Hill School, and Eau Claire Memorial High School. An active clinician and master teacher, Willer enjoys frequent engagements with high school and collegiate ensembles across the country.

Willer holds graduate degrees in conducting from Boston University (DMA and MM), and an undergraduate degree in music education and trumpet performance from Luther College (BM). Teachers include Ann Howard Jones, Weston Noble, Mark Shapiro, David Hoose, and Bruce Hangen.