Iron Composer Alumni

Iron Composers

Jason Thorpe Buchanan (2014, Winner) is a Ph.D. candidate at the Eastman School of Music and was selected as Artist in Residence, Bergen (Norway) by USF Verftet and the City Council of Bergen. He is the founder of Melos Music and was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Hamburg (Germany). []
Jakub Polaczyk (2013, Winner), a native of Krakow, studied orchestration there with Krzysztof Penderecki. Most recently, he received an Artists Diploma from Carnegie Mellon where he performed as a pianist in the contemporary ensemble.
David Carter (2012, Winner) holds degrees from Yale University (B.A. English Literature, 1996) and the University of Southern California Law School (J.D., 1999), and worked as an attorney for four years before turning to music full-time in 2004. David is a doctoral student in music composition at Northwestern University.
Zvonimir Nagy (2011, Winner) was educated at the Academy of Music of the University of Zagreb, Conservatoire de Paris “Jacques Ibert”, École Normale de Musique de Paris, Texas Christian University, completing his doctoral studies in music at Northwestern University. He is Assistant Professor of Musicianship Studies at Duquesne University
Natalie Williams (2010, Winner) is an Assistant Professor of Music Composition and Theory, at the University of Georgia. A native of Australia, Natalie’s music has been performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Ars Musica Australis, the Terminus Ensemble, the Omaha Symphony Orchestra, and Plathner’s Eleven Ensemble.
Sunny Knable (2009, Winner) earned degrees from Cal State Sacramento and Queens College. He is an active pianist in New York City. His winning composition for Iron Composer was recorded for a CD released on Centaur Records.
Hermes Camacho (2008, Winner) is a native of northern Californian who currently lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Jaclyn. He teaches at the Austin Chamber Music Center and annually at the Sacramento Youth Symphony Chamber Music Workshop.
Luke Furman (2007, Winner) studied composition under Lance Hulme, Marvin Lamb, and Konstantinos Karathanasis at the University of Oklahoma. He won the original Iron Composer competition with his piece Propeller Z.


Can Bilir (2013, 2nd Prize) is a composer and guitarist currently enrolled in doctoral studies at Bilkent University in Turkey. He was recently selected as a composer for the European Broadcasting festival “MusMa V”.
Colin Breen (2007) competed as an undergraduate student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. His entry in the competition was Meet George.
Mark Diischer (2007, 2nd Prize) competed as a graduate student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He now lives in Minneapolis as a freelance musician.
Melody Eötvös (2011, 2nd Prize) is an Australian composer earning her doctorate at Indiana University. Much of her music is electroacoustic, and her work has been performed by the London Sinfonietta and the BBC Singers. She earned her masters degree from the Royal Academy of Music.
Devin Farney (2009) is a musician based out of San Francisco. He is an internationally performed composer/songwriter and a pianist versed in classical, jazz, and popular styles. Since receiving his degree three years ago, Devin has been an active member of the music community.
David Kirkland Garner (2011, 3rd prize) is the director of the Duke New Music Ensemble, where he is also a Ph.D. candidate. His research interests include the banjo and fiddle traditions of Nova Scotia and the southern U.S. The Kronos Quartet gave the world premiere of his most recent work earlier this year.
Anne Goldberg (2012, 5th Prize) is the founder and artistic director of the Synthesis Aesthetics Project, a collaborative between musicians, dancers, multimedia and spoken word artists. In addition to Synthesis, Ms. Goldberg co-founded the new music ensemble Tempus Continuum Ensemble, and is a member of the Reform@ trio, premiering and performing both her own music and that of other 20th and 21st Century composers.
Anthony Green (2010, 3rd Prize) has received commissions and performances by ALEA III (Gunther Schuller, conductor), the Zukovsky String Quartet (for a performance at Symphony Space in New York City), the Playground Ensemble in Colorado, the Ansae Ensemble in Canada, the Ossia New Music Ensemble (as the winner of their 2nd International Composition Prize), and Alarm Will Sound, among others.
Yotam Haber (2010) resides in New York City and is a 2005 Guggenheim Fellow. He is the artistic director of the MATA Festival. His other fellowships and residencies include the MacDowell Colony, Bellagio Rockefeller Foundation, Bogliasco and IRCAM.
Matthew Heap (2011) received his BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, MMus from the Royal College of Music in London, and his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. Matthew is also a member of Alia Musica Pittsburgh, an ensemble dedicated to the performance of new concert music from Pittsburgh composers.
Julie Hill (2012, 3rd Prize) enjoyed a short career as an actress and a singer of popular genres, before finding concert music. During this time, she toured the country as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz and returned to New York to perform her original music at numerous venues in the East Village, Lower East Side, and Brooklyn.
Marie Incontrera (2010) is a wayward pianist and heavy metal ballerina who writes music in Brooklyn, New York. She has been a recipient of the Miriam Gideon Composition Award for women composers, a winner of the Remarkable Theater Brigade Art Song Competition, a 2010 and 2011 recipient of the ASCAPlus award, a winner of the 2011 Vocalessence/American Composers Forum “Essentially Choral” readings.
Andrew Jamieson (2009, 3rd Prize) competed as a senior at Northwestern University. He earned his masters degree from Mills College, and he currently serves as music director for New Spirit Community Church in Berkeley.
Travis Jeffords (2009, 2nd Prize) earned his masters from the University of Texas before moving to Bloomington. He is a member of Brother John Band.
Jennifer Jolley (2013, 4th Prize) teaches composition, music theory, and electronic music at Ohio Wesleyan University. Jennifer is the co-founder and artistic director of North American New Opera Workshop (N.A.N.O.Works), a new chamber opera company devoted to developing and staging short contemporary operas by emerging North American composers.
David Von Kampen (2007, 3rd Prize) is a DMA candidate in music composition and a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Kansas. He previously studied at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has been commissioned by the Vancouver Chamber Choir.
George Lam (2008) studied composition at Duke University, the Peabody Conservatory of Music, and Boston University. He is a founding co-artistic director of Rhymes With Opera, a new opera company dedicated to bringing new works of music-theater into unconventional spaces.
Elizabeth Lim (2008, 2nd Prize and Audience Favorite Award) studied at Harvard and is a doctoral candidate at the Juilliard School. Her orchestral work, “Paranoia,” was a winner of the annual composers’ competition and was premiered by Jeff Milarsky and the Juilliard Orchestra in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Concert Hall.
Caroline Mallonée (2012, 2nd Prize) holds a Ph.D. from Duke University, a Master’s degree from the Yale School of Music and a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University. A Fulbright award recipient, she spent a year in The Netherlands studying with Dutch composer Louis Andriessen.
Marcus Karl Maroney (2010, 2nd Prize) is an Associate Professor of Composition at the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston. He has been commissioned by 8th blackbird and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. He is on the Artistic Board of Musiqa, Houston’s composer-led new music presenting group.
Mark Popeney (2012, 4th Place) holds a D.M.A. from the University of Southern California, an Masters from UCLA, and a Bachelor’s from UC Berkeley. He teaches music theory, composition, and music production at USC and secondary schools around Los Angeles. Mark is an avid singer and guitarist, and has performed with and led numerous ensembles in many styles.
John Rot (2009) competed as a sophomore composition major from Oberlin College. He has appeared as piano soloist with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, as well as in the 2006 Aberdeen International Youth Festival Gala Concert. His works have been performed by the JACK Quartet, Talea Ensemble, Kaia Quartet, Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, and a number of soloists across the country specializing in the performance of new music.
Greg Simon (2008, 3rd prize) is currently on the faculty of the Metropolitan State College of Denver, and in the fall of 2012 will begin study as a doctoral student at the University of Michigan. His work is featured on recordings by the California State University, Fullerton Wind Ensemble and the Fifth House Ensemble of Chicago.
Mari Takano (2011) is a Japanese composer living in Tokyo and lecturing at Toho Junior College of Music. Having studied with Morton Feldman and Brian Ferneyhough, one of her primary mentors was Gyorgy Ligeti. Her music has been released commercially by BIS.
Joseph Trapanese (2008) is a Los Angeles based composer, arranger, orchestrator and producer of music for film, television, multimedia, theater and concerts. He has worked with Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park and Daft Punk. Currently, he is composing the music for Disney XD’s animated series Tron: Uprising.
Timothy Vallier (2007) is a composer, media specialist, vocalist and technology enthusiast. After earning degrees at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, he began his doctoral studies at SUNY Stony Brook. He runs Bootstrapping Income with his wife Mallory.


Analog Arts has performed everything from Samuel Beckett’s short plays to Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Les fêtes d’Hébé. Their repertoire includes major works like Antheil’s Ballet Mécanique, Brecht’s Water-Yam, as well as interactive music for kites, an automobile duet, and noise sculptures. Analog Arts has also been a champion of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s music, specializing in overcoming the production challenges presented by his work. Over the years of presenting Iron Composer, Analog Arts has fielded an eclectic roster of musicians to suit each year’s customized challenge.
2007: Wind Quintet – Marcia Kamper (flute), Darci Gamerl (oboe), John Klinghammer* (clarinet), (horn), (bassoon)

2009: Jack Brndiar (trumpet), Mary Dobrea-Grindahl* (piano), Joe Drew (trumpet), Robert Mayerovitch (piano), Josh Ryan (tom toms)

2010: Marcia Kamper (flute), Regina Mushabac* (cello), Josh Ryan (found objects)

2011: Rudolf Kamper (music boxes), Jonathan Moyer* (organ)

2012: Ken Heinlein* (tuba), Robert Mayerovitch (prepared piano), David Snyder (clarinet)

2013: Brass Trio – Jim Albrecht (trombone), Joe Drew (double bell trumpet), Allan De Mattia* (horn)

2014: Low String Trio with Tape – Heidi Albert (cello), Scott Dixon* (bass), Joe Drew (sound projection), Laura Shuster (viola)

Monument Piano Trio (2008) consists of Dariusz Skoraczewski (cello), Igor Yuzefovich (violin), and Michael Sheppard (piano). They performed for Iron Composer as part of their residency at ARTSaha!. Monument Trio is based in Baltimore, where its members perform with the Baltimore Symphony. Their debut CD was released by ANALOG arts in 2012.

* Performer Judge


James Arey (2008) is a composer and former music director of KVNO 90.7 FM, Omaha’s classical music station. He is the only Iron Composer judge to have been a 5-day champion on Jeopardy! with total winnings of $42,802.
Margaret Brouwer (2012) has received an Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and letters in 2006, was named a Guggenheim Fellow for 2004. Her music has earned singular praise for its lyricism, musical imagery, and emotional power. Recordings of her work have been released by Naxos, New World, CRI, Crystal, Centaur, and Opus One. Her residencies include the MacDowell Colony where she has been a Norton Stevens Fellow and Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center
Loris Chobanian (2010) is the Emeritus Professor of Composition and Guitar as well as Composer-in-Residence at Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory. He was born to Armenian parents in the Middle East. Chobanian performed the Classical Guitar regularly on Baghdad TV In the 1950s. He came to the US in 1960.
James DeRosa (2012) is a Commissioner of Real Estate for the City of Cleveland. He is also an Emeritus Director for Cleveland’s Ingenuity Festival.
Mary Dobrea-Grindahl (2009) is Professor of Piano at Baldwin Wallace University where her responsibilities include teaching private piano, piano pedagogy, Eurhythmics, and solfège. She holds the Diplôme Supérieur from the Institut Jaques-Dalcroze in Geneva, and co-authored Developing Musicianship Through Aural Skills: A Holistic Approach to Sight Singing and Ear Training (Routledge, 2010).
William Dougherty (2007) is the Ellis and Nelle Levitt Professor of Music Theory and Composition at Drake University. His orchestral and band works are published by MMB Publishers and much of his solo and chamber music is published by Heilman Music. He received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Illinois Wesleyan University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in music theory from The Ohio State University.
Bob Fischbach (2008) is a columnist and movie critic for the Omaha World-Herald.
Keith Fitch (2009) currently holds the Vincent K. and Edith H. Smith Chair in Composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he also directs the CIM New Music Ensemble. His works have been performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan by such ensembles as The Philadelphia Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the Cleveland Chamber Symphony.
David Gompper (2008) is Professor of Composition and Director of the Center for New Music at the University of Iowa.
Ken Heinlein (2012) is Principal Tuba with the Akron Symphony Orchestra. Ken has also performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Blossom Festival Orchestra, the Blossom Festival Band, the Midland (MI) Symphony Orchestra, the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, among others.
John Klinghammer (2007) currently holds the position of Assistant Principal/Eb clarinet with the Omaha Symphony. Before arriving in Omaha, he served a one-year stint as 2nd/Bass clarinet with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. He has also been principal clarinet of the Des Moines Symphony, and a member of the National Repertory Orchestra.
Josh Levine (2013) currently serves as Assistant Professor of Composition at Oberlin. His music has been commissioned and performed internationally by prominent new music soloists and ensembles, including Magnus Andersson, Aiyun Huang, Marcus Weiss, Jürg Wyttenbach, the Arnold-Huang-Rosenkranz trio, Calliope Duo, Ensemble Contrechamps, Les Solistes de l’Ensemble Intercontemporain, and the Ensemble Intercontemporain under David Robertson.
Bernard Molyneux (2010) is an associate professor of philosophy at UC Davis. He specializes in cognitive science. His publications include Aspects of Consciousness Explained, “Why Experience Taught me Nothing about Transparency,” and “Intuitions are Inclinations to Believe”.
Jonathan Moyer (2011) served as the first solo performer in Iron Composer history. He performed on the Austin organ in Gamble Auditorium and judged the competition. He is the music director and organist of the Church of the Covenant in Cleveland, as well as the early music vocal ensemble Quire Cleveland.
Regina Mushabac (2010) is professor of cello at the Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music. She was trained by some of the most distinguished cellists of the era. She studied at Juilliard with Leonard Rose for six years and continued with Janos Starker at Indiana University and became his teaching assistant. In addition to the complete standard repertoire, Mushabac is well known for her exploration into new music. She has performed dozens of world premieres and can be heard in solo recordings on GM Recording Label, Trumedia Records, and New World Records.
Bill O’Connell (2009) is the program director for WCLV 104.9 FM, the broadcast partner of Iron Composer. He is also the afternoon drive host on the station.
Jeffrey Quick (2011) is an active composer and performer in the Cleveland area. He works in the music library at Case Western Reserve University and has been an active member and officer in the Cleveland Composers Guild.
Thomas Wilkins (2007) is Music Director of the Omaha Symphony, Resident Conductor of the Detroit Symphony, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. He judged the 2007 competition.
Susan van Vorst (2013) was appointed as the director of the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory last year. Susan has worked at Stan Hywett and the Cleveland Orchestra before she returned to BW to helm the Conservatory. Unlike most of the judges who sit in the third chair at Iron Composer, Susan has a very high level of musical training, with an undergraduate degree in piano performance from Kent State.


Hal France (2007) is a sought after opera conductor. Since his tenure as artistic director of Opera Omaha, he has been serving as exective director of Kaneko.
Rob McCartney (2008) has anchored KETV’s evening news since 1995.
Mark Satola (Emcee since 2009) dazedly wandered into WCLV’s old studios in the Terminal Tower in downtown Cleveland toward the end of November, 1977, and wandered out, just as dazed but gainfully employed, as an announcer, producer, syndication duplicator, tape editor, and after-hours receptionist.