Voices of LA Bios
An accomplished singer and pianist, Joshua Fishbein (b. 1984) composes both vocal and instrumental music. Currently, Mr. Fishbein is a PhD student in Music Composition at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music, where he has directed the UCLA Early Music Ensemble and taught theory and musicianship to undergraduates. He has won numerous composition prizes from music organizations such as BMI, the American Choral Directors Association, the Guild of Temple Musicians, the National Lutheran Choir, The Esoterics, WomenSing, the Belvedere Chamber Music Festival, the Delaware Valley Chorale, the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, the Boston Metro Opera, and Shalshelet’s International Festival for New Jewish Liturgical Music.
Mr. Fishbein completed his master’s degree in Music Composition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM), where he won first prize in the SFCM Artsong Competition, and where he served as Assistant Conductor of the Conservatory Chorus. While earning undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Music at Carnegie Mellon University, he won the Harry G. Archer Prize in orchestral composition. A native of Baltimore, Mr. Fishbein studied piano performance and music theory at The Peabody Preparatory. His composition teachers include Roger Bourland, Paul Chihara, David Conte, Nancy Galbraith, Ian Krouse, and David Lefkowitz . ECS Publishing and Transcontinental Music Publications publish Fishbein’s choral music.For more information, please visit the composer’s website at www.fishbeinmusic.com.
Saad N. Haddad
Saad N. Haddad is an Arab-American composer residing in Los Angeles, currently finishing up his junior year at the University of Southern California. His music has been performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, the USC Symphony Orchestra, the Sonus Quartet, the Boston Metro Opera, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, the Hollywood Master Chorale, and musicians from the Juilliard School, the Thornton School of Music, and the University of Michigan at Ann Harbor. He participated in the 2013 Underwood New Music Readings for his full orchestral work, "Maelstrom" (2012), which also garnered an ‘Alternate’ designation from the prestigious Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute (2013). "Maelstrom" received its world premiere by the USC Symphony in February 2013 under the baton of Donald Crockett. Mr. Haddad’s earlier orchestral work, "Heart of the Hall" (2009), was premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the world-renowned Walt Disney Concert Hall.
In addition to his orchestral music, Mr. Haddad has also been recognized for his work in the choral scene, earning the Boston Metro Opera’s 2013 “Mainstage Award” for his song cycle, "The Wanderer" (2011) and winning 2nd place in the 2013 Vancouver Chamber Choir International Competition for "The Little Boy" (2012), written for the "Voices of LA: Songs of Innocence" concert.
Mr. Haddad's past composition professors include Drs. Frank Ticheli, Mark Weiser, Stephen Hartke, Donald Crockett, Samuel Adams, and Steven Stucky.
Jordan Nelson is currently pursuing a DMA in Composition at the USC Thornton School of Music, where his primary teachers are Donald Crockett, Stephen Hartke, Morten Lauridsen, and Frank Ticheli. Mr. Nelson’s compositions are inspired by an eclectic array of influences, often motivated by the narrowing gap between ‘art’ and ‘pop’ music. His music has been performed by Orchestra 2001 of Philadelphia, PA, New York City’s NOW Ensemble, the USC Thornton Symphony, contemporaneous of Bard College, Simon Carrington’s Schola Cantorum of Yale University, and the USC Chamber Singers, among others. In addition to chamber music for both acoustic and electro-acoustic ensembles, Mr. Nelson’s recent projects have included a collaboration entitled ‘Greetings! From Los Angeles’, produced with painter/curator Kira Shewfelt, a work for piano and live computer processing, and a set of pieces for solo violin. Upcoming projects include a work for orchestra and a set of movements for violin and chamber ensemble.
In 2013, Mr. Nelson joined the faculty of the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles where he teaches in the Department of Music Theory. He earned his Masters degree in Composition from the USC Thornton School of Music in 2009 and was awarded a B.A. in music with distinction from Yale in 2006. Born in 1984, he grew up in Swarthmore, PA. In addition to composing, he is active as a singer and as a pianist. For more information, please visit www.jordannelsonmusic.com .
Mark Popeney (b. 1982, San Diego,) is a composer whose music spans many styles and media. His music has been heard throughout America, with performances by such groups as Ensemble Signal, the USC Thornton Symphony, USC Contemporary Music Ensemble, UCLA Philharmonia, and the Third Wheel Trio. His musical, irl (In Real Life ) (book by Alexandar Castaneda) was premiered by Hooligan Theater Company in Spring of 2011.
Dr. Popeney received his Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition from the USC Thornton School of Music in 2012, where he studied with Stephen Hartke and Donald Crockett. He earned his Master’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2007, and received his Bachelor’s degree in 2004 from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Popeney teaches music theory and composition at USC and California State University, Los Angeles. www.markpopeney.com .
Jeffrey Bernstein currently conducts the Los Angeles Daiku and the Pasadena Master Chorale, which he founded in 2009. Dr. Bernstein has conducted over 35 major works and led choirs on over a dozen tours of three continents. Dr. Bernstein served as artistic director of the Hollywood Master Chorale from 2009 to 2011, where he conceived of the VoLA project. He was assistant conductor of the Pasadena Symphony and POPS. From 1997 to 2008, Dr. Bernstein was director of choral music at Occidental College in Los Angeles, where he rejuvenated a century-old Glee Club tradition and taught classes in music theory, counterpoint, composing and arranging, 20th-century music, and the American musical theater. He began his career in the theater, working first as a lighting designer, and subsequently serving as a musical director and conductor. He led over 25 professional productions and served as associate musical director for the national touring company of CATS.
Dr. Bernstein grew up in the Northeast, living in New York, Connecticut, Vermont and Massachusetts before moving to California in 1996. He holds music degrees from UCLA, Yale, and Harvard, where he also served as acting associate director of choral activities and assistant conductor of the world-famous Harvard Glee Club.
Michelle Green Willner
Michelle Green Willner received her BM degree from the University of Toronto and her MA and DMA degrees from Columbia University, New York. Dr. Green Willner has received four ASCAP Special Awards, two ASCAP Foundation Grants to Young Composers, a Community Relations Council Grant, The Brian M. Israel Prize from the Society for New Music, and the Serge Garant Award from the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN). Her works have been commissioned and performed by the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, NACUSA Concert Series, Synergy, Shechina, the UCI Women’s Chorus, Speculum Musicae, New Millennium, the New Calliope Singers, Premier, the Society for New Music, the CSULB New Music Ensemble, and by Earplay at the Center for the Arts Forum in San Francisco. Dr. Green Willner’s choral works have been performed internationally by the Tehila Choir, which she founded in Toronto, Canada (1984-1989); Mit Gezang, which she directed from 1999-2003in Los Angeles; the Kol Ruach Ensemble, which she directed from 2003-2006; and by the Michelle Green Willner Singers, which she is currently directing.
Dr. Green Willner has taught composition and theory at UCI, CSULB, and the University of Judaism. Currently, she is Music Director of the newly established Jewish Community Children’s Choir sponsored by the Schulweis Institute, a MaxHelfman Music Fellow, and a Contributor/Advisor for the website, L.A. Opening Nights (laopeningnights.wordpress.com). She is also busy directing her four young sons Moshe, Asher, Ari and Yaakov, along with her husband Alan!
Sage Lewis is a Los Angeles-based composer who writes music for film/video, concert, theatre, video games, and brand campaigns. His various creative works have been presented by Nintendo 3DS, REDCAT, Maiyet, Miami Light Project, TMx, Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design, National Children’s Chorus, Coro Diminuto of Cuba, TheatreForum, Havana Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Slamdance, MALDEF, Inner-City Arts, Academy of Television, iTunes and the App Store. In a recent project, Mr. Lewis created and wrote music for a multi-media theatrical collaboration, “The Closest Farthest Away,” that was premiered in Havana, Cuba and Miami, Florida, bringing together artists from Cuba and the US.
Sage received an MFA from CalArts and a BA from the Oberlin Conservatory in Music Composition. He is the recipient of 2009 Sherwood Award administered by Center Theatre Group celebrating innovation in the theatre. For more information visit www.sagelewismusic.com .
Nick Strimple is known as an imaginative and prolific composer, conductor, and scholar. He received his masters and doctorate degrees from USC Thornton School of Music, where he is Assistant Professor of Choral Music. He serves as director of music at Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church, the Los Angeles Zimriyah Chorale and the Choral Society of Southern California. He has written two critically acclaimed books, "Choral Music in the Twentieth Century," and "Choral Music in the Nineteenth Century."
Born in Amarillo, Texas, he received his BA from Baylor University. He is recognized internationally for his work with music related to the Holocaust. An established composer, Dr. Strimple has written concert and liturgical works and has received commissions from the Vienna International Organ Festival, the J. Paul Getty Museum, among others. He has composed film and television scores and has served as arranger and/or director for several leading recording artists such as Frank Sinatra and Rod Stewart. He has conducted some of the world’s most prominent ensembles.