School of Music
18th NewMusic Initiative

To engage our community in all phases of new music's culture:

Visiting artists (listed below, here) are deeply involved with the creation and dissemination of new musical ideas. Guests will work with our community in:

  • Instrumental/vocal Master Classes
  • Workshops for composers
  • Seminars on commissioning new work
  • Reading, recording and critique of student composers' music

Each year we will (see video introduction to the unique program):

Contact us to be a part of

Check out these video and print pieces about the NewMusic Initiative!

Insectaphobia comes alive on stage in ECU Opera Premiere

Quick Links

2017 - 2018
Schedule of Events


Oct. 13, 2017 @ 7:30pm
AYANO KATAOKA, marimba/percussion
Nov. 9, 2017 @ 7:30pm
Nov. 20, 2017 @ 7:30pm
NewMusic by ECU student composers
JANUARY 26, 2018 @ 7:30pm
Feb. 27, 2018 @ 7:30pm
FREQUENCIES a NewMusic Ensemble
Mar. 15, 2018 @ 7:30pm
Mar. 17, 2018 @ 7:30pm, Wright Aud.
Jorge Richter, Director
13th Annual Composition Competition Winner 
Mar. 22, 2018 @ 7:30pm
DUO CORTONA, soprano & violin
Mar. 28, 2018 @ 7:30pm
NewMusic by ECU student composers
Apr. 14, 2018 @ 7:30pm, Wright Auditorium
Jorge Richter, Director; Keiko Sekino, piano
World Premiere, NCNMI Commission 
by Matthew Ricketts
April 15, 2018, 3pm, Paramount Theatre
Goldsboro, NC
Apr. 16, 2018 @ 7:30pm
NewMusic by ECU student composers

2017-2018 Schedule of Events

clicktrianglefor details

Melinda Wagner

MELINDA WAGNER, composer [September 21-22, 2017]

Celebrated as an “...eloquent, poetic voice in contemporary music...” [American Record Guide], MELINDA WAGNER’s esteemed catalog of works embodies music of exceptional beauty, power, and intelligence. Wagner received widespread attention when her colorful Concerto for Flute, Strings and Percussion earned her the Pulitzer Prize in 1999.  Since then, major works have included Concerto for Trombone, for Joseph Alessi and the New York Philharmonic; a piano concerto, Extremity of Sky, commissioned by the Chicago Symphony for Emanuel Ax; and Little Moonhead, composed for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, as part of its popular “New Brandenburgs” project.  Wagner's most recent commission from the Chicago Symphony, Proceed, Moon, was premiered by the CSO under the baton of Susanna Mälkki in June, 2017.

A passionate and inspiring teacher, Melinda Wagner has given master classes across the United States, and has held faculty positions at Brandeis University and Smith College, and has served as a mentor at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Wellesley Composers Conference, and Yellow Barn. Ms. Wagner currently serves on the faculty of the Juilliard School of Music.

As the composer selected fby ECU students for the next NewMusic Initiative Commission, Melinda Wagner visits us in September to begin the collaborative phase of her commission.  Ms. Wagner will compose a work for voices and instruments, for an ensemble under the direction of John Kramar, to be delivered December, 2018, and premiered/recorded in the spring, 2019.

This September, 2017 visit will be an opportunity for us to welcome Ms. Wagner into our community, for her to meet our students, conductors, teach classes, and work with student composers.

[September 21-22, 2017 @ A.J. Fletcher School of Music]
Ayano Kataoka poster

AYANO KATAOKA, percussion [October 13, 2017]

Percussionist and marimbist AYANO KATAOKA is known for her brilliant and dynamic technique, as well as the unique elegance and artistry she brings to her performances. A versatile performer, she regularly presents music of diverse genres and mediums. Last season, together with cellist Yo-Yo Ma at the American Museum of Natural History, Ms. Kataoka gave a world premiere of Bruce Adolphe's Self Comes to Mind for cello and two percussionists, based on a text by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, and featuring interactive video images of brain scans triggered by the live music performance.  Recent highlights include a theatrical performance of Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale at the 92nd Street Y with violinist Jaime Laredo and actors Alan Alda and Noah Wyle, performances of Bartok's Sonata for Two Pianos and percussion at The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center with pianists Emanuel Ax and Yoko Nozaki, and a performance for the Sonidos Latinos concert series at the Caramoor Music Festival with Paquito D'Rivera. This past summer she presented a solo recital as part of the prestigious B to C (Bach to Contemporary) recital series at the Tokyo Opera City Recital Hall, which was broadcast nationally in Japan on NHK television. Her performances can be also heard on Deutsche Grammophone, Naxos, New World, Albany, and New Focus Records. .

Ayano Kataoka's time with the NewMusic Initiative will include:

Thursday, October 12
10-12 Ms. Kataoka works with percussionists in private lessons

Friday, October 13
11am (Recital Hall): Ayano Kataoka speaks on "writing for percussion"
2-4pm (Rm 110): Ms. Kataoka works with percussionists in a Master Class setting
7:30pm (A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall): CONCERT with music of Huang Ruo, Yasuo Sueyoshi, Morton Feldman, Stuart Saunders-Smith [concert program here]

Saturday, October 14
10am (Recital Hall): Ayano reads and records works-in-progress by student composersThursday, 

[October 13, 2017 Concert @ A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall, 7:30pm, free admission.]

Claire Chase, flute
CLAIRE CHASE, FLUTE [November 9, 2017]
In an exciting partnership with ECU Flute Day!
CLAIRE CHASE is a soloist, collaborative artist, curator and advocate for new and experimental music. Over the past decade she has given the world premieres of hundreds of new works for the flute in performances throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, and she has championed new music throughout the world by building organizations, forming alliances, pioneering commissioning initiatives and supporting educational programs that reach new audiences. She was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2012.  She was the 2009 Grand Prize Winner of the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, and made her critically-acclaimed Carnegie Hall recital debut in 2010. In 2015, Chase was honored with the American Composers Forum Champion of New Music Award.

Born in Bucharest, Filipino-American LEVY LORENZO works at the intersection of music, art, and technology. On an international scale, his body of work spans custom electronics design, sound engineering, instrument building, installation art, free improvisation, and classical percussion. With a primary focus on inventing new instruments, he prototypes, composes, and performs new electronic music. As an electronic art consultant, Levy designs interactive electronics ranging from small sculptures to large-scale public art installations with artists such as Alvin Lucier, Christine Sun Kim, Ligorano-Reese, and Leo Villareal. As a percussionist, he co-founded the experimental theater/electronics duo Radical 2 with Dennis Sullivan and is a member of the Peter Evans Septet. As a sound engineer, he specializes in the realization and performance of complete electro-acoustic concerts with non-traditional configurations. One of his main engagements is Claire Chase's Density 2036 project. A core member of the acclaimed International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), he fulfills multiple roles as live sound engineer, electronicist, and percussionist.

Claire Chase and Levy Lorenzo's time with the NewMusic Initiative will include:

Wednesday, November 8
3-4:30 (Recital Hall): Ms. Chase speaks about composing for today's flutist.

Thursday, November 9
4-5pm (Rm 110): Ms. Chase works with flutists in a Master Class setting
7:30pm (A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall): CONCERT with music by 
Varese, Felipe Lara, George Lewis, Du Yun, Marcos Balter
 [see concert program HERE]

Friday, November 10
11am-12:30pm (Recital Hall): Mr. Lorenzo in Lecture/Demo on instrument design and creation
2-5pm: Mr. Lorenzo works with composers in private lessons

[November 9, 2017 Concert @ A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall, 7:30pm]


ECU School of Music performers focus their talents on the music of ECU composers in these first ever public performances--world premiere performances. The first of three concerts each year dedicated to the newest ideas of these developing young composers. Can't get here? Access a live stream here. Program to be announced.

[November 20, 2017 Concert @ A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall, 7:30pm, free admission.]

Ensemble Dal Niente

ENSEMBLE DAL NIENTE [January 26, 2018] [See concert program here.]

Noted for its presentation of “bracing sonic adventures” (Chicago Tribune), Ensemble DAL NIENTE, “a superb contemporary-music collective” (The New York Times), aims to drive musical discourse with adventurous projects that exhibit an ambitious range of aesthetic values tied to contemporary life and culture. The ensemble performs music written for large ensemble, chamber music, and solo works, each with relentless attention to interpretation. 

Dal Niente works with a range of composers, from emerging and established living artists to the post-World War II avant-garde generation. Recent projects include a collaboration with Deerhoof and Marcos Balter; a tour of Latin American countries; performances and recordings of works by George Lewis; an East Coast tour of German music; the Hard Music, Hard Liquor concert series and its annual Party. With each project, programs are curated and presented in ways that highlight the music’s relationship with our culture and society. 
The ensemble’s introduction to the international music community was expedited by their acclaimed performances at the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music in 2010 and 2012; in 2012, Dal Niente became the first-ever ensemble recipient of the coveted Kranichstein Music Prize and was invited to give the 2014 festival’s culminating performance in Darmstadt, Germany.

See concert program here.]

[January 26, 2018 Concert @ A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall, 7:30pm, free admission.]

FREQUENCIES [February 27, 2018]

Frequencies is an ensemble created and directed entirely by students. These remarkable members of the ECU School of Music's community make programming decisions, form ensembles, rehearse and prepare works for performance. Frequencies is music's future blooming before our ears. Come hear what drives the next generation's musical interests and passions! 

Program to be announced.

[February 27, 2018 Concert @ A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall, 7:30pm, free admission.]

Ben Melsky, harp

BEN MELSKY, harp [March 15, 2018]

Having established himself as a bold, expressive, risk-taking performer, Chicago-based harpist Ben Melsky is committed to breaking pre-conceived notions of the harp’s capabilities. Through performance, collaboration, residencies, and presentations he encourages creating new, effectual means of expression. 

Dedicated to engaging audiences with the music of the 21st century, Ben is Executive Director and Harpist of Ensemble Dal Niente. Additionally, he is the principal harp for the Joffrey Ballet and Ann Arbor Symphony and has played with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera Theater, Grant Park Symphony, and Chicago Philharmonic among many others. He has worked closely with or premiered works by George Lewis, Augusta Reed Thomas, Anthony Cheung, Raphael Cendo, Tomas Gueglio, Eliza Brown and Marcos Balter among others. 

In addition to his work as an orchestral musician, he has played in numerous Jeff-Award winning musicals including Sunday in Park with George and Follies at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, A Little Night Music at Writer’s Theater, and Animal Crackers at the Goodman Theater. Solo and chamber highlights include appearances at the Kennedy Center, Northwestern University, Art Institute of Chicago, Latino Music Festival, Music Institute of Chicago and WFMT broadcasts.  His debut recording Sommeil was released in December 2013 and he can be heard on Ryan Muncy’s Hot, released in November 2013 for the New Focus Label  and one of the NYTimes Artsbeat  best CD’s of 2013.

[March 15, 2018 Concert @ A.J. Fletcher Recital, 7:00pm, free admission]
ECU Orchestra, Jorge Richter, Director

ECU SYMPHONY [March 17, 2018]

Jorge Richter, director in a program featuring the winner of our 13th Annual Orchestral Composition Competition; and more!

[March 17, 2018 Concert @ Wright Auditorium, 7:30pm, free admission.]

Duo Cortona


DUO CORTONA [March 22, 2018]

DUO CORTONA is a contemporary music ensemble dedicated to the creation of works for its unique instrumentation: mezzo-soprano and violin. This ensemble explores new sounds and possibilities for its intimate, expressive, and vital combination. Duo Cortona works to establish a new and thus far unexplored repertoire, pursuing the endless possibilities of this union. We create opportunities for both established and emerging composers through commissions, competitions, educational workshops, university residencies, and major concert performances.

Duo Cortona was founded at the Cortona Sessions for New Music by husband and wife team Ari Streisfeld and Rachel Calloway. Recent and upcoming performances include the Resonant Bodies Festival, The Stone, the SONiC Festival, New Music on the Point, and Contemporary Undercurrent of Song Project (Princeton).

[March 22, 2018 Concert @ A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall, 7:00pm, free admission.]



ECU School of Music performers focus their talents on the music of ECU composers in these first ever public performances--world premiere performances. The second of three concerts each year dedicated to the newest ideas of these developing young composers. Can't get here? Access a live stream here. Program to be announced.

[March 28, 2018 Concert @ A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall, 7:00pm, free admission.]

Matthew Ricketts, composer

ECU SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, Jorge Richter, Director
MATTHEW RICKETTS, composer [April 14-15, 2018]

We're excited to hear the ECU Symphony's WORLD PREMIERE of Matthew Ricketts's new concerto for piano and orchestra.  On April 14, 2018 we'll hear the orchestra in ECU's Wright Auditorium, and on Sunday, April 15 @ 3pm this concert will be brought to Goldboro's Paramount Theater.  

As the composer selected students to receive one of the NewMusic Initiative's annual commissions, Matthew Ricketts visited us twice during the 2016-2017 season to collaborate with our students and ensembles, teach, and to hear some of his sketches read by Dr. Sekino and the orchestra. Under the direction of Dr. Jorge Richter, to be delivered December, 2017, we're excited to premiere and record this new contribution to the piano concerto literature!

Matthew Ricketts’s music has been featured on festivals and concerts in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Nebraska, New York, Austin, Paris and Boston, where his Double Concerto shared for first prize at the ALEA III International Composition Competition in 2007. Matthew is a the recipient of 7 prizes in the SOCAN Foundation’s Awards for Young Composers, a 2013 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award and the 2015 Salvatore Martirano Memorial Composition Award.

[April 14, 2018 @ Wright Auditorium, 7:30pm, free admission]
[April 15, 2018 @ Paramount Theater, Goldboro, 3:00pm]



ECU School of Music performers focus their talents on the music of ECU composers in these first ever public performances--world premiere performances. The third of three concerts each year dedicated to the newest ideas of these developing young composers. Can't get here? Access a live stream here. Program to be announced.

[April 26, 2018 Concert @ A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall, 7:00pm, free admission.]


Come hear how new ideas are initiated, and celebrate our
There are concerts, Master Classes with visiting performers and composers,
readings of student composers' works, receptions, discussions and more!
For additional information or to become a sponsor, contact:
  Edward Jacobs, Founder & Director of the NC NewMusic Initiative, at 252-328-4280