WACDA Conference Composer Track

New this year, the Western Region ACDA Conference featured a Composer Track, with the goal of connecting composers and conductors to encourage new and long-lasting collaborative relationships.

The Composer and Conductor Databases are live! 
In order to facilitate new musical collaborations, the American Choral Directors Association, Western Region compiled two databases of conductors interested in connecting with local composers and composers interested in connecting with local conductors. The finalized databases were sent after the 2022 WACDA conference concluded to composers & conductors who signed up.
Congratulations to the winners of the Call for Scores, who were featured in a live reading session on Friday, March 4.
Cooper Baldwin (he/him/his) is a composer, arranger, producer, and performer currently residing in New York City.   Raised up on show tunes and choral music, he has since fallen in love with a wide array of musical styles and finds great joy in fusing them together to create new and unexpected sounds.  He is a fierce advocate for collaboration and the use of music to breathe life and color into storytelling.  He is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and an associate member of the Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL).

Jennifer Lucy Cook is a composer and lyricist based in Los Angeles. Recent choral commissions include Cantorum Chamber Choir, Utah Valley University, and the Youth Chorale of Central Minnesota. Her other musical projects range from musical recaps of the Bachelor which recently went viral on TikTok, to theater commissions from Full House Theatre Co. and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, to her solo pop project “Cookie.” She earned a Master’s degree in Musical Theater Writing from Goldsmiths University in London and a Bachelor’s in Contemporary Music from Brigham Young University. Jen is mentored by renowned composer Eric Whitacre.

Oscar Luna, II began choral singing the age of twelve and since that time, he has been involved with ensembles in the central San Joaquin Valley that have toured various parts of the United States and Europe. Oscar is currently a student at Fresno State University and the music director at Pilgrim Armenian Congregational Church in Fresno, CA where he directs the choir during church services. He lives in Fresno, CA along with his daughter Aria.

Joshua Tan is a Los Angeles-based composer with an eclectic musical background. His compositional style is influenced by his experiences as a pianist and baritone. Joshua developed an affinity toward works by twentieth-century and living composers as a graduate pianist in the Arizona Contemporary Ensemble. Over the past decade, he has been actively involved in the choral community, earning a BM in music education. Joshua completed his DMA in piano performance at the University of Southern California and was a recipient of the 2020 Outstanding Graduate Award. His primary mentors include composers Morten Lauridsen and Mark Weiser, as well as pianists Bernadene Blaha, John Milbauer, and Nancy Weems.

Driven by storytelling and imagery, Brittney Benton‘s music takes you on a journey through a lush melodic and harmonic soundscape, filled with personality at every turn. Benton is a senior studying music composition at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. With her experience as a pianist, she has explored writing for a variety of instruments and musical styles. She has a strong interest in working outside of the concert hall, especially in the realm of video game music.

Thomas Goedecke, based in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, is most known for his work intersecting sound worlds from western and Pacific non-western voices, receiving premieres, commissions, and awards from choral and chamber ensembles in Hawaiʻi, California, Texas, New York, Italy, and beyond.  Much of his work focuses on the indigenous languages of the Pacific and combining them with traditionally western ensembles, advocating for the proliferation and celebration of Polynesian, Asia-Pacific, and American indigenous art. He received his Bachelor of Music in Composition from the University of Southern California, and his Master of Music in Composition at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where he currently lectures and is finishing his PhD in Music Composition.

From Taiwan, Yen-Hsiang Nieh (b.1977) is a DMA candidate in the Department of Choral & Sacred Music at the University of Southern California (USC), where he served as a Teaching Assistant. As one of the founding members and past Artistic Director of the Taipei Male Choir (TMC), Nieh has directed the TMC at many national and international choir competitions, winning numerous prestigious prizes. He is currently the director of the TMC Culture & Arts Foundation (Taiwan). Nieh’s composition, Ave Maria (TTBB, 2010) was chosen as one of the compulsory pieces for the 2019-2021 Taipei International Choir Competition.