Emerging Local Composers Featured in our Summer 2019 Concert “Passages”

Alison Dennis
Alison Dennis is a long-time Portland musician, artist, and writer who composes and performs chamber pop music under the name Dr. Something and has also performed in a number of other local bands. Alison strives to create songs that blur the line between art and novelty, using imaginative instrumental and vocal textures alongside humorous, emotionally trenchant lyrics.

Chad Dickerson
Chad Dickerson is an Oregon-born composer, playwright, vocalist, and stage actor who enjoys performing with theatre companies in Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco. He has played in/written music for several party bands, made the Guinness Book of World Records in the largest drum ensemble ever assembled (conducted by The Grateful Dead's Micky Hart), and written and composed the musical "Alone in the Unknown," which had its workshop production in 2010 to rave audience reviews.

Jeffrey Gordon Evans - Composer & Conductor-in-Residence
Jeffrey Gordon Evans is a composer, conductor, educator, and performer based in the Pacific Northwest. Jeff earned his Bachelor’s in Music Education at Portland State University where he's currently pursuing his Master's in Choral Conducting. With mentorship from Ethan Sperry and Deborah Glaze among others, Jeff has established a successful career teaching middle, high school, and university students while conducting church and community choirs in the area. Jeff was born and raised in Arizona, where he sang with the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus under the direction of Dr. Julian Ackerley. Jeff’s compositions are exploratory and eclectic in their use of rhythm, harmony, extended vocal techniques, and experimentalism.

Naama Friedman
Naama Friedman is a student at Reed College, currently studying political science. She has studied music since the age of five, through piano lessons and by singing in choirs. She was heavily involved in the choir program at her high school in Evanston, Illinois, and now performs with the Reed College choir. Writing and performing music brings Naama immense joy. She has independently pursued composing choral works, initially through a cappella arrangements of popular songs.

Jacob Mashak
Jacob Mashak is a composer, conductor, and variable instrumentalist (principally trombone, recorder and toy piano) born in Vermont and currently living in Portland. Among other distinctions, they are recognized for having written the longest non-repetitive piano piece on record: the 11-hour long Beatus Vir for two pianos, premiered at Boston University in 2008. Finding the most beautiful things in the world to be the result not of human intention but of processes so complex that they appear random, their works most often use various machinations of indeterminacy to attempt to achieve some approximation of the sublime.

Matt Navarre - Composer & Conductor-in-Residence
Matt Navarre is an experienced software developer and company owner, with a love of choral music that has been greatly on the rise in the last few years. He sings in several choirs, including Portland State University, Portland Gay Men's Chorus, and Oregon Repertory Singers. He studied composition and has a Bachelor's in Music from Cal State Fullerton. This concert is the first performance of his choral works, and also his conducting debut.


PAULINE OLIVEROS (1932-2016) was a composer, performer, and humanitarian, whose career spanned 50 years of boundary-dissolving music making. Oliveros, an openly queer Tejana, moved to San Francisco during the 50s, forming part of a circle of iconoclastic composers, artists, and poets. In the 60's she influenced American music through her founding of "Deep Listening ®" and Sonic Meditations, incorporating improvisation, meditation, electronics, environmental sounds, myth and ritual into musical performance. Oliveros championed artists' needs, artistic experimentation, diversity, and good

JOAN SZYMKO is a celebrated composer and conductor from the Pacific Northwest. With a catalog of over 100 published choral works, her music is performed by ensembles and in festivals and competitions around the world. Abundant lyricism, rhythmic integrity, and a vigorous attention to text are hallmarks of Szymko's diverse and distinctive choral writing. Especially significant is Szymko's contribution to the body of quality literature for women's voices. Szymko has inspired community and church choirs in Seattle and Portland for over 30 years as a choral director.

GWYNETH WALKER is an American composer whose music is beloved by performers and audiences alike for its energy, beauty, reverence, drama, and humor. A graduate of Brown University and the Hartt School of Music, Walker taught at Oberlin College Conservatory until 1982, when she began composing full time. For nearly 30 years, she lived on a dairy farm in Vermont; she now divides her time between Vermont and Connecticut. Walker has been recognized with numerous awards and residencies and travels often to collaborate with soloists and ensembles as they rehearse and perform her music.