World Premieres

John Belkot, Joshua Bornfield, Scott Lee, and Elizabeth Nonemaker

Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 2:00 PM
Recital Hall, Towson University, Center for the Arts


The concert will begin with short interviews with the composers about the new commissions, conducted by Ronald Pearl.

Der duft des winters John Belkot
Sonata for unaccompanied guitar (b. 1981)

Andew Poxon


To Build a House Scott Lee
For solo guitar (b. 1988)

Oscar Somersalo


Old Habits, Similar Patterns Elizabeth Nonemaker
For Two Guitars (b. 1989)

Jeremy Lutty and Meng Su


Murmurs Joshua Bornfield
(b. 1980)

The Atlantic Guitar Quartet
(Mark Edwards, Kevin Shannon, Ronald Pearl (sitting in for Zoë Johnstone Stewart), Jonathan Zwi)


John Belkot is a composer of concert and stage music. As a vocalist himself, John primarily contributes to new vocal and chamber music repertoire, but also writes larger works for orchestra, including music for non-traditional environments and venues. His aesthetic, often poly-stylistic, ultimately weaves a cohesive thread balancing sound and silence equally. By augmenting the music with negative space, John creates a unique sense of structure and narrative in his works.

Over the past several years, John has enjoyed continued commissions and performances of his works throughout the United States. Recently, his works were featured at the College Music Society’s 54th National Conference, The LIVEWIRE Festival, the Havertown New Music and Art Series, the David Oppenheim Concert Series at the Stella Adler Studio, and the National Gallery of Art. His orchestra piece, And night by the streams of the city, based on the poem by Matt Reeck, was selected by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop, for the 2012 BSO Peabody Composer Reading. As an advocate for Baltimore music, John has been commissioned by many local groups including SONAR New Music Ensemble, Pictures on Silence, Canticum Novum. His latest work, Agustini Songs, for soprano and orchestra, will premiere with Charm City Collegium this May.

John has served as Composer-in-Residence for the Johns Hopkins University and treasurer for the Baltimore Composers Forum. He is currently the Composer-in-Residence for Charm City Collegium and serves as a member of the music theory faculty at Loyola University of Maryland. John holds degrees from Susquehanna University and the Peabody Conservatory, where he was the recipient of the Randolph S. Rothschild and the Eugene Scheffres & Richard E. Hartt Scholarships, and is currently the Graduate Composition Fellow finishing his Doctor of Musical Arts. John lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife, Adri and their two dogs.


Joshua Bornfield has been called “a completely new and original voice” (Phyllis Bryn-Julson). In 2010 he won the Virginia McCarty-deLillo award for his chamber work simplificulticity, and the same year the Donald Sutherland Award for his choral music Mi Chamocha. His recent opera Strong Like Bull, a commission from The Figaro Project, received national press from both CBS and He has been commissioned to compose music for members of the United States Army Field Band, Boston Handel & Haydn Society, and Toronto Opera

Recent projects for those ensembles include a new vocal chamber work for Johns Hopkins, a site-specific spatial work for wildUp to perform in the Los Angeles Armory, and a full-length opera for The Figaro Project. The Figaro Project will partner with Armando Bayolo’s Great Noise Ensemble in Washington, DC for another series of performances of the same work in the Fall of 2013. He is a current composer-in-residence for the Johns Hopkins University, The Figaro Project, and the wildUp modern music collective in Los Angeles, California.

Joshua holds a B.A. in Music from the University of Minnesota, a M. A. in Music Theory and Literature in Composition from Eastern Michigan University, and currently he is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in music composition and Master of Music in theory pedagogy at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, under the mentorship of Kevin Puts and Michael Hersch.

Composer Scott Lee works like a mad scientist, stitching together disparate genres to create lively original music. From funk-laced chamber grooves to capricious orchestral dances, Lee’s compositions feature shifting rhythms and striking melodies that speak to diverse listeners. His latest projects include a commission for solo guitar for the Baltimore Classical Guitar Society, a chamber work for New York group yMusic, a large orchestral piece for the Occasional Symphony, and a string quartet commissioned by the American Crafts Council. Lee is currently the composer in residence for the Occasional Symphony.

In 2012, Marin Alsop directed the Baltimore Symphony in a reading of Lee’s piece Janus Antics, a fanciful and volatile dance for orchestra in which the past and future collide. Classical Revolution performed Lee’s arrangement of a Bach Sarabande as part of a talk at TEDxMidAtlantic in Washington, DC, featuring a large chamber ensemble and beat-boxer. The Occasional Symphony’s Halloween Concert featured Lee’s film score for scenes from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. In both 2011 and 2012, Lee was an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award Finalist. Lee also received the Gustav Klemm award in Composition at the Peabody Institute in 2013, and won the Blair School of music Composition Competition in 2011.

Lee is currently a James B. Duke Fellow at Duke University where he is pursuing his PhD in Composition, mentored by Scott Lindroth. He earned the Master of Music degree at the Peabody institute, where he was the recipient of the Philip D. Glass Endowed Scholarship in Composition and studied with Michael Hersch. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University in 2011, where he studied with Michael Rose, Michael Slayton, Stan Link, and Michael Kurek.

Elizabeth Nonemaker is an award-winning young composer based in Baltimore, MD. She is the recipient of artist-in-residency fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, in addition to many prizes and commissions. These include commissions from the Definiens Project, the Musical Chairs Chamber Ensemble, the SCI/ASCAP National Conference; awards include the 2011 Young Composer Award in the National Federation of Music Clubs (NFMC) Student/Collegiate composition competition, the 2011 International Alliance of Woman in Music (IAWM) Ellen Taaffe Zwilich prize, the 2012 USC Discovery Scholar Award, an Honorable Mention from the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, a merit award from the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts (NFAA), an award for Excellence in the Arts from the National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL), and others. Elizabeth’s compositions have been performed by a number of ensembles across the country and in Germany.

Elizabeth aims to write music that takes inspiration from a variety of sources: visual art, literature, philosophy, everyday experiences, and everything in between. In May of 2012, she completed her B.M. in Composition, with high honors, at the University of Southern California, where she studied with Stephen Hartke, Frank Ticheli, and Donald Crockett. Other teachers include Samuel Adler, Derek Bermel, Judah Adashi, Kenneth Hesketh, and Efraín Amaya; and she has undertaken additional studies at the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Freie Universität of Berlin, the Peabody Preparatory, Westminster Choir College, and Carnegie-Mellon University. In addition to composing, Elizabeth enjoys pursuing her other passions of literature, writing, and world travel.

Born in Vantaa, Finland in 1990 Oscar Somersalo started playing the guitar at the age of 6 under guidance of Paul Pajarinen at East-Helsinki Music Institute and later continued under Carlo Ambrosio in Italy. In 2012 he completed his Bachelor of Music degree in the Sibelius Academy under the direction of Andrzej Wilkus.

In 2009 Somersalo won the 2nd prize in the international guitar competition “Ciudad de Llerena” in Spain. In 2011 he performed with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Helsinki. Currently he studies under Manuel Barrueco at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA.


Born in 1991, Jeremy Lutty began playing the classical guitar in high school at the prestigious Baltimore School for the Arts in Baltimore under the direction of Dr. Orlando Roman, after having been a cellist since an early age.

He was 1st and grand prizewinner of the 3rd Annual Beatty Music Competition and made his solo debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. He was the recipient of the Al Sanders Foundation for Music Studies Fund Scholarship as well as the Maryland Senatorial Scholarship and the Cape Foundation Endowed Scholarship. Jeremy Lutty is currently pursuing his master’s degree under Manuel Barrueco at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, where he also received his bachelor’s degree.


Andrew Poxon is currently pursuing his B.M. in Classical Guitar Performance at Towson University, under Troy King. After initially receiving a scholarship for jazz performance, Andrew realized his passion for the classical guitar and was captivated by its unique emotional and expressive capabilities.

He won the Towson University Talent Award Competition for classical guitar in spring of 2013, and has participated in master classes by distinguished artists including the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, the Assad Duo, and Xuefei Yang. In fall of 2012, he participated in the premier of Five Rocks, piece for classical guitar and viola composed by Towson graduate Keith Adams.


Born in China in 1988, Meng Su began her training in classical guitar with renowned Professor Chen Zhi at the age of nine where she quickly began attracting attention as a remarkable young talent. Before graduating from the High School of the Central Conservatory of Music of China in 2006, Ms. Su had already won many awards, including the 5th Vienna Youth Guitar Competition, the 48th Tokyo International Guitar Competition, the Christopher Parkening Young Guitarist Competition, and the 2nd Iserlohn International Guitar Competition in Germany.

Meng Su obtained her Performer’s Certificate and two Graduate Performer’s Diplomas with Manuel Barrueco at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, USA, both as a soloist and as a chamber musician.


Ronald Pearl enjoys an active career of performing, teaching, composing, and arranging. For two decades he worked with guitarist Julian Gray, giving concerts throughout the US, Canada, and England, and releasing four highly acclaimed recordings on the Dorian label. In addition to solo appearances, his recent performance activities include collaborations with singers and chamber musicians. As a composer, his works have been performed throughout the US, and in Italy, Turkey, Venezuela and Brazil.

Currently Mr. Pearl is an Associate Professor at Loyola University Maryland, and director of the Music Program. He teaches courses in music history, theory, world music, and guitar studies. Since 2000, he has directed a community guitar ensemble, for whom he has written and arranged a large number of works.

The Atlantic Guitar Quartet is a contemporary music ensemble dedicated to promoting the music of living composers. Through virtuosic performances, innovative programing and collaborative projects with other visual and performing artists, AGQ continues to broaden the repertoire for – and the definition of – a classical guitar quartet.

Mark Edwards has been hailed as a player who “transfers to another zone, effortlessly strumming, plucking and picking a variety of classical masterpieces with clarity” (Montgomery Advertiser). During the past fifteen years, he has earned thirty-three top prizes in competitions in the United States and internationally. Mark holds a Master of Music Performance and Pedagogy from the Peabody Institute of Music, and a Bachelor of Music (magna cum laude) from Columbus State University.

Kevin Shannon actively performs solo and chamber music on both modern classical guitar and various period instruments including Lute, Baroque guitar and percussion. A former member of the 1 East Guitar Quartet, he is also founding member of the Atlantic Guitar Quartet. He received a Masters of Music and Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Institute, where was the Graduate Assistant to Julian Gray and was awarded a Peabody Career Development Grant.

Recent notable performances include collaborations with the New York Baroque Dance Company, performances through the Midori and Friends Foundation, York College concert series, Salisbury University, performances in the Marlow Guitar series and the Loyola College Concert Series, and performances at the Kennedy Center for the performing arts.

Zoe Johnstone Stewart is an active performer and educator in the Baltimore area. As a solo artist, she has performed throughout the U.S., Canada and Italy. As a collaborator in various chamber groups she has performed extensively throughout the Northeast United States. She has received her Bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music and her Masters from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. In addition to her performing career she is a highly sought after guitar teacher and the founding director of the Evergreen Academy of Talent Education.

Jonathan Zwi is currently a doctoral candidate at the Peabody Conservatory under Manuel Barrueco. He is interested in exploring the dynamics of aesthetic experience and the perceptual mechanisms through which we construct concepts of meaning and beauty in art.