School of Music

Composition, Theory and Technology

Composition Studies / Students

Andrew Babcock

Born in Buffalo, NY, Andrew Babcock has been working in a variety of contexts with music and multimedia for over 10 years. After studying composition with Samuel Pellman at Hamilton College, he worked in New York City as a composer and sound designer for television, radio, and film. Andrew recently completed an MA in composition at the University at Buffalo, where he studied with Cort Lippe and Jeffrey Stadelman. Andrew’s main interests lie in acousmatic music and exploring the transformative potential of mundane sound materials and their ability to yield complex sonic associations and narrative structures. He was awarded first prize in the 2011 Sound in Space competition sponsored by Harvard University, Northeastern University, and the Goethe-Institut and is a finalist in the Metamorphoses 2012 competition in Belgium. His works have been featured internationally at festivals such as Sonorities, ICMC, TES, NYCEMF, and SEAMUS.

Luis Damiani

Being awarded in 2010 the prestigious Classical Composition Prize from the National Foundation of Arts, in Brazil, made composer and violinist Luis Felipe Vieira Damiani take a turn from a well-established orchestral career into pursuing graduate studies in the USA. Damiani’s awards since include Best Feature Soundtrack at the 6th Cinefantasy International Fantastic Film Festival in 2011, the University of South Florida’s 2012 Percussion Composition Prize, as well as other academic awards from USF that include the Patrick Keim Endowed Memorial Scholarship in 2011, the Emma and Julius Hawkings Music Theory Scholarship in 2012, and the Research Merit Award in 2013. In the same year Damiani was also awarded a Graduate School Fellowship to pursue doctoral studies in music composition at University of Florida.

Neal Facciuto

Neal Facciuto (b. 1981) is an American composer of 21st century acoustic and electro-acoustic music, and a conductor of his own works. His style utilizes Eurocentric classical concepts and instrumentation in conjunction with spectralist influences and post-minimalist techniques. African American harmonies and West African rhythms are also coloristic features in many of his works. He has taught courses at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and the University of Hawai’i. Mr. Facciuto was recently awarded a year-long residency with the Oregon East Symphony for the 2014-15 year. [website]

Garrett Hecker (MM '13)

Garrett Austin Hecker is a composer and percussionist from South Florida. His music explores stylistic hybridity, rhythmic complexity, socio-political subjects, and humor. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Composition at the University of Florida, where he also completed his MM. He earned his BM in Composition from University of Miami. He has primarily studied composition with James Paul Sain, Paul Koonce, Paul Richards, and Scott Stinson. Hecker’s music has been performed in Florida, North Carolina, and New Hampshire. [website]

Michael Polo

Michael Polo first studied composition with Roberto Pace at the Settlement School of Music in Philadelphia, PA. He then attended Rowan University, NJ to begin a B.M. in Composition where he studied with Dr. Harold Oliver and Denis DiBlasio. Michael completed his M.M. in Composition at George Mason University where he studied with Dr. Jesse Guessford and Mark Camphouse. Michael is currently working on his PhD at the University of Florida. 

In 2008, Michael published his original work 'The Chase,'(for two-pianos eight-hands), with Piano Productions Press. He also has received performances of his compositions by award winning violinist Jaroslaw Nadrzycki of the Royal Academy of London. Performances of Michael's works have been heard from within the United States to the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Michael Polo is currently serving as Secretary for the International Society of Pianists and Composers. [website]

Rob Seaback

Rob Seaback is a guitarist and composer who has worked in a variety of musical styles. His current focus is on the composition of electroacoustic music that combines traditional instruments with precomposed electronic sound. He holds a B.S. in Music Technology from Northeastern University and an M.A. in Composition from Mills College. Rob’s work has been presented at both national and international festivals such as the ICMC, the ISCM World New Music Days, the SEAMUS Conference, and the EMUfest of the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia, Rome. It has also been broadcast on Comptradio: Musique Contemporaine á la Radio. In 2011 he was awarded First Prize in the ASCAP/SEAMUS Student Commission Competition, and also received the Elizabeth Mills Crothers Award for Outstanding Musical Composition from Mills College. His principal instructors have included Mike Frengel, Ron Bruce Smith, John Bischoff, and Roscoe Mitchell. [website]

Benjamin O'Brien

Benjamin O’Brien composes, researches, and performs acoustic and electro-acoustic music that focuses on issues of translation and machine listening. He is a Doctoral Fellow currently pursuing a Ph.D in Music Composition at the University of Florida. He holds a MA in Music Composition from Mills College and a BA in Mathematics from the University of Virginia. Benjamin has studied computer music, improvisation, and theory with David Bernstein, Ted Coffey, Fred Frith, Paul Koonce, Roscoe Mitchell, and Paul Richards. His compositions have been performed at international conferences and festivals including ICMC, EMS, NYCEMF, TIES, and SuperCollider Symposium. He received the Elizabeth Mills Crothers Award for Outstanding Musical Composition and is a WOCMAT International Electroacoustic Music Young Composers Awards Finalist. His work is published by Oxford University Press, SEAMUS, eContact!, and Taukay Edizioni Musicali. He performs regularly with the international laptop quartet Glitch Lich. [website]

Thomas Royal

The music of Thomas Royal is based in the use of contemporary technology to explore the dissolution and recombination of musical identities. This is effected by investigating alternative experiential paradigms made possible through the use of custom electronic controllers, novel performance interfaces, and alternative (re)presentational media (including screens, web interfaces, and mobile applications.) He is currently completing a dissertation about how computer frames the act and representation of musical play. 

His music has been performed at ICMC, EMM, NYCEMF, SECL, SEAMUS and other festivals in the United States. He won first prize in the APSU 2007 Young Composer's Competition. He has studied with Mark Engebretson, Paul Richards, Alejandro Rutty, and Jeffrey Wood. Currently, he is pursuing a Ph.D. under a supervisory committee chaired by Paul Koonce with additional support from James Paul Sain and Silvio dos Santos. [website]

Luke Blackburn

Luke composes, plays bassoon, and enjoys his sushi with extra wasabi.

Ismael Sandoval

Ismael Sandoval is a third year student studying both composition and music education. His performing instrument is the tuba, and he primarily focuses on instrumental music, although he likes to dabble in other genres every once in a while. Having been raised in the Florida Keys, his influences vary from Bob Marley, to Bernstein, Holst, and Whitacre.

Kyle Snow

Kyle Snow is a student composer currently enrolled in the University of Florida, where he is pursuing a dual degree in Music Composition and Mathematics. During his time at the University of Florida, Kyle has studied composition under Dr. James Paul Sain and Dr. Paul Koonce, and is currently studying under Dr. Paul Richards. While Kyle chooses to compose outside the realm of tonality, the majority of his works appeal to a casual or traditional audience as well as to seasoned listeners. Kyle’s compositional repertoire currently includes pieces written for percussion, piano trio, clarinet choir, saxophone quartet, string orchestra, and, most recently, woodwind quintet, with the promise of many more works to come.

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