The idea for Existential Pilot was born when six of us from the University of Michigan realized that we could share our music with a wider audience by creating our own group and taking it on the road ourselves. We currently have a 90-minute program featuring new works for violin, clarinet, voice, piano, and electronics, and we're raising money for our 2009 tour, with performances in New York and Philadelphia. All contributors will get their name featured in the program for our concerts, and check out the cool rewards available for contributors at the $10, $50, $100+ levels! If we're successful, we can apply for 501(c)3 status in a few years, and then become eligible for grants from the NEA and other organizations, but for now we’re relying on you to help us launch our dream!
Hear some music clips at www.myspace.com/existentialpilotgroup and become a Fan of our group on Facebook!
William Zuckerman - composer and performer (piano and electronic performance)
Born in Boston in 1988, William Zuckerman is pursuing a degree in music composition from the University of Michigan, studying with Bright Sheng and Michael Daugherty. In the summer of 2008, William studied composition at the Freie Universität of Berlin with Juilliard Professor Samuel Adler. In February of 2009, William gained national exposure winning the 2009 New York Art Ensemble Young Composer Competition. Other awards and honors have come from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts’ youngARTS program, the New England Conservatory, and ASCAP, who has named William three times a finalist for their international Morton Gould Prize. His recent media appearances include two profiles, broadcast on WMUK radio in Kalamzoo, MI, and on the NTD-Television station in New York, New York. Recent projects include scoring the music to documentary film “The Last Wilderness: Journey to the Western Arctic Reserve,” a work about corporate destruction of beautiful lands in Alaska, to be publicly broadcast in 2009-2010. He has also recently served as a professional music engraver to Pulitzer-Prize finalist author Lewis Lockwood and theorist Alan Gosman. In March of 2008, Eighth Blackbird gave a private performance of a recent work at the University of Michigan. Other notable performances have been staged at the Berkshires’ historic Tanglewood, the New Synagogue Concert Hall of Berlin, Germany, the Tribeca New Music Festival, and the Midwest Composer’s Symposium. This summer, William holds a fellowship at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, working with Yale Professor Martin Bresnick and the New Music Workshop in residence. Other upcoming activities include a performance at the Aspen Music Festival, a concerto with orchestra for saxophonist Jonathan Hulting-Cohen, and the US release of his quartet “Current, Deep, and Cool” on the Block M Records label, to be distributed on the iTunes music store in late 2009.
Ezra Donner - composer and performer (piano)
Ezra Donner (b. 1986) is an award-winning composer and pianist originally from Buffalo, NY. He holds a Bachelor of Music Degree with High Honors from the University of Michigan, and is also a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy. His composition teachers have included William Bolcom, Bright Sheng, Betsy Jolas, and Jonathan Golove, and he has studied piano with Christopher Harding, Thomas Lymenstull, and Frieda Manes. Awards and distinctions include the Arthur and Mary Platsis Award for Creative Works Inspired by the Greek Legacy (2008), and the Dr. Martin & Edith L. Horowitz Scholarship Award to an Outstanding Student in Music (2006), and he was selected as a Finalist in the University of Michigan Concerto Competition (2007), and as a Semi-Finalist (Second Round) in the Oberlin International Piano Competition (2004). Other recent achievements include the New York premiere of his song cycle Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird with soprano Andrea Bellissimo in 2009, the performance of excerpts from his one-act opera Antigone with students from the University of Michigan Creating Musical Theatre class taught by Joan Morris in 2008, and the premiere of his Symphonic Idyll for orchestra in 2006 by the University of Michigan University Symphony Orchestra conducted by Clinton Smith. He is currently living in Brooklyn, NY, where he works as a freelance pianist and composer, and in September 2009 he will begin pursuing a Master of Music Degree in Composition at Indiana University, where he will also be serving as an Associate Instructor of Music Theory. www.myspace.com/ezradonner
Jonathan Lubin - composer and performer (piano and electronic performance)
A native of North Carolina, Jonathan Lubin (b. 1987) is a student currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music in composition at the University of Michigan. His teachers have included William Bolcom, Susan Botti, Evan Chambers, and Erik Santos. Much of his music has focused on the blending together of different genres, such as serialism, minimalism, and romanticism. Some composers that strongly influence him are Andriessen, Ligeti, and Messiaen. As an ardent supporter of new music, Jonathan has actively participated in some of the ensembles at Michigan, including the Contemporary Directions Ensemble, the Digital Music Ensemble, and a vocal rep ensemble that focused on new music. He has also had many of his pieces played in the Composers Forum, which is a concert series put on by the student composers at Michigan.
Claire DiVizio - performer (soprano voice)
Soprano Claire DiVizio currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she attends the University of Michigan's School of Music. At the University, she has studied with Carmen Pelton, John C. Pierce, Robert Swedberg, and has sung under the direction of choral directors Paul Rardin and Jerry Blackstone. She is the winner of a First Place Award from the National Association of Teachers of Singing (Michigan Chapter), as well as the recipient of the Gloria Katlan Bennish Memorial Scholarship from the University of Michigan's Gilbert & Sullivan Society, the Anna Varga Memorial Scholarship for Singers from the Royal Oak Musicale, and a First Place award in the Birmingham Musicale's Scholarship Competition for Young Vocalists. In 2007, Ms. DiVizio was honored to be the only undergraduate singer invited to perform in a master class led by soprano Jessye Norman at the University of Michigan. Ms. DiVizio's performance experience includes opera, operetta, oratorio and choral solos, and recital performances. Roles to date include La bergère and La chouette in Ravel's "L’Enfant et les Sortilèges," Mad Margaret in Gilbert & Sullivan's "Ruddigore," Katisha in Gilbert & Sullivan's "The Mikado," Phoebe in Gilbert & Sullivan's "The Yeomen of the Guard," and The Queen of the Fairies in Gilbert & Sullivan's "Iolanthe." Most recently, Ms. DiVizio performed in New York City as an ensemble member of the Brooklyn Repertory Opera's production of Verdi's "Un ballo in maschera," and was subsequently selected to perform as a soloist in an outreach recital program put on by the same company. Ms. DiVizio has been the soprano soloist in Bach's Cantata 140 and Benjamin Britten's "Hymn to St. Peter" with the U of M's University Choir under Paul Rardin. She has also performed César Franck's "Panis Angelicus" and Mozart's "Exsultate Jubilate" with orchestra in St. Joseph's Cathedral in Detroit. Ms. DiVizio is currently planning a recital program of French melodies and cabaret songs to be performed at the University of Michigan in the fall.
Mark Dover - performer (clarinet)
Mark Dover (Ann Arbor, MI) graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy in 2005 and went on to receive his B.M. in Clarinet Performanc from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance. His teachers included Deborah Chodacki, Monica Kaenzig, Nathan Williams, and Jay DeVries. He has performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin, a joint collaboration with other U of M students, and was acting principal clarinet with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra fall of 2007, and as principal clarinet of the Rome Festival Orchestra. He was also awarded “best in show” for his solo clarinet performance at the U of M collage concert winter of 2007. Mark is a jazz saxophonist as well and has performed in concert with The Temptations, Conrad Herwig, and on board the Queen Mary 2 ocean liner.
Zoë Aqua - performer (violin)
Zoë Aqua was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, and started playing the violin at age four. She is currently pursuing a dual degree in Violin Performance and Music Education from the University of Michigan and is studying violin with Yehonatan Berick. For two summers, Zoë was a student of Jennifer John at the Aspen Music Festival and School. She is passionate about performing new music and during the 2008-09 school year collaborated with U of M composers David Biedenbender, Collin Wassel, Suby Raman, and William Zuckerman. On her free time, she enjoys sketching, cooking, and snowboarding.
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