Meet  The Composers

Meet the creative power behind all the wonderful music that will be created in this year's project. None of this could be done without their generosity, talent, and passion for arts education.

2017-2018 Creative Commissions Featured Composers

Daniel Harrison (b.1987) is a frequently commissioned and performed composer of chamber, orchestral, choral, and electronic music whose music has been heard across the United States. His music has been praised for its "vivid use of instrumental color", and "poetic expressiveness". His music has been performed by numerous outstanding performers and ensembles such as members of Fifth House Ensemble, Del Sol String Quartet, Iktus Percussion Ensemble, Three by Radio, All of the Above, Noise to Signal, the CCM Chorale, and Hypercube. In 2015 and 2017, he was a finalist for ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award. In 2015 he was awarded a commission to compose a new work for chorus and electronics for a recording project for the CCM chorale. He was recently named the Ohio Music Teachers Association's commissioned composer for 2016. His music has been recently performed at the Red Note New Music Festival and the New Music on the Bayou festival. He holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and the University of South Florida.

The music of Brian Raphael Nabors is emotionally enriching and tells exciting narratives with its colorful harmonic language. Mr. Nabors' music has been commissioned by institutions such as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as well as performed at many events across the US, including the Texas Music Educators Association Conference (TMEA), the Midwest Composers Symposium, and the International Double Reed Society Conference (IDRS). He has received awards from the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), Alabama Music Teachers Association (AMTA), the Birmingham Music Club, and has been performed by artists such as flutist Bradley Garner and Sybarite 5. He has also received instruction in masterclasses with composers such as Lowell Liebermann, William Bolcom, and pianist Jon Nakamatsu.

With an eclectic musical palate and crafty compositional technique to match, Nabors’ music draws from combinations of Jazz/R&B with the modern flair of contemporary music. This interesting blend of sound worlds is one that continues to craft his unique musical voice.

​A native of Birmingham, AL, he obtained the Master of Music degree in Composition from the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) at the University of Cincinnati where his primary teachers have been Miguel A. Roig-Francolí, Douglas Khehans, and Ellen Ruth Harrison. 

As a child, Cara Haxo loved listening to her father read stories out loud. Today, she loves finding ways to incorporate these stories, poetry, and artwork into her music. Haxo was awarded the 2013 National Federation of Music Clubs Young Composers Award, the 2013 International Alliance for Women in Music Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Prize, and second prize in the 2012 Ohio Federation of Music Clubs Student/Collegiate Composers Contest. Her works have been performed by the PRISM Quartet, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, Splinter Reeds, clarinetist James Shields, the Wooster Symphony Orchestra, and the Pacific Rim Gamelan, amongst other ensembles. Haxo earned her Bachelors of Music in Composition at The College of Wooster and her Masters of Music in Composition at Butler University. Before Wooster, Haxo spent six summers studying at The Walden School Young Musicians Program in New Hampshire, where she has returned as faculty in recent years. She has also taught private piano, theory, and composition lessons through the Butler Community Arts School (IN). Haxo is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in composition at the University of Oregon, where she studies with Robert Kyr and David Crumb and works as a Graduate Teaching Fellow in Music Theory. When she is not composing, Haxo enjoys baking muffins, going on long road trips, and reading Harry Potter in French.

Jason Richmond received his Doctorate in Music Composition at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). His works, both acoustic and electronic, have been performed throughout the United States and Europe, including performances of his computer music at the Ball State New Music Festival, Electronic Music Midwest Festival, the Electro-acoustic Barn Dance Music Festival, a performance at Kainan University in Taiwan in late 2014, and a performance at the Manchester Music Festival in March 2015. Dr. Richmond received his Bachelor of Music in Composition at Northern Kentucky University under Dr. Philip Koplow, his Masters degree in Music Composition under Dr. Steve Rouse at the University of Louisville, and was under the direction of Dr. Joel Hoffman, Dr. Michael Fiday, and Dr. Mara Helmuth at CCM for his D.M.A. He is the recipient of CCM’s Composer Competition Award and was commissioned by the CCM Philharmonia to write a new work during there 2013/2014 season. His most recent orchestral piece, Ctrl + Alt + Del, was recorded by the Brno Philharmonia in the Czech Republic and will be featured on ABLAZE Records Orchestral Masters Vol. 4 disc out June 2017. Jason teaches Music Theory, Music Technology, and Music Composition at Northern Kentucky University.

The works of American composer/pianist Adam D. O’Dell have been praised for their “depth, beauty, and rich dimension” (The Courier), and “tremendous instrumental

color, beautiful textures, [and] impressive formal structure” (ABLAZE Records). Adam seeks to combine jazz, rock, theatre, and folk influences into music with humanistic and story-like qualities. 

Recent commissions include the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, The Oklahoma State University Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble 135, Just Duet, hornist Andrew Pelletier, and the Julien Chamber Choir. His works have been performed in the United States, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Russia, Brazil, Germany, and Italy. He has won awards from ABLAZE Records, the Tri-State Wind Symphony, the Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City, Make Music Inc., and the Kennedy Center.

O’Dell holds degrees from Bowling Green State University (MM) and Clarke University (BA). He has studied with composers Marilyn Shrude, Mikel Kuehn, Christopher Dietz, and Amy Dunker.

O'Dell is an internationally published academic writer, and has given lectures and masterclasses in composition, analysis, and biomusicology across the United States and Europe. O’Dell currently serves as the Artistic Director, composer-in-residence, and pianist with the Noise-to-Signal Ensemble, and is a licensed PARMA Recordings Artist. His music can be heard on the Navona and ABLAZE record labels.

Marissa DiPronio (b. 1989) currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in music composition from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where her focus has been mainly on electroacoustic composition under the guidance of Dr. Mara Helmuth. In addition to studying electroacoustic composition, she has also taught instructional courses on electronic music software and its history, both at CCM and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Her music has been featured across the country and internationally at a wide variety of concerts, festivals, and events, most recently at the Bowling Green New Music Festival, Electronic Music Midwest, the SEAMUS festival, and the New York City Electronic Music Festival, among others.


In addition to being a composer, Marissa is also a pianist, with a degree in piano performance from the University of South Florida. She especially enjoys performing new music and collaborating with other composers.

Derek David is a composer and music educator based in Boston, Massachusetts. His dramatic and vibrant chamber music has been performed in both Europe and the United States and has received great recognition from audiences and critics alike. Originally from Los Angeles, Derek developed a passion for music at a young age. His studies led him to The San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he received his Bachelor’s in composition (2008), his Master’s degree (with honors 2010) and Doctorate (2017) in composition from the New England Conservatory of Music, working mainly with Michael Gandolfi. Additional mentors include Steven Stucky and George Tsontakis (Aspen Music Festival), and Philip Lasser (EAMA Nadia Boulanger Institute).

Derek David’s works have garnered praise in the US and abroad and have won several prestigious awards. Upon hearing Mr. David’s Viola Sonata, composer John Adams declared to be “dazzled by [David’s] capability and musicality, and his “masterful demonstration of technique.”

As an enthusiastic educator, Derek has taught at theory and musicianship at the New England Conservatory, The Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and at The Walden School. He is currently a teaching fellow at Harvard University where he teaches theory. For his work at Harvard, Mr. David is a three-time recipient of the Distinction in Teaching Award. His areas of interest also extend to Medieval theory and musicology, The Beatles, and Jewish Music. for more information, please visit

Andy Villemez is an educator, composer, and performer based in Cincinnati, OH. He composes a variety of concert music in a myriad of styles, affects, and levels. He has been commissioned to write works by concert pianists, Cincinnati Public Radio, and regional piano competitions. His most notable pieces come from a set of preludes for solo piano based on everything from contemporary R&B to everyday emotions. Entitled Book of Odes, pianists both young and professional have performed these pieces in major cities across the United States and Canada. Andy currently teaches piano and piano pedagogy at the University of Cincinnati. When he is not teaching, performing, or composing, he enjoys all kinds of food, blooper reels, hiking, and improv. You can check out more info about Andy at his personal website or the site of his music studio - and