The Composers Collective is community of talented individuals with a passion for the promotion and performance of new music. They hold multiple concerts for different ensembles voted on by members, and write new music for every performance. Each member has their own style, and has the opportunity to experiment with new techniques, genres, and instrumentation. By composing for various ensembles and enjoying the occasional guest speaker at the regular membership meetings, the composers learn more about modern composition, important industry skills, and hone their craft. Though the process of experimental writing can be daunting – especially for ensembles of which they’ve never composed for before, and having a deadline to complete new works in time for the concerts – the composers come together as a community to encourage, advise one another, and help each other grow – and get to that deadline!
Jude Thomas is a composer and performer in the New York City area. He has composed several works for the stage including a full-length Musical, MOZU, and the one-act opera,The Scent of Jasmine on Parker Street. Jude is an active barbershop singer and competes in both quartets and choruses, winning a championship with the Masters of Harmony in 2011. Jude is also interested in the music of American experimental composers; he recently performed Harry Partch’s Barstow at the Harry Partch Institute at Montclair State University, and performed selections from John Cage’s Songbook as part of the Cage Centennial at San Diego State University. Jude received both his bachelor’s and master’s degree in music composition from San Diego State University and currently sings in the Hell’s Kitchen barbershop chorus, Voices of Gotham.
Terence Petersen is a recent graduate of Fordham University, where in addition to receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Music, he devoted himself to composing for and acting in student theatre productions. He is continuing his studies in composition at the Juilliard School. When not working, he enjoys unconventional films, cycling through Brooklyn at night, and long talks about the beach.
Kit Goldstein Grant is a founding member of the Composers Collective and a musical theatre lyricist and librettist as well as composer. She has studied at Juilliard and the Tony award-winning BMI Musical Theatre Writing Workshop, and in NYC her musicals have been seen at the Emerging Artists Theatre (In the Horse), the Musical Theatre Factory (The Wrong Box; 4x15 series), the National Opera Center (The Nose and The Wrong Box; staged readings), the Midtown International Theater Festival (The Nose; 2nd prize Jackie White Memorial National Children’s Play Writing Contest) and the Strawberry One-Act Festival (The Commuters, Calendar Boys Productions). Several of her musicals for young audiences have toured schools with the Schenectady Theatre for Children, including It's Raining Tamales!, which is published by YouthPLAYS. CDs of The Wrong Box and It’s Raining Tamales! are available on Amazon and iTunes.
Peter Jan is a composer and musician from New York City.
Currently, he studies composition, conducting, and instrumentation at Juilliard under the instruction of Conrad Cummings, Mark Shapiro, and Jude Vaclavik. Peter has also attended classes in Scoring for Film with Milica Paranosic, Music Theory with Samuel Zyman, and additional composition with Jonathan Dawe. Finding a true passion for composition, he has started writing for small classical ensembles and is a founder and President of the NYC-based group, The Composers’ Collective.
As a previous singer and performer in handbell choirs in churches since his youth, he enrolled at New York University to study music business, obtaining an BM in 2000. Since then, he has furthered his instrumental studies on guitar with John Pondel, Bruce Arnold and Jon Geist, piano with Cory Smythe, voice with Anne Phillips and Diana Nikkolos, and tablas with Rohin Khemani.
As a guitarist and singer, he has previously performed and recorded with the bands/artists Elisa Lin, Jihae, See for Days, The Force Theory, and The Lepers. In November 2011, as singer, guitarist, and composer, his band AM Low released their first single Tiny Switches | Able Archer under the Flash of Genius imprint. And as singer, guitarist, and producer, he recorded and composed with the Well Dressed Villains in Bushwick, NY, releasing their debut mixtape in September 2013. From 2008 – 2012 he managed Square Wave music studio in Long Island City, NY. In addition, he has performed as guitarist in the theater productions “B-Sides and Bastardized” in 2008, and “The City” and “The Bakery” in 2014.
Ruth Ansell is a composer, arranger, and pianist with diverse musical interests ranging from classical to jazz to rock. She has studied piano, orchestration and music theory at Juilliard, jazz with Doug Beardsley, and has performed at venues including Steinway Hall, The Underground, and B.B. King’s in New York City, the Guinness Storehouse in Ireland, and The Broadmoor in Colorado. Her musical influences range from Beethoven to The Beatles to Bill Evans, and her compositional style is a reflection of her eclectic musical tastes.
Neil Radisch is a retired software engineer who, during his software years, specialized in digital video and audio compression technologies. As a musician Neil's credits include an off-broadway musical (The Don Juan and The Non-Don Juan - Vineyard Theater NY, 1991), and a musical based on "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (Player's Club of Swarthmore - 1993). Neil was the sequencing engineer for the recording of Phillip Glass's "Witches of Venice" (Orange Mountain Music - 1995). In addition he has composed and orchestrated the scores of twenty three full length musicals for the Mask and Wig Club of The University of Pennsylvania.
Hany Rizkalla is an architect and violinist from Egypt. He received his first composition lessons when he was 15 from Aziz El-Shawan, the first composer of his time to write Arabic opera and a student of Aram Khachaturian. Hany’s work is noticeably influenced by his classical violin training. Mr. Rizkalla has a long orchestral experience starting when he was 21 when he joined the Cairo Symphony Orchestra for 7 years, later in his life he moved to Canada and played with multiple professional groups in Ontario. He has been an active freelance musician in New York for the last 6 years.
Besides Mr. Rizkalla’s busy life as a violinist and architect, he continuous to refine his composition skills thru Julliard school evening composition classes. Hany holds a fellowship diploma in Violin from Trinity College of Music, London and a Bachelor of Architecture from Cairo. He is also a registered architect of the state of New York and the province of Ontario, Canada and joined the Composers’ Collective last winter.
Rosemary Derocher is a composer, arranger, and songwriter with experience in jazz, classical, pop and folk, and a whole lot of styles in between. She grew up as a pianist and saxophonist, and has also dabbled in banjo, guitar, concertina, and whatever else she's been able to get her hands on. Sources say that accordion is the next frontier.
In addition to being a part of Composers Collective, Rosemary's composition work includes background and theme music, respectively, for the indie audio dramas "Jim Robbie and the Wanderers" and "Misadventures by Death." Her theme for "Misadventure by Death" won a 2017 Audioverse Award for Best Music for a New, Ongoing Dramatic Production.
Rosemary is from Albany, NY, and currently based in Manhattan. Outside of composing she can be found in the midst of a library and information studies degree, running, and reading past her bedtime.
Eric Heilner, a lifelong rock & roll and R&B keyboardist, finds himself venturing into the classical composition field for reasons that he does not fully comprehend (although he has ruled out financial gain as a motive). While his primary focus is composing chamber music, he can still be found playing in various clubs and seedy bars in New Jersey. You can find him on ericheilner.com.
George Tsouris grew up in Los Angeles and now lives in New York. He is a professor of Japanese literature, philosophy, and education. He works in multiple media, including music, cinema, animation, video games, and the stage.