Support Us!

Announcing the 2016-17 Luna Composition
Lab Fellows


New Composition Mentorship Program for Teen Girls Addresses Gender Gap in the Field of Classical Music, Inspires Young Women to Compose

Kaufman Music Center and Luna Composition Lab founders Missy Mazzoli and Ellen Reid announce the 2016-17 Luna Composition Lab Fellows. The three aspiring teen composers will be mentored by established women composers and have their works performed by Kaufman Music Center’s Face the Music youth new music ensemble at various NYC venues, including Merkin Concert Hall and Roulette.

This year’s Luna Composition Lab Fellows, who range in age from 13 to 17 and hail from NYC, Connecticut and Massachusetts, are Violet Barnum (age 13), Sofia Belimova (age 16) and Michelle David (age 17). Honorable Mentions were awarded to Robin MacDonald (age 16) and Caroline Bragg (age 13).

“We are fully impressed by the depth and skill conveyed through these young composers’ works,” say Mazzoli and Reid. “The selected Fellows and Honorable Mention Composers display both vibrant talent and compelling, singular voices.”

Launched this fall by composers Mazzoli and Reid in partnership with Kaufman Music Center, NYC’s premier center for pre-college music education, Luna Composition Lab will be featured in Musical America’s upcoming “Influencers” series. The program addresses the gender imbalance in the field of classical music by providing role models, mentorship and performance opportunities for aspiring young female composers. Composers Reena Esmail, Kristin Kuster and Tamar Muskal will join Mazzoli and Reid as mentors.

Luna Composition Lab Fellows receive:
• One-on-one mentorship and biweekly lessons with an established female composer
• Performance opportunities in New York City as part of the Face the Music concert season
• High-quality recordings of their works
• Instant access to a network of professional performers and composers as well as the chance to meet other aspiring young female composers

2016-17 Fellows

Violet Barnum, 2016-17 Luna Lab Fellow

A 13-year-old 8th grader at the Chapin School in NYC, Violet Barnum studies piano, guitar, theory and composition. Her string quartet “Thirteen Rains” explores using the string quartet instruments in different ways: grouping together into one note/chord and then splitting off into individual melodies. Composed partially in a classical style, it also uses contemporary techniques such as dissonance.

Sofia Belimova, 2016-17 Luna Lab Fellow

A 16-year-old 11th grader at Trinity School, Sofia attended middle school at Kaufman Music Center’s Special Music School and has written music for and performed with Kaufman’s youth new music ensemble Face the Music. Inspired by her interest in neuroscience and psychology, her piece “Hallucinations” use a variety of harmonies, timbres and textures to create a sense of discomfort and confusion. The dialogue between piano and violin further undermines any stability.

Michelle David, 2016-17 Luna Lab Fellow

A 17-year-old senior at NYC’s Special Music School High School at Kaufman Music Center, Michelle majors in music composition and has been composing for and performing with Kaufman’s youth new music ensemble Face the Music for three years. Based on the ancient Greek epic “The Odyssey,” her piece “Telemachus Meets Odysseus” explores the complex feelings Odysseus and his son Telemachus have for each other during Odysseus’s long journey, and their eventual reunion.

Robin MacDonald, 2016-17 Luna Lab Honorable Mention

A 16-year-old junior at Ridgefield High School in CT, Robin studies violin and piano and has participated in the CMEA All-State and Western Regional Festivals and the Western Connecticut Youth Symphony Orchestra as well as the Ridgefield High School Symphony Orchestra. “Of Flowers and Fire,” her piece for string quartet, explores the cycle of life and death and was influenced by the film score for "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring." The piece is structured with three major sections: a light and playful quasi-waltz ("Flowers"), a much darker and more intricate section ("Fire"), and a slower, more expressive recap ("Flowers").

Caroline Bragg, 2016-17 Luna Lab Honorable Mention

A 13-year-old 8th grader at Stanford University Online High School and resident of Brookline, MA, Caroline is a cellist and composer who takes inspiration from a wide variety of literary sources. Twice named an Emerging Composer in the Tribeca New Music Young Composer Competition, she is a two-time finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Competition. Her composition “Vast Skies” for cello and piano is based on the Emily Dickinson poem “There is Another Sky.”

Luna Composition Lab is made possible with generous support from The Cheswatyr Foundation and The Witherspoon Fund.

Click here to support Kaufman Music Center.