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Alumni

The network of Luna Composition Lab Alumni includes young female-identifying, non-binary, and gender nonconforming composers from all across the United States. Alumni have attended prestigious institutions such as The Curtis Institute of Music, The Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, Rice University, Mannes School of Music, and The University of Southern California. Alumni have received commissions from The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Louisville Orchestra, loadbang, Opera Omaha, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Special Music School Chorus, the American Composers Orchestra, and violinist Johnny Gandelsman. Additionally, alumni have been invited to collaborations with the Nashville Symphony and the Britt Festival. 

VIOLET BARNUM (2016-17) 
Violet Barnum (age 17) lives in New York City and is a rising senior at the Chapin School. She studies piano, music theory, and composition at the Third Street Music School. Since her participation in Luna Composition Lab’s inaugural year she has continued to study composition with her mentor Reena Esmail. In 2018, Violet was commissioned to write a piece for the ensemble Contemporaneous, and it premiered in March 2019. Violet is an alumna of YASP at the Curtis Institute of Music. In her spare time, Violet enjoys leading an a cappella group and writing pop songs. 

SOFIA BELIMOVA (2016-17) 

CAROLINA BRAGG (2017-18) 
Carolina Bragg (age 17) is a cellist and composer from Brookline, Massachusetts. Drawing inspiration from literature and the natural world, Carolina has composed more than fifteen original works, including two professional commissions: one for Friction Quartet as part of their Commissioning Initiative II, and the other a co-commission by A Far Cry and Milton Academy. She is a four-time finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Competition. Carolina is grateful to her teachers and mentors, who have included Alla Cohen, Reena Esmail, Paola Prestini, and Kristin Kuster. Carolina plays cello in the top ensemble of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra. Carolina received the Patrina Foundation Fellowship for 2017–2018.  

TIFFANY CUARESMA (2018-19) 
Tiffany Cuaresma (age 19) is a composer and vocalist from San Diego, California. Her music has received recognition from the National YoungArts Foundation, National Young Composers Challenge, and the Austin Symphony Orchestra’s Texas Young Composers Competition. Tiffany is an alumna of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. Her works have been performed by internationally-acclaimed guitarists Thu Le, Bokyung Byun, and Steve Cowan, and she has been commissioned by Special Music School Choruses. She was selected for the NYU Summer Screen Scoring Program and has composed and conducted an original opera. She currently studies music composition and business at Rice University. Tiffany is also part of the San Diego Human Trafficking Prevention Committee. Tiffany received the James R. Rosenfield Fellowship for 2018–2019. 

MICHELLE DAVID (2016-17) 
Michelle David (age 21) is a Haitian-Peruvian composer who loves to work with timbre, texture, and different styles of music, specifically fusion, Latinx/Caribbean, experimental electronic, ambient, hip-hop, and cinematic music. She currently lives in Queens, NY and is currently completing her senior year at SUNY Geneseo. Michelle is majoring in music composition and recently completed her minor in piano pedagogy. She is looking forward to graduating this upcoming May and working towards applying for a PhD program in music composition. Her recent music collaborations have involved songwriting and production, and she had the joy of working with her family-friends, who are rappers, poets, and directors.

ABBY HARRIS (2018-19)
Abby Harris (age 15) is a New York City-based composer and pianist. She studies composition privately with Professor Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, and separately participates in the American Composers Orchestra composition programming. At thirteen, after achieving recognition in several composition competitions, Abby was selected as a MATA, Jr. composer. This year, Abby was named a national finalist at both ASCAP Morton Gould and the NFMC composition competition. She also received a 2020 honorable mention at ACF NextNotes, which described her music as “big, serious, and convincing.”   

MAYA MIRO JOHNSON (2017-18) 
Maya Miro Johnson (age 19) is a conductor, composer, violinist, and interdisciplinary artist who considers her work philosophy not constrained to logic and reason. She focuses on questioning: exorcising hereditary ghosts, corroding capitalism’s continuum, affirming value in the quotidian, and manipulating the familiar | strange duality. Winner of both Surinach and Schuman Prizes in the 2020 BMI Awards, Maya has been commissioned by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Sarasota Festival & Jeffrey Kahane, pianist Inna Faliks, violinist Johnny Gandelsman, and loadbang. Summers have included Aspen (2021), Cabrillo, BUTI, & NYO-USA. She studies at the Curtis Institute and with Sarrah Bushara forms the duo ~. 

YURI LEE (2018-19) 
Yuri Lee (age 16) is a composer and violinist from New York. She studied composition with Daniel Felsenfeld and violin with Lucie Gelinas at The Juilliard School Music Advancement Program from 2016-2020. She now studies composition with Manuel Sosa through the Juilliard Pre-College program. Yuri was an orchestra finalist at the National Young Composers Challenge in 2019, and the winner of the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award in 2020. To achieve her life goal of making people happy with music, Yuri founded “Music Around Us Project,” where she organizes concerts with young musicians for seniors in an assisted living facility and young children in the community. Yuri received the Patrina Foundation Fellowship for 2018–2019.  

HELEN LYONS (2017-18) 

JOANNA MCDONALD (2018-19)
Joanna McDonald (age 18) is a composer, guitarist, and pianist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who loves her local music community. She first started writing lyrics at age six and by age twelve was writing full songs with melodies and chord progressions. She has won several awards at the University of Tulsa's annual Béla Rózsa composition competition since entering her first piece, for solo guitar, at age 15. Joanna has presented her music at The University of Oklahoma's collegiate Composer's Workshop and has attended Curtis Summerfest and The University of Tulsa Composition Seminar. Joanna is currently in her first year of college at Rice University and intends to major in composition. Joanna received the Sydney Striker Fellowship for 2018–2019. She was awarded the G. Schirmer Prize for her work “Peace” in 2019.  

JANE MEENAGHAN (2018-19) 

KATIE PALKA (2017-18) 

ALIYA SALMANOVA (2017-18)
Aliya Salmanova (age 19) is a young Azerbaijani-American pianist and composer living in New York City. She was a chosen participant for Opera Omaha Music and Poetry Workshop 2019. She was also a member of the X QABALA INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL 2018 and has performed at many concert halls in Baku, Azerbaijan. Now she is interested in writing music for film and is happy to start attending NYU Steinhardt for Screen Scoring. Here she will continue to pursue her undergraduate degree as she recently finished her second year at Mannes, studying with Missy Mazzoli.