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Announcing Winners of Hildegard Competition for Female and Non-Binary Composers

Arts incubator throws a spotlight on diverse talent.


Trans-masculine, nonbinary composer X. Lee

Image: Supplied


Female composers Emma O’Halloran (Ireland), Kayla Cashetta (San Francisco/Bay Area) and trans-masculine and non-binary X. Lee (Los Angeles), who uses the gender neutral pronouns they/them.


X. Lee defines integrates multimedia visuals, gesture/movement, spatial design, and the synthesis of acoustic and electronic elements to define their voice. Their background as a DJ and producer in the techno subculture, juxtaposed with their training in classical composition, theory and practice, has given them a unique understanding of the relationship between music, technologies, and the human experience. 


They have participated in summer festivals such as the Conservatoire Americaine de Fontainebleau – under the mentorship of François Paris, Martin Matalon, and Allain Gaussin – and Contemporary Music Creation + Critique at Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM), which ran alongside ManiFESTE. Their audio-visual electronic works have won calls for scores both from Ensemble Mise-En for Bushwick Open Studios and from Listening to Ladies for Ensemble Ctrl-Z. Most recently, they were featured on the Eastman School of Music’s radio show featuring trans and gender non-binary contemporary composers. In fall 2018, X. Lee will continue their studies in the Cursus Program at IRCAM.


Each of the winning composers will be mentored through creating a piece that will premiere in June by The Refugee Orchestra – a National Sawdust Artist-in-Residence that brings together instrumentalists and singers whose friends and families have fled to the U.S. to escape violence and persecution in performances that highlight these individuals’ importance to our cultural wealth – under the baton of Lidiya Yankovskaya.


National Sawdust is an arts incubator in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. More information here: www.nationalsawdust.org




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