Nathan Cornelius – Executive Director, Composer
A thoughtful explorer of the sound world, Nathan Cornelius searches for the hidden beauty in sounds both fresh and familiar. By taking listeners with him on this journey through sonic landscapes, he seeks to open to their ears to new colors, textures, and ultimately, new ways of hearing. Trained as a classical guitarist, Nathan pursues a multifaceted career in composition, performance, and teaching. He is deeply interested in the connections between music and the visual arts as they embody the values of a civilization, and he hopes to compose music that both reflects his Christian faith and expands the imagination of the culture. His photography, ceramic work and art history research have received various awards, and he operates the online ceramics shop SfzCeramics, featuring his own work.
Nathan is also a frequent contributing author for deformingprisms, a new music blog dedicated to exploring the purposes, ethical implications, sociohistorical meanings, and techniques of music composition in the present era. To hear more of Nathan’s music, please visit his YouTube channel.
Jasper Schmich Kinney – Artistic Director, Composer, Pianist
Jasper Schmich Kinney is a Colorado-based musician. He has collaborated as both a composer and performer with several contemporary ensembles, such as Modern Hue in the U.S., Composit in Italy, and ISAM Ensemble in Germany. Jasper’s compositions are influenced by his passionate concentration in modern performance and new music studies. Chris Malloy is his primary composition professor, and he has also studied composition with Joshua Fineberg, Phillippe Leroux, and Marta Gentilucci. His primary piano instructor is Heidi Leathwood. His favorite hobbies include cooking vegan meals, reading science fiction, and taking long walks in nature.
Kornel Thomas – Music Director, Conductor
The Hungarian-American conductor Kornel Thomas is currently conductor and teaching artist at El Sistema Colorado, and is the conductor of the contemporary music group Nebula Ensemble. He was previously associate conductor of the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra, associate conductor of the Lamont Symphony Orchestra and assistant conductor of the St. Stephen King Youth Orchestra. In fall 2013, he was acting music director of the Lamont Symphony Orchestra where he conducted multiple sold-out performances of the musical Oklahoma. He has attended the Cabrillo Festival Conductor Training Workshop, the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors, the London Conducting Workshop and the Conductors Institute in South Carolina. He was a semi-finalist at the Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa Young Conductors Competition in 2013. In 2012, he debuted at the Vienna Musikverein with the ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna. In 2006, he won 2nd prize at the Béla Bartok Hungarian National Competition in Composition. He holds a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna and an artist diploma in orchestral conducting from the Lamont School of Music, University of Denver. His mentors include Mark Stringer, Yuji Yuasa, Ervin Ortner, Konrad Leitner, Lawrence Golan, Betrand de Billy, Alexander Polishchuk, Niclolas Pasquet, Daniel Harding and Maron Alsop.
Sarah Perske – Public Relations Director, Composer
Sarah Perske is a composer, writer, and classical guitarist with a penchant for the vibrant and the unusual in music and in the written word. Sarah’s works often draw on the mystic traditions of her Roman Catholic faith, and reflect her interests in creating tendential harmony, combining music with the visual and literary arts, and exploiting found object sound sources. Sarah’s works have been performed by The Playground Ensemble, classical guitarist Laura Husbands, and virtuoso saw player Caroline McCaskey. In 2013 Sarah was winner of The Playground Anne Culver Commission Prize, and in 2014 she won first prize in the Colorado Clarinet Days Composition Competition. Outside of music, Sarah is interested in gluten-free cooking, theology, and cats.
Sarah is also founder and editor of deformingprisms, a new music blog dedicated to exploring the purposes, ethical implications, sociohistorical meanings, and techniques of music composition in the present era. For more about Sarah’s music, visit sarahperske.com.
Victoria Vanest – Ensemble Manager
Victoria Vanest is the Nebula Ensemble Manager. In addition to her work with Nebula, she also coordinates the music portion of the LYNX National Arts and Media Camps, an immersive summer music program for high school students. Victoria enjoys the supportive, behind-the-scenes work that helps make music happen.
She earned her B. Mus. in flute performance from the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver. A classically trained flautist and piccoloist, she has performed in halls such as the Frederic C. Hamilton Family Recital Hall in Denver and the Foundling Museum in London and has recorded with the Lamont Symphony Orchestra, Goldsmiths Sinfonia, composer Wes Devore, and Nebula. She will begin her M.Mus. at Lamont in 2015.
Stephen Bailey – Audiovisual Consultant, Composer
A fierce experimentalist, Stephen Bailey is a Colorado-based composer, instrument maker, and sound engineer. Stephen’s compositions embody a language which is deeply expressive and highly textural. This definitively contemporary language borrows techniques from composers of minimalism, sound mass, new simplicity, and post-serialism, integrating them and exploring their capabilities as tools for the expression of the realities of the human condition. The result can be both ecstatically serene and forcefully chaotic, both sumptuously beautiful and disturbingly ugly. Common topics for Stephen’s music include night, death, sleep, science, nature, and the struggle of human beings to relate to the world around them.
Stephen has been featured twice on the Playground Ensemble’s Colorado Composer’s Concert, and their 2013 New Creations concert. Stephen was also one of three composers featured at The Classical Salon at Dazzle Nightclub. His devotion to modern music has garnered him commissions from the MSUD Men’s Choir, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Modern Hue, and several Denver-area musicians and chamber groups. He has studied composition with composers such as Conrad Kehn, Fred Hess, Chris Malloy and William Hill. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in composition from Metropolitan State University of Denver and a Master’s of Music in composition from the University of Denver.
Emily Gradowski – Soprano
Emily Gradowski is an engaging and versatile performer, whose repertoire ranges from John Dowland to John Musto. Equally at home in opera, operetta, musical theatre, and chamber works, Emily has performed with the Young Victorian Theatre Company, Oldenburg Opera Theatre, and the National Opera Association, among others. Recently, she has been heard in Don Giovanni as Donna Elvira, LCCS, Lamont Guitar Ensemble concerts and this spring she will be performing Mrs. Ford in the Merry Wives of Windsor. During her undergraduate program at Towson University, she studied with Ah Young Hong and Dr. Leneida Crawford. Emily currently studies with Ms. Sara Bardill at the Lamont School of Music where she will complete her Master Degree in 2015.
Kyle Hughes – Percussionist
Kyle Hughes is an audio engineer and classical percussionist who strives to capture the beauty in music through his recordings and performances. His twin passions for technology and percussion have driven him to be very active in the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in audio production and sound recording. He has studied with Michael Schulze, Joel Kline, John Kinzie, Tina Gugeler, Anna Provo, RJ Heid, Jacquelin Herbein, and Brian Coiner. An in-demand musician, Kyle performs in many ensembles including the Lamont Percussion, Steel Drum, and Ghanaian Drumming ensembles, as well as the Modern Hue new music ensemble, the Lamont Wind Ensemble, and the Lamont Symphony Orchestra. Outside of Lamont, he performs with the Mile High Opera and most recently Nebula Ensemble. In addition, Kyle has distinguished himself by performing new music written by student composers, including “Of Ancient Dreams” by Katerina Therianos. In 2015, two of Kyle’s ensembles took first and second place in the Lamont Chamber Competition.
In order to fully embrace music, Kyle has dipped his toe into as many facets of the music world he can find, and he hopes to continue discovering new ways to create, share, and love music. His search has led him to explore different ethnic and world instruments such as steel drums, hammered dulcimer, bohron, and Ghanaian hand drums. His recording experience includes: head engineer for Nebula and Modern Hue ensemble recordings; assistant engineer for Linda Wang’s CD recording session; student engineer for various Lamont Jazz combo recording sessions. He has five years of experience running live sound for different churches. Kyle currently works as an independent audio engineer, recording classical and modern music ensembles, and as a sound tech intern at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, where he provides live sound mixing for choir and small group worship. Kyle also works as a music engraver and arranger, having arranged music for marching band percussion, percussion ensemble, and steel drum ensemble. During the summer, he is a Percussion instructor for the Franklin Regional Marching Band’s pit percussion, where he aims to demonstrate the wondrous world of percussion to his students.