Bouman Fellowship 2019-2020
This year, we are incredibly excited to launch the Bouman Fellowship program, our inaugural advocacy and professional development program for early-career composers. Named after computer scientist Dr Katie Bouman, whose team gave the world the first image of a black hole, the programmes's goal is to support some of our favourite early-career composers, to create opportunities, and to cultivate a sense of community and support.
This year's fellows are composers Mason Bynes, Andrew Rodriguez, and Cassie Wieland. Our fellows are having new works premiered alongside ours at National Sawdust this season, and each will be mentored by two of us through the creation of their work.
Andrew is writing for REAL LOUD and his piece will be premiered at National Sawdust on December 13, 2019.
Cassie is writing for Isabelle O'Connell, Adam Holmes, and electronics, and her piece will be premiered at National Sawdust on March 19, 2020.
Mason is writing for Nouveau Classical Project and her piece will be premiered at National Sawdust on May 20, 2020.
Hello! My name is Mason Bynes and I am a composer and trained vocalist from Sugar Land, TX. In a post- modern tradition, I enjoy pulling from various stylistic sources, blurring the line between traditionalism and modernism. In my work, I also like to focus on what physical/sensory factors contribute to an audience’s shared listening experience. I received my undergraduate degree at the University of North Texas, with a Bachelor of Music in Composition.
This fall, I will be studying at The Boston Conservatory as a master's student. During my undergraduate studies, I collaborated in projects for commercial music, concert music and media. As a film composer, I have written music for numerous short film projects under the mentorship of film composers Bruce Broughton and Drew Schnurr.
As a vocalist, I’ve composed work for a cappella group, The Green Tones, who performed my music in competition for the International Championship of Collegiate A Capella. In addition to a music video, my music for this project is to be released internationally on iTunes and Spotify in 2019. Recently, my concert music has been featured on WWFM- The Classical Network in Trenton, New Jersey and on Lumediaworks 24-hour broadcast. Myself and my other projects have also appeared in different interviews with The Denton Chronicle, The North Texan Magazine, CBS, NBC-DFW and Fox 4 News.
Andrew M. Rodriguez
My interest in music began with stints as a guitarist for various metal/hardcore bands during my teenage years. This eventually led to recording three full-length albums as one of the main songwriters for the Texas hardcore/punk band Close Your Eyes on the Chicago-based label, Victory Records. My history as a performer in the hardcore scene sculpts the core of my musical identity.
Having spent over three years touring the country, I developed a passion for the DIY scene which continues to guide my musical compass. The embedded experiences of performing intense and passionate music night after night have led to developing a musical language that I feel is both raw and dramatically expressive. Throughout my career as a composer, I have remained active in the indie music scene both as a songwriter and producer.
These three avenues (composing, songwriting, and producing) often intersect at a junction where I tend to find my voice as an artist. Having built my career on writing and performing music with close friends and collaborators, I am eager to develop long-lasting relationships with artists and musicians that share the same vision of collaboration.
Projects I am currently working on include a vocal piece for mezzo-soprano, saxophone, and electronics (commissioned by Megan Ihnen and Alan Theisen); a commission from the National Flute Association for flute and piano; and a quartet for woodwind trio and electric guitar to be performed by Chicago-based trio Ritual Action and myself. I also look forward to my time as a Bouman Fellow with Kinds of Kings as well as being the Chou Wen-chung Fellow for the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music.
The goal of my music is to take roots of expression and find a new paths of communication through them. In that vein, I often draw from source materials that relate to the human voice, whether they be found text or conversational speech patterns, and try to replicate them through another medium in some form.
Experimenting with timbre and texture, specifically exploring intimate and fragile sounds, is also a large contributing factor to my work. I love taking sounds that are not usually related to a performative musical act, and repurposing them in a musical way. Removing a sound from its original environment and repurposing it into a musical one helps me achieve the “hand-made” sound I am often looking for: imperfect, but intentional.
Through my music, I want to show that vulnerability and intimacy can be synonymous with strength and power. I aim to uncover a means of bringing people closer together, and of making people more aware of the world around them.
I am currently working in Brooklyn as a freelance composer, a label assistant for Cantaloupe Music, and an audio apprentice for Roulette Intermedium. I hold a BM degree in Composition from Illinois State University and an MM degree in Composition from the University of Illinois.