Composers Direct!


JCM strongly advocates the writing of new chamber music and the collaboration between composers and musicians. Through the Composers Direct! program, students have the chance to work one-on-one with the composers!


SEASON 2018-2019


Katie Pieschala is a composer, singer and pianist. Katie is a Fellow in the 2017-2018 class of the LA Philharmonic’s Nancy and Barry Sanders Composer Fellowship Program under the direction of program director Andrew Norman and teaching artists Sarah Gibson and Thomas Kotcheff. She attends Polytechnic School in Pasadena, where she is involved in the school’s dance, drama and musical theater programs. Katie has studied piano with Kristi Lobitz since 2007. Recently, she completed the Advanced Level of the Music Teacher’s Association of California Certificate of Merit Program. In 2017, Katie attended Interlochen Arts Camp’s piano summer program, where she also studied composition. Since 2009, Katie has participated in the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC). Through LACC, Katie has sung with the LA Phil at Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl under conductors Gustavo Dudamel, Susanna Mälkki and Bramwell Tovey in performances of Britten’s War Requiem, Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, Adam’s El Niño, Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland, John Williams’ music and Bernstein’s Mass. Katie will perform with the LA Phil again in Andrew Norman’s A Trip to the Moon. She has performed in LA Opera productions of La Boheme, Tosca and Carmen, including performances conducted by James Conlon and Placido Domingo. Katie has toured extensively with LACC, both nationally and internationally. Katie has also studied songwriting with Adriana Balic at USC and in 2016 attended Interlochen’s Singer-Songwriter summer program.


The participating JCM students are Isabella Yuan, Violin; Jonathan Speiser, Viola; and Peter Choi, Cello.


Isabella Yuan (15) began her musical journey with piano at age 4 and later picked up the violin at age 6. She currently studies with Sam Fischer at the Colburn School. She has won numerous honors and prizes at various violin and piano competitions, including the American Protege International String Competition, the American Fine Arts Festival, the Satori Strings International Competition, American String Teacher Association (ASTA) Competition, the MTAC VOCE Competition and the Southwestern Youth Music Festival (SYMF). As a soloist, she has performed in New York City’s Carnegie Weill Recital Hall at age 11 and was invited to appear as soloist with the Kostroma Symphony Orchestra in Moscow, Russia. In addition to performing as a soloist, Isabella is also an active orchestral and chamber musician. She is a member of the first violin in the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra, was concertmaster of Pacific Symphony Santiago String and her middle school orchestra and Principal of second violin of Idyllwild Summer Chamber Festival.  Isabella has been an active participant of Junior Chamber Music since 2014. Her JCM trio was selected as an honor group to participate and perform in JCM’s Prague, Vienna, and Budapest tour in 2018. The trio also won first prize at the 2018 Classical Alive National Young Artist Competition. Isabella has gotten the opportunity to share her musical talents and passions by serving her surrounding community as a board member of Koncerts for Kause, a student-run non-profit organization. In her free time, Isabella enjoys drawing, reading, travelling, playing with her dog Bella, and exploring other outside academic interests through her school, Stanford Online High School.


Jonathan Speiser (14) is a multi-instrumentalist who started the violin at age 4 with the Suzuki method and then took up the piano, trumpet, viola and organ. He joined the National Childrens Orchestras of Great Britain with the violin in 2014 and continued in the following years with the viola. In 2017, he was accepted into the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music in London where he studied the viola and jazz piano and took classes in string quartets with Michal Kaznowski and Pierre Frapier. In 2018, he moved to Orange, CA where he continues to study the viola with Robert Becker and is a member of the Orange County Youth Symphony and JCM.



SEASON 2017-2018


Esther Ollivier is a Senior at Harvard-Westlake School where she is the soprano II section leader of the Chamber Singers choir. She began taking piano lessons at the age of 5, adding classical guitar, flute, theory and composition lessons later on. Esther has received Certificates of Excellence in both guitar and flute for the Royal Conservatory of Music Development Program. In 2014, she won the Robert Turner Piano Concerto Competition. That same year she was awarded the Honorable Mention of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) composition competition in California. In 2015, she placed first in the state. In 10th grade, Esther was accepted into the Young Musicians Foundation Composers’ Program. At Harvard-Westlake, her piece “Tableau” was performed by the school Symphony at the Spring Concert of the 2015-2016 school year. This summer she was accepted into the Sunset ChamberFest Composers Workshop where her piece “Dance Traveling” was performed and recorded. Esther was a part of the Associate Composer Program at the LA Phil last year and is a part of the Large Ensemble Cohort of the Nancy and Barry Sanders Composer Fellowship Program at the La Phil this year.


She is very excited to be working with the Junior Chamber Music Project "Composers Direct!" Program. Esther's compositions will be performed by Aria Quartet. Aria Quartet consists of:


David Chang, 17, began playing clarinet at the age of 9. He has studied with Patty Massey and is currently studying with Michael Yoshimi. David has received a scholarship and attended the Idyllwild Summer Music Program and the Montecito International Music Festival. David also plays for Colburn Wind Ensemble and Colburn Youth Orchestra.


William Suwandi,14, is currently studying violin under Paul Lee. He has recently finished the Certificate of Merit advance level with honors earlier this year. William has won numerous awards, including SCJB Complete Works, SYMF, VOCE, Enkor. He also won Concerto competition, which gave him the opportunity to solo with the Santa Clarita Youth Orchestra.


Phillip Suwandi,16, started playing cello at age 9 and currently studying under Andrew Cook. Phillip performed as soloist with Pasadena Chamber Youth Orchestra and Santa Clarita Youth Orchestra. Phillip has been awarded several times including SYMF, Satori Strings Competition, Los Angeles Violoncello Society Competition.


Celine Chen, 13, started piano at age of 4 and is currently studying with Nobuyo Nishizaka. Celine was awarded the Grand Prize from the Satori Piano Competition. She also won the James Ramos International Competition. Celine received scholarships from the Montecito International Music Festival. Celine is also a flutist and performed as a soloist with Santa Clarita


All four are members of California All-State Orchestra and Band. They also won 1st place at the American Protege Competition and will perform at Carnegie Hall in December 2017.



SEASON 2015-2016


JCM@UCLA Composition Department: Pin Hsin – Tango for flute, violin, and piano- to be premiered by JCM–Conejo Valley


Lyrical composer Pin Hsin Lin (林品妡) tells stories through her music. To establish a beautiful soundscape, she likes to combine both Eastern and Western musical cultures into her music.


Her music has been performed by the American Composers Orchestra, Peabody Symphony Orchestra, Bridges East and West Music Festival of University at California Los Angeles, “Music Of Taiwan 2013” of the Taiwanese American Sinfonia Organization, SUONO MOBILE USA, University of Illinois Percussion Ensemble, Turks Head Knot (featuring horn soloist Adam Unsworth), VEM Quartet, Sound Exchange Musical Festival at National Taiwan Normal University, and Indiana State University. Her music has been performed at the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the St. Magnus Festival, the Bard Festival, the Centrum Chamber Music Festival, and at Roosevelt University. She has also given lectures regarding composition analysis at the Aspen Composers’ Conference, Murray State University’s Athena Festival, University of Central Missouri’s New Music Festival. She is also the recipient of two Peabody Career Development Grants, two New Music USA Composer Assistance Grants, as well as scholarships from the Centrum, Bard, Bowdoin and St. Magnus festivals. She has also received the Henry Mancini Fellowship, the Powell Bucknell Scholarship, the Herbet H. Wise Scholarship, and Honorable Mention by the Minnesota Orchestra.


Ms. Lin’s interests in composition also extend into experimental and collaborative works. In 2008 she composed Conceptual View of Complexity, in cooperation with dancers and computer scientists. This work, where the artist juxtaposed several layers of sonorities, was designed to help the physically disabled safely regain strength. This project culminated in a performance at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts titled Tele-immersive Environments for Everybody (TEEVE). Dancers worked in a 3-D virtual reality to her composition—their movements were recorded on a video for patients. In the same year, Ms. Lin was selected to participate in the St. Magnus Festival in Orkney, Scottland where her melodic piece Soaring Journey, inspired by Emily Dickinson’s “Hope Is Something With Feathers,” premiered. Her visit to the English countryside during the St. Magnus Festival resulted in her next piece, Orkney Sunrise, which was performed by the Trio Capriccio at the Oro Valley United Church in Arizona.


She is currently a PhD candidate in composition at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the recipient of 2016 Edna and Yu-Shan Han Scholarship of Music Department. With the support of this award, she aims to complete her dissertation. In the progress of research, she plans to make a further exposure about how different tones coming from various tessituras produce the colorful sounds, and how those sound resources reflect in different sizes of space. In addition, she will continue studying further about cross-cultural hybrid music works.


Before joining UCLA, she received her MM in Composition at The Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University and her BM in Composition at Roosevelt University. Her composition teachers include Ian Krouse, David Lefkowitz, and Richard Danielpour, Nicholas Maw, Samuel Adler, and Claude Baker.


Lin grew up in Kaohsiung and Taipei, Taiwan. She is member of BMI and MTAC. Currently, she is Teaching Associate of music theory and appreciation courses at UCLA. She also teaches at the Lee’s Music in Arcadia. Her formal teaching position was at the OrchePia School of Music in Orange County, CA. After graduation from UCLA, her future goal is to become a university professor and professional composer.


SEASON 2014-2015

UCLA Composer: Kate Bacich – Tango de Ronda for flute, violin, and cello



SEASON 2013-2014


Commissioned Piano Sextet by Jeremy Cavaterra


Jeremy Cavaterra was born in New York City in 1971. His music has been performed by soloists, chamber groups, and orchestras internationally. As a pianist he has appeared as both soloist and collaborative artist with ensembles, instrumentalists, and singers, often performing his own work. He studied piano with Tania Agins and Robert Turner in Los Angeles, and composition with Giampaolo Bracali at Manhattan School of Music. Read more about Jeremy and his compositions.





OC Students performed with Salastina Society's Kevin Kumar and Maia Jasper a newly commissioned work by Jeremy Cavaterra on the Irvine Valley College's Keyboard Series.


Piano Sextet by Jeremy Cavaterra
Maia Jasper, professional violinist
Sydney Mariano, violin
Kevin Kumar, professional violist
Iona Batchelder, cello
Ashley Bui, piano

Jake Platt, double bass



UCLA Composer: Jamie Theirman – Piano Trio


Jamie Thierman received her BM from the University of Oregon, where she explored world music, such as African drumming, East European folk music, and Balinese Gamelan. She received her MM from UCLA studying film, classical, and world music composition with David Lefkowitz, Ian Krouse, Roger Bourland, and Paul Chihara. Jamie has collaborated extensively with the UCLA animation department, composing music for a number of short films, many of which have won awards such as the Brandon Bloch Award, Audience choice awards, and Groening awards. Jamie received the Jerry Goldsmith Award in June 2011. Read more about Jamie and her work.