John Duffy, considered “one of the great heroes of American Music,” has composed more than 300 works for symphony, orchestra, opera, theatre, television and film. He has received many awards for his contributions to music: two Emmys, an ASCAP award for special recognition in film and television music, a New York State Governor's Art Award, and the (New York City) Mayor's Award of Honor for Ars and Culture. He is also the recipient of the American Music Center's Founders' Award for Lifetime Achievement. As founder and president of Meet the Composer, an organization dedicated to the creation, performance, and recording of music by American composers, he initiated countless landmark programs to advance American music and to aid American composers. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Chicago Tribune called his work, “haunting, memorable, and brilliant.”

John Duffy grew up in the Bronx, one of fourteen children of Irish immigrant parents. As a young man, he studied composition with noted composers Aaron Copland, Henry Cowell, Luigi Dallapiccola, Solomon Rosowsky and Herbert Zipper. He credits Rosowsky for insisting uncompromisingly on learning the craft of music and developing the discipline and patience necessary to the art. His profound regard for language, its beauties and its powers, suited him ideally for his work in theater, television and film.

The John Duffy Composers Institute, founded by the Virginia Arts Festival, is dedicated to the inspiration, creation, performance and recording of new music by living composers. Fellows collaborate through workshops, lecture demonstrations, concerts, recordings, and interactions with resident dance and theatre companies.

Copyright © 2010 Old Dominion University Libraries Diehn Composers Room

Libby Larsen is one of America's most performed living composers. She has created a catalogue of over 400 works spanning virtually every genre from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral and choral scores. Grammy Award winning and widely recorded, including over 50 CD's of her work, she is constantly sought after for commissions and premieres by major artists, ensembles, and orchestras around the world and has established a permanent place for her works in the concert repertory.
Libby Larsen has received numerous awards and accolades, including a 1994 Grammy as producer of the CD: The Art of Arlene Augér, an acclaimed recording that features Larsen's Sonnets from the Portuguese. Her opera Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus was selected as one of the eight best classical music events of 1990 by USA Today. She was the first woman to serve as a resident composer with a major orchestra, she has held residencies with the California Institute of the Arts, the Arnold Schoenberg Institute, the Philadelphia School of the Arts, the Cincinnati Conservatory, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony, and the Colorado Symphony. She was Holder of the 2003-2004 Harissios Papamarkou Chair in Education at the Library of Congress, recipient of the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters

Currently the holder of the Papamarkou Chair at John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, she is currently completing a book, The Concert Hall That Fell Asleep and Woke Up as a Car Radio. Her music has been praised for its "clear textures, easily absorbed rhythms and appealing melodic contours that make singing seem the most natural expression imaginable."

Mark Campbell’s career as a librettist and lyricist has successfully bridged the worlds of both opera and musical theatre. Since 2004, four of his commissioned operas received enthusiastic premieres: Volpone, Later the Same Evening, Bastianello and Lucrezia. Other operatic works include Three Lost Chords and A Letter to East 11th Street. Mark’s awards include first recipient of the Kleban Foundation Award for Lyricist, three Drama Desk Award nominations, and a Rockefeller Foundation Award.

Fred Ho is a one-of-a-kind revolutionary Chinese American baritone saxophonist, composer, writer, producer, political activist and leader of the Afro Asian Music Ensemble and the Monkey Orchestra. For two decades, he has innovated an Afro Asian New American Multicultural Music imbedded in the swingest, most soulful and transgressive forms of African American music with the musical influences of Asia and the Pacific Rim. As Larry Birnbaum writes in Down Beat "Fred Ho's style is a genre onto itself, a pioneering fusion of free-jazz and traditional Chinese music that manages to combine truculence and delicacy with such natural ease that it sounds positively organic."

Ho is a prodigious composer, having written over a half dozen critically acclaimed operas, music/theater epics, cutting edge multimedia performance works, martial arts ballet, oratorios and recording over a dozen albums as a leader. Recent commissions include: the nationally toured and celebrated Voice of the Dragon; Josephine Baker's Angels from the Rainbow for Imani Winds; Suite for Matriarchal Shaman Warriors for the unique Asian zither and percussion ensemble IIIZ+ and a Jazz Commissioning Award to compose Suite Sam Furnace (in honor of the late alto saxophonist and 20 year member of the Afro Asian Music Ensemble) from Chamber Music America. The work premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in the fall of 2004.

Current blockbuster music/theater projects composed by Ho include: Deadly She-Wolf Assassin at Armageddon!, a martial arts sword epic paying homage to Japanese manga and samurai cult film classics; a new opera Mr. Mystery: The Return of Sun Ra to Save Planet Earth with libretto by Quincy Troupe; and for the Apollo Theater and the Brooklyn Academy of Music 2008 Next Wave Festival Dragon vs. Eagle.

As a musical leader, Fred Ho founded the Afro Asian Music Ensemble in 1982; the Monkey Orchestra in 1990; co-founded the Brooklyn Sax Quartet with David Bindmanin 1997; and recently started Caliente! Circle Around the Sun (featuring Ho's solo baritone saxophone with poets Magdalena Gomez and Raul Salinas).

Fred Ho currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Alan Johnson, currently the Music Director of the Frost Opera Theater and Vocal Coach at University of Miami, has led numerous opera, music theater, concert, and dance works by today’s most innovative composers including Philip Glass, Anthony Davis, Adam Guettel, and David Lang. His work has garnered awards such as the Bessie, Drama Desk, Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Music Direction, and the Joseph Jefferson Award.

Ricky Ian Gordon was born on May 15, 1956 in Oceanside, NY and raised on Long Island. After studying composition at Carnegie Mellon University, he settled in New York City, where he quickly emerged as a leading writer of vocal music that spans art song, opera, and musical theater. Mr. Gordon's songs have been performed and or recorded by such internationally renowned singers as Renee Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Audra MacDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Frederica Von Stade, Andrea Marcovicci, Harolyn Blackwell, and Betty Buckley, among many others.
Recent productions of his work include:

· 2008: Green Sneakers, a theatrical song cycle for Baritone, String Quartet, and Empty Chair, with a libretto by the composer, premiered July 15th in Vail, Colorado, at the Alberto Vilar Performing Arts Center, when the composer was Composer-in-Residence at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.
· 2007 & 2008: The Grapes of Wrath, a full-scale opera with libretto by Michael Korie, premiered at the Minnesota Opera in a production that then traveled first to Utah Opera, and then to Pittsburgh Opera.

Other works include, Dream True, written with Tina Landau and premiered in 1999 at The Vineyard Theater (recorded on PS Classics, Richard Rodgers Award, Jonathan Larson Foundation Award), States Of Independence, (also with Ms. Landau, for The Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia (formerly The American Music Theater Festival) in 1992, and Only Heaven, based on the works of Langston Hughes and premiered in 1995 at Encompass Opera (recorded on PS Classics, and published by Rodgers and Hammerstein/Williamson Music). The Tibetan Book of the Dead, written with Jean Claude Van Itallie, premiered at the Houston Grand Opera in 1996 and, and Morning Star, written with William Hoffman which Mr. Gordon wrote for The Lyric Opera Of Chicago, where he was a composer in residence.

He is currently working on commissions for New York's Metropolitan Opera (Adele Hugo) with librettist Michael Korie, a co-commission for a new work about the Civil War with librettist Mark Campbell, for Virginia Opera and The Virginia Arts Festival, and a new opera for the 50th anniversary of the Minnesota Opera (Garden of the Finzi Continis) with librettist Michael Korie. Gordon is also writing new musicals for Playwrights Horizons and The Signature Theater in Arlington, Virginia (Sycamore Trees, for which the composer is also the lyricist and the book writer.)
Among his honors are the 2003 Alumni Merit Award for exceptional achievement and leadership from Carnegie-Mellon University, the Shen Family Foundation award, the Stephen Sondheim Award, The Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla Theater Foundation Award, The Constance Klinsky Award, and many awards from ASCAP, of which he is a member, The National Endowment of the Arts, and The American Music Center.

Patrick Mason, performs operatic, concert and recital repertoire from the tenth century to the present. Professor Mason was nominated for a Grammy Award in the "Best Classical Vocal Performance" Category in 2006. He has been a soloist with the Waverly Consort, the Boston Camarata and Schola Antiqua. He has premiered operas by Tod Machover, John Duffy and Randall Shinn in Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia and New Mexico. As a recitalist he has appeared in London's Wigmore Hall, the Cairo Opera House, and at festivals in Luxembourg, Holland.

Born and raised in the low clay hills above the Ohio River, a baritone on the faculty of the University of Colorado, Professor Mason has taught master classes at the Hochschule fur Musik in Berlin, the American University in Cairo and throughout the United States. 

Most recently Mason has been heard in recitals at the Library of Congress and Belmont University, in contemporary music at New York’s Alice Tully Hall and in a leading role in the new opera Sara McKinnon in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Mr. Mason has been a guest soloist with the Syracuse Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic, Colorado Springs Symphony and the Greeley Philharmonic, with whom he sang Britten’s War Requiem.

Rhoda Levine, an acclaimed opera-director, choreographer, writer and teacher, and has worked on and off-Broadway, in London’s West End, South Africa and the Netherlands. She is the founding director of Play It By Ear, the improvisational opera group at American Opera Projects and a faculty-member at several schools of music: Curtis Institute of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College, and Northwestern University.

Born in New York, Levine wrote the lyrics for Opus Zoo by Luciano Berio and has also authored several children's novels. She is the recipient of the National Institute for Music Theater Award.

Founded by the Virginia Arts Festival in 2005, the John Duffy Composers Institute is dedicated to the inspiration, creation, and performance of new music by living composers. It is the vision of Institute director and founder John Duffy to provide gifted young composers the opportunity to create and hear their compositions performed/staged while working alongside senior master composers, singers, pianists and theater professionals. In 2010, five emerging Composer Fellows were chosen to work with this year’s Institute staff, including senior composer John Duffy, music director Alan Johnson, vocal coach Patrick Mason, and professional dramaturge/ director Rhoda Levine. Composers Libby Larsen, Fred Ho and Ricky Ian Gordon, librettist Mark Campbell and musicians of national prominence were in residence as Institute clinicians.