Fall 2019 – Spring 2020 Visiting Artists

Spring 2020

Thana Alexa

THANA ALEXA will be at CalArts for a Wintersession class that is open to the Institute, "Singing with Thana Alexa." 

Surprising is the word that perhaps best describes Thana Alexa, an extraordinarily creative force in music.  An awe-inspiring vocalist, composer, and arranger – for whom the voice is both a lyrical and experimental instrument – her music pushes the boundaries of the genre into new and unexplored territory with deep seeded roots in jazz and overtones of contemporary soul and world music.

School of MusicWorkshops

Fall 2019 Visiting Artists

Stephen James Taylor

Mr. Taylor graduated from Stanford Music Department in 1976 and has worked as a film composer since 1981. He has received numerous credits and Emmy nominations, plus has many miscellaneous classical music commissions. Stephen is a guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, inventor, and filmmaker.

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Josh Nelson

A native of Southern California, Josh Nelson maintains an active and creative schedule as a jazz pianist, composer, teacher, and recording artist. He has performed with some of the most respected names in jazz, including Natalie Cole, Anthony Wilson, George Mraz, Jeff Hamilton, Walter Smith III, Dayna Stephens,  Alicia Olatuja, Eddie Daniels, Ken Peplowski, Richard Galliano, Benny Golson, Sheila Jordan, Greg Hutchinson, John Clayton, Seamus Blake, Matt Wilson, Sara Gazarek, Dave Koz, Joe Chambers, Kurt Elling, John Pizzarelli, and Lewis Nash. Josh has performed around the world and recorded for numerous albums, films, and TV shows, but also makes time for his own projects. His latest is 2017’s The Sky Remains which is his love letter to Los Angeles. It’s the third in his Discovery Project series. It unearths hidden gems and little-known stories about the composer’s hometown.



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Coleman Zurkowski


Coleman Zurkowski is a composer living in New York City. He received a Bachelor's in Music Composition from DePaul University in 2012 and an MFA in MusicComposition from CalArts in 2014. He is currently working in New York, composing music for film, commercials and theater., as well as presenting music of his own. Coleman has self-funded two national tours of his personal compositions and one international tour. ZERO was also signed to Dangerbird Records in Los Angeles as a part of their experimental music series "Arthur King Presents" and was released in 2018.

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Tim Hagans

Grammy-nominated composer and trumpeter Tim Hagans is one of the most unique and influential modern voices in jazz. His distinct tone was described by the Village Voice as “powerfully expressive” and Gary Giddins professed him to be a “swarming, spirited tour de force.” His newest CD, FACES UNDER THE INFLUENCE, A Jazz Tribute to John Cassavetes is a suite of 7 musical portraits inspired by characters from the films of John Cassavetes. The recording features the NDR Big Band in Hamburg with Mr. Hagans as guest composer, conductor and trumpet soloist; it was released on Waiting Moon Records, Hagans' own label.

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Cathlene Pineda


Cathlene Pineda is a sought-after pianist and composer in the Los Angeles area. In 2016, Orenda Records released Cathlene's second album of original music, Passing: A California Suite. "Airy, elegant, and haunting" (Cesareo Garasa, The Californian), this album was originally a piece commissioned by the Los Angeles Jazz Society and premiered at the Angel City Jazz Festival. The album creates “an open atmosphere that hints at the complex beauty of the city" (Lee Epstein, freejazzblog.org). The LA Times called Cathlene’s first album, A Week’s Time, (Orenda Records, 2014) a “graceful pleasure.” She is currently working on her third album, to be released in the Spring of 2020. Cathlene received an MFA in Jazz Performance from California Institute of the Arts in 2011.


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Ivan Ivanov

Lecture Surrealism in Music
Presentation of book Surrealism in Music and Leonardo Balada

Bulgarian born clarinetist Ivan Ivanov studied at the Sofia State Academy of music “Pancho Vladigerov” and finished his Bachelor’s degree with distinctions. In 2004 Mr. Ivanov became a permanent member of the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and worked with such conductors as Sir Neville Mariner, Jean Bernard Pommier, Rossen Milanov and others. In addition to his full-time employment at the National Orchestra he collaborated with Radio Sofia Orchestra, New Symphony Orchestra, Classic FM Radio, National Opera etc. As an orchestral player he has toured France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Nederland, Japan and etc. Mr. Ivanov earned his Master’s degree of Performance Clarinet at the Carnegie Mellon University from the studio of Michael Rusinek, Principal Clarinet of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas from the studio of Dr. Marina Sturm, former first and e-flat clarinet player of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. He also studied with Ricardo Morales, Boris Allakhverdyan etc. Currently, Ivan serves as substitute player with the Las Vegas Philharmonic and San Diego Symphony. 


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Latvian Vocal Ensemble


Featuring author and Professor Dr. Guntis Smidchens from the University of Washington and the internationally acclaimed a cappella group Latvian Voices.

Latvian Voices is a professional a cappella group from Latvia. With their voices as the only musical instrument Latvian Voices have developed a unique individual vocal style, in which intonations from ethnic music of many nations intertwine. Since the founding of the group in year 2009 Latvian Voices have participated in many international music festivals, competitions, workshops and given concert tours across Europe and worldwide.

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