HOCKET's Composer/Performer Initiative


HOCKET's Composer/Performer Initiative is an annual commissioning project focused on cultivating new works from today's most exciting composer/performers. Each year, HOCKET will commission three composer/perfomers to write a new piece that features the commissioned composer on their instrument plus HOCKET. These new trios will be premiered and then recorded and produced into performance videos with the goal of highlighting the creativity and virtuosity of these varied artists.

In addition to the commissions for established composers/performers, HOCKET will be providing the same commission, performance, and recording opportunity each year to one young artist who is currently enrolled as a student. The young artist will be selected through an annual competition, and their experience will involve working closely with HOCKET in workshops, composition lessons, and coachings throughout the development of their newly written work.


2018 Composer/Performer Commissions

Hitomi Oba - taste, inaugurate! for tenor saxophone and piano four-hands
Derek Tywoniuk - Byrd/Cage for vibraphone and piano four-hands
                               like (Write it!) like disaster for percussion, piano, toy piano, melodicas, and voice

2018 Young Composer/Performer: 
Thomas Mellan - newly commissioned work for organ, piano, toy piano, and two melodicas

Composer Bios:

Composer, violist, and educator Brett Banducci was the 2016 recipient of the Andrew Imbrie Music Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is a frequent performer with the Pasadena Symphony, Los Angeles Master Chorale Orchestra, Santa Barbara Symphony, and Hollywood Chamber Orchestra, and has played on countless records, films, and television scores— including albums by Madonna, Barbra Streisand, and Logic.

His compositions have been performed and premiered at Brooklyn MATA Festival’s Interval New Music Series, the Aspen Music Festival, Chamber Music Sedona with SAKURA cello ensemble, and the Los Angeles-based Hear Now Festival, among others. Brett received his DMA from the University of Southern California in 2016. His primary composition teachers have included Stephen Hartke, Frank Ticheli, Morten Lauridsen, and Byron Adams. He has studied viola with Pamela Goldsmith and Keith Greene. In 2009 he edited— for Universal Edition, Vienna—  the complete chamber works for viola of Ernst Krenek. Brett currently hosts a dynamic new podcast called Classical Chops Studio (set to be released in July 2018). Subscribe wherever you get your favorite podcasts. 

Saxophonist and composer Hitomi Oba was raised in Berkeley, California. Projects include her small jazz ensembles, sixteen-piece jazz orchestra, Jazz Nexus, electro-acoustic pop duo, Nova, and jazz opera, “STRANGE FELLOWE.” Her second jazz album, “Negai,” released under Japanese label M&I and distributor Pony Canyon, received a prestigious “Swing Journal 42nd Annual Jazz Disc Award.” Recent performances of her compositions include “Fifteenth,” premiered by soprano Tony Arnold and the Third Angle String Quartet, and “September Coming,” by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the American Composers Orchestra. Upcoming projects include a commission for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella series, in which Oba will participate as both a performer and composer. Oba has written and arranged, while also playing, for the Los Angeles Asian American Jazz Festival, Kenny Burrell’s Los Angeles Jazz Orchestra Unlimited, the Jon Jangtet, and the Indian classical /jazz collaborative Aditya Prakash Ensemble. Oba is one of the co-founders of the new music collective, LA Signal Lab, premiering and recording stylistically diverse new music with a focus on integrating improvised and pre-composed music. Oba is currently on faculty at UCLA, directing the Contemporary Jazz Ensemble, teaching jazz saxophone and a multi- genre music theory course.

Derek Tywoniuk composes an eclectic range of music, from the gestural and vulnerable to the quirky and boisterous. His works have been performed internationally by musicians and ensembles such as Aperture Duo, wild Up, HOCKET, Nancy Zeltsman, Beverley Johnston, Fumito Nunoya, Brandon Ilaw, the Colburn Contemporary Players, and Trio Céleste, among others. His music can be heard on the Bridge and Yarlung record labels, and his work For Dean Primmer is published by Edition Peters as part of the Intermediate Masterworks for Marimba project.

In his dual life as a percussionist, Derek performs regularly with the new music collective wild Up, and has also performed with the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Spoleto Festival USA, the Lucerne Festival Academy, and the Cleveland Orchestra. As a member of The Smoke and Mirrors Percussion Ensemble, he recorded two albums on the Yarlung Record label, and performed as a soloist with the Colburn Orchestra under Gerard Schwarz in Takemitsu’s From Me Flows What You Call Time.

Derek holds degrees in percussion from The Colburn School and The Cleveland Institute of Music, and is currently a PhD candidate in music composition and theory at UCLA.

Born in Lyon, France in 1995, organist/composer Thomas Mellan was awarded first place in the keyboard division of the 2015 and 2016 national competitions sponsored by the Musical Merit Foundation. In 2011, he was one of six organists invited to record on the official Walt Disney Concert Hall Organ DVD. He performed as Rising Star in the American Guild of Organists’ West Region Regional Convention and in the Centennial International Summer Organ Festival at the Spreckels Pavilion. As Young Artist of the Year, he performed a solo recital in the 23rd Organ Festival at St. Eustache in Paris, France. 

His catalogue of over thirty compositions includes orchestral, chamber and solo works. His work …on transcendence…, for five solo cellos and orchestra, was premiered by the SAKURA cello quintet and the USC Thornton Symphony under the direction of Donald Crockett in 2016. Compositions have been performed in such venues as the Chautauqua Institute (New York), Rider University and the Princeton University Chapel (Princeton, New Jersey), the Spreckels Organ Pavilion (San Diego, California), Walt Disney Concert Hall, (Los Angeles, California), the University of Southern California and Église St. Eustache (Paris, France). 

Mellan was the Outstanding Graduate of the undergraduate class of 2017 at the University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music. He graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree with a double major in organ performance and composition. He is pursuing a Master of Music degree at Thornton, retaining the double emphasis in organ and composition. He is studying organ with Cherry Rhodes and composition with Donald Crockett. Mellan received the Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award in 2016. He was awarded the Thornton Faculty Award in 2013, the most prestigious scholarship awarded to an undergraduate at the Thornton School of Music.