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Del Mar International Composers Symposium 2021 Composition Faculty and Fellows

Juri Seo

Juri Seo* is a Korean-American composer and pianist based in Princeton, New Jersey. She seeks to write music that encompasses extreme contrast through compositions that are unified and fluid, yet complex. She merges many of the fascinating aspects of music from the past century—in particular its expanded timbral palette and unorthodox approach to structure—with a deep love of functional tonality, counterpoint, and classical form. With its fast-changing tempi and dynamics, her music explores the serious and the humorous, the lyrical and the violent, the tranquil and the obsessive. She hopes to create music that loves, that makes a positive change in the world—however small—through the people who are willing to listen.

Her composition honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Koussevitzky Commission from the Library of Congress, a Goddard Lieberson Fellowship and the Andrew Imbrie Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship, Copland House Residency Award, and the Otto Eckstein Fellowship from Tanglewood. She has received commissions from the Fromm Foundation, the Barlow Endowment, and the Tanglewood Music Center. Her portrait albums "Mostly Piano" and “Respiri” were released by Innova Recordings. She holds a D.M.A (Dissertation: Jonathan Harvey's String Quartets, 2013) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she studied with Reynold Tharp. She has also attended the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (Rome, corsi di perfezionamento with Ivan Fedele) and Yonsei University (Seoul, B.M.). She has been a composition fellow at the Tanglewood, Bang on a Can, and SoundSCAPE festivals, the Wellesley Composers Conference, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. She is Associate Professor of Music at Princeton University. Please visit for more information.


*In North America, the name is pronounced [Jew-ri Suh].

Nicolas Lell Benavides

Nicolas Lell Benavides’ (Ben-ah-VEE-des) music has been praised for finding “…a way to sketch complete characters in swift sure lines…” (Anne Midgette, Washington Post) and cooking up a “jaunty score [with] touches of cabaret, musical theater and Latin dance.” (Tim Smith, OPERA NEWS). He has worked with groups such as the Washington National Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, West Edge Opera, Nashville Opera, Shreveport Opera, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Friction Quartet, and Nomad Session. He was a fellow at the Eighth Blackbird Creative Lab and the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music. Nick was the first ever Young Artist Composer in Residence at The Glimmerglass Festival.


He premiered a new opera for Washington National Opera called Pepito with librettist Marella Martin Koch. He and Marella will premiere a new opera, Tres Minutos, with Music of Remembrance in 2022 with generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Nick and Marella were selected as one of West Edge Opera’s Aperture opera teams and are developing an opera about civil rights icon Dolores Huerta.


Upcoming premieres include a new dance piece called On Trac|< for The Glimmerglass Festival in collaboration with dancer Amanda Castro, a new work for Khemia Ensemble, La Luz (viola/electronics) for Calvin Green, Los Cuates (two violins) for Lucia Lin and Shaw Pong Liu as part of the In Tandem series, and a new chamber orchestra work for Gabriela Lena Frank’s Composing Earth initiative with support from New Music USA.

Nick has studied at Santa Clara University, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music.

Quinn Mason

Quinn Mason is a composer and conductor based in Dallas, TX. Quinn has been described as “a brilliant composer just barely in his 20s who seems to make waves wherever he goes.” Quinn writes music for professional and collegiate orchestras, bands and chamber ensembles. His symphonic music has been performed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Mission Chamber Orchestra, New England Conservatory Philharmonia, New Texas Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Seattle, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, South Bend Symphony Orchestra, Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony, and the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. His compositions for winds have been performed by many ensembles, including the Cobb Wind Symphony, Metropolitan Winds, and bands of Southern Methodist University, University of North Texas, Texas Christian University, Purdue University, and Seattle Pacific University. His chamber music has been performed by the American Composer’s Forum, Voices of Change, Loadbang, Atlantic Brass Quintet, MAKE trio, UT Arlington Saxophone Quartet, and the Cézanne, Julius, and Baumer quartets.

Quinn has received numerous awards from such organizations as The American Composer’s Forum, Voices of Change, Texas A&M University, the Dallas Foundation, the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, the Heartland Symphony Orchestra, and the Arizona State University Symphony Orchestra. Upcoming world premieres include his Symphony in C Major with the Heartland Symphony Orchestra and his Symphony No. 4 "Strange Time" by the Meadows Wind Ensemble. Quinn has studied with Dr. Lane Harder at the SMU Meadows School of the Arts and has also worked with renowned composers David Maslanka, Libby Larsen, David Dzubay and Robert X. Rodriguez.

As a conductor, Quinn has led Orchestra Seattle, the Brevard Sinfonia, and the Texas Christian University Symphony Orchestra in concert. Quinn has served as Apprentice Conductor of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra and Assistant Conductor of the New Texas Symphony Orchestra. Quinn has studied conducting with Miguel Harth-Bedoya (Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra), Dr. Germán Gutiérrez (TCU), Will White (Orchestra Seattle), and Jack Delaney and Paul Phillips (SMU). He has conducted world premieres of his own works as well as several world premieres written by his composer colleagues.

An avid and passionate writer, Quinn maintains his own classical music blog and contributes guest articles to other blogs, such as the Women's Philharmonic Advocacy. Quinn is a member of ASCAP and the Conductor's Guild.

Polina Nazaykinskaya

Born in Togliatti, Russia, Polina has been studying music since the age of four, and composed her first large-scale work at 14. She went on to create music for both chamber and full orchestras, as well as art songs, film music, musical theater works, an opera, and, recently, her first symphony, April Song. In June 2018, RIOULT Dance NY  premiered Polina's first ballet, Nostalghia, at The Joyce Theater in New York City. Recently, the Albany Symphony premiered Polina's new symphonic poem "Fenix".

Polina has received many national and international awards, including the Charles Ives Scholarship from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, while her music received laudatory reviews from the press, including the New York Times. Polina's music has been performed by the Russian National Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, the Yale Philharmonia Orchestra, the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Russia, the Omsk Philharmonic Orchestra, the St. Olaf Philharmonia, the US Army Orchestra, the Hermitage Orchestra and chorus. Polina has collaborated with top conductors, including Osmo Vänskä, Teodor Currentzis, Fabio Mastrangelo, and Hannu Lintu.

Polina has received a music education both in Russia and the United States. She graduated from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory College in Moscow, with concentrations in both composition, under Konstantin Batashov, and violin. Polina then continued her studies of composition at the Yale School of Music with Christopher Theofanidis and Ezra Laderman, graduated with honors, and is now completing her Doctorate in Composition at the CUNY Graduate Center with Tania León. Polina is also a Teaching Artist at the New York Philharmonic Composers Bridge Program and an Adjunct Lecturer of Composition at Brooklyn College Conservatory.

Joseph Sowa

Joseph Sowa grew up playing violin and listening to orchestral broadcasts on NPR. He was captivated by how music speaks to our bodies’ rhythmic layers, as captured by composers as varied as Elliott Carter, John Williams, and Stevie Wonder. Surrounded by these sounds, Joseph wanted to make more of them.

Recent performances include premieres played by the Ludovico Ensemble, Collage New Music, Ensemble Dal Niente, and a consortium of English Horn players including Carolyn Hove, principal English Horn of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His piece Motion Lines is scheduled for release by the PRISM Quartet on their album Surfaces and Essences.

His concert works have been performed in Europe by the Quartetto Indaco, Arianna Tieghi, and Douglas Bush and throughout the United States by the Awea Duo, the BYU Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestras, the Lydian String Quartet, and the Tower Duo, as well as by Ron Brough, Douglas Bush, Eric Hansen, Jaren Hinckley, Scott Holden, Jed Moss, Ray Smith, and Neil Thornock, among others.

He has been commissioned by performers including Hub New Music, the Genesis Chamber Singers, the Farallon Quintet, Douglas Bush, Carolyn Hove, Neil Thornock, and Arianna Tieghi as well as foundations including the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, the Laycock Endowment for Creative Collaboration in the Arts.

Joseph’s sacred music, including originals and arrangements, has been performed in congregations across the United States and in London. His arrangement of “For the Beauty of the Earth” was recorded by soprano Charity Tillemann-Dick on her album American Grace, which debuted no. 1 on the Billboard® “Traditional Classical” chart.


Joseph received his PhD in music composition and theory from Brandeis University. His dissertation paper examined the transformation of motive, tempo, and the symphonic genre in Thomas Adès’s Tevot, contextualizing it with Heraclitian philosophy and Sibelius’s Seventh Symphony. Other research interests include musical gestalt theory, 18th-century continuo and partimenti practice, and algorithmic composition. He co-designed and co-taught the class “Star Wars: How Long Ago? How Far Away?” and dreams of writing a piece for tuba ensemble.

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