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Del Mar International Composers Symposium 2019 Composition Fellows

Elisabet Curbelo González (Canary Islands/Spain)

Elisabet Curbelo (b. 1984) is a Spanish composer and performer born in Gran Canaria. She studied piano pedagogy, voice, and composition in her native Canary Islands, Madrid, and Istanbul. She holds a Ph.D. in Music Composition from UC San Diego, where her principal advisor was Roger Reynolds. 


Curbelo’s work and dedication has been valued throughout her career by diverse institutions, as she has been awarded numerous grants, prizes, and commissions. Her pieces have been performed in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States. Her current research focuses on the use of sensors to control electronics with movement and the use of extended vocal techniques based on her study of Middle Eastern music and culture.


Dr. Curbelo has recently been appointed Assistant Professor of Electroacoustic Music Composition and Music Theory at University of Utah. To learn more about Elisabet, please visit her website:

Nate May (United States)

Nate May (b. 1987) is a composer, performer, and educator whose interest in human ecosystems has impelled explorations of a wide variety of sounds and interactions. Raised in Huntington, West Virginia, much of his work stems from a “fascination, love, and respect for the people” of Appalachia (Soapbox), including his oratorio State, the result of interviews he conducted with Appalachian migrants on a fellowship from the Berea Sound Archives, and “Licorice Parikrama,” a networked performance featuring a live conference call with West Virginians affected by the 2014 Elk River chemical spill.


May is an accomplished keyboardist and improviser  as well as an electronic musician and producer, collaborating with Paris-based choreographer Wanjiru Kamuyu on the world-touring work Spiral and indigenous experimental trio Khoi Khonnexion on their debut album Kalahari Waits, recorded during a year in South Africa on a Reese Miller scholarship from the Telluride Association.  Selected as one of three U.S. composers to participate in the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s 2017 National Composers Intensive, May has been a fellow at the Sō Percussion Institute, the Next festival, and the highSCORE festival. His chamber and orchestral music, characterized by textural intricacy, rhythmic drive, and repurposed sounds, has been performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble, Wild UP, the Yale Philharmonia, Eric Wubbels, Adam Sliwinski, Patchwork Duo, Quartetto Indaco, and many others.


Currently a doctoral candidate in composition at Yale, May holds degrees from Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (M.M., Composition) and the University of Michigan (B.F.A., Jazz and Contemplative Studies), and has studied with Aaron Jay Kernis, David Lang, Christopher Theofanidis, Geri Allen, Stephen Rush, and Michael Fiday.  He serves on faculty at the Walden School, where he was awarded the 2018 Arno and Ruth Drucker Faculty Chair. 

Mani Mirzaee (Iran)

Mani Mirzaee (b. 1987) is an Iranian-American composer, educator, pianist, setar, and tar performer. His music often explores the seams and boundaries between the Eastern and Western traditions by juxtaposing the different ways modalities and timbres can overlap in creating new and interesting colors and harmonic amalgams. 


Two of his recent works explore the timbres created with the santoor mallets on Western instruments. Weight of Shadows (April 2019) uses these mallets on violin and viola to create radically new sonorities, while Death Toll (June 2019) expands the usage for piano quartet.

Mirzaee frequently performs his own works. These performances have ranged from free improvisations led by Robert Black to chamber orchestras performance with setar or piano. His music has been recorded and released by esteemed performers such as Mivos Quartet, Avery Ensemble, AMF orchestra, FITD Ensemble, and the Miller-Porfiris Duo.


He received his M.M. in Composition at The Hartt School, where he also received a Graduate Professional Diploma under the tutelage of Robert Carl, Ken Steen, David Macbride, and Larry Alan Smith. His recent awards include the talent scholarships from The Hartt School as well as the Adele Wise, Moshe Paranov, Stephen J. Fisher and Richard Kountz Fund Scholarships. 


His experience of living in Iran for the first 14 years of his life, then immigrating and growing up in the USA, has given him an invaluable perspective towards the way he approaches his compositions. The diversity of these two musical languages and the order in which he attained them, provided a unique framework of juxtaposition and blend in the way he consolidates his dual cultural musical identity.

Rachel Lanik Whelan (United States)

The music of composer Rachel Whelan (b. 1992) has been performed by Choral Arts Initiative, Orlando Cela, SBO Wind Ensemble, KC Vitas Choir, and Omaha Symphony members. Whelan has opened for Susan Werner at the Johnny Carson Theatre in Lincoln, Nebraska. She demonstrates versatile compositional abilities with with songwriting, chamber works, and her primary interests, music for choir and wind band. She has also collaborated with film students at the University of Arizona, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and was Head Production Assistant for the UNL Feature Film “DIGS” (2013).


She received her MM in Music Composition from the University of South Carolina, studying composition and running the New Voices student composer concerts and the Southern Exposure New Music Series (under the direction of Michael Harley of Alarm Will Sound). She is currently a PhD student and teaching fellow in composition at the University of North Texas in Denton, TX. Whelan's dedication to the performance of music by living composers is further evident in her work with Treefalls: New Music Series (501c3) in Spartanburg, SC, where she is assistant director.


A typical optimist, she's frequently inspired by the upsides of life: nature reserves, beaches, exceptional food, and talented, spirited friends. When not composing, she can be found in these activities. Her teachers in composition include Sunji Hong, Mandy Fang, John Fitz Rogers, Jesse Jones, and Paul Snell. Her primary flute teachers have been Carolyn Cline Corbett and Laura Schulkind.

Minho Yoon (South Korea)

A native of Seoul, Korea, Minho Yoon (b.1986) is an Austin-based composer, pianist, and music educator. He studied composition at Hanyang University in his hometown and holds a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts in composition from the University of Texas at Austin. At UT Austin, he studied composition with Dan Welcher, Russell Pinkston, Donald Grantham, Bruce Pennycook, and Yevgeniy Sharlat.


As a composer, Dr. Yoon enjoys working comfortably in many genres, including chamber, orchestral, and electronic music. His own unique voice draws from baroque music, the aesthetic of Webern and neoclassicism, the compositional technique of Bartók and Stravinsky, Ligeti’s late works, the sound of post-spectralism, abstract painting, French impressionism, Jazz, and popular music.

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