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Now Hear Ensemble presents music from the Composing in the Wilderness Arctic Adventure

  • Faulkner Gallery, Central Library, SB Public Library 40 East Anapamu Street Santa Barbara, CA, 93101 United States (map)

On Friday, September 20, 2019, at 7 PM, LA-based Now Hear Ensemble will present the west coast premieres of seven works written by the participants of the 2018 Composing in the Wilderness Arctic Adventure. The seven composers spent an adventurous week canoeing the North Fork of the Koyukuk River in Gates of the Arctic National Park, and the works were all inspired by that immersive experience. The concert, presented in partnership with the Santa Barbara Public Library with additional support from UCSB’s College of Creative Studies, will take place in the Faulkner Gallery of the Central Library, SB Public Library. Admission is free.

Learn more about the Composing in the Wilderness project at


Simon Eastwood: Where the River Flows….

Stephen Hennessy: Remembered Blindly Intermittent

Brian Hoes: Arctic Baptism

Leslie Hogan: Chasing Rainbows

Alex Nohai-Seaman: Beyond the Ends of the Earth

Kayla Roth: Terra Borealis

Cody Westheimer: A River’s Odyssey


Adriane Hill: flutes

Brian Walsh: clarinets 

Katie Eikam: percussion

Madeline Falcone: violin and viola

Betsy Rettig: cello



Composer and bass player Simon Eastwood completed a MMus with distinction from the Royal Academy of Music in London 2012, where he studied composition with David Sawer and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. He then spent several years working in London also attending residences in Dartington, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Lithuania, before returning to New Zealand in 2015.

As a composer, he cites a wide range of influences on his music from popular culture to the avant-garde. Subsequently, his own compositions encompass a range of styles. Eastwood’s works have been performed around the world by artists including Franck Ollu, Martynas Levickis, CHROMA, Christopher Redgate, Stroma, Rubiks Collective, the New Zealand String Quartet, and The BBC Singers. He also holds a BMus in Double Bass performance and Composition/Sonic Arts from the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington, where he returned recently in order to study towards a DMA in Composition.


Stephen Hennessey is actively engaged in the Northwest Ohio area as a composer, librarian, recording engineer, and photo-/videographer. He is a recent graduate of the Master's of Music Composition program at Bowling Green State University, where he studied with Elainie Lillios, Christopher Dietz, and Mikel Kuehn while serving as the Music Technology graduate assistant. Recent activity with composition has incorporated theoretical topics informed by his interest in ethnomusicology, dealing with the concepts of embodied knowledge, authenticity, and tradition.


Brian Hoes is a composer and multi-instrumentalist based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Most notably, Brian composed original music for the hit off-Broadway Potter-inspired production Puffs: or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic, written by Matt Cox and directed by Kristin McCarthy Parker. Puffs premiered as a limited run production at The People's Improve Theater in 2015, and has since been relocated to New World Stages in New York City as a Tilted Windmills production, where it continues to play an open-ended run. In 2018, Puffs was filmed and shown nationwide as a Fathom Event, and has had multiple runs in Australia with many more international runs to be announced.

Brian also composed the music for the upcoming Matt Cox-penned audience-participation spaghetti western The Magnificent Revengers. In this groundbreaking production, the audience makes choices concerning the story and characters via their smartphones throughout the play, and each decision has real-time consequences. The play features numerous branching paths and multiple endings. This Tilted Windmills production had a brief developmental arrangement during the summer of 2017 at the University of Florida, and will be finding a home off-Broadway in New York City in the fall of 2019.

Other projects include an ongoing partnership with filmmaker Patrick H. Willems, having scored SHUT UP ABOUT PLOT HOLES and Get Christmas or Die Trying, both on YouTube. Brian has also provided the theme songs to the Willems produced podcasts “We Heart Hartnet”, “The Infinity Podcast”, and the yet to be announced sequel to “We Heart Hartnet”. Brian also records electronic music under the name Bad Read.


Leslie Hogan received her principal composition training at the University of Kansas and the University of Michigan.  Her music often reflects a longtime fascination with other art forms and with the potential of music to reflect or respond to visual stimuli from the natural world. Several recent works, including Life Studies, for large mixed ensemble (2011) and Image as Music, for solo piano (2013) are a direct outgrowth of her explorations of the relationships between art and psychoanalysis. Those explorations began in 2004, with a commission to write the score for Carol Press’s Holocaust inspired dance piece, Splinter of Hope, and eventually led to participation on multidisciplinary panel presentations on aesthetic gesture at psychoanalytical conferences in Santa Fe, Marina Del Rey, California, Mexico City, and at the Spoleto Festival, Spoleto, Italy.

Among the choreographers she has collaborated with are Valerie Huston, Tonia Shimin, and Carol Press.  Commissioning organizations and individuals include the San Antonio Choral Society, the Ojai Camerata, First United Methodist Church of Lawrence, Kansas, Paul Haar, Denise Fest, and Virginia Kron.  She has received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (Charles Ives Fellowship, 2002; Charles Ives Scholarship, 1993), the American Music Center, ASCAP, and the Chicago Civic Orchestra, among others.

Dr. Hogan has taught composition in the College of Creative Studies at the University of California-Santa Barbara since 1995.


Alex Nohai-Seaman’s music has been performed by professional and college music ensembles throughout the United States, as well as in Israel, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, and Taiwan.

The premiere of his 53’ Requiem for soprano and chamber orchestra on a text of Rilke raised funds to build an AIDS clinic in sub-Saharan Africa.

He has received multiple fellowships to The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, has attended the soundSCAPE International Composer and Performer Exchange, and participated in Composing in the Wilderness.

Alex holds a D.M.A. in Composition from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and studied with Laura Schwendinger, Stephen Dembski, David Brackett, Fred Thayer, and Joel Naumann.

Currently, Alex is an Associate Professor of Music at Suffolk County Community College, where he teaches music theory, aural skills, directs the contemporary music ensemble, and advises the SCCC Outdoor Club.


Kayla Roth teaches music theory and ear-training at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX.

Prior to her assignment at SFA, Roth worked as a pianist, drummer, and vocalist at sing-along piano venues across Texas, Florida, and Arkansas, in which shows were audience-driven and all-request, and continues to perform in regular faculty recitals and jazz combos.

Roth has written and arranged pieces for percussion ensemble, recorder quintet, solo piano, and rock/pop band. Recent premieres include Loblolly, premiered at the 2017 Tuba-Euphonium Conference of the Rockies, and Terrae Borealis, premiered at Federal Hall in New York City, 2018.


When he’s not running, riding his bike or exploring the wilderness, Cody Westheimer is racking up credits as diverse as they are interesting. To date, he’s amassed hundreds of hours of music for feature films, documentary series, and iconic sports events such as the Tour de France on NBC. The composer for BBC/PBS Nature’s H is for Hawk: A New Chapter, the IMAX film Journey to Space 3D, he recently released a solo album, Montana Sketches.

Westheimer is known not just for his interesting twists on orchestral music but for creating unexpected blends of instruments – which he plays – such as the Japanese shakuhachi (bamboo flute), banjo and tuba.

An avid craftsman, Cody built his studio desk out of reclaimed lumber and recently designed a portable music studio which was profiled by Mix magazine and Outside TV. Cody lives in LA with his wife (Composer Julia Newmann), daughter and pups.

Earlier Event: January 27
Corwin Chair Series: Now Hear Ensemble