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New Music Detroit

New Music Detroit (NMD) is a collective of musicians dedicated to performing groundbreaking musical works from the late-20th century to the present day. A highly flexible ensemble with a cast of core members and prominent guest artists, NMD performs new and adventurous classical music in a wide variety of settings, for a wide variety of people. NMD strives to collaborate with the most exciting creative voices of our time and regularly gives performances of rarely-heard works by today's major composers. Through innovative programming and risk-taking, virtuoso performances, NMD continues to explore new ways of bringing the best of new and experimental music to the City of Detroit. I am NMD's newest member and first vocalist!

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Juxtatonal [JUX] is a contemporary music voice (Jocelyn Zelasko) and cello (Bryan Hayslett) duo performing music that juxtaposes tonality with atonality. JUX aims to legitimize playfulness on stage, find creativity in a recreative art, and connect with audiences through compositions that blur the lines between music, art, and theater. JUX's debut performance at New Music Detroit's Strange Beautiful Music Festival was described as “a delightful mix of humor, storytelling, and musicianship” by pianist Dutcher Wright-Snedeker. Recent performances in Chicago and on Kerry Frumpkin's Live from WFMT radio show were equally well received. Eighth Blackbird's Nick Photinos says, "Juxtatonal brings a wide-eyed excitement and gritty intensity to their performances, which range far beyond voice, clarinet and cello to include spoken word, piano, toy piano, and anything and everything else they can think of to deliver a gripping show. A true ensemble for the next generation!" 


We would love to collaborate! For more information, visit JUX's website:


Whoopknox is a Detroit-based new music ensemble co-founded by Jocelyn Zelasko, voice, and Thom Monks, percussion, with repertoire ranging from the meditative early (2015) by D. Edward Davis to the dramatic, yet playful, Jabberwocky (1993) by Susan Botti. Jocelyn and Thom first met at New Music Detroit's Strange Beautiful Music Festival in Detroit in 2015. When they met again at New Music Gathering in Bowling Green in 2017, they knew they needed to join forces! Being two Detroiters who love new music and their city, they made it their mission to perform music that is hard knocks and stunningly beautiful, just like Detroit! 


We would love to collaborate! For more information, visit

I will learn to...

Jordan Curcuruto, Phoebe Wu, and I will be touring an inspired new music program that highlights empowerment! Each piece performed completes the phrase: "I will learn to…" e.g., Laugh More Often; Empower Myself & Others; Love a Person. The program will range from solo works to works for the entire ensemble, including pieces by Jordan Curcuruto, Fjóla Evans, Mayke Nas, and Jennifer Higdon, culminating with Christopher Cerrone’s “I will learn to love a person” for soprano, clarinet, piano, and percussion. Our concert tour will begin in San Fransisco on November 4th, 2018 at the Center for New Music and will continue in LA in November 2018, and the greater Detroit area in February 2019. 


For more information about these inspiring artists, visit their websites: 


Jordan Curcuruto, percussion:

Phoebe Wu, piano: 

Woodwind Collaborators:

Nick Zoulek, saxophone:

Trevor Pittman, clarinet:

Chelsea Villanueva, clarinet:


Pat & Emilia

Pat & Emilia is a new mixed media chamber opera in two acts is based on the lives of Windsor artists - photographer, Pat Sturn (1910 - 2011) and opera singer, Emilia Cundari (1930 - 2005). The first act was created by my friend and colleague, Tara Sievers-Hunt, featuring opera arias from Emilia’s repertoire alongside monologues inspired by newspaper interviews given by the singer. The second act showcases new music by composer, Jeff Smallman with texts by Windsor Poet Laureate, Marty Gervais. Tara Sievers-Hunt plays a stunning Emilia Cundari and I play a stubborn yet playful 100 year-old Pat Sturn with Mary Siciliano, piano; Brian Bowman, clarinet; Velda Kelly, violin; and Nadine Deleury, cello.


For more information visit, Pat & Emilia's website.

Hull House Songs

I was invited to research, write a book chapter on, perform, and record Eleanor Smith's series of social protest songs entitled, Hull House Songs. The collection, as described by Jane Addams (1914), "fulfills the highest mission of music, first in giving expression to the type of emotional experience which quickly tends to get beyond words, and second in affording an escape from the unnecessary disorder of actual life into the wider region of the spirit which, under the laws of a great art, may be filled with an austere beauty and peace.


The recordings were released in 2017. The book, Eleanor Smith's Hull House Songs: The Music of Protest and Hop in Jane Addams's Chicago by sociologist, Graham Cassano; musicologist, Jessica Payette; Hull House scholar, Rima Lunin Schutz, and myself was published in early 2019 by Brill.

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