2020 OMTA Composer of the Year — Nicholas Yandell

2020 OMTA Composer of the Year — Nicholas Yandell

Enjoy this video of Nicholas Yandell presenting his visual art, poem, and musical piece A Quiet Place in the Rain, commissioned by the Oregon Music Teachers Association honoring Nicholas as their Composer of the Year 2020. 

Nicholas has this to say about A Quiet Place in the Rain
“The title of this piece is based on the idea of an unconventional refuge. This is a confrontational place that is cold, damp, and unpleasant, where one purposely goes to face their buried fears and anxieties. In this work, the listener goes to such a place, away from the comforts of their life, plunging themselves into the darkness, and through exposure and catharsis, finds redemption on the other side.” 

Seasoned new music performers Hannah Hillebrand on cello and Kate Petak on harp performed the musical piece showcased here at Temple Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon. For information on Hannah, please visit For information on Kate, please visit

Portland based composer Nicholas Yandell’s music is often narratively driven and intends to both “immerse the listener in a vivid sonic realm and also take them on an enlightening emotional journey.” In addition to commissions from 45th Parallel and performances by the Delgani String Quartet, Nick has his own freelance sound and film score business: Basement Music, with composer Tristan Bliss. For more information on Nicholas, please visit

In Good Hands 2020 Concert (virtual concert)

In Good Hands 2020 Concert (virtual concert)

Cascadia Streams presents:

The 10th annual In Good Hands Concert featuring student performers playing Cascadia Composers works!

Tune in for the concert video of one of Cascadia Composers’ favorite yearly traditions, the In Good Hands recital. Talented student performers from both the Portland and Eugene metro areas play new music written by Cascadia Composers members.

Please check out the program for this virtual concert here: In Good Hands 2020 Program.

Oregon Arts Watch has done a wonderful write-up called Passing the Torch, discussing how In Good Hands works as well as the history and ideas behind this concert series. Please check it out here: Thank you Oregon Arts Watch for your support of local and regional composers!

In this rewarding collaborative project, local music teachers work with their students on these pieces (some of which are premieres). In addition, the student gets to meet with the composer of the work ahead of time, gaining feedback and insight. This connection between young students and living composers is vital to moving contemporary music into the future.

This video was originally broadcast via Zoom on Saturday, July 11th, 2020 at 3:00 P.M.

Special thanks to our participating music teachers this year: Wilma Hawkins (NCTM), Irene Huang (NCTM), Sandy Hull (NCTM), Betsy Parker, Cindy Peterson-Peart (NCTM), Paul Safar, and Fen-Fang Tsao.

In Good Hands 2020 features piano works by the following composers:

Although the worldwide pandemic is keeping live audience events on hold, Cascadia Composers continues to present new music from its members via Cascadia Streams, a monthly livestream series hosted by Daniel Brugh. Please check this website regularly for updates on these and other livestreamed concerts.

New Music Gathering 2020

New Music Gathering 2020

Watch our one-hour concert video, which was Cascadia Composers’ part of New Music Gathering, an annual conference dedicated to the performance, production, promotion, support and creation of new concert music! See and hear works by Christina Rusnak, Jay Derderian, Tomas Svoboda, Greg A Steinke, Theresa Koon and Daniel Brugh. The concert was introduced with Cascadia’s brand-new promo video, created by Jennifer Wright, who also assembled and edited the concert video.

You can also watch the video on Facebook here: This event was streamed live on June 17th, 2020 at 6:00 PM (PDT) via New Music Gathering’s Facebook Live page.

The following works are shown in this video:

  • Hyas Tyee Təmwata (Willamette Falls), by Christina Rusnak ( A major fishery supporting a thriving Native society before settlement, and a potent symbol of the Eden promoted to settlers, at the end of the Oregon Trail.


    Performed in Portland at Landscape Music on 10/7/2018, and here by:
    Matthieu Clavé, flute
    Jeffrey Brooks, clarinet
    Benjamin Shirley, cello
    Paul Stevens, percussion

  • Begin Again, by Jay Derderian ( Celebrating the unity and honoring the perseverance of the Polish people in the face of constant adversity, and of the Polish nation that has repeatedly been torn apart and rebuilt.


    Performed at Portland Polonia’s commemorative concert Poland — 100 Years — Free Again on 11/18/2018 by the Delgani String Quartet:
    Wyatt True, violin
    Jannie Wei, violin
    Kimberlee Uwate, viola
    Eric Alterman, cello

  • Forest Rhythms, by Tomas Svoboda ( A lifelong lover of nature, particularly forests, Tomas wrote this for the artist Julia Stoll, who led a group that managed to convince Longview Fibre to spare a stream from logging in the Yale Valley, Washington.


    Performed at Cascadia’s anniversary celebration Ten Years On: Cascadia Founders Speak on 3/22/2019 by:
    Amelia Lukas, flute
    Kenji Bunch, viola
    Kevin Schlossman, xylophone

  • Inquietude, by Greg A Steinke ( Written for flutist Julia Larson in memory of the famous flutist William Kincaid (1895–1967), drawing on the composer’s memory of signature orchestral solos performed by Mr. Kincaid.


    Performed at the 2019 Astoria Music Festival by Amelia Lukas, and here by Celine Thackston at Cascadia’s 2012 concert Bang On a Canon!

  • I Come From Water, by Theresa Koon ( Inspired by concern over the health of water creatures in large areas surrounding the sites of potential missile testing by the US, in the Pacific Ocean near the Hawaiian island of Kauai.


    Performed at Our Waters, Cascadia’s concert honoring water defenders, particularly Native Americans, on 5/12/2018 by:
    Grace Skinner, soprano
    Nicholas Meyer, baritone
    Laura Kuhlman, alto flute
    Justin Bulava, clarinet
    Danielle Goldman, bassoon
    Andrew Ehrlich, violin
    Collin Oldham, violoncello

  • Listen to the Earth, by Daniel Brugh (, video by Jennifer Wright ( An immersive piece that takes inspiration from Bernie Kraus’ book The Great Animal Orchestra, and that uses sounds of the Earth and its creatures as source material.


    Performed at All Wired Up, Cascadia’s first festival of electronic and electroacoustic music, on 4/20/2019.

For the schedule for the New Music Gathering 2020 conference, please follow this link.

Forward With Cascadia!

We at Cascadia Composers hope you are all staying healthy and coping with the extraordinary circumstances of these days. If any of you or yours do happen to catch the pandemic bug, we wish you and them a mild case and a quick recovery.

Everyone here is hoping to reschedule the NACUSA National Conference, with the same content as had been planned (see below) insofar as is possible. We are actively working on it. However, considering the many uncertainties still surrounding the pandemic and possible aftereffects, along with the major investment of resources (ours and often yours) that every conference is, we regret we can’t realistically project any dates at this time. Although naturally we’d like it to happen sooner, it seems unlikely it could happen before next March.

In the meantime, we plan to livestream selected content planned for the conference in online “concerts” and other presentations. Keep an eye on in the coming months for details.

Cascadia Composers, your go-to source for local new music, is honored to bring you a wider world by hosting the 2020 National Conference of its parent organization, NACUSA (National Association of Composers USA)! This March, Cascadia in partnership with Lewis & Clark College present a three-day bonanza of new music, including six concerts and multiple composer presentations.

A host of renowned performers, including Friends of Rain, Resonance Ensemble, Portland Percussion Group, and piano duo favorites Stephanie & Saar will perform the music of a dozen local composers, plus two dozen more composers from around the USA, all who will be in attendance and eager to hear what our local performers do with their music and what our local audiences think about it.

All concerts are open to the public. Tickets are available at the door, or through Brown Paper Tickets by clicking the icons below.  Prices unless noted otherwise are $20 general admission (buys 2 with Arts Card from RACC) / $10 (seniors, members, working artists) / $5 (students) / free for 12 and under.


NACUSA 2020 Conference Lineup
Location: Lewis & Clark College
0615 SW Palatine Hill Rd.  Portland, OR 97219


• Fresh Finds 3/19/20 3:30PM at Evans Auditorium

We’re starting the conference off with a bang with exciting new works by talented local student composers from Lewis & Clark College, Portland State University and The Evergreen State College! Featured performers include the Evergreen Experimental Music Ensemble, Lewis and Clark’s Cappella Nova (under the direction of Katherine FitzGibbon), and guest luminaries.  Students admitted free, all others $5.


• In the ‘Hood 3/19/20 7:30PM at Agnes Flanagan Chapel

Friends of Rain and top-notch guest performers play works by Cascadia composers Adam Eason, Michael Johanson, Alexander LaFollett, Andrew Lewinter, Liz Nedela, Lisa Neher, Gary Noland, Lesley Sommer, and William Toutant. Two hours.


• Beethoven’s 250th 3/20/20 1:00PM at Evans Auditorium

In honor of the 250th year of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth, this concert features Beethoven-inspired piano works by Theresa Koon and David Lefkowitz, plus Stephanie & Saar playing Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge and other works. One hour, half price!


• Spring Fever! 3/20/20 7:30PM at Agnes Flanagan Chapel

Portland Percussion Group goes crazy playing the music of Trent Hanna, Michael Johanson, and Greg A Steinke. Then  Resonance Ensemble brings you choral works that speak (mostly) to today’s issues and concerns by local composers Judy A. Rose and Jeff Winslow, and visiting composers Martin Blessinger, Katie Kring, Lansing McLoskey, Liza Sobel, and Ingrid Stölzel. Two hours total.


• Amplitude & Attitude 3/21/20 1:00PM at Evans Auditorium

Electroacoustic and media works by local composer Kirsten Volness and visiting composers Joe L. Alexander, Chris Arrell, Patrice Langsdale-Williams, Timothy Moyers, and David Peoples. Some composers will play in their own works. One hour, half price!


• A Wider World 3/21/20 7:30PM at Evans Auditorium

Friends of Rain and guests celebrate the glorious diversity of new music being created across the USA with performances of chamber works by visiting NACUSA composers Andrew Conklin, Doug Davis, Joshua Hey, Partick Houlihan, Mark Kilstofte, David Lefkowitz, Allen Shearer, Andy Sigler, and Stephen Yip. Two hours.

Paul Safar Remote Piano Recital Fundraiser for Cascadia Composers

Paul Safar Remote Piano Recital Fundraiser for Cascadia Composers

On Monday, May 4th at 4 pm (Pacific Time), I will present my third remote solo piano recital from my home studio in Eugene. This will be a livestream at 4 pm sharp directly on my facebook page (Paul Safar). This time, I am encouraging audience members to donate any amount (in lieu of a ticket) to Cascadia Composers, which, like many non profits these days has seen their season postponed or canceled.

Watch from anywhere in the world! Streamed live at time of presentation here:

As in my previous recitals, I present original compositions, standard and not so standard classical repertoire and a smattering of jazz and popular pieces while talking a bit in between works. The theme to this recital is “Homages and Influences”. The concert will last about an hour and pairs well with an afternoon tea, a nice glass of pinot or pint of pilsner. 🙂

If so inclined, after the concert, please go to to contribute. Any amount will be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks for considering Cascadia Composers as I know there are many worthy organizations in need today.

HAIR, REED, HAMMER: The articulation of sound

HAIR, REED, HAMMER: The articulation of sound

Northwest composers Paul Safar and Daniel Heila present, in an intimate venue, saxophone, string, and piano works sure to charm, challenge, and inspire listeners. Featured performers include the Delgani String Quartet, Eugene pianist Matthew Pavilanis and vocalist Nancy Wood, and a wunderkind saxophone quartet from the studio of University of Oregon sax guru Idit Shner. The concert is sponsored by Cascadia Composers, the local chapter of the National Association of Composers USA.

Safar presents his Frogs at Dusk for saxophone quartet, inspired by frog song heard in the Mount Shasta wilderness; Quartet in Red, Black, and Blue featuring chanteuse Nancy Wood and setting texts from her pen; and Three Bird Intermezzi (performed by the composer), each piece inspired by the work of individual twentieth-century composers.

Heila presents two works based on fiddle tunes of his own making – Quartet: Branches at the Window, Saxophones and Quartet: Crooked River, Strings – and on songs from the Southern Appalachian English folk song tradition: Eleven Nights for solo piano.

Please join Cascadia Composers, Paul Safar, and Daniel Heila for this evening of outstanding contemporary classical music of the Northwest.

February, 22, 7:30 pm, Unity of the Valley, 3912 Dillard Road, Eugene OR.  Tickets are $10-20 at the door.

CONCERT MOSAIC – New Music and Art by Northwest Women

Concert Mosaic, presented by Cascadia Composers, is a bold, inspired, and multi-faceted program of chamber music premieres and visual art displays by Northwest women composers and artists. Featured performers include the Delgani String Quartetalong with special guests on horn, clarinet, percussion, and vocals.

Concert Mosaic Program

  • Composer Elizabeth Blachly-Dyson’s From Shadow to Sun was inspired by the paintings and sculpture of Corvallis artist Susan Johnson.
  • Lisa Ann Marsh wrote Mountains in the Rain, Sun Under Clouds, a song cycle drawn from the poems of Deborah Buchanan. Ellen Blazich created the cyanotype dyed cloth prints to highlight the sentiments of the songs.
  • Lisa Neher’s Look Within was inspired sparked by a new abstract painting by Portland artist Paulette Insall.
  • Stacey Philipps created her song cycle, Looking at a Blackbird, with text from Wallace Stevens’ famous poem and in collaboration with nature photographer Karen Drain.
  • The paintings of Whidbey Island artist Teresa Saia were the impetus for Christina Rusnak’s work, Dusk.
  • Dawn Sonntag crafted her work, Piecitos de Ninos, as a setting of the poem by Gabriela Mistral and as an accompaniment to the sculptures of Ildikó Kalapács.
  • Linda Woody’s Body of Work was written with the paintings of Oregon City artist Cindy Geffel in mind.

The artists’ works will be displayed on stage or projected on screen during the concert with additional art on display near the performance area.  Showtime is Saturday, February 15, 2019, 7:30 PM, at Lincoln Recital Hall (Room 75), Portland State University.  Tickets are $5-$20 (free for PSU students with ID and for children 12 and younger) and available at Brown Paper Tickets:

Concert Mosaic is funded in part by a grant from RACC:

50/50 – Double Double Birthday Concerts

50/50 – Double Double Birthday Concerts

Cascadia Composers 11th concert season kicks off with new music celebrating the 50th birthday years of composers Ted Clifford and Paul Safar. Performers include members of the Delgani String Quartet, pianists Asya Gulua and Maria Choban, vocalist Nancy Wood as well as...

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Imminent Premiere by David Bernstein, Composer of the Year

Imminent Premiere by David Bernstein, Composer of the Year

Cascadia's own David Bernstein is the Oregon Music Teachers' Association Composer of the Year this year, and has written a big new work for the occasion, SUITE OF THE EARTH.  The world premiere, which will be livestreamed on Facebook, is during the OMTA 2019 State...

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ArcoPDX 5th Anniversary Concert

ArcoPDX 5th Anniversary Concert

Our friends at ArcoPDX (Amplified Repertory Chamber Orchestra) are celebrating 5 years with a program of new original music written by Arco founder (and Cascadia member) Mike Hsu! You'll also hear Arco renditions of Bach, Bloch, and Depeche Mode, jaw-dropping vocal...

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Made In Oregon @ Astoria Music Festival 2019!

Made In Oregon @ Astoria Music Festival 2019!

Yes, an Astoria Music Festival is happening in 2019, and we're excited to be part of it! Cascadia Composers presents Made in Oregon - New Music by Northwest Composers, a program packed with exciting and varied works by 10 notable Northwest composers: Daniel Brugh, Ted...

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Portland is In Good Hands this year!

Portland is In Good Hands this year!

Our 9th annual “In Good Hands” project joins music students in collaboration with living, local composers to bring new art music to life. Talented young Oregonians perform a diverse mix of works by our composer members at these energizing events.  This is one of our...

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We’re ALL WIRED UP!  Come feel the buzz April 20th!

We’re ALL WIRED UP! Come feel the buzz April 20th!

It's our first concert of electronic and electroacoustic music, and we're making up for lost time! All Wired Up is a micro-festival packed with top performers, video art, a huge array of electronic instruments and styles, modern dance, wild visuals and...

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Ten Years On – Cascadia Founders Speak

Ten Years On – Cascadia Founders Speak

Ten years ago this March, Portland audiences first experienced music from Cascadia Composers. Some folks loved it; others didn’t. One even stood up and lectured impromptu on what we should write instead. But despite controversy, we’ve prospered. Yes, the founders were...

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Choral Arts Ensemble Yuletide

Choral Arts Ensemble Yuletide

Come hear Cascadia help "Portland's Choir" celebrate their 50th anniversary with two new works: Lisa Neher's "Three Basho Haiku" and William Whitley's "Ecclesia," which was written to celebrate another 50th anniversary, that of the Pietro Belluschi-designed First...

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