Reena Esmail
Reena Esmail, Composition
Grand Prize

Indian-American composer Reena Esmail works between the worlds of Indian and Western classical music, and brings communities together through the creation of equitable musical spaces.

Indian-American composer Reena Esmail works between the worlds of Indian and Western classical music, and brings communities together through the creation of equitable musical spaces.

In recent seasons, Esmail has worked with the Kronos Quartet, Albany Symphony, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, Salastina Music Society, SOLI, and American Composers Orchestra. Her work is performed regularly throughout the US and abroad, and has been programmed at Carnegie Hall, the Barbican Centre in London, Schloss Esterhazy in Hungary, and throughout India. She has served as Composer in Residence for Albany Symphony (2016-17), Street Symphony (2016-present) in downtown Los Angeles, Concerts on the Slope (2015-16) in Brooklyn, NY and the Pasadena Master Chorale (2014-16) in Pasadena, CA.

Esmail received a 2011-12 Fulbright-Nehru to study Hindustani music in India, where she was also a 2011 INK Fellow (in association with TED). In 2010, Esmail co-founded of Yale’s Hindi a cappella group, Sur et Veritaal. Esmail’s doctoral thesis, entitled Finding Common Ground: Uniting Practices in Hindustani and Western Art Musicians explores the methods and challenges of the collaborative process between Hindustani musicians and Western composers. Her teachers include Srimati Lakshmi Shankar and Saili Oak.

Esmail holds degrees in composition from The Juilliard School (BM’05) and the Yale School of Music(MM’11, MMA’14, DMA’18). Her primary teachers have included Susan Botti, Aaron Jay Kernis, Christopher Theofanidis and Martin Bresnick, Christopher Rouse and Samuel Adler. She has won numerous awards, including the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (and subsequent publication of a work by C.F. Peters) and two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards.

Esmail was on the composition and theory faculty at Manhattan School of Music Precollege from 2006-2011. She taught the music theory core curriculum at Yale College from 2012-14. Recently, Esmail has worked with young composers through mentorship programs including Shastra’s Arranging with Hindustani Music, Pasadena Master Chorale’s Listening to the Future. This season, she will mentor young women composers through Kaufmann Center’s new program, The Luna Lab.

Recent commissions include: I Rise: Women in Song, for Lehigh University’s women’s chorus and orchestra, a Clarinet Concerto for Hindustani/Western crossover clarinetist Shankar Tucker and Albany Symphony Orchestra (where she was the 2016-17 Composer Fellow), The Light is the Same for Imani Winds, and a new major sacred work, This Love Between Us for chorus, orchestra, sitar and tabla, written for Yale Schola Cantorum and Juilliard 415 which toured India in March 2017. This season’s highlights include new works for Chicago Sinfonietta, Albany Symphony, and violinist Vijay Gupta.

In addition to her work as a composer, Esmail is the Co-Artistic Director of Shastra, a non-profit organization that promotes cross-cultural music that connects the great musical traditions of India and the West. She is also the Composer-in-Residence with Street Symphony, where she works with communities experiencing homelessness and incarceration in Los Angeles.

Victoria Manganiello, Installation and Mixed Media Arts

Victoria Manganiello (b.1989) is an installation and mixed media artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been exhibited throughout the USA and internationally including at the Queens Museum, Museum of Art and Design, the Tang Museum, Sara Kay Gallery and Pioneer Works. She is currently an artist in resident at the Museum of Art and Design.

Victoria Manganiello (b.1989) is an installation and mixed media artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been exhibited throughout the USA and internationally including at the Queens Museum, Museum of Art and Design, the Tang Museum, Sara Kay Gallery and Pioneer Works. She is currently an artist in resident at the Museum of Art and Design. Exploring the intersections between materiality, space, philosophy, and storytelling, Victoria Manganiello’s installation work, abstract paintings and performances are made meticulously with hand-woven textiles using hand-spun yarn and hand-mixed natural and synthetic color dyes. Victoria is an adjunct professor at NYU and Parson’s The New School.

Lauren Edson, Choreographer

Originally from Boise, Idaho, Edson received her training at University of North Carolina School of the Arts and The Juilliard School, under the direction of the late Benjamin Harkarvy. She danced with Trey McIntyre Project for several years and was featured in many of his critically acclaimed works. Throughout her career, she's had the honor of performing the works of Pina Bausch, Maguy Marin, Angelin Preljocaj, Robert Battle, Johannes Wieland, and Alex Ketley, among others.

Originally from Boise, Idaho, Edson received her training at University of North Carolina School of the Arts and The Juilliard School, under the direction of the late Benjamin Harkarvy. She danced with Trey McIntyre Project for several years and was featured in many of his critically acclaimed works. Throughout her career, she's had the honor of performing the works of Pina Bausch, Maguy Marin, Angelin Preljocaj, Robert Battle, Johannes Wieland, and Alex Ketley, among others.

She has been described as a “choreographer of the first rank” by the Seattle Times and has received many fellowships/awards for her original choreography. Most recently she created an original work for the international commercial agency, The Freeman Company that premiered at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas, TX, August 2017. In September 2016, she was selected by Whim W’Him in Seattle, WA to create an original work for their Choreographic Shindig. In August 2016, she collaborated with Internationally renowned cellist, Dave Eggar on an original work. She is the recipient of the ICA Performing Arts Fellowship, the Dance Omi International Resident, the UNCSA Development Residency, a ‘Level Up Artist’ of The Dance Gallery Festival and the University of Kansas’ 2015 Choreographic Fellow. She is the winner of Northwest Dance Project’s The Pretty Creative’s International Choreography Competition, the recipient of the Audience Favorite Award at Milwaukee Ballet’s International Choreography Competition, Winner of the Grand Prize and Paid Engagement Award at the Dance Under the Stars Choreography Competition, winner of Western Michigan University’s Great Works Dance Project and resident Guest Artist at East Carolina University, Peck School of the Arts, Western Oregon University, Oakland University, Western Michigan University, University of Kansas, Grand Valley State University and Pacific University, to name a few.

Edson's choreography has appeared at the McCallum Theatre, Jacob's Pillow Inside/Out Series, Ailey Citigroup Theatre, Winspear Opera House and the Kennedy Center. Her past choreographic commissions include: Whim W’Him, Northwest Dance Project, Houston MET Dance, Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Idaho, Freeman Company, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, Pensacola Ballet and SALT Contemporary Dance, to name a few.

In January 2015, Edson created LED with her husband, composer and musician, Andrew Stensaas. LED combines contemporary dance, original music, and film into breathtaking cinematic experiences. Described by the Seattle Times as “an important addition to the dance scene in the Northwest and a dazzling feat of pyrotechnics." LED's live performances have wowed sold-out crowds at Boise's Morrison Center for the Performing Arts, Egyptian Theatre, and Treefort Music Fest, as well as audiences throughout the Pacific Northwest. In 2017, LED was named Boise's Emerging Organization.

Brittany Lasch, Trombone

As the 2nd Place winner of the 2017-2018 American Prize, Trombonist Brittany Lasch has appeared as soloist with the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own”, the Queens Symphony, the Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass, the National Repertory Orchestra, and the Manhattan School of Music Philharmonia. With playing described as “masterful” (Syracuse Post-Standard), Brittany is Assistant Professor of Trombone at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.

As the 2nd Place winner of the 2017-2018 American Prize, Trombonist Brittany Lasch has appeared as soloist with the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own”, the Queens Symphony, the Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass, the National Repertory Orchestra, and the Manhattan School of Music Philharmonia. With playing described as “masterful” (Syracuse Post-Standard), Brittany is Assistant Professor of Trombone at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. Brittany was recently appointed Principal Trombone of the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra at the Detroit Opera House and will begin her position at the start of the 2018-2019 season.

Brittany was a winner of Astral Artist’s 2017 National Auditions, as well as the winner of the 2015 National Collegiate Solo Competition hosted by the U.S. Army Band and the 2010 Eisenberg-Fried Brass Concerto Competition and was the recipient of the Zulalian Foundation Award in 2014. Her trombone quartet Boston Based was named the winner of the 2017 International Trombone Association’s Quartet Competition.

Brittany was a finalist in the 2015 International Trombone Association Frank Smith Solo Competition, and has received prizes from the 2015 Enkor Woodwind, Brass and Percussion Competition, the 2010 Queens Symphony Young Soloist Competition, and the 2006 International Women’s Brass Conference Competition, as well as the International Trombone Association’s Larry Wiehe Solo Competition and Gilberto Gagliardi Competition. Upon graduation from the Manhattan School of Music, she received the coveted John Clark Award for outstanding accomplishment in Brass Performance.

Brittany has performed with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Rhode Island Philharmonic, the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra, the Vermont Symphony, Albany Symphony, Springfield Symphony, Symphoria, Bangor Symphony Orchestra, and the New World Symphony in Miami Beach. She participated in the Verbier Festival Orchestra for two summers, and has also appeared at the Spoleto USA Festival, Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, the Castleton Festival, in the National Repertory Orchestra, and at the Aspen Music Festival. She has also been a participant in the prestigious Alessi Trombone Seminar in Fossano, Italy, and in the Summer Trombone Workshop at Temple University.

A native of Park Ridge, Illinois, Brittany Lasch earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Boston University, where she received the Brass Department Award. She also holds a Master of Music degree from Yale School of Music. With a deep commitment to education, she has been a featured teacher and performer at workshops such as the Midwest Trombone Tuba Euphonium Conference at Eastern Illinois University and Trombonafide in Wichita, Kansas. She has presented masterclasses at Youngstown State University, Louisiana State University, Towson University, and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. Her principal teachers include Toby Oft, Scott Hartman, and Steve Norrell.

Brittany Lasch is an Edwards Trombone Performing Artist.

Ani Liu, Interdisciplinary Arts

Ani Liu (b. 1986, New York, NY) is an interdisciplinary artist working at the intersection of art and science. She creates research-based art that explores the social, cultural, & ethical implications of emerging technologies.

Ani Liu (b. 1986, New York, NY) is an interdisciplinary artist working at the intersection of art and science. She creates research-based art that explores the social, cultural, & ethical implications of emerging technologies. She has exhibited her work internationally, including a solo show at the Boston Center for the Arts, MA (2017), and la Factoría Cultural in Avíles, Spain (2018), and group exhibitions at Mana Contemporary, Jersey City, NJ (2018), Shenzhen Design Society, Shenzhen, China (2017, 2018), Paul Robeson Galleries, Newark, NJ (2018), Open Gallery, Boston, MA (2017), Wiesner Gallery, Cambridge, MA (2017) ,MFA Now Series at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA (2017), Grounded Visionaries, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA (2014), SciEx Film Festival, MIT Museum, Cambridge, MA (2014), ISE Cultural Foundation, New York, NY (2009), Barrows Rotunda, Hopkins Center, Hanover, NH (2008). She was an artist-in-residence at Triangle Arts Association in Brooklyn, NY (2015).

In 2014-15 she led the research program in Sensory Mediation at the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities, exploring how information visualization and augmented reality, can be harnessed to extend the human sensorium to redefine spatial experience.

She taught as an Associate Instructor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she co-taught an advanced-level architectural studio called Architecture of Cultural Prosthetics: Tools for Communication and Expression in the Public Space with Krzysztof Wodiczko.

She has a Master of Science from MIT Media Lab (2017), a Master of Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design (2014), and a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College (2008).