Attention All New Music Lovers!

Send Us Your Favorite Composers Under 40

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tell Us Your Favorite Under-40 Composers.

NPR Music and Q2 want your help in programming a special eight-hour music stream featuring composers under 40. Send us the names of three of your favorite composers, and, if you have specific albums or pieces in mind, let us know by including them in the comments section below. We will tally the results over the next two weeks and program this entirely crowd-sourced stream.

Here are some definitions to help you choose.

  • Special = something temporal, fleeting, but with large impact and coherent design.
  • Music = to paraphrase the Late, Great Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court Potter Stewart: "I know it when I hear it."
  • Stream = a way to deliver on-demand music to fans worldwide via the Internet.
  • Composer = a self-designated (or applied by consensus) term that denotes those who create music, whether notated, improvised, solo, ensemble, instrumental, vocal, however you like it!
  • Under = that which is not over.
  • 40 = a totally arbitrary, but round, numerical delineation consisting of 40 units, or in this case, years.

To get you started, here's a list of a few notable composers under 40: Timothy Andres, Sufjan Stevens, Missy Mazzoli, Tyondai Braxton and Shara Worden.

The special stream will launch Monday, April 18 on NPR Music and Q2, so leave us your suggestions in the comments section below while you still can!


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Comments [95]

David Cale from Columbus, OH

One that has changed my life (and countless others, I'm sure):
Composer: Blake Henson
Album: Angles in the Architecture (artist: Anam Cara and James Jordan)
Piece: "My Flight for Heaven"

Apr. 18 2011 07:54 AM
Yarrow OsoFly from NYC

I nominate Jason Cady.
Check out his music here:

Apr. 12 2011 08:03 PM
Abby H from MD

I nominate Silas Durocher!

Apr. 12 2011 06:14 PM

R. Christopher Teichler

Apr. 12 2011 02:05 PM

I nominate Silas Durocher

Apr. 11 2011 10:02 AM
Polly Rubin from New York

I would like to nominate Eric Nathan!

Apr. 11 2011 08:20 AM
Marc Sepantaie

I'd like to nominate Silas Durocher.

Apr. 11 2011 12:17 AM
Hannah S. from Falls Church, Va.

Silas Durocher--25-year-old composer from Asheville, N.C.--"Casi Tango" "This Is Not a Quiet Celebration" etc.

Apr. 10 2011 11:43 PM
AndrewR from Australia

Forgot to add:

Zac Condon (the main guy behind the group/act "Beirut" (lead vocals, brass, most other instruments)- "Beirut" is awesome stuff - wikipedia describes it as: "combines elements of Eastern European and Balkan folk with Western pop music". Zac Condon on vocals. He's a native of Alberqueque NM. Anything from the "Beirut" albums. Gulag Orkestar - a good one is "After The Curtain" and definitely anything from "The Flying Club Cup" - fave: "Nantes" or "Cliquot".

Another great composer/artist is Owen Pallet. He is a solo artist who has also released music under the name "Final Fantasy".

Has released a number of EPs and 3 albums "Has a Good Home", "He Poos Clouds" and his latest "Heartland" has him him orchestrating for a full orchestra instead of just himself and his violin.

Owen Pallett has also worked with a Violist from the UK called "Patrick Wolf" (I love how all these artists are connected). Patrick has released a number of albums. His last album "The Bachelor" has many lush orchestrations. "Damaris" comes to mind. The album includes three tracks that feature spoken word by actress Tilda Swinton. It is rather reminiscent of Kate Bush's "The Ninth Wave".

Apr. 10 2011 04:19 AM
Jenny Ekberg from Brisbane, Australia

A very talented young Australian percussion artist- Gordon Hughes

Apr. 09 2011 12:07 AM
AndrewR from Australia

Gordon Hughes - an Australian composer of percussion music.

Apr. 08 2011 11:09 PM
James Elliott from San Francisco

Here are my favorite three: (with an admitted slant toward vocal music)

1. Nico Muhly

2. Zachary Wadsworth

3. Ted Hearne

Apr. 08 2011 04:51 PM

erich stem (
jeremy podgursky (
rachel grimes (
rusty banks (
dennis tobenski (
tim takach (
robinson mcclellan (
michael gilberton (
j.m. gerraughty (
gilda lyons (
a little self-promotion: daniel gilliam (

Apr. 08 2011 12:15 PM
Krister Atle from New York

Please consider In Case of Brahms by Mikael Karlsson.

Apr. 08 2011 08:40 AM
balan from toronto

5th Projekt

Apr. 08 2011 07:24 AM
Niklas Alexandersson from New york

Mikael Karlsson!!!

Apr. 08 2011 04:46 AM
Monica dahström from S

I recommend Mikael Karlsson!

Apr. 08 2011 03:29 AM

Mikael Karlsson - "In Case of Brahms", "Nilon", "Desperate Contract"

Apr. 08 2011 01:56 AM
Johan Agstam from Sweden

Mika - I Case of Brahms, Day Comes Apart

Apr. 08 2011 01:54 AM

Mikael Karlsson --- "Nilon", Comet Home", "Desperate Contract"

Apr. 08 2011 01:53 AM
CheeShen from New York

Mikael Karlsson - Nasty F-cker, Nilon, Desperate Contract.

Apr. 08 2011 01:46 AM
Viktoriya Zueva from New York

Mikael Karlsson is terrific!

Apr. 08 2011 01:38 AM
Bon from Brooklyn

Mikael Karlsson- the dark song cycle Day Comes Apart or maybe Life Class.

Apr. 07 2011 10:30 PM
karin agstam from new york

please feature amazing composer MIKAEL KARLSSON from New York. I love all his work but to choose a couple of pieces i would say:

Nasty F-ker
Day Comes Apart
In Case of Brahms
Life Class
Comet Home

thanks and enjoy xoxo k

Apr. 07 2011 10:15 PM
mimi ray from minneapolis

mikael karlsson - on this planet

Apr. 07 2011 10:13 PM

Silas Durocher - crossover, chamber rock
Album - Thesis Statement
Songs: Casi Tango, Kind of Funk

Apr. 07 2011 09:13 PM
Rama Gottfried from Oakland

Rama Gottfried (yes me : )
Andrew Greenwald
Natacha Diels
Alex Mincek
Eric Wubbles
Sam Pluta
Franck Bedrossian
Ken Ueno
Billy Gomberg

Apr. 07 2011 08:43 PM
Christian Hertzog from San Diego

Christopher Adler: Ecstatic Volutions in a Neon Haze, I Want to Believe, and Iris

Nico Muhly for The Only Tune

Geoff Hannan

Apr. 07 2011 06:59 PM
Seth from Brooklyn, NY

Dennis Tobenski

Timothy Andres - and for those of you who like him already, you should check out his next concert on April 30th in New York City at:

Apr. 07 2011 06:32 PM
Seth from Brooklyn, NY

Dennis Tobenski

Timothy Andres - and for those of you who like him already, you should check out his next concert on April 30th in New York City at:

Apr. 07 2011 06:19 PM

i nominate Blake Ewing -

very cinematic composer!

Apr. 07 2011 04:21 PM
Ami Joyce from Chicago, IL

Frank Pesci!

Apr. 07 2011 02:12 PM
Lyle Allen from Birmingham, AL

Rusty Banks

Apr. 07 2011 01:38 PM
Jennifer Baker from Jemison, Alabama

Rusty Banks. He was a couple of years behind me at University of Montevallo. I knew early on he would be a successful composer.

Apr. 07 2011 01:04 PM
Pampi from Somerville, MA

my vote goes to Robots Bollywood and Funk Rock!
* dalit diva of midnight radio -
* arooj aftab -
* bhrigu sahni of kinki ski monkey -

Apr. 07 2011 12:52 PM
Joe Bergen from NJ

Daniel Wohl
Tristan Perich
Ted Hearne
Angelica Negron
Chris Marianetti
Missy Mazzoli
Matt Welch
Lesley Flanigan
Jason Cady
Aaron Siegel
Andy Akiho
Sean Friar
Matt McBane

The list goes on and on and on! Have had the extreme pleasure of working with most of them- they're all great talents!

Apr. 06 2011 12:07 PM

Missy Mazzoli (w/ Victoire). Sarah Kirkland Snider (w/ Penelope). And Aviya Kopelman (amazing young composer from Israel, featured by Kronos Quartet).
#under40 (+all female composers :) )

Apr. 06 2011 12:01 PM
Stan from Amarillo Texas

Frank Pesci

Apr. 06 2011 11:29 AM
Chelsea McNabb from Marina del Rey, CA

Frank Pesci has it going on! He has my vote!

Apr. 06 2011 10:32 AM
susanelena from Boston, MA

Frank Pesci!

Apr. 06 2011 09:40 AM
Tarina Szemzo from NYC


Apr. 06 2011 09:34 AM
Aljer from Hattiesburg, MS

Frank Pesci, for sure!

Apr. 06 2011 12:08 AM
biggysmalls from DC

Frank Pesci!

Apr. 05 2011 10:23 PM
Rosie from Maryland


Apr. 05 2011 09:27 PM
Maryann from Oviedo Florida

I vote for Joseph Hallman his creativity and motivation to create things to entice his fans take a glimpse
Composer, Teacher, Performer

Apr. 05 2011 08:44 PM
E Cantona from Lagos

Joan Arnau Pamies

He is a beast.

Apr. 05 2011 08:09 PM
Jean from Arlington VA

Frank Pesci is a great asset to the upcoming world of church music and opera!

Apr. 05 2011 06:21 PM
Carolyn Clark Ledbetter

Frank Pesci!

Frank Pesci!

Frank Pesci!

Apr. 05 2011 06:00 PM
Mandy F from Washington, DC

Definitely Frank Pesci!

Apr. 05 2011 05:21 PM
Judith Plotner

Frank Pesci,, and particularly, Lead Us to that Heavenly Country

Apr. 05 2011 05:04 PM
emily b from TN

Frank Pesci. Ridiculous amount of talent.

Apr. 05 2011 05:04 PM
Jason S. Ladd from Milwaukee

Carter Pann
Jefferson Friedman
Kevin Puts

Apr. 05 2011 05:01 PM
Seth Schmitt-Hall

Frank Pesci is the man

Apr. 05 2011 05:00 PM

I am quite partial to Frank Pesci, Timothy Andres, and Nico Muhly.

Apr. 05 2011 04:54 PM
Stacey Spiehler

Frank Pesci Frank Pesci Frank Pesci!

Apr. 05 2011 04:52 PM
Rita Rucky

I vote for Frank Pesci!

Apr. 05 2011 03:26 PM
Judy from Silver Spring, MD

Reid Anderson of The Bad Plus fame (he's 40) "Giant"
Rodrigo y Gabriela "Diablo Rojo"
Frank Pesci "Mirabile Mysterium"

Apr. 05 2011 02:11 PM
Becky from Philadelphia

I concur on Joe Hallman. He is an incredible young composer. Check him out at

Apr. 05 2011 01:28 PM
Ian P from Boston, MA

Joseph Hallman from Philly.

Apr. 05 2011 12:59 PM
Jenna Leopard

I vote for Frank Pesci.
One word: PHENOMENAL!!!!!!

Apr. 05 2011 12:13 PM

1. Frank Pesci
2. Osnat Netzer
3. Matti Kovler
4. Helen Grime

Apr. 05 2011 11:47 AM
Richard Barrett from Bloomington, IN

1) Frank Pesci -- lovely setting of "Mirabile Mysterium" for Christmas and Epiphany
2) Matthew Arndt -- he's got some sacred songs that are excellent
3) Katie Freeze -- some beautiful songs recorded on a CD called "Day That I Have Loved"
4) John Michael Boyer -- composes traditional Greek Orthodox liturgical music; examples recorded by Cappella Romana on the CD "The Divine Liturgy in English"
5) Jonathan Wey -- he's got a nice published setting of "Ave Maria" along with a number of other works

Apr. 05 2011 10:14 AM
Scott Andrew Hutchins from Bronx, NY

I've heard some great music by students at the Columbia New Music program.

Apr. 05 2011 09:23 AM
K. Lewis from ohio

Ali Edwards of Ruby Vileos & The Kiss Me Everlasting. Best Lyrics Ever!

Apr. 05 2011 08:31 AM
Carla from New York

Todd Tarantino's music is truly a new language. Challenging and rewarding.

Apr. 04 2011 09:24 PM

Conor Oberst, Regina Spektor, and Norah Jones

Apr. 04 2011 08:11 PM
George Sweet

George Sweet
" Light wanes"

Apr. 04 2011 06:17 PM
Josh Preston from Nashville, TN

1. Andrew Dolfie of The New Whole Usuals

2. Nico Muhly

3. ChessBoxer

Apr. 04 2011 04:36 PM
Percussionist77 from Queens

- Anna Clyne

- Oscar Bettison

- Enrico Chapela

Apr. 04 2011 04:30 PM
Matt McBane from Brooklyn, NY

The composers we have commissioned through the Carlsbad Music Festival Composers Competition are an excellent bunch:
Jacob Cooper
Kate Moore
Daniel Wohl
Fabian Svensson
Christine Southworth
Ryan Carter

Apr. 04 2011 01:47 PM
matt welch from brooklyn

and Daniel Wohl just below too!

Apr. 03 2011 09:12 PM
Daniel Wohl from New Haven

Here' re some that haven't been mentioned yet that are awesome: Ryan Brown, Tristan Perich, Kate Moore, Andrew Norman, Mayke Nas, Ted Hearne, Ryan Carter.

Apr. 02 2011 06:01 PM
Emily H from Brooklyn, NY

Definitely Robert Honstein! My two favorite pieces are 200 OK and Patter. You can check them out on his website,

Apr. 02 2011 10:03 AM
Ellen from Middletown

Matthew Welch

Mar. 31 2011 10:23 PM
basil from Brooklyn

D.J. Sparr

Mar. 31 2011 09:47 PM
Jamie Martin from Boston

Todd Tarantino

Mar. 31 2011 06:36 AM
Newman from NYC

Todd Tarantino

Patrick Soluri

Mar. 30 2011 09:24 PM
Roy from Queens, New York

[jeremiah bornfield]

[david schober]

Mar. 30 2011 08:43 PM
Nick from Chicago

* Jason Cady
* Kurt Vile
* Thomas Fec (aka Tobacco)

Mar. 30 2011 06:52 PM

#NewMusicArmy (rising) recommends the following squadron:

Nico Muhly
Sean Shepherd
Charlotte Bray
Ryan Wigglesworth
Zeena Parkins
Timo Andres
Takuma Itoh
Missy Mazzoli
Caleb Burhans
Sarah Kirkland Snider
Kjartan Sveinsson (Kjarri)
Paola Prestini

March to any or all of their beats.

Mar. 30 2011 05:07 PM
Christopher McGovern

I wish you weren't limiting it to under 40-yr-olds. That's a bit discriminatory, but, anyway:

1) Gabriel Kahane

2) Thomas Deneuville

3) Nico Muhly

Mar. 30 2011 12:30 PM
fang from Yale School of Music

Andy Akiho

Mar. 30 2011 12:12 AM
Tanru from Brisbane Australia

Sorry for the double post - forgot to add song details:

1. An Australian composer called Gordon Hughes. (PERCUSSION) You can get music at - favourite piece is "Cooper Construction" for Vibraphone and Piano (on the Revolutions CD) and Elysium for percussion ensemble - also on the Revolutions CD. There also seems to be some tracks on iTunes

2. Jonsi (from Sigur Ros)
ANYTHING from Jonsi and Alex's Riceboy Sleeps. Boy 1904 comes to mind.

3. Bear McCreary (composed all the music from the new Battlestar Galactica)

Anything from any of the soundtracks - but the season 3 or season 4 soundtracks has some of the most sublime music composed for television ever. His new wife also sings on a number of tracks.

possible "Kara Remembers" or "The Shape of Things To Come" or "Passacaglia" or "Roslin and Adama".

Top tracks are listed at

Mar. 29 2011 11:02 PM
Tanru from Brisbane, Australia

1. An Australian composer called Gordon Hughes

2. Jonsi (from Sigur Ros)

3. Bear McCreary (composed all the music from the new Battlestar Galactica)

Mar. 29 2011 10:40 PM
Megan Schubert from New York, NY

1. Jenny Olivia Johnson
2. Ronen Shai
3. Aaron Siegel

Mar. 29 2011 08:37 PM
Jerome Buwildinaday from Baltimore

Kevin Puts
Mason Bates
David T. Little

Mar. 29 2011 06:15 PM
Andy Lee from Brooklyn

- Jason Cady

-Matthew Welch/Blarvuster

-Jessica Pavone

Mar. 29 2011 06:08 PM
DYS from Rochester, NY

D. J. Sparr

Mar. 29 2011 06:05 PM
Ann from Brooklyn

1. Jason Cady
2. Matt Welch
3. Jessica Pavone
4. Aaron Siegel
5. Dave Longstreth
6. Katie Young

Mar. 29 2011 05:53 PM
matt welch from brooklyn

Aaron Siegel
Matthew Welch (yep - me)
Katie Young
Toby Driver
Alex Mincek
Judd Greenstein

Mar. 29 2011 05:17 PM
Jason Cady from Brooklyn

1. Matt Welch
2. Jason Cady
3. Jessica Pavone
4. Aaron Siegel
5. Mary Halvorson
6. Daniel Wohl
7. Shawn Onsgard
8. Nick Hallet
9. Katie Young
10. Micah Silver
11. Nat Baldwin
12. Charlie Looker

Mar. 29 2011 04:58 PM
Juilliardsux from Brooklyn

D. J. Sparr - Carnal Node, Dacca Decca Gaffa, and Superstring Serenade

David T. Little - Sweet Light Crude, Soldier Songs

Gabriel Kahane - Craigslistlieder

Mar. 29 2011 02:01 PM
Summer from Raleigh, NC

1-Jonsi Birgisson
2-Natasha Khan (Bat For Lashes)
3-Omar Rodriguez Lopez-Xenophanes, Solar Gambling, Cizana de los Amores, Frances the Mute, Se Dice Bisonte No Bufalo
4-Flying Lotus

Mar. 29 2011 01:31 PM
Thom Pease from Charlottesville, VA

Composers from whom I sense a level of consistency in quality are: Avner Dorman, Saed Haddad, and Nico Muhly.

Mar. 29 2011 01:14 PM
Galen H. Brown from NYC

I nominate myself. Lots of music at
Use as much as you like.

Mar. 28 2011 03:17 PM

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