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Pieces of Eight

Ben Larsen cello
Martha Cargo flute

Nicolas Dôthel le fils
Sonata in G major

Molly Joyce
Compare and contrast

Natalie Dietterich


qin ding (premiere)
The Fourth Return

Robert Sirota

Jet whistle

Very little has been composed for the duo combination of cello and flute. There have been incorporations of this combination into larger ensembles (more notably those of flute, cello, piano [Weber Trio]; flute, violin, viola, cello [Mozart Flute Quartets]; two flutes and cello [W.F. Bach, one of the most talented sons of J.S. Bach]; and flute, violin, and cello [Haydn’s London Trios]),
but almost nothing exists exclusively for the combination of the two outside of Brazilian composer Hector Villa-Lobos’s “Assobio a Jato” (Jet Whistle).

The composers involved in this project are an exceptional gathering of three men and five women from a variety of cultural, geographical and generational backgrounds, spanning three continents, and over four decades. They hail from the country's finest conservatories and universities, including Manhattan School of Music, Juilliard, Harvard, Yale and Oberlin, and include Fulbright recipients as well as winners of a diverse array of international awards. Their works have been performed by major symphony orchestras across the globe, in addition to groups including the Chiara, American, Ethel and Blair string quartets, Windscape Ensemble, and Decoda.

Juan Pablo Contreras
Molly Joyce
Natalie Dietterich
Paolo Marchettini
Qin Ding
Reena Esmail
Robert Sirota
Whitney George

The Pieces of Eight project is still seeking funding, contact Ben Larsen at to support this important commission.

Martha Cargo
Hailed by the New York Times as "excellent" and praised for her "milky" tone by I Care if You Listen, New York-based flutist, Martha Cargo, is committed to the integration of experimental music into various media, be it contemporary art, theater or dance. Equally at home as soloist and chamber musician, Ms. Cargo performs actively with Ghost Ensemble, Glass Farm, and Tenth Intervention and has collaborated with OnSite NYC, Erick Hawkins Dance Company and Synthesis Aesthetics Project, with whom she completed a residency at The Field in 2012. She is a recent addition to Whitney George's project The Curiosity Cabinet and has performed with Ensemble sans maître, neoLIT and Tempus Continuum. Ms. Cargo is dedicated to collaborating with young composers. Over the last few years, she has commissioned and premiered solo works by Jonah Rosenberg, Yangzhi Ma, Anne Goldberg, and Mike Perdue, as well as numerous chamber works. She recently embarked upon a commissioning project with cellist Ben Larsen. Last year, she performed as part of the Beijing Modern Music Festival, and this season will play at Symphony Space, Harford College, Concerts on the Slope, and will tour to Switzerland with Glass Farm.

A graduate of Oberlin College's double-degree program in Flute and Chemistry, she completed her Masters in Music at SUNY-Purchase and continued her studies in the Contemporary Program at Manhattan School of Music. Martha's primary instructors include Michel Debost, Catherine Cantin (Paris), and Tara Helen O'Connor. She currently works as Assistant to the Music Director at the Americas Society on Park Avenue in Manhattan and as Social Media Coordinator for I CARE IF YOU LISTEN.


Cellist Benjamin Larsen made his solo debut in 1999 at the Merryall Center for the Arts, where critic Frank Merkling called him “remarkably gifted”, with “a charming, warm tone”.  He has performed solo and chamber performances around the U.S., in Europe and Asia and currently plays with chamber ensembles in the New York City area. As freelance cellist, he has performed with many diverse ensembles, accompanying the musical “Time Between Us” in the New York Musical Theater Festival and appearing with the band The Left Banke. He is on the faculty of Zen Music School, the Florentine School, the Music School of Westchester, and maintains a private studio. He is also the founder and Artistic Director of the chamber music series Concerts on the Slope.

Mr. Larsen has performed at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Quartet Program, Music@Menlo, and Pacific Music Festival. His coaches include members of the Emerson, Tokyo, American and Orion string quartets, as well as Robert Mann, Nicholas Mann, Peter Frankl, Andre Michel Schub, Daniel Epstein, Sylvia Rosenberg and others.  His primary teachers were Eric Dahlin, David Finckel, Julia Lichten and Clive Greensmith. As an orchestral musician he has performed with the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, Ensemble 212, the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra and the Union City Philharmonic.  Mr. Larsen holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Manhattan School of Music, where he was the recipient of the Hans and Klara Bauer Scholarship and the 2011 Pablo Casals Award.  


Juan Pablo Contreras (b. 1987 in Guadalajara, Mexico) is “one of the most prominent young composers of Latin America” (Milenio). His music has been performed by the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra, the State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra, the Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra, the Salta Symphony Orchestra, and the Cordoba Symphony Orchestra.

Contreras has won awards and grants including the BMI William Schuman Prize, the Pedro Sarquís Merrewe National Arts Award, the Arturo Márquez Composition Contest, the Brian M. Israel Prize, the Dutch Harp Composition Contest, the EtM Con Edison Composers’ Residency, the Nicolas Flagello Award, and the Mexican En-

dowment for the Arts and Culture Young Artist Fellowship. He has served as composer-in-residence at the Turtle Bay Music School and the Concerts on the Slope chamber music series in New York. Contreras hold degrees in composition from the Manhattan School of Music (M.M.) and the California Institute of the Arts (B.F.A.). His music has been recorded on Epsa Music and Albany Records. For more information, visit

Natalie Dietterich is an American composer from Harleysville, Pennsylvania. Her music has been performed by wild Up as part of the LA Philharmonic’s National Composers Intensive, at the So Percussion Summer Institute (Princeton, New Jersey), the 21st Annual Young Composers Meeting (Apeldoorn, the Netherlands), the highSCORE Festival (Pavia, Italy), the Charlotte New Music Festival (North Carolina), Spectrum (New York), and was recently featured on Q2 Music (WQXR, New York). She is a winner of two Philadelphia Composers’ Ink call for scores: “Airs of Other Planets” (2014) and “Songs of Metamorphosis” (2014).

Natalie is currently an M.M. candidate at the Yale School of Music, studying with David Lang. She holds a dual degree in violin performance and composition from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where she ran the NOW Music Society new music concert series, coordinated Danza Symbiotica, a dance and composer collaboration, and was a member of the West Chester Laptop Ensemble. Her previous composition teachers include Christopher Theofanidis, Robert Maggio, Larry Nelson, Mark Rimple, Adam Silverman, and Van Stiefel. 

Indian-American composer Reena Esmail enjoys working in both the Western and Hindustani (North Indian) classical music idioms. Esmail holds a bachelor’s degree in composition from the Juilliard School, and a master’s degree from the Yale School of

Music. She has won numerous awards, including the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (with forthcoming publication of a work by C. F. Peters) and two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. Esmail was a recipient of a Fulbright-Nehru grant for the 2011-2012 academic year and studied Hindustani vocal music in New Delhi, India. She was selected as a 2011 INK Fellow to speak about her work at the INK Conference (in association with TED) in Jaipur, with additional speaking engagements in Chennai, Delhi and Goa. 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 recent film work includes scores for Kali Juger Kumbh, a Bengali film by Ashish Avikunthak and Radha, by Rupeshi Shah. Esmail currently lives in Los Angeles, California.

Molly Joyce is a composer originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her work has been described as written to “superb effect” (The Wire) in an “emotionally appealing twenty-first century style” (Fanfare Magazine), and “vibrant, inventive music that communicates straight from the heart” (Prufrock’s Dilemma). Her works have been commissioned and/or performed by several distinguished ensembles such as the New World Symphony, New York Youth Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the New Juilliard, Decoda, and Contemporaneous ensembles, and has been performed on the Bang on a Can Marathon.

As a performer, Molly often performs on her vintage Magnus electric chord organ. Also an active participant in other aspects of the music industry, Molly is currently the Digital Content Manager for New Amsterdam Presents/Records and serves as an assistant to singer/songwriter Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond. Molly has studied at The Juilliard School, the Koninklijk Conservatorium, and the Yale School of Music. For more information, please visit


Composer and clarinetist, Paolo Marchettini (1974) is a native of Rome, Italy. With a wide catalogue of works including orchestral, choral, vocal and chamber music, his music has been commissioned and performed by an array of international festivals including the Biennale di Venezia, PlayIt! Festival, Festival Berio, Nuova Consonanza, Vilecroze, and Baki Contempo Festivali. In 2005 he was a prizewinner in the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition for his Violin Concerto, while his piece Mercy for orchestra won the 2012 PlayIt! Festival prize as best symphonic piece of the year. His music has been performed by such orchestras and ensembles as the Orchestra Regionale Toscana, the Orchestra di Santa Cecilia, the Sofia Radio Symphony Orchestra, and many others. He holds a doctorate in composition from the Manhattan School of Music. He studied composition, choral music, choral conducting, and clarinet at the Conservatorio and Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in his native Rome, and graduated with honors from Tor Vergata University in Rome with a degree in Arts, Music and Show Disciplines. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Composition at the Berklee College of Music (Boston), and also teaches in the Theory Department at the Manhattan School of Music.

Over four decades, composer Robert Sirota has developed a distinctive voice, clearly discernible in all of his work – whether symphonic, choral, stage, or chamber music. The New York Times has described his style as, “fashioned with the clean, angular melodies, tart harmonies, lively syncopations and punchy accents of American Neo-Classicism,” and writes, “Thick, astringent chromatic harmonies come in tightly bound chords to create nervous sonorities. Yet the textures are always lucid; details come through.” Sirota’s works have been performed by orchestras across the US and Europe, ensembles such as Sequitur; Chameleon Arts; Dinosaur Annex; the Chiara, American, Ethel, and Blair String Quartets; the Peabody and Webster Trios; and at music festivals such as Tanglewood and Aspen. His liturgical works include three major commissions for the American Guild of Organists. Sirota has received composer grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, United States Information Agency, National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, and the American Music Center. A native New Yorker, Sirota received his music education at Juilliard, Oberlin, and Harvard. For more information, visit

Whitney George is a composer and conductor who specializes in the use of mixed media to blur the distinctions between concert performance, installation art, and theater. Utilizing a wide variety of material including literary texts, silent film, stock footage, and visual arts, George’s compositions are characterized by an immersive theatricality that thrives on collaboration in all phases of the creative process. Her affinity for the macabre, the fantastic, and the bizarre frequently gives rise to musical programs that evoke the traditions of phantasmagoria and melodrama, challenging musicians to experiment liberally with their stage personae, and audiences to widen the scope of their attention. George holds an undergraduate degree from the California Institute of the Arts and a master’s degree from the Brooklyn College Conservatory, and is currently pursuing her DMA in composition at the CUNY Graduate Center, where she has studied with David Del Tredici, David Olan, Bruce Saylor, and Tania Leon. For more information, visit .

Composer and pianist Qin Ding, born and raised in Shanghai, China, is actively involved in the New York City new music scene. In 2011, her orchestral piece “Ritual” was premiered in a joint concert with two other young composers at the Avery Fisher Hall by the New York Philharmonic. When she was attending Manhattan School of Music as a first year graduate student in 2013, she was selected as the winner of the annual student competition by Windscape Ensemble, whom commissioned and premiered a woodwind quintet in the following spring. Ding’s music has also been heard at other renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall, where her arrangement of Bach’s recicar a 6 for string ensemble was premiered by Shatter-glass Ensemble. Ms.Ding also contributes her talent as a Teaching Artist Associate in the “Young Composer Program” in the Philharmonic’s Education Department. A President Scholarship recipient throughout her six years of Bachelor’s and Master’s study, Ms. Ding graduat ed as a Janet D. Schenck awardee from Manhattan School of Music in 2015, where her mentors include Nils Vigeland and Reiko Fueting. She is currently a student of Jason Eckhardt at Graduate Center of City University of New York, where she is pursuing a PhD with Gradate Center fellowship.




Earlier Event: January 14
Mikhail Kopelman & Anna Gourfinkel
Later Event: April 22
Damir Imamovic