celebration. education. advocacy




Rob deemer, institute director

Rob Deemer is a composer, conductor,educator,author, and columnist who advocates for composers of all ages and explores the role that contemporary concert music plays in today’s society. Deemer currently holds the position of Associate Professor and Head of Composition in the School of Music at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Read More…

Fredonia, NY


Dr. Penny brandt, head of development

Dr. Penny Brandt is the Artistic Director of the Women Composers Festival of Hartford, adjunct lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin, and a working mother. She is a frequent speaker at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, in the Athenaeum Arts Series at Western New England University.

Austin, TX


jamie leigh sampson, head of engagement and marketing

Jamie Leigh Sampson is a composer, bassoonist, author, teacher, and entrepreneur based in Western New York. She currently teaches music composition, theory, and entrepreneurship in the School of Music at the State University of New York at Fredonia. She is the Co-Owner of the publishing entity ADJ•ective New Music. Read more

Fredonia, NY


Allyssa Jones, Head of Accessibility & Inclusion

Allyssa Jones is an award-winning musician and educator whose career spans 25 years on stage and in the classroom. A choral educator and presenter, Jones leads sessions on creative leadership, music and literacy, and culturally responsive teaching. Her company, Jones Creative & Consulting, develops music projects that support dialogue, collaboration and innovation across communities. Read more…

New Orleans, LA


Dr. Kendra Preston Leonard, Head of Scholarship & Research

Kendra Preston Leonard is a musicologist and music theorist whose work focuses on women and music in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; and music and screen history, particularly music and adaptations of Shakespeare; and a librettist and poet. Read more…

Houston, TX


Ashley killam, head of Social Media and Special Projects

Ashley Hedlund (soon-to-be Killam) is a multi-faceted trumpet player, educator, drill designer, and advocate for underrepresented composers and musicians. Ashley has performed in a wide range of ensembles, from chamber music to large bands and orchestras, performing professionally with the Sandia Brass Quintet and the New Mexico Philharmonic. She holds a master's degree in Trumpet Performance from the University of New Mexico and a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Read more…

Boone, NC


Mariami Bekauri, Head of Data Curation & Analysis

Mariami Bekauri is a recent graduate of the Fredonia School of Music with a Master of Music in Voice Performance.  Ms. Bekauri is a frequent performer in the Western New York region and has made appearances with the Western New York Chamber Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Buffalo Opera Unlimited.

Buffalo, NY


Dr. Andrew Martin Smith, Head of Database Management

Andrew Martin Smith is a composer, clarinetist, and entrepreneur based in Western New York. Currently an Adjunct Instructor at the State University of New York at Fredonia, he is also a faculty member at the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp. In 2010 Smith cofounded ADJ•ective New Music, strives to introduce contemporary music of all varieties to new audiences through music production and publication. Read More…

Fredonia, NY


Christian Michael Folk, Master Database Builder

Christian Folk is a third year band director and low brass performer. He is the creator of the Diverse Composers of Wind Band music, which was featured in sessions at the 2018 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic and has been incorporated into this site as the Christian Michael Folk Wind Band Database.

Columbia, SC

Research Fellows


Sierra Wojtczack
Fredonia, NY


Sean Penzo
Fredonia, NY


Shawna Wolf
Bowling Green, OH


Tiv Cumberbatch
Fredonia, NY

Jessica Sisti
Schenectady, NY

Elaine Bennington
Crest Hill, IL