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Photo by Nataliya Gorbovskaya, 2017

Nimrod Borenstein, Composer

With many world premieres, scores of performances and multiple recordings of his music, British French Israeli composer Nimrod Borenstein is much in demand. His work has been championed by Vladimir Ashkenazy, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Roberto Prosseda, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, the Oxford Philharmonic, and many others.

The son of a renowned artist, Nimrod's first musical experience came as a child on holiday in France, when on a family walk through a forest they came across an outdoors concert. "I just stopped and refused to move until the concert was finished two hours later. And I told my parents then and there that I wanted to learn violin and be a musician," recalls Borenstein. By age eight he developed a twelve-tone system. "I was very pleased with myself, until someone told me that someone called Schoenberg had got there first," laughs Borenstein.

In 1984 he won the competition of the Cziffra. He moved to London in 1986, to pursue his studies as a violinist with Itzhak Rashkovsky at the Royal College of Music. He was then awarded the highest scholarship from the Leverhulme Trust to study composition at the Royal Academy of Music (where he is now an Associate).

Every composer needs artists to perform their music. One of the most important for Borenstein has been Vladimir Ashkenazy, who took an interest early on. A first opportunity to work together arose when Ashkenazy conducted the Philharmonia Orchestra for a performance of The Big Bang and Creation of the Universe to great acclaim. This was quickly followed by a Philharmonia premiere, again with Ashkenazy, If you will it, it is no dream. The collaboration has continued, culminating in 2017 with the release on the Chandos label of a major album conducted by Ashkenazy, entirely devoted to Borenstein's music.

Borenstein's music continues to rise in popularity, with his Suspended opus 69 becoming an international success with more than 100 performances. Commissioned by Sean Gandini and Gandini Juggling for their ballet for jugglers and dancers 4 x 4 Ephemeral Architectures. The piece continues to tour the world. The Arts Desk wrote, "Borenstein's transparent, athletic string writing is stunningly realized…glorious, singing lines…Borenstein's sense of fun is infectious".

Nimrod's catalogue currently numbers more than seventy works including ballet, concertos, orchestral and chamber music as well as vocal and solo instrumental pieces.


Elaine Erickson, Composer

Elaine Erickson was born in Des Moines, Iowa. She has a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from Wheaton College (Illinois) and a Master of Music degree in Music Composition from Drake University.

She has won numerous awards, fellowships and residencies, including from the Ford Foundation (Contemporary Music Project), Meet the Composer, the Charles Ives Center (4 times), the National League of American Pen Women (including the $1000 Music Composition Award), the Pyle Commission Award from the Iowa Composers Forum, among others.

She has done additional study in composition at the University of Iowa and at Peabody Conservatory (Baltimore, Maryland). She has composed 5 operas, 3 of which were performed at Peabody. She traveled to Iowa schools as an artist for Very Special Arts Iowa. She is a published poet


Tyler Bainter, DMCO Associate Conductor

Tyler is currently finishing his Junior year at Iowa State University in the Music Education Program. He is also enrolled at Shalom Bible College and Seminary in their Theology program.

Tyler started his musical journey on the flute, and now he also plays the double bass. Tyler has an interest in educational research with an emphasis in string education. He developed a desire to pursue a career in Orchestral Conducting a year before being accepted into ISU and plans to continue his education in that field and pursue both masters and doctoral degrees.

Tyler was accepted into Iowa State University's flute studio and Music Education program and began to study under Dr. Sonja Giles. Tyler has performed in various ensembles at Iowa State including the ISU Flute Ensemble, the Amado Wind Quintet, the Amado Wind Trio, the Ames Children's Choir, and ISU Wind Ensemble. He is the current president of the Alpha Delta chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.


Richard Gordley, Guest Conductor

Richard Gordley has a B.S. degree in Music Education from Western Illinois University where he studied conducting with Hugo Magliocco, Henry Manfredini and Rolla Foley. Rich went on to teach band in the Illinois public schools for 13 years before beginning a vocation in computer programming while continuing his musical pursuits as an avocation.

Before moving to Des Moines he was assistant conductor of the Prairie Wind Ensemble, conducted musical theater for the River Valley Players, and was worship leader at the Eagles' Nest Christian Fellowship in Chillicothe, IL.

Rich joined DMCO in 1998 and has been principal bassoon for years. Rich conducted DMCO's performance of Handel's Messiah in December, 2016.


Angela Sass, Oboe

Angela Sass is originally from Davenport, and attended Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, where she played oboe and English horn in the wind ensemble and the Wartburg Community Symphony.

Angela graduated from Wartburg with majors in accounting and finance, and is currently a CPA and senior solution analyst at FBL Financial Group.

Angela joined the DMCO in 2001, and is also a member of the Central Iowa Wind Ensemble. She is currently the Secretary of the DMCO Board.

Angela played oboe with Deb Gordley in DMCO for 15 years, and is honored to be a part of the concert today in Deb's memory.


Francine Griffith, Piano

Francine Griffith is a musician/educator in the Des Moines area. Some of her collaborations include: staff accompanist at Drake University, private piano instructor, Kinder Choir Director at Plymouth Congregational Church, musical director and pianist/repetiteur for area theatre productions.

Ms. Griffith earned her BME from Drake, studying piano with Chiu-Ling Lin, and has taught Elementary Music in the Waukee School System.