Member Bios

  • Erin Barnes

    Erin Barnes is a Grammy Award-winning percussionist based in Los Angeles. She holds a BFA in Percussion Performance from California Institute of the Arts, and is a passionate, active music educator. Ms. Barnes has taught percussion, choir, recorder, strings, and musicianship at schools in the Los Angeles area for over 20 years and also teaches West African music and dance at California State Summer School for the Arts. She has recorded for Mode Records and Innova, among other labels, and notable performances include concerts at REDCAT (Los Angeles), Davies Hall (San Francisco), Edinburgh Festival, and Territoria Festival (Moscow). She spends her spare time playing ragtime xylophone, learning Swedish fiddle tunes, teaching elderly people yoga, and hiking mountains near and far.
  • Alison Bjorkedal

    Hailed by the LA Times as an "excellent player", "enterprising young harpist", and praised for her “alluring harp accompaniments”, Alison Bjorkedal is a passionate ambassador for the harp, with a focus on new music, and is fascinated with the music of Harry Partch. Notable chamber music performances include world premieres of music by William Kraft, Anne LeBaron, Wadada Leo Smith and James Tenney. Recordings include "Complete Chamber Music of Carlos Chávez”, and "Harrison: Works for harp, guitar and percussion".  Alison has performed with artists including Sia, Madonna, Nate Ruess, and Kid Cudi, as well as recording for the motion picture and television industry. She appeared onscreen with Andrea Bocelli and the Pentatonix. She has performed with the San Diego Symphony, Pasadena Symphony/Pops Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony, Long Beach Opera and new music ensemble wildUP.  Alison studied music at University of Oregon (BM) and University of Southern California (MM, DMA). She is harp faculty at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and Pasadena City College, where she also teaches music appreciation.
  • Matt Cook

    Matt Cook is a GRAMMY® Award winning percussionist based in Los Angeles, CA. He is known for his work with the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, the experimental classical ensemble WildUP, and microtonal band PARTCH. He is also involved in projects ranging from folk rock music to jazz and international ensembles. Matt’s work is often heard on studio and film recordings but is also seen in performance at major concert halls and venues across the country. As an educator, Matt has been a featured clinician at several universities including Stanford, The San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the University of Southern California. He also presents at events like the Percussive Arts Society’s International Convention and the American Composers Jazz Institute. He has experience consulting and designing curriculum for both university students and k-12 programs with success securing them scholarships to major conservatories across the country. Matt currently leads the percussion department at Ventura and Fullerton Colleges. He is a proud Yamaha Performing Artist and endorses Black Swamp Percussion, Remo, Innovative Percussion, Roland, and Sabian Cymbals. More information is available at www.matthewhcook.com
  • Vicki Ray

    Described as “phenomenal and fearless” Vicki Ray is a pianist, improviser and composer. She has commissioned and premiered countless new works by today’s leading composers. Ray is a founding member of Piano Spheres and head of keyboard studies at the California Institute of the Arts where she was named the first recipient of the Hal Blaine Chair in Musical Performance. She has appeared on numerous international festivals and is a regular member of the faculty at the Bang On a Can Summer Festival at MASS MoCA. Ray has been featured on the Los Angeles Philharmonic Green Umbrella Series as soloist and collaborative artist. Her widely varied performing and recording career covers the gamut of new and old music: from Boulez to Reich, Wadada Leo Smith to Beethoven. Notable recordings include the first Canadian disc of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with the Blue Rider Ensemble, the premiere recordings of Steve Reich’s You Are (Variations) and the Daniel Variations with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the first recording of John Cage’s Europeras 3 and 4. Her recording of Cage’s The Ten Thousand Things on Microfest Records received a 2013 Grammy nomination. Recent recordings include the premiere recording of Andrew Norman’s Sonnets with Eighth Blackbird’s Nick Photinos on the New Amsterdam label and YAR – a duo recording on the Orenda label with slide guitarist Scot Ray. Her recent recording of Daniel Lentz’s River of 1000 Streams – was named by Alex Ross in the New Yorker as one of the top 20 recordings of 2017.
  • John Schneider

    John Schneider is the Grammy winning guitarist, composer, author, and broadcaster whose weekly television and radio programs have brought the sound of the guitar into millions of homes. He holds a Ph.D. in Physics and Music from University College Cardiff (U.K.), music degrees from the University of California, the Royal College of Music (London), and is President Emeritus of the Guitar Foundation of America. A specialist in contemporary music, Schneider’s The Contemporary Guitar has become the standard text in the field. Called “A delight” by the New York Times and a “Microtonalist maven” by the Wall Street Journal, Fanfare declared, “Schneider creates elegant dynamic levels and layers on his solo guitar, and he always projects the poetry of the music.” He has performed in Europe, Japan, Vietnam, China, throughout North America, and been featured by New Music America, the DaCamera Society, Southwest Chamber Music, New American Music Festival, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Other Minds, and the BBC. He is the founding artistic director of MicroFest, PARTCH, MicroFest Records, and can be heard weekly on Pacifica Radio’s The Global Village (www.kpfk.org). His recordings can be found on Bridge, Cambria, Etcetera, Innova, MicroFest, Mode, New Albion, and Pitch record labels. (www.JohnSchneider.LA).
  • Nick Terry

    Nick Terry is a percussionist and educator specializing in contemporary classical chamber music. Based in Los Angeles, since 2005 his multi-faceted creative output has received critical acclaim from the Recording Academy (winner in 57 th Grammy Awards, official nominee in 55 th Grammy Awards), Percussive Arts Society (invited performer 2013, 2016 – 2018 International Conventions), iTunes (2014 Best of Classical Music), and National Public Radio (2017’s Top 10 Classical Albums). As a percussionist devoted to creating new repertoire for that genre, his music has been called “mesmerizing, atmospheric, and supremely melodic” by the New York Times, and “representing the next generation in the evolution of modern percussion” by Pierre Boulez. Nick is a five-year alumnus of the Lucerne Festival Academy, where he apprenticed alongside members of Ensemble Intercontemporain, Pierre Boulez, Peter Eötvös, and Fritz Hauser. Terry received degrees in music performance from the University of Southern California, the California Institute of the Arts, and Eastern Illinois University. Currently, he serves as Director of Percussion Studies and Associate Professor at Chapman University’s Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music.
  • T.J. Troy

    Grammy® Award-winning artist T.J. Troy combines an eclectic knowledge of percussion from around the world with his innate musicality to create a distinct and powerful voice in the world of contemporary percussion. He has appeared at some of the most prestigious music festivals worldwide, including South by Southwest (SXSW), National Folk Festival, Sounds of Arabia Festival, the Arab Music Conference, Jerash Festival of Arts, and the Territoria Festival. For 16 years, he was Principal Percussionist for Arabic orchestra MESTO, performing throughout the Middle East; he has appeared with such artists as Pete Townshend, Billy Idol, Alfie Boe, Ustad Aashish Khan, Ken Zuckerman, Mamak Khadem, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Sahba Motallebi, Emil Richards, and Cirque du Soleil. T.J. was a featured performer/clinician at PASIC 2016, and is a regular guest at the Seattle World Rhythm Festival, as well as presenting workshops and masterclasses throughout the United States, Oman, and China. His genre-breaking ensemble Run Downhill combines worlds of music, graphic novel art and narrative, and mixed-media live performance. He has released 5 albums of music, 4 comic books, and hours of interactive motion comic music video. His revolutionary work "SPURS #1" was selected for competition at the 2015 Seattle Transmedia and Independent Film Festival. He was awarded the Gaia Award from the Moondance International Film Festival for his score to Den and Nikka Serras’ Seven Swans in 2005.
  • Alex Wand

    Alex Wand is a Grammy Award-winning musician and composer who performs as a solo artist and in bands Desert Magic and the PARTCH Ensemble, performing at venues and festivals from California to Tibet such as REDCAT, the Bootleg Theater, and the Xinghai International Poetry Festival. He studied composition at the University of Michigan and at CalArts with composers Bright Sheng, Michael Fink, Ulrich Krieger, and Wolfgang von Schweinitz. His music has been described as having “melody lines that can circle through one’s head for days after listening, begging to be rewound and re-listened and timbres and layers that are supremely joyful and poignant and at times absolutely laid bare in their sincerity” (New Classic LA). His compositions combine interests in alternate tunings, poetry, storytelling, folk, and world music. In 2017, MicroFest Records released his chamber music song cycle, The Great Hunt. Alex composed music for KCET’s Lost LA documentary television series and The Harvest Run, a full-length documentary about wheat and corn harvesters in the Midwest. He has worked extensively with choreographer Jay Carlon on ways of amplifying dance movement, most recently at REDCAT’s NOW Festival in 2018. In the fall of 2018, Alex completed a 2,000 mile bicycle ride that followed migratory paths of the monarch butterfly from Los Angeles to Michoacan, Mexico. Throughout the trip, he posted annotated videos each day on his blog, Camino de las Monarcas. The videos contain ecological discoveries, bike adventure tales, field recordings, and original music, and investigate non-anthropocentric outlooks on ecology.