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2019-20 Call for Scores Winners

Nicholas Fagnilli

Nicholas Fagnili is a composer, synthesist, and music historian based in Pittsburgh, PA. Born in Wilmington, Delaware, Nicholas received his B.Mus. in Composition from Ithaca College, taking lessons with Dana Wilson, Jorge Grossman, Louise Mygatt, and Evis Sammoutis. He also studied piano with Greg DeTurck, Dmitri Novgorodsky, and Diane Birr; and harpsichord with Jean Clay Radice and Mary Holzhauer.

At Ithaca College, Nicholas recieved the 2019 Louis Smadbeck Prize for his trio for clarinet, piano and cello Naphtha. He also recieved the Best Music award from the 2019 Ithac Student Film Festival. Nicholas also focused his Music History research on Third Stream music, studying with Dr. Sara Haefeli to present a new historical interpretation of the genre.

As a composer, Nicholas has explored various notational methods, from strictly notated to freely improvsied, and across a variety of styles. He has composed film scores, music for television, news, and commercials, and also has experience as a jazz session musician and a teacher of piano, music history, and improvisation.


As a performer, Nicholas enjoys playing and improvising with small ensembles with his cherished Korg Minilogue Synthesizer, Stacy. He is an advocate community-based music making and in-depth collaborations that yield a multitude of possibilities.

Hannah Ishizaki

Hannah Ishizaki (b.2000) of Pittsburgh PA, is the youngest female composer ever to have a world premiere with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO). Her composition City of Bridges was played by the PSO at a Fiddlesticks concert in February 2017. The Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra (PYSO) also played City of Bridges in 2017, once at Heinz Hall in May and three times during their tour of Spain in June 2017.

In February 2018, Hannah was named an Emerging Composer in the Tribeca New Music’s Young Composer Competition Division II for Prism, which was commissioned by Kamraton and premiered by the group on October 15, 2017. In 2016 and 2017, Hannah was also named an Emerging Composer in the Tribeca New Music’s Young Composer Competition Division II for her chamber works: Chronicles, and The Hypothetical Machine.


Hannah is also a violinist and an aspiring conductor. She was selected as a Solo Winner in the Pittsburgh Concert Society’s (PCS) Young Artist Competition and performed at the Young Artist Winner Recital on March 18, 2018. Since the 2016-2017 season, she has been a co-concertmaster of PYSO, which she has performed with since 2013. Hannah won the PYSO 2015-16 Conducting Competition judged by Maestro Leonard Slatkin. She is both the youngest person and the only female to win that competition since it began.

Hannah is currently in the studios of Dr. Robert Beaser for composition and Areta Zhulla and Ronald Copes for violin at the Juilliard School. Her teachers have included Dr. David Ludwig and Chris Massa for composition and Hong Guang Jia of the PSO for violin. She also studied composition at the European American Musical Alliance in 2019, the Yellow Barn Young Artist Program in 2018 and 2019, the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival during the summer of 2017, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute in 2016, and at the Curtis Summerfest in 2014 and 2015.

Alex Marthaler

Alex Marthaler is a composer, pianist, and educator based in Pittsburgh, PA. His own compositions have been praised for their “color and translucency,” and are frequently inspired by physical spaces: both natural and man-made structures and phenomenon. Compositions often combine harmonic and rhythmic elements from music around the world, a result of his study of tabla (an Indian classical drum) with renowned player Samir Chatterjee and his own performances of Eastern European folk music with the University of Pittsburgh Carpathian Ensemble. Recent premieres include his piece for wind ensemble “Turning in Air,” his orchestral piece “Concrete Cathedrals,” and incidental music for the play “Eurydice.”

In February 2017, he collaborated with choreographer Rubén Graciani on “Tethers, Capsules, and Collisions,” a new piece that premiered at Point Park University. In addition to composing, he is a pianist for dance classes and private lessons at Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama and Point Park University, and also serves as an administrative assistant for several arts non-profits. He is on faculty at the Carnegie Mellon University Prep-School where he teaches group music classes to children that combine composition, improvisation, and storytelling. After completing his BA at West Chester University, Alex Marthaler studied with Nancy Galbraith at Carnegie Mellon University where he graduated in 2016 (MA).

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