We at The Box Is Empty believe in the work of emerging artists.  We love their energy and vitality, and we see in them glimpses of the future of our art.  Below are listed such artists, those you’ll see promoted on this site, some of those who shape sound in new ways.  It is not a comprehensive list, but these are artists who have come into The Box Is Empty’s community one way or another.  They are artists we follow and artists we respect. 

Please, as you are browsing, follow the links to the artist’s own websites.  They are full of information, sound, video, and pictures that will help you get to know these performers, composers, ensembles, and their music.  Please read a little here and GO LISTEN!

If you are aware of any artist who should be brought to our attention, please feel free to contact us.   


Byron Au Young 


Byron Au Yong composes songs of dislocation scored for voices with Asian, European & handmade instruments. Dedicated to collaboration + innovation, projects cross disciplines with works for chamber ensembles, media, music-theatre, orchestra, performance art & taiko.



Amanda DeBoer Bartlett 


Soprano Amanda DeBoer has been performing as a soloist and ensemble member with Ensemble dal nienteColor Field Esemble, and Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble on national and international stages. As a musical innovator and contemporary music specialist, Ms. DeBoer spends her time collaborating with and commissioning composers, poets, choreographers, and directors to develop large-scale projects including operas, musicals, dance and video collaborations, and large chamber works. She is known for her adventurous performances and fearless approach to challenging repertoire. 


Nat Evans


Seattle Composer Nat Evans writes concert music for various mixed chamber ensembles, distinctive electro-acoustic music, and site-specific music events that fuse nature, community and subjectivity of experience. His music is regularly performed across the United States and has also been performed in Europe, South America, Australia and China. Evans has received numerous commissions including the Seattle Percussion Collective, the Harrison Center for the Arts, ODEONQUARTET, Seattle Pacific University Men’s Choir and Percussion Ensemble, Beta Test Ensemble, The Box Is Empty, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art, among others. His music has been featured on a number of radio stations in the United States, as well as BBC3, and in the 2011 Music Issue of The Believer. He studied music at Butler University with Michael Schelle and Frank Felice.


Scott Gendel


Scott works as a freelance composer and arranger, as well as a freelance vocal coach and accompanist for local singers and regional opera companies around the country. In May of 2005, Scott received his DMA in composition from UW-Madison, with a minor in opera accompanying and vocal coaching. While he was working on that degree, he held the position of Associate Lecturer in composition at the UW, where he designed and taught undergraduate composition courses, as well as working with individual students.  In 2006, Scott won first prize in the ASCAP / Lotte Lehmann Foundation Song Cycle Competition. 


Hotel Elefant 

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Formed in 2011 by composers Leaha Maria Villarreal and Mary Kouyoumdjian, Hotel Elefant ambitiously presents new music through commissions, performances, and moderated discussions between composers, performers, and audiences. Committed to modern sounds and sonic explorations, this vibrant ensemble brings a keen awareness of today’s music to the general public and highlights those living composers who are blurring lines, pushing boundaries, and fostering creativity.



Jerry Hui 


Jerry (Chiwei) Hui has written a wide variety of music that ranges from large-scale orchestral music to light-hearted choral text settings. His music has been performed in festivals such as the Music Today Festival in Eugene, Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium, and Society of Composers conferences (regional and national). His choral piece Of Water & Love was awarded the 2008 Robert Helps Prize. His orchestral compositions have won the University of Wisconsin-Madison Concerto Competition twice. Erythros: Four Variations in Red, his first half-evening multimedia work, was premiered in March 2007 at the University of Oregon, funded partially by the University of Oregon Graduate Research Award.


Lauren Husting


Lauren Husting is steadily becoming a recognized presence on the Minneapolis freelance scene.  She has played with the Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis, Minneapolis Trombone Choir, the Sheldon Theater Brass Band, and the Minnesota Symphonic Winds.  She also serves on the sub lists for the Mankato Symphony Orchestra and the Rochester Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.


Leah Kardos 


I am a composer and producer working in Bedford, England, making eclectic music that often combines live instrumental performance with technology, location recordings and found sounds. I’m fascinated by the communicative power of timbre, the manipulations of psychoacoustic phenomena, memory and pattern recognition, and the magical inexpressible ways in which music connects to life. I’m a technology geek and ardent music enthusiast and I enjoy being creative in different contexts. I’m currently signed with London-based label Bigo & Twigetti, and I also play synth and piano for Lonesound. I don’t believe in genre boundaries.


Ryan Keebaugh


Ryan Keebaugh is a composer, conductor, and sound artist residing in Virginia.  Ryan’s work in recent years has explored a fusion of natural sonic environments with spectral and monochromatic textures influenced by his interests in the environment, visual art, and spirituality. His work is saturated by themes of stillness, drone, atmosphere, minimalism, and nature.



Lindsay Kesselman  


Lindsay Kesselman is a new music soprano who is quickly becoming known for her “exquisite” singing (Pittsburgh Tribune), her “captivating” performances (Sequezna21), and her exemplary musicianship.  She passionately advocates for contemporary music in America, actively commissioning and collaborating with a diverse array of composers.



Amy Beth Kirsten 


Amy Beth Kirsten moved from the Midwest to Baltimore in 2004 to attend Peabody Conservatory. Previously a singer-songwriter in Chicago, she played at many of the cities smallest, but mightiest, nightclubs. Since then Ms. Kirsten has written music for orchestra, chamber ensemble, opera, and for solo instruments. Color, memory, voice, words, and breath are fascinations intrinsic to her musical language. She has received awards and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Fromm Foundation, The MAP Fund, ASCAP, and from the state of Connecticut.



Mary Kouyoumdjian


Mary Kouyoumdjian is dedicated to composing music that pushes the boundaries of expectation and musical tradition. As a first generation Armenian-American and having come from a family directly affected by the Lebanese Civil War and Armenian Genocide, she uses a sonic pallet that draws on her heritage, interest in folk music, and background in experimental composition to progressively blend the old with the new.



Maria Mannisto 


Finnish-American soprano Maria Mannisto has an extensive performing history as an opera singer, concert soloist, pianist, and organist. She received her M.M. in voice performance from the University of Washington, studying under renowned soprano Jane Eaglen. Her “lovely and pure soprano”, impeccable pitch, and skill at learning difficult works have made Maria a sought-after performer of new music in the Seattle area.



Kate Maroney 


Mezzo-soprano Kate Maroney is recognized for her rich and expressive tone, clear articulation, and intelligent musicianship. After completing her doctorate at the Eastman School of Music in 2010, she moved to New York City, where she now enjoys a dynamic performance schedule in opera, early music, and oratorio, and is especially sought after to perform chamber music and new works by contemporary composers.



New Music Everywhere 


New Music Everywhere (NEW MUSE) is Madison, WI’s only professional music ensemble specializing in the performance of new works in unconventional venues. The ensemble formed in August 2010 through generous support from the College Music Society Yamaha In-Residence Fellowship and the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission.



Parnassus Project 


Based in the Greater Seattle area, Parnassus Project seeks to bring chamber music to a cafe culture. Part concert and part social gathering, our events offer top-notch performances, food, and drink in intimate, relaxed venues and encourage interaction among musicians and audience members. Our goals:

  • To feature emerging local professionals playing music they love.
  • To provide audiences with a fresh take on the classical concert experience.
  • To create community-building experiences through partnerships with local businesses and collaborations across musical/artistic genres.


 People Inside Electronics 


Founded by pianist Aron Kallay and composer Isaac Schankler, People Inside Electronics (PIE) has been presenting concerts in the Los Angeles area since 2009. PIE showcases ambitious and innovative uses of electronics in concert music, as well as classic works by electronic music’s early pioneers.



Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble 


With the precision of modern chamber musicians and the flexibility of classically trained singers, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble specializes in experimental repertoire that is changing the paradigm of contemporary vocal music.  Recently described as “a new force of vocal excellence and innovation” by The Brooklyn Rail, Quince continually pushes the boundaries of traditional vocal ensemble literature. As dedicated advocates of new music, Quince regularly commissions new works, providing a wider exposure for the music of living composers, and supports the efforts of concert series and universities who strive to incorporate contemporary repertoire into their programming.


Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra


SMCO was founded in 2009 by a group of young professionals in search of a more intense, intimate music-making experience.  This group of musicians has grown to include those from all over Seattle and neighboring areas of Tacoma and Bellevue, while maintaining a vibrant and energetic performance character.  Members of the ensemble have each earned a wide variety of accolades in their own right, including competition wins and performances with other leading ensembles around the world.  The musicians of SMCO are committed to giving exciting performances that bring a fresh look to the masterpieces of the baroque, classical, romantic, and modern eras, while discovering new masterworks as well.


Seattle Modern Orchestra 


Led by Co-Artistic Directors Julia Tai and Jeremy Jolley, the Seattle Modern Orchestra is dedicated to presenting musical masterpieces of the 20th and 21st centuries in both traditional and innovative, unconventional venues. The Orchestra’s mission is to provide Seattle audiences with live performances of the best in contemporary chamber and orchestral music, music seldom if ever performed in Seattle until now. The Seattle Modern Orchestra is also committed to developing radio talks, lectures, and other forms of outreach in an accessible and inviting format, all designed to expand the listener’s appreciation and awareness of the music of today.


Evan Smith 


A rising saxophonist, Evan Smith has emerged as a dynamic performer involved in numerous different musical genres. Holding degrees from the University of Northern Iowa and James Madison University, Evan is currently pursuing his DMA at the University of Washington in Seattle. His primary teachers include Michael Brockman, David Pope, Chris Merz, Tom Barry, and Tim McAllister. In 2012, Evan traveled to St. Andrews, Scotland, where he premiered two new works for alto saxophone and piano at the 16th World Saxophone Congress.


John Teske

3839561_300John Teske is a composer, double bassist and improviser based in Seattle, WA. John composes for acoustic instruments and expands the possibilities of acoustic sounds through extended techniques and electroacoustic means. He received his BM in Music Composition from the University of Washington where he studied with Joël-François Durand, Juan Pampin, and Josh Parmenter. John was recently awarded a grant from the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs to perform new works for chamber orchestra. 


Leaha Maria Villarreal 


Blending literature and visual art with experimental composition, LEAHA MARIA VILLARREAL brings a contemporary focus to classical music. Fascinated by themes of home, loss, and memory, her works side-step boundaries and defy convention.



Marc Yeats 


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