Erberk EryılmazDances of the Yoğurt Maker

Commissioned by Asylum Quartet (2014)

One of our first projects as a quartet was to commission our friend Erberk Eryılmaz, a composer of enthralling and passionate music. Dances of the Yoğurt Maker draws on folk songs from the Turkish town of Silifke in eight spirited movements. With titles like "I Hunt the Grouse on Flat Land," "Raw Low-Fat Cheese," and "Get Mature, My Beloved," the work showcases Erberk's sense of humor, drama, and imagination. Throughout the piece, Erberk harnesses the timbral potential of each saxophone to evoke sounds of Turkish folk instruments. 


Turkish composer, pianist, conductor Erberk Eryılmaz was born in Samsun, Turkey in 1989. He started his music education when he was three and has studied at the Samsun Conservatory, Hacettepe University - Ankara State Conservatory and at The Hartt School. He is currently pursuing his Artist Diploma in composition at Carnegie Mellon University, where he studies with Reza Vali. Turkish State Television produced a documentary based on his musical career as part of series called "The Succesful Turkish People in the United States." The Ministry of Education's required English Class Book for 7th grade elementary schools in Turkey includes a unit on Erberk Eryılmaz. His compositions, performances and recordings have received praise by Fanfare Magazine, CNN Turk, Cumhuriyet, and Hürriyet For more information, please visit Erberk's website.



LjovaThe Vjola Suite

Arrangement by Asylum Quartet (2014)

We stumbled across Ljova’s work online and immediately fell in love. His music is rhythmically and harmonically intricate and impeccably structured, yet it’s still effortlessly-danceable, exotic, and yes, even sexy (see this La Perla lingerie commercial set to Ljova's "Plume"). We started an email correspondence and within a few months, our arrangement of the Vjola Suite was born. It's based on the composer’s version for string quartet, dedicated to the Enso Quartet.

Ljova writes about the piece: 

“It is a collection of lively dances, for which the steps have not yet been choreographed, and represents my attempt to fuse the rhythms of world music with the beautiful colors of a classical ensemble, to create a new kind of dance – elegant, entertaining, and somewhat asymmetrical. While none of the rhythms are genuinely traditional, they aspire to create a new sense of balance, enjoyment, and flight.”


Hailed by The New York Times as “dizzyingly versatile… an eclectic with an ear for texture… strikingly original and soulful”, Ljova (Lev Zhurbin) was born in 1978 in Moscow, Russia. He divides his time between composing for the concert stage, contemporary dance & film, leading his own ensemble Ljova and the Kontraband, as well as a busy career as a freelance violist & musical arranger. Among recent collaborations are projects with Yo-Yo Ma, the Kronos Quartet, Gustavo Santaolalla, Osvaldo Golijov, and Alondra de la Parra. Recent commissions have included projects with the string quartet Brooklyn Rider, choreographer Aszure Barton, and filmmaker Josef Astor. Ljova is the author of more than 70 compositions for classical, jazz, and folk ensembles, as well as scores to four feature and over a dozen short films. Ljova is a graduate of The Juilliard School, where he was a pupil of Samuel Rhodes (violist of the Juilliard String Quartet).

For the latest news, downloadable mp3s and CD releases, please visit Ljova’s website at

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Ivan BožičevićPrayer Wheel / Coiling Clouds 

Grand Prize Winner, 2014 Call for Scores

Ivan’s Prayer Wheel / Coiling Clouds captivated us with its introspective material, hypnotic rhythmic layering, and soaring melodies. Ivan originally conceived Prayer Wheel / Coiling Clouds for string quartet, and we are excited to bring a new dimension to the work. 


Božičević completed studied in composition at the Belgrade Faculty of Music, and attended Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt in 1982 and 1984. He continued with organ studies at the Frankfurt Music Academy, and at Salamanca University in 1988 and 1990, specializing in early music. Until 2001 he worked at the Belgrade Faculty of Music and Academy of Arts in Novi Sad as a teacher of counterpoint, analysis and harmony. Since 2002 he has worked in Split, Croatia, as a freelance artist, and runs the jazz band SplitMinders.

Božičević's opus encompasses three symphonies, orchestral, chamber, choral and soloistic works, as well as numerous electronic compositions. He is interested in a variety of genres (early and baroque, electronic, jazz, world music) and the possibility of “cross-fertilizations“ between those genres, always aiming for the stylistic amalgamation on a deeper level.

His works have been performed in Serbia, Croatia, Sweden, Germany, France, Denmark, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Russia, Ireland, Great Britain and the USA. Recordings of his pieces have appeared on Serbian national radio and television, Swedish national radio, and Croatian national radio and television. Božičević has received composition prizes in Serbia, Croatia, Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and USA (ArtsLink Fellowship Award, Garth Newel Prize, Aliénor Award, AGO/ECS Publishing Award, Prague Philharmonic Choir Prize, John Clare Society Award). He is one of the founding members of the Splithesis ensemble for new music in Split, Croatia.

For more information, please visit Ivan's website.


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Polina Nazaykinskaya

Pavana pour Quatre

Winner, 2014 Call for Scores 

When we first heard Pavana, we were struck by its lyricism, bold colors, and meticulous construction - and all this came across in a MIDI recording! Polina originally conceived the piece for trombones, and the version for saxophone retains fanfare-like qualities. 

Since our Call for Scores Competition was anonymous, we were delighted to find out after selecting Polina's piece that she lives nearby in Connecticut. It's been a pleasure to work with her in person to bring the piece to life. 


Polina Nazaykinskaya was born in Togliatti, Russia on January 20, 1987 and has been studying music since the age of 4. After graduating with honors from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Russia with concentrations in violin and composition, Polina earned her Masters of Music Degree and Artist Diploma from the Yale School of Music. Her professors at Yale included Christopher Theofanidis and Ezra Laderman. Currently Polina is pursing her Doctorate Degree in Composition at the Graduate Center City University of New York and studying with Professor Tania León.

Over the last four years her music has been performed by the Russian National Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, the Yale Philharmonia Orchestra, the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Russia, the Omsk Philharmonic Orchestra, the St. Olaf Philharmonia, the Boston Metro Opera, among others. Polina's music has garnered numerous national and international awards and received raving reviews in the press, including the New York Times. In 2010, "Sony-Music Russia" label released a CD that featured Polina`s symphonic poem "Winter Bells".

For more information, please visit Polina's website. Over the last four years her music has been performed by the Russian National Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, the Yale Philharmonia Orchestra, the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Russia, the Omsk Philharmonic Orchestra, the St. Olaf Philharmonia, the Boston Metro Opera, among others. Polina's music has garnered numerous national and international awards and received raving reviews in the press, including the New York Times. In 2010, "Sony-Music Russia" label released a CD that featured Polina`s symphonic poem "Winter Bells".

For more information, please visit Polina's website.


Alan ThomasHomages

Winner, 2014 Call for Scores

Alan's Homage to Radiohead draws loosely on the band's track "Everything in Its Right Place," and caught our attention during the judging process of our Call for Scores. When we contacted Alan to notify him of his selection, he revealed that this work was part of a set of several Homages. We eagerly incorporated these additional pieces into our repertoire. The Homage to Elliott Smith evokes the spirit of the late American singer/songwriter, while the Homage to Django Reinhardt paints a playful portrait of the gypsy jazz guitarist. 


The guitarist and composer Alan Thomas was born in Atlanta and completed his studies at Indiana University. Moving to England in 1997, he quickly established himself as one of the UK's foremost new music soloists and ensemble players following his first-prize win at the International Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition in Holland (becoming the only guitarist ever to take the top prize).

As a composer, Alan has written extensively for the guitar as well as for other instrumental combinations. His compositions draw freely on a broad range of styles and techniques, ranging from Renaissance polyphony to Ligeti and other modern masters. Other influences include the music of Africa and the Balkans, as well as computer sound processing and algorithmic composition. From these diverse sources he has attempted to create music that is both rigorously constructed and accessible.

For more information, please visit Alan's website.

Craig Levesque

Six American Folk Songs

Winner, 2014 Call for Scores

Dr. Craig Levesque (b. 1975) is a composer, arranger, copyist and horn player based in central New Jersey. His music has been performed throughout the country, and he has been commissioned by groups throughout the Northeast.

Dr. Levesque serves as a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University, where he has taught theory, analysis, ear training and orchestration. At the Westminster Conservatory of Music, he serves as chair of the Theory and Composition Department, and teaches horn, composition, theory and ear training. Dr. Levesque regularly with the The Westminster Winds (the faculty woodwind quintet of the Westminster Conservatory) and the Atlas Brass Quintet.

Dr. Levesque holds degrees from of the University of New Hampshire (B.A., Music Theory and Composition; M.A., Music History) and Rutgers University (Ph.D., Music Theory and Composition). His primary horn teachers were John Boden and Jean Rife, and his primary composition teachers were Niel Sir, Dr. Andrew Boysen, Jr. and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Charles Wuorinen. Dr. Levesque’s compositions and arrangements are available through Art of Sound Music.


Ryan Jesperson

For Sounds in Winter Nights

Commissioned by Asylum Quartet (2014)

Our relationship with Ryan began in 2011 and developed over numerous cups of coffee, conversations about sports, life, and music, and a wide range of collaborative projects. Ryan brings an impressive command of musical styles to each new challenge. We've worked closely with him on everything from arrangements of radio theme music and Christmas carols to full-length concert works. For Sounds in Winter Nights draws inspiration from the writings of Henry David Thoreau. Each movement creates a distinct world with the help of singing, clapping, and percussion to expand the quartet's sonic palette.  


Ryan Jesperson (1981) is a composer whose music is steeped in the modern practice of blurring genres and skewing expectations. Ryan holds degrees from Washington State University and The Hartt School, and earned his doctorate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City where he was a Chancellor’s Doctoral Fellow and recipient of the 2011 Outstanding Dissertation Award.

A winner of multiple awards and prizes, most recently the 2013 Verismo Trio Composition Award, the 2011 Gerald Kemner Prize for Orchestral Composition, the 2010 Beethoven Club/Belvedere Festival Composition Contest, and the 2009 British Trombone Society Composition Contest, Ryan’s compositions have been performed across North America and Europe, with recent performances in Hartford, Baltimore, Memphis, Boston, New York, Kansas City, Montreal, Sweden, Romania and the UK. Ryan is published through Sound Music Publications, Warwick Music, and his own imprint, Jazzperson Music.

For more information please visit Ryan's website.