Transient Landscapes Bios

Biographies for Transient Landscapes at the Fralin Museum on Saturday April 11, 2020

Matthew Burtner ( is an Alaskan-born composer, eco-acoustician and sound artist. He is Professor of composition and computer technologies at the University of Virginia, and founder and director of EcoSono ( Burtner has composed music for numerous international ensembles and soloists, and his ecoacoustic music has recently been featured NASA, the Obama U.S. State Department, NPR NewsHour, the Humanities Center at the University of Michigan, and the American Geophysical Union (AGU). He published three new media operas, including the IDEA Award-winning climate change opera, Auksalaq. Burtner’s music has also received honors and awards from the Bourges (France), Gaudeamus (Netherlands), Darmstadt (Germany), and The Russolo (Italy) international competitions. He is the Eleanor Shea Chaired Professor of Music at the University of Virginia where he Co-Directs the Coastal Futures Conservatory ( He also Directs the environmental non-profit organization EcoSono (


Matthew Duvall is a founder, co-Artistic Director, and percussionist of Eighth Blackbird which has received Four Grammy awards, the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, Musical America Ensemble of the Year 2016, Chamber Music America Visionary Award 2016, competition wins with Concert Artists Guild, and the Naumburg Foundation Award. He is a recording artist of Cedille records. Matthew proudly endorses Pearl Drums and Adams Musical Instruments, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, Zildjian Cymbals, and Black Swamp Percussion Accessories. More information can be found at


Mona Kasra ( is an Iranian-American new media artist and interdisciplinary scholar. Her research focus involves exploring the confluence of media technologies, art, and culture, reflecting on the impact of emerging media on personal, political, and creative expression, and experimenting with the affordances of such media for artistic and performative practices. Committed to transdisciplinary and collaborative modes of scholarship, she's currently researching representational, affective, and creative possibilities of immersive media and designing experimental and performative environments in Virtual Reality. She's Assistant Professor of Digital Media Design at the University of Virginia.




Matthew McLendon was appointed director and chief curator of the Fralin Museum of Art of the University of Virginia in 2017. A native of Florida he graduated from Florida State University where he earned Bachelors degrees with honors in both music and art history. While at FSU, he was appointed to the first internship in the Department of Education and Public Programming at the Tate Gallery in London. He completed his MA and PhD studies at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, and is an alumnus of the 64th Attingham Summer School. His master's thesis focused on the war works of Wyndham Lewis and his dissertation on the manifestos of the Italian Futurists of the early 20th century. McLendon was named Interim Curator of Adult Learning at Tate Britain in 2002 where he was responsible for public programming related to the Turner Prize awarded to Keith Tyson. After returning to the United States, he was named the inaugural Curator of Academic Initiatives at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, where he worked on exhibitions serving both collegiate and community audiences including Michael Phillips and the Infernal Method of William Blake (2009), and Andy Warhol: Personalities (2010). In 2010, McLendon was recruited by The Ringling to reinvigorate its modern and contemporary programs, after a fifteen year gap in curatorial leadership. In the first two years of his tenure, McLendon oversaw the permanent installation of Joseph's Coat, the largest Skyspace by James Turrell to date, as well as three exhibitions from the museum's permanent collection and two major exhibitions focused on living artists. In addition to a revived emphasis on original exhibitions and collection building, McLendon established the Art of Our Time initiative, in conjunction with Ringling Curator of Performance Dwight Currie. The series was created to spotlight emerging and mid-career visual and performing artists, build on the success of the Ringling International Arts Festival inaugurated by the Museum and the Baryshnikov Arts Center in 2009, and renew the contemporary art commitment made by The Ringling's first director, A. Everett "Chick" Austin. In 2016, the initiative celebrated its fifth anniversary with a major gift to support the series and create a new gallery dedicated to contemporary art. With the addition of the Monda Gallery, four rededicated galleries in the Searing Wing, and the in-progress Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion, close to 10,000 square feet was devoted to the contemporary program during McLendon's tenure. In December 2016, Hyperallergic named McLendon's R. Luke DuBois—Now one of the top 15 exhibitions in the United States.


I-Jen Fang: Described as an “intrepid percussionist” by Fanfare Magazine, I-Jen Fang has a career as a solo performer, chamber musician, orchestral player, and teacher.  She joined the faculty of the McIntire Department of Music at the University of Virginia in 2005 and as Principal Timpanist and Percussionist of the Charlottesville Symphony. As a soloist, Fang has performed as a marimba soloist in Taiwan, U.S., Austria, France, Hungary, Romania, and South Africa.  She was also the featured marimba soloist with the Charlottesville Symphony in 2006 and 2010. As a chamber musician, I-Jen has performed or recorded with artists such as Keiko Abe, William Cahn, Christopher Deane, Mark Ford, Heini Kärkkäinen, Mike Mainieri, Jan Müller-Szeraws, Diane Pascal, Carsten Schmidt, Ed Smith, Michael Spiro, NanikWenton, Nyoman Wenton, Attacca Percussion Group, and DaCapo Chamber Players.  She has appeared in Heritage Theater Festival, Staunton Music Festival, University of Virginia Chamber Music Series, Percussive Arts Society International Convention and Regional PAS Day of Percussion. An advocate of New Music, I-Jen is currently the director of the UVA New Music Ensemble.  The ensemble has recently collaborated with composer/improviser George Lewis, and performed for composers such as Phillip Glass and Christian Wolff.  She has also commissioned and/or premiered works by Matthew Burtner, Ted Coffey, Kevin Davis, Christopher Deane, Erik DeLuca, Aurie Hsu, Sarah O’Halloran, Chris Peck, Judith Shatin, Brian Simalchik, Ed Smith, and D.J. Sparr.  Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Fang began her musical education at age six taking piano. Taking up percussion at the age of nine, she came to the United States at age fifteen to pursue her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Percussion Performance at Carnegie Mellon University.  She received her Master of Music degree from Northwestern University and her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of North Texas where she served as a teaching fellow. Fang is an Innovative Percussion artist.



Daniel Sender enjoys a diverse musical career and has appeared in concerts throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and China.  A frequent guest soloist and principal artist with chamber and symphony orchestras throughout the region, Dr. Sender currently serves as concertmaster of the Charlottesville Symphony, Charlottesville Opera and the Virginia Consort. Dr. Sender was a Fulbright Scholar in Budapest and attended the Franz Liszt Academy of Music as a student of Vilmos Szabadi.  He was formerly the first violinist of the Adelphi String Quartet, which held a fellowship residency at the University of Maryland, and was for four years the violinist of the Annapolis Chamber Players.  Dr. Sender has recorded for Centaur, Sono Luminus, Bifrost and other independent labels. As a chamber musician, Dr. Sender has had the pleasure of performing with members of the Audubon Quartet, Axelrod and Left Bank quartets and spent two years working intensively under the mentorship of the Guarneri Quartet. Chamber concerts have taken him to venues around the world including the Kennedy Center, Hungarian Embassy, Bartók Hall of the Erdödy Palace (Budapest), Smithsonian Museum of American History, Universität der Kunste (Berlin) and the Museum of Fine Arts (Montreal). A native of Philadelphia, Dr. Sender attended Ithaca College, the University of Maryland, the Liszt Academy (Budapest) and the Institute for European Studies (Vienna).  His primary teachers include Vilmos Szabadi, Arnold Steinhardt, David Salness, René Staar, and Gerald Fischbach. He is on the performance faculty of the University of Virginia’s McIntire Department of Music and also holds a faculty position at Interlochen’s Adult Chamber Music Camp.



Eighth Blackbird, hailed as “one of the smartest, most dynamic contemporary classical ensembles on the planet” (Chicago Tribune), began in 1996 as a group of six entrepreneurial Oberlin Conservatory students and quickly became “a brand-name defined by adventure, vibrancy and quality” (Detroit Free Press). Over the course of more than two decades, Eighth Blackbird has continually pushed at the edges of what it means to be a contemporary chamber ensemble, presenting distinct programs in Chicago, nationally, and internationally, reaching audiences totaling tens of thousands. The sextet has commissioned and premiered hundreds of works by composers both established and emerging, and have perpetuated the creation of music with profound impact, such as Steve Reich’s Double Sextet, which went on to win the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. The ensemble’s extensive recording history, primarily with Chicago’s Cedille Records, has produced more than a dozen acclaimed albums and four Grammy Awards for Best Small Ensemble/Chamber Music Performance, most recently in 2016 for Filament. Longstanding collaborative relationships have led to performances with some of the most well-regarded classical artists of today from heralded performers like Dawn Upshaw and Jeremy Denk, to seminal composers like Philip Glass and Nico Muhly. In recent projects, Eighth Blackbird has joined forces with composers and performers who defy the persistent distinction between classical and non­classical music, including works by The National’s Bryce Dessner and Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Perry, and performances with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, My Brightest Diamond frontwoman Shara Nova, Will Oldham aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Iarla Ó Lionáird of The Gloaming, among others. Eighth Blackbird first gained wide recognition in 1998 as winners of the Concert Artists Guild Competition. Since 2000, the ensemble has called Chicago home, and has been committed to serving as both importer and exporter of world class artistic experiences to and from Chicago. A recent year-long pioneering residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art-Chicago, during which the ensemble served as a living installation with open rehearsals, performances, guest artists, and public talks, exemplified their stature as community influencers. Receiving the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, Chamber Music America’s inaugural Visionary Award, and being named Musical America’s 2017 Ensemble of the Year have supported Eighth Blackbird’s position as a catalyst for innovation in the new music ecosystem of Chicago and beyond. Eighth Blackbird’s mission—moving music forward through innovative performance, advocating for new music by living composers, and creating a legacy of guiding an emerging generation of musicians —extends beyond recording and touring to curation and education. The ensemble served as Music Director of the 2009 Ojai Music Festival, has held residencies at the Curtis Institute of Music and at the University of Chicago, and holds an ongoing Ensemble-in-Residence position at the University of Richmond. In 2017, Eighth Blackbird launched its boldest initiative yet with the creation of Blackbird Creative Laboratory, an inclusive, two-week summer workshop and performance festival for performers and composers in Ojai, CA.

Ecoacoustics Ensemble is a group formed within the context of Professor Burtner’s Ecoacoustics MUSI 3400 class. The organizing team producing the Transient Landscapes Festival includes Veronica Merrill, Seshi Konu, Torin Bakke and Anthony Kershaw. The larger Ecoacoustics Ensemble performing the Tides part in Transient Landscapes also includes Amelia Bailey, Drew Buckley, Peter Choi, Justin Crawford, Rob Diciccio, Elly Easter, Jo Klansek, Stefani Mitrovik, Nash Ogden, Joe Reigner, Andrew Romanus, Andrea Thompson, Issy Tucker, and Berkeley Wilkins. The group explores human/nature interaction through ecoacoustic methodologies.

Beyond This Point is a Chicago-based percussion ensemble seeking to investigate resonances and intersections across several practices including theater, movement, media/film, non-traditional musical forms, sculpture, text, and installations both static and performative.  The collaboration aims to engage diverse audiences on multiple levels through its exploration of resonances between artistic mediums with a goal of developing a platform in which to create works that are intrinsically coalesced along these resonances from their point of inception.

The UVA Percussion Ensemble is directed by I-Jen Fang, the Principal Timpanist and Percussionist with the Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia. Re-established in spring 2005, the Percussion Ensemble is a chamber group that performs literature from classical transcriptions to contemporary music. The ensemble draws upon a large family of pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments. The number of players and the amount of equipment varies greatly from piece to piece. Music is chosen to match the abilities and interest of the ensemble members. Music reading skills and basic percussion technique on all percussion instruments is required. Previous percussion ensemble experience is highly recommended. The course is offered both semesters with a small group in the fall and a large group in the spring, culminating in an annual Night of Percussion Concert. Membership is open to all university students.

MICE (Mobile Interactive Computer Ensemble) makes live computer music using custom interactive systems and mobile instruments. Directed by Professor Matthew Burtner, since 2001 MICE has been the resident computer music ensemble of UVA, performing in Virginia, Namibia, Washington DC, India, New York, South Africa, Delaware, Japan and in the middle of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. The group has worked with composers such as Philip Glass, Paula Matthusen, Sarah O’Halloran and Erik DeLuca. MICE has also been featured on the albums “MICEWorld Tour” (2010)” and “Agents Against Agency” (2011).  The group has recently performed at UVA’s 200-year anniversary Gala concert on the Lawn, at the Smithsonian American History Museum, and at the Digitalis and Technosonics Festivals. In 2007 MICE created the world’s largest human-computer orchestra, a 300-person networked laptop orchestra conducted by the MICEtro robot. 



UVA Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176