Announcing Mattea Williams as Composer In Residence 2023-2024

“Cobra” premiered on 3/9/2024 at the Band’s “Heart of the Golden West” concert. See the recording here:

The San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band (SFLGFB, Band) is proud to announce the selection of local composer Mattea Williams as the Band’s Composer In Residence for 2023 and 2024. This is the second phase of the SFLGFB BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color) Commission Program. Williams will be composing several pieces as described below.

The first phase of the BIPOC Commission Program culminated on May 20, 2023 when composer Roger Zare’s commissioned work “Awakening” had its world premiere during the Band’s “Spotlight on the 70s” gala concert in Oakland. You can read more about “Awakening” and see the world premiere performance HERE.

First announced in 2020, the SFLGFB BIPOC Commission Program was created to increase the diversity of voices composing music for Wind Band. The Program was largely funded through generous individual donations made at the organization’s annual Dance-Along Nutcracker®, with nearly 700 individuals making donations. Long-time Board member and selection committee member Julie Williamson commented, “We were fortunate to identify not one, but two outstanding composers through the BIPOC Commission Program. When we learned that Ms. Williams was local to the Bay Area, the creation of the Composer In Residence program seemed like a win-win for everyone!”

Mattea Williams is a 26-year old composer born in Berkeley, CA but now living and working in the Napa Valley. She received a bachelor’s degree in music from the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music and a master’s degree in music from the University of Texas Austin Butler School of Music. She is extremely excited about her new Composer In Residence position. She wrote online, “I’m beyond excited for the opportunity to work as a Composer In Residence for the first time ever with SFLGFB! Can’t wait to share all of the music and world premieres with you! #composer #dreamjob #womancomposer.” You can see Mattea’s enthusiasm in her TikTok video HERE or to right.

@mattea.williams Beyond excited for the opportunity to work as a Composer in Residence for the for the first time ever with SFLGFB! 🎉🙌🏾 Can’t wait to share all of the music and world premieres with you! #composer #dreamjob #womancomposer ♬ Let's Groove (Instrumental) - Earth, Wind & Fire

Said Williams, “This program involves me writing two commissioned original works for the Band, workshopping the pieces with Artistic Director Pete Nowlen & the Band, and having three performances: September 2023, March 2024, and September 2024. The SFLGFB will also perform one of my recently completed band works called ‘The Miragecaster’ at its September 30, 2023 concert. This will be only the second-ever performance of that piece.”

Williams describes “The Miragecaster” as a piece about a fictional character who “is a sorcerer who has the magical ability to cast and manipulate mirages. The conductor personifies the Miragecaster, using the baton as a sort of ‘magic wand’ while the music played by the band is the mirage. In the middle of the piece, there is aleatoric notation that splits the ensemble into groups and each group has its own ostinato or group of repeating melodic and rhythmic patterns that can be cued in whatever way the ‘MirageCaster’ or conductor decides in the moment. All the rhythmic patterns are written to purposefully obscure the beat such that when the musical groups are playing together or in combination with other groups, it creates the effect of an auditory mirage.”

Regarding the appointment of Mattea Williams as Composer In Residence, Artistic Director Pete Nowlen said, “I’m so excited that the Band will have the experience of working with a composer for more than a year through performances of three pieces and the creation of two. For a young composer, the opportunity to hone one’s craft in workshops with live performers is invaluable. For the Band, participating in the creative process results in a different perspective for learning and performing these new pieces.”

To be informed of updates on the SFLGFB Composer In Residence program, sign up for the Band’s email list HERE.

To learn more about Mattea Williams, visit 

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