top of page

Drew Farrar, Director

Drew Farrar is a composer, guitarist, and educator currently based in Urbana, Illinois. Farrar’s music primarily focuses on the physical relationship of performance and sound. His works have been performed at the NASA 2019 conference, 21st Century Guitar Festival, and the Research on Contemporary Composition Conference. An avid performer, he has appeared with Adam Shedd’s Adiaphora Orchestra, Mathew Miller’s Avant-Gardians, Noise Cult, University of Illinois’ Illinois Modern Ensemble, Columbia College’s New Music Ensemble, and the University of Illinois’ Improviser’s Exchange. Farrar served as the intern for Chicago based ensemble aperiodic for their 2017-18 season. He completed his MM in Composition at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2020, where he studied with Professors Erik Lund, Rick Taube, Carlos Carillo, and Kerrith Livengood. Farrar also received a  MM in Guitar Performance at the University of Illinois in 2022 where he studied with Professor Guido Sanchez-Portuguez. Farrar is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Music Composition from Louisiana State University where he studies with Dr. Mara Gibson.


Carolyn Borcherding, Finance Coordinator


Carolyn Borcherding is a composer and sound artist predominantly interested in building sounding and visual worlds within which performing bodies and audio gestures can exist together in fluid relationships. Her body of work ranges from pieces for solo instrument to multimedia ensembles consisting of video, electronically produced sound, and acoustic instruments.  In her multimedia works, she considers each medium an essential performing body in which the media interact with, relate to, and inform one another.  In fixed media works, she experiments particularly with the creation and destruction of the listeners’ sense of space. Her works have increasingly explored narrative constructs related to historical, cultural, and personal matters.

Carolyn has had works performed internationally throughout the North American region and at national and regional events such as the Society for Electro Acoustic Music in the United States National Conference, the North American Saxophone Alliance National Conference, Electronic Music Midwest, New Music on the Point, and others. Carolyn received her master’s degree in music composition at Western Michigan University. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in music composition at the University of Illinois.

Wilson Poffenberger, Socials Coordinator

Boston based saxophonist WILSON POFFENBERGER is quickly establishing himself as a soloist, educator, chamber musician and improviser. Currently, Wilson is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in saxophone performance and literature at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where he recently received ABD status.

As an avid soloist and chamber musician, Mr. Poffenberger has garnered prizes at the international and national levels. Including 1st prize at the 2020 UISO Concerto Competition, 1st prize at the 2020 NASA Collegiate Saxophone Quartet Competition, Silver Medal at the 2019 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, 1st Prize at the 2019 Krannert Debut Artist Competition and Grand Prize at the 2017 Enkor International Woodwind and Brass Competition, among others.

In addition to Mr. Poffenberger’s performing career, he is a passionate educator maintaining a small private saxophone studio and recently finishing his tenure as the split classical and jazz teaching assistant and UIUC. He has given masterclasses and lectures at Elmhurst College, Hiram College, Youngstown State University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

When Wilson’s not playing saxophone, you can find him brewing pour-over coffee, tinkering with his Sony mirrorless camera or watching copious amounts of backpack reviews on YouTube.


Stephen J Caldwell, Audio/Video Coordinator


Composer SJR Caldwell is fascinated with writing new music which gives audiences fresh experiences. Inspired by popular avant-garde movements such as Japanoise, Caldwell has sought a balance between the accessible and the unfamiliar. Whether for full orchestra, chamber ensemble, soloist, electronics, or anything in between, Caldwell’s music reveals a wide span of influences, and welcomes performer engagement and repeated listening. Sensitivity of emotion stems from an interest in psychological process, while machine-like rhythms and noisy settings arise from experiments in glitch art, noise, and live-coding. No matter the current study, Caldwell is keen to find the next far-flung topic to study and weave into his ever-expanding fabric of music.

Caldwell’s eclectic interests led him to a bachelor’s in biomedical engineering from The University of Akron in 2016. While pursuing a master’s in composition from The University of Toledo, Caldwell acted as composer and sound designer for three UT theater productions. Currently studying for his doctorate at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Caldwell has received multiple premieres by fellow musicians, a reading by The Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, and commissioned works by the Illinois Modern Ensemble and Khroma Quartet.

Elsie Bae Han, Events Coordinator

Hailing from Highland Park, Illinois, Boston-based violist/improviser/composer Elsie Bae Han seeks new approaches to engaging with music primarily through new and chamber music. She is currently pursuing her MM in Contemporary Classical Music Performance under the tutelage of Lila Brown at the Boston Conservatory. She received her undergraduate degrees at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign studying under Elizabeth Freivogel. In her pursuit for meaningful musical connection, Han has attended festivals such as New Music on the Point, Castleman Quartet Program, Bowdoin International Music Festival, as well as others. She is a founding member of the New Music Collage and RE:duo (viola/saxophone). Her works can be found on the Elision Publications website.


Jack Thorpe, Urbana Liason

Saxophonist Jack Thorpe is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in saxophone performance and literature from the University of Illinois where he serves as the saxophone studio teaching assistant. As a concerto soloist, Jack has performed with the Georgia State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the Stephen F. Austin State University Symphonic Orchestra, and the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra. Through his work as the alto player in the Versa Quartet, Thorpe won first place in the 2020 North American Saxophone Alliance’s Quartet Competition and performed William Bolcom’s Concerto Grosso for saxophone quartet and wind band with the University of Illinois Wind Symphony. In 2017, Jack co-founded the Snow Pond Saxophone Quartet, a chamber ensemble formed to represent the Frederick L. Hemke Saxophone Institute at the Snow Pond Center for the Arts to international audiences. The quartet performed throughout Japan in 2017 alongside soloist Masato Kumoi and toured the southeastern United States in 2019.

In March of 2022, he was named the winner of the University of Illinois’s Presser Graduate Award. With funding from the Presser Graduate Award, he is currently commissioning six composers who belong to traditionally under-represented communities in classical music to write solo and electroacoustic works for saxophone. Thorpe’s interests in collaborating with composers to create new works has also influenced his work as a chamber musician. Recently, Thorpe’s saxophone duo, Vex, has premiered new works by Emily Koh, Yaz Lancaster, and Anthony R. Green.

Thorpe holds a B.M. in saxophone performance from Georgia State University where he was the recipient of the Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award and an M.M. in saxophone performance from Stephen F. Austin State University where he was the saxophone studio teaching assistant. His teachers include Jan Berry Baker, Nathan Nabb, and Debra Richtmeyer with additional study under Frederick L. Hemke.

bottom of page