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gRANT o'bRIEN, artistic Director

GRANT O'BRIEN is a conductor, composer and producer of contemporary music. During his studies at the Eastman School of Music, he worked extensively with conductors Dr. Oliver Hagen, Dr. Mark Scatterday in addition to the Emmy Award winning Mark Watters. As a classically trained artist with a devotion to popular and contemporary music, Grant continues to display himself as a versatile musician and an inventive concert producer.

With tuba being his original instrument, Grant has performed with many ensembles including the East End Brass Band and the Eastman Philharmonia. He has toured with the Eastman Wind Ensemble after appearing on recordings such also Jeff Tyzik’s Images and premiered Andre Previn's Music for Wind Ensemble (No Strings Attached). Additionally, he has performed Daugherty’s solo for tuba Reflections on the Mississippi with the Eastman Wind Orchestra.

Grant has conducted many ensembles in the Rochester area including the Eastman Graduate Orchestra, Upstate Brass Band, Eastman Tuba Mirum, and the Empire Film and Media Ensemble. He has also conducted in over ten degree recitals at the Eastman School of Music in addition to several recording sessions ranging from octet to a 50-piece orchestra. Most notably, Grant has conducted recording sessions for the award winning web-series, “Star Trek Continues” and film, “Aquarium” by Stephanie Maxwell. 

Producing innovative community based projects has also been a passion of Grant’s professional career. His project, TERRA, raised funds for a local urban farming center through a benefit performance of pastoral concert pieces all performed with multimedia elements. His other community based accomplishments include producing, conducting and arranging for Songs of the Valiant, a benefit concert for the Wounded Warrior Project and RIT: LIVE TO PICTURE, a premiere of student and independent films with live orchestral accompaniment.

As a media music composer, Grant has written for 3 senior thesis films at the University of Texas, Chapman University and the Rochester Institute of Technology. Additionally, many of his arrangements of popular music have been aired live on Rochester’s WXXI Classical 91.5.


Joe hagen, music director

Joe Hagen is a violist, audio engineer, and film composer. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Eastman School of Music studying under Phillip Ying of the Grammy award winning Ying Quartet. As an audio engineer at the University of Rochester, he studied under Grammy award winning audio engineer Stephen Roessner. He is currently attending school for Contemporary Media and Film Composition and is studying under award winning composer Dave Rivello and multiple Emmy award winning composer Mark Watters.

As a violist, he has been a versatile solo and chamber musician playing original music in many venues across the North Eastern United States. In his senior year of study at the Eastman School of Music, he won the principal violist position of the Eastman Philharmonia for the 2018-2019 season. Joe has also performed as a violist in the recordings of the Webby and Tele award winning web-series, “Star Trek Continues,” composed by Andy Farber with the Empire Film and Media Ensemble.  In the Spring of 2019, he was a musician in the One Take Film Festival’s live-to-picture presentation of Biggest Little Farm which was scored and conducted by Emmy winning film composer Jeff Beal. He was and continues to be a soloist and musician featured in many of the Contemporary Media and Film Composition student works, now including his own.

As an audio engineer with access to the world-class recording studios at the University of Rochester, he has recorded and produced numerous albums, podcasts and music videos for a diversity of clientele from Eastman and the greater Rochester area. He spent his summer of 2019 at the brand new Tanglewood Linde Center for Music and Learning under director Sue Elliot as a live audio engineer and stage assistant where he worked with many musicians of the BSO and superstars such as John Williams, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Hillary Hahn, Renée Fleming and Yo-Yo Ma. His technical background in Max/MSP programming landed him one-on-one rehearsal sessions and performances with world-famous American contemporary composer, electronic musician and trombonist, Georges Lewis, on his piece, “Emergence,” as well as activist and world-renowned Mexican composer, Hilda Parades, on her piece, “Revelaçion.” Joe continues work as an audio engineer in Rochester by recording student groups, sound designing for RIT film students, and engineering the official podcast of the University of Rochester, “Quadcast.”

When he was 14, Joe, with score and parts in hand, approached the East Coast Chamber Orchestra after a concert at the world-class Skaneateles Festival in Skaneateles, NY – after one of the musicians browsed the score, they accepted the piece and recorded it sparking the beginning of his composition career. Joe has composed anything from musicals, solo works, and chamber music to EDM and film music for a variety of ensembles and musicians throughout his career. His premiere orchestral poem, “Albedo,” was performed at the Empire Film and Media Ensemble’s concert, TERRA, which was written to inspire human action against climate change. He has written music for several RIT student animations and films as well as solo works that were premiered at Eastman as well as music festivals across the North East. Joe continues to learn and grow as a budding composer as he continues his master’s degree at the Eastman School of Music in Contemporary Media and Film Composition.


Georgia Mills, production manager

Georgia M. Mills is a pianist and maker of contemporary, improvised, and classical music based in Rochester, NY. As a musician with diverse interests and backgrounds, Georgia is invested in the fusion of different art forms through rich personal collaborations that span a wide array of music genres, visual art, and mixed-media platforms. Georgia is receiving her master’s degree in orchestral conducting at the Eastman School of Music, and recently received her bachelor's degree in piano performance at New York University.

Georgia has performed as a pianist with members of Musica Nova, Eastman Percussion Ensemble, OSSIA New Music, Empire Film & Media Ensemble, Nief Norf, Ensemble Signal, Bang on a Can, Khorikos, NYU Percussion Ensemble, and NYU Contemporary Music Ensemble. Georgia has been a participant in notable music festivals such as Bang on a Can Summer Festival, Nief Norf Summer Festival, NYU Pulsing & Shaking Festival, NYU Piano Institute and Interlochen Arts Camp.

During her performance studies, Georgia has participated in master classes with pianists including Helénè Tysman, Simone Dinnerstein, Thérèse Fahy, Eteri Andjaparidze, Seymour Bernstein Fabio Gardenal, and Marilyn Nonken. Georgia has performed as a soloist, accompanist, and chamber pianist in venues such as Kilbourn Hall at Eastman School of Music, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), University of Tennessee Knoxville, University at Buffalo’s Slee Hall, NYU’s Frederick Loewe Theatre and Black Box Theater, Columbia University, Washington Conservatory of Music, Strathmore Mansion, Washington National Opera Institute at the Kennedy Center, and the Washington National Cathedral.

Georgia studied composition with Joan La Barbara and Ezequiel Viñao. She has premiered works at the NYU festivals Pulsing & Shaking, Composers Collective, Words & Sounds, and Kontrapunkt, as well as at Spectrum, Bard College's Olin Hall, and at České Muzeum Hudby (the Czech Museum of Music) in Prague, Czech Republic.

In addition to her piano and composition studies, Georgia pursues conducting and creative direction. She studies conducting under Brad Lubman at Eastman School of Music, and previously with Joshua Gersen and Tristan Rais-Sherman in the New York Youth Symphony Robert L. Poster Apprentice Conductor Program. Georgia was a co-producer of the NYU Contemporary Music Festival Pulsing & Shaking 2017.

Georgia has held artistic direction and arts administration positions. She was previously Administrative Associate with The Knights orchestra in Brooklyn, Publicity Assistant for Dotdotdot Music, and Production Assistant with Metropolis Ensemble.  



Brett Copeland, Webmaster and Marketing Manager

Brett Copeland is a multi-faceted musician who is actively performing, composing, teaching, and exploring new musical possibilities with music technology. He maintains a freelance career as a performer, composer, and educator of tuba and music technology. He is currently based in Rochester, NY.

Brett has completed coursework for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music and is currently preparing for comprehensive exams. While in residence at ESM he served as a Teaching Assistant for both the tuba studio and EARS (Eastman Audio Research Studio). Brett holds a M.M. in Tuba Performance with additional studies in Electro-acoustic Composition from the University of South Florida and a B.A. in Music Technology from the University of Northern Iowa. His teachers include Don Harry, Jay Hunsberger, Baljinder Sekhon, Jeff Funderburk, and James Grant.

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RICK CARL is an engineer, music artist, and pianist currently studying Audio & Music Engineering at the University of Rochester. Born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, Rick has worked as a freelance recording engineer producing five albums by various artists in the past three years. In addition to music, Rick has worked with independent filmmaking studios BCFilmstrip and Writing Well Productions as a sound editor, sound designer, and composer on three feature-length films and one award-winning short film titled Girls’ Night. In his spare time, Rick performs as a vocalist in the University of Rochester Chamber Singers and as a lead actor in theater productions such as Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and Harold Pinter’s The Collection & The Lover. He joined the Empire Film Music Ensemble in 2017 and organized and operated projections for The Music of Bernard Herrmann concert in January 2018.


ashley fong, marketing assistant

Ashley Fong is a senior Harp Performance major at the Eastman School of Music. She is currently studying for her Bachelor of Music degree and has played with many ensembles at Eastman including The Eastman School Symphony Orchestra, Eastman Philharmonic Orchestra, Eastman Wind Orchestra, Eastman Wind Ensemble, and Studio Orchestra. She is also heavily involved in student organizations on campus such as the Eastman Programming Involvement Council, Student Association, ResLife, Live Grow Thrive, Orientation Council, Sigma Alpha Iota, and the Empire Film And Media Ensemble.



From New York City, Luisa Hidalgo is a Junior at the Eastman School of Music where she studies Voice Performance with Ruth Hennessey. Recent performances include her solo recitals in Ithaca College at the Hangar Theatre and Roundtop Texas in the 2018 season. She has participated in BU’s Tanglewood Institute where she performed as a soloist under the direction of Andris Nelsons in Mahler's 8th Symphony, under Paul Haus in Bernstein's Chichester Psalms and Michael Tilson Thomas in Charles Ives's New England Holidays Symphony, and was the 2017 winner of the Youngarts competition.  She has had the privilege of performing the roles of Ms. Pinkerton in Menotti's Old Maid and the Thief, Mercedes in Carmen, Sophie from Werther, Marcellina and Cherubino from Le Nozze di Figaro, Alcina from Alcina, Lucy from The Medium Gretel from Hansel and Gretel, Nero from L'incoronazione di Poppea, Almirena from Rinaldo and more. Luisa joined Empire Film and Media Ensemble in September of 2018. Aside from her classical training, Luisa regularly performs jazz and contemporary music in New York City and Rochester, and participates in Composers Concerts for her love of new music. 


From Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Danielle Romano is currently a Junior at the Eastman School of Music where she studies vocal performance with Anthony Dean Griffey. Danielle has participated in Eastman Opera Theater’s production of L’incoronazione di Poppea, Orfeo ed Euridice, and will be making an appearance in this years spring production of Don Giovanni. In Philadelphia, Danielle has sung under the baton of maestro Yannick Nézet Séguin. Danielle has performed in Spain with Umbrian Serenades, and throughout Italy with Philadelphia International Opera Theater and the Philadelphia All City Orchestra. In addition to singing, Danielle is passionate about playing both piano and viola. Danielle joined the EFAME team in 2018, and she is very excited to for this upcoming season!


Max berlin, Alum

Born and raised in the metro-Detroit area, MAX BERLIN (Head Composer 2018) has performed and written professionally for several kinds of ensembles and musical genres, orchestras and quartets alike. As a pianist, he has led three piano trios and regularly performs with professional and touring jazz orchestras.  As a composer, he has also scored several films and live-stage productions, including the award-winning RIT short film, Into the Microscope (2015). Most recently, Max received an IMDb credit in 2017 for his work as contractor and guest composer on the award-winning web series Star Trek Continues produced by Vic Mignogna. Max is currently studying under Bill Dobbins and Gary Versace at the Eastman School of Music as a jazz pianist with an emphasis in composition.