Assad will spend week of May 21-26 in residence with KMFA

KMFA Classical 89.5 announces Chicago-based, Brazilian-American female composer Clarice Assad as the 2023 Draylen Mason Composer-in-Residence. Assad will spend the week of May 21-26 in residence with KMFA in Austin, Texas.

“I am honored to be selected as the Draylen Mason Composer-in-Residence,” said composer Assad. “There is an exciting wave of inclusivity in today's music world that is refreshing and inspiring. As more artists are embracing diversity and experimentation along with illuminating underrepresented communities and voices, this newfound unity carries a message of beauty and hope resonating with global audiences.”

Following a week of creative exploration, Assad will compose a new orchestral work to be premiered by the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra this September at Bates Recital Hall. Details and ticketing information to be announced at a later date.

With classical music historically dominated by white (mostly male) composers, performers, and managers, works of composers of color and other minorities have been overlooked and underrepresented, not only on concert stages, but also on record labels and on classical radio stations, which rely on recorded music for their daily playlists. The Draylen Mason Composer-in-Residence program was inspired by the national call for greater diversity in classical music and honors the memory of Draylen Mason, a promising young Austin musician killed in 2018 by the Austin package bomber.

“It's apparent now that we were lucky to have Quinn Mason as our inaugural composer-in-residence as he has become increasingly in demand with residencies and premieres. With the bar set high, we hope to keep the momentum by selecting a composer for 2023 that could really shine - and that person is Clarice,” said KMFA Director of Broadcasting & Content Anthony McSpadden, who conceived the program. “She excels at connecting with an audience and education is a major pillar in everything that she does. Besides being one of the foremost women composers of our time, I believe that over the years Clarice has tapped into a growth pattern that's stylistically expansive and diverse.”

McSpadden continued, “There's a playful nature about some of Clarice's writing that is infectious. It draws you in and makes you smile. While much of her music is written for soloists or small ensembles, her composing skills for orchestra particularly stand out. The path her writing takes the listener on can be astounding. There's humor, there's tenderness, there's majesty; and there's just real fun in the writing.”

Clarice Assad will spend a week in residence with KMFA in late May, where supporters will get to hear some of her music, as well as some improvisation at the piano by the composer herself. While in Austin, Assad will mentor students from Akins High School, the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, and Armstrong Community Music School. Students at the conservatory of Draylen Mason’s alma mater, East Austin Prep will take part in VOXploration, Assad’s workshop experience that includes interactive exercises in which participants come together to make music by creating sound.

Closing her week in Austin, Assad will perform a private concert at KMFA for “Cadenza,” a VIP experience for lead supporters. This fast-paced musical evening will consist of a performance with her at the piano along with Austin-based string quartet Invoke. The evening will also include a demonstration of VOXploration and is preceded by cocktails, culminating in a seated dinner.

“Draylen Mason was a promising young musician whose sudden and tragic loss we still deeply grieve; however, it brings comfort to know that his name is being honored, cherished, and respectfully remembered through this admirable initiative,” added composer Assad. “Music, the one potent force in his life, is also one of the most positive aspects of human creation. It binds us all over time and across space - physical or ethereal. For this reason, I am so grateful for this beautiful opportunity as a way to celebrate life and honor Draylen’s legacy."


A powerful communicator renowned for her musical scope and versatility, Brazilian-American Clarice Assad is a significant artistic voice in the classical, world music, pop, and jazz genres and is acclaimed for her evocative colors, rich textures, and diverse stylistic range. A prolific Grammy Award–nominated composer with more than 70 works to her credit, she has been commissioned by internationally renowned organizations, festivals, and artists and is published in France (Editions Lemoine), Germany (Trekel), Brazil (Criadores do Brasil), and the U.S. (Virtual Artists Collective Publishing). An in-demand performer, she is a celebrated pianist and inventive vocalist who inspires and encourages audiences’ imaginations to break free of often self-imposed constraints. Assad has released seven solo albums and appeared on or had her works performed on another 34. Her music is represented on Cedille Records, SONY Masterworks, Nonesuch, Adventure Music, Edge, Telarc, NSS Music, GHA, and CHANDOS.     Her innovative, accessible, and award-winning VOXploration series on music education, creation, songwriting, and improvisation has been presented throughout the world. Sought-after by artists and organizations worldwide, the multi-talented musician continues to attract new audiences both onstage and off.

Support for KMFA's Composer-in-Residence program is provided by Doctors Lou Ann and William F. Lasher, Eugene M. Lang Foundation, and CAPTRUST.