Bethany Younge is an American composer of both acoustic and electroacoustic works with extensive collaborative experience with artists from other disciplines. Many of her acoustic works seek to mimic both speech and sound poetry with instruments while also dissecting words to reveal individual phonemes, illuminating a world embedded with complex semiotical relations between the spoken word and what is interpreted to be "music." Her explorations in speech have led her to find her words, her voice, and create compelling situations where performers may do the same.
Bethany’s notated scores seek to incorporate the performer's creative skills in an attempt to challenge current notions of authorship. The highly variable sonic outcomes of her notated works are what she finds to be most fruitful. She often designs pieces with a particular person or persons (as opposed to instruments) in mind. Her collaborations often demand a certain intimacy that serves as the compositional impetus for the work.
In more recent years, Bethany has begun to explore the boundaries of audience-based performance. Significant Other, a duo project with Lia Kohl, utilizes photographs, short video excerpts, and gifs for the audience to interpret. Significant/Other performed with the audience members, hoping to break down any hierarchical distinctions between performer/composer where an atmosphere of consent and community may develop. She views her music as form of community expression with the potential to challenge the often individualistic music tradition.
Bethany is currently pursuing her DMA in Music Composition at Columbia University in New York, New York. She has received a Masters degree in Music Composition from the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, The Netherlands and a Bachelors degree in Music Composition from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. She has studied composition closely with Richard Barrett, Martijn Padding, Yannis Kyriakides, Peter Adriaansz, Lewis Nielson, and Seung-Ah Oh.
She has been selected to attend many workshops, residencies, and festivals including High Concept Laboratories, Avaloch Music Institute, Listhus, Labo Montreal, Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium, CNMF, Gaudeamus, The 16th International Young Composers Meeting, and more. She has worked with professional ensembles including ASKO Shoenberg Ensemble, KLANG, Ereprijs Ensemble, Fonema Consort, Mocrep, The Icelandic Flute Ensemble, and others throughout The Netherlands, Iceland, and the USA. She was awarded the 2016 Stipend Prize at the International Summer Course for New Music Darmstadt.
(Photo Deidre Huckabay.)