November 22, 2017

Students 2018

Jana de Troyer

Hamburg University of Music and Theatre, HfMT

Thrilled by contemporary sounds, Jana De Troyer (°1994) moves – whether or not accompanied by her saxophones – between the most diverse genres of the 20th and 21st century. She was already part of various small and big ensembles and played (contemporary) classical, free improvisation, pop, rock, electronic, orchestral, chamber, world, wind band and big band music.

As a performer, composer, conductor and journalist she has already been on many Belgian and German media, and on stages throughout Europe and Asia.

Jana studied saxophone in Lübeck (DE; Prof. Rico Gubler), Munich (DE; Koryun Asatryan) and Ghent (BE; Koen Maas, Raf Minten, Rik Vaneyghen). She received grants from Live Music Now Hamburg and MusikERkennen. In 2017 she was Artist in Residence in Künstlerstadt Kalbe.


Kelsey Cotton

Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, EAMT

Known for her chameleonic musicianship and fearless performance of new and experimental works, Kelsey Cotton is quickly garnering a reputation as a distinctive and powerful voice within contemporary music. The Australian born vocalist studied at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University (AUS), where she graduated with her Bachelor of Music (First Class Honours) in 2017.

A passionate champion of new, experimental and Australian works, she is devoted to pushing the boundaries of music and the limits of the human voice. Kelsey has sung numerous world premieres with the ASTRA Chamber Music Society (AUS), debuting works by acclaimed composers such as Vlad-Razvan Baciu, Paul Kopetz and Andrew Byrne. Kelsey had her operatic debut with Victorian Opera in 2017, in Aaron Copland’s politically provocative The Second Hurricane, a production described as “ethereal and… haunting” (Classic Melbourne). She also recently sang the world premiere of Melbourne composer James Christensen’s one-woman chamber opera. Her “complex and detailed” performance in the opera; When I Awoke, was received with great acclaim at Melbourne’s ‘The Butterfly Club’ in January 2018 (Stage Whispers).

In March Kelsey was invited to sing at the inaugural Art as Sound as Art (AaSaA) Exploratory Music Festival at the Royal Whanganui Opera House in New Zealand, where she was a performance fellow. Whilst at the festival Kelsey participated in workshops and seminars, sharing the stage with acclaimed musicians such as Judith Dodsworth (AUS) and Ingrid Culliford (NZ). More recently, Kelsey gave the world premiere performance of ‘Beneath the Surface’; a chamber work for voice and string quartet, composed for her by local Melbourne cellist and composer Luke Severn. This project also marked Kelsey’s debut as a series curator, which she fervently hopes to explore further.

She made her American festival debut at the famous SICPP (Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice) at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts in June. Whilst at SICPP Kelsey performer in masterclass hosted by British composer Julian Anderson, and in private recitals in the famous Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Kelsey was recently accepted into a highly competitive post-graduate program at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, where she will study a Masters in Contemporary Performance and Composition.


Mélanie Vibrac


Mélanie is a French clarinetist from East of France. She started her musical studies at the Épinal and Metz Conservatories before moving to Paris for two years to study literary field and musicology in “classe préparatoire” at lycée Fénelon.

Then, she entered “Académie supérieure de musique de Strasbourg” for a bachelor degree in classical and contemporary music.

She studied music performance at the University of Montreal during an exchange year well as continuing a pedagogy degree that she pursued back in Strasbourg to obtain the diploma as a clarinet teacher.

During this year in Canada, she worked for several cultural magazines, publishing articles on live shows and interviews.
Back in Strasbourg, she participated to Musica – International Festival of Contemporary music, the “clarinet week” at Cité de la musique et de la Danse, she also played with l’Atelier Mobile – French troupe with circus and pupett. Moreover, she explored the musical theater and the link between text and music.

During this year she also worked in different schools to teach clarinet and musical theory, and she participated for the second time to a three weeks musical camp in Haïti where she taught clarinet. Finally, she’s very fond of travelling, as it brings her the opportunity to discover new and different cultures in order to express this inspiration through her art.

*Photo credit: Alexandre Schlub

Robert Menczel

Hamburg University of Music and Theatre, HfMT

Robert Menczel’s artistic focus lies on contemporary music with acoustic and electric guitar, musical theater and interdisciplinary performances. With Open Source Guitars, he went on tour to Brazil and Mexico, premiered new pieces by composers like Henry Fourès and Sarah Nemtsov, worked with conceptual and visual artists like Pablo Wendel and Thomas Putze, and developed different projects with international partners like IRCAM Paris, GMEM Marseille or ZKM Karlsruhe. In Open Source Guitars’ most recent production, the ensemble collectively composed a live soundtrack for the Russian silent movie The New Babylon with performances at Europäische Kulturtage Karlsruhe 2018.

He regularly plays for different freelance productions, such as Madame Lenin in Freiburg, Karlsruhe and Berlin or at PODIUM festival in Esslingen.

He was born in Böblingen, Germany, and studied at Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Trossingen and Real Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid with Michael R. Hampel, Michal Stanikowski, Tillmann Reinbeck and Miguel Trápaga. In 2018, he finished his master’s degree with distinction. He was awarded a special prize at Iris-Marquardt-Competition 2018.


Sander Saarmets

Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, EAMT

Sander Saarmets is a composer, sound designer and electronic musician from Estonia. He was first exposed to music through his father’s extensive record collection, where Pink Floyd and Ryuichi Sakamoto were held in high esteem. Sander began playing the violin at the age of 6, but was not entirely won over by the classical music and became
more and more interested in the visual arts, until hearing the music of György Ligeti and Autechre.

In the early 2000s, he started creating electronic music as Muschraum. His debut album Naterijeka was released in 2005 by Ulmeplaadid. In 2007, he entered the EstonianAcademy of Music and Theatre to study electronic music and composition. Before receiving his BA, Sander started learning Chinese and finished his first intensive language course in Kunming, China. Back at the academy, his graduation piece Pram Tak Mir was chosen for the NEU/NOW festival in 2011. In the same year, he was given the opportunity to compose for a full length documentary Uus Maailm (The New World) by Jaan Tootsen.

In 2012, Sander moved to Taiwan for a period of 5 years. There, together with artist Virge Loo, he established an audiovisual group called V4R1. While living in Taipei, he also worked as a sound designer for 8ilmmaker Ella Raidel on her short 8ilm BERG.

After returning to Estonia in 2017, he released V4R1’s debut album, collaborated with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, worked together with choreographers Maria Uppin and Marie Pullerits and composed for Jaan Tootsen’s new documentary.

In CoPeCo, Sander is hoping to find new and responsive ways to utilize electronics and interact with other performers and environments.


Sandra Kuntu-Blankson


Sandra Kuntu-Blankson is twenty-five years old and hail from Ghana, West Africa. She considers the Contemporary Performance and Composition Master’s Program is a great opportunity to develop herself as a performer and to be an agent of positive change in her society.

She believes in becoming a link and a role model for females in her community who yearn to follow the line in making music a profession and the actualization of such dreams. Her readiness and zeal regarding this CoPeCo program is unparalleled and she strongly envisions that the global impact of this program would make it worthwhile.

It has been an incredible journey so far, and it is her hope that she would transcend and exceed her personal expectations, make and keep new friends and above all share the stage with like-minded musicians for a global musical experience. The change of scenery and environment appeals to her more on the level that there is a higher tendency to enhance her skills. The idea of spending four semesters in different countries is a thought she is really looking forward to; new food, new cultures and new experiences!

She is a big fan of experimental and contemporary music thus, CoPeCo is her dream come true!


Sara Constant

Hamburg University of Music and Theatre, HfMT

Sara Constant is a flutist from Toronto, Canada, working with a special interest in contemporary music.

Sara completed her Bachelor’s degree in music at the University of Toronto (where she studied flute with Camille Watts), followed by an MA in musicology at the Universiteit van Amsterdam with a focus on 20th- and 21st-century music. She has since participated in new music workshops and festivals in Austria (Impuls Academy), the United States (Oh My Ears), and Canada (Toronto Creative Music Lab; Waterloo Region Contemporary Music Sessions).

Sara’s performance practice and research focus on contemporary chamber music, experimental theatre, Asian American identity, and ecology. Active as a soloist and ensemble musician, she has performed recently as a soloist with the Silverthorn Symphonic Winds, and as a flute/voice duo with soprano Rebecca Gray, where collaboration with composers is a core part of their work. In Toronto, Sara’s current projects include working as an editor at The WholeNote magazine, curator with the Music Gallery, and co-organizer of the Toronto Creative Music Lab (TCML) – a peer-mentored summer workshop for early-career performers and composers.

Sara is looking forward to learning new things in the CoPeCo programme, and to developing her research on interdisciplinary music-making and ecology to create new collaborative works.

*Photo credit: Kalina Leonard


Yorgos Stavridis


Musician, sound artist, primarily percussionist and composer.

He explores the sonic range of percussion instruments in continuous interplay with electronic media and technology.

Approaching sound texture and timbre as the main elements for interpreting and making music, Yorgos emphasises improvisation as a source of musical expression, responding through immediate action and playfulness to the temporality and site specificity of sound and music.

He studied Instrumental and Electroacoustic composition at the Ionian University and classical percussion at the Athens Conservatoire.

He is a member of Ke.Di.Mou.Ra, a collective consisting of musicians engaging in composition, sound art and improvisation, found in Corfu.

Yorgos is based in Athens but works across borders.


Ryszard Alzin

Royal College of Music in Stockholm

Ryszard Alzin is a Polish pianist and composer. Born in 1991, Ryszard graduated from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, with studies in piano performance and composition. Ryszard has been awarded prizes in music competitions in Poland and abroad, including: Grand Prix and Special Prize at the Schott International Concours Musical de France in Paris (2004), 1st Prize and Special Prize at the Stefania Woytowicz National Young Instrumentalist Competition in Jasło/Poland (2006), Honourable Mention at the EMCY International Piano Competition in Ettlingen/Germany (2006), 1st Prize at the “Karol Szymanowski in Memoriam” National Piano Competition in Warsaw/Poland (2007), 1st Prize at the National Piano Competition in Jelenia Góra/Poland (2008), Honourable Mention for the cycle of children’s piano pieces “Muzyczne kolorowanki” at the Composition Competition in Rydułtowy/Poland (2013), and Honourable Mention at the International Chamber Music Competition in Łódź/Poland (2016).

As a pianist, Ryszard has always been keen on performing contemporary music and has premiered several pieces by Polish composers, including Anna Ignatowicz-Glińska’s “Tylko spójrz” for piano solo, which was dedicated to him. He is also active as an improviser, and has recently given a number of fully improvised piano recitals. As a composer, Ryszard is interested in autonomic composition, as well as in interdisciplinary collaboration – in particular with artists from film and theatre. A selection of Ryszard’s compositions can be heard at

Tamara Laverman

Royal College of Music in Stockholm

Tamara Laverman started playing the piano at the age of 8, taking lessons with a private teacher. Though she liked to play and enjoyed the music, she only realized at the age of 16 the artistic field could mean more to her than just a hobby. In 2011 she started in a preparatory course at ArtEZ university of the arts in Arnhem, taking piano lessons with the pianist Frank Peters. In 2013 she started the bachelor classical piano at ArtEZ university of the arts in Zwolle, a school also housing other art disciplines like fine art, creative writing, dance etc. and therefore known for its interdisciplinary study.

During her bachelor she had several projects with these different faculties searching for new ways of performing. It was in this period when she discovered the love of composing herself and chose to take composition lessons in the last two years of her study.

In June 2017 she finished her bachelor degree, taking piano lessons with Frank van der Laar and composition lessons with Wilbert Bulsink. She is also active in a piano duo, Laverman&Scheffer, a duo focusing on 20th and 21st century music trying new ways for listeners to experience contemporary classical music.