Saturday, May 6, 2023 from 7:30-9:30 PM

Join us for the second annual New Music Compositions Concert, supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Featuring four queer composers selected through an open call process, the New Music Compositions Concert will showcase original scores exploring queer themes in a one-night only performance on Saturday, May 6, 2023. Selected composers will work in collaboration with ensemble members specializing in contemporary approaches to acoustic-electronic chamber music. Selected artists include Giuseppe Gallo-Balma, Unique Hughley, Wesley Unruh, and M Joseph Willette.

Audiences are invited to join us for the premiere of the compositions on May 6, 2023 from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM for a free concert in the Charlotte Street Stern Theater.


Event Details

Saturday, May 6 from 7:30-9:30 PM


Charlotte Street Stern Theater (3333 Wyoming)




Giuseppe Gallo-Balma (b.1994) is a native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and a Kansas City based composer. He began his musical studies at age eleven on flute. His private teacher motivated him to audition for the National Conservatory, where he enrolled in 2008 and studied with Andrés Guzmán. After his studies in the Dominican Republic, Gallo-Balma studied in the U.S. at the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University where he earned a Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance under the tutelage of Dr. Andrée Martin, and a Composition Certificate under the tutelage of Dr. James Ogburn. He also earned a Master in Music Composition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory where he studied with Chen Yi, Zhou Long, Paul Rudy and Yotam Haber.

He has served as principal flute for the Juan Pablo Duarte Youth Orchestra and piccolo player for the National Symphony Orchestra of Santo Domingo. As a composer, Gallo-Balma’s music has been performed by JACK Quartet, Transient Canvas, Re(a)d trio, NewEar, and has been featured on the radio show Sound Currents (KCUR/NPR). In 2023, he was selected as a Featured Artist for the EarShot Readings with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for his piece “The Bones of Yayael”. Gallo-Balma has also been invited to participate in several national and international music festivals.

As the son of Haitian and Italian immigrants raised in the Dominican Republic, Gallo-Balma’s music seeks to bring an amalgamation of these three distinct cultures to the foreground, with special interest in the musical aspects of Indigenous and Afro-Caribbean communities.




Unique Hughley is the author of Monkey in the Grass, published by Spartan Press. He is an award-winning Kansas City poet, writer, songwriter, musician, and activist. Unique has spent his adult life traveling the country performing spoken word poetry and hosting his own Unique workshops for all ages. Unique has hosted workshops and Colleges, Churches, Buddhist Temples, and grade schools. Unique has also been featured in museums throughout the country for his poems dedicated to Michael Brown.




“Wesley” Unruh (b. 2000, he/they) is a composer and cellist based in Kansas. He is inspired by the nature of humankind, our environment, and the modern world. He holds a Bachelor’s of Music Composition from the University of Kansas.

Unruh is fascinated with interdisciplinary aspirations combining visual art, poetry, electronics and music. He is a founding member of the Amorphous Collective in collaboration with the Spencer Art Museum at the University of Kansas, an interdisciplinary group that combines art, music, poetry and dance through improvisation in public installation performances.

Unruh enjoys collaborating with colleagues to promote their unique skills. In 2020, cellist and visual artist Arabella Schwerin commissioned a flexible instrumentation, multi-media work titled, Parallel Play. Schwerin and Unruh are recipients of the Brousseau Award for Diverse Media, 2021 from the Spencer Art Museum of the University of Kansas for their collaboration. Unruh is also the winner of the Matilla Award for Music Composition in Electronic Music, 2022.

Unruh was recently accepted in the Breno Italy International Music Academy for the summer of 2023, a two-week, Italian-immersed creative music workshop led by composer Margaret Maria and founded by soprano Maghan McPhee.




M Joseph Willette (b. 1997) is a composer and educator currently living in the bustling city of Lincoln, Nebraska. Joey (they/them) often draws inspiration from queer spaces, culture, and experiences. Queer love, sex, kink, community, family, and loneliness are all explored in their music. Through the use of delicate timbres, rich sonorities, and driving club beats, Joey’s music teleports performers and audiences into these spaces. The pulsing beats heard in the bar, the quick sniff of poppers, and the notification sounds from hookup apps allow for glimpses into this world.

Their music for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, wind band, choir, and film have been performed around the world, with recent projects including collaborations with the Wichita State University Dance Department, Music Department, and Audio Production programs on the dance film She Moved the Prairie, for which they wrote the score.

Joey is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Composition with cognates in music theory and musicology, studying with Dr. Greg Simon. Joey holds a Bachelor’s degree in Instrumental Music Education from Troy University, and a Master’s degree in Music Composition from Wichita State University, where they studied with Dr. Traci Mendel and Dr. David MacDonald, respectively.



The New Music Compositions ensemble is made up of two queer duos, two saxophonists and two percussionists, who specialize in contemporary approaches to acoustic-electronic chamber music. Their performance practice explores new music and traditionally notated music with the addition of a vocalist or spoken word. The ensemble aims to expand the repertoire for this instrumentation while championing queer narratives & stories.

Kyle Blake Jones – Saxophone
Nathan Mertens – Saxophone
Jaime – Percussion
SA – Percussion
Kelli Van Meter – Soprano

Next Event

2024 Gala


Saturday, October 19 from 7:00-11:00 PM

Charlotte Street Campus (3333 Wyoming)
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