Members of League of the Unsound Sound (LotUS)

LotUS core members include: Tim Feeney (percussion), Michael Formanek (bass/composer), Michael Harley (bassoon), Courtney Orlando (violin), David Smooke (composer/toy piano), Wendy Richman (viola), and Shirley Yoo (piano).

These musicians were founding members of (and may be current members of): Alarm Will Sound, ICE, Signal, and So Percussion.

LotUS core members may be supplemented by additional musicians (scroll down for a list of these additional performers).

LotUS Core Members (listed alphabetically)

Tim Feeney, percussion

Tim Feeney seeks to explore and examine the timbral possibilities inherent in everyday found and built objects. He has performed as an improviser with musicians including thereminist James Coleman, cellist/electronic musician Vic Rawlings, tape-deck manipulator Howard Stelzer, trumpeter Nate Wooley, sound artists Jed Speare and Ernst Karel, saxophonist Jack Wright, and the trio ONDA. His concerts have been held at experimental spaces such as the Red Room in Baltimore, Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, Firehouse 12 in New Haven, Connecticut, the Knitting Factory New York, and the Stone, as well as the Center for New Music and Audio Technology at UC-Berkeley, the Stanford Art Museum, Princeton University, and Dartmouth College.

Tim’s double life as an interpreter of contemporary compositions has led him to perform with the quartet So Percussion at venues such as the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and his work has been featured on WNYC Radio’s New Sounds. Tim collaborated with Rinde Eckert and director Robert Woodruff on their 2006 chamber opera Orpheus X, staged to critical acclaim at Cambridge’s American Repertory Theater, and the 2008 Hong Kong International Festival. A member of Boston’s Callithumpian Consort, Tim has appeared on the Musica Nova series at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Germany, and at New York’s Tonic, as part of its 50th birthday celebration for John Zorn. He has recorded for the Sedimental, Soul on Rice, Audiobot, and Brassland labels.

An active educator, Tim is currently a lecturer in music at Cornell University.


Photograph by Scott Friedlander © 2008


Michael Formanek, bass/composer

Michael Formanek’s singular approach to the acoustic bass has led to an impressive range of musical associations. During his thirty-five years in music, he has played and/or recorded with Elvis Costello, Tim Berne, Uri Caine, Freddie Hubbard, Stan Getz, Marty Ehrlich, Chet Baker, Tony Williams, Gerry Mulligan, Bob Mintzer, Fred Hersch, Dave Liebman, Joe Henderson, Mark Isham, Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin Big Band, Mingus Big Band, Terumasa Hino, Cedar Walton, Attila Zoller, George Coleman, Jane Ira Bloom, Bob Moses, Gunther Schuller, Peter Erskine, Joe and Matt Maneri, Gary Thomas, Harold Danko, Dave Burrell, and many others.

Composition also plays a significant role in Formanek’s overall musical profile, and four albums of his original music, Wide Open Spaces, Extended Animation, Low Profile and Nature Of The Beast have been released to critical acclaim on the Enja label. Am I Bothering You, a recording of solo bass performances made for Tim Berne’s Screwgun label, has firmly established itself as an important contribution to that genre.

Formanek was commisioned in 2007 to compose a new piece for the Peabody Concert Orchestra with Jazz Soloists, which premiered during Peabody’s 150th anniversary celebration. He has also received Chamber Music America’s New Works: Creation and Presentation commision, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grant, the Maryland State Arts Council Grant, and a fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. In October of 2010 , “The Rub and Spare Change”, a CD of original music featuring Tim Berne, Craig Taborn, and Gerald Cleaver will be released on ECM.

Michael Harley, bassoon

Michael Harley is Visiting Lecturer in Music at the University of South Carolina, where he teaches courses in music history and theory, coaches chamber music, and is assistant director of the award-winning Southern Exposure New Music Series. Mike is a founding member of the acclaimed chamber orchestra Alarm Will Sound, called “one of the most vital and original ensembles on the American musical scene” by the New York Times. He has worked with and premiered works by some of today’s most accomplished composers, including John Adams, Derek Bermel, Michael Gordon, Aaron Jay Kernis, David Lang, Meredith Monk, Steve Reich, Wolfgang Rihm, and Augusta Read Thomas. Alarm Will Sound has performed throughout the U.S., Europe, and Russia, and can be heard on the Nonesuch, Cantaloupe and Sweetspot record labels. Mike is currently principal bassoon of the Long Bay Symphony in Myrtle Beach, SC. Other groups he has performed with include the orchestras of Charleston, Columbus, Dayton, Fort Wayne, and South Bend, the South Carolina Philharmonic, and the Lucca Festival Orchestra (Italy), where he was a featured soloist. Summer festivals include Piccolo Spoleto, Music on the Hill (Rhode Island), Mizzou New Music, and Kent Blossom. Current projects include the newly-formed bassoon collective Dark in the Song, a group of all-star players that champions contemporary music for bassoon ensembles.

A graduate of Goshen College (IN) and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Mike is finishing a D.M.A. at the Eastman School of Music, where he was awarded the Performer’s Certificate. He lives in Columbia, SC with his wife, flutist Jennifer Parker-Harley, and daughters Ella and Lucia.


Photo: Will Kirk


Courtney Orlando, violin/voice

Violinist, keyboardist, and vocalist Courtney Orlando specializes in the performance of contemporary and crossover music. She is a founding member of the acclaimed new music ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, which has premiered works by and collaborated with some of the foremost composers of our time, including John Adams, Steve Reich, Wolfgang Rihm, Meredith Monk, Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Augusta Read Thomas. Performances with AWS include those at Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center Festival, Amsterdam’s Holland Festival, Columbia University’s Miller Theater, Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall, Boston’s Gardner Museum, and Merkin Hall. Most recently, the group performed the world premiere of John Adams’s Son of Chamber Symphony, written specifically for AWS, and went on an action-packed, fun-filled tour of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Other projects with Alarm Will Sound include the 2005 CD release of Acoustica: Alarm Will Sound performs Aphex Twin, and the upcoming release of the group’s third CD, a/rhythmia, on Nonesuch. Courtney is also a member of the jazz fusion quintet, Neos, and the new music ensemble, Signal, which recently made its debut at New York’s Bang on a Can music marathon. In addition to Nonesuch, she has recorded for Bridge, Cantaloupe, Chandos, Sonnabilis, Tzadik, and Winter and Winter. Courtney is currently on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory, where she teaches Ear Training and Sight Singing and coaches chamber music. She has premiered numerous works by Peabody faculty and student composers, including Bruno Amato, McGregor Boyle, Angel Lam, John Crouch, Jenny Beck, Mark Lackey, and Amy Kirsten. Prior to her appointment at Peabody, she received her doctorate from and taught at the Eastman School of Music. In addition to teaching and performing, Courtney enjoys composing; in April of 2006, she premiered her first work, all which isn’t singing is mere silence, in which she explored the technique of simultaneously singing and playing the violin. Non-musical endeavors include cooking, hiking, knitting, watching lots of movies, being an overzealous Mets fan, and coping with an overwhelming desire to be a Civil War historian.


Photo: Chad Evans Wyatt


Wendy Richman, viola/voice

Violist Wendy Richman has performed across the U.S. and Europe, receiving praise for her “absorbing,” “fresh and idiomatic” interpretations with a “brawny vitality” (The New York Times, The Washington Post). Notable appearances include the international festivals of Edinburgh, Hong Kong, and Helsinki; the American Academy in Rome; the Phillips Collection; Miller Theatre; Jordan Hall; and the American Repertory Theatre. She has received particular praise for her interpretations of new music and has collaborated closely with a wide range of composers, including John Luther Adams, George Crumb, Brian Ferneyhough, Sofia Gubaidulina, Lee Hyla, David Lang, Alvin Lucier, Jeffrey Mumford, Matthias Pintscher, Bernard Rands, and Augusta Read Thomas. She performed the world premiere of Ken Ueno’s concerto Talus, as well as the American premieres of Luciano Berio’s Naturale, Kaija Saariaho’s Vent Nocturne, and Roberto Sierra’s Viola Concerto. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory and New England Conservatory, Ms. Richman is now based in Ithaca, NY, where she performs and teaches privately at Cornell University. After serving as Assistant Principal Viola of the Portland Symphony Orchestra for four years, she was appointed to the viola section of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Richman is a founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE).


Photo: Alexandra Gardner


David Smooke, composer/toy piano/organizer

Composer David Smooke currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland, where he teaches music theory, rock music history, and composition at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. The Washington Post claims that “Smooke has some of the most uninhibited brain cells around” and describes his music as “superb […] a kaleidoscopic sonic universe where anything could happen.” His honors include those from the Maryland State Arts Council, BMI, the National Association of Composers USA, the MacDowell Colony, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. He has composed commissions for groups and individuals including the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), CUBE, and pianist Amy Briggs. He received an M.M. degree from the Peabody Conservatory, a B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, where he received the Century Fellowship, the highest fellowship offered by the Humanities Division. His composition teachers have included Shulamit Ran, David Rakowski, Robert Hall Lewis, and Richard Wernick. In addition to his composition activities, David performs improvisations on toy piano with the support of Schoenhut toy pianos and also blogs on New Music Box, the online magazine of the American Music Center.

Shirley Yoo, piano

The Washington Post declared pianist Shirley Yoo as having “extraordinary sensitivity and technical skill.” Highlights of performances include concerts at Steinway Hall, London; the Penderecki Festival, Banff; Tata Theatre, Mumbai; Societa Filarmonica, Trento; and Arts Centre, Seoul. Her honors include a top prize at the Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition, a Presser Foundation Award, and a Maryland State Arts Council Grant. Her primary teachers include Raymond Hanson, Ann Koscielny, Noretta Conci-Leech and Ellen Mack.

Shirley graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University and received her Master of Music degree with highest honors at the University of Maryland on a fellowship. After attending the Royal Academy of Music in London, UK, she earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Peabody Conservatory, where she was a faculty member in the Theory Department. Shirley is now Assistant Professor of Piano at Mercyhurst College in Erie, PA where she serves as the coordinator of the keyboard area and is also artist-in-residence as the pianist of the D’Angelo Trio.

Additional Performers with LotUS


Stephen Buck, piano (October 21 concert)



David Schotzko, percussion (October 21 concert)