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What is Synergy

Friends in Low Places Quartet is excited to announce a new consortium: Synergy by Brian Nabors. Synergy will be premiered this summer at the 2024 International Double Reed Society conference (July 21st @2:30PM MST) and the International Clarinet Association's ClarinetFest in Dublin, Ireland (August 4th @11:45AM GMT+1). Synergy has THREE VERSIONS: 2 Bass Clarinet and 2 Bassoons, Bass Clarinet Quartet, and Bassoon Quartet.

The work is a showpiece exploring the timbral colors and rhythmic versatility of the unique instrumentation of 2 Bass Clarinets and 2 Bassoons. The word 'synergy' can be described as different agents working together to produce a result greater than achieved separately. The theme of this work is togetherness, with the work's groovy nature and deep lyricism working to achieve a very unique sonic experience.

-Brian Raphael Nabors

The Synergy consortium is open until August 31st, 2024. Joining the consortium gains you access to all three versions of Synergy: 2 Bass Clarinets and 2 Bassoons, 4 Bass Clarinets, and 4 Bassoons. Consortium members have performance and non-commercial recording exclusivity from September 1st, 2024 to August 31st, 2025. Commercial recording freedom will be allowed after September 1st, 2025. All members will be listed on the final published score and are considered co-commissioners. Music will be delivered by September 1st, 2024 in the form of PDF. The cost to join the consortium is $100 for Professionals and $50 for Students.

Please send questions to Friends in Low Places:


Meet Brian

Brian Raphael Nabors [Nay-berz] (b. April 10, 1991, Birmingham, AL) is a composer of emotionally enriching music that tells exciting narratives with its vibrant themes and colorful harmonic language.

Nabors' music has been performed by the Boston, Atlanta, Nashville, Cincinnati, Detroit, Fort Worth, and Munich Symphonies, as well as ROCO Chamber Orchestra, the American Youth Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic and Chineke! Orchestra among others. His music has been performed at many venues and events internationally, including the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Helsinki Festival, and the Lucerne Festival. In the US, the Texas Music Educators Association Conference (TMEA), Midwest Composers Symposium, Texas Flute Society Festival, International Horn Symposium, International Double Reed Society Conference (IDRS), International Clarinet Association Clarinet Fest, National Orchestral Institute (NOI), Aspen Music Festival, and the Tanglewood Music Festival. He has also been performed by artists such as the Atlanta Chamber Players, Apollo Chamber Players, Dallas's Voices of Change, Boston Musica Viva and the Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings. His work has been featured in masterclasses with composers such as William Bolcom, John Harbison, and Lowell Liebermann.

With an eclectic musical palate and crafty compositional technique to match, Nabors’ music draws from combinations of Jazz Funk, R&B, and Gospel with the modern flair of contemporary classical music. This interesting blend of sound worlds is one that continues to craft his unique musical voice.


Recent highlights include a composition fellowship at the Tanglewood Music Center summer 2021; the 2021 Seikilos Focus Fellowship at Air SFI; and an "All-Ohio" String Quartet Project in partnership with The Well, The Cleveland Orchestra, Cincinnati & Columbus Symphony Orchestras.


Performances for the 23-24' season include the Minnesota Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, The Black Iris Project, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and Carnegie Hall. 

A charming southern upbringing exposed Nabors to many deep-rooted musical ideals, many of which are rooted in spirituality; one of the main principles that inspires Nabors’ music. Much of his music deals with new reflections on life, nature, and the human condition. As a pianist, he is proficient in many styles and has performed in several groups, functioning as a church musician, keyboardist in a R&B/Neo Soul band, and classical artist. Having a hand in several genres plays a large role in the type of sound spaces that Nabors creates. It has also broadened his creative/technical facility in realizing his compositional ideas.   

He was named the 2018-19 Composer-in-Residence with the Castle of Our Skins organization in Boston, MA; a 2019 composer fellow in the American Composer’s Orchestra Earshot program with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; a 2019 composer fellow with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra’s Composer Lab; and 2019 cycle five grand prize winner of the Rapido! National Composition Contest by judges Robert Spano, Jennifer Higdon, and Michael Gandolfi. Nabors is also a 2020 Fulbright scholarship recipient to Sydney, Australia, studying with composer Carl Vine at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

​Nabors earned both a Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degree in Composition at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where he studied with Douglas Knehans, Ellen Ruth Harrison and Miguel A. Roig-Francolí. Prior to graduate studies, he obtained a Bachelor of Music Theory & Composition degree from the School of the Arts at Samford University in Birmingham, AL, where he studied composition with Sarana Chou and piano with Kathryn Fouse.


He is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at the Louisiana State University School of Music.

Meet the Friends in Low Places Quartet

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Dr. Andrea C. Baker currently serves as the Assistant Professor of Bassoon at Western Illinois University where she is also the bassoonist of the long-standing Camerata Wind Quintet. She also holds the positions of principal bassoon with Opera in the Ozarks and second bassoon with the Richmond Symphony in Indiana.

Previously, she was the instructor of Double Reeds at Georgia Southern University and held the positions of assistant principal/second bassoon with the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra in Bosnia and Herzegovina and second bassoon with the New England Philharmonic. Recent orchestral performances include the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Symphony, and Chattanooga Symphony.  As a soloist, she was the 2021 winner of the University of Cincinnati wind concerto competition, and the 2017 winner of the Boston Woodwind Society Sherman Walt Merit solo competition. 


An avid chamber musician, Dr. Baker is the bassoonist for Some Light Reeding and Panoply Winds: an international touring wind quintet committed to sharing culture through music. Panoply was a guest ensemble in residence at the 2019 Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival in South Africa. In collaboration with clarinetist Bryce Newcomer, Some Light Reeding aims to improve accessibility and equity among developing woodwind students.

She earned her DMA from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and her Master of Music degree from New England Conservatory. She also holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Penn State University, and her principal teachers and mentors include William Winstead, Martin Garcia, Christopher Sales, Richard Svoboda, Daryl Durran, and Shirley Curtiss.


Caroline Sackleh (she/her) is the Founder and Director of New Downbeat, a new music collective that features women musicians performing works exclusively by living composers, and the Bassoon Instructor at Ball State University.

As an active member of the new music community, Caroline has commissioned 46 world premieres for solo instruments, duos, and small chamber ensembles. In March 2024, New Downbeat was invited to perform a recital and give an academic presentation (“Chamber Music and Community”) at the 6th annual SHE: Festival of Women in Music, at the University of Arkansas. And in the fall of 2021 she curated a panel at New Music Gathering alongside members of New Downbeat, entitled “Starting and Sustaining Your Collective”; which focused on financial limitations, concert curation, and sustaining long-term goals.

In addition to her work within the new music sphere, she is an active freelancer in and around the Cincinnati tri-state area and has performed with many notable orchestras throughout the United States.

Education background: Doctorate in Bassoon Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) with a cognate in Chamber Music, where she studied with William Winstead, Martin Garcia, Christopher Sales, and Martin James. Master’s degree from Louisiana State University, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; both in Bassoon Performance. 

Much of her motivation and inspiration for creating and teaching music comes from her friendships, mother nature, and the desire to express emotions and connect with those who are listening.

As a multi-instrumentalist and educator with a love of musical theatre, Catherine Conlin (she/her/hers) maintains an active career across the United States and is currently the Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Cottey College (Nevada, MO). Originally from Ohio, USA, she received her Bachelor’s from Cleveland State University (CSU), where she studied with Ellen Breakfield-Glick, Dennis Nygren, and long-time Cleveland Orchestra clarinetist Theodore Johnson. In addition to clarinet, she also trained as a soprano with Noriko Fujii-Paukert. While at CSU, Catherine was named the undergraduate winner of the Daniel Rains Solo Competition, performing Debussy’s Premiere Rhapsodie with the CSU Symphony Orchestra. Further, she held the principal clarinet positions with the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra, Cleveland Women’s Orchestra, and Opera Circle. With a passion for making classical music more accessible to audiences, Catherine was a founding member of the woodwind quintet All-Star Winds, who were active participants in the Classical Revolution movement, bringing classical music to bars, coffee shops, and other informal venues. As the baritone saxophone player in her band 6 King Brass, Catherine wrote several of the band’s most popular tunes and had the opportunity to share the stage with the legendary Roger Lewis of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.  


    After moving to Denton, TX, Catherine attended the University of North Texas (UNT) for a Master’s in clarinet performance and a DMA in multiple woodwinds. While at UNT, she studied clarinet with Kimberly Cole Luevano, John Scott, Daryl Coad, and Deb Fabian. She also studied saxophone with Eric Nestler, flute with Mary Karen Clardy, and wind conducting with Dennis Fisher and Eugene Migliaro Corporon. She was a woodwind finalist in UNT’s Concerto Competition and a finalist in the International Clarinet Association’s Orchestral Excerpts Competition. Catherine quickly established herself as an accomplished and highly sought after performer and educator in the DFW area. She is a regular instructor for Bocal Majority’s Clearly Clarinet Camp and a chamber coach for UNT’s ClarEssentials camp. As a pit musician and music director, she plays several musicals each year with a reputation for quality performance. Her versatility and excellent sight-reading skills keep her in high demand, performing for theaters such as Lyric Stage, Grand Prairie Arts Council, Firehouse Theatre, Happy Ending Lyric Players, On Stage in Bedord, Lakeside Community Theatre, Medical City Lewisville Grand Theatre, as well as countless others across the Dallas/Fort Worth, TX and Cleveland, OH areas. 


    Catherine can be heard as a clarinetist on UNT Wind Symphony’s albums Taylor Made, Noteworthy, and Hope. She is also featured on baritone saxophone in Below Jupiter’s album, Sonorous Dithyrambs. She is a member of the International Clarinet Association, the American Federation of Musicians, and Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honors Society. 


Bryce Newcomer is an established performer, music theorist, and educator. Bryce is the Visiting Assistant Professor of Clarinet at Virginia Tech. Previous to VT, Bryce served as Assistant Professor of Woodwinds at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK. As an orchestral performer, Bryce is 2nd/bass clarinet of the Opera in the Ozarks Orchestra and freelances nationally. Recent performances include the Dayton Philharmonic and Ballet, Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, Lexington Philharmonic, Kentucky Symphony, and Springfield Symphony. Bryce was a finalist in the International Clarinet Association’s Orchestral Audition and Research Competitions and a semi-finalist in the Young Artist Competition.

An avid chamber musician, Bryce is the clarinetist of Some Light Reeding and Panoply Winds: A international touring wind quintet committed to sharing culture through music. Panoply was a guest ensemble in residence at the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival in South Africa. Joined by bassoonist Andrea C. Baker, Some Light Reeding duo is driven by a shared mission: to enhance accessibility and equity in woodwind education. With a focus on mentorship and skill development, they provide workshops, masterclasses, and educational resources, aiming to make quality music education universally accessible. Their recent performances include the College Music Society South Central Conference, the American Single Reed Summit, and as guest artists in residence at the Northeastern State University Instrumental Day.

As a theorist, Bryce’s primary research interests include semiotics, performance analysis, timbre, form, and pedagogy. Most recently, he presented research on woodwind Eingänge at the International Clarinet Association’s Clarinetfest and semiotic research on the E-flat Clarinet’s orchestral repertoire at the American Single Reed Summit.

Bryce holds DMA and MM degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in clarinet performance and music theory, and a BM from the University of North Texas.

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