The Composer Members shown below are no longer with us, but we honor their contributions to the New York Composers Circle by preserving their memory here in Memoriam. The following four members were presented with the title of Honorary Member of the New York Composers Circle. You may visit their profiles by clicking HERE.

  • ELLIOT CARTER (1908-2012)
  • JOHN EATON (1935-2015)
  • DINU GHEZZO (1941-2011)
  • EZRA LADERMAN (1924-2015)


Composer, pianist, and recording artist Bunny Beck (1936-2021) was awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree in Music Composition from the Vermont College of Fine Arts where she studied primarily with Andy Jaffe, Roger Zahab and Rick Baitz. Bunny composed contemporary classical music and jazz. Her most recent works are jazz composition “Breathe”, “Suite for Sarro” for string trio, “Fantasy for Saxophones” and “Two Rivers and An Ocean” for pitched and non-pitched percussion.

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Margaret Fairlie-Kennedy (1925-2013) was commissioned by many contemporary dance companies and chamber groups, and worked with noted choreographers Takehiro Ueyama in New York, Bill Bayles at Bennington College, and Peggy Lawler at Cornell. Her music extends the usual sonorities of the instruments and has a strong rhythmic drive at its core. She composed works for voice, orchestra, and mixed media. She was Composer in Residence for Dance and Theater Arts at Bennington College and Cornell University. Awards and Grants include the NEA and NEH Endowments, the Georgia Commission on the Arts, Meet the Composer grants, and the Cornell Council for Creative and Performing Arts. She was a winner inthe Philadelphia Classical Symphony/Maxfield Parrish and Women Composers' Showcase, New Jersey City University competitions with her work Desert Echoes.

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Brian Fennelly (1937-2015) studied at Yale with Mel Powell, Donald Martino, Allen Forte, Gunther Schuller, and George Perle (M.Mus 1965, Ph.D. 1968). From 1968 to 1997 he was Professor of Music in the Faculty of Arts and Science at New York University, and retired with the title Professor Emeritus. In addition to a Guggenheim fellowship, his awards include three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, two commissions from the Koussevitsky Foundation, as well as commissions from the Fromm Foundation, Meet the Composer, Reader’s Digest, and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. In 1997 he received a lifetime achievement award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has been awarded composer residencies at the Rockefeller Foundation Center in Bellagio (Italy), Camargo Foundation in Cassis (France), Bogliasco Foundation (Italy), and Copland House (NY).

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Born in Brooklyn, NY (1922-2014), Kraft attended Queens College and Princeton University, and studied composition with Karol Rathaus, Randall Thompson, and Nadia Boulanger. Kraft later returned to Queens College, where he served a long tenure as a respected faculty member of the Aaron Copland School of Music (City University of New York). He was a founding member of the College Music Society, served as president of the American Music Center, and was also an active member of the Society of Composers Inc, the Society for Music Theory, and the League of Composers/International Society for Contemporary Music. A member of ASCAP, Kraft was a prolific composer to the end in his 92nd year. While the majority of Kraft’s catalog features chamber pieces, he also wrote works for orchestra, chorus, voice and piano. He was an activemember of NYCC until his death.


Orlando Lopes Legname (1922-2014), a noted composer, conductor, and theorist, taught at the State University of New York, Oneonta for 15 years, where he served as the founder and Director of the Audio Arts Production Program, Director of the Chamber Orchestra, and Department Chair. Dr. Legname was noted for his innovative work on the development of new electronic music instruments, augmented conducting techniques, graphic music notation, and as an Avid Certified Pro Tools Expert. He was recipient of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Creative Activities, the Susan Sutton Smith Award for Academic Excellence, and the Academic Excellence Award for Innovative Uses of Instructional Technology.In addition, Dr. Legname received several honors for his compositions, which have been performed in the United States, Italy, Ireland, Spain, and Brazil.

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Stephen Leibholz (1932-2014) was a physicist and entrepreneur who studied composition with Isaac Nemiroff, and taught the acoustic and physiological foundations of composition at the Manhattan School of Music. He liked to claim that he had not yet composed anything really noteworthy (pun). In his day job, Stephen was the CEO and Chief Scientist of TechLabs. He served as Trustee of the Cheltenham Center for the Arts, and was a Former Trustee of the Jenkintown Music School (now merged with Philadelphia’s Settlement Music School). He was also an advisor to and helped found the Kansas City Camerata, and was a Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute. In addition to being an active memberof the New York Composers Circle, he also served as the Chairman of the Board for many years.


Terry Winter Owens (1941-2007) was an internationally-published composer and pianist based in New York City. Her music has been described as "... hauntingly beautiful ... with a magnetic quality which draws both performer and audience into a different world." The Bangkok Times specially noted the "remarkably evocative sonorities" of her music. Owens's catalogue includes works for piano, two pianos, chamber and vocal ensembles, and symphony orchestra. Influenced by the Post-Webernian school in the 1950s, Owens's music evolved over the years in a modal direction which she calls the Resonant Continuum. Her compositions are transparent in texture with soaring pointillistic phrases. She also composed in traditional, historical idioms exemplified by her Homage To Corelli written in the Baroque style and an album of piano pieces, Serenades to the Composers in 19th century harmonic and stylistic idioms.

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Joseph Pehrson (1950-2020) has written works for a wide variety of media including orchestra and chamber works. They have been performed at numerous venues including Merkin Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Symphony Space in New York and throughout the U.S., Eastern Europe and Russia. Since 1983, Pehrson has been co-director of the Composers Concordance in New York. He studied at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Michigan (DMA 1981). Pehrson’s teachers included composers Leslie Bassett, Joseph Schwantner, and, informally, Otto Luening and Elie Siegmeister in New York. As of 2008, he has written more than 14 hours of music.

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Frank Retzel (1948-2018) had an accomplished career as a composer, conductor, performer and educator. He began musical studies at an early age and received degrees from Wayne State University and the University of Chicago where he received his Ph. D. in 1978. Frank Retzel was awarded numerous prizes, grants and commissions for his work, including a prize from the League of Composers/International Society for Contemporary Music, fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Fulbright Commission and Mellon Foundation. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1988. Frank Retzel’s compositions were commissioned by numerous ensembles and solo artists and performed to acclaim all over the world. In 1995, he was commissioned to compose the main opening and closing for the Mass with Pope John Paul II in New York City. Additionally, Frank Retzel has composed more than 40 full-scale compositions for all mediums, many of which have been performed and recorded by major artists around the world.


Cesar Vuksic (1944-2015) was a pianist, composer, and painter, who appeared throughout the USA, South America, Europe, and Japan as a recitalist, soloist with orchestra, and chamber musician. He premiered numerous compositions by South and North American composers, some of them written especially for him. As a composer, his own works were performed in the U.S. and Latin America by outstanding musicians and presented in concerts and festivals by musical organizations such as Buenos Aires New Music Association, Americas Society, North-South Consonance (New York), New York University, Western Michigan University, InterAmerican Music Festival (Washington, DC) , Meet the Composer, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Queens Council on the Arts, Langston Hughes Cultural Center and the Americas Vocal Ensemble.Critic Harold Schonberg wrote in the American Record Guide about his CD Tangos, Preludes, Etudes: “Vuksic is a sound and sensitive musician with a technique big enough to handle anything that comes his way.”