Composers, Inc. was formed in 1984 as a nonprofit advocate for living American composers. Its programming is determined by a collective of six Artistic Directors: Robert Greenberg, Frank La Rocca, Martin Rokeach, Ryan Rey, Allen Shearer, and Nick Vasallo. All are active composers in the Bay Area; both La Rocca and Rokeach have been with the organization since its inception.
Begun as a forum for performances of new works by the Artistic Directors and their fellow American composers, the organization was dreamed up by Mark Miller, a music student of Rokeach and La Rocca at what was then named Cal-State Hayward. While Miller soon moved on to pursue his ultimate calling, a career in business, his bold vision of starting a new music group was fully realized by four composer/teachers in their late 20s and early 30s and continues to this day.
Composers, Inc. has evolved into a high-profile, nationally known organization whose annual Lee Ettelson Composer’s Award competition draws 250 to 300 entries each year. Many important composers, including Martin Bresnick, David Lang and Mason Bates received their first national recognition as an Ettelson award recipient. The public three-concert series each season enjoys the high caliber performances of top quality professional musicians drawn from the Bay Area, the U.S. and internationally.