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Memphis Composers

Memphis area composers, including current and former faculty, students, community members.

Composers H-P

Composers H-P

Marjan Helms, 1951-

Dr. Marjan Helms holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in composition from Memphis State University and a Master's of Arts in Liturgical Studies from University of Notre Dame. Helms is currently Composer-in-Residence for the Michigan State University Community Music School, where she composes and teaches composition and piano. She has composed choral, instrumental, orchestral works as well as works for theatre.


At Music Library

Magnificat for contralto, mixed chorus, and orchestra score


In WorldCat

Voices of a vanished world score CD

Rip van Winkle score

Tum balalayka : traditional Russian Yiddish score

Nocturne : for piano score

Laura Hoffman

Dr. Laura Ricketts Hoffman holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in composition from the University of Memphis where she studied with Don Freund. Hoffman's music has been performed in Canada, the United States, and Australia and she has received commissions from Upstream, Dalhousie University, CBC Radio, and the Aeolian Singers. Her eclectic compositions have been influenced by a broad range of music, from Bartók to Spike Jones. Hoffman was a founding member of the Memphis Composers' Alliance, Inc. and has served as its President and Secretary. She has also been Secretary of the Atlantic Canadian Composers' Association, Executive of the Canadian League of Composers, and a member of the Southeastern Composers' League and Society of Composers, Inc.


" the depth, or in the height above." viola, cello 1989 score

Concerto for Piano piano, full orchestra, 1987 score

Darker colours, trombone and piano, 2002. Commissioned by Dale Sorensen with assistance from the Nova Scotia Arts Council

Sing a New Song, SSA Youth Choir, 2002

Fog, Soprano, double bass, vibraphone, 2002

the sea forever changed, string quartet, 1998/2002,

Around in Circles, guitar and chamber ensemble, 1998.Written for Joey Tucker

And who will fill the void, string orchestra, 1997/2002, written for the Dalhousie Chamber Orchestra

It's just another puzzle, soprano saxophone, 1997, written for Darcy Fiander

Dick and Jane and Mr. McGuffey, flute and piano, 1997

Jester, solo piano, 1995

And with the leaving, Compline brass ensemble, 1995, written for the Sewanee Festival Brass

Not everyone agrees, saxophone quartet, improvisational as well as notated sections, 1995, written for Trevor Dimoff

Can If I Want To, chamber ensemble, improvisational as well as notated sections, 1994, commissioned by Upstream

Everything Is Free, SATB, piano, text by George Elliott Clarke, commissioned by Dalhousie University for the Fall Convocation, 1994

Some Places More Than Others, piano suite, 1991/94,

La Barque Mystique, Soprano saxophone, violin, 1993

Just Around the Bend, string quartet, 1994,

And Through the North Passage organ, 1991

It will never, ever... cello, 1990,

Says Who! violin, piano 1989,

One by One, viola, piano, 1987

Autumn Song, violin, 1986

Crossfire trumpet duet, 1985

Kamran Ince

Kamran Ince, 1960 -

Dr. Kamran Ince holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College (1982) and a Master's of Music (1984) and a Doctorate of Musical Arts (1987) from the Eastman School of Music. He was born in Glendive, Montana and moved at the age of six with his family to Turkey. He entered the Ankara State Conservatory in 1971 at the age of ten, where he began studying cello and piano, and began taking composition lessons with İlhan Baran. In 1977 Ince entered the İzmir University where he studied composition with Muammer Sun although Ince returned to the United States in 1978 where he enrolled at the Oberlin College in Ohio in 1980. His teachers there included David Burge (piano), Joseph Schwantner, Christopher Rouse, Samuel Adler and Barbara Kolb (composition).

Ince won a Prix de Rome and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1987, and the Lili Boulanger Memorial Prize in 1988. In 1990 he moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan to become a visiting professor at the University of Michigan, and in 1992 joined the faculty of the University of Memphis where he teaches composition and co-directs the University of Memphis Imagine New Music Festival. In addition, İnce founded the Center for Advanced research in Music at Istanbul Technical University, which he has directed since 1999.


Links to scores and recordings in the U of M collection are indicated.

Academica : rhapsodic overture : for orchestra scoreCD


Arches : for chamber ensemble

Blue journey (1982) : for piano solo

Cross scintillations : 1986 : for piano with two players

Curve : for string quartet

Deep flight : for orchestra

Domes : for orchestra

Ebullient shadows : for orchestra

Evil eye deflector : Turkish rock

Fantasie of a sudden turtle : a piano quartet

Fest : for new music ensemble and orchestra

Hammer music

Hot, red, cold, vibrant : for orchestra

In memoriam, 8/17/99 : for piano

Infrared : for orchestra

David Lee Joyner

Dr. David Deacon-Joyner is Professor and Director of Jazz Studies at Pacific Lutheran University. He received a Bachelors degree in composition and a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Memphis, and a master’s degree in composition from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Deacon-Joyner is a native of Memphis, Tennessee and was mentored by jazz piano great James Williams. He studied composition with Donald Freund and Jonathan Kramer, and ethnomusicology with David Evans. Deacon-Joyner came to western Washington from the University of North Texas in Denton, where he held the position of Associate Professor of Jazz Studies from 1986 to 2000.

Deacon-Joyner has served as a clinician and adjudicator at festivals and workshops in Tennessee, Alabama, Texas, Ohio, Oregon, Nevada, California, New Mexico, Idaho, and Washington. He was the lead instructor for the Great Basin Jazz Camp from 2008-2012, and is a member of the steering committee for The Seattle Jazz Experience. A scholar in jazz and popular music, he has written numerous published articles and books, including a chapter for The Cambridge History of American Music and the third edition of his history text American Popular Music, published by McGraw-Hill. He has free-lanced for over thirty years in the Memphis, Cincinnati, and Dallas/Fort Worth areas. He has performed with jazz artists such as Bobby Shew, Marvin Stamm, Marc Johnson, Ed Soph, and others. He arranged big band charts for Jeff Coffin, saxophonist with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and the Jeff Coffin Mu’tet, published by UNC Press. He has also composed works for choir, orchestra, and wind ensemble. In addition to his work as a composer and arranger, Deacon-Joyner is a professional vocalist in both studio and live settings.


Concerto for Jazz Band score

Southern Ragtime and its Transition to Published Blues dissertation

Lyn Joyner

Lyn Joyner

Lyn (Emelyn) Gillick Joyner is Organist (CAGO) and Choir Director at All Saints Episcopal Church. She holds a B.S. from Skidmore College; an M.A. from New York University; and a D.M.A. in Composition from the University of Memphis, where her primary instructor was Don Freund. Dr. Joyner began her studies in composition after writing music for three productions at La Mama Experimental Theatre Club in New York City.

In Memphis, as a composer she has collaborated with George Latimer, Karen Zissoff, Sally Radell, and Maxine Strawder. She has composed music for dances and multimedia works that have been performed at the Orpheum Theatre, Theatre Memphis, Evergreen Theater, and the Dixon Gallery, among other venues. She has won three GMMTA "Composer of the Year" Awards, as well as a Gold Addy (1991) for music accompanying a television commercial. She is a founding member and officer of the Memphis Composers Alliance, which was later named the Mid-South Composers Forum.

A lifelong church musician, Dr. Joyner continues to write and arrange music for worship, as well as keyboard and chamber works. A new interest for her includes composing for the hammered dulcimer.


Epiphany Carols for Viola and Piano  score

Three Old Yuletide Carols score

Oak Leaf Ballad for Viola Trio score

3 Settings of Billings' Tunes for Hammered Dulcimer and Cello  score:

I-Africa - But Be of Good Cheer

II-Vermont - With Grace, Not with Meats

III-Rose of Sharon - Rose of Sharon

3 Messages for Piano  score

2 Dances for Hammered Dulcimer  score

Come, Traveler Unknown - for hammered dulcimer and organ  score

My Shepherd - for hammered dulcimer and organ  score

He Is Risen - for organ  score

Holy Manna - quartet for 4 dulcimers  score

Simple Gifts - for organ  score

6 Old Yuletide Carols for Hammered Dulcimer and Cello - dedicated to Ann Kendall Ray, cellist and musicologist score

D.M.A. Composition Dissertation: Media for Soprano and Chamber Orchestra (1989)  score


Douglas Lemmon, 1946-2000

Mr. Douglas Lemmon was Professor of Music (trombone) at the University of Memphis. His studied music at the University of Illinois where his teachers included Robert Gray. He died 3 January, 2000 in Knoxville, Tennessee.


At University of Memphis

Trio : for two trumpets and trombone score


On WorldCat

Analog : for trombone​ score

Preludes SAC : fifteen organ hymn preludes for chuch services score

High On the Mountain Top score

Good Christian men rejoice score

Shirley W. McRae

Ms. Shirley W. McRae is Professor Emerita at the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis, where she taught for 25 years and served as Coordinator of Music Education for seven years. At the University of Memphis, she taught courses in aural theory, children's choirs, hymnology, choral conducting, and music education. Prior to her appointment to the University of Memphis faculty, McRae was an elementary school music specialist. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, she holds a Bachelor's degree in piano performance from Texas Woman's University, where she was elected to Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities. She received her M.A. and M. Ed. degrees and four levels of Orff certification from the University of Memphis. McRae was also national co-chair of the 2005 Conference of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association in Birmingham.

McRae is a widely known specialist in Orff Schulwerk, an innovative approach to teaching music to children, and has taught certification courses at the University of Wyoming, Central Connecticut State University, Samford University, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, University of Central Florida, and the University of Memphis. She also presents numerous in-service workshops in cities in the United States and Canada and has presented sessions at national conferences of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association and at state and regional MENC meetings. She has long been active in adult and children's choirs, serving as children's choir director at Evergreen Presbyterian Church in Memphis from 1988-93, and is an active clinician in choir festivals and regional summer seminars (Lake Junaluska and Montreat, in North Carolina). She was a member of the editorial board of The Chorister.

McRae has published nine books of folk and original songs arranged for treble voices and Orff instruments. Two of these collections, Celebrate and Let Us Praise God (Augsburg Fortress), are intended for children's church choirs. Shared Harmony (2001) presents folk and original materials for early experiences in part singing. She has secular and sacred mixed choral works published by G.I.A., Broude Brothers, Abingdon, Neil A. Kjos, Plymouth (now Colla Voce), Alliance, Pavane, Hal Leonard, Choristers Guild, and Mark Foster. Four compositions have won awards in contests sponsored by Ithaca College and the Denver Women's Chorus. She is a contributing composer to the United Methodist Hymnal Supplement (I and II), Rejoice, Give Thanks and Sing (SAB anthems) and was the featured author and composer in the May 1991 and September 1995 editions of Church Music Workshop (Abingdon Press).

A major work, Directing the Children's Choir: A Comprehensive Resource, was published in 1991 by Schirmer Books and covers all aspects of the choir program, establishing a philosophical base as well as providing many practical ideas. It is now undergoing extensive revision. A recorder group method book, Tutoring Tooters , was released in September 1990, by Memphis Musicraft. Published in 1995 by Abingdon Press is a collection of descants to 45 hymn tunes, High Praise. A commissioned hymn tune appears in the 1997 Supplement To the Hymnal 1982 of the Episcopal church.

Five of her compositions have been commercially recorded on the Pro Organo, Penguin Digital, and Mark Custom labels. One of these works was chosen by National Public Radio for the program, "Pipe Dreams," aired in April and December 1992. Choral pieces have been performed in New York's Alice Tully Hall (1990) and Carnegie Hall (1994). She was the 1991 recipient of the Dean's Faculty Creative Achievement Award at the University of Memphis and has received ASCAP awards each year since 1993 for her compositions. "The Song Inside of Me," commissioned for the Tennessee Bicentennial, 1996, was declared by Resolution 221 of the State Legislature the official state Bicentennial song. In 2000 she was nominee for Premier Music Teacher of the Year by the Memphis Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.


American sampler : ethnic and regional American folk songs arranged for unchanged voices and Orff instruments score

Angel at the door : Southern folksongs : voices and Orff instruments score

Carol of Creation : unison/two part voices with keyboard and percussion score

Chatter with the angels : folk songs from the American Black tradition score

Christ was born in Bethlehem : combined (unison and SATB) choirs with organ, flute and Orff instruments score

Fair warning : a testament to independence in old age score

Glow ree bee : traditional Black spirituals arranged for unchanged voices and Orff instruments score

The Gospel train : three-part treble voices with percussion score

Hodie score

Let us praise God : music for unison / two part voices and Orff instruments score

Lift up your voices : a set of four anthems for Communion, Thanksgiving-General, Advent and Christmas score

Litany for advent score

Love's music : for treble chorus (SSAA) and piano or harp score

Maria wanders through the thorn score

The moon's secret score

Music alone shall : unison/three-part canon with optional keyboard score

Now the green blade rises : a spring carol score

Old Dan Tucker : three-part treble voices with keyboard percussion score

Playtime : instrumental pieces for Orff ensembles score

Sing a new song score

Sing Noel : three Christmas songs for unison voices with Orff instruments score

Songs for the east wind : four Asian hymns for unison voices and Orff instruments score

There is no rose score

Three mountain carols : unison voices with Orff instruments score

Tutoring tooters : a group recorder method score

Your trusting child : unison voices with keyboard, opt. soprano glockenspiel, flute and finger cymbals score

Rhendle Michael Millen

Dr. Rhendle Michael Millen received a Bachelor of Music and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Memphis State University as well as a Master of Music from the University of Alabama. A faculty member at St. Mary's Episcopal School for Girls in Memphis, Tennessee since 1984, Millen conducts the instrumental ensembles and teaches Instrumental Music, Advanced Placement Music Theory, Honors Humanities I and II, and serves as Chair of the Performing Arts department.

In addition to his duties at St. Mary's and with the Bartlett Community Concert Band, Millen regularly performs with the Tupelo Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. He is a former Director of Music at Shady Grove Presbyterian Church i(1990-2010) in Memphis. He has also been a guest conductor for such groups as the River City Concert Band, the Memphis State University Orchestra and Symphonic Band, and Roscoe's Surprise Orchestra.

His honors and awards include the Tennessee Association of Independent Schools’ Hubert Smothers Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2008, United States Department of Education Presidential Scholars Program Distinguished Teacher award in 2006, and commendations from the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, The University of Chicago, and Stanford University for excellence in teaching. In 2009, Millen became the first male to ever be awarded the St. Mary’s Gold Cross.

A past president of the Memphis Composer's Alliance, there have been numerous performances of his works throughout the United States at such venues as the American Society of Composer's Regional Conference in Miami, Florida, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and the Flute Festival '87 in Nagadoches, Texas. At the University of Memphis, he was three times awarded the Johannes Smit Composition Award and twice the Naiomi Haimson Composition Prize. At the University of Alabama he received the Mu Phi Epsilon Composition Award. In 1988, Millen was named the Greater Memphis Music Teachers' Association Composer of the Year.


Stars of light : a celebration of Psalms score

A brief introduction : for solo B♭ clarinet score

Urashima : a ballet in one act score

Robert G. Patterson

Robert G. Patterson

Dr. Robert G. Patterson lives in Memphis, Tennessee. He has recently received commissions from the Iris Chamber Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra. His works have been given performances in Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as across the United States and Canada. He is also the founder and director of the Riverside Wind Consort, a small performing group dedicated to chamber music for wind instruments.

Patterson holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Memphis, and Oberlin College, having studied composition with George Crumb, Jay Reise, Don Freund, and John Baur. His compositions have received numerous awards, including the 1999 University of Michigan Bands Commission, the 1994 International Composition Prize from the City of Tarragona in Spain, and the 1990 Distinguished Composer of the Year award from the Music Teachers National Association.

In addition to his work as a composer, Patterson is also a horn player with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and a software developer.


Fantasy and stomping music CD

Jubilate Deo : a motet for chorus (SATB), solo soprano, chamber wind ensemble, pipe organ, percussion score

Lustration for the millennium : for oboe (or soprano saxophone) and piano with optional pitch-bending gongs and large tam-tam score

Music for clarinet, violin and piano score

Prisms : for woodwind quintet (1987/1990) score CD

Psalm of faith in the wilderness CD

Quartet for natural horn and strings CD

Five medieval dances CD

Stomp Igor (1998) CD

Valediction : for eight horns score CD


Stom Igor / University of Michigan Symphonic Band MP3

James Peebles

James Peebles is a classical singer-composer, born in Memphis in 1952. He is a graduate of The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and the University College of the University of Memphis, where he was awarded the Johannes Smit Prize for undergraduate composition. He received a M.Mus. degree from Westminster Choir College where he appeared with the Princeton Composers Ensemble and the Princeton Singers. A number of his performances and compositions have been recorded by Pro Organo and broadcast on NPR and PRI. His "performance art" score, "X-Static: The Reveries of St. Teresa," was commissioned by the University of Texas at Arlington with co-funding by the National Endowment of the Arts. Another work, "Hymn in the Holy Nativity," was premiered by Kallen Esperian at the Memphis Chamber Music Society and conducted by John Ayer. An earlier piece, "William's Song," was first performed by Joan Lippincott and the choir of Princeton's University Chapel. His setting of "Joly Wat" was conducted by George Guest at St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Memphis. In addition, his acapella score for "As You Like It" was produced in London at the behest of Ian Judge of The Royal Shakespeare Company. He has also served as principal soloist in Lalo Schifrin's Cantos Aztecas, Claude Debussy's L'enfant prodigue, Arvo Part's Miserere, alternated with Ellis Rabb as Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream at Theatre Memphis, and portrayed Oscar Wilde in New York in "Between Passion and Poetry" directed by Nigel Hawthorne on Theatre Row. 


In addition to the works mentioned above, representative works include "Until Shiloh Come," "By the Wilds of Swan Creek," and "Love on My Heart from Heaven Fell."

Samples of the works of James Peebles are available online at Peebles.

Paul Pellay


Chamber concerto for viola and 9 players (op. 55) score

Thesaurus of violinistic fiendishness streaming audio

John David Peterson

Dr. John David Peterson was Associate Director for Graduate Studies in Music at the University of Memphis where he taught courses in Organ, Musicology, and Music Theory. He held a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Organ Performance from the University of Michigan.

Peterson was a frequent performer throughout the United States both as organist and as chamber pianist. He was co-editor of the acclaimed Concordia edition of Bach’s Orgelbüchlein, and his articles have appeared in The Diapason, The American Organist, The Organ, The Hymn, and Opera Quarterly. His compositions and arrangements are published by Augsburg Fortress, L. K. Drew, MorningStar Music Publishers, Neil A. Kjos Music Company, and Bärenreiter Ausgabe.

He was a 2002 recipient of The University of Memphis Distinguished Teaching Award.



5 short preludes on American folk hymns score

Camptown Mozart : for organ, piano or electronic keyboard score

Three Christmas fantasies score

Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele : for organ score

Three preludes on Christmas hymns score



Harmonies du soir : pour Grand Orgue / Franz Liszt ; adaption pour Grand Orgue au style du Max Reger par John David Peterson score

Five pieces for organ / by Johann Sebastian Bach ; transcribed and completed by John David Peterson.

Orgelbüchlein : with introduction, figured-bass chorales, texts, and commentary / Johann Sebastian Bach ; edited and prepared by Robert Clark and John David Peterson. Edition CD