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BIOGRAPHY

Leah Mullen (b.2000) is a composer, vocalist, and conductor, whose work focuses on intersectional feminist philosophies, diverse storytelling, the wilderness, and interpersonal performer relationships. Leah recently received her Master's in Music and Culture (2023) at the University College Dublin in Dublin Ireland, where she has been named a Global Excellence Scholar. She is a recent graduate of the Pennsylvania State University (2022), where she completed a Bachelor of Music in music composition, minor in German, and diversity studies certificate. At Penn State she studied with Dr. Baljinder Sekhon and Dr. Sarah Genevieve Burghart Rice.

Leah has experience writing for a variety of instrumentations and ensembles, including electronics. Her works have been performed across the United States and Europe. Some of Leah’s most recent commissions include: A Liberty Bond, a flute and piano duo for Joshua Benitez, here, now, a chamber ensemble work for CORVUS through the Composing in the Wilderness program, Advice To A Girl, a choral work for the Penn State Concert Choir, and It’s a Gift, a tuba and piano piece for Dan Burdick’s The Gay Tuba Songbook project. Some of the other ensembles Leah has written for include: loadbang, Transient Canvas, HUB New Music, Ensemble ICC, and Duo Zonda.

Leah enjoys working on collaborative and interdisciplinary projects. She regularly collaborates in opera, theater, and dance. Currently she is a part of the Avani Collective, based in Dublin, Ireland. She has premiered dance/theater works with them around Ireland. Most recently, the piece, Kolam at the Imagine Arts Festival in Waterford City, Ireland. In February, she will premiere da.da.da with the collective at the Scene and Heard New Works Festival in Dublin, Ireland. She has also been commissioned by Chelsea Opera for their, Reimagine: Forging the future through song concert, and a mini opera, Sidewalk Serenade. Leah has likewise composed music for the play, Headspace, by Frederick D. Miller.

Leah regularly presents her compositions and research at university events around the world. In the United States, she has presented her work at Penn State’s Annual Sustainability Institute Spotlight, Bard College’s Storytelling: Winning the Climate Narrative event through the World-Wide Climate Teach-In, Penn State’s IllumiNATION art expo, and Bucknell’s 9th Annual Sustainability Symposium. In Europe, Leah has presented at Musicology in Progress at the University of Pavia, Italy. Most recently, Leah presented at the 2023 Uhambo Luyazilawula: Embodied Wandering Practices PSI Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Leah has participated in multiple new music festivals and workshops, including the Alba Music Festival, Longy’s Divergent Studio, the SPLICE Institute, Really Spicy Opera’s Libretto Workshop, and the Charlotte New Music Festival. Leah has served as a social media intern for both the Alba Music Festival and the Charlotte New Music Festival. Most recently, Leah participated in the 2022 Composing in the Wilderness Backpacking Trip. 

In 2023, Leah was named a winner of the 2023 West Cork Young Composers Competition (Ireland) for her string quartet, The Hartford, 1894. In 2021, Leah was the winner of the Pennsylvania Chamber Winds’ Call for Scores for her woodwind quintet, Five for Five. Likewise, her fixed media playback piece, Ritual, was selected for the 2021 National Student Electronic Music Event. 

As a performer, Leah has premiered some of her own works, as well works by other new music composers, including Gabriel L. Newvine, David Adu-Appeagyei, Emily McPherson, Jacqueline Fletcher, Oisín Dilger, and Lark McIvor. She has been a member of the Penn State Opera Theater, Oswego Opera Theater, Oriana Singers, Discantus, No Refund Theater, and the University College Dublin Composition Ensemble. Currently, Leah is a composer/vocalist/performer with the Avani Collective. Furthermore, Leah is the new (autumn 2023) musical director for the Glória LGBT+ Choir in Dublin.

Leah was the 2021-2022 President and 2020-2021 Vice President of Living Music, a new music club at Penn State and was a panel member for the Penn State Young Composers Contest from 2019-2022. Leah was also a member of the Penn State Empow(h)er committee from 2020-2022.

Leah is the recipient of the Penn State 2022 Creative Achievement Award, the Penn State 2021 Valley Family Scholarship, the 2021 Penn State School of Music Eleanor Beene Award, and the 2019 Penn State President’s Award for Academic Excellence. Furthermore, Leah was the Penn State nominee for the Marshall and Mitchell postgraduate scholarships, and the Penn State School of Music nominee for the Golumbic Scholarship in Humanistic Achievement.

Along with conducting the Glória LGBT+ Choir, Leah also teaches music theory at University College Dublin, and teaches private voice and piano lessons.

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