Connect with Shelley

With an eclectic palette that draws elements from jazz, rock, American folk and other contemporary musical spaces, Washington (b. 1991) seeks to tell memorable sonic stories that comment on current and past social narratives, both personal and observed. Her music has been described as “slightly wild, slightly mysterious” while having the ability to “powerfully [tell] stories” (Peter Alexander).

Shelley is a 2018 recipient of the Jerome Fund for New Music Award and will write a new work for the trio Bearthoven for their upcoming season. In the early fall of 2017, she embarked on her first tour with the Schiele String Quartet to Savannah, Georgia, where her string quartets MIDDLEGROUND and SAY were performed throughout the city. She was also able to work with the students of the Kaufman Music Center’s Face the Music program on her string quartet, MIDDLEGROUND, in 2017. Her relentless baritone saxophone duo, BIG Talk, recorded by herself and saxophonist Dr. José Cabán, was recently released by Brooklyn-based label, People | Places | Records. This was her first widely distributed work available on multiple streaming platforms. Her piece, The Farthest, for choir and chamber ensemble was commissioned by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus for their “Silent Voices” series and premiered in April of 2018. Shelley is also an active performer, and performs regularly as a vocalist and solo saxophonist, primarily wielding the baritone saxophone. She has performed and recorded with ensembles throughout Kansas City, Des Moines, Brooklyn and New York City- anything from Baroque to Screamo. She is also a founding member of the composer collective, Kinds of Kings, which celebrated their debut concert in Tampa, Florida in partnership with Terroir New Music and the Bake n’ Babes in March of 2018.

Washington holds degrees from Truman State University; a Bachelor of Arts in Music focusing on saxophone, and a Master of Arts in Education. She completed the Master of Music in Theory and Composition from NYU Steinhardt in 2017, where she studied with Dr. Joseph Church, Julia Wolfe, and Caroline Shaw. As an educator, she has taught with the New York Philharmonic Very Young Composers program, and also taught budding composers in the Young Composers and Improvisers Workshop. Shelley was the Artistic Director for the Noel Pointer Foundation, located in Brooklyn, NY. Washington now resides in Princeton, New Jersey, and began studies towards the PhD in Music Composition at Princeton University in the Fall of 2018. Shelley is a founding member of the composer collective, Kinds of Kings.