Nomi Epstein

Adjunct Lecturer



Barnard College, Columbia University BA in Music 2000 New England Conservatory of Music, M.M in Music Composition 2003 Bienen School of Music, Northwestern University, Doctor of Music in Composition 2008


Nomi Epstein is a Chicago-based composer, curator, performer and music educator. Her compositions center around her interest in sonic fragility, where structure arises out of textural subtleties. Her music has been performed throughout the US, Europe, and Asia by such artists as ICE, Ensemble SurPlus, Mivos Quartet, Wet Ink, Dal Niente, Noble Fowl Trio, Quince Vocal Ensemble, Rhymes With Opera, Seth Josel, Reinier van Houdt, and Eliza Garth, and at festivals such as Ostrava Days, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Darmstadt, Tanglewood, Bang on a Can, and Akademie Schloss Solitude.  She has contributed works to Australian flutist Janet McKay’s 2009 US tour “Those Vanished Hands,” guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan’s “New Lullaby Project” and percussionist Joe Bergen’s new vibraphone collection “For Semy.” She was twice invited as an Artist-in-Residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and has received grants from The Foundation of Contemporary Arts (Emergency Grant), Chicago’s DCASE (Individual Artist Grant), and New Music USA (CAP Grant).  In 2016, she was awarded the inaugural Staubach Teaching Fellowship for Darmstadt.  She was featured in the Chicago Tribune for her work as a composer, curator, teacher, and performer.


Her recent sound installations include commissions from the Experimental Sound Studio for her the Florasonic project (2018) and from the University of Chicago for the Chicago Sound Show (2019).  Her work has been recorded by Chen Li Music and New Focus Recordings and in 2020 she will release two portrait CD’s of her compositions.


Epstein is an active and passionate curator and producer, founding and leading, the critically acclaimed experimental music performance collective devoted to notated, acoustic, post-Cagean experimental music.  In 2012, she curated and produced the 5-concert John Cage centennial festival in Chicago involving performers, sound artists, dancers, and multi-media artists from around the Midwest.  Her work with Cage’s music and influence led her to present at numerous centennial events. She was invited to present at the Northwestern University Cage Symposium and serve as composer-in-residence at the Florida State University Cage Festival. 


In 2014, Epstein co-organized (with Peter Margasak) The Chicago Wandelweiser Festival which brought Jürg Frey, Eva-Maria Houben, and R. Andrew Lee to Chicago for the 4 festival events.  The festival featured’s debut album release concert, a cd of ensemble works by Jürg Frey on which Epstein performs.  In 2017, she co-organized (with Shanna Gutierrez) the first US large-scale festival of the music of Galina Ustvolskaya, 'Power In Sound,' a 3 day festival in conjuction with a conference organized by the U of Chicago/UIC 'Found in Time: Forgotten Experiments in Soviet Arts.'


As a practitioner of experimental music, Epstein performs regularly with ensemble, her multimedia, experimental improvisation trio NbN, and ELMS.   She continues to write, research, lecture on, perform, commission, and program experimental music.


As an educator, she has served on the faculties of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern, DePaul and Roosevelt Universities, and in 2016 served as Visiting Assistant Professor of Composition at the University of Iowa.  She was head of theory at the British School from 2007-2016.  Epstein holds degrees from Columbia University, New England Conservatory, and Northwestern University.

Courses Taught

Mus 103
Mus 104
Mus 107