Crazy Jane Composers come from a diverse range of backgrounds, experience, interests, education, location, ages, and musical focus. This makes for an intriguing, eclectic mix at every concert, including works for soloists, chamber ensembles of every mix, electronic works, dance, poetry, and acting.

All Crazy Jane Composers meet regularly to develop and promote our concert series in Portland, Oregon. All women who are current members of Cascadia Composers and can attend Portland-area planning meetings are invited to join us on our annual concert adventure.


Susan Alexjander

Composer Susan Alexjander’s work is about the interconnections between light and sound, science, art, geometry and our universal stories. She’s a presenter, musician, and perpetual student whose CDs and film soundtracks have achieved international acclaim in galleries, publications, and performances including collaborations at the National Academy of Science in Washington, D.C., the Chemical Heritage Foundation … Continue reading Susan Alexjander

Elizabeth Blachly-Dyson

Elizabeth Blachly-Dyson is a molecular biologist turned composer who started writing music after several years of accompanying her son to his composition lessons.  She has played the cello in the Marylhurst Symphony and the Pacific Crest Youth Sinfonietta for several years, and both orchestras have performed her compositions.  Several of her chamber music works have … Continue reading Elizabeth Blachly-Dyson

Cynthia Stillman Gerdes

Cynthia Stillman Gerdes writes mostly chamber music for traditional instruments in a light contemporary style. From tangos to a conversation among backyard birds to a sonic snapshot of Idaho history, and caricatures of human behaviors, her compositions explore ways of expressing the everyday while trying to combine it all with depth and lightness, humor and … Continue reading Cynthia Stillman Gerdes

Jan Mittelstaedt

  Jan Mittelstaedt holds a BS in education from Bucknell University, a BA in music from Marylhurst University and a MM in composition from The University of Portland. Her composition teacher at The U of Portland, Dr. Walter Saul, continues to be her mentor. President of Cascadia Composers, NACUSA, Jan is published by Schaum Publications, … Continue reading Jan Mittelstaedt

Liz Nedela

Liz Nedela, MM, MEd, BA, teaches piano and composition in Vancouver WA. She is fond of contemporary composition techniques, counterpoint, ethnic, modal and early music, and weaves these aspects into her compositions. She writes music in many genres, instruments and voice, completing commissions from music teachers organizations, church, orchestra, chamber music, Women’s Music festivals, and … Continue reading Liz Nedela

Linda Woody

Linda Woody lives in West Linn, Oregon and graduated in 2013 from Marylhurst University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Bachelor of Music in Composition. She studied music composition with Dr. Bob Priest and Dr. John Paul. She enjoys writing for a variety of ensembles, including handbell choir, choral groups, piano trio, … Continue reading Linda Woody

Jennifer Wright

Jennifer Wright is a pianist, teacher, composer, graphic artist and passionate aficionada of the creative life.  She holds two degrees in piano performance (BM, The Hartt School of Music, Hartford, CT; MM, Trinity College of Music, London, England) and studied for two years at the Stuttgart Music Conservatory in Germany. An active solo and collaborative … Continue reading Jennifer Wright

Karen Bates-Smith

Karen Bates-Smith returned to composing late – while raising a family, working as a psychologist, and taking up cello in mid-life. She studied cello with Naomi Blumberg, now retired from the Oregon Symphony. While doing so, Ms. Bates-Smith developed an ear for composing. She subsequently earned her Bachelor of Music degree at Marylhurst University in … Continue reading Karen Bates-Smith

Bonnie Miksch

Bonnie Miksch is a composer who writes both acoustic and electroacoustic works. Her music explores the distinctly human realms of emotions, dreams, and states of consciousness, and combines diverse elements with an ear for coherence. Her music has been performed in Asia, Europe, Canada, and throughout the U.S. She has received commissions from Meet the … Continue reading Bonnie Miksch

Carol Crowder Phillips

Carol Crowder Phillips earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Oklahoma State University; taught music in Nairobi, Kenya; has worked professionally as a violinist, pianist, organist, and singer; and has recently added the kinnor (a replica of an ancient 10-string harp) to her list of instruments. Carol studied composition with Evan Tonsing and James … Continue reading Carol Crowder Phillips

Christina Rusnak

Christina Rusnak is a multifaceted composer whose work reflects a diversity of styles and points of view. Passionate about Landscape, Geography and Art as an expression of human experience, she actively seeks to integrate facets of all of these into her work. Her goal is to compose music that is thought provoking, engages the performers … Continue reading Christina Rusnak

Emyli Poltorak

Emyli Poltorak was the 2013 winner of the 2013 Cascadia Composers Crazy Jane Student Award. She received her Bachelor of Music in composition from Portland State University. Crazy Jane Misbehaves, 2013 Alpha Beta

Jennifer Binkley

Jennifer Binkley was drawn to composing as a career when she heard American choral composer, Morten Lauridsen, speak about his own musical journey while he was guest conductor-in-residence at Portland State University in 2011. Her compositional style is focused on contrapuntal textures, rich harmonies, and motivic ideas. She is drawn to working with emotionally compelling … Continue reading Jennifer Binkley

Amelia Bierly

Amelia Bierly is a graduate of Portland State University and holds a Bachelor’s degree in composition and music education and a Master’s degree in music education. As a student, she studied composition with Bonnie Miksch and cello with Hamilton Cheifetz. Amelia was the 2011 winner of the PSU Composition Competition and the inaugural Crazy Jane … Continue reading Amelia Bierly

Lisa Ann Marsh

Lisa Ann Marsh is a member of the adjunct piano faculties at Portland State University and Portland Community College. As Director of the Coordinate Movement Program at Portland State University she specializes in retraining injured musicians. Her courses focus on injury prevention, health, and well-being for musicians and mind-body connections for increased artistry and creativity. … Continue reading Lisa Ann Marsh

Renee Favand-See

Renée Favand-See, composer and mezzo-soprano, was born in York, Pennsylvania. She holds BM and MM degrees in composition from the Eastman and Yale Schools of Music, respectively. She has collaborated with numerous artists and ensembles including: Five Boroughs Music Festival; Sequitur; Lucy Shelton and Eighth Blackbird; PRISM Saxophone Quartet; American Opera Projects; Wet Ink Ensemble; … Continue reading Renee Favand-See

Stacey Philipps

Stacey Philipps writes music of close, lush harmonies and contrapuntal textures, exploring the timbre of voices and instruments in minute detail and sweeping gestures. A lifelong choral singer, Stacey is an early- and new-music devotee, and she currently sings with the Oregon Repertory Singers. Her vocal interests extend to a love for composing choral music … Continue reading Stacey Philipps

Sydney Stevens

Sydney Stevens began writing melodies on the piano before she could reach the pedals. Her earliest memory was watching her mother play classical piano. Sydney’s strong sense of artistry has evolved from years of composing music that expresses a wide range of emotions. She is a master at creating musical “landscapes” which evoke strong imagery. … Continue reading Sydney Stevens