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Composition Faculty


Michael Ippolito

Praised by the New York Times for his “polished orchestration” that “glitters, from big-shoulders brass to eerily floating strings,” Michael Ippolito’s music has been performed by leading musicians in venues around the world. Drawing on a rich musical background of classical and folk music, and taking inspiration from visual art, literature and other art forms, he has forged a distinctive musical voice in a body of work spanning orchestral, chamber and vocal music. 

His orchestral music has been conducted by Edo de Waart, Marin Alsop, Michael Fracnis, David Alan Miller and Jeffrey Milarsky in performances by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, the Florida Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the Albany Symphony Orchestra and the Juilliard Orchestra. His chamber music has been performed by the Attacca Quartet, the Miró Quartet, the Altius Quartet, Dinosaur Annex, and janus, among others, and his vocal music has been championed by sopranos Joèlle Harvey and Lindsay Kesselman.

He has received commissions from numerous organizations, including Carnegie Hall and the ASCAP Foundation, The Florida Orchestra, Chamber Music America, the University of Georgia Wind Ensemble, ensemble 20/21 in Cologne, and the New York Choreographic Institute.

He has received numerous awards, from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (Charles Ives Scholarship), The Juilliard School (Palmer Dixon Prize) and ASCAP (multiple ASCAP Plus Awards). Recently, his wind ensemble work West of the Sun was given an honorable mention in the 2014 Frederick Fennell Prize and his String Quartet No. 3 “Songlines” was selected as the runner up in the Apollo Chamber Players Commissioning Competition.

He was a composer fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and the Cultivate program at the Copland House in 2012. From 2004-2011, he was a participating composer and performer in MusicX, an innovative festival of new music in Cincinnati and Switzerland, where he worked as General Manager from 2008-2011. He has also participated in the "Upbeat Hvar" International Summer School in Croatia, Yiddish Summer Weimar in Germany and the Oregon Bach Festival's Composers Symposium. 

Michael Ippolito studied with John Corigliano at The Juilliard School and with Joel Hoffman and Michael Fiday at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.


Richard Hall

Richard Hall is a musician, composer and music educator based in central Texas.  His main interest is performing live laptop “art” music in concert settings.  Richard has performed at several national and international conferences and festivals including those sponsored by the College Music Society, the National Association of Composers USA, the Association for Technology in Music Instruction, the International Society of Improvising Musicians and the Texas Society of Music Theorists.  His music has also been featured at conferences by the National Flute Association, the Society of Composers, Inc., the Vox Novus 60x60 Contemporary Music Project, the Electronic Music Midwest Festival and the International Computer Music Association as wells as the Sonic Art Oxford Festival in England and the LOOP Video Art Festival in Spain.  His electronic music has been used at art museums in many major US and European cities.

Richard has received numerous commissions throughout the country, scored several independent films, written for television series, documentaries and theatrical productions and has pieces published by Dorn Publications and GoFish Music.  His music has also been recorded by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra for ERM Media and the Wild Basin Winds with the Emmy award-winning children's group The Biscuit Brothers.  He is also the recipient of several ASCAP Plus Awards grants.  His musical collaborations with dancers have been featured in Mexico, Uruguay, Romania, Scotland, Guatemala, and Berlin, Germany.  More information can be found at

Richard is currently a Senior Lecturer of Music at Texas State University-San Marcos. His teaching duties include Music Composition, Electronic Composition, Music Technology, and Humanities.  He also directs the Texas Mysterium for New Music Ensemble.


Thomas Clark

With over 50 years of musical experience, Thomas S. Clark brings over 40 years of college teaching and academic administration experience to his role as Professor of Music and Director of the Texas State University School of Music.

His compositions have been performed at festivals throughout the U.S.A., in Canada and Japan, three times at “Moravian Autumn” the Brno International Music Festival in the Czech Republic, and at the Festival Internacional Alfonso Reyes in Monterrey, Mexico. Several of his works, affiliated with BMI, are published by Borik Press (based in North Carolina) and recorded on Centaur Records. His writing has appeared in Perspectives of New Music, In Theory Only, Computer Music Journal, New Groves Dictionary of American Music, and Contemporary Composers published by St. James Press. Co-author with Larry Austin of the landmark book, Learning to Compose (1989), Clark also wrote an aural development textbook, ARRAYS, published in 1992. His most recent book, Larry Austin: Life and Works of an Experimental Composer, was published by Borik Press in 2013.

Clark earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The University of Michigan in 1976. He studied composition with Pulitzer Prize winner Leslie Bassett and was trombonist for Contemporary Directions, Michigan’s Rockefeller Foundation supported new music repertory ensemble. He has also studied trombone with virtuoso trombonist Stuart Dempster.

After teaching at The University of Michigan, Indiana University, Pacific Lutheran University, and for 10 summers at the National Music Camp in Interlochen, Michigan, in 1976 Dr. Clark joined the music faculty of the University of North Texas. There he developed the New Music Performance Lab and served as Chair of the Doctor of Musical Arts program and Director of the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia.

He went on to serve eight years as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and one year as Interim Dean of the UNT College of Music. In those administrative roles, he helped found the Texas Center for Music and Medicine, the Center for Shenkerian Studies, the Artist Certificate in Music Performance program, and the “ASPIRE” programs promoting academic success and student retention. He retired from UNT in 2004 and holds the title Professor Emeritus at that institution.

From 2004 through 2008, Dr. Clark served as Dean of the School of Music at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, an affiliated campus of the University of North Carolina system. He also served as Executive Director of the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, an exciting professional training program.

Hank Hehmsoth

Hank Hehmsoth is the MacDowell Norton Stevens Fellow in Composition, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in Jazz Composition, and is a Fulbright Specialist in American Studies, one of a distinguished group of U.S. professionals who travels abroad through the Fulbright Program. Hehmsoth conducted master classes of contemporary American jazz in performance and theory at the ProJazz Profesional Institute, Santiago, Chile, Summer 2013. He held seminars of commercial arranging and composition for television and film, as well as website development, publicity and promotion. He won top honors in the professional category placing first in the 2010 National Association of Composers, USA, Texas Composition Competition, with a string quartet, “X-trusions- a déjà vu in 4D.” The piece was performed during the International Joint Conference on Latin-American and Modern Music, held Feb. 26-27 at the School of Music. He received a New Music USA grant in music composition for 2012. Hehmsoth received a grant from The Composer Assistance Program, which assists composers to realize their music in performance. The grant is project-based, and facilitates the public performance of Hehmsoth's composition "Carlos' n Charlie's" at the worldwide 15th Annual Inside Out Steelband Festival in Austin. In 2014, he was invited as a trainer/clinician for professional Army and Air Force career musicians, sponsored by the US Dept. of Defense, Fort Eustis, Virginia. He received the 2014 Texas State University Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarly/Creative Activities, is a Spotlight on Excellence at Texas State University, and is the 2015 recipient of the Dean’s Seminar Award. He is a Distinguished Academic Member of the Athens Institute for Education and Research (ATINER). Hank is pianist with the Grammy© nominated jazz group Times Ten, and is showcased at the 2015 Jazz Education Network (JEN) Annual International Conference in San Diego, 2015, and again in New Orleans, January 2017, and was principal pianist for the debut of Philip Glass' "Icarus At The Edge Of Time" 2014. He was awarded his second Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program grant for lectures and master classes in Santiago, Chile 2016. He presents a social context in his compositions, embodying a compelling consciousness for music to reflect positively on our place in a global community. 

“I am out to create a new, signature American sound, from a synthesis of contemporary art music, jazz, and world music, with a global approach and unique blend of influences, that gives my music a brand, its own distinctive place in the international scene. I wish to push my music in new directions, and continue focusing on socially engaged programming." 

Hank's students play piano, bass, sax, flute, guitar, and have won awards and scholarships including Berklee School and the Patti Strickel Harrison Scholarship. Composition students learn commercial arranging and contemporary techniques in jazz. His studio includes international students from Serbia, China, and  South America. 

Recent student comments:

  • "...the best teacher I have had throughout all of my degrees. His work ethic is tremendous. I have recommended him to the best students I know. He continually gave more time than was required in our meetings, and was never in a hurry to end the lesson."
  • "...He's very knowledgeable and seems to like what he does. That quality is hard to read in others."
  • "...This is the most fun class in the School of Music."
  • "Thanks again for the awesome class. Seriously, this is the most useful stuff I've encountered in my education thus far."


"Hank is different from the traditional composer because he's a working jazz man. He brings that "player's" perspective to what he writes whether it's a jazz work or classical work …some of the best jazz you'll hear around here, or anywhere else, for that matter." John Bustin - Austin American Statesman

"... very loose and open to possibilities, he takes it to another level, writing, playing, his compositions continue to evolve and grow. I had a chance to play with Hank and hear some of his compositions as well. A very fine musician, indeed! He demonstrates a strong sense of originality and compositional craft."
Bob Mintzer - jazz saxophonist, composer - Yellowjackets 

Hank was a member of the Austin-Texas based Christopher Cross group, which won five Grammy Awards as well as an Academy Award for best song.  As a performing artist with a career spanning over three decades, Hank has remarkably played over 10,000 international, national, state and regional area performances, from classical to jazz to pop/rock, as well as Broadway, concert tour music, nightclubs, and symphony. He is a lifetime voting member for the GRAMMY© Awards.


Charles Ditto

Charles Ditto is a composer and multi-instrumentalist from Texas whose music has been performed on five continents. The son of a rockabilly guitarist/singer and a church organist, he began learning music early, studying piano, clarinet, and guitar. He received a BM in composition from the University of Houston, graduating magna cum laude. After relocating to Austin in 1981, Ditto established Ditto Records and Human Symphony Music, and has produced and marketed sixteen albums of original music to date. He worked as a dance class pianist for 16 years at the University of Texas and Ballet Austin. Other performance credits include Walter Hyatt, the Vanguards, Rajamani Gypsy Orchestra, Spencer Starnes, Larry Seyer, Tommy Hill, and Kevin Fowler. He received a MM (1992) and DMA (1998) in composition from the University of Texas/Austin. His professional assignments have included commissioned scores for theater and dance for Peter Lobdell (New York and Amherst), the University of Texas, Amherst College, KO Theater Works, Inc., the Sharir Dance Co., Diana Prechter, Holly Williams, Impulso (Mexico), Kenesis, Trio 488, Vernita N’Cognita (New York), and Austin Symphony oboist Ian Davidson. His score for Raving, was selected for performances at the International Michael Chekhov Festival (2005) and the Metropolitan Playhouse (2006) in New York. He was the recipient of the Copeland Fellowship at Amherst College (1998), and was awarded American Music Center’s (New York) Composer Assistance Award in 2007. Dr. Ditto was the National Association of Composers-USA/Texas first-prize winner in 2008, and his music has been selected for publication on the Society of Composers, Inc. CD series on Capstone Records. Additionally, Ditto's music has been released on Summit Kids (distr. by Rounder), Evios Empire, Curious Music Records, Poison Plant, S4G Records, and Hypertonia World Enterprises Records. In 2009, "Cowboy Minimal," for string quartet and orchestra had its world premiere in Rome and was performed again in Florence. He has published articles on Handel’s clock music and Cuban zarzuela and has presented seminars in Europe, Mexico, and the US. Ditto currently teaches at the School of Music at Texas State University and was the recipient of the Texas State University College of Fine Arts and Communication Presidential Awards for Excellence in Scholarly and Creative Activities and for Excellence in Teaching.