Stella G. Gitelman Willoughby (b.2000) is a national and international award-winning composer from Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Stella composes for solo instruments, voice, large and small chamber ensembles, and symphony orchestra. She writes for concert performances, music festivals, dance, performance and public art installations, audition repertoire, film, to accompany historical and liturgical text, for student musicians, and academic presentations.
Stella highly values the individuality of each performer, and the unique qualities of each instrument. She creates works that highlight their distinct sound, bringing it to the forefront. She loves the challenges of writing music of greater complexity and instrumentation.
Stella has her own musical voice.
As a toddler, Stella improvised on the kitchen table; she harmonized with the windshield wipers. At five years old, she started writing down her compositions.
“When I am composing, I am smiling.”
Stella is an eight-time ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award winner and finalist. She was named a finalist and selected to compete in the 10th International Antonin Dvorak Composition Competition in Prague, Czech Republic. She has been recognized as an “Outstanding Musician” and “Most Distinguished Musician +Young Talent Special Mention” in the IBLA Grand Prize competition in Ragusa, Italy, and as an “Emerging Composer” by the Tribeca New Music Young Composers Competition. Stella is a four-time American Prize finalist. Recently, she was recognized by the American Composers Orchestra, Earshot Readings: The Next Festival of Emerging Artists. Her work has also won awards and been performed at the National Association of Music Educators, and Webster University Young Composers Competition.
Her original compositions are commissioned, licensed, and performed by musicians, ensembles, and symphony orchestras throughout the United States and around the world, reaching Boston, New York, St. Louis, Dallas, Hawaii, Canada, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, and Australia; by members of the Boston Ballet, Boston Pops, Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra (Germany), and Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (Canada); by the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra chamber ensemble, Sound Icon Ensemble, PUBLIQuartet, Equinox Chamber Players, Camerata Winds Quintet, Dinosaur Annex, New Composers Ensemble, Juventas New Music Ensemble, Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra, at the Annual Edmonton Fringe Festival (Canada) and Boston’s Old South Church, among others.
Stella’s goal is to explore and develop the depth and range of her own music composition, continue collaborating with musicians in and out of the recording studio, and to write music with and for individual musicians and groups of musicians. She embraces opportunities for her original music to be performed in, and heard by, the public.
At Berklee College of Music, Stella has been awarded merit awards, including the Earl Brown Award for Outstanding Composition Achievement, the Vuk Kulenovic Memorial Prize for Outstanding Composition Achievement, and The Berklee Grant. She also receives merit and financial support from the Berklee World Tour Scholarship, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, and the Jewish Family & Children’s Service.
Stella is majoring in Composition at Berklee College of Music. She currently studies with composer Panagiotis Liaropoulos. Stella has also studied with composers Richard Carrick, Marti Epstein, and Alla Elena Cohen.
Stella has a self-designed minor in Music Archives. She works with archival music collections from the 10th—21st century including those at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Harvard University, Folger Shakespeare Library, and Museo Civico Medievale in Bologna, Italy. She reads Latin and early music notation.
Stella enjoys supporting other composers and musicians by collaboratively orchestrating, engraving, and archiving their works.
Stella can also be found reading the plays of William Shakespeare, conducting early modern paleography, and eating large quantities of ice cream.