Caroline Mallonée (b. 1975) draws inspiration from science, art, technology and literature. Equally at home writing for instruments and voices, Mallonée uses these extramusical ideas to craft pieces that are at once emotionally moving and intellectually stimulating.

Among her pieces inspired by scientific phenomena is Whistler Waves for Cello and Orchestra, commissioned by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in 2015. Based on waves audible in the atmosphere immediately following a bolt of lightning, the three-movement work was written for cellist Feng Hew, Associate Principal Cellist of the BPO.

She has written two pieces inspired by the work of Isaac Newton. Unless Acted Upon: Manifestations of Newton’s First Law was commissioned for Firebird Ensemble by the Walden School in 2011. It has since been played by Da Capo Chamber Players at Carnegie Hall, at the Bennington Chamber Music Festival, where Mallonée was composer-in-residence in 2013, and on the New York Philharmonic’s CONTACT! New Music Series at National Sawdust. Reaction, based on Newton’s Third Law, was commissioned by Present Music and premiered in Milwaukee. It was also named the winner of Bowling Green New Music Ensemble’s 2015 Call for Scores.

Mallonée often writes clever pieces that set out to solve a musical problem. Some, like her crab canons (Maryland Blue and Alaskan King), stem from a long contrapuntal tradition (Machaut and Bach wrote crab canons as well). Some, like her Pangrams, are musical conceits of her own invention. I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail is based on a 17th century riddle poem: to solve the riddle, one must reorder the lines. In Mallonée’s choral piece, she has written music that works musically even when the phrases are sung in a different order.

Mallonée’s large collection of music for strings, String Tunes, has found champions among today’s most prominent string players. Miranda Cuckson, Max Mandel, Amy Glidden, Yuki Numata Resnick, Duane Padilla and Miranda Sielaff have performed selections of these pieces. A string quartet in this collection, The Butterfly Effect, was inspired by chaos theory. It was written for the Spektral Quartet and has since been performed by the Buffalo Chamber Players. It was named the winner of the Locrian Chamber Players’ Call for Scores and was performed in Riverside Church in June 2016.

Mallonée is often recognized as an important composer of choral music. After garnering national attention through “The Carolers At My Door,” which won a contest on “A Prairie Home Companion” when she was 14, Mallonée has been commissioned and performed by choirs across the country.

Several of her choral pieces, including The Carolers At My Door, are published by Boosey & Hawkes. The Vocális Chamber Choir has performed several of her choral works over the last five seasons, and featured Da Pacem Domine in their 2014 appearance at the Cambridge (UK) Music Festival.

She has participated in VocalEssence’s “Essentially Choral” workshops and was selected for American Opera Projects’ Composers & The Voice program in New York.  She was a member of Cantori New York, Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, Duke Chorale, Yale Camerata, and Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum; all of these choirs have performed her music as well.

Mallonée’s Google Search piece (called “Search”) commissioned by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City was premiered in April 2015 and has been performed by choirs in Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Washington State, and Vancouver, BC.

She studied composition with Louis Andriessen at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague (Fulbright Fellowship, 2005), Scott Lindroth and Stephen Jaffe at Duke University (Ph.D. 2006), Joseph Schwantner and Evan Ziporyn at the Yale School of Music (M.M. 2000), and Bernard Rands and Mario Davidovsky at Harvard University (B.A. 1997). She is a professional singer in the Vocalis Chamber Singers and is the director of The Walden School Creative Musicians Retreat, a week-long festival for composers and improvisers held in New Hampshire each June. 

Since 2014, she has been composer-in-residence for The Buffalo Chamber Players, and her work will be featured on this season’s concerts, including a portrait concert in March and a world premiere in May. 

Ms. Mallonée lives in Buffalo, New York with her husband, the pianist Eric Huebner, and their children.


Mallonée is Composer-in-Residence for The Buffalo Chamber Players. They presented a portrait concert of her music at Pausa Art House on March 16, 2017 and premiered a new septet, Curtains of Light, at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery on May 25, 2017.

The Vocális Chamber Choir has commissioned Mallonée to write a new piece in celebration of their fifteenth season. Songs of Crystal was premiered on June 11, 2017 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Buffalo, NY.

Diamonds from the Dust chose Search as a winner in its call for scores. The piece was performed June 3 in Worcester, Massachusetts.  It is now available from Swirly Music.

Vox 16 chose O Lux as a winner in its recent call for scores. The piece was performed in Seattle April 29 and 30. Watch the performance here.

The Baltimore Choral Arts Society commissioned Mallonée to write a new piece in celebration of Tom Hall, their longtime music director. Look For Us Again was performed in March 2017.

Mallonée’s Unless Acted Upon was featured on the New York Philharmonic CONTACT! series at National Sawdust on November 16, 2015. 

The Butterfly Effect, a string quartet commissioned by The Walden School for the Spektral Quartet, was named the winner of the 2016 Locrian Chamber Players’ Call for Scores. It was recently performed on Late Night at National Sawdust in a collaboration between Access Contemporary Music and Open G Records. It was heard on the Roycroft Chamber Music Festival on June 16 and  by the Mivos Quartet at The Walden School Creative Musicians Retreat on June 17. Listen to the piece here.

Mallonée’s riddle piece for double choir, I Saw a Peacock With a Fiery Tail, received its New York premiere at Merkin Hall on October 8, 2016 by the Vocális Chamber Choir. It was recently performed by Triad: Boston’s Choral Collective. Buy the music here.

Choreographer Melanie Aceto created a new piece, Couplet, to two of Mallonée’s String Tunes. The performance was at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center in Buffalo on November 11, 2016.


“...full of inventive ideas and sonic wonders; this is an imaginative young composer from whom we hope to hear more.”

-The Washington Post