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Music of Difference Ensemble performing Robert J. Bradshaw's "for Catherine".

Using music as a catalyst for conversations and an instigator of positive change
by facilitating conversations about diversity.



CATHERINE BRANCH LEWIS is a passionate advocate of integrating disability advocacy and the arts.  As a flutist with cerebral palsy, she holds a unique perspective on music’s ability to act as an instigator of positive change.  Ms. Branch is dedicated to exploring the arts as a vehicle to promote social inclusion for people with disabilities, and in 2008 was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to research the role of art in social activism around the world.  During her travels she began the “Music of Difference” project: a concert series whose goal is to encourage positive conversations about diversity.   The first Music of Difference album debuted in 2011, and as the project grows, a dedication to championing the music of living composers remains at its core.  Currently, in addition to working toward her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Eastman School of Music, she is a research fellow of the national Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program.  Ms. Branch works at the Institute for Innovative Transition at University of Rochester, an organization dedicated to supporting positive, informed transitions into adulthood for people with disabilities.  Catherine and her colleagues work together to support inclusive higher education, competitive employment, and engaged, self-determined community living for people with disabilities.



Award-winning composer ROBERT J. BRADSHAW focuses on creating relevant works of art inspired by social, historical, and community-based events that explore the human condition.  His music has been heard around the world from Lincoln Center to Australia.  Bradshaw's steampunk opera DEUS EX MACHINA, an exploration of faith in the digital age, was awarded two gold medals and named one of the top ten albums of 2015 by the Global Music Awards.  Socially conscious and relevant to our daily lives, Bradshaw’s music is infused with modern culture, historical significance, and speaks with a vibrant and engaging musical language.  Commissions include works for the James Pappoutsakis Flute Competition and the New England String Ensemble Musical Heritage Initiative.  Of particular note is the Australian Trumpet Guild's commission of the opera “.Gabriel” (pronounced "dot Gabriel"), a work that uses our own words to explore relationships (and ramifications) of social interaction online.  Premiered at the 35th Annual Conference of the International Trumpet Guild, courtesy of Opera Australia and Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, ".Gabriel" continues to find relevance with audiences through concert and staged performances, including the 2019 Edmonton International Fringe Festival. 


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