Composer & Pianist
Composer and conductor Justine Koontz uses music as a way of discovering a person’s identity. Her work, encompassing composing, entrepreneurship and self-publishing, conducting, teaching, and even international scholarship, explores how music defines people and their relationships and self-image. As a composer, Justine writes primarily for choir and chamber ensembles in musical languages that are accessible yet diverse. Her music can be sacred or irreverent, contemplative or whimsical. Her pragmatic approach to composition is apparent in the wide variety of pieces in her catalogue, ranging from unison works for small choirs to advanced compositions for large ensembles. Her compositions have been performed at local, national, and international venues, including performances at the 2018 Intercollegiate Men’s Chorus’s National Seminar, the 2012 World Choir Games, and the 2010 International Festival of Women Composers. An avid entrepreneur, she self-publishes her compositions. As a conductor, Justine is especially interested in new music and has premiered works at Butler University and at the Oregon Bach Festival Composers’ Symposium. As an advocate for community music making, she has worked for a variety of churches as a choir director, and is active as a choral singer. Other musical activities have included international scholarship and teaching. Curious about the phenomenon of “singing cultures,” Justine completed a year of study on a Fulbright scholarship during the 2016-2017 academic year, where she researched the choral culture of Latvia. Her research on this topic has been disseminated through blog postings and a presentation at the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies at Stanford University.She teachers a private studio of piano, guitar, and composition students of all ages. Justine completed an M.M. in choral conducting and composition at Butler University and a B.A. in music theory and composition at McDaniel College, where her primary instrument was classical guitar. She is an active member of ASCAP and the American Choral Directors Association, and was awarded membership to both Phi Beta Kappa (the National Liberal Arts Society) and Pi Kappa Lambda (National Music Honors Society.) She lives outside of Baltimore, and when she is not making music, she enjoys fine craft, exercising, chasing after her cats, and sleeping.