From a young age, Phoenix, Arizona-based Connor Helms (b. 1992), the October 2018 MusicaNova Composition Fellow, was encompassed in an eclectic musical blanket. Heavy influence on his compositions from various world musics can be traced from their sources, as well as Western composers who absorbed non-Western music. His work also bears strong influence from various jazz performers and arrangers, film and game soundtrack composers and orchestrators, and electronic music producers. Having taken personal studies with a focus on music composition at Rock Valley College in Rockford, IL under composer Donald Fraser (as well as jazz guitar performance), Connor placed 3rd in the 2012 Jack Stone Award for New Music with his macrocosmic trio piece “Three Entities of Ether.” He would go on to claim first place in the same competition in 2013 for his multidisciplinary science-based trio work “Archaeogenetix.” Already, the influence of modern science, ancient civilizations, and a wide array of cultures could be found in Connor’s new ways of composing — all with respect to traditional Western Classical composition methods.
Since then, Connor has steadily composed for the music library Audiosparx.com (earning major commercial placements, such as the Japanese taiko drum-themed ad campaign for a quarter-of-a-million dollar speaker system; the Gryphon Kodo). He has demonstrated the viability of simultaneous quadruple-pedal slides on harp, with thanks to 15 Second Harp performer Olivia Jageurs in his “Silver Embers of Boleskine Manor.” Connor has also done arrangement and electronic/MIDI transcription work for the Los Angeles-based orchestral arrangement company Hollywood Arrangers.In his free time, Connor enjoys reading about ancient cultures, having a glass of fine Cognac, and — along with his wife Emily — is an avid fan of stand-up comedy.