headshots by Katherine Shay

headshots by Katherine Shay


The music of Brooklyn-based composer Trey Makler (b. 1994) draws inspiration from literature, queer history, and Oldies, often interweaving these influences with deeply personal memories and experiences.  Capable of writing music in several different styles, he fuses together seemingly disparate ideas to create dramatic, poignant narratives.  Makler works extensively as a collaborator in dance, opera, and composed theatre to create large-scale art experiences.  His most recent opera project, Let Them Eat Cake, took advantage of musical tropes to enhance character development, comedy, and its historical setting of 17th-Century France.

Makler has received commissions from the Sheldon Concert Hall and Galleries, the Mizzou New Music Initiative, and Vox Nova (Columbia, MO).  His music has been featured at the Oh My Ears New Music Marathon, the Charlotte New Music Festival, the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium, the Mizzou International Composers Festival, and as part of the Boston New Music Initiative’s 2015-2016 season.  He has also worked with Alarm Will Sound, Third Coast Percussion, Duo Damiana, the Great Noise Ensemble, and members of the St. Louis Symphony. His current projects include a collaboration with Baltimore-based percussionist Matthew Stiens and a new work that will be developed in collaboration with a choreographer as part of the New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute.


Aside from his work as a composer, Makler enjoys teaching with various institutions and organizations throughout New York City.  As a teaching fellow at the Juilliard School, he has gained a large variety of experience teaching in starkly different contexts.  He is a faculty assistant with Juilliard’s Music Advancement Program, an auditioned conservatory-style program for ages 8-16. Off-campus, he teaches his own arts integration curriculum to fourth and fifth graders at George Jackson Academy in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  Makler is also a Teaching Artist Associate with the New York Philharmonic’s critically-acclaimed Very Young Composers program and a Community Promise intern with the Hetrick-Martin Institute.

Makler is currently pursuing a Masters in Music Composition at the Juilliard School, where he studies with Melinda Wagner.  He earned his Bachelors degree from the University of Missouri, where he studied with Stefan Freund and W. Thomas McKenney.   His research interests are rooted in the intersection of queer culture, activism, and artist communities, with a special focus on how trauma shapes the identity of the artist at the personal and communal levels.

When he isn’t making music, Makler enjoys reading, visiting museums, taking not-too-strenuous hikes, and seeking out the best happy hour deals that New York has to offer.