Music Director and Founder Kevin Fitzgerald

American conductor Kevin Fitzgerald has been recognized as a rising talent in the next generation of conductors. He is currently serving as Music Director of Spectrum Orchestra and ÆPEX Contemporary Performance, both based in Michigan. Kevin is committed to the pursuit of artistic excellence of cutting edge programs to impact the lives of as many people and communities as possible.  For Kevin, the musical experience is part of the human experience.
     In 2015, Kevin made his European debut with the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra in the culminating performance of their annual masterclass. Kevin has also appeared as a conductor at the Eastern Music Festival as a conducting fellow in 2015. He participated in a masterclass at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in 2016.
      Created by Kevin and composer Garrett Schumann, ÆPEX Contemporary Performance is a contemporary music presenting organization that promotes the world’s best new music at the highest possible artistic level. As Music Director he has conducted works of Geroge Benjamin, Ashley Fure, Hans Abrahamsen, Olivier Messiaen and Igor Stravinsky. As his career focus, Kevin is passionate about the dissemination of contemporary music and has premiered over thirty works for various ensembles.
            Kevin is frequently being engaged as a guest conductor. In the 2016-17 season, he will appear with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Oak Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Music Michigan. Previous engagements have been with the Eastman School of Music Brass Guild, the Royal Oak Symphony Orchestra, the University of Michigan Percussion Ensemble and the Eastman Wind Orchestra.
            Harnessing the healing power of music is integral facet of Kevin’s mission. In the summer of 2016, Kevin conducted and co-produced a performance of Mozart’s Requiem in honor of the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. In the 48 hours following the attack, Kevin and producer Austin Stewart recruited over 300 musicians, including vocal soloists Alaina Brown, Ashley Dixon, George Shirley and Stephen West, for the performance in Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor. The performance titled “Requiem for Orlando” drew an audience of 2,500.  
            As a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, Kevin earned his Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting in 2015 as student of Kenneth Kiesler. His previous studies were at the Eastman School of Music in trumpet, music theory and conducting. He studied conducting with Kenneth Kiesler, Brad Lubman and Mark Scatterday. Kevin has participated in masterclasses with Matthias Pintcher, Marin Alsop and Gerard Schwarz. Kevin is a professional trumpet player and maintains an active teaching and performance schedule.

Executive Director Garrett Schumann

Award-Winning Composer Garrett Schumann creates imaginative and dramatic new works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, instrumental soloists, and electronics. His music has been performed throughout the Midwest, across the country, and abroad. Garrett is an in-demand thought-leader in the community of American contemporary music. And, Garrett’s written observations on issues facing living composers and their music attract large online audiences, as well as the attention of nationally respected performing arts presenters and record labels.

Garrett maintains an exciting workload as a composer, writer, and music scholar. His research in music theory and gender studies has received widespread recognition, and appears in international academic publications. Garrett is actively commissioned to write new musical works, most recently by Percussion Andres Pichardo of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

As Artistic Director of ÆPEX Contemporary Performance, Garrett brings his five years of experience at UMS, the Ann Arbor-based concert presenter and 2015 National Medal of the Arts Recipient, to Southeast Michigan’s burgeoning contemporary music scene. Dedicated to excellence, creativity, and diversity, Garrett looks forward to establishing ÆPEX's reputation as an unparalleled presenter of transformative contemporary music performances.

Director of Communications Spencer Arias

Composer Spencer Arias writes music evoking movement and imagery as the primary driving force, typically related to social justice and Nature. Having worked with dancers, musicians, visual artists, and poets; he thoroughly enjoys the process of collaboration, improvisation, and visualization. Numerous high profile groups have performed his music across the country such as the JACK Quartet, and he has won awards for his music on various occasions.

As the Development and Engagement Coordinator of ÆPEX Contemporary Performance Spencer brings his 4 years of experience in arts administration starting with a composers concert series in Arizona, as well as being the founder of the New York based group Urban Animals. Spencer hopes to take those experiences to the next level with ÆPEX, by engaging the community to support new music in southeastern Michigan, and helping developing ÆPEX to be the premier concert presenter in the Midwest.

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Artist in Residency Justin Snyder

 An advocate of new music, Justin Snyder has worked with composers such as Libby Larsen, William Bolcom, Jake Heggie, John Musto, and Mohammed Fairouz. He has collaborated with and performed world premieres by William Bolcom, Jonathan Dove, Tucker Fuller, and Libby Larsen. Justin has worked with artists of diverse mediums including dancers, poets, performance artists, fashion designers, and filmmakers. 

     Some of the venues he has performed at include Wigmore Hall, The Tank (New York), National Sawdust, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Barbican Centre, the TED conference stage, Mori + Stein Gallery, Harvard University, Panoply Lab, The Horse Hospital, Sadler's Wells (in collaboration with Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal), the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Mexican Cultural Institute (D.C.), Teatro del Lago, Zaha Hadid's Guangzhou Opera House, and Beijing's National Center for the Performing Arts. He has appeared on BBC Radio and Czech National Radio. 

     Justin has toured in Asia, Europe, and North and South America. His most recent and ongoing collaboration is a lecture-concert featuring Alexander Bernstein, son of Leonard Bernstein, and mezzo-soprano Carla Dirlikov Canales on a program focusing on Leonard Bernstein's life through his music. This tour included concerts in China, Chile, and Harvard University, and will be presented at the Kennedy Center in 2018. 

      Justin is the co-founder, along with Irena Menk, of ESCforescent- a multi-sensory collective project which merges art and science to create sensorial experiences through immersive installations. ( 

      Justin studied at the University of Michigan in Piano Performance with Christopher Harding followed by a Masters degree in Collaborative Piano with Martin Katz. He holds a second masters degree from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, studying under Pamela Lidiard and Graham Johnson.