About Us

PNEUMA (in Stoic thought) - the vital spirit, soul, or creative force of a person

 

PNEUMA is a conglomerate of divergent percussionists from across the world whose musical priorities include chamber and contemporary music. Their collaborative efforts started in 2014 when they met during their studies at the University of Miami Frost School of Music under the tutelage of Svet Stoyanov and Matthew Strauss. 

PNEUMA performed its launching event in January of 2020 as part of its residency at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Their Carnegie Hall debut, scheduled for April 2020, was canceled due to the pandemic. In January 2021, the ensemble won Blank House Media's Recording Competition. While in-person performances were halted due to Force Majeure, the members focused on producing high-quality video recordings.

In 2021, PNEUMA finally returned to the live stage by closing the 31st International Young Laureate Festival (Festiwal Młodych Laureatów Konkursów Muzycznych, at Katowice Miasto Ogrodów) in Poland.

Members

Ksenija Komljenović

Dr. Ksenija Komljenović (Belgrade, Serbia) is an award-winning percussionist, composer, and a passionate chamber music advocate. Throughout her versatile career, she has studied, performed, and taught across Europe, the United States, and Asia. Ksenija is the first woman from Serbia with a Doctor of Musical Arts in Percussion Degree. She holds the Assistant Professor of Percussion position at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and serves as a host on the At Percussion Podcast.

Ksenija holds degrees from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, Illinois State University, and the Faculty of Music in Belgrade, Serbia. Her compositions and arrangements are published by Bachovich Music Publications. Ksenija is a Marimba One artist. 

Matthew Nichols
 

Matthew Nichols is a performer and educator currently performing in South Florida.  He is the director of percussion studies at Florida Atlantic University, where he maintains the percussion studio, teaches percussion lessons, directs the percussion ensemble, instructs the percussion pedagogy class, and is on staff as the percussion caption head for the Marching Owls.

Matthew holds a Bachelors degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he studied under Justin Alexander, Peter Martin, Jim Jacobson, William Messerschmidt, Brian Jones and Tony Martucci. He holds a Masters degree from the University of Miami, where his teachers were Svet Stoyanov, Matthew Strauss, and John Yarling. 

Mitya Nilov
 

One of the most dynamic percussionists of his generation, Mitya Nilov is a winner of the 2018 Concert Artists Guild International Competition. He has appeared in top halls around the globe including the Alte Oper Frankfurt, Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, Great Hall of the St. Petersburg Philharmonia, Mariinsky Theater Concert Hall and the New World Center in Miami, FL.
 

He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami’s Frost School of music and his master’s degree from the Saint-Petersburg State Conservatoire. Most recently Mitya completed his master’s degree at Yale University where he was a member of the world-renowned Yale Percussion Group. His teachers include Robert Van Sice and Concert Artist Guild alumni Svet Stoyanov.

Mitya is a proud Vic Firth Mallet Company Educational Artist.

Antek Olesik

Polish-born percussionist Antek Olesik started his musical education and won his first competition at the age of seven. He has since won twenty first prizes on a national and international level, including the First Prize of International Marimba Festiva Competition 2014 and 2018 (Bamberg, Germany), International Vibraphone Competition 2015 (Luxembourg), and the Frost Concerto Competition 2021 (Miami, FL).

Upon graduating from the studio of Krzysztof Jaguszewski at State Secondary Music School Karol Szymanowski (Katowice) in 2019, Antek joined the Frost School of Music, pursuing his Bachelor of Music Degree under the guidance of Svet Stoyanov and Joseph Petrasek. He holds the University of Miami’s President’s Scholarship and DiMare Exceptional Music Scholarship. Antek is the winner of the inaugural 2021 Frost Artist Launch Competition.

Peter White

Peter White is a solo and chamber percussionist from Tacoma, Washington currently pursuing his DMA at SUNY Stony Brook with Eduardo Leandro. During his undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon with Pius Cheung, he had his orchestral debut with the Eugene Symphony, as well as his debut as a soloist, presenting Iannis Xenakis’ Rebonds b at the 2014 Oregon Bach Festival. Throughout his studies with Svetoslav Stoyanov at the University of Miami from 2015-2016, he performed with the Nu Deco Ensemble.

 

Peter was a semi-finalist at the TROMP International Percussion Competition in 2016, where he met Joe DeMarco and began to build percussion duo repertoire together. The following year, Peter performed with Stoyanov and three University of Miami colleagues on World Music Day at Kolarac Hall in Belgrade, Serbia as the percussion group Elemental Culture Collective.