DOUG BESTERMAN, co-Chair
For almost 30 years, Doug Besterman has been active as an arranger, orchestrator, and composer for Broadway theater, film, television and recording. He has been privileged to work with some of the most recognizable names in the industry, including composers Mel Brooks, Alan Menken, and Marc Shaiman; recording artists Barbra Streisand and Barry Manilow; and directors Rob Marshall and Susan Stroman.
A veteran of over 25 Broadway shows and over 30 regional and international productions, Besterman won the Tony Award® for Fosse, The Producers, and Thoroughly Modern Millie, and was nominated for The Music Man (2000), How to Succeed in Business, and Bullets over Broadway; he was also awarded the Drama Desk for The Producers and Thoroughly Modern Millie. His most recent Broadway credits include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, A Bronx Tale, and Anastasia.
Besterman has also written orchestrations for nearly 30 film and television projects; recent credits include the films Mary Poppins Returns, Aladdin (2019), Beauty and the Beast (2017) and Frozen; and for TV American Housewife, Crazy Ex Girlfriend, and Galavant.
As a composer, Besterman penned the scores for the podcast musical Little Did I Know (with lyricists Dean Pitchford and Marcy Heisler), currently available for download on Apple Podcasts; and The Big One-Oh (with lyricist Dean Pitchford), which recently premiered at The Atlantic For Kids in NYC and is available for licensing through Music Theater International. His music has also been recorded by singer Christian Bautista, heard in the films The Punisher, Out of Step and Exit Speed, TV shows Summerland and One Life To Live, in concert with the United States Military Academy Concert Band, and in the musical revue Hats.
RUSS ANIXTER, co-Vice Chair
Russell Anixter: 30 Years a music copyist in NYC, the last 16 years a partner at Anixter Rice Music Service supervising music preparation for numerous Broadway shows, regional theatre, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, live concerts and recordings. Former Chair of Local 802 Music Copying Committee. Participated in many collective bargaining negotiation committees. Masters degree in Jazz/Commercial Composition from Manhattan School of Music. Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations from CSU, Chico. Arranger/Director Russ Anixter’s Hippie Big Band.
HALEY BENNETT, co-Vice Chair
Haley is an NYC-based Music Director, Conductor, Arranger, and Coordinator. She is currently an Associate Music Director and Alternate Conductor for the Broadway production of Diana: A True Musical Story, as well as the Associate Music Supervisor for the National Tour of Once On This Island. Additional Broadway credits include: Come From Away (Substitute conductor), Once on This Island (Assistant Vocal Arranger, Additional Orchestrations), Escape to Margaritaville, Dear Evan Hansen, Anastasia, Bandstand, Paramour, and Finding Neverland.
Haley also works as a Music Supervisor for various projects for NBCUniversal, including the annual Upfront presentation at Radio City Music Hall. She served as the Associate Music Coordinator for NBC’s broadcast of Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, and she is one of the Music Coordinators for the annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
As an Album Coordinator, she has worked on several Broadway cast albums, including the new Broadway cast recording of Once On This Island, Anastasia, Escape to Margaritaville, and the Grammy Award-winning Dear Evan Hansen. B.A. Harvard University.
ED WINDELS, Operations Coordinator
New York City-based composer, orchestrator and arranger ED WINDELS enjoys writing new concert music for all genres and mediums, with a particular fondness for art song. Concurrently his admiration for and experience with the musical theater has resulted in an additional career as an orchestrator and arranger.
Recent commissions include a song cycle for Bargemusic’s Here And Now series, a piano solo piece for his alma mater The Mannes College of Music, Peal Off for Chicago’s Gaudete Brass Quintet, a duo for violas for Michael Hall, and a bass oboe sonata for British reed virtuoso Mikey Sluman.
Recently completed projects include a setting for tenor and large orchestra of John Hollander’s Summer Day, and an edition of Richard Strauss’s notoriously large-scale opera Elektra for 32 instruments. A version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore, re-arranged and re-orchestrated in a 1920’s jazz idiom, premiered in February 2018 by its commissioner, Edmonton Opera in Alberta, Canada. And in October of 2020, Ed provided arrangements and orchestrations for Twilight: Gods, MIchigan Opera Theater’s reimagining of Gotterdammerung directed by Yuval Sharon, chosen by The New York Times as one of the best Classical Music events of 2020.
When not running his virtual assistance and administration business, Ed devotes time as co-founder and co-producer of Broadway Belts for PFF!, an annual fundraiser for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation featuring major Broadway talent.
MM from the Mannes College of Music, NYC.
BRIAN USIFER, co-Chair
Brian Usifer is a New York City based music director, pianist, orchestrator/arranger, producer and composer. Most recently, he was the Music Director of Disney’s Frozen on Broadway. He is also currently the Associate Music Supervisor of The Book of Mormon on Broadway and on tour.
Prior to that he was the Music Director of Kinky Boots on Broadway, which won 6 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Orchestrations. The cast recording won the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album and the West End production won an Olivier Award for Best Musical. He was the Associate Music Supervisor as well for Kinky Boots on tour in London and in Toronto. Brian has played in the Broadway and off-Broadway orchestras of …Spelling Bee, Avenue Q, Altar Boyz and The Book of Mormon. Other theatre credits also include Chess at the Kennedy Center and more than 5 years of regional theatre including Follies at Barrington Stage Co. Concerts include Bobby and Kristen Lopez: American Songbook at Lincoln Center and Clay Aiken “Tried and True DVD,” for PBS.
As an orchestrator, Brian's projects have included The Heart of Rock and Roll featuring the catalog of Huey Lewis, Swept Away with music by the Avett Brothers, Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money with music by Motown legend Lamont Dozier, Into the Wild by Niko Tsakalakos and Janet Allard, A View From The River by Will Van Dyke and Jeff Talbott, Fantasy Football: the Musical?, by David Ingber, Pool Boy by Niko Tsakalakos and Janet Allard, The UnCivil War by Rick Kunzi, Barnstormer by Douglas Cohen and The First Snow by Niko Tsakalakos. Additional shows in development include Galileo featuring music by Michael Weiner and Zoe Sarnak with a book by Danny Strong as well as A Beautiful Noise featuring the catalog of Neil Diamond.
On TV, Brian contributed orchestrations to NBC’s The Wiz Live and can be heard as a pianist on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon.
As a composer, Brian’s latest project is a songwriting collaboration with Colin Donnell called The Nineteen Twenty. Their first EP, Chaos + Cocktails, is available for sale on iTunes and everywhere music streams.
He holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from SUNY Fredonia and a Masters degree in Collaborative Piano from NYU and a Specialist Certificate in Orchestration from Berklee Online.