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Judges

Judges will evaluate our entries based on originality, creativity, artistic merit, adherence to the "Birthday Song" theme, and general musical appeal.

Lawrence Lessig

Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and founder of Rootstrikers, a network of activists leading the fight against government corruption. He has authored numerous books, including Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Our Congress—and a Plan to Stop It and One Way Forward: The Outsider’s Guide to Fixing the Republic.

Jonathan Coulton

Jonathan Coulton is a musician/internet superstar, known for his songs about geek culture. Among his most popular songs are "Code Monkey", "Re: Your Brains", "Still Alive" and "Want You Gone." He's received NPR-noteriety for making a handsome living without an record label and more recently appearing as the house musician for the live NPR program Ask Me Another. He recently released a new holiday album with John Roderick from The Long Winers called called One Christmas at a Time.

Frannie Kelley Frannie Kelley is an editor at NPR. She covers hip-hop, R&B and the music industry on The Record, a blog she started with Jacob Ganz in 2010, and on the radio. She co-hosts NPR’s hip-hop stream, Microphone Check, and produces special projects for the company’s digital platforms, including Hey Ladies, a survey of women musicians, and 50 Great Voices, profiles of influential vocalists.
Ira Kaplan Ira Kaplan is the co-founder, vocalist, guitarist and songwriter for Yo La Tengo. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Kaplan helped form Yo La Tengo in the early 1980s. Previously, he worked as a music critic for such publications as the New York Rocker and Village Voice, as well as serving as a soundman, roadie and backup musician for Mofungo and other New York-area bands. Yo La Tengo's latest album Fade is slated for release January 2013 on Matador Records.
Ken Freedman

Ken Freedman is the Station Manager of WFMU, the longest running and most renowned freeform radio station in the United States. Under his guidance, WFMU became independent of Upsala College, WFMU's original owner. Freedman also developed WFMU's internet presence, making it one of the most popular and forward looking internet radio stations in the U.S. He founded the Free Music Archive, an online music library and social site based on curated music licensed under Creative Commons and other open licenses. In 2012, he was the recipient of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters's annual Bader Award, which recognizes one individual for innovation and leadership in community radio.

Maralie Armstrong

 

Maralie Armstrong is an artist and performer in the projects Humanbeast and Bloodhuff. She is the Program Director at AS220, a local forum for the arts in Providence, Rhode Island, with unjuried, uncensored performances and exhibitions. Their facilities and services are made available to all artists who need a place to exhibit, perform, or create their original artwork. AS220's unique Original Music Policy encourages creative songwriting by refusing performances of ASCAP/BMI/SESAC licensed music. Maralie waits with bated breath for a birthday song that can be performed under this policy.

Greg Saunier

 

Greg Saunier is the drummer/keyboardest and member of the experimental rock band Deerhoof. Classically trained at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, in 1991 Saunier moved to San Francisco and joined a short-lived quartet called Nitre Pit, on drums. When this quartet broke up suddenly with shows still booked, Saunier and then-bassist Rob Fisk formed a duo, dubbed Deerhoof. The band has since been described by the NYT as "one of the most original rock bands to have come along in the last decade." The band's eleventh album Breakup Song is out now from the Polyvinyl Recording Co.

 

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This contest is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.