Check out the recent activities and accomplishments of former classmates.
In January 2018, after giving master classes and conducting an all brass concert of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra in Manila, Henry Nowak (BM ’52, MM ’52) spent a month in China as the special guest of many of his former students from the Hong Kong Academy of Arts Music Conservatory, where he was a founding professor. He also spent two weeks in Guangzhou as the guest of the Principal Solo Trumpet of the Guangzhou Symphony, whom he had taught in Hanoi when he was Assistant Conductor of the Vietnam Symphony Orchestra in the 1990s. This year Henry also had a reunion with Yo Yo Ma, with whom he became good friends after many seasons performing together at the Marlboro Music Festival.
Ralph Blauvelt (MM ’67) produced a CD of a vocal recital featuring his wife, Frances Riley Blauvelt In Recital, in November 2017, and a CD of his new compositions, Celebration Overture Opus 2017, in December. This year he has released the CDs Opus 18 and Recording Session 2018 and produced a YouTube music video, “Trumparade,” set to the music of Marching from his Opus 12 (2012).
David Bourns (MM ’67) has retired after playing Principal Oboe in the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra for 38 years. He recently published a book of poetry, his Collected Poems, which is available from Amazon, B & N, and the publisher BookLocker in softcover or Kindle download.
Anton Coppola’s (BM ’64, MM ’65) latest opera, Lady Swanwhite, premiered at Opera Tampa on February 9, 2019. Anton was Artistic Director at Opera Tampa until his retirement at age 95 in 2012.
Steven Gadd (BM ’65) won a 2019 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.
Adolphus Hailstork (BM ’64, MM ’65, Hon. DMA ’19) was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Manhattan School of Music at commencement on May 10, 2019.
Gary Hickling (MM ’66) has compiled Lotte Lehmann & Her Legacy, a free iBooks series including audios, videos, and photos (Volumes I and II) and presenting Lehmann’s master classes, mostly audio, in Lieder, mélodie, and art songs (Volume III), song cycles (Volume IV), and opera arias and scenes (Volume V).
Fredrick Kaufman’s (BM ’59, MM ’60) composition, Guernica Piano Concerto, will be featured at the NOMUS Music Festival in Novi Sad and Belgrade, Serbia featuring soloist Kemal Gekic on April 16 and 18, 2019. The work was premiered by Gekic with Maestro Marcello Rota and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in Prague in February 2014, at the Casals Festival with the Puerto Rico Symphony conducted by Max Valdes in 2016, and at the Miami International Music Festival on Nov 10, 2018. The Concerto has been recorded on the Novana label by Gekic and the Czech National and was nominated for a Grammy.
Robert Manno (BM ’68) has been a member of the New York City Opera Chorus for 10 years and The Metropolitan Opera Chorus for 24 years. Robert began composing at MSM, began conducting in 1972 and continues to do both. He and his wife formed the Windham Chamber Music Festival in upstate New York in 1997. His full-length opera Do Not Go Gentle about Dylan Thomas received its workshop premiere at the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice in 2015. Live performances of works Robert conducted have been featured nationally on “Performance Today” since 2000.
Joseph Rescigno (MM ’69) is celebrating his 35th anniversary with the Florentine Opera (Milwaukee, WI). He is now the longest-serving principal conductor of any opera company in the United States, with the retirement last year of James Levine from the Metropolitan Opera. A native of New York City, Rescigno was tapped to guest-conduct a production of La Gioconda with the Florentine, the nation’s sixth oldest opera company, in 1981. “When I first joined the company, and John Gage was the General Director, we did a lot of Italian and French operas, what you’d consider the traditional repertoire. With Dennis Hanthorn, we branched out into doing more Wagner and Strauss. And with the arrival of Bill Florescu, the emphasis has been on doing more contemporary works, in addition to other repertoire. I think that’s a healthy sign, that the company continues to evolve,” said Rescigno. Maestro Rescigno has also served as Music Director of La Musica Lirica, a summer program for singers in Northern Italy, since 2005. In addition, he is honored to continue mentoring young conductors in the Opera Residency Program of the Solti Foundation U.S.
Steven Richman (’69), Grammy Award-nominated conductor of Harmonie Ensemble/New York, has had his fourteenth CD, a Toscanini 150th Anniversary Tribute, released on the Bridge Records label.
Virginia Smedberg (BM ’68, MM ’70) celebrates over 25 years playing violin with Opera San Jose and West Bay Opera. This season she adds Island Opera. In October, Virginia went on a two-week tour as concertmaster of the orchestra with the chorus Viva La Musica to the Baltics, Helsinki, and St. Petersburg.
Carl Topilow (BM ’68, MM ’69) recently retired as conductor at the Cleveland Institute of Music after 37 years. He continues to serve as conductor of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, the National Repertory Orchestra (for the summer festival in Breckenridge, Colorado), and the Firelands Symphony (based in Sandusky, Ohio). He has appeared as guest conductor with more than 120 orchestras in 37 states and 12 foreign countries.
Dr. Elaine Bearer (BM ’70, Theory) was a recipient of Manhattan School of Music’s 2019 Distinguished Alumni award.
Judy Blazer (BM ’77) just finished a semester at University of California, Davis, as the Granada Artist. She taught a course called “Anatomy of a Roll in Musical Theatre” and co-directed Kander and Ebb’s Flora, the Red Menace with Broadway veteran and head of the theater department, Mindy Cooper.
Michael Davis (MM ’76) has produced a documentary, Regina Resnik: New York Original, about the life and career of Regina Resnik (1922–2013), the New York-born international opera star, Tony-nominated Broadway actress, stage director, filmmaker, and Jewish cultural figure. The documentary has been nominated for a 2019 New York Emmy Award.
Cori Ellison (’79) was a recipient of Manhattan School of Music’s 2019 Distinguished Alumni award. She was also named Santa Fe Opera’s first full-time dramaturg in October 2018.
Larry Hochman (BM ’75) was nominated for a 2019 Daytime Emmy Award in the category “Outstanding Original Song In A Children’s Or Animated Program” for PBS’s show Peg + Cat. Larry is also a 2019 Tony award nominee for Best Orchestrations for Broadway’s Kiss Me Kate.
Allan Kaplan (BM ’70, MM ’71) was invited to present a trombone master class at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee on March 14, 2019.
Joseph Morrison (BM ’75, MM ’76) recorded his album Joe Morrison’s Pop Jazz Personnel.
David Owens’s (MM ’73) performed twice in spring 2019 in premières of two of his newest compositions: Soliloquy VIII for cor anglais and piano and Soliloquy VII for solo piano. These within a pair of recitals he played with oboist/english hornist Barbara Kipp, at Medford and Newton, Massachusetts.
Dr. Penny Prince’s (BM ’74, MM ’76) song, “Soleil Is Her Name,” was featured in the Ahrens/Flaherty Songwriting Workshop, this past summer at the Dramatists Guild Conference in New York City. Penny founded a Re-entry Committee at Lehman College to make the school a more informed and supportive place for formerly incarcerated people entering higher education.
David Searfoss (MM ’72) begins his 28th year as principal trumpet of the St. Matthew’s Chamber Orchestra (Pacific Palisades, CA) and his 37th year as associate principal trumpet of the Pasadena Symphony in 2019. David has recorded Handel’s Water Music and Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra under Gerard Schwartz. Los Angeles Philharmonic recordings include Janacek’s Sinfonietta, Respighi’s Feste Romane, and Andriesson’s Die Stadt. David has also done work for over 100 Motion Picture and TV soundtracks.
Walter Simmons (BM ’72, MM ’74) has devoted most of his career to promoting 20th-century American composers whose music is largely unknown, as a critic (Fanfare), author, and producer of recordings. He has produced premiere CD recordings of nearly 100 works, many of which had never been played before, and has won considerable praise from most reviewing media. www.Walter-Simmons.com
Randall Svane (BM ’77) will have his newly commissioned work, Wer bin ich, premiered on August 3, 2019 at the Schwaebischer Kunstsommer in Irsee, Germany. Mr. Svane is the composer-in-residence for this summer’s festival. The eleven minute a cappella work, with text by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, will be sung by the festival choir and directed by German conductor Philipp Amelung.
Carol Wincenc (BM ’71) will celebrate the 50th anniversary of her moving to New York City, commencing her studies at Manhattan School of Music and debut with the MSM Orchestra as Concerto Soloist. To commemorate her 50th anniversary, she will perform a series of recitals in the New York area. On November 12, 2019, the Morgan Library and Museum premieres excerpts of the Carol Wincenc film documentary: The Ruby Concerts by film maker Loenard Yakir. Wincenc will perform world premieres of works written for her by Jake Heggie and Piere Jalbert with guest artists The Escher String Quartet and pianist Jake Heggie. Carol’s 50th anniversary coincides with the 100th anniversary of the New York Flute Club. On November 17, she will premiere a new work for the occasion, written by Gabriela Lena Frank for flute and piano, at Merkin Concert Hall. On January 18, 2020, Wincenc will premiere a celebratory work at Stony Brook University Staller Center for the Arts. The piece was written by Valerie Coleman for the Flute New Music Consortium. On February 23, 2020 Carol will perform at Merkin Concert Hall on the acclaimed radio series, “Only in New York with Terrance McKnight,” featuring world premieres by Robert Sirota with her trio Les Amies and Sato Matsui’s new work for flute and piano with Metropolitan Opera pianist Bryan Wagorn. On April 16, Carol will perform a world premiere of a work by Larry Alan Smith at the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University. The concert’s grand finale is Andrew Thomas’s A Samba with 40 musicians on stage—30 of them flutists. Carol has built a renowned career as a world-class soloist and chamber music collaborator, has commissioned new compositions, and has performed around the world with major symphonies and at numerous series and festivals. carolwincencflute.com
Fred Bronstein (MM ’82), pianist and dedicated music educator, was reappointed dean of the Peabody Conservatory for a second term. Read article
Gregory Buchalter (’82) is currently in his 30th year as an Assistant Conductor and Maestro di Banda of the Metropolitan Opera. He also holds the position of Artistic Director of Opera Fairbanks and was just named principal conductor of Varna International in Bulgaria, where this summer he will conduct three operas, including the Bulgarian premiere of Bernstein’s Candide.
John Carpenter (MM ’81) performed in the Award Concert of the BMTG intercontinental Piano Competition (First prize) at Carnegie Hall on December 8, 2018.
Pianist Edward Cibener (MM ’85) performed with opera singer Laura Barragan in a recital of songs and arias by Bernstein, Ravel, Rodrigo, and Mozart in a Valentine’s Day concert at the Palo Alto Commons, a senior living facility for those who are physically unable to travel to hear live music.
Jeffrey Ellenberger (BM ’80) has been conducting at the Bar Harbor Music Festival and just conducted the premiere of the musical Captain Filthy Fred at La Mama Theater in New York City. An active mandolinist, he also conducts the New York Mandolin Orchestra and performed Vivaldi’s Mandolin Concerto with the Scranton Bach Festival.
Dr. Nicholas Goluses (BM ’81, MM ’82, DMA ’85) was a recipient of Manhattan School of Music’s 2019 Distinguished Alumni award.
Simon James (PD ’85) is appointed to San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s violin faculty and will lead a full studio starting in Fall 2019.
Tian Jiang (BM ’87) joined the American String Quartet to perform Dvorak’s Piano Quintet Op. 81 on December 18, 2018 at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium in celebration of the 125th Anniversary of Antonin Dvořák.
Aaron Jay Kernis (BM ’81) won two 2019 Grammy Awards in the categories Best Contemporary Classical Composition and Best Classical Instrumental Solo.
Engagements for the 2018-19 season for Susan Merdinger (’88) include an October 21st performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Highland Park Strings and Robert Hasty conducting, and a May 5th, 2019 performance of Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra and Larry Rapchak conducting.
Aaron Minsky (BM ’80, MM ’81) is the recipient of a Who’s Who Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. Read more here.
John Musto (BM ’76, MM ’80) has received a 2019 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in music, which honors outstanding artistic achievement and acknowledges composers who have arrived at their own voice.
New York City Opera presented the world premiere of Ted Rosenthal’s (BM ’81, MM ’83) first opera Dear Erich. This jazz opera is based on his family’s story — letters written by Rosenthal’s grandmother in Nazi Germany to her son in Chicago, where he was studying, having left Germany only a few months before Kristallnacht. https://nycopera.com/dear-erich/
Shara Sand (BM ’83) is the recipient of the 2019 American Psychological Association Diversity Award.
Neil Semer (BM ’83) was brought in by the Norwegian Opera and Hawaii Opera Theatre to coach their singers. His longtime student Barbara Hannigan won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Classical Album for Crazy Girl Crazy.
Alex Shapiro (BM ’83) is producing an album of her entire solo piano catalog, recorded by New York pianist Adam Marks. Alex has served on the board of directors of ASCAP as its sole Symphonic & Concert writer member since 2014, and she is ASCAP’s newly elected representative on the Executive Committee of the International Council of Music Authors (CIAM)—the writers council of CISAC, a global network of authors’ societies that represents four million creators in 121 countries. CIAM members convene several times a year in cities around the world to address the many ways to fiercely protect the rights of composers, authors, and copyright holders so that they’re properly remunerated for the commercial uses of their work—an especially necessary task in this digital age. http://www.alexshapiro.org
Lauren Shapiro’s (BM ’85) publications include essays “A Childhood Visit to Macy’s Santaland,” published on the PBS webpage Next Avenue in December 2018, and “Avoiding the taste of my own medicine,” published in the Autumn 2018 issue of Notre Dame Magazine.
Peter Vinograde (BM ’71, MM ’71, DMA ’88) presented all seven Bach Toccatas at Washington, D.C.’s National Gallery in March 2019.
Dr. Mark Elliot Bergman (MM ’95) received a 2018-19 Wyoming Arts Council Performing Arts Fellowship, awards of merit that are given in honor of excellence in the artists’ field.
Armando Castellano (MM ’98) and his ensemble, Quinteto Latino, are celebrating their 15th anniversary season. This summer Quinteto Latino, in collaboration with the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View, California, convened classical musicians of color from around the country for the first-ever Seminario Institute, a three-day Institute training musicians in chamber music by Latino composers, advocating for access to arts, and highlighting the diversity of classical music. For more information: http://arts4all.org/events/seminario-institute-showcase-concert
Alumnus Marlon Daniel (BM ’95) conducted Ensemble du Monde in a U.S. preview concert for the Festival International de Musique SAINT-GEORGES on January 31, 2019 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City. In March (16-23) he led the 2nd edition of the festival in Guadeloupe as Artistic and Music Director conducting several concerts that included alumni artists J’Nai Bridges (BM ’08) and Solomon Howard (MM ’10). The biennial event was a tribute to Joseph Bologne (1745-1799), Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the first known Black composer, a civil rights activist and legendary hero of the French Revolution. Marlon will also make his second appearance with the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Cuba conducting works of Beethoven, Brahms, Strauss and Wagner on June 23, 2019 in Havana.
Dr. Susan Deaver (BM ’75, MM ’76, DMA ’94) conducted at Staller Center at Stony Brook University where she is Conductor of the University Orchestra. She is currently a faculty member at Stony Brook University, Manhattan School of Music Precollege (flute and chamber music), and LIU Post, where she is the Festival Director of the LIU Post Chamber Music Festival.
Lisa DeSpain (MM ’97) is the recipient of a 2018 OPERA America Discovery Award supporting her work as a composer of opera and musical theatre. The grant will support the development of Ms. DeSpain’s blues opera, That Hell-bound Train, an American deal-with-the-devil story based on the short story by Robert Bloch (Psycho), with a libretto by David Simpatico (The Life and Death of Alan Turing). The Discovery Award for Female Composers seeks to promote the development of works by women as well as to raise the visibility of women writing for the operatic medium.
Gila Goldstein (MM ’90) performs a recital for the Liszt Society NY Chapter on Tuesday, June 25, 7:30 pm at the Yamaha Piano Salon in New York City.
Israel Gursky (PS ’99) returned in fall 2018 for a second season as Kapellmeister and Studienleiter at Theater Bremen, where he conducted performances of Un ballo in maschera, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and L’étoile, as well as the New Year’s Gala. Last summer he returned to the Salzburg Festival as guest coach for the festival’s Young Singers Project, then traveled to Lisbon for his tenth year as cover conductor, pianist, and preselection-judge for Operalia, Placido Domingo’s competition. As music director of New York City’s Teatro Grattacielo, he returned on September 29, 2018 to conduct Cilea’s rarely heard opera Gloria at the Gerald W Lynch Theater.
Kelly Hall-Tompkins (MM ’95) has been appointed the Cincinnati Symphony’s inaugural Classical Roots Artist-in-Residence effective September 2018.
Stefon Harris (BM ’95, MM ’97) was the recipient of the 2018 Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Artist Award and the winner of a Downbeat 2018 International Critics Poll award.
Shuler Hensley (BM ’90) joined the Broadway production of The Ferryman in February 2019.
Shmulik Katz (BM ’98, MM ’00) joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
Alex Laing (MM ’98) received a 2018 Sphinx Medal of Excellence.
Thomas Lausmann (PS ’99), currently the Head of Music at the Vienna State Opera, will become The Metropolitan Opera’s Director of Music Administration at the start of the 2019-20 season.
Marie-France Lefebvre (MM ’90) returns to the Metropolitan Opera this season for Pelléas et Mélisande as prompter and French diction coach and also pianist and diction coach for La fille du régiment.
Carla López-Speziale (DMA ’98) performed in Latin American Cultural Week’s “Latin America and Spain: Within a Piano, a Voice and a Cello” alongside alumni Martin Fett (BM ’81, MM ’82) and Juan Pablo Horcasitas (MM ’12). She was the alto soloist in Mahler’s Second Symphony with the Orquesta Sinfónica de la Universidad de Guanajuato. On September 11, she performed in Buglisi Dance Theatre’s tribute to peace, Table of Silence, at Lincoln Center Plaza. Carla also performed the role of Consuelo in “Aura” at Teatro de la Ciudad and as a soloist in Wagner’s Wesendonk Lieder with Orquesta Filarmónica de Boca del Río.
Peri Mauer (BM ’88, MM ’90) had a performance of her string quartet Shadow Lake on January 15, 2019 at the Little Church Around the Corner in New York City. Afterwords, her trio for clarinet, cello, and piano, was performed on February 16, 2019 by Great Noise Ensemble in Bethesda, MD; An Autumn Passing, a new work for English horn and piano, premiered at the National Opera Center on March 19, 2019; and a new set of pieces for violin and piano premiered on May 21, 2019 at the National Opera Center. Peri continues to freelance on cello with various orchestras and chamber ensembles in the New York area.
N’Kenge (BM ’96) performed in Sophisticated Ladies directed by Emmy Award winner Andre De Sheilds at New Jersey Performing Arts Center from March 21-24 and was a featured soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under Principal Pops conductor Jack Everly in “Cirque goes Hollywood” on April 4th.
Kristin Norderval (DMA ’93) was named a 2019 Discovery Grant recipient from the Opera Grants for Female Composers program through Opera America. She was one of seven women chosen to receive the $15,000 award to advance her work, The Sailmaker’s Wife.
Richard Owen (MM ’98) is taking on the position of Director of Music of the Adelphi Orchestra, now in its 65th season of Music for All. Currently organist and Director of Music at St. Jean Baptiste Church and of its Camerata New York Orchestra, Maestro Owen has been conducting the Adelphi Orchestra over the past six seasons, most recently as its principal conductor.
Raja Rahman (PS ’96) was appointed Director of Piano Studies at the Nevada School of the Arts and will be recording his first solo piano album this year at Sono Luminus. Concert tours this year included Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New York. Raja gave a special guest concert at Las Vegas’s UNLV Ham Hall on November 18, 2018. He continues to star both live and on TV as the musical half of the Vegas magic act Jarrett & Raja.
Highlights for American tenor Bryan Register (MM ’94) in the 2018–19 season include Faust in La damnation de Faust in a concert tour with Les Siècles and François-Xavier Roth, his debut for Malmö Opera as Erik in Der fliegende Holländer, and a return to La Monnaie for Tristan in Tristan und Isolde. Recent highlights include debuts at the Semperoper Dresden as Enée in Les Troyens in a new production by Lydia Steiner, and at La Monnaie in the title role of Lohengrin in a new production by Olivier Py, conducted by Alain Altinoglu; Enée in Les Troyens for Frankfurt Opera in a new production by Eva Maria Höckmayr, conducted by John Nelson; Siegmund in Die Walküre for Grange Park Opera; and Tristan in Tristan und Isolde at the Tokyo Nikikai Opera Theatre under the baton of Jesús Lopez Cobos.
Cynthia Scott (BM ’93, MM ’95) started a residency at Smoke Jazz Club in New York City in April 2019. She was the vocalist for the song “What Is The Soul Of A Man?” in a short film titled Interference, which is available on Amazon Prime between June 3-24 as part of the All Voices Film Festival. Cynthia will be performing her one-woman play with music One Raelette’s Journey on September 10 at the Gloucester Stage Theater in their 2019 Never Dark Series.
In spring 2019 Craig Terry (’99) toured North America with opera stars Eric Owens and Larry Brownlee in a duo concert of songs and spirituals and with Metropolitan Opera star Joyce DiDonato for the new release of their album Songplay.
Kaoru Watanabe (BM ’97) had a taiko composition featured on the soundtrack of Wes Anderson’s latest film, Isle of Dogs, which is nominated for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score.
Elaine Alvarez (BM ’02, MM ’04) sang the title role in Verdi’s Aida and Donizetti’s Anna Bolena with Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Belgium in spring 2019.
The focus and passion of Gregory Beyer’s (MM ’98, DMA ’04) doctoral dissertation, the Afro-Brazilian Berimbau, has become a non-profit organization, Arcomusical, with a mission to spread the joy of African musical bows throughout the world. On March 10th, Projeto Arcomusical comes to Brooklyn’s National Sawdust to celebrate the release their second album Spinning in the Wheel. The album became available on March 8th, 2019 on National Sawdust Tracks. More info here: https://nationalsawdust.org/event/arcomusical/
J’Nai Bridges (BM ’09) will be performing the title role in San Francisco Opera’s production of Carmen in June 2019 and will make her Metropolitan Opera debut as Nefertiti in Philip Glass’ Akhnaten in the 2019-20 season.
In the 2018–19 season, Chris Cerrone (BM ’07) wrote a major new orchestral work with electronics titled The Insects Became Magnetic for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which premiered in November 2018 and was conducted by Roderick Cox. Other commissions include a new sextet co-commissioned by Latitude 49, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and Sentieri selvaggi and a new concerto for Third Coast Percussion, co-commissioned by the Civic Orchestra of the Chicago Symphony and the Britt Festival. Cerrone also orchestrates his opera All Wounds Bleed for Chicago Fringe Opera, curates a series, “Reiterations,” for the Metropolis Ensemble, holds residencies at Chatterbird and Baylor University, and was the 2018 Conducting/Composition Fellow at the Britt Festival. An all-Cerrone disc recorded by Christopher Rountree and wildUp will be released on New Amsterdam Records in August 2019, and excerpts from his new opera, In a Grove (libretto by Stephanie Fleischmann), will be heard at the Morgan Library in New York in March 2019. In October 2018, the film of Chris’s first opera, Invisible Cities, a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize, was given a digital release in iTunes and Amazon. Chris joins the composition faculty at Peabody Conservatory in the 2019-20 academic year. Most recently he won the 2019 American Academy of Arts and Letters Charles Ives Fellowship.
Wei-Ping Chou (BM ’03) joined the faculty of the Peabody conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University for the 2018–19 academic year. She currently holds the Second Horn position with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra/Washington National Opera Orchestra.
Anna Clyne (MM ’05) has been selected by the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA to serve as the Music Alive Composer-in-Residence with the Berkeley Symphony through the 2018–19 season.
Ashley Daneman (MM ’09) released People Are Fragile, a new album about pain, recovery, and rebirth on March 1. She shares, “The entire album feels very exposed and intimate, like a deep, late-night conversation between old friends who don’t spare each other’s feelings.” On People Are Fragile, Ashley offers up her pain and healing in ways both visible and audible, inviting the listener to celebrate what humans can become even after they’ve broken. The album features eight original compositions, two spirituals with pianist Rufus Ferguson, and one song from Gershwin’s Porgy And Bess. Listen here:
Gabriel Escudero (MM ’08, DMA ’13) recently joined the Piano faculty of Conservatorio Superior de Musica de Murcia in Spain. Highlights in Gabriel’s 2018-19 season include performing as the soloist in the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Trio Bacarisse at Musikverein in Vienna on November 8, 2018 and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg on January 11, 2019.
Daryl Freedman (MM ’09) made her Metropolitan Opera debut singing Schwertleite in Die Walküre in April 2019.
Blake Friedman (MM ’09) joins Chautauqua Opera in the 2019 season as Count Almaviva in the company’s production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
Kirill Gerstein (BM ’99, MM ’00), called “one of the distinguished classical artists of his generation” by the New York Times, had two performance at Carnegie Hall in March 2019. Kirill partnered with pianist and composer Thomas Àdes on March 13 and was the solo pianist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on March 20.
Devin Gray (MM ’08) led groups and played his compositions all over Europe this past year, performing in Berlin, Stockholm, Lisbon, Warsaw, Geneva, Vienna, Copenhagen, Oslo, and London. Devin made several recording dates as a sideman in Europe and New York City and started his own record label called Rataplan Records. The first release, Dirigo Ratplan II, showcased a striking set of original Gray compositions featuring saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, bassist Michael Formanek, and trumpeter Dave Ballou. It included a six-day tour on the East Coast in October and performances in Switzerland in Geneva and Zurich in December. Devin also self-produced, led, and self-released two new recordings of his compositions Meta Cache for quartet and Cloudsounds for trio.
Timothy Green (BM ’04) joined the Jazz faculty of the Peabody conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University in fall 2018.
Vijay Gupta (’04) is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow. “Vijay Gupta is a social justice advocate and violinist who is forging effective pathways to bring music to the marginalized and establishing new possibilities for social connection and support. Recognized by the MacArthur Foundation for their creativity and potential, the MacArthur Fellows will each receive a no-strings-attached $625,000 award, encouraging them to continue to innovate, take risks, and pursue their creative vision.” https://www.macfound.org/fellows/1012/
Alicia Hall Moran (BM ’00) is a recipient of the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship in music.
Mila Henry (MM ’08) was recently appointed Artistic Director of American Opera Projects, beginning July 2019. She will be the company’s first Artistic Director since conductor Steven Osgood held the position from 2002-2008. Coined “a stalwart contributor to the contemporary opera scene” by Opera Ithaca (where she will lead a double bill of Francesca Caccini and Kamala Sankaram in April 2019), Mila has made herself known as a versatile player who is comfortable leading at both piano and podium.
She was Music Director for Words on the Street (Baruch Performing Arts Center) and These Girls Have Demons (Pittsburgh CLO SPARK), Conductor for Julius Eastman’s The Moon’s Silent Modulation (Lincoln Center), and Vocal Director for Ripe Time’s Obie-winning The World is Round (BAM). As a pianist, she premiered OPERA America’s Fierce Grace: Jeannette Rankin (Library of Congress), Opera Philadelphia’s We Shall Not Be Moved (The Apollo, Dutch National Opera) and Beth Morrison Projects’ Thumbprint (LA Opera). In addition, she has participated in all seven PROTOTYPE festivals, and performs regularly with the band Opera Cowgirls. Her recordings include Love & Trouble (Roven Records) with Adrienne Danrich and Voices of Women (Affetto Records) with Heather Fetrow. milahenry.com
Maeve Höglund (MM ’07) is an Opera Awards Foundation 2018 Bursary Recipient. She made her role debut as Lucia in January 2019 alongside alumnus SeungHyeon Baek as Enrico.
Wang Jie (BM ’05, MM ’07) is busy finishing her comic opera Rated R for Rat, starting a new symphony on a commission from the Buffalo Philharmonic, and creating a new work for classical guitarist TY Zhang for his Carnegie Hall debut. wangjiemusic.com
Eunjung Lee (MM ’03) wasappointed as a principal pianist and opera coach at the Salzburg Opera House in August 2018.
Joseph London (MM ’05) made his Broadway debut as Mary Sunshine in Chicago, the Musical.
Mike Lormand (MM ’03) performed the U.S. premiere of Marius Constant’s Gli Elementi Trombone Concerto on January 26th, 2019 with Riverside Symphony at Alice Tully Hall. A member of International Contemporary Ensemble, WeatherVest, Deviant Septet, IRIS Orchestra, and Riverside Symphony, Mike also plays frequently with groups such as Talea Ensemble, Metropolitan Opera, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, The Knights, New York City Ballet, American Symphony Orchestra, American Ballet Theater, and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Carrie-Ann Matheson (PS ’00) conducted two performances of Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera at Opernhaus Zurich on February 24 and March 8, 2019.
Sofya Melikyan (MM ’06) released two critically acclaimed recordings, both of which have received praise from critics. Spanish Piano Music was given a 10/10 rating by the German magazine Klassik Heute, which they chose as a “pick of the week.” Her next CD, Women, was awarded the Golden Disc by Melomano magazine; received a positive review by Pizzicato magazine; and was recently lauded in Limelight, Australia’s classical music and arts publication.
Kariné Poghosyan (MM ’05, DMA ’07) performed a solo recital at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in June 2019.
Nolan Robertson (BM ’05) was appointed Director, Artistic Projects at Carnegie Hall in September 2018.
Anthony Roth Costanzo (MM ’08) received the 2019 Musical America Vocalist of the Year award and received a 2019 Grammy nomination in the category “Best Classical Solo Vocal Album.”
Michael Scott (BM ’07) was a 2018 International Opera Awards Bursary Recipient. In the 2018–19 season, Michael performed in Tosca with Nederlandse Reisopera, Elias with Theater an der Wien, Macbeth with Opera Vlaanderen, and in the world premiere of Les Bienveillentes with Opera Vlaanderen.
Amy Shoremount-Obra (BM ’01, MM ’03) and collaborative pianist Dr. Chris Cooley (DMA ’04) won 2nd prize at the Joy in Singing Art Song Competition.
Stephen A. Slater (BM ’01) accepted the 4th horn position with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra for the 2018-19 season.
Walter Smith III (MM ’05) joined Berklee College of Music as chair of the Woodwind Department in May 2019.
Brenda Earle Stokes (MM ’04) created an online piano course called Piano Skills for Singers. It is a unique curriculum that provides usable piano training that equips singers with the skills they need to support their performing and teaching careers. The course includes comprehensive video lessons that can be accessed 24/7, plus downloadable print materials, backed with personal support on a private Facebook members forum. For more information, visit brendaearle.com or check out the video here.
Matthew Tutsky (BM ’07) was recently appointed as principal harpist with Portland Opera, Oregon Ballet Theatre, and Colorado Springs Philharmonic. He also joins the faculty of the University of Portland and Reed College.
Charenée Wade (BM ’04, MM ’06) was appointed a Jazz Studies teaching artist at the Peabody conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University.
Chun Wang (PS ’09) won first-prize in the Premio Jaen International Piano Competition and released a CD under the Naxos Records label in December 2018. The album made Top 50 Picks in “New Classical Releases” on Spotify and was played on BBC Radio 3 for their curated program in classical music. Chun Wang also won first-prize at the Panama International Piano Competition, which took place in October 2018.
Lecolion Washington (MM ’01) was appointed Executive Director of the Community Music Center of Boston.
Dr. Carol Williams (DMA ’01) performws her own Organ Concerto as well as the Poulenc Organ Concerto with the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra on April 6, 2019 at the Court Street United Methodist Church in Lynchburg, VA. On June 10, Carol presented a “Piano to Organ” workshop at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center for the American Guild of Organists Southeast Regional Convention. On July 3, Carol will be performing in two concerts and leading a panel discussion titled “The future of the Pipe Organ in the community” for the American Guild of Organists Mid Atlantic Regional Convention. In the 2019-20 season on April 20, 2020, Carol will make her debut at Royal Festival Hall in London with music by Hendrix, Giles Swayne and Ethel Smith. Enjoy Carol’s latest composition, Symphony of Time; performances on video; and her website.
Jorell Williams (MM ’08, PS ’09) performed in New York City Opera’s show As One in a co-production with American Opera Projects and Kaufman Music Center on June 1 and 8, 2019.
Dr. Lan-In Winnie Yang (MM ’04, PS ’05) is cofounder and music director of the non-profit organization MuseConnect. She and pianist Tzu-Yi Chen, members of Renaissance Piano Duo, had their Carnegie Hall debut on April 12, 2019.
Miguel Zenón (MM ’01) was nominated for a 2019 Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album and Best Improvised Jazz Solo.
Darnell Abraham (MM ’13) joined Lin-Manuel Miranda in Puerto Rico on the #HAMILTON (And Peggy) Tour as the principal standby for Aaron Burr, George Washington, and King George III. Performances began in Puerto Rico January 2019 and then transferred to San Francisco for the remainder of the year. His recent highlights include roles in The Color Purple (national tour and NJ’s Paper Mill Playhouse), plus Next to Normal with Fort Worth’s Casa Mañana Theatre. For more info, visit www.darnellabraham.com.
Yasmin Alami (MM ’08) and Evan Kory (BM ’07, MM ’09, DMA ’17) joined together in a virtuosic duo-piano recital on Sunday, February 3 at the Benderley-Kendall Opera House in Patagonia, AZ.
Fabio Álvarez (MM ’17) released his album “Musical Zodiac” with the recording label Orpheus Classical dedicated to the American composer George Crumb. The album was presented on November 26, 2018 at Manuel de Falla´s Hall (Palacio Longoria) in Madrid.
Michael Anderson (BM ’14, MM ’16) received a 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Regional Encouragement Award.
Justin Austin (BM ’14, MM ’17) made his Bayerische Staatsoper debut as Bello in Andreas Dresen’s new production of Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West.
SeokJong Baek (BM ’16, MM ’18) was selected as a 2019 Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera Center. He shared the stage with alumnus WooYoung Yoon on February 13, 2019 for the opening recital of the San Francisco Opera Center and Merola Opera Program’s Schwabacher Recital Series. SeokJong Baek recently sang Yamadori in Madama Butterfly as a resident artist of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.
Mercedes Beckman (MM ’15) won the audition for the Second Alto Saxophone opening in the Jazz Ambassadors, the premiere touring Army big band. Since graduating, she has played with Christian McBride, Jeff Tain Watts, Arturo O’Farrill, and Marcus Printup; recorded with John Lee and Freddie Hendrix; become a permanent member of the DIVA jazz orchestra; led her own sextet for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s outreach concerts; and become a Vandoren artist.
Steven Behnke (BM ’10) started the Patriot Brass Ensemble at MSM in 2009, which performs free concerts for veterans. The group is on track to give 300 performances in 2018, with units in 17 cities, using 600 brass and percussion musicians. Patriot Brass Ensemble recently joined Local 802 as the very first group of their kind to go union.
Patrick Brancato (BM ’13) is currently performing in a new played, She Hates Coffee, written by A.R. Garcia. The show opened in November 2018 and is now set for a 20-city tour. The first stop was in Brooklyn at the Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts from February 8-10. For more info: shehatescoffee.com
Alexander Bui (BM ’16, MM ’18) performed a special live concert and was interview by Philadelphia WRTI 90.1 FM on November 30, 2018 and was interviewed by Medium‘s unSEAled Zine: http://bit.ly/InterviewwithAlexanderBui.
Kayla Burggraf (MM ’16) won the position of Piccolo with the Kansas City Symphony in spring 2019.
Andrea Carroll (BM ’12) received a 2018 Richard Tucker Career Grant. This spring she returned to Houston Grand Opera as Maria in West Side Story and gave recitals under the auspices of the Vienna State Opera and the Vienna Philharmonic.
Dr. Jenny Q Chai (MM ’06, PS ’07, DMA ’13) joins UC Berkeley piano faculty in fall 2019.
Dominic Cheli (BM ’14) made his Carnegie Hall debut on March 12, 2019 in a solo recital in Weill Recital Hall.
As the pianist of Cheng² Duo, Silvie Cheng (BM ’13, MM ’15) released her third album on the German classical label audite in May 2019, as part of a trilogy of European recordings each focusing on music from France, Spain, and Russia. The new album, titled “Russian Legends”, is a 2-CD set of works featuring the cello-piano sonatas of Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, and Shostakovich, alongside lesser-known jewels of the repertoire by Tchaikovsky, Scriabin, Glazunov, and Arensky. The duo’s previous albums, Violoncello del fuego (2018) and Violoncelle français (2016), have been lauded by international press and publications in France, the Benelux countries, Germany, the UK, Canada, and USA for their “phenomenal virtuosity”, “maturity and perfection”, “extremely imaginative and personal interpretation”, “taste, sure flair for phrasing, and tonal beauty”. Based in NYC between tours, Silvie presents recitals regularly at the National Arts Club and made her solo debut with the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra last season. Highlights of the upcoming 2019-20 season will include a 2-week tour throughout Chile, her Beethoven Triple Concerto debut with Symphony Nova Scotia, and recitals in Los Angeles, Hamburg, Vancouver, and Montreal. For more information, visit cheng2duo.com and silviecheng.com.
Julia Choi (PS ’17) won a position with The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in spring 2019.
Kidon Choi (MM ’15) joins the 2018-19 Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.
Emmet Cohen (MM ’14) won the American Pianists Association’s Grand Prize. As the recipient of the 2019 Cole Porter Fellowship, Cohen will receive a $50,000 prize, the opportunity to record with Mack Avenue Records, two years of career management, and a two-year stint as artist-in-residence at the University of Indianapolis. Learn more here.
Nicole DeLuca (BM ’16) made her television debut as Jessie McQuigg on ABC’s Quantico in Season 3, Episode 10. The episode and TV series is also streamed on Netflix and Amazon.
James Diaz (MM ’18) was awarded the 2018 Bogotá Philharmonic Prize in Composition for his recent piece, Frack[in]g for orchestra. James has also been selected as the 2019 composer-in-residence for the Medellin Philharmonic. www.jamesdiaz.co
Keelan Dimick (BM ’13) was a finalist for the 2019 American Pianists Association–Jazz Division.
Anna Dugan (MM ’16) was a Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Semi-Finalist, a National Finalist at Houston Grand Opera, and is a 2019 Merola Artist.
Karly Epp (MM ’17) joined the jazz voice faculty at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada.
Jessica Fishenfeld (MM ’15) made her New York City Opera debut in June 2019 in the world premiere of Stonewall.
Salina Fisher (MM ’19) will be the 2019 Creative New Zealand Composer-in-Residence at Victoria University of Wellington’s New Zealand School of Music—Te Kōkī. The talented young composer graduated last month and will be returning to her hometown of Wellington for the twelve-month residency. Read more about Salina and her upcoming residency here.
Alaysha Fox (BM ’13, MM ’15) was a 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Finalist. She joins LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program for the 2019-20 season.
Chelsea Friedlander (MM ’12), Athlone Artist, made her Nashville Opera debut singing Olympia in Tales of Hoffmann on April 4, 2019.
Ben Grow (MM ’16) conducted the New York City premiere of two one-act operas, Josephine and After Life by Tom Cipullo with Chelsea Opera on December 1, 2018.
Briana Elyse Hunter (MM ’08, PS ’09) performed in New York City Opera’s show As One in a co-production with American Opera Projects and Kaufman Music Center on June 1 and 8, 2019. She was featured in the February 2019 edition of Opera News.
Stephanie Jabre Miller (MM ’15) is a 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Regional Finalist.
Dasol Jeong (PS ’17) won a job with the Toronto Symphony.
Paull-Anthony Keightley (MM ’15) appeared as Colline alongside alumna Elena Perroni (MM ’13) as Mimi in La Bohème; as Badger & Parson in Cunning Little Vixen; and as Zuniga in Carmen with West Australian Opera in 2018. He joined Deutsche Oper Berlin for the 2018–19 season and performed in thirteen mainstage productions.
Brian Krock (MM ’13) is the recipient of a 2019 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award. The title of his award-winning composition is Stinson Beach.
Astrid Kuljanic (MM ’15) is thrilled to present her music at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Millenium Stage on June 26, 2019. The performance, titled Croatian Farewells, is a musical exploration of Croatian culture and features jazz, world, and original music, as well as traditional song and dance performed by Hrvatska Ruža folklore ensemble. Learn more about Astrid: www.astrid.music.com
Singer-songwriter and zither player Joyce Kwon (MM ’13)released her debut album Dream of Home. Joyce’s individualized sound blends modern indie folk with traditional music of Korea and the States, while her lyrics center on her experience of growing up Asian in America and conversely, on her experience returning to Asia as an adult and being viewed as an outsider there, too. Learn more here: joycekwon.com/dream-of-home/
Angela Joy Lamb (MM ’17) makes her role debut as La Contessa di Almaviva in two productions of Le Nozze di Figaro at both The Berlin Opera Academy and The Lyric Opera Studio Weimar in summer 2019.
Mia Laity (BM ’15) has won the assistant concertmaster position with Charlottesville Opera.
Brittany Lasch (BM ’10) won the 2019 S&R Foundation Washington Award, which recognizes talented emerging artists in music, dance, and visual arts, especially those who contribute to international cultural collaboration and push the boundaries of their artistic and performance practices.
Alexis Lee (MM ’11) joined the faculty of Belmont University.
Earl Lee (MM ’13) was appointed the new associate conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in September 2018.
Christopher Lindgren (MM ’18) won a position with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.
Niru Liu (MM ’15, PS ’16) joins Wolf Trap Opera as a Filene Artist in summer 2019. She is also a 2018-19 Season Young Artist with LA Opera.
Alex LoRe (MM ’11) is featured in January’s DownBeat Magazine, sharing his musical vision, inspirations, and perspective on cooking. ‘Alex has recorded and performed with Lucas Pino’s No Net Nonet, the ensemble Kind Folk with John Raymond, as well as Taiwanese vibraphonist Yuhan Su, Swedish bassist Lars Ekman and Chinese vocalist/composer Annie Chen. Alex is preparing to release “Karol” with his quartet, a recording of compositions inspired by classical composers, like Karol Szymanowski, who influenced the saxophonist’s development as a musician.’ Read the interview here.
Dr. Yangzhi Ma (MM ’12, DMA ’18) joined the Composition faculty of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.
Paolo Marchettini (DMA ’14) shared a concert on November 16, 2018 with the music legend Ennio Morricone, for whom he wrote a new piece for orchestra Aere perEnnius to celebrate his 90th birthday.
In 2019 Shaina Martinez (MM ’18) won 1st place in the Russell C. Wonderlic Competition, 2nd place in the Opera NEO Voice Competition, 3rd place in the Junior Division for the Young Patronesses of the Opera Voice Competition, 1st place in the Talents of the World 2nd International Voice Competition, and 3rd place in the XXI Concurso Internacional de Canto Lirico. In summer 2019, Shaina joins the Grant Park Music Festival as a vocal fellow in the Project Inclusion Fellowship. She joins Florida Grand Opera’s young artist program in August 2019 performing the roles of Elisetta in Il Matrimonio Segreto, Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto, and Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly.
Gonzalo Tomás Llanes Mena (MM ’16) won the 2018 audition for a full-time tenor position in the Argentina National Choir (Coro Polifónico Nacional Argentina).
ASCAP and the Bernstein Family Foundation granted Guy Mintus (BM ’13) the Leonard Bernstein Award. His trio is set to release their newest album under the French label Jazz Family and presented at NYC’s Winter Jazz Fest on January 12, 2019.
Gabrielle Mirabella (BM ’10) presented a female-forward new works concert on August 21, 2018 at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC. Celebrating composers of all genders who are actively writing roles for women on the musical theatre and opera stages, it included the premiere of a piece by MSM alum and current DMA candidate Scott Joiner, composer and star of the popular YouTube video, Connection Lost: The Tinder Opera. Visit www.youcandoconcert.com for more information.
Matthew Mitchener (MM ’17) won a timpani/percussion position with the U.S. Navy Concert/Ceremonial Band in January 2019.
Brian Michael Moore (BM ’15, MM ’17) received a 2018 Sara Tucker Study Grant and joined the 2018-19 Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.
Anne Rainwater (MM ’10) just released her first full-length, solo album, J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations. The production side was performed entirely by women-identified artists, including Anne, as the performer, Heidi Trefethen as the producer and recording engineer, and Piper Payne as the mastering engineer. It is available on Bandcamp in both CD and digital download format album here.
Josh Sanders (MM ’17) is performing the role of Don Ottavio in the production of Don Giovanni with Chamber Music Northwest on July 5 and 7, 2019.
Gordon Schermer (MM ’10) joins the music staff of Santa Fe Opera for Puccini’s La Bohème and the world premiere of Poul Ruder’s The Thirteenth Child.
Jeremías Sergiani Velázquez (PS ’18) won a position with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in spring 2019.
Michael Sheetz (MM ’09, MM ’10, PS ’11) was appointed Coordinator of Choral Activities at Hunter College, where he directs the College Choir and Chamber Singers Ensembles. He conducted Musica Sacra at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on October 23, 2018, alongside its Music Director Kent Tritle, and helped to prepare the choir for performances of 2001: A Space Odyssey film screenings at the New York Philharmonic and Detroit Symphony in fall 2018.
Alexa Smith (MM ’10) was appointed Chief of Staff at Manhattan School of Music in September 2018.
Yoonshin Song (PS ’09, AD ’10) is appointed Concertmaster at Houston Symphony effective from the commencement of the 2019-2020 season.
William Guanbo Su (BM ’17) is a 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions winner. William also placed 2nd at the 31st annual Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers Concert of Arias, which took place in the Cullen Theater of the Wortham Theater Center. He joined the 2018 Gerdine Young Artists program at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
Andrew Sun (PS ’16) was recently named winner of the 2018 Marilyn Horne Song Competition at Music Academy of the West. He and mezzo soprano Kelsey Lauritano embarked on a multi-city recital tour in Spring 2019 including London, New York, Chicago, and Santa Barbara. Featured on the program will be the world premiere of a song cycle by Ricky Ian Gordon. Andrew also joined the Resident Artist Program at Minnesota Opera for the 2018-2019 season as a pianist and coach.
Maria Fernanda Brea (BM ’15) sang the title role in the premiere of Lady Swanwhite with Opera Tampa on February 9, 2019.
Billy Test (MM ’15) was a finalist for the 2019 American Pianists Association–Jazz Division.
Kristina Teuschler (MM ’15) won a job with the West Point Military Band (clarinet) and will join the ensemble formally in 2019.
The latest recording by Xiayin Wang (BM ’01, MM ’03, PS ’04, DMA ’13) was praised by Gramophone magazine. Reviewer Jeremy Nicholas calls the recording “outstanding,” describing Xiayin Wang’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concertos – No 1, Op 23; No 3, Op 75, accompanied by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, as “one of the freshest and most enjoyable accounts I have ever heard,” and her interpretation of Scriabin Piano Concerto, Op 20 as “among the most deeply felt and warm-hearted accounts you will hear.”
December issue of Gramophone here.
Hongni Wu (MM ’17, PS ’18) was the winner of the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals and made her Covent Garden debut in the 2018-19 season as a Royal Opera House Jette Parker Young Artist. She performed the role of Flora in La Traviata and sang the role of Siebel in Gounod`s Faust on May 5, 2019.
WooYoung Yoon (MM ’17) was a 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Regional Finalist and is a 2018 Merola Opera Program artist. He shared the stage with alumnus SeokJong Baek (BM ’16, MM ’18) on February 13, 2019 for the opening recital of the San Francisco Opera Center and Merola Opera Program’s Schwabacher Recital Series. WooYoung Yoon brought down the house with the show-stopping “Ah! Mes amis” from La Fille du Regiment at last summer’s Merola Grand Finale. He recently made his debut in Italy as Don Jose in Carmen with the Trentino Music Festival and sang Rodolfo in La Boheme with New Jersey State Opera.
Tian Zhao (BM ’16, MM ’18) won a section violin position in the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
Charlie Puth released his sophomore album, Voicenotes!, and was recently featured in an article in the New York Times and received a 2019 Grammy nomination in the category “Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical”.
We honor the memory of alumni, former faculty, and staff members who have passed away in 2018 and 2019:
Richard Joseph Amses (MM ’58)
June 7, 1930 – December 15, 2018
Richard Amses was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, served in the U.S. Army, and was a veteran of the Korean War. He attended The Juilliard School and received a Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music. Richard played the trumpet, flute, and piano, although he was best known for his distinctive style of trumpet playing. He had been a member of local 802 since 1954. In addition, he was a songwriter, lyricist, composer, arranger and joined The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in 1966. Mr. Amses toured with many of the top big bands of the 50s and 60s including those of Walter Nye, Doc Severinsen, Skitch Henderson, Lester Lanin, Eliot Lawrence. In New York City he often played at the popular nightclubs of the day such as the Latin Quarter, the Copa, and the Palladium. In 1961 he moved with his family to Monmouth County where he taught music both privately and in the New Jersey Public School system for over 25 years. There he became a member of the musicians’ union in Asbury Park, local 399. While teaching he continued to play trumpet professionally for prominent artists as Tony Bennett, Tony Watson, Harry Belafonte, Peggy Lee, Rosemary Clooney, Cab Calloway, Helen O’Connell, and Johnnie Mathis. Richard’s kindness, warmth, and energy were deeply inspiring to all who knew him.
Luis Biava (PD ’63, Conducting)
February 11, 1934 – March 25, 2019
Luis O. Biava was a violinist, a conductor, a teacher and a loving father and husband. His legacy will live on in his recordings and the performances of thousands of students that he taught all over the world. After Luis attended MSM and the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, he joined the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C. He served as principal second violinist in the Philadelphia Orchestra and made his conducting debut with the orchestra in 1990. Luis then served as acting assistant conductor and was conductor-in-residence from 1994 to 2004. He also became artistic director and conductor of the Temple University Symphony Orchestra and music director of Temple Music Preparatory Division’s Youth Chamber Orchestra. ‘“He had a remarkable ability to bring out the best in everyone, musically and otherwise,” said Temple emeritus faculty member Richard C. Brodhead. “He really became a revered and beloved figure in the college.”’ ‘As a violinist, Mr. Biava’s “contributions and leadership were substantial,” said retired orchestra violinist Larry Grika. “Luis’ beautiful singing sound always was illuminated with enthusiasm and fervor.”’ Read more about Luis here.
Hugh G. Burritt (BM ’58, Trumpet, BM ’58, Music Education)
January 08, 1934 – October 17, 2018
Hugh’s music talent led him to Manhattan School of Music and Juilliard. After his army band days, his career included gigs with Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, John Cash and many other celebrities. Hugh taught band to hundreds of children in the Oswego City Schools. He then joined the SUNY Oswego music department where he formed the Solid State Jazz Band. He retired as department chair. A proud father, Hugh enjoyed coaching his sons at baseball and hockey, and loved following their respective careers. After retirement, he continued to play in the city band and several other bands in Oswego and South Florida. Hugh enjoyed traveling, golfing and was an avid Yankee and NASCAR fan. Hugh was inducted in the Oswego Music Hall of Fame in 2017.
Audrey Dean-Wright (BM ’78, Voice; MM ’83, Music Education)
September 12, 1949 – September 23, 2018
Audrey served as the founding director of the Adventist Meistersingers, co-founder of the National Children’s Choir and a professor at the University of The Bahamas where she started the University’s Concert Choir in 1998. Audrey also served as music adjudicator for the E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival for over 25 years. A world-class master musician, she has led her choir’s performances in Cuba, Jamaica, Barbados, Poland, Russia and Prague, and at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. Audrey composed over 250 original compositions; they encompassed a broad spectrum of music, including Bahamian Folk Songs, Spirituals, standard choral music, and works for piano and flute. Her music has been performed frequently in the Bahamas and in the United States, and her music and poetry have led to performances in Prague and London as well as in Poland, Ghana, Surinam, Haiti, and Jamaica. The first non-American to be a featured composer with the Southeast African American Collegiate Music Festival, she has been recognized with numerous medals and awards for outstanding music achievement. In 2005 she was bestowed the title ‘Composer Extraordinaire’ at South Carolina State University. In 2006 she was chosen “Woman of the Year” by the American Biographical Institute and has also been listed twice in the International Who’s Who of Professional and Business Women. In 2008 she was chosen as one of the “25 Most Outstanding Women in The Bahamas” in recognition of her contributions to the arts in that country and was also given a “Living Legend Award” that same year. In 2014 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award for the Southeast African American Collegiate Music Festival. For her life’s work, in 2015 she was awarded “Woman of Distinction” by the Celebrating Women International Organization. “Pianist, composer, singer, choral conductor and poet, Audrey Dean-Wright has been an integral part of the music and cultural tapestry of The Bahamas for over 47 years. Her ‘footprints’ in music education and by extension the music industry are clear and bold for all to see. There is no doubt that her rich legacy will live on through her works and students.” Read more about Audrey here.
Paul Henle (’81, Percussion)
November 30, 1949 – October 7, 2018
Paul Jacobson Henle graduated from the University of Rochester in 1971 and later received a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Paul’s love of New Hampshire began in childhood with happy summer vacations. His early career included logging in the New Hampshire woods, working on a dairy farm, and theatre production at the Barnstormers in Tamworth. He went on to become a lead programmer with Primavera Systems, a trusted realtor, and ultimately retired as a community organizer from the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund in Concord. Paul excelled at making music. He played percussion for many years in the Lakes Region with the Irish band, Odd Men Out. He also played with the New Hampshire Music Festival and the Scottish band Tullochgorum and was the percussionist for several recordings of New England musicians. Paul’s own CD is The Golden Keyboard: Celtic Marimba. Most recently, his String Quartet #1 in A Major was premiered on March 18, 2018, by members of the Holyoke Civic Symphony at a chamber music concert. Paul will be remembered always for his gentle kindness, bright intellect, good humor, and wit. Read more about Paul here.
Katherine Hoover (MM ’74, Music Theory)
December 2, 1937 – September 21, 2018
Katherine, composer, flutist, and poet, is the recipient of a National Endowment Composers Fellowship and many other awards and commissions, including the prestigious Academy of Arts and Letters 1994 Academy Composition Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Flute Association. Her works for orchestra, chamber groups, and soloists have been widely recorded and published by Theodore Presser and Papagena Press. Her Kokopelli for Solo Flute has sold over 13,000 copies and has been performed world-wide. There have been over 60 performances of her orchestral pieces by groups including the Long Beach (CA), Harrisburg, Fort Worth, and Santa Fe Symphonies. Chamber groups including the Colorado Quartet, the Eroica Trio, the New Jersey Chamber Music Society, the Dorian and Sylvan Quintets, and the Amherst Saxophone Quartet; cellist Sharon Robinson, pianists Christopher Taylor, Anne-Marie McDermott, Joseph Kalichstein, and Mirian Conti; flutists Julius Baker, Carol Wincenc, Eugenia Zukerman, and jazz clarinet virtuoso Eddie Daniels have all featured her work. In the January 1997 issue of Classical Pulse, Critic Leslie Gerber picked Hoover’s Quintet Da Pacem (Koch) as one of the five best recordings of 1996. In March of 2013, the New York Flute Club sponsored a celebration concert of her work. Ms. Hoover’s book of poems, “This Way About” was published in 2015 by I Universe as an Editor’s Choice book. Having graduated from the Eastman School of Music and Manhattan School of Music, she went on to give concerto performances at Lincoln center and has performed with ballet and opera companies in New York’s major Halls. She has played numerous recitals, both live and on radio and television, and recorded solo and chamber repertoire for Arabesque, Leonarda, CRI, Grenadilla, and Opus One. She has taught Flute in the Juilliard Preparatory Department, and Music theory at the Manhattan School of Music. In 2015, with the encouragement of friends and family members, she published a book of her poems, This Way About. One poem in the collection is called “Music, My Love.” It concludes, “Music, my love, you have taken my hand in sorrow and led me from darkness. You have taught me grace and forgiveness. Music, my love, you whisper to me of paradise.”
Jack Jennings (BM ’57, MM ’58, percussion)
1928 – April 5, 2019
Jack Jennings was born in Youngstown, Ohio and later moved to Brooklyn, NY and attended the Manhattan School of Music for his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in percussion performance. Jack had a very successful and varied career as a percussionist. He worked as a studio-recording percussionist in New York City and Los Angeles, appearing on a range of TV shows, movie soundtracks, and commercial jingles. Jennings performed with many famous musicians throughout his career including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, and many more. Additionally, he toured the U.S. and Canada with Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr. and played for many years in the Broadway musical Cats. Jack later settled in Norwood, New Jersey and was a longtime member of the Immaculate Conception Church and St. Anthony’s Church, serving as co-choir director of the adult and youth choirs with his wife, Jayne. His family was the greatest joy of his life and he and his wife celebrated a marriage of 58 years and five children. Read more about Jack here.
Michael “Blair” Lawhead (BM ’89, Violin)
October 31, 1962 – March 14, 2018
Michael was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, grew up in Austin, Minnesota, and graduated from Austin High School, where he was one of the first recipients of the Austin Music Hall of Fame Award. He went on to attend Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana, where he studied with Joseph Gingold and received a scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music, where he earned a bachelor of music degree. He taught at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Blair toured with the Andy Williams and Perry Como orchestras as a professional violinist. While on tour, he aptly cut both performers’ hair. In 1989, Blair moved to New York City with a violin, scissors and a dream. Upon graduation from the Manhattan School of Music, he began playing with the orchestras of many Broadway musicals, which include Annie, Carousel, The Red Shoes, Secret Garden, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Ragtime. He founded and developed the Chelsea New York Symphony and played in that orchestra for seven years. He also started a hair replacement business, “Blair Hair,” and enjoyed many years of satisfied customers. “He appreciated and collected art. He was also very fond of his golden retrievers, Gus, Liza, Max and Puck. Blair was an extrovert who loved talking to people. He had a lot of friends who loved him dearly.”
Spiro Malas (MSM Voice Faculty)
January 28, 1933— June 23, 2019
The MSM Community lost one of its own – a remarkable artist and wonderful human being — in longtime Voice faculty member Spiro Malas. Spiro joined the Voice faculty in 1988 and leaves a legacy, having taught three decades of MSM students, developing both their musical and artistic talents as well as moving them towards a deeper understanding of themselves and their potential. Spiro also gave of himself as an artist during his years at MSM; he was a guest artist with the MSM Opera Theater, singing the role of Falstaff in MSM’s production of Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. Among his many other accomplishments as a performer (Met Opera, Covent Garden, Chicago Lyric, New York City Opera), in 1992, Spiro won accolades and a Drama Desk Award nomination for his Broadway portrayal of Tony Esposito, the title character in The Most Happy Fella. Reviewing the revival for The New York Times, Frank Rich wrote that, “As acted by Mr. Malas, Tony’s inner growth and redemption become the very soul of musical drama, especially as delineated in one gorgeous Loesser song after another.” The italics are MSMs, and they help communicate what was so special about Spiro as both performer and teacher. He felt the presence of that “soul” and allowed others – audience members and students alike – to feel it for themselves. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Spiro’s loving wife, Marlena Malas, herself a member of MSM’s Voice faculty (since 1982), and to his immediate and extended family. We know that Spiro’s long, rich, accomplished life and the many wonderful memories it inspires will be a source of comfort and joy in the days and years ahead. Click here to read a tribute to this wonderful artist from Opera News.
Hugh Masekela (’64, Trumpet)
April 4, 1939 – January 23, 2018
Hugh was a renowned South African trumpeter, singer and activist. His music became symbolic of his country’s anti-apartheid movement, even though he lived three decades in exile. He recorded more than 40 solo albums and collaborated with artists ranging from Harry Belafonte to Paul Simon. Mr. Masekela came to the forefront of his country’s music scene in the 1950s, when he became a pioneer of South African jazz as a member of the Jazz Epistles. By 1956, Mr. Masekela was performing in dance bands around Johannesburg and in cities across the country. In 1959, he played in the pit band of the hit musical King Kong, with music composed by the seminal South African pianist Todd Matshikiza. In 1960, Hugh moved briefly to London to study at the Guildhall School of Music, before attending Manhattan School of Music where he studied classical trumpet for four years. Mr. Masekela and Stewart Levine, a fellow student at the Manhattan School, established the independent label Chisa, named for the Zulu word for “burn.” The two would remain lifelong collaborators and friends. The label struck gold in 1968 when Mr. Masekela released the album The Promise of a Future, featuring “Grazing in the Grass,” which hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts. In the 1970s, Mr. Masekela toured sub-Sarahan Africa and began a partnership with the Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, who had recently pioneered the genre known as Afrobeat. He also worked with the exiled South African saxophonist Dudu Pukwana and began fronting the Ghanaian group Hedzoleh Soundz. He recorded two albums with the group, Introducing Hedzoleh Soundz and I Am Not Afraid, and toured the United States with them in 1974. In 1980, Mr. Masekela returned to Africa. He settled in Botswana, where he set up a mobile recording studio and recorded two albums. In 1987, he traveled to London to record the album Tomorrow, which included “Mandela (Bring Him Back Home).” In 1986, Mr. Masekela founded the Botswana International School of Music, a nonprofit organization aimed at educating young African musicians. The following year, he played with Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo on the “Graceland” tour. Mr. Masekela moved back to South Africa in 1990, the year Mandela was released from prison. He continued to record and tour around the world into his mid-70s. In 2010, Mr. Masekela was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in gold, South Africa’s highest medal of honor. MSM is proud to have him among our prestigious alumni. He will be missed by many. Read more about Hugh in the New York Times here.
Robert M. Petta (BM ’74, Percussion)
June 6, 1949 – March 22, 2018
After graduating, Robert became the Principal Percussionist of The Florida Symphony/Orlando Philharmonic, a position he held for thirty-seven years. With The Orlando Philharmonic he made several recordings for Madacy Records. He was also a member of The Brevard Symphony and frequently performed with the orchestras of Naples, Jacksonville, Tampa and Sarasota. He was the Principal Percussionist for The Orlando Opera, Opera Tampa, The Palm Beach Opera, The Southern Ballet Theater and tours with the Ballet Companies of New York City, Houston, Hartford and Pittsburgh. He also performed on tour with The Royal Opera Orchestra of Covent Garden. In addition, Robert performed for many years in The Fife and Drum Corps at Walt Disney World and was on the faculty of The University of Central Florida. In 2012 Robert moved back to Syracuse to pursue semi-retirement. Since returning, he performed with The Binghamton Philharmonic, The Catskill Symphony, The Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, Symphoria of Syracuse and The Coachmen.
Allegra Themmen-Pigott (BM ’97)
October 26, 1967 – May 4, 2019
Allegra was immersed in music from her birth. She was named after the musical term for “lively” by her parents, who were professional musicians. Following her graduation from Ridgefield High School in CT, she pursued a performance degree in classical voice as a coloratura soprano and began a life-long passion of organizing and performed in concerts for a range of charities and events. After Alzheimer’s Disease struck her mother, Allegra became interested in the healing power of music. She attended Leslie College in Cambridge, MA; earned a Masters in Expressive Therapies; and became a Board Certified Music Therapist. Allegra worked in several clinics in the New York City area, ran her own private practice, and earned certifications as a Diplomat Psychotherapist and a Certified Reiki Practitioner. Allegra also served as a Board member at the American Music Therapy Associated for the New England Region, and was a member of the adjunct faculty at the New School in New York City. Allegra is also the author of Life in the Key of Allegra: A Personal and Professional Journey with the Healing Powers of Music, an extraordinary memoir that spans the decades of her growth as a young girl to a mental health professional. More about Allegra here.
Jonathan Sternberg (’46, Viola)
July 27, 1919 – May 8, 2018
Jonathan began his professional career conducting the National Youth Administration Orchestra of New York in Copland’s An Outdoor Overture, before entering military service. At the end of the war he took over the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. Jonathan Sternberg made his conducting debut with the Vienna Symphony Orchesta in 1947. Then he toured extensively as a guest conductor in Europe, North America, and the Far East. After a year at the helm of the Halifax Symphony Orchestra, Jonathan Sternberg was Music Director and the Principal Conductor of the Royal Flemish Opera in Antwerp, Belgium. In 1966 he returned to the U.S. to accept an appointment as the Musical Director and Principal Conductor of the Harkeness Ballet York. Concurrently he was Musical Consultant to the Rebekah Harkness Foundation for their Ballet Commissioning program. Some years later he was appointed Musical Director and conductor of the Atlanta Municipal. After Atlanta, Jonathan Sternberg divided his professional time with the academic world. He took up a visiting professorship of conducting at the Eastman School of Music and later took a position at Temple University, where he taught and conducted for 20 years. In 2004 he was appointed as Musical and Artistic Director of the Bach Festival of Philadelphia. Among the artists with whom he has collaborated in concert and opera, are Isaac Stern, Yehudi Menuhin, Henryk Szeryng, Paul Badura-Skoda, Alfred Brendel, Annie Fischer, Philippe Entremont, Byron Janis, Teresa Stich-Randall, Lisa Della Casa, Hilde Gueden, George London and Paul Schoeffler. (Information acquired from Bach-Cantatas.com)
Sanford Sylvan (BM ’76, Voice)
1953 – January 29, 2019
The beloved American baritone Sanford Sylvan performed with the world’s leading orchestras under such conductors as Pierre Boulez, Herbert Blohmstedt, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Christopher Hogwood, James Levine, Roger Norrington, Simon Rattle, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. In opera, Sanford worked with directors Peter Sellars, Robert Wilson, Sir Peter Hall, John Copley, Tim Alberry, and many others at companies including Glyndebourne, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, and at the La Monnaie theater in Brussels. His portrayals of Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro and Alfonso in Così fan tutte had been seen on PBS’s Great Performances and are recorded on DVD for Decca. Sanford recorded the title role in John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer, also on Decca. He sang the role of Chou-En Lai for the premiere of Adams’s Nixon in China which received a Grammy and an Emmy. With pianist David Breitman, Sanford had performed numerous recitals worldwide. Two of their three recordings on the Nonesuch label received best classical vocal performance Grammy nominations. In 2011, he was nominated again in the same category for his performance of Wilde: A Symphony by Charles Fussell. Sanford was on the voice faculty at The Juilliard School and Bard Conservatory and had previously been on the faculty of McGill University in Montreal. Read more on Juilliard’s in memoriam page here. ‘”Not only was he a professional singer,” said Sylvan’s sister Gwen, “as a teacher of voice, he allowed his students to emerge, to really find their own voices. I look at his life as such a full, total life. It’s extraordinary in terms of his gift as singer – his voice was absolutely healing. But his teaching, in the latter part of his lifetime — he was so devoted to his students, and they were to him.”‘ – from NPR’s Sanford Sylvan, A Baritone On His Own Terms, Dies At 65
Maestro Hugo Vianello (BM ’50, MM ’51, viola)
January 16, 1929 – March 30, 2018
Hugo joined the Army Air Corps (precursor to the Air Force) in 1944 and was stationed in the Philippines, Arizona, and the Mariana Islands. Hugo was an airplane Radio Operator/Mechanic and also qualified as a Carbine Sharpshooter. He was honorably discharged on May 14, 1946, as a Corporal. After service, he enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music, earning his Bachelor and Master of Music. Hugo performed with the Knickerbocker Chamber Players, the Bell Telephone Hour Orchestra and the Radio City Music Hall Symphony. Before becoming a conductor, he also played viola in the Minneapolis Symphony and the New York Philharmonic, and was Principal Violist of the Oklahoma City Symphony. He toured extensively throughout the U.S., and also in Greece, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Yugoslavia and Canada. He made his conducting debut was with the Oklahoma City Symphony. He subsequently accepted an appointment as Assistant Conductor of the Kansas City Philharmonic. During his tenure there, he founded the Kansas City Civic Orchestra. Honored with the American Symphony League Conductor Recognition Award, he was selected to participate in conducting projects with the Baltimore and Cincinnati symphonies. Hugo left Kansas City for an appointment as Music Director of the Lansing Symphony in Michigan. Concurrently, he accepted the prestigious position of Director of Orchestral Activities at Northwestern University. While there, he conducted National Education Television (NET) opera productions. The family moved to Columbia in 1968, when Hugo became Director of Orchestral Activities at Stephens College. In 1970, he founded the Missouri Symphony Society. Hugo served as Artistic Director and Conductor for 28 years, until his retirement, when he was named Conductor Laureate. For thirteen seasons, he concurrently held the post of Associate Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony. Hugo conducted orchestras around the country and the Orquestra Sinfonica Estados Mexico in Mexico City. Hugo was also a composer. His Christmas Kaleidoscope was performed by numerous orchestras throughout the country. In Dec. 2017, Hugo saw the world premiere of his operetta, An Antique Carol, at Talking Horse Productions. In 2006, the Missouri Arts Council honored Hugo with a Lifetime Achievement Award. He and his wife, Lucy Marino, celebrated 67 years of marriage and had four children.
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