Check out the recent activities and accomplishments of former classmates.
Nicolas Flagello’s (BM ’49, MM ’50) Concerto for String Orchestra was performed by the German orchestra Deutsche-Kammerakademie conducted by Lavard Skou Larsen on April 2, 2017.
Kenneth Lane (’54) performed for the New Life Expo at The New Yorker on March 18, 2017. Selections included love songs from opera, Viennese operetta, and musicals, and even included a few tunes by The Beatles and Elvis.
Ralph Blauvelt (MM ’67) published a remastered version of his CD Frances Riley Blauvelt Sings the Music of Ralph Blauvelt in April 2017, which includes four performance recordings and the four compositions of his “Opus 2015.” In May 2017, Ralph published the eighteenth CD of his music, From Those Beginning Notes, which includes nine new compositions featuring bassist Motoharu Yoshizawa, Bradford Graves, reeds, and Ralph at the keyboard.
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.
Francis Brancaleone (MM ’60) gave a paper at the Edward MacDowell Festival and Symposium at Elizabethtown College, which appears in Very Good for an American: Essays on Edward MacDowell, published by Pendragon Press. The book has been described as adding “new depth to our understanding of this complex and influential composer.” Dr. Brancaleone’s essay addresses “Wagnerian Influence and Motives in the Works of Edward MacDowell.” Dr. Brancaleone is a renowned MacDowell authority, whose dissertation on MacDowell’s short piano works is cited in the composer’s bibliography in the Oxford Music Online (Grove Music Online). He was interviewed on NPR about his seminal article, “Edward MacDowell and Indian Motives,” published in American Music, Vol. 7, no. 4 (Winter 1989). He and his wife, soprano Elsa Jean Davidson (former Dean of Students at MSM and former Director of the New York Office of the MacDowell Colony), have given numerous lecture-recitals of the composer’s music.
Suzanne Cogan (’67) is currently working on a memoir. Her story was published on October 31, 2017 in the nytimes.com newsletter “Vietnam ‘67.” Read an excerpt from her memoir-in-progress, USO Girl: Vietnam Then and Now: https://www.nytimes.com/newsletters/2017/10/31/vietnam-67?nlid=9051262.
John Corigliano (’63, Honorary Doctorate 1992) is a 2017 Grammy Award winner for The Ghosts of Versailles under the category “Best Engineered Album, Classical” and “Best Opera Recording.”
Adolphus Hailstork (BM ’65, MM ’66) was the recipient of a 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award from Manhattan School of Music.
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.
Norman Seldin (’63) became a Steinway & Sons Spirio recording artist in 2017.
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) will be celebrating his 40th season in Summer 2017 as Music Director and Conductor of the National Repertory Orchestra (NRO). This year also marks the 20th anniversary season of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, an ensemble for which Carl is the founding conductor. Currently in his 36th season as Conductor and Director of the Orchestral Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), Carl has appeared as guest conductor with 120 orchestras in 37 states and 12 foreign countries. His CIM students and NRO alumni may be found as orchestra members and conductors both nationally and internationally.
Paul-André Bempéchat (MM ’74), Artist-in-Residence of the Leverett House, Harvard University, was honored as a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France) and Hederskapellist (Honorary Fellow) of the Royal Academic Orchestra and Chapel, Uppsala University (Sweden).
Christopher Berg (’72) had U.S. and New York premieres of a new chamber work for soprano, cello, and piano, Told Tales Sweet as Untold: Three Poems of Fernando Pessoa. The U.S. premiere took place in Washington, D.C. on November 20, 2017, and the NYC premiere at Alice Tully Hall the following evening, under the auspices of Young Concert Artists and the PyeongChang (Korea) Music Festival. The work was commissioned by the PyeongChang Music Festival and was premiered in PyeongChang on July 29, 2016. Jeffrey Williams wrote in the New York Concert Review, that the composer “captures the essence of Pessoa’s poetry with remarkable sensitivity…poignant and ethereal, innocent and questioning, hopeful and ecstatic” and “spellbinding,” and “as the end faded to silence, the rapt audience waited a moment before bursting into loud applause.”
Andrea Brachfeld (BM ’78) was awarded Chamber Music America’s prestigious New Jazz Works grant for the creation and performance of a new jazz composition in 2017.
Steve Cohen (BM ’76) was commissioned by the Zamir Choral Foundation for a new choral piece titled Al Rosh Simchati (Above My Chiefest Joy). It premiered on May 21, 2017 at the Rose Auditorium, Jazz at Lincoln Center, in New York City. MSM alum Alan Mason (BM ’80, MM ’82) was among the performers.
Michael Davis (MM ’76) has produced a documentary, Regina Resnik: New York Original, currently streaming online on CUNY TV: www.cuny.tv/show/cunytvspecial/PR2006636, 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.
Cori Ellison (’79) was named one of Musical America’s 2017 Movers & Shapers: Top 30 Professionals of the Year.
Shirley Gruenhut (MM ’73) has been collaborating with flutist Marla Nistico, who was a finalist for the Astral Management auditions on June 6, 2017 in Philadelphia. Here is their pre-audition submission of a performance of Gaubert’s Fantasie for flute and piano. Shirley was also the featured soloist on June 10, 2017 at the Master Works Theatre, with all proceeds going to the Hearts for the Arts Foundation founded by Dr. Joann Freeburg.
Douglas Hedwig’s (BM ’73) three-movement String Quintet, commissioned by the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, premiered on February 19, 2017.
Larry Hochman (BM ’75) was a 2017 Tony Award nominee in the category “Best Orchestrations” for Hello, Dolly!
Sue Maskaleris (’77) premiered three new pieces in 2017. The Vigilante— inspired by a book from the Millburn Library, where she performed the piece with Pablo Aslan on bass and Brad Baker on clarinet—is about a young violinist who bravely avenged his family’s murder during the Holocaust before meeting his at age 14. Sue’s Habanera Fantastica, inspired by Ravel, which she performed on piano, with Pablo Aslan on bass, was also on the program. Sue performs annually at the Piano in the Park Series in Bryant Park for which she likes to compose a polytonal rag.
Edward Mikenas (MM ’71) was featured in “We Will Sustain the World,” a program of song and poetry at the Amherst Country Public Library in October 2017: http://www.newsadvance.com/new_era_progress/lifestyles/agar-presents-oct-program-featuring-composer-achs-students/article_2f358dce-4778-5a37-8094-ab73f1f968bf.html. Edward was also featured in the cover story of the July 2017 issue of Percussive Notes, “American Drumming in Drum Circles,” which described the best pedagogical practices in translating African hand drumming skills for drum circle participants.
Bob Mintzer (’74) is a 2017 Grammy-nominee for his album All L.A. Band under the category “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.”
Joseph Morrison (BM ’75, MM ’76) recorded his album Joe Morrison’s Pop Jazz Personnel.
Anna Simeone Ostrofsky (BM ’74, MM ’75) performed as concertmaster with the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra on October 28, 2017.
David Owens (MM ’73) had performances of his Sonata for Cello and Piano by cellist Hyun-Ji Kwon and pianist Victor Cayres in Brookline, MA in October 2017, and of his suite Sky Legends: Twelve Miniatures on the Signs of the Zodiac by Mr. Cayres and his wife, pianist Heeyeon Chi, in their four-hand piano program at the Steinway dealership in Natick, MA in November 2017. December 2017 saw the premiere of David’s Soliloquy VI for solo viola by violist Anne Black at Framingham State University. The cello sonata and the four-hand piano suite are scheduled to be included in an Albany Records CD of several of David’s compositions in April 2018.
Louis Pelosi (MM ’78) had six sonatas premiered by pianist Mateusz Borowiak in a three-recital concert series at Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Music Center in November 2017. Louis’s works were interspersed in the programs with complete etudes by Chopin, Debussy, and Rachmaninoff.
Susan Quittmeyer (MM ’78) was the recipient of a 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award from Manhattan School of Music.
Composer/pianist Jimmy Roberts (’74) has brought his show, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, the second-longest-running off-Broadway musical in theater history, up to date to reflect how relationships have changed in recent decades. The new production opened in October 2017 to raves at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Jimmy’s latest musical, All Dressed Up and Nowhere To Go, a quirky and touching story set in Buffalo during a blizzard, had an extremely successful September reading at Pearl Studios in New York. The writers are now seeking a theater for a full production. Jimmy’s piano/vocal solo act was seen this year at the Rockefeller University concert series and the Woodstock Comedy Festival. He gave a lecture on George Gershwin’s life and music at St. Francis College last April and again in August at the Pianophoria Summer Workshop in New York.
Gary Schall (BM ’78) released a recording in December 2017 titled Landings, his latest composition for marimba, piano, and voice. It was performed on a concert of his original works at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music on January 12, 2018.
David Schiff’s (BM ’73, MM ’75) violin concerto, 4 Sisters, was performed by Regina Carter and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on March 3, 2017. Recent commissions include Ducal Suite for Clarinet and String Quartet, which will be premiered by David Shifrin and the Dover String Quartet at Chamber Music Northwest in July; Allemande en rondeau, written for Nancy Ives, Principal Cellist of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra; and Songs Without Words, commissioned by Portland Piano International for its Rising Star program.
Randall Svane (BM ’77) had his orchestral work Quantum Flight premiered by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra under the direction of JoAnn Falletta in September 2017. Performances took place in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Newport News, Virginia.
Sondra Tammam (BM ’73) was a guest speaker at the MTNA National Conference in Baltimore in March 2017. She also presented a workshop to the Piano Teachers Congress of New York. Her recent master classes were at the University of Graz (Austria) and the Accademia di Santa Cecilia (Rome).
Ann Tedesco (MM ’76) performed her twenty-third Piano Benefit Concert on March 28, 2017 at St. John’s University, where she is a faculty member.
Dawn Avery (BM ’83) composed music and lyrics for the album Crane on Earth, in Sky: a Journey for IBEX Puppetry for the play Ajijaack, which ran at La MaMa Experimental Theater in New York in February 2018. This Native down-tempo album features storytelling through sonic landscapes – filled with the sounds of animals, strings, electric guitar and electronics, with lyrics sung in Mohawk and English. Dawn has won two Global Music Awards for this album, which captured both the Best Album and Theatre categories.
Sample Audio Tracks from the album:
Video link for the title tune, “Ajijaack”
Paul Brantley (BM ’83) had his composition The Royal Revolver premiered in December 2017 by cellist Eric Jacobsen and members of the University of Michigan Symphony, conducted by Kenneth Kiesler. https://soundcloud.com/paul-brantley-music/the-royal-revolver
Frank Daykin (BM ’83) gave an all-Poulenc master class at Manhattan School of Music in May 2017 under the auspices of the Art Song Preservation Society of New York’s Spring Into Song bootcamp. Frank was re-engaged to give a recital and master class (all-Debussy) in 2018. His book The Encyclopedia of French Art Song: Fauré, Debussy, Ravel, Poulenc (Pendragon Press, 2013) can be found in conservatories worldwide. His new “encyclobiography,” Ravel: A to Z, is in preparation.
Richard DeRosa (MM ’85) released a new CD project, Rediscovered Ellington, in August 2017 featuring alumnus and current faculty member Garry Dial (BM ’89, MM ’90) on piano and former faculty member Dick Oatts on saxophone and flute, with the world-renowned WDR Big Band from Cologne, Germany. Richard served as the conductor and big band arranger. The project features new arrangements of rare and unheard compositions from Duke Ellington’s repertoire. In November 2017, Richard conducted Bernstein at 100 with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, featuring Wynton Marsalis, which presented new arrangements, half of them by Richard, of various pieces from Bernstein’s vast repertoire.
Carolyn Enger’s (’89) latest work, The Mischlinge Exposé, created with alumna Carrie Frey (MM ’16), pays tribute to Carolyn’s father, Horst Joachim Enger, who survived forced labor and the Holocaust as a Mischling, a half-Jew, in Germany. Combining music, literature, and images, the multimedia concert program focuses on the haunting memories of the lives of Mischlinge and converts, in Germany before, during, and after the Holocaust, an experience reflected in Ms. Enger’s own family history. Carolyn commissioned composer Bruce Adolphe to write a piece for The Mischlinge Exposé, which premiered in the fall of 2017. On her Chicago tour in April and May 2017, Carolyn performed The Mischlinge Exposé at the Chicago Theological Seminary and at the Chicago Public Library. www.carolynenger.com
Karen Geer (MM ’85) is the new Executive Director of InterSchool Orchestras of New York.
Dan Grabois (MM ’89) received tenure at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he is in his sixth year teaching horn. Before coming to Madison, Dan was Chair of the Contemporary Performance Program at Manhattan School of Music.
Karen (Engert) Luttik (BM ’84) published An Analysis of Géza Frid’s Concerto for Clarinets, Op. 82 (1972): Rediscovered repertoire by a Hungarian, Jewish, Dutch composer, her Lecture Recital Research, in partial fulfillment of her DMA requirements, on Boston University’s Open University Database, April 2017.
Dr. Alan Mason (BM ’80, MM ’82), retired Associate Professor of Music at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida, is the conductor of HaZamir Miami, a chapter of HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir. Alan accompanied HaZamir on their recent concerts at the Metropolitan Opera House on March 26, 2017 and Jazz at Lincoln Center on May 21, 2017. He is President of the Guild of Temple Musicians and has made a flourishing career as a noted pianist, accompanist, and program director for sacred Jewish music concerts throughout the United States and abroad.
Peri Mauer (BM ’88, MM ’90) had the world premiere of her string quartet, Shadow Lake, on February 21, 2017 by the Klang String Quartet, featuring alumnus Gregor Kitzis (BM ’83, MM ’86). Peri’s work for symphonic band, Red Sky, was performed by students of the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and the Performing Arts Symphonic Band on October 27, 2017. Her new composition, Planetesimal Migration for flute, trumpet, and trombone, was premiered on November 4, 2017 by Concrete Timbre at Olli Studio Gallery. Peri was also granted a 2017 ASCAP Plus Award.
Donovan Mixon (MM ’85) released his first YA novel, Ahgottahandleonit, in March 2017 by Cinco Puntos Press. His bookings included a Black History Month presentation in February 2017 and a talk about the blending of music and literature in April 2017 at Evanston Library. On March 23, Donovan presented for writer’s week at Niles North High School. HER Story Theatre in Chicago produced a live music and dramatic reading for the project in March and upcoming is the Chicago Printer’s Row Festival this June. You can read a review of the novel here, and find more information about Donovan Mixon’s work here.
Brenda Murray (MM ’86) performed a concert at Meredith College on March 21, 2017 with Manny Laureano, the principal trumpet of the Minnesota Orchestra, conductor of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra and the Minnesota Youth Orchestra. Brenda also performed on March 25, 2017 at Meredith College with alumna Lorraine Duso (MM ’87), Professor of Double Reeds at University of Central Arkansas and Oboe/English Horn of the Arkansas Symphony.
John Musto (BM ’76, MM ’80) was recently appointed Coordinator of the DMA Program in Music Performance at the CUNY Graduate Center. Commissioned works include his children’s opera Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt, which received its premiere in fall 2017 with OnSite Opera, Chicago Lyric, and Pittsburgh Opera. He also commissioned a silence that speaks with Chanticleer, which received its premiere in July 2017, and Be Music, Night for soprano and piano with Lyric Fest, which had its premiere on April 2, 2017. John’s opera production performances included The Inspector with the University of Houston in January 2017 and Later the Same Evening with Central City Opera, Northwestern University, University of South Carolina, and Opera Memphis. John’s performances in 2017 included the Gershwin Concerto with Greeley Philharmonic, a cabaret with his spouse Amy Burton at Café Sabarsky, a recital with Amy at Wave Hill, and Late Night with Leonard Bernstein (Music from Copland House).
Anders Paulsson’s (MM ’86) first symphonic tone poem, Kumulipo Reflections, premiered in April 2017 with the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra conducted by JoAnn Falletta and featuring vocalist Aaron D. Mahi. Celebrating the power of the ocean, Paulsson’s score “captures the timelessness and beauty of the Hawai’ian landscape and seascape, . . . a symphonic reflection of the Hawai’ian creation chant Kumulipo, presented and uplifted with the HSO to a new audience.” Anders is the cofounder and Artistic Director of Coral Guardians. Learn more here.
Jack Perla’s (BM ’83, MM ’84) opera, An American Dream was performed by the Studio Artists of Opera Maine in July 2017. The opera also returned to Opera Seattle in September, after receiving its world-premiere there in August 2015.
Neil Semer (BM ’83) gave master classes and lessons in Australia for the Melba Trust, Queensland Conservatorium, and Victorian ANATS in March 2017. Over last summer he held his 21st annual Neil Semer Vocal Institute in Germany. Most recently he gave master classes for Hawaii Opera Theatre in January 2018. His students are singing at the Metropolitan Opera, Paris Opera, Bayreuth Festspiele, Covent Garden, and other opera houses this season.
Alex Shapiro (BM ’83) is currently 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 (BM ’85) is a 2017 winner of a Bronx Council of the Arts award in the category of literary fiction for her short stories, “In Spite of the Devil” and “Rochelle La Belle.” Ms. Shapiro’s song “Better Things to Do ” was recorded by blues singer Annika Chambers on her album Wild & Free in August 2016, and her article on dance accompanying was published in Dance Studio Life Magazine: https://www.dancestudiolife.com/february-2017-thinking-out-loud-the-bottom-line-and-the-big-picture/
Blair Tindall (BM ’82, MM ’83) won Ivy Entertainment’s Milestone Award in September 2017 for her creation of Mozart in the Jungle, the Amazon Studios television comedy series about classical musicians based on her memoir. The show, with 2016 Golden Globes for best comedy and best actor, recently won its second Emmy on September 11, 2017.
Katherine Sinsabaugh (BM ’89, MM ’90) released her newest album, A Stroll Along the Lanes, in 2017. https://thelanes.hearnow.com
Steve Turre (MM ’88) was the recipient of a 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award from Manhattan School of Music.
David Wolfsohn (DMA ’84) was the recipient of a 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award from Manhattan School of Music.
Thomas Michael Allen (MM ’91) was appointed Assistant Professor of Voice at USC Thornton School of Music in August 2017. After previous seasons in which he appeared as a soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Zurich Tonhalle Orchester, Thomas Michael Allen covered the third Knappe in Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival and performed his first Wagner role (Kunz Vogelgesang) in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the Komische Oper Berlin in October and November. He performed the tenor roles in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen with Les Nouveaux Caractères on tour in France and returned to the Komische Oper as Arnalta in Barrie Kosky’s staging of L’incoronazione di Poppea in April, May, and June. Thomas also sang the tenor solo in Britten’s War Requiem at the Berlin Philharmonie in June 2017. www.thomasmichaelallen.com
Cally Banham (MM ’96) is in her twelfth season as solo English horn with the Saint Louis Symphony. In 2017 she was appointed as the Oboe Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. Cally is also celebrating the fifth season of Cortango Orquesta, a tango, classical, and jazz fusion ensemble she created. www.cortango.com
Justin Bischof (BM ’90, MM ’92, DMA ’98) is Conductor and Artistic Director of the Canadian Chamber Orchestra of New York City. On April 30, 2017, he conducted Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at SUNY Purchase in New York for a benefit entitled Transforming the Lives of Children through Music, the orchestra’s 10th annual children’s benefit concert. Many of the performers involved were MSM alumni, including soprano soloist Amy Shoremount-Obra (BM ’01, MM ’03), alto soloist Sahoko Timpone (MM ’99, PS ’01), bass soloist Hans Tashjian (MM ’13), the concertmaster Nicole Sharlow (MM ’01), the associate conductor Elliot Moore (MM ’10), and 18 other members of the orchestra.
Theo Bleckmann (’90) made his label debut as a leader with his album Elegy, which was chosen as one of the best recordings of 2017 by the Nation.
Mark Brown (BM ‘96, MM ’98) will be publishing El Libro Real, two 500-page volumes of transcriptions of traditional Venezuelan music.
Robert Cassidy (MM ’92) performed Franz Schubert’s song cycle Die Winterreise with MSM alumnus and bass singer DeAndre Simmons (MM ’05) on March 19, 2017 at the Castleton in Performance recital series in Castleton, VA. The following month, Cassidy made his Parisian solo recital debut performing both books of the Debussy Preludes at the American Church. In September 2017, Cassidy and Simmons recorded Die Winterreise at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York. Highlights of the current season include Cassidy’s orchestral debut with the Santa Barbara Symphony in November 2017, and the first installment of a Beethoven cycle of his complete works for cello and piano with cellist Ani Aznavoorian. The second installment will take place in November 2018. Both concerts will be part of the Santa Ynez Valley Classical Music Series in Los Olivos, CA.
Michael Dabroski (BM ’90) led the Vermont Mozart Festival in multiple performances as conductor, violinist, and lecturer this past year. The Vermont Mozart Festival provides fellowships to the most talented and promising young professional musicians seeking artistic training and entrepreneurial guidance. Lyceum Mozartiano de La Habana invited Michael to perform two all-Mozart violin recitals in Havana, Cuba, in February 2017.
Marlon Daniel (BM ’93) made his debut with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Cuba (National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba) in April 2017. Marlon continues to work as the Artistic Director of the Bahamas National Symphony Orchestra (BNSO) workshop project and as the Music Director of Colour of Music Festival. He was also the 2017 Saint-Georges International Music Festival Artistic and Music Director.
Salvatore Di Vittorio (BM ’97) opened Chamber Orchestra of New York’s 10th anniversary season, as its founding Music Director, at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall on Saturday, October 28, 2017. The program, “Postcards from Italy,” included music of Rossini and Verdi; Di Vittorio’s completion of Respighi’s first Violin Concerto (with violinist Elena Urioste); and two premieres—his own Palermo Overture and Dirk Brosse’s own Pictures at an Exhibition. As New York’s premier young professionals’ orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of New York auditions musicians who are enrolled or have graduated from the major music conservatories, including Manhattan School of Music. https://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2017/10/28/0730/PM/Chamber-Orchestra-of-New-York/
Mark Dix (MM ’95), violist of the Phoenix Symphony, received a 2017 Ford Musician Award for Excellence in Community Service from the League of American Orchestras.
Scott Dunn (MM ’96) has recently conducted the Atlanta Symphony, LA Phil, BBC Concert Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Vienna Radio Orchestra (RSO), among other ensembles, and appeared with such headliners as Trey Anastasio, Beck, Bill Charlap, Elvis Costello, Leslie Odom Jr., Sutton Foster, and Steve Martin. Recent highlights include Richard Rodney Bennett: Total Immersion at the Barbican with the BBC Concert Orchestra/Singers and Claire Martin; Sondheim and Jazz Side by Side with Ann Hampton Callaway, Bill Charlap, and others; the world premiere of Dunn’s live to film adaptation of Rebel Without a Cause with the LA Phil; the world premiere of Star Trek Beyond live with the Seattle Symphony; Pixar’s Ratatouille live with the San Diego Symphony; numerous pops appearances for Atlanta and San Diego; and Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park for UCLA Opera. Dunn has been Associate Conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra since 2012. He made his 1999 Carnegie Hall debut playing his own orchestration of the Vernon Duke Piano Concerto.
Olivier Fluchaire (BM ’95, MM ’97) toured South Korea in fall 2017, with concerts in Seoul, Gumi, and Ulsan organized by both the Gumi International Music Festival and the House Concert. The tour featured a concerto performance with the Kammersolisten der Deutschen Oper Berlin alongside violinists Jinjoo Cho and Thomasz Tomaszewski; two recitals with MSM alumna and wife, Yoojin Oh (DMA ’11); five chamber music concerts with pianists such as Youngho Kim and Soo-Jung Shin, cellists Edward Arron and Min-Ji Kim, and clarinetist Florent Héau; and a master class for Gumi area college students. He and his wife were also featured in the November 2017 publication of the Korean magazine Piano in a four-page interview.
Kirill Gerstein (BM ’99, MM ‘00) kicked off 2018 with performances with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, and Pittsburgh Symphony. In February he will be performing with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, the Colorado Symphony, and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. In March, Kirill is performing with the Minnesota Orchestra and Ulster Orchestra, touring in a duo recital with cellist Clemens Hagen, and performing with alumnus Guy Braunstein (’95) in chamber music recitals in the Netherlands. Later in the spring, Mr. Gerstein performs with the Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Charlotte Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra. Later in the summer, Kirill Gerstein will play in three concerts at the 2018 Tanglewood Summer Music Festival.
Gila Goldstein (MM ’90) performed recitals in Boston, Jacksonville, New York, Israel, and Los Angeles for the first half of 2017.
Kelly Hall-Tompkins (MM ’95) was named a New York Times “New Yorker of the Year” in 2017.
Stacie Haneline (MM ’92) has had a busy year as the Interim Piano Chair for the University of Nebraska Omaha School of Music where she is a keyboard faculty member. Stacie was honored to perform at the African American Arts Song Alliance at the University of California Irvine with soprano Dr. Gale Robinson-Orturo for the world premiere of the piano/vocal arrangement of honoree Leslie Adams’s song cycle, Dunbar Songs, as well as Robert Owens’s 4 Sonnets to Duse, with soprano Dr. Jamie Reimer. Performing engagements this year will take her to the International Symposium on Performance Science in Reykjavik, Iceland, where she and Dr. Reimer have been invited to perform and present their research on “Personality and Performer: Defining a Satisfying Collaborative Relationship.” They were also invited to the World Convention for Music Educators in Stockholm, Sweden. Stacie will appear on the National Flute Convention with flutist Dr. Christie Beard in Minneapolis, MN. Stacie also maintains a busy teaching and collaborative schedule at the University of Nebraska Omaha. She is active as a pianist for the Omaha Symphony, the Omaha Chamber Music Society (where she was Executive Director for 12 years), and Broadway touring shows such as Wicked, Book of Mormon, Legally Blonde, and Sister Act.
Stefon Harris (BM ’95, MM ’97) joined Manhattan School of Music in July 2017 as Associate Dean and Director of the Jazz Arts program.
Jeffrey Jamner (DMA ’96) wrote the foreword to the newly published book Reading Challenging Texts: Layering Literacies through the Arts by James S. Chisholm and Kathryn F. Whitmore (Routledge Press). Jeff is currently Senior Director of Education & Community Arts at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. This book follows a research study of one of his educational programs, the Anne Frank Bearing Witness Project. His work at the Kentucky Center occasionally involves performing and lecturing about music, and he also performs outside of work.
Kelly Kuo (MM ’98) is currently in his fifth season as Artistic Director of Oregon Mozart Players and Music Director and Conductor of the Butler Opera Center of the University of Texas at Austin. Recent conducting debuts include the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Ballet Fantastique, Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, and Cincinnati Opera. He will be making his Memphis Symphony conducting debut in the 2017–18 season. In February 2017 Kelly conducted Charlie Parker’s Yardbird for Lyric Opera of Chicago with tenor Lawrence Brownlee and alumna Krysty Swann (MM ’08), who sang the role of Rebecca Parker.
Georgia Jarman (MM ’99) starred as Violetta in La Traviata with the Dallas Opera.
Peggy Kriha Dye (MM ’93) was named one of Musical America’s 2017 Movers & Shapers: Top 30 Professionals of the Year
Martin Kuuskmann (BM ’97) performed on the recording of Theofanidis’s Bassoon Concerto, which has been nominated for a 2017 Grammy under the category “Best Contemporary Classical Composition”.
Alex Laing (MM ’98) received a 2018 Sphinx Medal of Excellence and was named one of Musical America’s 2017 Movers & Shapers: Top 30 Professionals of the Year.
Peri Mauer (MM ’90) was honored to be a featured composer in the Composers Now Festival 2017, which took place throughout February. Other recent performances include her solo trumpet piece RED SKY in the Women Composers Festival of Hartford, played by trumpeter Kate Amrine; her flute, harp, and marimba trioPixeliance at Vassar College; the world premiere of her string quartet Shadow Lake in a New York Composers Circle Concert of New Music at St. Peter’s Church, NYC; and the world premiere of All Along the Heights for orchestra, commissioned and premiered by the Jackson Heights Orchestra to critical acclaim: http://soundwordsight.com/?p=2086.
Dr. Carl MaultsBy (MM ’90) conducted two performances in October 2017 of May God Bestow on Us His Grace, an anthem for SSATTB choir and organ commissioned by the churches of St. John Lutheran and St. Richard’s Episcopal, both of Winter Park, Florida, for their joint commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. According to MaultsBy, “the text is a setting of the Martin Luther paraphrase of Psalm 67 with an English translation by Richard Massie. However, in light of the ecumenism of the 500th celebration, the middle section is written as a fully notated stylized Anglican chant using the original German text of Luther.” On October 23–24, MaultsBy participated on a panel for the Virginia Theological Seminary Center for Liturgy and Music, “The Once and Future Hymnal” Conference. He presented a paper entitled, “The Development of African Diasporic Music Styles as Performed in the Churches of the United States of America Since 1982.”
Alex Mincek (BM ’98, MM ’02) released an album of his compositions, Torrent (Sound American), which was selected as one of the best recordings of 2017 by the New York Times and the Nation.
Hosun Moon (MM ’93) was appointed Music Director of the Gateway Playhouse. She music directed and conducted A Christmas Story at the Patchogue Theater in December 2017.
Pianist Yoojin Oh (MM ’96, DMA ’11) and her husband, violinist Olivier Fluchaire (BM ’95, MM ’97), were featured in the November issue of the Korean magazine Piano, in a four-page article focusing on sharing both the concert stage and life as a married couple. Yoojin performed Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the American Chamber Orchestra in Fairfield, Connecticut in February. She also gave chamber music concerts at Summit Music Festival in Purchase, New York and at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York where she teaches. In August, she was invited to give three concerts for the House Concert and One Month Festival in both New York and her native Korea.
Kyle Pfortmiller (MM ’94) performed the role of Aquilio in Farnace in the Spoleto Festival in June 2017.
Dr. Joanne Polk (DMA ’90) will record Edward Green’s Sextet for Piano and Strings with the Lark Quartet on Bridge Records in March 2018. Her latest solo piano CD, titled Gershwin and Wild, was released on the Steinway and Sons label in September 2017. In October she gave a solo recital and master class at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania; in November she performed a recital at Smith College; and in December she recorded the Charles Ives Violin Sonata and Irving Fine Violin Sonata with violinist Joel Pitchon. She will be traveling to Taipei and China for performances and master classes in May 2018.
Chris Potter (MM ’92) was nominated for a 2018 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album and Best Improvised Jazz Solo.
David Rapoport (BM ’91) conducted the Jubilate Baroque Orchestra and the California Bach Society in a performance of J. S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor (BWV 232) at Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, California in August 2017. Supplementing the choir’s forces was alumnus Alex Yagupsky (MM ’92).
Bryan Register (MM ’94) performed as Tristan in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at the UK’s Grange Park Opera and in Tokyo under Maestro Jesús López Cobos. Highlights of 2017 include Bryan’s role debut as Énée in Berlioz’s Les Troyens in Frankfurt, Tristan in Trieste, Siegmund in Die Walküre at Grange Park Opera and appearances at other leading European festivals.
Sean Reusch (MM ’94) became a Yamaha artist. www.trombone101.com
James D. Sasser (BM ’98) recently won two 2017 Pan Arts “Arty” awards for Best Direction and Set Design for the Napa Performing Arts Center production of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, in which he also played Fredrik. He created the role of Crichton in the world premiere of A Proper Place at the Village Theatre in Seattle in May 2017. As a producer, his company the 959 Group, a theatrical investment strategy and new works incubator, was involved in Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812, which marked Josh Groban’s Broadway debut and garnered two Tony awards and 12 nominations last season. As a writer and Uncharted Artist at Ars Nova, he and composer Vince Burwell conceived Bottle Shock, based on the cult hit wine film of the same name. Their new musical Cubador had its developmental premiere at the Village Theatre in Seattle last December. His latest musical, Looking for Christmas, written with country music legend Clint Black, had an industry reading in New York on December 4, 2017, with a world premiere in the works for Christmas 2018. www.jamesdsasser.com
Brett Sroka (BM ’97) has been appointed Cultural Program Curator at Lévy Gorvy Gallery in New York City. In this role, he cultivates aesthetic dialogues between the performing and visual arts for their regular series of exhibition events, including recent concerts from Jen Shyu, Peter Evans, Sandbox Percussion and alumna Alicia Hall Moran (BM ’00). Brett was recently Artist-in-Residence at CAMAC in Marnay-sur-Seine, France and at Interface in Connemara, Ireland and performed at the 2017 Galway Jazz Festival with Finnish scholar, luthier, and performer of medieval instruments Rauno Nieminen.
Talise Trevigne (BM ’98) performed as Bess in Porgy and Bess at the Glimmerglass Festival in summer 2017.
Emily White (DMA ’95) performed Szymanowski’s Etude No. 4 on WWFM.org (89.1) “Between the Keys” in November 2017.
Ambrose Akinmusire (BM ’05) graced the cover of the September 2017 issue of DownBeat magazine. He was also featured in the Blue Note All-Stars’ latest album, Our Point of View, which DownBeat named one of the Best Albums of 2017.
Christopher Allen (BM ’08) is the recipient of the 2017 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award. He also made his Opera Theatre of Saint Louis conducting debut in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Grapes of Wrath.
Fabian Almazan (BM ’07, MM ’09) and his group Rhizome released a new album titled Alcanza in June 2017. It received a 5-star rating in the September issue of DownBeat and was named one of the Best Albums of 2017 by DownBeat in the January 2018 issue.
Kathryn Andrews (MM ’09) and Kristi Shade (MM ’07) released their new album Two Bridges on April 18, 2017 at National Sawdust. The album is made up entirely of newly commissioned works by MSM alumni and composers Andy Akiho (MM ’09), Christopher Deitz (MM ’02), and Giovanni Piacentini (MM ’13), as well as composers Nico Muhly and Ferdinando DeSena. Kathryn and Kristi received a 10/10 review in the July–August edition of Harp Column for their recent Two Bridges album. https://www.harpcolumn.com/two-bridges
Pascal Archer (MM ’06) won the Principal Clarinet position with the Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra.
Hayk Arsenyan (PS ’08) performed in Musical Armenia 2017 in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in March 31, 2017 and also performed a solo concert on April 2, 2017 at Steinway Hall in New York City.
Rahsaan Barber (MM ’05) released his album The Music in the Night on the Jazz Music City label in November 2017 and was featured in JazzBeat magazine in January 2018.
Laura Bohn (MM ’08) recently premiered “A Mouth is Not for Talking: La voix humaine” at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust. She covered the role of the Governess in The Turn of the Screw at the Dallas Opera. This February Laura will be making her debut with the LA philharmonic as a soprano soloist in Bernstein’s Mass this early February and then will be returning to Dallas Opera to cover the role of Iris Marinus in the 3-D film opera, Sunken Garden by Michel Van der Aa. In the Netherlands, Ms. Bohn has been a part of two new productions, one entitled Before I Die, which sets the two heroines of Bellini’s Norma and Puccini’s Butterfly in a surreal afterlife, and another that paired La voix humaine with staged songs by Edith Piaf. In June 2017 Ms. Bohn sang the role of Anna in The Seven Deadly Sins by Kurt Weill.
Rupert Boyd (MM ’06) released a new album, Boyd Meets Girl, on the Sono Luminus label, which was reviewed in Gramophone magazine. The album has been broadcast on New York’s WNYC, Chicago’s WFMT, and San Francisco’s KDFC and was featured as “Album of the Week” on Australia’s premier classical music station, ABC Classic FM.
J’nai Bridges (BM ’09) appeared with Opera Noire of New York to honor composer Ricky Ian Gordon in Manhattan School of Music’s Greenfield Hall in September 2017. J’Nai returned to San Francisco Opera as Josefa Segovia in the world premiere of John Adams’s Girls of the Golden West directed by Peter Sellars. Upcoming performances in 2018 include Bernstein’s Songfest with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Leonard Bernstein’s 100th with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, and La forza del destino with Zurich Opera. She is also the recipient of a 2018 Sphinx Medal of Excellence.
Christopher Cano (PD ’03) was appointed Head of Music and Director of the Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio at Arizona Opera in May 2017.
Sara Caswell (MSM Faculty and MM ’06) was nominated for a 2018 Grammy Award for Best Improvised Jazz Solo.
Charlie Christenson (MM ’08) was accepted into the DMA Jazz Voice Performance Program as a Mancini Fellow at the Frost School of Music, University of Miami for fall 2017. He will be leaving his post as Head of the Voice Department at the McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, MN, which he has held for six years.
Anna Clyne (MM ’05) is currently an Artist-in-Residence at National Sawdust. During the 2017–18 season, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Thomas Dausgaard perform the world premiere of Clyne’s Beltane in Glasgow. Recent highlights include the premiere of her mandolin concerto for Avi Avital, Three Sisters, performed with the Kremerata Baltica; Masquerade for the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop at the Last Night of the Proms; This Lunar Beauty for the Britten Sinfonia and soprano Julia Doyle; RIFT, a symphonic ballet in collaboration with choreographer Kitty McNamee for Marin Alsop and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra; Pocket Book VIII for Roomful of Teeth; and her violin concerto, The Seamstress, performed by Jennifer Koh with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Anna made the Washington Post’s 2017 list of the top 35 female composers in classical music. She 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.
Christopher Cooley (DMA ’04) appeared with Opera Noire of New York to honor composer Ricky Ian Gordon in Manhattan School of Music’s Greenfield Hall in September 2017.
Amanda Crider (MM ’01) made her Los Angeles Opera debut in Keeril Makan’s new opera, Persona, in the lead role of Aopelma in fall 2017.
David Dash (MM ’03) has recently been appointed Assistant Professor of Trumpet at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, beginning in fall 2017. He was previously a member of the Naples Philharmonic and “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. He continues to perform as a member of the Santa Fe Opera in the summer. David’s wife, Mary Bowden, a trumpet soloist and chamber musician, will be a Resident Artist at UNCSA. They often perform together as the Bowden–Dash Duo.
Jeanine De Bique (BM ’06, MM ’08, PS ’09) recently performed with the Chineke Foundation Orchestra at the 2017 BBC Proms. She is performing as Musetta in La Bohème with Theater St. Gallen and as Annio in La Clemenza di Tito with the National Dutch Opera in spring 2018; performing a solo recital with the Ravinia Recital Association on March 24, 2018; and is the soprano soloist in Brahms’s Requiem at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in June 2018.
Lisbeth Dreier (BM ’03, MM ’05) won a violin position with the Oregon Symphony. After several years performing as an acting member of the orchestra, she will begin her tenure-track position in September 2017. In June she and Oregon Symphony Assistant Principal Timpani Sergio Carreno will be married in Italy.
Daryl Freedman (MM ’09) performed in Dead Man Walking with Washington National Opera at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in March 2017.
Blake Friedman (MM ’09) played the role of Nemorino in L’elisir D’amore with St. Pete Opera in January 2017. On March 5, 2017, Blake was the Evangelist in Bach’s The Passion with Canterbury Choral Society. March also included performances in Rossini’s Otello with LoftOpera. He also performed in The Sarasota Artists Series Concerts in April, as well as the Tenor Soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with The Sarasota Orchestra. In May, Blake performed as the Tenor Soloist in Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana with The York Symphony Orchestra.
David Friend (BM ’05, MM ’07) is a guest pianist on Third Coast Percussion’s Steve Reich album, which won a 2017 Grammy award for best chamber music performance.
Melanie Gall (PS ’08) performed Opera Mouse at Opera Festival Grimeborn in London, England, as well as her cabaret Piaf and Brel: The Impossible Concert at the East Riding Theatre in Beverley, UK. In August 2017, Melanie presented Piaf and Brel, as well as her new show, We’ll Meet Again: Vera Lynn, the Forces’ Sweetheart, at the festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Emma Gerstein (BM ’09) won the 2nd Flute position with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2017.
Jennifer Goode Cooper (MM ’01) debuted at Anchorage Opera as Older Alice in Glory Denied in February 2017 and also sang Mimi in La Bohème at the Festival of the Arts, Boca, under the baton of Constantine Kitsopoulos.
Cooper Grodin (MM ’09) performed as Rooster in Annie at Paper Mill Playhouse alongside Tony winner Beth Leavel. He can be seen in episode four of the upcoming new ABC series Deception. Cooper’s original album It’s the Little Things is available on iTunes. He is starring in Bridges of Madison County at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in January and February 2018.
Alicia Hall Moran (BM ’00) released her sophomore album, Here Today, in December 2017. Her rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” is featured in the New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/22/arts/music/playlist-cardi-b-migos-charli-xcx-sugarland.html and the album was featured in All About Jazz. https://aliciahallmoran.bandcamp.com/album/here-today.
Clay Hilley (PS ’09) performed in Dead Man Walking with Washington National Opera at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in March 2017.
Alicia Horwitz (MM ’08) was appointed National Booking Director at Columbia Artists Management LLC.
Myra Huang (MM ’02) was nominated for a 2018 Grammy Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album.
Dr. Michael Ibrahim (DMA ’09), Associate Director of the West Virginia University School of Music and associate professor of saxophone, has been appointed interim director of the school.
Amy Justman (MM ’02) is joining the upcoming revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel.
Dr. Geoffrey Kiorpes (MM ’02, DMA ’07) is in his second year as the cofounder, artistic director, and piano teacher at New York City Charter School of the Arts (CSA). Highlights include over forty students performing in their inaugural-year piano recital and the production of their first full-scale musical. In January 2018, Dr. Kiorpes’s sixth-grade choir will be featured in the Broadway production of Once On This Island for five weeks.
Trumpeter Andy Kozar (MM ’09) has been actively performing worldwide with his quartet loadbang, which includes MSM alumni Jeffrey Gavett (MM ’09), William Lang (MM ’09), and Carlos Cordeiro (MM ’12). They have commissioned and premiered over 250 pieces for their unique instrumentation (trumpet, trombone, bass clarinet, and baritone voice) and released numerous records to great critical acclaim. In addition, Andy has started the Byrne/Kozar duo, a trumpet and soprano duo with his wife, Corrine Byrne (MM ’12); they have been performing historically informed baroque music on period instruments in addition to commissioning new works for modern trumpet and soprano. Since 2015, he has been on the trumpet and chamber music faculty at the Longy School of Music of Bard College.
Pascal Le Boeuf (BM ’07, MM ’10) was nominated for a 2018 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition.
Rebecca Jo Loeb (MM ’07) performed in Rusalka and La Traviata at the Metropolitan Opera in Spring 2017.
Jocelyn Medina (MM ’07) released her new album, Common Ground, on June 1, 2017, celebrating the event in New York City with a CD release concert at Jazz at Kitano on May 31. Common Ground, Jocelyn’s third solo record, consists of nine original tunes combining jazz and world-music styles from India and Africa. The project features Pete McCann on guitar, Art Hirahara on piano, Evan Gregor on bass, Mark Ferber on drums, Hadar Noiberg on flute, Steve Gorn on bansuri flute, Robert Levin on African percussion, Achyut Joshi on Hindustani vocals, and MSM faculty Samir Chatterjee on tabla. The CD is available on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, and www.jocelynmedina.com. Jocelyn curates and hosts a weekly vocal jazz concert and jam session series every Sunday night at Rue B in the East Village, which has been going strong since 2015. She also teaches voice and vocal jazz at the New York Jazz Workshop School, Bloomingdale School of Music, and the Dalton School, as well as privately out of her home studio in Brooklyn.
Alicia Olatuja’s (MM ’07) band has performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival, Saratoga Jazz Festival, Jazz Standard, Birdland, Vermont Jazz Center, Rockport Jazz Festival, Markham Jazz Festival, Monty Alexander Jazz Fest, and the Harlem Stage Gatehouse, to name a few. She was a featured vocalist on Gregory Porter’s 2017 Grammy-winning album Take Me to the Alley. Her newest projects for 2018 include touring throughout the year with drummer Ulysses Owens Jr.’s Songs of Freedom with Theo Bleckmann and Joanna Majoko. She is also heading back into the studio to record a new album, titled Intuition: Songs from the Minds of Women.
Nicholas Phan (’02) was nominated for a 2018 Grammy Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album.
Kariné Poghosyan (MM ’05, DMA ’07) performed a solo piano recital on October 19 at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.
Adrien Roberts (MM ’03) made her Opera Santa Barbara debut as Suor Dolcina in Suor Angelica in Spring 2016. She returned to “rule the roost” as the Rooster in The Cunning Little Vixen on March 3 and 5, 2017 and performed again with Opera Santa Barbara in April as Yvette in La Rondine.
Sahoko Sato Timpone (MM ’99, PS ’01) was appointed as Assistant Professor of Voice at Florida State University’s College of Music starting August 2017.
Joseph Trapanese (BM ’06) is the co-composer of the original score for the 2018 movie musical hit The Greatest Showman.
Shane Schag (PS ’02) was featured in the New York Times article “Hear a Newly Found Kurt Weill Song That Surprised Experts” in a video accompanying singer Ute Gfrerer performing “Lied vom weissen Käse.” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/06/arts/music/kurt-weill-song-of-the-white-cheese-discovered.html
Amy Shoremount-Obra (BM ’01, MM ’03) appeared this season at the Metropolitan Opera as First Lady in The Magic Flute. She is the cofounder of Hawaii International Music Festival, a Hawaii 501c3 nonprofit organization that just completed its second annual season this past August. The festival is dedicated to bringing interdisciplinary classical music concerts and outreach events to the islands. Amy was also appointed Adjunct Assistant Professor of Voice at Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music in fall 2017. Amy will be portraying Joan Sutherland in the Casta Diva scene from Norma in the 2018 film Untouchable, starring Nicole Kidman, Bryan Cranston, Julianne Margolis, and Kevin Hart.
Magdalena Stern-Baczewska (DMA ’08) is Director of the Music Performance Program at Columbia University. Magdalena conducted piano master classes in Beijing and at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in March 2017. Her CD, released by the French label Paraty in September 2017, has been praised for its “rich lyricism” by American Record Guide, “imagination and spontaneity” by Classical Music Guide Online, and “aristocratic character” by Musikalifeiten. She is currently taking a Chinese language course at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies.
Krysty Swann (BM ’08) performed the role of Olga in Eugene Onegin in the Spoleto Festival in June 2017.
Karl Vilcins (MM ’04) won a second bassoon/contra position with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in May 2017.
Lecolion Washington (MM ’01) was recently appointed Executive Director of the Community Music Center of Boston.
Jorell Williams (MM ’08, PS ’09) appeared with Opera Noire of New York to honor composer Ricky Ian Gordon in Manhattan School of Music’s Greenfield Hall in September 2017. Jorell also performed in the New York City premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s opera Crossing at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House.
Composer Scott Wollschleger (MM ’05) released his debut album Soft Aberration on October 20, 2017 on New Focus Recordings, run by cofounder and artistic director Dan Lippel (DMA ’06). Brontal Symmetry, a track on the album, was chosen by Alex Ross as a pick of the week in the New Yorker.
Miguel Zenón (MM ’01) was nominated for a 2018 Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album.
Darnell Abraham (MM ’13) played the lead role of Martin Luther King, Jr. in a concert version of a rhythm & blues opera entitled I Dream, which depicts the final 36 hours of Dr. King’s life. The concert took place at Opera Grand Rapids on January 15, 2018 and was directed by Broadway director Daniel Goldstein, with music composed by Douglas Tappin and arranged by Grammy-nominated Carl Marsh. Darnell was awarded the 2017 Berkshire Theatre Critics Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical for his performance in Ragtime at Barrington Stage Company. He was also nominated for two BroadwayWorld Regional Awards for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor in a Musical. Darnell is currently a cast member on the first national tour of the Tony award-winning revival of The Color Purple. For more info, visit www.darnellabraham.com.
Justin Austin (BM ’15, MM ’17) performed as Jake in Porgy and Bess at the Glimmerglass Festival this past summer. He appeared with Opera Noire of New York to honor composer Ricky Ian Gordon in Manhattan School of Music’s Greenfield Hall in September 2017. Justin also made his recital debut at Carnegie Hall accompanied by Damien L Sneed. Justin is currently a Resident Artist at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
SeungHyeon Baek (MM ’13) performed as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Opera North in summer 2017 and as Tonio in Pagliacci with Opera Ithaca in fall 2017. He makes his debut as the Count in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Tampa in March 2018.
Pawan Benjamin (BM ’10) received the Asian American Arts Alliance 2017 Van Lier Fellowship in Music Performance.
Evan Bennett (MM ’10) was appointed the Learning and Engagement Manager at Seattle Opera in February 2017.
Patrick Brancato (BM ’13) made his Off-Broadway debut as the lead in Stone Soup, the Musical (Soldier 1) and also performed in A Christmas Carol (Fred/Mr. Fezziwig/John) both with the Players Theatre in New York City. Most recently, Patrick was cast in Jesus Christ Superstar (Soldier/Ensemble) with the Seven Angels Theatre, which ran from March 23 to April 23 in Waterbury, CT.
Tallie Brunfelt (BM ’09, MM ’13) has won the concertmaster position with the Akron Symphony.
Kayla Burggraf (MM ’16) won the Principal Flute position with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra.
Andre Chiang (MM ’10) won first prize in the 45th NATS Artist Award Competition. In summer 2017, Andre won the NFMC Young Artist Competition for Men’s Voice. His upcoming engagements include St. Paul in Mendelssohn’s Paulus with the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra, Schaunard in La Bohème with Mobile Opera, Commissioner/Yamadori in Madama Butterfly with Pensacola Opera, Charlie in Three Decembers with Painted Sky Opera, and Escamillo in La tragédie de Carmen with Louisiana Opera.
Michael Davis (PS ’13) won a position in the Princeton Symphony Orchestra.
Marc Day (MM ’11) sang on the 2017 Grammy-nominated Steinberg: Passion Week recording with the Clarion Choir.
Willem De Koch (BM ’15) and Zubin Hensler (BM ’13), members of the brass quartet the Westerlies, have had performances at Musical Masterworks (New Lyme, CT), Clefworks (Montgomery, AL), Mobile Chamber Music (Mobile, AL), Joye in Aiken (Aiken, SC), Bologna Performing Arts Center (Cleveland, MS), and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. in the 2017–18 season. The ensemble will continue its residency work in Kenner, LA through the Chamber Music Association/National Endowment for the Arts supported Sound Places Project. It will also complete residencies at the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival (San Juan Islands, WA) and Yellowbarn Music Center (Putney, VT). In addition, the ensemble joins indie folk band Fleet Foxes for select U.S. tour dates at the Newport Folk Festival, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Celebrate Brooklyn, Outside Lands San Francisco, Hollywood Bowl, Santa Fe Opera, and Red Rocks Amphitheatre. This season will also mark the release of several new recordings: Little Giant Still Life, a collaborative album with pioneering jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas and drummer Anwar Marshall, and a new series of collaborative video singles with vocalists Theo Bleckmann (’90), Robin Holcomb, Kate Davis (MM ’13), and Vuyo Sotashe.
Angelo Di Loreto (BM ’11, MM ’13) just got commissioned to arrange for the Grammy-winning Metropole Orchestra, based in the Netherlands. He recently arranged the John Coltrane version of My Favorite Things for their concert on January 26, 2018, which was filmed and broadcast in the Netherlands. Angelo also received a commission from All Saints Parish in Rehoboth Beach, DE, to write a Jazz Mass for the 100th anniversary of their church. The piece premiered during the Rehoboth Jazz Festival in October 2017 and featured former classmate Andrea Wood (MM ’13). Angelo has also been touring extensively in Europe with the Philippe Lemm Trio, alongside classmates Philippe Lemm (MM ’13) and Jeff Koch (BM ’11, MM ’13). The trio toured for three weeks in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany and made a sold-out debut at Amsterdam’s Bimhuis. They performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands and the Pori Jazz Festival in Pori, Finland in July 2017, and are slated to tour Poland in February 2018.
Benjamin Dickerson (BM ’17) joined Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artists Program for the 2017-18 season.
Anna Dugan (MM ’16) received a 2017 Encouragement Award from the Gerda Lissner Song Competition and was a Metropolitan Opera National Council national semifinalist. Most recently Anna performed Violetta in La Traviata with Aspen Opera Center.
Guilhem Flouzat (BM ’13, MM ’15) released his album A Thing Called Joe, joined by alumni Sullivan Fortner (MM ’10) and Desmond White (MM ’11) in October 2017. The album was reviewed in the January 2018 issue of DownBeat Magazine.
Blair Francis (PS ’15) won the position of Assistant Principal/Second Flute with the Naples Philharmonic.
Chelsea Rose Friedlander (MM ’12) made her Dayton Opera debut in February 2017 as Blonden in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. Ms. Friedlander then continued on as the Artist in Residence singing Opera Outreach programs throughout schools in Ohio and concluded with Dayton Opera as Frasquita in Carmen in May 2017. www.chelseafriedlander.com
Samuel Gelber (BM ’11) was appointed Artistic Administrator of Los Angeles Opera in February 2017. In his role, he oversees casting and artistic administration in close collaboration with Plácido Domingo, James Conlon, and Christopher Koelsch.
Michael Gracco (BM ’17) joined Tulsa Opera’s Young Artist program.
Jonathan Gmeinder (MM ’16) has joined Houston Grand Opera’s studio artists as a pianist and coach in the 2017–18 season.
Jake Goldbas (BM ’11, MM ’13) performed with Aretha Franklin in spring 2017 and has been drumming for the Broadway smash hit Dear Evan Hansen. His year also included performances at Governor’s Ball, Lollapalooza, and the Firefly Festival as musical director/drummer for Michael Blume.
Juliana Han (MM ’10) is currently finishing her doctorate in collaborative piano at the Juilliard School. She cofounded and codirects the Piedmont Chamber Music Festival, an annual, one-week long chamber music festival in Piedmont, California. The festival, which had its second season in August 2017, presented three mainstage concerts featuring prominent chamber musicians from all over the country, educational events such as children’s concerts, and community events at local institutions such as homeless shelters and nursing homes.
Alexandra Hany (MM ’17) won a Trumpet position with the Air Force Band of the Golden West.
George Hemcher (MM ’13) joined Sarasota Opera as the Education and Music Administration Assistant and Assistant Conductor for their Youth Opera Program.
Claudillea Holloway (BM ’17) performed in the off-Broadway production Whiskey Pants: The Mayor of Williamsburg in September 2017.
Briana Hunter (MM ’12) joined Glimmerglass Festival this past summer performing the role of Annie in Porgy and Bess and covering Arsamene in Xerxes.
Heday Inoue (MM ’17) performed in An American Dream composed by Jack Perla (BM ’83, MM ’84) at Opera Maine in July 2017.
Chris James (BM ’13) is featured in the 2017 edition of “30 Hot Canadian classical musicians under 30.” http://www.cbcmusic.ca/posts/18752/30-hot-canadian-classical-musicians-under-30-2017
Michael Jarrett (MM ’16) won a position with the New World Symphony in the 2016-17 season.
Blake-Anthony Johnson (’16) made his solo debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on May 5, 2017.
Cathryn Jones (BM ’15) won a job as Principal Oboist of Catskill Symphony Orchestra.
Joachim Junghanss (MM ’08, DMA ’12) was appointed the Director of the Conservatorium Maastricht in the Netherlands.
Joo Won Kang (MM ’11) made his Opera Maine debut performing as Germont in La Traviata in July 2017.
Katharina Kang (BM ’14) received a job as section viola in the New York City Ballet Orchestra.
Min Young Kang (PS ’11, DMA ’17) was recently appointed as a Collaborative Piano Fellow at Yale University.
Andrew Karboski (BM ’17) received a Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award at the ASCAP Foundation Awards ceremony in December 2017.
David Kaverman (MM ’10) made his Equity and National Tour debuts as Smokey Robinson in Motown the Musical! www.davidkaverman.com
Beomjae Kim (MM ’14, AD ’17) won the 2017 Astral Artists National Auditions and joined their distinguished roster in the fall.
Eunbi Kim (MM ’12) released her new album, A House of Many Rooms: New Concert Music by Fred Hersch (Albany Records) on October 1, 2017, which includes a work written for her by 13-time Grammy-nominee and Guggenheim Fellow, pianist and composer Fred Hersch, who also co-produced the album. This past summer, she gave a TEDx Talk, “Performing Through Fear,” about her experience overcoming stage fright. Eunbi was recently a Guest Artist at Cal Poly Pomona where she gave a lecture (“The Art of Living and Producing the Dream: A Workshop for Emerging and Determined Artists”), master class, and solo concert (Kaleidoscope Dreams). In nonmusical but very happy news, Eunbi is engaged; she is excited to get married in spring 2018.
M. Hayne Kim (BM ’12) has been appointed as full-time lecturer at the Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music in Bangkok, Thailand and will begin working for the school in July 2017.
Angela Joy Lamb (MM ’17) was a finalist in the 2017 Art Song Preservation Society Competition and was recently in the New York Lyric Opera’s production of Die Zauberflöte as the Queen of the Night.
Julia Lamon (MM ’15) was a featured guest artist for the inaugural concert for the San Antonio Concert Series and with the International Summer Opera Festival of Morelia. She performed as Adele in Die Fledermaus with Fargo-Moorhead Opera. In 2017 Julia also created the Apollo Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing performance opportunities to emerging opera professionals and music education outreach to NYC schools. The inaugural concert of the Apollo Fund, Modern Muse, took place at Opera America in September 2017. This coming summer, Julia will be performing as Rosina in The Barber of Seville with the International Summer Opera Festival of Morelia.
Adam Larson (BM ’12, MM ’14) released his fourth album, Second City, on the Inner Circle Music label, which was selected as one of the best albums of 2017 by Downbeat and chosen as a Critic’s Pick of 2017 by Jazziz. Larson looks forward to a busy spring which includes a week-long engagement with his quartet, featuring fellow MSM alum, pianist Fabian Almazan (BM ’06, MM ’09), at the historic Jazz Showcase in Chicago. Larson will also serve as the artistic director for the YoungArts Foundation’s New York Regional jazz program, held at the Baryshnikov Arts Center this coming April. Adam was recently commissioned to compose the Illinois All-State Jazz Composition for 2020, as well as to direct the Honors Jazz Ensemble for the same year. Beyond professional endeavors, Larson is devoted to his one-year-old son, Jack, and wife and former MSM alumna, Tierney Larson (MM ’13).
Brittany Lasch (BM ’10) won the 2017 Astral Artists National Auditions and joined their distinguished roster in the fall.
Julie Lawrence (BM ’10, MM ’12) premiered Sonata for Violin and Piano by MSM alumnus composer Kyle Werner (MM ’11, DMA ’14) with MSM alumna Sohyun Ahn (PS ’02) on the Geneva Conservatory of Music faculty recital in New York City on March 11, 2017. Also on the program was the premiere of Fete Paradiso, a piano trio by MSM faculty member J. Mark Stambaugh. Julie published her article “An In-depth Look at Vibrato Practices of the 17th and 18th Centuries According to Primary Sources of the Time” in the peer-reviewed American String Teachers Journal. As a Baroque violinist, Julie performed Concerto Op. 7, no. 8 by Albinoni at Rutgers University, NJ and at the Park Avenue Christian Church in its concert series. She also performed for inmates on Rikers Island with the Chelsea Symphony. Julie was invited to present a master class on baroque violin at Berry College in Rome, Georgia and performed the Telemann Concerto for Two Violins on baroque violin at Rutgers University in December 2017.
Pascal Le Boeuf (BM ’07, MM ’10) and Remy Le Boeuf (BM ’07, MM ’09), The Le Boeuf Brothers, released their new album, Imaginist, on October 14, 2016 in collaboration with the JACK Quartet. Imaginist was selected as a music pick of the week by the New York Times. Pascal received a 2018 Grammy nomination in the Best Instrumental Composition category for “Alkaline,” a track from imaginist.
Earl Lee (MM ’13) was named Artistic Director of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra in September 2017.
Yeonji Esther Lee (BM ’14, MM ’16) made her Seattle Opera debut in the role of Setsuko Kobayashi in Jack Perla’s (BM ’83, MM ’84) An American Dream in September 2017.
Kim Lewis (MM ’17) won the 2017 New Jersey Flute Society Concerto Competition.
Shi Li (MM ’16) made his Metropolitan Opera stage debut in the chorus of Der fliegende Holländer in April 2017.
Taylor Marino (BM ’15) was featured as Musical America’s New Artist of the Month in November 2017. http://bit.ly/TaylorMarino-MusicalAmerica.
Abraham Masso (MM ’17) won a position in the pit orchestra of the U.S. tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies.
Dannielle Lynn McBryan (BM ’16) received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award and will be researching the works of European composers at the University of Arts in Bremen with oboist Christian Hommel.
Meredith Mecum (MM ’10) won the American Prize in Vocal Performance, 2017–18 and the Friedrich & Virginia Schorr Memorial Award.
Giorgi Mikadze (MM ’16) joined Berklee College of Music as a Guest Professor in summer 2017.
Matthew Mitchener (MM ’17) won the Principal Percussion position with the Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale in May 2017.
Carlton Moe (MM ’15) made his Broadway debut as Piangi in The Phantom of the Opera in December 2017.
Tim Murray (MM ’16) covered the baritone solos in Britten’s War Requiem with the Oratorio Society of New York in April 2017 and performed the role of Dandini in Rossini’s La Cenerentola with ARE Opera in New York City the following month. This summer he sang Moralés on the mainstage in Carmen and Ananias in Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace as an Apprentice Artist with Central City Opera. He joined the resident artist program with Lyric Opera of Kansas City singing Zaretsky and the Captain in Eugene Onegin, Guy Cotter in Everest, Marullo in Rigoletto, and the Seargent in Il barbiere di Siviglia. Tim is also covering the title role in Eugene Onegin and Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia.
Maria Natale (PS ’15) starred as Violetta in La Traviata with Opera Maine in July 2017.
Brittany Nickell (MM ’15, PS ’16) is the recipient of the Opera Index Award from the 2017 Opera Index Competition.
Scott Ninmer (MM ’13) recently received a Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award at the ASCAP Foundation Awards Ceremony. His compositions and arrangements were featured by the University of Illinois Concert Jazz Band in March 2017. A concert of his original band music was also given by the Millikin University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, featuring the world premiere of the newly commissioned Harlem Drive, and his arrangements for Fred Barton’s “American Showstoppers: An Evening with Kander and Ebb” were heard at the Schimmel Center at Pace University. He also played tuba in the new musical Midwestern Gothic at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia. In April 2017, Scott’s arrangements of five Irving Berlin pieces premiered at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. In July, Scott’s composition Dark Sky was premiered by the Denali Brass at the Dark Sky Festival in Sequoia National Park. That same month, his orchestrations of seven Ella Fitzgerald pieces were premiered by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Scott is currently the staff arranger of the “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band.
Megan Pachecano (MM ’10) made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the chorus of Beethoven’s Fidelio in the spring of 2017.
Elliott Paige (MM ’15) made his Metropolitan Opera stage debut in the chorus of Der fliegende Holländer in April 2017.
Alice Siyoon Park (MM ’16) was appointed as a fellow member of Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
Leo Pellegrino (BM ’13), band member of TOO MANY ZOOZ, performed at the 2017 BBC Proms with Christian Scott.
Rachel Kara Pérez (MM ’13) was the 2017 Recipient of the Innovative Cultural Advocacy (ICA) Fellowship from the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI). She is also the program facilitator for Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP) and a teaching artist for Theatre Development Fund and Symphony Space. Rachel was the featured vocalist in Salsa Meets Jazz, a benefit concert for musicians in Puerto Rico through the Jazz Foundation of America, with Bobby Sanabria’s multi-grammy nominated Multiverse Big Band at (le) poisson rouge. She was also the featured vocalist at National Dance Institute’s fall benefit, Jacques’ ArtNest, Songs I’ve Sung on Broadway…and One I Wish I Had.
Giovanni Piacentini (MM ’13) released Chiaroscuro, his debut album as a composer and performer, on the PARMA recordings label and had a album release concert at National Sawdust on May 6, 2017 alongside MSM alumna Sophia Vastek (MM ’13). https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/giovanni-piacentini-chiaroscuro/1225766761
Megan Picerno (MM ’09, PS ’10) stars as Christine in the U.S. tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies.
Joshua Sanders (MM ’17) joined the Teatro Regio di Torino as a resident artist for the 2017–18 season after winning the Opera Foundation’s Amber Capital Scholarship. At Teatro Regio he will sing roles in Tristan und Isolde, Turandot, Salome, Monteverdi’s Orfeo, Verdi’s I Lombardi alla prima crociata, and Le nozze di Figaro. In the summer of 2017, Mr. Sanders completed a residency as a Bel Canto Young Artist at the Caramoor Festival, where he sang the role of Il conte in Manuel García’s Un avvertimento ai gelosi and covered the role of Gualtiero in Bellini’s Il pirata. An alumnus of the Studio Artist program at Wolf Trap Opera, Mr. Sanders returned there in May of 2017 for the premiere of Listen, Wilhelmina!, a new children’s opera by David Hanlon and Kathy Kelly. In 2015, he made his principal debut with Madison Opera as Tobias Ragg in Sweeney Todd.
Molly Shortall Kaszuba (MM ’10) was named the Associate Director of Development at Fordham University School of Law.
Alexa Smith (MM ’10) was appointed the Director of Marketing at New York City Opera in fall 2017.
Jason Smoller (MM ’11) was featured on English Horn for the New York City premiere of Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks’s Concerto for English Horn with the Chelsea Symphony on January 28, 2017.
Alan Stewart (MM ’11) won a section percussion job with the St. Louis Symphony.
Colin Stokes (’15) is currently the cellist in the Berlin-based electro-classical crossover band, Symphoniacs (www.symphoniacs.com). After the band’s album release, they performed for 8 million people on ARD’s Schlagerboom and were featured in Das Bimild, Germany’s largest paper. Live Nation is producing their tour in spring 2017. www.colinstokes.com
William Guanbo Su (BM ’17) received first prize in the 2017 Gerda Lissner Lieder/Song Competition and a 2017 encouragement award from Opera Index, Inc. William will be joining the Gerdine Young Artists program 2018 at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
Raquel Suarez Groen (MM ’09, PS ’10) made her Broadway debut as Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera in December 2017.
Christian Thurston (MM ’17) joins Minnesota Opera as a Resident Artist this summer.
Eric Umble (BM ’14, MM ’16) served as the clarinetist in residence at Chamber Music Silicon Valley and the Annapolis Chamber Music Festival. He traveled to Havana, Cuba with NYC ensemble Tenth Intervention to present a program of contemporary music by Central and South American Composers at the Casa Tomada IV conference. In 2017, Eric performed with numerous ensembles, including Ensemble Échappé, the Metropolis Ensemble, the East Coast Contemporary Ensemble (ECCE), the Nouveau Classical Project, and the Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra. As a member of the 2017 Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, Eric performed principal positions under the batons of Matthias Pintscher and Heinz Holliger. Upcoming engagements include performances with the Ensemble of the Lucerne Festival Alumni in Brooklyn; collaborations with composer Juraj Kjos at the Frost School of Music in Miami; a residency and clinic at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas; performances presented by Musical Bridges Around the World in San Antonio, Texas with SoundMind, a NYC based wind quintet; and a performance of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time with MSM piano faculty Daniel Epstein and MSM cello alumnus Benjamin Larsen (BM ’09, MM ’11) on the St. Martha-Yamaha Concert Series in Miami, Florida. For more information, visit www.ericumble.com
Bryan Wagorn (DMA ’14) is currently Assistant Conductor at the Metropolitan Opera. Bryan performed as pianist in their new production of Lulu, which was released on DVD and nominated for a 2017 Grammy. Bryan recently performed with Joyce DiDonato in Carnegie Hall’s outreach concerts at Sing Sing correctional facility and played recitals with Anthony Roth Costanzo, Karita Mattila, and Nadine Sierra.
Desmond White (MM ’11) released his album Glace with Biophilia Records in July 2017.
Abbey Ward (MM ’11) was appointed the Education and Community Engagement Associate at Palm Beach Opera in July 2017.
Yunpeng Wang (MM ’13) performed the role of Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette at the Metropolitan Opera in 2017.
Anna Webber (MM ’10) received the inaugural Canadian Women Artists’ Award from the New York Foundation for the Arts in November 2017. http://current.nyfa.org/post/167976817913/introducing-anna-webber-receives-inaugural
Yunlei Xie (MM ’17) performed in An American Dream, composed by Jack Perla (BM ’83, MM ’84), and La Traviata at Opera Maine in July 2017.
Christopher Zuar (MM ’13) received a Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award at the ASCAP Foundation Awards Ceremony in December 2017. He was also awarded a 2017 MacDowell Fellowship.
Robert Lopez (1989-1993) is nominated for a 2018 Oscar Award for “Original Song.”
Andrew Mayer (1999-2001) was recently an ensemble member in Broadway’s Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. http://www.andrewcmayer.com/
Drew Petersen is the 2017 winner of the American Pianist Award. http://www.americanpianists.org/classical/winners
We honor the memory of alumni, former faculty, and staff members who have passed away in 2017 and 2018:
Barry Busse (MM ’70, Opera Theater) was a world-renowned tenor with a career that spanned 30 years. Having started as a baritone, he received a George London Award and made the switch to tenor during which time he performed at Radio City Music Hall as the tenor soloist, Santa Claus, and the tap dancing Easter Bunny. Opera companies with whom he performed include the Paris Opera de la Bastille, the Netherlands Opera, Maggio Musicale, Grand Teatre de Geneve , Teatro la Fenice , opera de Toulouse, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Canadian Opera Company, Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera, Greater Miami Opera, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Locally, Barry was a choir member and frequent soloist with St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Massillon, OH, sang for an AIDS benefit at the Palace Theatre and with Carroll County Community Chorus. He volunteered as an acting coach with Carrollton High School and Glen Oak High School. He also volunteered with the Timken High School Magnet School for the Arts, a highly productive program developed to help rescue at-risk 15-year olds. He was an award winning choral director for Sandy Valley High School. He co-owned and was the principal chef of the Quintessential Epicurean, a private chef service. He wrote educational software for children. He was also a master cabinet maker and during his graduate studies he built and installed a massive, temperature controlled violin case for the legendary Isaac Stern in his apartment in New York City. http://freepressstandard.com/barry-l-busse-70/
Robert Christesen (MM ’72, Voice) passed away on October 12, 2016 at the age of 73. Robert was known to his students and colleagues in the Wake County Public School System as “Mr. C.” He was a respected husband, father, grandfather, educator, and former opera singer. Born in Washington D.C., he was a Congressional Page Boy in high school, then continued his education at East Carolina University, University of Madison, Wisconsin, and NC State. He specialized in Danish, German, Spanish, French and Italian. His love for singing started when he was a young boy, eventually landing him a full scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music. He won numerous international vocal competitions including the 1973 Prague Spring Music Festival, where he met his Czech wife Mirka, a reporter for a radio station. He was a professional baritone opera singer in Frankfurt and Dortmund, Germany for thirteen years, with many guest performances throughout Europe. Among his favorite roles were Rigoletto, Onegin, and Don Giovanni. He moved with his family to North Carolina in the mid-1980s, accepting a teaching job within the Wake County Public School System. Robert taught foreign languages and Social Studies at Ligon and Carnage Middle Schools before becoming Foreign Language Chair at Wake Forest Rolesville High. His first job as an administrator was in Vance County in 1994 and then at Enloe High in 1995. He worked at West Cary Middle School as Assistant Principal until his retirement in 2009. As an administrator “M. C” was a teachers’ advocate and cared deeply about the students in his care. However, he never totally left his singing. Throughout the years, he performed with the North Carolina Symphony, Duke Chapel, and at memorial services for his close friends and co-workers. As a devoted Rotarian, he contributed to numerous charities to aid the needy both in the Carolinas and abroad. His commitment to the Wake Forest Rotary lasted until his final days. At 6’5” tall, his larger than life presence and booming voice made him an unforgettable figure on the stage and came in handy also in the school hallways.
Dr. William (Bill) Henry Collins, Jr. (MM ’60), known as “Sonny” to close family and friends, was awarded a four-year scholarship in music to Savannah State College (now Savannah State University), which he briefly attended before being drafted. He served honorably in the U.S. Air Force for four years, where he was the organist for chapel and special service events. Upon completion of his military service, Sonny enrolled in the Candell Conservatory of Music, where he received his BA in music and graduated as valedictorian of his class. In 1958, he moved to New York City and enrolled at Manhattan School of Music, where he earned his MM in Music in 1960. In 2003 Bill received an honorary doctorate in sacred music from the Richmond Virginia Seminary. Sonny’s immense talents in music were recognized and fulfilled through his service as the Minister of Music at several churches throughout his life. He joined Mount Hermon Baptist Church in 1962 and served as Minister of Music for 55 years. Bill was a celebrated and nationally recognized artist, composer, and musicologist. He toured the country for several years as the accompanist and musical arranger for gospel singer Georgia Louis. He recorded two solo albums, Gospel Mediations and Thy Grace, with background vocals provided by the Voices of Mount Hermon and the Davis Trio. He published an essay, “Music in the Black Church,” and was a contributing editor of the New African American Jubilee Bible in 1999. He was honored to be listed in Distinguished Church Musicians of the United States (1995–1996) and in Who’s Who of Executives and Professionals (2003–2004 edition). Bill was even featured in a Korean documentary produced by one of his former students, Black Gospel, which was released at the Jecheon International Music and Film Festival in 2013. A dedicated teacher, Bill shared his love of music with others as the founder of the Collins Music Studio in Harlem. He taught piano, voice, organ, and music theory in Harlem until relocating his studio to the church in the Bronx. Dr. Bill Collins was a devoted son, nephew, big brother, godfather, and teacher. His students described him as “one of God’s favored and chosen soldiers.” His church families described him as “steadfast, generous, and dedicated to serving the Lord.” To his beloved family and godchildren, he was known as “the family griot, protector, and cherished patriarch.”
Leroy “Lee” Oliver Earle (BM ’61, Theory, MM ’63 Music Education) of San Antonio, Texas passed away on July 28, 2016 at the age of 78. Lee was born Sept. 26, 1937, in Harlem, N.Y. Lee’s childhood was filled with music lessons because his mother was fueled by the passion of the Harlem renaissance and the music of The Cotton Club and The Apollo Theater. She felt that young Lee needed a craft that would assist him in going to college. Lee worked as a music teacher and administrator for the New York City Board of Education, teaching primarily at I.S. 292 in Brooklyn for more than 30 years. For more than 40 years he freelanced as a musician all over New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and upstate New York. Lee’s hobbies were music, traveling with his wife, and being a dad. He was active in his local churches and gave piano lesson until 2009, when his health began to fail. Lee married Priscilla Jane Fullerton on March 26, 1964; they were married 49 years.
Jocelyn Gertel (MM ’90, Violin) passed away in June 2017. Jocelyn taught orchestra at public middle schools in Paramus, NJ and had been employed in the district for more than 20 years. She was a talented violinist who, prior to her degree from MSM, graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s degree in music. Jocelyn was a member of Romanza Music.
Grete Hirsch (BM ’50, Violin, MM ’51, Music History) passed away on October 18, 2016. Born in Stuttgart, Germany, she had an idyllic childhood, but as a teenager was forced to leave her parents after the Nazis came to power, fleeing to England with her sister and two cousins, and later immigrating to the United States. A violinist, she toured with the Robert Shaw Chorale and played at the Marlboro Music Festival. Her passion was not performing, but the music itself. A gifted teacher, she inspired hundreds of music students of all ages. A “magical aunt,” she loved travel and adventure and shared her zest for the world’s peoples, places, and achievements.
Danny Holgate (Diploma ’62, Piano) passed away from Parkinson’s disease on August 31, 2017 at the age of 84. Danny attended the Berklee School of Music, served a tour of duty with the U.S. Army Band, attended Manhattan School of Music as a piano major and later studied advanced orchestration with Nicholas Flagello. He taught piano and theory at the Third Street Music School while appearing in the New York area and touring in South America with his Holgate, Perkins & Shaw Jazz Trio. Danny was also at City College of New York teaching Contemporary Vocal Pop Styles. His credits include musical supervision, direction, composition and arrangement for Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope, Bubblin’ Brown Sugar, Mikki Grant’s It’s So Nice to be Civilized, Eubie!, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill and Rainbow Jones, among others. He also toured Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill with his wife, Gail Nelson, who performed the role of Billie Holiday. For many years, Danny served as conductor and arranger for the legendary Cab Calloway and for the annual jazz festivals with the Hi-De-Ho Orchestra. Danny had been a popular vocal coach putting together club acts and arrangements for numerous performers, including legends Lena Horne, Carol Channing, Alexis Smith and Timmy Rodgers. He arranged music for symphony and pops orchestras including Chicago, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Oklahoma, Detroit, Portland, San Francisco, Hartford, Indianapolis and New Jersey. With the Palm Beach Pops, he orchestrated for full orchestra and band, A Salute to Louis Armstrong, which continues to be part of their annual season.
Irwin Katz (BM ’51, Trumpet, MM ’52, Music Education), musician and recording industry executive, passed away in July of 2016 at the age of 87. Beloved husband for nearly 67 years and devoted father of four children and eight grandchildren, Irwin is remembered for his dashing good looks, numerous creative talents, and his singular joy of life. A Brooklyn native, he attended Thomas Jefferson High School where he played soccer and met Rose, the love of his life. Graduate of Manhattan School of Music, he played the trumpet with many orchestras including the Boston Pops, the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, and the Cleveland Orchestra– the first American orchestra to tour behind “the iron curtain” after World War II. He left the orchestra to help build the Discount Records chain (CBS). During this time, Irwin reconnected with many performing artists, who were his kindred souls. He later joined RCA Records as the Director of Marketing for Classical Music and then returned to CBS Masterworks (Sony) as the head of Artists & Repertoire. In his retirement, he and his wife, Rose, established a boutique label, Helicon Records. (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/lohud/obituary.aspx?pid=180761728)
Michael “Blair” Lawhead (BM ’89, Violin) passed away on Wednesday, 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.” (https://www.austindailyherald.com/2018/03/michael-blair-lawhead-55/)
Ursula Mamlok (BM ’57, MM ’58, Former College Faculty) passed away on May 4, 2016 at the age of 93. Born in Berlin in 1923, Ursula’s life and musical studies were uprooted when she and family fled Nazi Germany in 1939 and found refuge in Ecuador. She came on her own to New York and studied at the Mannes College of Music with George Szell. She then earned bachelor of music and master of music degrees from Manhattan School of Music. Ursula also studied with Roger Sessions, Ralph Shapey, and Stefan Wolpe. For 66 years Ursula Mamlok lived in New York, composing, and teaching primarily at Manhattan School Of Music, and was a leading figure in New Yorkʼs musical scene. Among her numerous commissions are those from the Koussevitsky and Fromm Music Foundations, Alaria Chamber Ensemble, Eastman School of Music, Earplay and the San Francisco Symphony. She has received awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation, and in 1995, a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. Her works are regularly performed by major domestic and foreign ensembles and have been recorded by the CRI, Gasparo, Leonarda, Newport Classics, Music and Arts, Opus One, True Media, and Centaur labels and are published by C.F. Peters Corporation, American Composers Edition, McGuinness and Marx, and Hildegard. In 1987, Ursula Mamlok received a Commendation of Excellence “for her contribution to the world concert music” by BMI. Since her move back to Berlin in 2006, she had been championed by such leading musicians as Heinz Holliger, and performed widely throughout Europe. She is the subject of a biography Time in Flux (in German) by Habakuk Traber. Recordings have appeared on CRI, New World, Naxos, and Music and Arts. The intrepid Bridge Records has recorded five volumes of her music.
Hugh Masekela (’64, Trumpet), reknowned South African trumpeter, singer and activist, passed away on January 23, 2018. Hugh’s 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. (information acquired from the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/23/obituaries/hugh-masekela-dies.html)
Edmund Niemann (BM ’68, MM ’73, Piano) was a longtime member of Steve Reich and Musicians and founding member of the contemporary ensemble Parnassus. He and Nurit Tilles formed the piano duo, Double Edge, which made its New York debut at Town Hall in 1987. The duo performed throughout Europe, Australia and the U.S. In March 2008, Double Edge returned to Los Angeles to play Visions de l’Amen in a celebration of Messiaen’s centenary. Edmund also appeared as guest artist with the New York New Music Ensemble, the Da Capo Players, Speculum Musicae, and Newband. The New York Times said of his l984 Merkin Hall solo debut, “throughout the evening his playing was technically dazzling, his musicality unquestionable.” His teachers included Artur Balsam, Robert Goldsand and Arminda Canteros. Edmund taught at Princeton University, Sarah Lawrence College, Hoff-Barthelson Music School and Third Street Music School Settlement. MSM alumna and registrar of Hoff-Barthelson Music School, Terry Wager, said Edmund Niemann was a “treasured faculty member” and the School called him “a supremely gifted musician; he will be sorely missed by the students whose lives he touched and by all who had the good fortune to have known him.”
In May 2017 Navona Records released Spells, a retrospective album of classical and vocal music by the late Juli (Elizabeth) Nunlist (BM ’61, MM ’64), presenting a comprehensive look at her work. Offering a touching journey through Juli’s earnest, romantic, and dramatic compositional language, Spells demonstrates her appreciation for tradition and grandeur, her remarkable gift for melody, and her clear fascination with instrumental texture. An educator, composer, musician, and poet, Juli Nunlist devoted much of her career to teaching music to dancers, dance teachers, and choreographers. Her compositional catalog includes works for string quartet, piano, voice, chamber music, and symphony. http://navonarecords.com/epk/spells/
Erica Ohm (MM ’88, PS ’88, Piano) earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Michigan State University after completing her Master’s degree and Professional Studies Certificate in piano performance at MSM. An exciting pianist equally at home in the music of J. S. Bach and George Crumb, and committed to performing music of her contemporaries, she was a first-prize winner in Korea’s most prestigious competition, the Dong-A Music Concours, and the International Institute of Music Competition. After her acclaimed first recital in Seoul in 1993, she performed as a soloist as well as an ensemble player throughout Korea, Japan, and China and the United States. The concert series of the complete Beethoven Violin Sonatas, with violinist Kyung Min Kim, and the complete Beethoven Piano Trios, with BINTRIO (cellist Hee Jin Paik, violinist Kyung Min Kim) have been featured on Korean radio and TV. Erica Ohm was named as one of “the best and the most active pianists in Korea” by Pianoforte (1997) and chosen as “pianist of the month” by Piano International (March 2011). Her solo CDs include Musical Moment (Blue Griffin Records) and Czerny—50 Kunst der Fingertigkeit (Ilsong Media). Erica served on the faculty of Michigan State University School of Music, Seoul National University, and Seoul High School of Music and Art, and was chair of the Department of Musical Arts, Seoul Arts College in Korea. Ms. Ohm passed away on January 27, 2016.
Robert M. Petta (BM ’74, Percussion) passed away on 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.
George Robert (MM ’87, Jazz Saxophone) passed away on March 14, 2016 at the age of 55. While enrolled at Manhattan School of Music, he studied with Bob Mintzer. He played lead alto in the Manhattan School of Music Big Band for two years, which earned in 1985 the 1st Prize in the College Big Band Category in the Down Beat Magazine Jazz Awards. George is internationally recognized as one of the leading alto saxophonists in jazz today. His discography includes more than 50 albums, among others with Kenny Barron, Clark Terry, Tom Harrell, Phil Woods, Ray Brown, Jeff Hamilton, Ivan Lins, Ray Drummond, Rufus Reid, Billy Hart, the Metropole Orchestra and many others. In 1995 George was hired as Director of the Swiss Jazz School in Berne, the oldest independent jazz school in Europe. In 2006 he founded the Jazz Department at the Lausanne Music University. He was named Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters of the French Republic in 2008. George had been touring throughout the world since 1984 and is the author of The Music of George Robert.
Lawrence Paul Sobol (BM ’68, Clarinet; MM ’71, Music Education), renowned clarinetist, educator and author, passed away on November 28, 2016. Lawrence was hailed by The New York Times as an “intrepid music explorer.” The winner of the Ford Foundation Grant (1964-1965) to study at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, he later received degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. He studied clarinet with Harold Wright, Ignatius Gennusa, David Weber, Herbert Blayman and Rudolph Jettel and was recognized for his unique bel canto sound. Mr. Sobol performed and recorded extensively throughout the world as soloist with orchestra, in recital and in chamber music programs. He worked with leading composers of the 20th century and expanded the clarinet literature for coming generations through the works of Karel Husa, Alan Hovhaness, Roy Harris, and William Schuman. Mr. Sobol led the Smithtown High School music department for over 33 years. He remained dedicated to music education after his retirement from public education in 2001, maintaining his multi-faceted career in concert production and publishing. Further examples of his commitment to music include countless performances at major concert halls across the country most notably at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and lectures at America’s leading colleges and universities. He continued to serve as a mentor, clinician and consultant at his Huntington, NY studio up to his final days.
Jonathan Sternberg (’46, Viola), distinguished American orchestra conductor and music professor, passed away on 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)
Jonathan Strasser (BM ’67, Violin; MM ’70, Music Education; Precollege Faculty), American violinist, conductor and educator, passed away on March 8, 2017. Since 1977, Mr. Strasser had been a beloved member of the MSM Precollege faculty and was the Conductor of the Precollege Philharmonic Orchestra for over 20 years. He was a regular guest conductor of the renowned Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela in Caracas, Music Director of the Staten Island Symphony for nine years, and the Music Director of the orchestra program at the New York State Music Camp/Institute at Hartwick College for more than ten years. He played the role of ‘the conductor’ in the 1980 MGM movie Fame. Mr. Strasser’s passion for music education was felt beyond MSM and extended to his nearly three decades as a music teacher at the famed Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (also his alma mater) and as Music Director of the InterSchool Orchestras of New York. Born and raised in the Bronx, Mr. Strasser lived his entire adult life in Manhattan. He was a graduate of the High School of Music & Art and of Manhattan School of Music. His violin studies were with Stanley Bednar and his conducting studies were with Anton Coppola and the late Nicholas Flagello. He will be deeply missed by the MSM Community. Mr. Strasser is survived by his beloved husband, Romir Antonio Robles.
Maestro Hugo Vianello (BM ’50, MM ’51, viola), passed away on March 30, 2018 at the age of 92. 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.
Anne W. Wagner (MM ’68, Piano) passed away on November 22, 2017, at the age of 75. Anne attended Houghton College earning a Bachelor of Music with a major in Music Education and Piano and received her Master of Music Degree from Manhattan School of Music in 1968. Anne married Daniel Wagner on March 25, 1967, a marriage that blossomed out of friendship that started at church. A stay-at-home mother to her two children, Anne taught private piano lessons in her Joyful Sounds Piano Studio. She also taught kindergarten and music at North Spencer Christian Academy. Music played a major role throughout Anne’s life as she was the choir director of three churches, and organist in six churches. She was an incredibly talented musician, and anyone who heard her play was blessed by her gift. In 1990, Anne and Dan moved to Colorado Springs where Anne continued teaching piano lessons, was an accompanist for the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale, and was an Adjudicator for the National Guild of Piano Teachers. In 1997, she and Daniel retired and returned back to New York to enjoy time with their children and grandchildren. Anne faithfully remembered every birthday of her large extended family and had a special talent for making or finding gifts that were individual and special to the recipient. Anne loved her grandchildren with every bit of her being and left them with fond memories of Easter egg coloring, Mexican train dominoes, 10th birthday trips, and piano lessons.
Elena Wolkonsky (Former Precollege Piano Faculty) passed away on August 14, 2016 at age 91 in New York City. She had given her last concert in May. Born in Ekaterinodar, Russia, Wolkonsky began her studies with her mother and graduated from a professional children’s school at 13 before moving on to the Leningrad Conservatory. According to a 1958 New York World-Telegram & Sun profile of her on the occasion of her Town Hall debut, she and her mother escaped the U.S.S.R. and walked across Europe after World War II and then settled in the U.S.; her father had been sent to Siberia and was never heard from again. In 1948, Wolkonsky entered Juilliard and studied with Beveridge Webster and Ernest Hutcheson and minored in chorus. She was on the precollege faculty at Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School. (information acquired from The Juilliard Journal)
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