Check out the recent activities and accomplishments of former classmates.
In January 2018, after giving master classes and conducting an all brass concert of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra in Manila, Henry Nowak (BM ’52, MM ’52) spent a month in China as the special guest of many of his former students from the Hong Kong Academy of Arts Music Conservatory, where he was a founding professor. He also spent two weeks in Guangzhou as the guest of the Principal Solo Trumpet of the Guangzhou Symphony, whom he had taught in Hanoi when he was Assistant Conductor of the Vietnam Symphony Orchestra in the 1990s. This year Henry also had a reunion with Yo Yo Ma, with whom he became good friends after many seasons performing together at the Marlboro Music Festival.
Ralph Blauvelt (MM ’67) produced a CD of a vocal recital featuring his wife, Frances Riley Blauvelt In Recital, in November 2017, and a CD of his new compositions, Celebration Overture Opus 2017, in December. This year he has released the CDs Opus 18 and Recording Session 2018 and produced a YouTube music video, “Trumparade,” set to the music of Marching from his Opus 12 (2012).
David Bourns (MM ’67) has retired after playing Principal Oboe in the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra for 38 years. He recently published a book of poetry, his Collected Poems, which is available from Amazon, B & N, and the publisher BookLocker in softcover or Kindle download.
Francis Brancaleone (MM ’60) had two articles published in the Spring 2018 issue of Sacred Music (Vol. 145, No. 1), “Georgia Stevens, R.S.C.J., Indefatigable Educator, and the Pius X School of Liturgical Music” and “Recollections and Reflections on the Palestrina Institute of Ecclesiastical Music: A Pioneer in Catholic Liturgical Music Education in Detroit (1943–1970).” Dr. Brancaleone was also a coach for the one-piano, four-hands ensembles round of the 2018 New York International Piano Competition. He has served on the screening panel for this competition since its inception in 2002.
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.
Adolphus Hailstork (BM ’65, MM ’66) was the recipient of a 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award from Manhattan School of Music.
Gary Hickling (MM ’66) has compiled Lotte Lehmann & Her Legacy, a free iBooks series including audios, videos, and photos (Volumes I and II) and presenting Lehmann’s master classes, mostly audio, in Lieder, mélodie, and art songs (Volume III), song cycles (Volume IV), and opera arias and scenes (Volume V).
Robert Manno (BM ’68) has been a member of the New York City Opera Chorus for 10 years and The Metropolitan Opera Chorus for 24 years. Robert began composing at MSM, began conducting in 1972 and continues to do both. He and his wife formed the Windham Chamber Music Festival in upstate New York in 1997. His full-length opera Do Not Go Gentle about Dylan Thomas received its workshop premiere at the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice in 2015. Live performances of works Robert conducted have been featured nationally on “Performance Today” since 2000.
In July 2018 Carter Nice (MM ’64) returned to the Bear Valley Music Festival, where he served as Music Director for 30 years, as Guest Conductor of a concert celebrating the festival’s 50th Anniversary and featuring Olga Kern playing Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto. Maestro Nice’s career of fifty years included conducting engagements with the Sacramento Symphony, the New Orleans Philharmonic, and the Florida Symphony. At Manhattan School of Music, Maestro Nice was a conducting student of Jonel Perlea and violin student of Raphael Bronstein.
Joseph Rescigno (MM ’69) is celebrating his 35th anniversary with the Florentine Opera (Milwaukee, WI). He is now the longest-serving principal conductor of any opera company in the United States, with the retirement last year of James Levine from the Metropolitan Opera. A native of New York City, Rescigno was tapped to guest-conduct a production of La Gioconda with the Florentine, the nation’s sixth oldest opera company, in 1981. “When I first joined the company, and John Gage was the General Director, we did a lot of Italian and French operas, what you’d consider the traditional repertoire. With Dennis Hanthorn, we branched out into doing more Wagner and Strauss. And with the arrival of Bill Florescu, the emphasis has been on doing more contemporary works, in addition to other repertoire. I think that’s a healthy sign, that the company continues to evolve,” said Rescigno. Maestro Rescigno has also served as Music Director of La Musica Lirica, a summer program for singers in Northern Italy, since 2005. In addition, he is honored to continue mentoring young conductors in the Opera Residency Program of the Solti Foundation U.S.
Steven Richman (’69), Grammy Award-nominated conductor of Harmonie Ensemble/New York, has had his fourteenth CD, a Toscanini 150th Anniversary Tribute, released on the Bridge Records label.
Virginia Smedberg (BM ’68, MM ’70) celebrates over 25 years playing violin with Opera San Jose and West Bay Opera. This season she adds Island Opera. In October, Virginia went on a two-week tour as concertmaster of the orchestra with the chorus Viva La Musica to the Baltics, Helsinki, and St. Petersburg.
Carl Topilow (BM ’68, MM ’69) recently retired as conductor at the Cleveland Institute of Music after 37 years. He continues to serve as conductor of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, the National Repertory Orchestra (for the summer festival in Breckenridge, Colorado), and the Firelands Symphony (based in Sandusky, Ohio). He has appeared as guest conductor with more than 120 orchestras in 37 states and 12 foreign countries.
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.
Claudia Bloom (BM ’78) and Virginia Smedberg (BM ’68, MM ’70) created and coached a three-week chamber music camp in Palo Alto, California in June 2018, in which the young musicians “cohered into effective performing groups in the space of 5 days. Miraculous, but that’s chamber music!”
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.
Dr. Allison Brewster Franzetti (BM ’77), whose album Luminosa was named one of the 25 Best Instrumental Albums of 2017 by the 39th Annual Jazz Station Awards, released her newest album, Buenos Aires Noir, on February 1, 2018. She performed at ClarinetFest 2018 with Maureen Hurd Hause.
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.
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.
Anthony Meloni (BM ’77) launched his new website: www.meloniandfarrier.com.
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.
Joseph Morrison (BM ’75, MM ’76) recorded his album Joe Morrison’s Pop Jazz Personnel.
Susan Neves (BM ’78, MM ’79) performed the Overseer/Klytämnestra’s Confidante in Elektra at the Metropolitan Opera in March 2018.
Anna Simeone Ostrofsky (BM ’74, MM ’75) performed as concertmaster with the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra on October 28, 2017.
Alan Palanker (BM ’78) composed, arranged, and programmed the Billboard #1 Smooth Jazz Song Summer Nights by Jazz Holdouts in August 2017.
Dr. Penny Prince’s (BM ’74, MM ’76) song, “Soleil is Her Name” was featured in the Ahrens/Flaherty Songwriting Workshop, this summer, at the Dramatists Guild Conference in New York City. Penny founded a Re-entry Committee at Lehman College, to make the school a more informed and supportive place for former incarcerated people entering higher education.
Walter Simmons (BM ’72, MM ’74) has devoted most of his career to promoting 20th-century American composers whose music is largely unknown, as a critic (Fanfare), author, and producer of recordings. He has produced premiere CD recordings of nearly 100 works, many of which had never been played before, and has won considerable praise from most reviewing media. www.Walter-Simmons.com
Sondra Tammam (BM ’73) released an album in 2018 titled Carnivals, Songs, and Transcriptions, which is available on Amazon.com. She was invited to be guest professor at the University of Sao Paulo and in Porto Allegre Brazil. In May 2018, Ms. Tammam taught a piano pedagogy master class at the Mehta Buchmann School of Music at Tel Aviv University.
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.
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.
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
Edward Cibener (MM ’85) was recently the featured guest artist/pianist with the San Francisco City Chorus in Gaylon Babcock’s arrangement of Mendelssohn’s Walpurgisnacht for Piano, Organ, and Chorus. The April 21st event, conducted by Larry Marietta, was held at the historic Calvary Presbyterian Church in the Fillmore district of San Francisco.
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.
Jeffrey Ellenberger (BM ’80) has been conducting at the Bar Harbor Music Festival and just conducted the premiere of the musical Captain Filthy Fred at La Mama Theater in New York City. An active mandolinist, he also conducts the New York Mandolin Orchestra and performed Vivaldi’s Mandolin Concerto with the Scranton Bach Festival.
Karen Fuller (BM ’85, MM ’86) and Eva Conti (MM ’87) collaborated on a chamber music and flamenco concert at the 27th annual Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival in July 2018.
Seth F. Josel (BM ’83) continues to be a busy freelancer on the Berlin scene, having played this past season with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Berlin Radio Symphony, the Konzerthaus Orchester, and the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. He also has performed twice already in Berlin’s new crown jewel, the Pierre Boulez Saal, appearing with the Boulez Ensemble (in Le Marteau sans maître) and with mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital. He led the first European performance of an arrangement of Julius Eastman’s Gay Guerrilla for 16 guitars at the opening concert of this year’s edition of MaerzMusik. Recording credits this past season include Ensemble KNM Berlin (Kairos), Ensemble Adapter (Kairos), and the Berlin Radio Symphony (Pentatone). In addition to performing, he has been a research fellow at the Orpheus Institute in Ghent since mid-2016. He is currently preparing a critical edition of Helmut Lachenmann’s monumental Salut für Caudwell in collaboration with Breitkopf. He has presented papers at conferences at the Musikhochschule Köln and the U. of Surrey (UK), and his first article under the auspices of OI was published in January 2018 in the journal Musik&Ästhetik.
Engagements for the 2018-19 season for Susan Merdinger (’88) include an October 21st performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Highland Park Strings and Robert Hasty conducting, and a May 5th, 2019 performance of Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra and Larry Rapchak conducting.
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).
Neil Semer (BM ’83) was brought in by the Norwegian Opera and Hawaii Opera Theatre to coach their singers. His longtime student Barbara Hannigan won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Classical Album for Crazy Girl Crazy.
Alex Shapiro (BM ’83) is 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
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.
Steve Turre (MM ’88) was the recipient of a 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award from Manhattan School of Music.
In June 2018, Peter Vinograde (BM ’71, MM ’71, DMA ’88) gave two recitals and a master class at the new Usina del Arte Center in Buenos Aires, formerly a gigantic coal power plant. The first was a traditional program; the second featured Preludes and Fugues of Bach and Shostakovich. He will present all seven Bach Toccatas at Washington, D.C.’s National Gallery in March 2019.
Myles Weinstein (MM ’87), the founder of Unlimited Myles, marked its 17th anniversary in July 2018. The booking agency represents many of the finest jazz artists in the world, including Stefon Harris, Vijay Iyer, Billy Childs, Alicia Olatuja, Kenny Barron, Veronica Swift, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Melissa Aldana, and Ulysses Owens, Jr.
David Wolfsohn (DMA ’84) was the recipient of a 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award from Manhattan School of Music.
Dr. Mark Elliot Bergman (MM ’95) received a 2018-19 Wyoming Arts Council Performing Arts Fellowship, awards of merit that are given in honor of excellence in the artists’ field.
Armando Castellano (MM ’98) and his ensemble, Quinteto Latino, are celebrating their 15th anniversary season. This summer Quinteto Latino, in collaboration with the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View, California, convened classical musicians of color from around the country for the first-ever Seminario Institute, a three-day Institute training musicians in chamber music by Latino composers, advocating for access to arts, and highlighting the diversity of classical music. For more information: http://arts4all.org/events/seminario-institute-showcase-concert
Lisa DeSpain (MM ’97) is the recipient of a 2018 OPERA America Discovery Award supporting her work as a composer of opera and musical theatre. The grant will support the development of Ms. DeSpain’s blues opera, That Hell-bound Train, an American deal-with-the-devil story based on the short story by Robert Bloch (Psycho), with a libretto by David Simpatico (The Life and Death of Alan Turing). The Discovery Award for Female Composers seeks to promote the development of works by women as well as to raise the visibility of women writing for the operatic medium.
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. Salvatore arranged the Spring concerto of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and conducted the Chamber Orchestra of New York at the 2018 Tory Burch New York Fashion Week show.
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.
In September 2017 pianist Gila Goldstein (MM ’ 90) became the Chair of the piano department at Boston University School of Music and the Director of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) Young Artist Piano Program (YAPP), where she also teaches 33 young pianists age 14-18 in six weeks. She played a recital at the BUTI Faculty series at Trinity Church in Lenox, MA on July 9, 2018. Other highlights the past season included a performance with the Berliner Symphoniker, recitals in Los Angeles, Boston, and Beijing and master classes in New York, Los Angeles, Beijing, and in Tanglewood. During Fall 2018 Gila performed in South Carolina, Houston, Boston, and China, and was a judge at the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition.
Israel Gursky (PS ’99) returns in fall 2018 for a second season as Kapellmeister and Studienleiter at Theater Bremen, where he will conduct performances of Un ballo in maschera, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and L’étoile, as well as the New Year’s Gala. This summer he returned to the Salzburg Festival as guest coach for the festival’s Young Singers Project, then traveled to Lisbon for his tenth year as cover conductor, pianist, and preselection-judge for Operalia, Placido Domingo’s competition. As music director of New York City’s Teatro Grattacielo, he will return on September 29, 2018 to conduct Cilea’s rarely heard opera Gloria at the Gerald W Lynch Theater.
Kelly Hall-Tompkins (MM ’95) was named a New York Times “New Yorker of the Year” in 2017. She performed a solo show at Feinstein’s/54 Below on May 30, 2018 and has been appointed the Cincinnati Symphony‘s inaugural Classical Roots Artist-in-Residence, effective September 2018.
Stefon Harris (BM ’95, MM ’97) is the recipient of the 2018 Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Artist Award and the winner of a Downbeat 2018 International Critics Poll award.
Peggy Kriha Dye (MM ’93) was named one of Musical America’s 2017 Movers & Shapers: Top 30 Professionals of the Year.
Barbara Lynne Jamison (MM ’98) has been appointed General Director of the Kentucky Opera.
Brandon Jovanovich (MM ’98) was featured on the May 2018 cover of Opera News.
Shmulik Katz (BM ’98, MM ’00) has joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
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’s (BM ’88, MM ’90) new piece, Shadow Harlequinade, for contrabass flute and cello, was recently performed in the Bargemusic Labor Day Festival. Other performances of Peri’s music include premieres of Soul Vision, for violin and bass trombone, at Manhattan School of Music on April 8, 2018; A Little New Year’s Flair, for solo piano, at the National Opera Center on March 19, 2018; September 16th, for solo cello, at the National Opera Center on January 25, 2018; and Diversimento, for violin, trumpet, and bass trombone, by Concrete Timbre at Olli Studio on January 21, 2018.
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.”
Olivera Medenica (BM ’96) joined Dunnington Bartholow & Miller LLP as Partner in April 2018 and is launching their fashion law practice.
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. She is winner of the American Prize in Conducting, Musical Theater Division, 2017–18.
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.
Richard Owen (MM ’98) is taking on the position of Director of Music of the Adelphi Orchestra, now in its 65th season of Music for All. Currently organist and Director of Music at St. Jean Baptiste Church and of its Camerata New York Orchestra, Maestro Owen has been conducting the Adelphi Orchestra over the past six seasons, most recently as its principal conductor.
Dr. Joanne Polk (DMA ’90) gave a master class and recital at Kutztown University in October 2017 and performed a recital at Smith College in November 2017. In December, Dr. Polk recorded Charles Ives’s Violin Sonata No. 3 and Carl Vine’s Violin Sonata with violinist Joel Pitchon. In the first half of 2018, Dr. Polk recorded music by Edward Green with the Lark Quartet for Bridge Records, performed a solo recital in Woodstock, and recorded three video segments for Midday Masterpieces on New York’s classical radio station, WQXR. Joanne Polk was also interviewed on the award-winning radio program Cadenza, with WWFM’s David Osenberg. In May and June 2018, Joanne Polk embarked on a three-week tour of Taiwan and China, giving master classes and recitals.
Chris Potter (MM ’92) was nominated for a 2018 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album and Best Improvised Jazz Solo.
Raja Rahman (PS ’96) has been appointed Director of Piano Studies at the Nevada School of the Arts and will be recording his first solo piano album this year at Sono Luminus. Concert tours this year include Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New York. Raja performs solo recitals at the Met Museum in New York City in July, August, and November. A special guest concert is scheduled at Las Vegas’s UNLV Ham Hall on November 18, 2018. He continues to star both live and on TV as the musical half of the Vegas magic act Jarrett & Raja.
Highlights for American tenor Bryan Register (MM ’94) in the 2018–19 season include Faust in La damnation de Faust in a concert tour with Les Siècles and François-Xavier Roth, his debut for Malmö Opera as Erik in Der fliegende Holländer, and a return to La Monnaie for Tristan in Tristan und Isolde. Recent highlights include debuts at the Semperoper Dresden as Enée in Les Troyens in a new production by Lydia Steiner, and at La Monnaie in the title role of Lohengrin in a new production by Olivier Py, conducted by Alain Altinoglu; Enée in Les Troyens for Frankfurt Opera in a new production by Eva Maria Höckmayr, conducted by John Nelson; Siegmund in Die Walküre for Grange Park Opera; and Tristan in Tristan und Isolde at the Tokyo Nikikai Opera Theatre under the baton of Jesús Lopez Cobos.
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
Lucy Tucker Yates (MM ’98) was music director of Seattle Opera’s recent production of O+E, a chamber opera version of Gluck’s masterpiece, arranged and adapted with a new English text by Yates. Stage director Kelly Kitchens brought O+E to life with an all-female creative team and cast of singers. https://www.seattleopera.org/oande
Kaoru Watanabe (BM ’97) had a taiko composition featured on the soundtrack of Wes Anderson’s latest film, Isle of Dogs.
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) is the winner of a Downbeat 2018 International Critics Poll award. He 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.
Hayk Arsenyan (PS ’08) made his Asia debut tour in June 2018 with concerts at the Shanghai Concert Hall in China, Tokyo’s Kumin Shinjuku and Daykayama halls in Japan, and the Negros National Museum in Bacolod in the Philippines. He also gave master classes in each city and lectured at Waseda University, the second largest university in Japan.
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 made her debut with the LA Philharmonic as a soprano soloist in Bernstein’s Mass and returned 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. https://www.laurabohn.com/
Rupert Boyd (MM ’06), with cellist Laura Metcalf, released the debut album of their duo “Boyd Meets Girl” in 2017 on the Sono Luminus label, reaching No. 3 on the Billboard Traditional Classical charts. Gramophone wrote that the Australian classical guitarist and American cellist “play like one, with a harmony of purpose as sure as their intonation.” The album was released with a 40-concert world tour that included performances throughout North America, Australia, New Zealand, Nepal, and Hawaii.
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.
Chris Cerrone (BM ’07) was singled out by the New York Times for his new Violin Concerto, recently given its premiere by Jennifer Koh, Peter Oundjian, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and now available on the orchestra’s YouTube channel. https://nyti.ms/2N7PEMd
Canadian jazz drummer Ernesto Cervini (MM ‘05) was nominated for a 2018 JUNO Award (the Canadian Grammy Award) for Jazz Album of the Year for Rev, his 2017 release on ANZIC Records. The album received rave reviews, including a 4-star review in Downbeat magazine. Cervini is also a member of the jazz trio Myriad3, which has toured extensively across Canada, the U.S., and Europe and released four albums on Alma Records. Myriad3 was nominated for a JUNO Award for Jazz Album of the Year in 2016 for their release The Where. Cervini is also the owner and driving force behind Orange Grove Publicity, a publicity firm supporting the release of new jazz music from artists in Canada and abroad.
Sara Caswell (MSM Faculty and MM ’06) was nominated for a 2018 Grammy Award for Best Improvised Jazz Solo.
Jenny Q Chai (MM ’06, PS ’07) made her solo debut at Wigmore Hall on June 26, 2018. In this French inspired program, through repertoire that truly lives at the intersection of color and sound, she explored her synesthetic experience of music.
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.
Wei-Ping Chou (BM ’03) joined the faculty of the Peabody conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University for the 2018–19 academic year. She currently holds the Second Horn position with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra/Washington National Opera Orchestra.
Anna Clyne (MM ’05) 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.
Ashley Daneman (MM ’09) has joined the Vocal Jazz faculty of Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan.
Jeanine De Bique (BM ’06, MM ’08, PS ’09) performed with the Chineke Foundation Orchestra at the 2017 BBC Proms. She also performed 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; performed a solo recital with the Ravinia Recital Association on March 24, 2018; and was the soprano soloist in Brahms’s Requiem at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in June 2018. Jeanine also made her debut at Konzerthaus Berlin.
Gabriel Escudero (MM ’08, DMA ’13) recently joined the Piano faculty of Conservatorio Superior de Musica de Murcia in Spain. Highlights in Gabriel’s 2018-19 season include performing as the soloist in the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Trio Bacarisse at Musikverein in Vienna on November 8, 2018 and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg on January 11, 2019.
Maggie Finnegan (BM ’06) won the S & R Foundation’s Washington Award. She made her international debut at the PyeongChang Winter Music Festival (South Korea), performed in the world premiere of Lembit Beecher’s opera Sophia’s Forest, and sang in Opera Parallele’s The Little Prince. In 2017 she began creating Reassemble With Care, a staged song cycle for soprano and chamber ensemble.
Kirill Gerstein (BM ’99, MM ‘00) kicked off 2018 with performances with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, and Pittsburgh Symphony, followed by performances with the National Symphony Orchestra and the Boston, Colorado, and Indianapolis symphonies. In March, Kirill performed with the Minnesota Orchestra and Ulster Orchestra, toured in a duo recital with cellist Clemens Hagen, and performed with alumnus Guy Braunstein (’95) in chamber music recitals in the Netherlands. He also appeared this spring 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. Kirill Gerstein played in three concerts at the 2018 Tanglewood Summer Music Festival. His new Gershwin album, The Gershwin Moment: Rhapsody in Blue & Piano Concerto in F Major (Live), was named an Editor’s Choice in the March issue of Gramophone.
Lindsey Goodman (PS ’04) released her second solo album, returning to heights unseen, in May 2018 on the Navona imprint of PARMA Recordings. The album features eight works for flute and electronics written for Lindsey by living composers. It is available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, and at https://lindseygoodman.bandcamp.com/album/returning-to-heights-unseen.
Devin Gray (MM ’08) led groups and played his compositions all over Europe this past year, performing in Berlin, Stockholm, Lisbon, Warsaw, Geneva, Vienna, Copenhagen, Oslo, and London. Devin made several recording dates as a sideman in Europe and New York City and started his own record label called Rataplan Records. The first release, Dirigo Ratplan II, due out on September 21, 2018, showcases a striking set of original Gray compositions featuring saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, bassist Michael Formanek, and trumpeter Dave Ballou. It will include a six-day tour on the East Coast in October and performances in Switzerland in Geneva and Zurich in December. Devin also self-produced, led, and self-released two new recordings of his compositions Meta Cache for quartet and Cloudsounds for trio.
Timothy Green (BM ’04) joins the Jazz faculty of the Peabody conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University in Fall 2018.
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 new ABC series Deception. Cooper’s original album It’s the Little Things is available on iTunes. He performed 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.
Dr. Drew Hemenger (MM ’96, DMA ’01) recently had his work Exultations performed by the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. He had a residency in July 2018 at Virginia Center for the Arts and is currently producing a CD with soprano Adrienne Danrich.
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.
Amy Justman (MM ’02) is currently performing in the Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel.
Kathleen Kim (BM ’98, MM ’00) performed the role of the Fairy Godmother in Cendrillon with the Metropolitan Opera in the 2018–19 season.
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 were featured in the Broadway production of Once On This Island for five weeks.
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). All members of the quartet are also faculty of the Longy School of Music at Bard College. loadbang’s 2017–18 season included performances in the Czech Republic, Iceland, and the United Kingdom, as well as across the United States, premiering dozens of new works for their unique instrumentation, among them pieces by composers Mark Applebaum and Christian Wolff. In May 2018 they released their newest album, old fires catch old buildings, on New Focus Records.
Eunjung Lee (MM ’03) has been appointed as a principal pianist and opera coach at the Salzburg Opera House starting August 2018.
Pascal Le Boeuf (BM ’07, MM ’10) was nominated for a 2018 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition.
Dan Lippel (DMA ’05) released “…through which the past shines…,”an album of solo and chamber works for guitar by former MSM faculty member Nils Vigeland and current faculty member Reiko Fueting, in May 2018. Also featured is alumni cellist John Popham. http://www.newfocusrecordings.com/catalogue/through-which-the-past-shines-works-by-nils-vigeland-and-reiko-fueting/
Joseph London (MM ’05) made his Broadway debut as Mary Sunshine in Chicago, the Musical.
Thomas Morgan (BM ’03) was the winner of a Downbeat 2018 International Critics Poll award in the Rising Star category.
Amanda Nisenson (BM ’02) became a spiritual teacher, speaker, and yogi and discovered the world of Kirtan singing. While living in San Diego, Amanda studied with the monks at Yogananda’s Self-Realization Center and gave musical and spiritual workshops for the Deepak Chopra Center. In 2017, Ms. Nisenson graduated from San Diego’s Soul of Yoga and was ordained “Lady Monk.” After returning to her native New York City, she was invited to perform with Grammy award winner Krishna Das. It was during this concert that she discovered a whole new vocal range and sound. Magazine articles in Yoga Journal, Natural Awakenings, and Shambala were followed by appearances with Amma, Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, and Sharon Salzburg. In January 2018, Ms. Nisenson was invited to join the staff of Silver Hill Hospital and Kripalu, where she will lead workshops on yoga, music, and meditation. She is also making a name for herself as a spiritual performer and was named by Yoga Journal as one of the up and coming spiritual teachers to watch. Future engagements include performances at Cafe Carlyle and Birdland Jazz and appearances with Snatum Kaur, Simrit and Krishna Das.
Anyssa Neumann (BM ’06) received her PhD in musicology from King’s College London in 2017, focusing on the use of classical music in the films of Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. Anyssa is currently touring a lecture-recital based on this research with appearances at Lund University (Sweden), Filmoteca Española (Madrid), the Toronto International Film Festival, Blackheath Halls (London), the Swedish-American Hall in San Francisco, and the University of California, Los Angeles. Other recent projects have included recital tours of the Pacific Northwest and California.
Isabelle O’Connell (MM ’01) was Artist-in-Residence at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris for January and March 2018. She was recently featured in the Irish Times: https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/abroad/in-new-york-i-could-dream-bigger-and-achieve-more-1.3350936
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) made her solo recital debut at Musikverein in Vienna on May 19, and Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall on June, the latter of which was chosen by NY1 as “Pick of the Week” She also made her Italian debut this summer, performing and teaching at the InterHarmony Music Festival in Acqui Terme, Italy.
Leandra Ramm (’05) was the alto soloist in Chichester Psalms conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas and Bach’s Magnificat conducted by Ragnar Bohlin with the San Francisco Symphony in the 2017–18 season. Additionally, she sang the title role in Rossini’s La Cenerentola with the San Francisco Opera Guild, the lead role of Soul in Ordo Virtutum with San Francisco Renaissance Voices, and was a soloist with the University of California Alumni Chorus at Cal Performances. She continues to sing with Cappella SF and American Bach Soloists and performed recitals at Old First Concerts and Noontime Concerts at Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco. A versatile singer, Leandra’s recent musical theatre performances include Tanya in Mamma Mia! at Woodminster Summer Musicals, starring as Joni Mitchell in a one woman show about Mitchell’s life with Indra’s Net Theatre, and performances with the pop opera tenor group The Angelos during their U.S. tour. Upcoming engagements include Mama in Lucinda y las Flores de la Nochebuena with the San Francisco Opera Guild, a role she performed in 2017 and will reprise at the Atrium Theater in the Wilsey Center for Opera, and Judy Garland in The Boy from Oz with Theatre Rhinoceros. www.LeandraRamm.com
Lindsay Rider (MM ’09) joined the Natural Resources Defense Council as Administrative Director of Development in June 2018. Also a proud entrepreneur, Lindsay is the founder of Overture, which offers online coursework to help people increase their personal and professional capabilities through tools and practices in awareness. She released new course offerings in summer 2018. www.LindsayRider.com
James Benjamin Rodgers (MM ’07, PS ’08) performed the title role in Bernstein’s Candide with New Zealand Opera in March 2018.
Nolan Robertson (BM ’05) was appointed Director, Artistic Projects at Carnegie Hall in September 2018.
Anthony Roth Costanzo (MM ’08) is featured on the October 2018 cover of Opera News.
Felipe Salles (DMA ’05) is the recipient of a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition.
Marie-Eve Scarfone (PS ’05) was appointed Head Coach at the Opéra de Montréal’s Atelier Lyrique in 2017.
Michael Scott (BM ’07) performed in Die Ring Trilogie with Theater an der Wien, Street Scene with Teatro Real, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk with Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and The Gambler with Opera Vlaanderen in the 2017–18 season. He was also a 2018 International Opera Awards Bursary Recipient. In the upcoming 2018–19 season, Michael performs in Tosca with Nederlandse Reisopera, Elias with Theater an der Wien, Macbeth with Opera Vlaanderen, and in the world premiere of Les Bienveillentes with Opera Vlaanderen.
Amy Shoremount-Obra (BM ’01, MM ’03) 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. Amy was the winner of the top prize in the 2018 Gerda Lissner Competition–Wagnerian Division and appeared in the winners’ concert at Carnegie Hall in May 2018.
Stephen A. Slater (BM ’01) accepted the 4th horn position with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra for the 2018-19 season.
Alissa Stahler (MM ’09) is thrilled to be performing in New York City at The Dead Poet as part of their Lamplight Sessions series and at Tomi Jazz with the Kengo Yamada Quintet.
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.
Elena Smirnova (MM ’10) is the new Chief Executive Officer of Park River Properties in NYC.
Joseph Trapanese (BM ’06) is the co-composer of the original score for the 2018 movie musical hit The Greatest Showman.
Matthew Tutsky (BM ’07) was recently appointed as principal harpist with Portland Opera, Oregon Ballet Theatre, and Colorado Springs Philharmonic. He also joins the faculty of the University of Portland and Reed College.
Charenée Wade (BM ’04, MM ’06) was appointed a Jazz Studies teaching artist at the Peabody conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University.
Lecolion Washington (MM ’01) was recently appointed Executive Director of the Community Music Center of Boston.
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.
Michael Anderson (BM ’14, MM ’16) joined Dayton Opera’s 2018 Artist-in-Residence program.
Justin Austin (BM ’14, MM ’17) was featured in concert and sang the role of Jake in Francesca Zambello’s production of Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess at the Glimmerglass Festival and performed a solo recital at Carnegie Hall. Justin was a soloist in Bernstein’s Songfest at the John F. Kennedy Center. He also sang the role of Cal in James Robinson’s production of Blitzstein’s Regina at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Justin was featured on Albany Records’ release of Jack Perla’s Shalimar the Clown, and Damien Sneed’s debut classical album, The Three Sides of Damien Sneed. He was a mainstage artist with Master Voices, New York Festival of Song, and the Larimer Chorale. He was named a winner of the Gerda Lissner International Lieder Competition. Upcoming engagements include appearing on WQXR in concert live at the Greene Space, as a solo artist with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, as principal guest artist with Bayerische Staatsoper as Bello in Andreas Dresen’s new production of Puccini’s La fanciulla del West, and as featured artist at the Munich Opera Festival.
SeungHyeon Baek (MM ’13) performed as Tonio in Pagliacci with Opera Ithaca in fall 2017 and made his debut as the Count in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Tampa in March 2018.
Mercedes Beckman (MM ’15) won the audition for the Second Alto Saxophone opening in the Jazz Ambassadors, the premiere touring Army big band. Since graduating, she has played with Christian McBride, Jeff Tain Watts, Arturo O’Farrill, and Marcus Printup; recorded with John Lee and Freddie Hendrix; become a permanent member of the DIVA jazz orchestra; led her own sextet for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s outreach concerts; and become a Vandoren artist.
Steven Behnke (BM ’10) started the Patriot Brass Ensemble at MSM in 2009, which performs free concerts for veterans. The group is on track to give 300 performances in 2018, with units in 17 cities, using 600 brass and percussion musicians. Patriot Brass Ensemble recently joined Local 802 as the very first group of their kind to go union.
Owen Broder (MM ’15) is a member, along with fellow alumni Ethan O’Reilly (MM ’13) and Matt Honor (MM ’15), of the quintet Cowboys & Frenchmen, which released its sophomore album, Bluer Than You Think, in October 2017. It received a four-star review in Downbeat and was celebrated with an eight-market tour through the Northeast and Midwest. In May 2018, the group was selected as the first jazz ensemble to participate in the M-Prize as semifinalists. The American Roots Project, Broder’s eight-piece ensemble, released its debut album, Heritage (2018), with two nearly sold-out sets at the Jazz Standard. Downbeat called the recording “a transcendent work of art.” It features MSM faculty members Sara Caswell (violin), Scott Wendholt (trumpet), Jay Anderson (bass), and Kate McGarry (voice), with one arrangement by Jim McNeely and two pieces from Miho Hazama (MM ’12). Broder’s composition, Goin’ Up Home, which opens the album, earned him a 2018 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award. Broder is also on the Anat Cohen Tentet album Happy Song (October 2017), which placed second in the Downbeat Critics Poll for Album of the Year.
In the 2017-18 season, Emilie Rose Bry (MM ’13) sang the roles of Frasquita in Carmen and Elvira in L’Italiana in Algeri at the Royal Opera of Versailles and Amore/Valetto/Pallade in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. In April 2018, Emilie won 1st Prize in operetta and 2nd Prize in opera at the Concours International de chant de Bordeaux. This upcoming season, she will sing the role of Armida in Händel’s Rinaldo at the Theater an der Wien, Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, and the Royal Opera of Versailles.
Raehann Bryce-Davis (MM ’12, PS ’13) received a 2018 George London Award.
Alex Burtzos (MM ’12, DMA ’16) has been named as Assistant Professor of Composition at the University of Central Florida. He will also take an active role in the administration of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra’s National Young Composers Challenge, a competition for pre-collegiate composers of orchestral and chamber music. Alex has collaborated with some of the world’s foremost contemporary musicians and ensembles, including JACK Quartet, Yarn/Wire, loadbang, ETHEL, and RighteousGIRLS. Alex is the founder and Artistic Director of Iceberg New Music, a New York-based composers’ collective, and he is also conductor of and composer-in-residence for ShoutHouse.
Andrea Carroll (BM ’12) received a 2018 Richard Tucker Career Grant. This spring she returned to Houston Grand Opera as Maria in West Side Story and gave recitals under the auspices of the Vienna State Opera and the Vienna Philharmonic.
In June 2018, pianist Silvie Cheng (BM ’13, MM ’15) and her brother, cellist Bryan Cheng, released their second album as Cheng² Duo. Featuring music by Spain’s foremost 20th-century composers, the album, Violonchelo del fuego, has garnered international critical acclaim. Cheng² Duo has been praised for its “phenomenal virtuosity” and “absolutely captivating” playing (Pizzicato Magazine, Luxembourg); for the album’s “shimmering sounds played with passion and dedication” (Kulturradio vom RBB, Germany); and for having “entirely captured the voices of these composers . . . with energy, verve, and spirit” (Large Stage Live, Canada). The duo’s first album, Violoncelle français, was selected as one of WCRB Classical Radio Boston’s Top CDs of 2017. This coming fall, Silvie will make her solo debut with the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra in New York City, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor. For more information, visit silviecheng.com and cheng2duo.com.
Soyoung Choe (PS ’16), a DMA candidate in Phillip Kawin’s studio, was awarded the first-ever Grand Prize and Special Ravel Prize at the International Academy of Music in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Italy.
Donghyeon Choi (MM ’17) won a position as an associate member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
Kidon Choi (MM ’15) joins the 2018-19 Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.
Emmet Cohen (MM ’14) is a finalist for the 2019 American Pianists Association–Jazz Division.
Anthony Constantino (BM ’16) had a new work, Luminosity’s Witness, premiered by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra in February 2018.
Monica Danilov (BM ’13) performed as the mezzo soloist in Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with the Orquesta Sinfónica EAFIT in March 2018.
Madeleine Davidson (BM ’11) has become Managing Director at Bloomingdale School of Music.
Noragh Devlin (BM ’13, MM ’15, PS ’16) joined Dayton Opera’s 2018 Artist-in-Residence program.
Angelo Di Loreto (BM ’11, MM ’13) was commissioned to arrange for the Grammy-winning Metropole Orchestra, based in the Netherlands. He 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.
Keelan Dimick (BM ’13) is a finalist for the 2019 American Pianists Association–Jazz Division.
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.
Solomon Eichner (BM ’11) will be presented twice this season in his hometown of Baltimore with solo recitals on the Yale Gordon Trust and Music in the Great Hall series. The past year Solomon performed concerti with multiple orchestras, including the Western Piedmont Symphony (Rachmaninoff’s Third) and Wilson Symphony (Liszt’s First). Being of Polish background, Solomon was honored to perform for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in April 2018, sponsored by the March of the Living Foundation. Alongside cellist Amit Peled and violinist Yevgeny Kutik, he gave multiple performances at the Krakow Philharmonic Hall and at Auschwitz in front of 10,000 people, as well as giving a solo recital at the Krakow Jewish Cultural Center. Solomon will debut this season on the Chamber Music Raleigh Series with North Carolina Symphony concertmaster Brian Reagin and principal cellist Bonnie Thron at the North Carolina Museum of Art, and give a solo recital on the Paderewski Raleigh Festival in October 2018. Solomon will perform Chopin’s Second Concerto with the Wilson Symphony in November 2018 and Mendelssohn’s First Concerto with the Salisbury Symphony in March 2019. Solomon made his D.C. debut recital at the Polish Embassy, sponsored by the Paderewski Scholarship Foundation, in September 2017. He is on the faculty at University of Mount Olive in North Carolina as Piano Professor.
Karly Epp (MM ’17) joined the jazz voice faculty at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada.
Sarah Everitt (BM ’16) was appointed Program and Travel Associate at Opus 3 Artists in April 2018.
Jessica Fishenfeld (MM ’15) made her Carnegie/Zankel Hall debut in spring 2018 in “Music of Georgia Shreve” with the Manhattan Contemporary Chamber Ensemble and was a Resident Festival Artist this summer with the Savannah VOICE Festival. She recently premiered the role of Kim in Big Jim & the Small-Time Investors with Gramercy Opera/Cutting Edge Concerts, sang May Fielding (Il grillo del focolare) with Teatro Grattacielo, Musetta (La Bohème) with Long Island Lyric Opera, and international concerts with the St. Bart’s Music Festival and Orquesta Filarmonía de Xalapa in Mexico. She reprises her spring performance of selections from Candide and West Side Story in “Bernstein 100!” (originally with the Helena Symphony) with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra this fall. www.jessicafishenfeld.com
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.
Brandon Patrick George (MM ’10) led an evening of solo performances and talks at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, joined by harpist Mélanie Genin (AD ’14) and guitarist Jordan Dodson (MM ’11) on June 15, 2018.
Anne Goldberg-Baldwin (MM ’12, DMA ’15) joins the faculty of Berklee College of Music as Assistant Professor of Composition. Previously based in Seattle, Anne served on faculty at Cornish College of the Arts, where she facilitated the Composers Forum, conducted a private composition and piano studio, and taught music theory.
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.
Dr. Jimmy Greene (DMA ’18) is the winner of a Downbeat 2018 International Critics Poll award in the Rising Star category.
Eli Greenhoe (BM ’16) is the recipient of a 2018 American Academy of Arts and Letters Charles Ives Scholarship.
Michael Harrison (MM ’15) is the recipient of a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition.
Jake Hertzog (MM ’16) has published Guitar Sound Effects (Hal Leonard), a major guitar methods book focusing on everything from technique to electronic and studio equipment.
Claudillea Holloway (BM ’17) performed in the off-Broadway production Whiskey Pants: The Mayor of Williamsburg in September 2017.
Zhihua Hu (MM ’17) presented her ensemble and piano compositions at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall on July 9. With her debut album, Music of Zhihua Hu, she won a Global Music Awards silver medal for Outstanding Achievement as Composer/Composition, Instrument/Instrumentalist, and Emerging Artist.
Frank L. Humphrey III (BM ’17) stars as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Warehouse Theatre in Greenville, South Carolina in September 2018 and is joining the Actor’s Equity Association this fall.
Chris James (BM ’13) was 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
Alison Yun-Fei Jiang (BM ’15) is a commissioned composer for the National Youth Orchestra of Canada’s 2018 season. Her work for full orchestra, River Memory, was premiered by NYO Canada on July 26 in FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, St. Catharines, Canada, as part of the 2018 Music Niagara Festival, and performed on July 29 in Koerner Hall, Toronto as part of the Toronto Summer Music Festival. Alison was one of five finalists in the inaugural Graham Sommer Competition for Young Composers, a new national competition for Canadian composers under the age of 35. She was also awarded second place in the orchestra division (student composer) in the 2017 American Prize in Composition for her work Waves, Exile.
Katharina Kang (BM ’14) has won the position of Principal Violist with New York City Ballet.
Minwoo Kang (MM ’17) won a position in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
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 got married in spring 2018.
Paull-Anthony Keightley (MM ’15) appeared as Colline alongside alumna Elena Perroni (MM ’13) as Mimi in La Bohème; as Badger & Parson in Cunning Little Vixen; and as Zuniga in Carmen with West Australian Opera in 2018. He joins Deutsche Oper Berlin for the 2018–19 season and will be performing in thirteen mainstage productions.
Mia Laity (BM ’15) has won the assistant concertmaster position with Charlottesville Opera.
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 past summer, Julia performed 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. He recently signed as an endorsed artist with Vandoren reeds, ligatures and mouthpieces. Larson also published his first book titled Leaps & Sounds: 12 Contemporary Etudes for Jazz Saxophone. Since its official release on August 30, the book as been enjoyed by customers in 25 countries and over 32 states and has earned high praise from respected educators and professional musicians, alike. The book can be found on Adam’s website here.
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.
Alexis Lee (MM ’11) has joined the faculty of Belmont University.
Earl Lee (MM ’13) was appointed the new associate conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra beginning September 2018. Earl is currently the RBC resident conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the artistic director and conductor of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Heegan Lee (BM ’12, MM ’14) made his Carnegie Hall Weill Recital Hall debut in April 2018.
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.
Christopher Lindgren (MM ’18) won a position with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.
Dr. Yangzhi Ma (MM ’12, DMA ’18) joined the Composition faculty of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.
Taylor Marino (BM ’15) was featured as Musical America’s New Artist of the Month in November 2017. http://bit.ly/TaylorMarino-MusicalAmerica.
Annie Lyle Mason (MM ’10) was appointed Instructor of Bassoon at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois in fall 2017.
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.
Gonzalo Tomás Llanes Mena (MM ’16) won the 2018 audition for a full-time tenor position in the Argentina National Choir (Coro Polifónico Nacional Argentina).
Megan Mikailovna Samarin (BM ’14) performed the role of Idamante in Idomeneo with Wolf Trap Opera in June 2018.
Gabrielle Mirabella (BM ’10) presented a female-forward new works concert on August 21, 2018 at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC. Celebrating composers of all genders who are actively writing roles for women on the musical theatre and opera stages, it included the premiere of a piece by MSM alum and current DMA candidate Scott Joiner, composer and star of the popular YouTube video, Connection Lost: The Tinder Opera. Visit www.youcandoconcert.com for more information.
Carlton Moe (MM ’15) made his Broadway debut as Piangi in The Phantom of the Opera in December 2017.
Brian Michael Moore (BM ’15, MM ’17) received a 2018 Sara Tucker Study Grant and joins the 2018-19 Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.
Brittany Nickell (MM ’15, PS ’16) was the winner of the 2017 Opera Index Award, a finalist in the 2017 Premiere Opera Competition, a district winner in the Metropolitan Opera Competition, and the recipient of an Encouragement Award in the McCammon Vocal Competition.
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.
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.
Anna Petrov (BM ’09, MM ’11, DMA ’16) joins the University of Louisville’s School of Music as an Assistant Professor of Piano following a position at Sam Houston State University. Upcoming engagements include Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto no. 2 with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and an international tour with duo partner, violist Molly Carr, with their interdisciplinary project Novel Voices. (www.novelvoices.org)
Megan Picerno (MM ’09, PS ’10) stars as Christine in the U.S. tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies.
Tim Rachbach (BM ’17) releases his debut album “Under One Moon” featuring Adam O’Farrill (BM ’16), Xavier Del Castillo (BM ’16), Manuel Schmiedel, and Rick Rosato. Learn more here: https://timrachbach.bandcamp.com/releases
Kavita Shah (MM ’12) premiered Folk Songs of Naboréa, her song-cycle for seven voices, at the Park Avenue Armory, a performance NPR named one of the Top 10 Jazz Concerts of 2017. Also in 2017, she played at the BRIC Jazz Festival in New York and traveled to Nairobi, Kenya to perform with Senegalese bassist/singer Alune Wade. In February 2018, she released Interplay, a duo album co-led by bassist François Moutin with special guests and jazz legends Sheila Jordan and Martial Solal. François and Kavita have since toured extensively across the U.S. and Europe, most recently at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. In June 2018, Interplay was nominated for a Victoire de la Musique (French Grammy Award) in the category of Jazz Album of the Year. Kavita is currently in Cape Verde, on a travel grant from the Jerome Foundation, conducting ethnographic research on traditional musical practices and the life of the late singer Cesária Évora.
Michael Sheetz (MM ’09, MM ’10, PS ’11) was appointed Coordinator of Choral Activities at Hunter College, where he directs the College Choir and Chamber Singers Ensembles. He will be conducting Musica Sacra at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on October 23, 2018, alongside its Music Director Kent Tritle, and helping to prepare the choir for performances of 2001: A Space Odyssey film screenings at the New York Philharmonic and Detroit Symphony in the fall. Michael Sheetz will also be performing a cabaret for charity in the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola’s Sacred Music in a Sacred Space series on September 26, 2018.
Luke Sikora (BM ’17) was a semifinalist in the 2018 Lotte Lenya Competition.
Molly Shortall Kaszuba (MM ’10) was named the Associate Director of Development at Fordham University School of Law.
Alexa Smith (MM ’10) was appointed Chief of Staff at Manhattan School of Music in September 2018.
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.
Billy Test (MM ’15) is a finalist for the 2019 American Pianists Association–Jazz Division.
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.
Shuo Wang (MM ’17) performed the role of Tamino in The Magic Flute at Lyric Opera Studio Weimar in Germany. Shuo has also launched a music company in Beijing called In–max music center.
Anna Webber (MM ’10) is a recipient of a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition. She 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
Hongni Wu (MM ’17, PS ’18) was the winner of the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals.
Zhang Xiaomeng (MM ‘15) was a semifinalist in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2018 National Council Auditions.
Tian Zhao (BM ’16, MM ’18) won a section violin position in the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
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) received the 2018 Oscar for Best Original Song for “Remember Me” from Coco, becoming the first person to achieve a double EGOT, having won all four awards (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) twice. http://ew.com/awards/2018/03/05/oscars-2018-robert-lopez-double-egot/
Drew Petersen is the 2017 winner of the American Pianist Award. http://www.americanpianists.org/classical/winners
Charlie Puth released his sophomore album, Voicenotes!, and was recently featured in an article in the New York Times.
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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