Check out the recent activities and accomplishments of former classmates.
Wagnerian Heldentenor Kenneth Bennett Lane (’54) sings a program that includes love songs from the operas, Broadway musicals, pop, jazz, blues, ragtime, westerns, folk, Viennese operetta, environmental anthem and rock ‘n’ roll. The concert will be performed at New Life Expo at the Skytop Lounge on the 39th floor of the New Yorker Hotel, 34th Street and 8th Avenue, NYC. Kenneth also continues to coach artists in all Shakespeare plays, in Wagner and other German, French and Italian operas. www.WagnerOpera.com
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. Anton Coppola’s (BM ’64, MM ’65) latest opera, Lady Swanwhite, premiered at Opera Tampa on February 9, 2019. Anton was Artistic Director at Opera Tampa until his retirement at age 95 in 2012. Steven Gadd (BM ’65) won a 2019 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. Gary Hickling (MM ’66) has compiled Lotte Lehmann & Her Legacy, a free iBooks series including audios, videos, and photos (Volumes I and II) and presenting Lehmann’s master classes, mostly audio, in Lieder, mélodie, and art songs (Volume III), song cycles (Volume IV), and opera arias and scenes (Volume V). Fredrick Kaufman’s (BM ’59, MM ’60) composition, Guernica Piano Concerto, will be featured at the NOMUS Music Festival in Novi Sad and Belgrade, Serbia featuring soloist Kemal Gekic on April 16 and 18, 2019. The work was premiered by Gekic with Maestro Marcello Rota and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in Prague in February 2014, at the Casals Festival with the Puerto Rico Symphony conducted by Max Valdes in 2016, and at the Miami International Music Festival on Nov 10, 2018. The Concerto has been recorded on the Novana label by Gekic and the Czech National and was nominated for a Grammy. Robert Manno (BM ’68) has been a member of the New York City Opera Chorus for 10 years and The Metropolitan Opera Chorus for 24 years. Robert began composing at MSM, began conducting in 1972 and continues to do both. He and his wife formed the Windham Chamber Music Festival in upstate New York in 1997. His full-length opera Do Not Go Gentle about Dylan Thomas received its workshop premiere at the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice in 2015. Live performances of works Robert conducted have been featured nationally on “Performance Today” since 2000. 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).
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!”
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, about the life and career of Regina Resnik (1922–2013), the New York-born international opera star, Tony-nominated Broadway actress, stage director, filmmaker, and Jewish cultural figure. The documentary has been nominated for a 2019 New York Emmy Award.
Cori Ellison (’79) was named Santa Fe Opera’s first full-time dramaturg in October 2018.
Larry Hochman (BM ’75) is nominated for a 2019 Daytime Emmy Award in the category “Outstanding Original Song In A Children’s Or Animated Program” for PBS’s show Peg + Cat. Larry also did the orchestrations for Broadway’s Kiss Me Kate.
Allan Kaplan (BM ’70, MM ’71) was invited to present a trombone master class at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee on March 14, 2019.
Joseph Morrison (BM ’75, MM ’76) recorded his album Joe Morrison’s Pop Jazz Personnel.
Susan Neves (BM ’78, MM ’79) performed the Overseer/Klytämnestra’s Confidante in Elektra at the Metropolitan Opera in March 2018.
David Owens’s (MM ’73) three movement chamber-vocal work Within a Dream premiered in Boston on February 10, 2019. The song group, for voice and string quartet, was commissioned by coloratura soprano Sierra Marcy. His composition Soliloquy VI for Solo Viola was performed on November 4, 2018 by Boston-area violist Anne Black, in a salon series presented by the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra at the Scandinavian Cultural Center.
Dr. Penny Prince’s (BM ’74, MM ’76) song, “Soleil Is Her Name,” was featured in the Ahrens/Flaherty Songwriting Workshop, this past summer at the Dramatists Guild Conference in New York City. Penny founded a Re-entry Committee at Lehman College to make the school a more informed and supportive place for formerly incarcerated people entering higher education.
David Searfoss (MM ’72) begins his 28th year as principal trumpet of the St. Matthew’s Chamber Orchestra (Pacific Palisades, CA) and his 37th year as associate principal trumpet of the Pasadena Symphony in 2019. David has recorded Handel’s Water Music and Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra under Gerard Schwartz. Los Angeles Philharmonic recordings include Janacek’s Sinfonietta, Respighi’s Feste Romane, and Andriesson’s Die Stadt. David has also done work for over 100 Motion Picture and TV soundtracks.
Walter Simmons (BM ’72, MM ’74) has devoted most of his career to promoting 20th-century American composers whose music is largely unknown, as a critic (Fanfare), author, and producer of recordings. He has produced premiere CD recordings of nearly 100 works, many of which had never been played before, and has won considerable praise from most reviewing media. www.Walter-Simmons.com
Randall Svane’s (BM ’77) new carol, The Fall of Man, for SATB with words by Timothy Dudley-Smith was recorded live by the Choir of Chester Cathedral in December 2018. Listen here.
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.
Fred Bronstein (MM ’82), pianist and dedicated music educator , is reappointed dean of the Peabody Conservatory for a second term. Read article
Gregory Buchalter (’82) is currently in his 30th year as an Assistant Conductor and Maestro di Banda of the Metropolitan Opera. He also holds the position of Artistic Director of Opera Fairbanks and was just named principal conductor of Varna International in Bulgaria, where this summer he will conduct three operas, including the Bulgarian premiere of Bernstein’s Candide.
John Carpenter (MM ’81) performed in the Award Concert of the BMTG intercontinental Piano Competition (First prize) at Carnegie Hall on December 8, 2018.
Pianist Edward Cibener (MM ’85) performed with opera singer Laura Barragan in a recital of songs and arias by Bernstein, Ravel, Rodrigo, and Mozart in a Valentine’s Day concert at the Palo Alto Commons, a senior living facility for those who are physically unable to travel to hear live music.
Jeffrey Ellenberger (BM ’80) has been conducting at the Bar Harbor Music Festival and just conducted the premiere of the musical Captain Filthy Fred at La Mama Theater in New York City. An active mandolinist, he also conducts the New York Mandolin Orchestra and performed Vivaldi’s Mandolin Concerto with the Scranton Bach Festival.
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.
Simon James (PD ’85) is appointed to San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s violin faculty and will lead a full studio starting in Fall 2019.
Tian Jiang (BM ’87) joined the American String Quartet to perform Dvorak’s Piano Quintet Op. 81 on December 18, 2018 at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium in celebration of the 125th Anniversary of Antonin Dvořák.
Aaron Jay Kernis (BM ’81) won two Grammy Awards in the categories Best Contemporary Classical Composition and Best Classical Instrumental Solo.
Engagements for the 2018-19 season for Susan Merdinger (’88) include an October 21st performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Highland Park Strings and Robert Hasty conducting, and a May 5th, 2019 performance of Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra and Larry Rapchak conducting.
Aaron Minsky (BM ’80, MM ’81) is the recipient of a Who’s Who Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. Read more here.
John Musto (BM ’76, MM ’80) has received a 2019 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in music, which honors outstanding artistic achievement and acknowledges composers who have arrived at their own voice.
New York City Opera presented the world premiere of Ted Rosenthal’s (BM ’81, MM ’83) first opera Dear Erich. This jazz opera is based on his family’s story — letters written by Rosenthal’s grandmother in Nazi Germany to her son in Chicago, where he was studying, having left Germany only a few months before Kristallnacht. https://nycopera.com/dear-erich/
Shara Sand (BM ’83) is the recipient of the American Psychological Association Diversity Award.
Neil Semer (BM ’83) was brought in by the Norwegian Opera and Hawaii Opera Theatre to coach their singers. His longtime student Barbara Hannigan won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Classical Album for Crazy Girl Crazy.
Alex Shapiro (BM ’83) is currently producing an album of her entire solo piano catalog, recorded by New York pianist Adam Marks. Alex has served on the board of directors of ASCAP as its sole Symphonic & Concert writer member since 2014, and she is ASCAP’s newly elected representative on the Executive Committee of the International Council of Music Authors (CIAM)—the writers council of CISAC, a global network of authors’ societies that represents four million creators in 121 countries. CIAM members convene several times a year in cities around the world to address the many ways to fiercely protect the rights of composers, authors, and copyright holders so that they’re properly remunerated for the commercial uses of their work—an especially necessary task in this digital age. http://www.alexshapiro.org
Lauren Shapiro’s (BM ’85) recent publications include essays “A Childhood Visit to Macy’s Santaland,” published on the PBS webpage Next Avenue in December 2018, and “Avoiding the taste of my own medicine,” published in the Autumn 2018 issue of Notre Dame Magazine.
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.
Dr. Mark Elliot Bergman (MM ’95) received a 2018-19 Wyoming Arts Council Performing Arts Fellowship, awards of merit that are given in honor of excellence in the artists’ field.
Armando Castellano (MM ’98) and his ensemble, Quinteto Latino, are celebrating their 15th anniversary season. This summer Quinteto Latino, in collaboration with the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View, California, convened classical musicians of color from around the country for the first-ever Seminario Institute, a three-day Institute training musicians in chamber music by Latino composers, advocating for access to arts, and highlighting the diversity of classical music. For more information: http://arts4all.org/events/seminario-institute-showcase-concert
Alumnus Marlon Daniel (BM ’95) will conduct Ensemble du Monde in a U.S. preview concert for the Festival International de Musique SAINT-GEORGES on January 31, 2019 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City. Later in March (16-23) he leads the 2nd edition of the festival in Guadeloupe as Artistic and Music Director conducting several concerts that include alumni artists J’Nai Bridges (BM ’08) and Solomon Howard (MM ’10). The biennial event is a tribute to Joseph Bologne (1745-1799), Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the first known Black composer, a civil rights activist and legendary hero of the French Revolution. Marlon will also make his second appearance with the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Cuba conducting works of Beethoven, Brahms, Strauss and Wagner on June 23, 2019 in Havana.
Dr. Susan Deaver (BM ’75, MM ’76, DMA ’94) recently conducted at Staller Center at Stony Brook University where she is Conductor of the University Orchestra. She is currently a faculty member at Stony Brook University, Manhattan School of Music Precollege (flute and chamber music), and LIU Post, where she is the Festival Director of the LIU Post Chamber Music Festival.
Lisa DeSpain (MM ’97) is the recipient of a 2018 OPERA America Discovery Award supporting her work as a composer of opera and musical theatre. The grant will support the development of Ms. DeSpain’s blues opera, That Hell-bound Train, an American deal-with-the-devil story based on the short story by Robert Bloch (Psycho), with a libretto by David Simpatico (The Life and Death of Alan Turing). The Discovery Award for Female Composers seeks to promote the development of works by women as well as to raise the visibility of women writing for the operatic medium.
Salvatore Di Vittorio (BM ’97), Music Director and Conductor of Chamber Orchestra of New York, just launched an education program “Maestro Juniors.” Joining him in this exciting endeavor are Education Manager Shanan Estreicher (BM ’97) and concertmaster Kelly Hall-Tompkins (MM ’95, Hon.DMA ’16), who doubled as soloist on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which they performed at a public school in Queens. 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 this 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 at 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) returned in fall 2018 for a second season as Kapellmeister and Studienleiter at Theater Bremen, where he conducted performances of Un ballo in maschera, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and L’étoile, as well as the New Year’s Gala. 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 returned on September 29, 2018 to conduct Cilea’s rarely heard opera Gloria at the Gerald W Lynch Theater.
Kelly Hall-Tompkins (MM ’95) has been appointed the Cincinnati Symphony‘s inaugural Classical Roots Artist-in-Residence effective September 2018.
Stefon Harris (BM ’95, MM ’97) was the recipient of the 2018 Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Artist Award and the winner of a Downbeat 2018 International Critics Poll award.
Shuler Hensley (BM ’90) joined the Broadway production of The Ferryman in February 2019.
Barbara Lynne Jamison (MM ’98) was 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) joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
Alex Laing (MM ’98) received a 2018 Sphinx Medal of Excellence.
Thomas Lausmann (PS ’99), currently the Head of Music at the Vienna State Opera, will become The Metropolitan Opera’s Director of Music Administration at the start of the 2019-20 season.
Marie-France Lefebvre (MM ’90) returns to the Metropolitan Opera this season for Pelléas et Mélisande as prompter and French diction coach and also pianist and diction coach for La fille du régiment.
Carla López-Speziale (DMA ’98) performed in Latin American Cultural Week’s “Latin America and Spain: Within a Piano, a Voice and a Cello” alongside alumni Martin Fett (BM ’81, MM ’82) and Juan Pablo Horcasitas (MM ’12). She was the alto soloist in Mahler’s Second Symphony with the Orquesta Sinfónica de la Universidad de Guanajuato. On September 11, she performed in Buglisi Dance Theatre’s tribute to peace, Table of Silence, at Lincoln Center Plaza. Carla also performed the role of Consuelo in “Aura” at Teatro de la Ciudad and as a soloist in Wagner’s Wesendonk Lieder with Orquesta Filarmónica de Boca del Río.
Peri Mauer (BM ’88, MM ’90) had a performance of her string quartet Shadow Lake on January 15, 2019 at thr Little Church Around the Corner in New York City. Afterwords, her trio for clarinet, cello, and piano, will be performed on February 16, 2019 by Great Noise Ensemble in Bethesda, MD; An Autumn Passing, a new work for English horn and piano, will premiere at the National Opera Center on March 19, 2019; and a new set of pieces for violin and piano will premiere on May 21, 2019 at the National Opera Center. Peri continues to freelance on cello with various orchestras and chamber ensembles in the New York area.
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.”
Malea McGuinness (BM ’96) premiered a new EP, “Swept Away!” Malea is a film producer, actor, singer, songwriter, and musician. She played the role of Tuptim in the Broadway revival of The King and I and is known for her 2014 single, “Give,” which reached the Billboard Top 20 Dance Club Songs, and her song “One Hot Mess,” which went to #1 on the Billboard Dance Club charts. Malea also executive produced the film Modern American Artists (2017), which won Best Documentary at the Hollywood Film Festival.
Olivera Medenica (BM ’96) joined Dunnington Bartholow & Miller LLP as Partner in April 2018 and is launching their fashion law practice.
N’Kenge (BM ’96) is performing in Sophisticated Ladies directed by Emmy Award winner Andre De Sheilds at New Jersey Performing Arts Center from March 21-24 and will be a featured soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under Principal Pops conductor Jack Everly in “Cirque goes Hollywood” on April 4.
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.
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 included Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New York. Raja performed solo recitals at the Met Museum in New York City in July, August, and November and gave a special guest concert at Las Vegas’s UNLV Ham Hall on November 18, 2018. He continues to star both live and on TV as the musical half of the Vegas magic act Jarrett & Raja.
Highlights for American tenor Bryan Register (MM ’94) in the 2018–19 season include Faust in La damnation de Faust in a concert tour with Les Siècles and François-Xavier Roth, his debut for Malmö Opera as Erik in Der fliegende Holländer, and a return to La Monnaie for Tristan in Tristan und Isolde. Recent highlights include debuts at the Semperoper Dresden as Enée in Les Troyens in a new production by Lydia Steiner, and at La Monnaie in the title role of Lohengrin in a new production by Olivier Py, conducted by Alain Altinoglu; Enée in Les Troyens for Frankfurt Opera in a new production by Eva Maria Höckmayr, conducted by John Nelson; Siegmund in Die Walküre for Grange Park Opera; and Tristan in Tristan und Isolde at the Tokyo Nikikai Opera Theatre under the baton of Jesús Lopez Cobos.
In spring 2019 Craig Terry (’99) is touring North America with opera stars Eric Owens and Larry Brownlee in a duo concert of songs and spirituals and with Metropolitan Opera star Joyce DiDonato for the new release of their album Songplay.
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, which is nominated for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score.
Elaine Alvarez (BM ’02, MM ’04) is singing the title role in Verdi’s Aida and Donizetti’s Anna Bolena with Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Belgium in spring 2019.
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.
The focus and passion of Gregory Beyer’s (MM ’98, DMA ’04) doctoral dissertation, the Afro-Brazilian Berimbau, has become a non-profit organization, Arcomusical, with a mission to spread the joy of African musical bows throughout the world. On March 10th, Projeto Arcomusical comes to Brooklyn’s National Sawdust to celebrate the release their second album Spinning in the Wheel. The album will be available on March 8th, 2019 on National Sawdust Tracks. More info here: https://nationalsawdust.org/event/arcomusical/
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/
J’Nai Bridges (BM ’09) will be performing the title role in San Francisco Opera’s production of Carmen in June 2019 and will make her Metropolitan Opera debut as Nefertiti in Philip Glass’ Akhnaten in the 2019-20 season.
In the 2018–19 season, Chris Cerrone (BM ’07) wrote a major new orchestral work with electronics titled The Insects Became Magnetic for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which premiered in November 2018 and was conducted by Roderick Cox. Other commissions include a new sextet co-commissioned by Latitude 49, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and Sentieri selvaggi and a new concerto for Third Coast Percussion, co-commissioned by the Civic Orchestra of the Chicago Symphony and the Britt Festival. Cerrone also orchestrates his opera All Wounds Bleed for Chicago Fringe Opera, curates a series, “Reiterations,” for the Metropolis Ensemble, holds residencies at Chatterbird and Baylor University, and was the 2018 Conducting/Composition Fellow at the Britt Festival. An all-Cerrone disc recorded by Christopher Rountree and wildUp will be released on New Amsterdam Records in August 2019, and excerpts from his new opera, In a Grove (libretto by Stephanie Fleischmann), will be heard at the Morgan Library in New York in March 2019. In October 2018, the film of Chris’s first opera, Invisible Cities, a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize, was given a digital release in iTunes and Amazon. Chris joins the composition faculty at Peabody Conservatory in the 2019-20 academic year. Most recently he won the 2019 American Academy of Arts and Letters Charles Ives Fellowship.
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.
Wei-Ping Chou (BM ’03) joined the faculty of the Peabody conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University for the 2018–19 academic year. She currently holds the Second Horn position with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra/Washington National Opera Orchestra.
Anna Clyne (MM ’05) has been selected by the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA to serve as the Music Alive Composer-in-Residence with the Berkeley Symphony through the 2018–19 season.
Ashley Daneman (MM ’09) released People Are Fragile, a new album about pain, recovery, and rebirth on March 1. She shares, “The entire album feels very exposed and intimate, like a deep, late-night conversation between old friends who don’t spare each other’s feelings.” On People Are Fragile, Ashley offers up her pain and healing in ways both visible and audible, inviting the listener to celebrate what humans can become even after they’ve broken. The album features eight original compositions, two spirituals with pianist Rufus Ferguson, and one song from Gershwin’s Porgy And Bess. Listen here:
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.
Daryl Freedman (MM ’09) makes her Metropolitan Opera debut singing Schwertleite in Die Walküre in April 2019.
Blake Friedman (MM ’09) joins Chautauqua Opera in the 2019 season as Count Almaviva in the company’s production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
Kirill Gerstein (BM ’99, MM ’00), called “one of the distinguished classical artists of his generation” by the New York Times, had two performance at Carnegie Hall in March 2019. Kirill partnered with pianist and composer Thomas Àdes on March 13 and was the solo pianist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on March 20.
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, showcased a striking set of original Gray compositions featuring saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, bassist Michael Formanek, and trumpeter Dave Ballou. It included a six-day tour on the East Coast in October and performances in Switzerland in Geneva and Zurich in December. Devin also self-produced, led, and self-released two new recordings of his compositions Meta Cache for quartet and Cloudsounds for trio.
Timothy Green (BM ’04) joined the Jazz faculty of the Peabody conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University in fall 2018.
Vijay Gupta (’04) is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow. “Vijay Gupta is a social justice advocate and violinist who is forging effective pathways to bring music to the marginalized and establishing new possibilities for social connection and support. Recognized by the MacArthur Foundation for their creativity and potential, the MacArthur Fellows will each receive a no-strings-attached $625,000 award, encouraging them to continue to innovate, take risks, and pursue their creative vision.” https://www.macfound.org/fellows/1012/
Alicia Hall Moran (BM ’00) is a recipient of the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship in music.
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.
Mila Henry (MM ’08) was recently appointed Artistic Director of American Opera Projects, beginning July 2019. She will be the company’s first Artistic Director since conductor Steven Osgood held the position from 2002-2008. Coined “a stalwart contributor to the contemporary opera scene” by Opera Ithaca (where she will lead a double bill of Francesca Caccini and Kamala Sankaram in April 2019), Mila has made herself known as a versatile player who is comfortable leading at both piano and podium.
She was Music Director for Words on the Street (Baruch Performing Arts Center) and These Girls Have Demons (Pittsburgh CLO SPARK), Conductor for Julius Eastman’s The Moon’s Silent Modulation (Lincoln Center), and Vocal Director for Ripe Time’s Obie-winning The World is Round (BAM). As a pianist, she premiered OPERA America’s Fierce Grace: Jeannette Rankin (Library of Congress), Opera Philadelphia’s We Shall Not Be Moved (The Apollo, Dutch National Opera) and Beth Morrison Projects’ Thumbprint (LA Opera). In addition, she has participated in all seven PROTOTYPE festivals, and performs regularly with the band Opera Cowgirls. Her recordings include Love & Trouble (Roven Records) with Adrienne Danrich and Voices of Women (Affetto Records) with Heather Fetrow. milahenry.com
Maeve Höglund (MM ’07) is an Opera Awards Foundation 2018 Bursary Recipient. She joined the Maryland Lyric Opera Young Artist Institute in the summer of 2018 and performed as Konstanze and First Lady in An Evening of Mozart in October. She made her role debut as Lucia in January 2019 alongside alumnus SeungHyeon Baek as Enrico.
Myra Huang (MM ’02) was nominated for a 2018 Grammy Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album.
Wang Jie (BM ’05, MM ’07) is busy finishing her comic opera Rated R for Rat, starting a new symphony on a commission from the Buffalo Philharmonic, and creating a new work for classical guitarist TY Zhang for his Carnegie Hall debut. wangjiemusic.com
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.
Mike Lormand (MM ’03) will be performing the U.S. premiere of Marius Constant’s Gli Elementi Trombone Concerto on January 26th, 2019 with Riverside Symphony at Alice Tully Hall. A member of International Contemporary Ensemble, WeatherVest, Deviant Septet, IRIS Orchestra, and Riverside Symphony, Mike also plays frequently with groups such as Talea Ensemble, Metropolitan Opera, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, The Knights, New York City Ballet, American Symphony Orchestra, American Ballet Theater, and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Carrie-Ann Matheson (PS ’00) conducted two performances of Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera at Opernhaus Zurich on February 24 and March 8, 2019.
Sofya Melikyan (MM ’06) released two critically acclaimed recordings, both of which have received praise from critics. Spanish Piano Music was given a 10/10 rating by the German magazine Klassik Heute, which they chose as a “pick of the week.” Her next CD, Women, was awarded the Golden Disc by Melomano magazine; received a positive review by Pizzicato magazine; and was recently lauded in Limelight, Australia’s classical music and arts publication.
Thomas Morgan (BM ’03) was the winner of a Downbeat 2018 International Critics Poll award in the Rising Star category.
Hiroko Nagahata (MM ’07) translated the Japanese edition of Nancy and Randall Faber’s series My First Piano Adventure (Lesson Books A-C and Writing Books A-C), which were released in spring 2018. The book is a best-selling piano method book series translated into 10 languages. Hiroko shares, “I hope the Japanese edition will be useful for not only piano teachers and students in Japan, but also where Japanese-speaking learners live in the U.S.”
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. Her 2018 projects included touring throughout the year with drummer Ulysses Owens Jr.’s Songs of Freedom with Theo Bleckmann and Joanna Majoko.
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, 2018 and Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in 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.
Lindsay Rider (MM ’09) joined the Natural Resources Defense Council as Administrative Director of Development in June 2018 and is the founder and creator of Overture. The Overture courses were developed to help clients find their unique purpose, guide their choices and direct their life with meaning and intention. She just launched her new coursework for 2019, and classes will begin in February! Please visit www.LindsayRider.com to learn more.
Nolan Robertson (BM ’05) was appointed Director, Artistic Projects at Carnegie Hall in September 2018.
Anthony Roth Costanzo (MM ’08) was featured on the October 2018 cover of Opera News. He also received the 2019 Musical America Vocalist of the Year award. Anthony just finished a triumphant run of Philip Glass’s Akhnahten at the English National Opera in London and sang in the Lincoln Center Great Artists Concert Series sharing a recital with Anne Sofie Von Otter, the great Swedish mezzo soprano.
Felipe Salles (DMA ’05) is the recipient of a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition.
Kyle Saulnier (MM ’06) was awarded a Doctorate in Jazz Studies/Composition from the New England Conservatory.
Michael Scott (BM ’07) was a 2018 International Opera Awards Bursary Recipient. In the 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) and collaborative pianist Dr. Chris Cooley (DMA ’04) won 2nd prize at the Joy in Singing Art Song Competition.
Stephen A. Slater (BM ’01) accepted the 4th horn position with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra for the 2018-19 season.
Elena Smirnova (MM ’10) is the new Chief Executive Officer of Park River Properties in NYC.
Walter Smith III (MM ’05) joins Berklee College of Music as chair of the Woodwind Department in May 2019.
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.
Brenda Earle Stokes (MM ’04) created an online piano course called Piano Skills for Singers. It is a unique curriculum that provides usable piano training that equips singers with the skills they need to support their performing and teaching careers. The course includes comprehensive video lessons that can be accessed 24/7, plus downloadable print materials, backed with personal support on a private Facebook members forum. For more information, visit brendaearle.com or check out the video here.
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.
Chun Wang (PS ’09) won first-prize in the Premio Jaen International Piano Competition and released a CD under the Naxos Records label in December 2018. The album made Top 50 Picks in “New Classical Releases” on Spotify and was played on BBC Radio 3 for their curated program in classical music. Chun Wang also won first-prize at the Panama International Piano Competition, which took place in October 2018.
Lecolion Washington (MM ’01) was recently appointed Executive Director of the Community Music Center of Boston.
Dr. Carol Williams (DMA ’01) will be performing her own Organ Concerto as well as the Poulenc Organ Concerto with the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra on April 6, 2019 at the Court Street United Methodist Church in Lynchburg, VA. On June 10, Carol will present a “Piano to Organ” workshop at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center for the American Guild of Organists Southeast Regional Convention. On July 3, Carol will be performing in two concerts and leading a panel discussion titled “The future of the Pipe Organ in the community” for the American Guild of Organists Mid Atlantic Regional Convention. In the 2019-20 season on April 20, 2020, Carol will make her debut at Royal Festival Hall in London with music by Hendrix, Giles Swayne and Ethel Smith. Enjoy Carol’s latest composition, Symphony of Time; performances on video; and her website.
Jorell Williams (MM ’08, PS ’09) is performing in New York City Opera’s show As One in a co-production with American Opera Projects and Kaufman Music Center on June 1 and 8, 2019.
Dr. Lan-In Winnie Yang (MM ’04, PS ’05) is cofounder and music director of the non-profit organization MuseConnect. She and pianist Tzu-Yi Chen, members of Renaissance Piano Duo, will give their Carnegie Hall debut on April 12, 2019.
Miguel Zenón (MM ’01) was nominated for a 2018 Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album.
Darnell Abraham (MM ’13) will join Lin-Manuel Miranda in Puerto Rico on the #HAMILTON (And Peggy) Tour as the principal standby for Aaron Burr, George Washington, and King George III. Performances begin in Puerto Rico January 2019 and then the show will transfer to San Francisco for the rest of the year. His recent highlights include roles in The Color Purple (national tour and NJ’s Paper Mill Playhouse), plus Next to Normal with Fort Worth’s Casa Mañana Theatre. For more info, visit www.darnellabraham.com.
Yasmin Alami (MM ’08) and Evan Kory (BM ’07, MM ’09, DMA ’17) joined together in a virtuosic duo-piano recital on Sunday, February 3 at the Benderley-Kendall Opera House in Patagonia, AZ.
Fabio Álvarez (MM ’17) released his album “Musical Zodiac” with the recording label Orpheus Classical dedicated to the American composer George Crumb. The album was presented on November 26, 2018 at Manuel de Falla´s Hall (Palacio Longoria) in Madrid.
Michael Anderson (BM ’14, MM ’16) joined Dayton Opera’s 2018 Artist-in-Residence program. He also received a 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Regional Encouragement Award.
Justin Austin (BM ’14, MM ’17) made his Bayerische Staatsoper debut as Bello in Andreas Dresen’s new production of Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West.
SeokJong Baek (BM ’16, MM ’18) was selected as a 2019 Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera Center. He will share the stage with alumnus WooYoung Yoon on February 13, 2019 for the opening recital of the San Francisco Opera Center and Merola Opera Program’s Schwabacher Recital Series. SeokJong Baek recently sang Yamadori in Madama Butterfly as a resident artist of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.
Mercedes Beckman (MM ’15) won the audition for the Second Alto Saxophone opening in the Jazz Ambassadors, the premiere touring Army big band. Since graduating, she has played with Christian McBride, Jeff Tain Watts, Arturo O’Farrill, and Marcus Printup; recorded with John Lee and Freddie Hendrix; become a permanent member of the DIVA jazz orchestra; led her own sextet for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s outreach concerts; and become a Vandoren artist.
Steven Behnke (BM ’10) started the Patriot Brass Ensemble at MSM in 2009, which performs free concerts for veterans. The group is on track to give 300 performances in 2018, with units in 17 cities, using 600 brass and percussion musicians. Patriot Brass Ensemble recently joined Local 802 as the very first group of their kind to go union.
Patrick Brancato (BM ’13) is currently performing in a new played, She Hates Coffee, written by A.R. Garcia. The show opened in November 2018 and is now set for a 20-city tour. The first stop in Brooklyn at the Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts from February 8-10. For more info: shehatescoffee.com
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.
Alexander Le Bui (BM ’16, MM ’18) performed a special live concert and was interview by Philadelphia WRTI 90.1 FM on November 30, 2018 and was interviewed by Medium‘s unSEAled Zine: http://bit.ly/InterviewwithAlexanderBui.
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.
Corrine Byrne (MM ’12) has appeared with the REBEL Baroque Ensemble, One World Symphony, The Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, New Music Miami, Boston Early Music Festival, the Carnegie Hall Chamber Chorus with Peter Phillips and the Tallis Scholars, and was a finalist in the 2015 Handel Aria Competition. Byrne is a co-founder of Ensemble Musica Humana, known for their annual Pioneer Valley Early Music Day, their appearances across the U.S and Canada, and their four full recorded albums from which recordings have been used on the BBC T.V adaptation of “Poldark.” The Byrne/Kozar duo with trumpeter and husband Andrew Kozar (MM ’09) has commissioned many new works for trumpet and soprano, which add to the repertoire written for Byrne’s voice that have won awards including the Jerome New Music Award and songSLAM. Byrne appeared on a professional career development panel alongside Kent Tritle at Manhattan School of Music, and has given masterclasses at Wagner College, Florida International University, Susquehanna University and North Carolina Governor’s School West. She just recently joined faculty as a tenure track professor of voice and ear training at Susquehanna University.
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.
Dominic Cheli (BM ’14) makes his Carnegie Hall debut on March 12, 2019 in a solo recital in Weill Recital Hall.
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) wins the American Pianists Association’s Grand Prize. As the recipient of the 2019 Cole Porter Fellowship, Cohen will receive a $50,000 prize, the opportunity to record with Mack Avenue Records, two years of career management, and a two-year stint as artist-in-residence at the University of Indianapolis. Learn more here.
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.
Nicole DeLuca (BM ’16) made her television debut as Jessie McQuigg on ABC’s Quantico in Season 3, Episode 10. The episode and TV series is also streamed on Netflix and Amazon.
Noragh Devlin (BM ’13, MM ’15, PS ’16) joined Dayton Opera’s 2018 Artist-in-Residence program.
James Diaz (MM ’18) was awarded the 2018 Bogotá Philharmonic Prize in Composition for his recent piece, Frack[in]g for orchestra. The premiere will take place in 2019. James has also been selected as the 2019 composer-in-residence for the Medellin Philharmonic. www.jamesdiaz.co
Keelan Dimick (BM ’13) is a finalist for the 2019 American Pianists Association–Jazz Division.
Anna Dugan (MM ’16) was a Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Semi-Finalist, a National Finalist at Houston Grand Opera, and is a 2019 Merola Artist this summer.
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) makes her New York City Opera debut in June 2019 in the world premiere of Stonewall.
Alaysha Fox (BM ’13, MM ’15) is a 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Finalist. She joins LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program for the 2019-20 season.
Chelsea Friedlander (MM ’12), Athlone Artist, makes her Nashville Opera debut singing Olympia in Tales of Hoffmann on April 4, 2019.
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.
Ben Grow (MM ’16) conducted the New York City premiere of two one-act operas, Josephine and After Life by Tom Cipullo with Chelsea Opera on December 1, 2018.
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) released his seventh studio album titled “Stringscapes: A Portrait if the World in Nylon and Steel” featuring alumnus Yishai Fisher (MM ’16) on Fretmonkey Records. For more details, visit www.jakehertzog.com/stringscapes.
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) was nominated for a BroadwayWorld Award for “Best Actor in a Musical” for his portrayal of Dr. Frank-N-Furter in Warehouse Theatre’s production of Rocky Horror Picture Show. He will perform in the world premiere of Glimmerings of Hope as lead narrator/father with NYC’s Award-winning Children’s Theater Company. Mr.Humphrey III was also chosen by Broadway star, Stephanie Block and New York City Center to perform in the “Front and Center” emerging artist series.
Briana Elyse Hunter (MM ’08, PS ’09) is performing in New York City Opera’s show As One in a co-production with American Opera Projects and Kaufman Music Center on June 1 and 8, 2019. She was featured in the February 2019 edition of Opera News.
Stephanie Jabre Miller (MM ’15) is a 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Regional Finalist.
Dasol Jeong (PS ’17) won a job with the Toronto Symphony.
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.
David Kaverman (MM ’10) made his Equity and National Tour debuts as Smokey Robinson in Motown the Musical! www.davidkaverman.com
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.
Joseph Kelly (BM ’13, MM ’15) won a job with the Toronto Symphony.
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.
Brian Krock (MM ’13) is the recipient of a 2019 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award. The title of his award-winning composition is Stinson Beach.
Singer-songwriter and zither player Joyce Kwon (MM ’13) just released her debut album Dream of Home. Joyce’s individualized sound blends modern indie folk with traditional music of Korea and the States, while her lyrics center on her experience of growing up Asian in America and conversely, on her experience returning to Asia as an adult and being viewed as an outsider there, too. Learn more here: joycekwon.com/dream-of-home/
Angela Joy Lamb (MM ’17) makes her role debut as La Contessa di Almaviva in two productions of Le Nozze di Figaro at both The Berlin Opera Academy and The Lyric Opera Studio Weimar in summer 2019.
Mia Laity (BM ’15) has won the assistant concertmaster position with Charlottesville Opera.
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.
Brittany Lasch (BM ’10) won the 2019 S&R Foundation Washington Award, which recognizes talented emerging artists in music, dance, and visual arts, especially those who contribute to international cultural collaboration and push the boundaries of their artistic and performance practices.
Alexis Lee (MM ’11) 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.
Chang Ho Lim (PS ’10) released a live chamber music recording with the Soloists of New England on the label Spice Classics. This recording is available on iTunes, Google Play and Spotify worldwide. Alumni in this project include Hyun Jung Kim (PS ’10) and Ju Hee Kang (MM ’12).
Christopher Lindgren (MM ’18) won a position with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.
Niru Liu (MM ’15, PS ’16) joins Wolf Trap Opera as a Filene Artist in summer 2019. She is also a 2018-19 Season Young Artist with LA Opera.
Alex LoRe (MM ’11) is featured in January’s DownBeat Magazine, sharing his musical vision, inspirations, and perspective on cooking. ‘Alex has recorded and performed with Lucas Pino’s No Net Nonet, the ensemble Kind Folk with John Raymond, as well as Taiwanese vibraphonist Yuhan Su, Swedish bassist Lars Ekman and Chinese vocalist/composer Annie Chen. Alex is preparing to release “Karol” with his quartet, a recording of compositions inspired by classical composers, like Karol Szymanowski, who influenced the saxophonist’s development as a musician.’ Read the interview here.
Dr. Yangzhi Ma (MM ’12, DMA ’18) joined the Composition faculty of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.
Paolo Marchettini (DMA ’14) shared a concert on November 16, 2018 with the music legend Ennio Morricone, for whom he wrote a new piece for orchestra Aere perEnnius to celebrate his 90th birthday.
In 2019 Shaina Martinez (MM ’18) won 1st place in the Russell C. Wonderlic Competition, 2nd place in the Opera NEO Voice Competition, 3rd place in the Junior Division for the Young Patronesses of the Opera Voice Competition, 1st place in the Talents of the World 2nd International Voice Competition, and 3rd place in the XXI Concurso Internacional de Canto Lirico. In summer 2019, Shaina joins the Grant Park Music Festival as a vocal fellow in the Project Inclusion Fellowship. She joins Florida Grand Opera’s young artist program in August 2019 performing the roles of Elisetta in Il Matrimonio Segreto, Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto, and Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly.
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.
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.
ASCAP and the Bernstein Family Foundation granted Guy Mintus (BM ’13) the Leonard Bernstein Award. His trio is set to release their newest album under the French label Jazz Family and will present at NYC’s Winter Jazz Fest on January 12, 2019.
Gabrielle Mirabella (BM ’10) presented a female-forward new works concert on August 21, 2018 at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC. Celebrating composers of all genders who are actively writing roles for women on the musical theatre and opera stages, it included the premiere of a piece by MSM alum and current DMA candidate Scott Joiner, composer and star of the popular YouTube video, Connection Lost: The Tinder Opera. Visit www.youcandoconcert.com for more information.
Matthew Mitchener (MM ’17) won a timpani/percussion position with the U.S. Navy Concert/Ceremonial Band in January 2019.
Brian Michael Moore (BM ’15, MM ’17) received a 2018 Sara Tucker Study Grant and joins the 2018-19 Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.
Alice Siyoon Park (MM ’16) was appointed as a fellow member of Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
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)
Anne Rainwater (MM ’10) just released her first full-length, solo album, J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations. The production side was performed entirely by women-identified artists, including Anne, as the performer, Heidi Trefethen as the producer and recording engineer, and Piper Payne as the mastering engineer. It is available on Bandcamp in both CD and digital download format album here.
Josh Sanders (MM ’17) is performing the role of Don Ottavio in the production of Don Giovanni with Chamber Music Northwest on July 5 and 7, 2019.
Gordon Schermer (MM ’10) joins the music staff of Santa Fe Opera for Puccini’s La Bohème and the world premiere of Poul Ruder’s The Thirteenth Child.
Kavita Shah (MM ’12) released Interplay, a duo album co-led by bassist François Moutin with special guests and jazz legends Sheila Jordan and Martial Solal in February 2018. 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.
Alexa Smith (MM ’10) was appointed Chief of Staff at Manhattan School of Music in September 2018.
William Guanbo Su (BM ’17) is a 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions winner. William also placed 2nd at the 31st annual Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers Concert of Arias, which took place in the Cullen Theater of the Wortham Theater Center. He joined the 2018 Gerdine Young Artists program at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
Andrew Sun (PS ’16) was recently named winner of the 2018 Marilyn Horne Song Competition at Music Academy of the West. He and mezzo soprano Kelsey Lauritano will embark on a multi-city recital tour in Spring 2019 including London, New York, Chicago, and Santa Barbara. Featured on the program will be the world premiere of a song cycle by Ricky Ian Gordon. Andrew also joins the Resident Artist Program at Minnesota Opera for the 2018-2019 season as a pianist and coach.
Maria Fernanda Brea (BM ’15) sang the title role in the premiere of Lady Swanwhite with Opera Tampa on February 9, 2019.
Billy Test (MM ’15) is a finalist for the 2019 American Pianists Association–Jazz Division.
Kristina Teuschler (MM ’15) won a job with the West Point Military Band (clarinet) and will join the ensemble formally in 2019.
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.
The latest recording by Xiayin Wang (BM ’01, MM ’03, PS ’04, DMA ’13) was praised by Gramophone magazine. Reviewer Jeremy Nicholas calls the recording “outstanding,” describing Xiayin Wang’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concertos – No 1, Op 23; No 3, Op 75, accompanied by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, as “one of the freshest and most enjoyable accounts I have ever heard,” and her interpretation of Scriabin Piano Concerto, Op 20 as “among the most deeply felt and warm-hearted accounts you will hear.”
December issue of Gramophone here
Anna Webber (MM ’10) is a recipient of a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition.
Hongni Wu (MM ’17, PS ’18) was the winner of the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals and made her Covent Garden debut in the 2018-19 season as a Royal Opera House Jette Parker Young Artist. She performed the role of Flora in La Traviata and will also sing the role of Siebel in Gounod`s Faust on May 5th.
Zhang Xiaomeng (MM ’15) was a semifinalist in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2018 National Council Auditions.
WooYoung Yoon (MM ’17) is a 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Regional Finalist and is a 2018 Merola Opera Program artist. He will share the stage with alumnus SeokJong Baek (BM ’16, MM ’18) on February 13, 2019 for the opening recital of the San Francisco Opera Center and Merola Opera Program’s Schwabacher Recital Series. WooYoung Yoon brought down the house with the show-stopping “Ah! Mes amis” from La Fille du Regiment at last summer’s Merola Grand Finale. He recently made his debut in Italy as Don Jose in Carmen with the Trentino Music Festival and later this year sings Rodolfo in La Boheme with New Jersey State Opera.
Tian Zhao (BM ’16, MM ’18) won a section violin position in the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
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/
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 2018 and 2019:
Richard Joseph Amses (MM ’58)
June 7, 1930 – December 15, 2018
Richard Amses was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, served in the U.S. Army, and was a veteran of the Korean War. He attended The Juilliard School and received a Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music. Richard played the trumpet, flute, and piano, although he was best known for his distinctive style of trumpet playing. He had been a member of local 802 since 1954. In addition, he was a songwriter, lyricist, composer, arranger and joined The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in 1966. Mr. Amses toured with many of the top big bands of the 50s and 60s including those of Walter Nye, Doc Severinsen, Skitch Henderson, Lester Lanin, Eliot Lawrence. In New York City he often played at the popular nightclubs of the day such as the Latin Quarter, the Copa, and the Palladium. In 1961 he moved with his family to Monmouth County where he taught music both privately and in the New Jersey Public School system for over 25 years. There he became a member of the musicians’ union in Asbury Park, local 399. While teaching he continued to play trumpet professionally for prominent artists as Tony Bennett, Tony Watson, Harry Belafonte, Peggy Lee, Rosemary Clooney, Cab Calloway, Helen O’Connell, and Johnnie Mathis. Richard’s kindness, warmth, and energy were deeply inspiring to all who knew him.
Luis Biava (PD ’63, Conducting)
February 11, 1934 – March 25, 2019
Luis O. Biava was a violinist, a conductor, a teacher and a loving father and husband. His legacy will live on in his recordings and the performances of thousands of students that he taught all over the world. After Luis attended MSM and the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, he joined the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C. He served as principal second violinist in the Philadelphia Orchestra and made his conducting debut with the orchestra in 1990. Luis then served as acting assistant conductor and was conductor-in-residence from 1994 to 2004. He also became artistic director and conductor of the Temple University Symphony Orchestra and music director of Temple Music Preparatory Division’s Youth Chamber Orchestra. ‘“He had a remarkable ability to bring out the best in everyone, musically and otherwise,” said Temple emeritus faculty member Richard C. Brodhead. “He really became a revered and beloved figure in the college.”’ ‘As a violinist, Mr. Biava’s “contributions and leadership were substantial,” said retired orchestra violinist Larry Grika. “Luis’ beautiful singing sound always was illuminated with enthusiasm and fervor.”’ Read more about Luis here.
Hugh G. Burritt (BM ’58, Trumpet, BM ’58, Music Education)
January 08, 1934 – October 17, 2018
Hugh’s music talent led him to Manhattan School of Music and Juilliard. After his army band days, his career included gigs with Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, John Cash and many other celebrities. Hugh taught band to hundreds of children in the Oswego City Schools. He then joined the SUNY Oswego music department where he formed the Solid State Jazz Band. He retired as department chair. A proud father, Hugh enjoyed coaching his sons at baseball and hockey, and loved following their respective careers. After retirement, he continued to play in the city band and several other bands in Oswego and South Florida. Hugh enjoyed traveling, golfing and was an avid Yankee and NASCAR fan. Hugh was inducted in the Oswego Music Hall of Fame in 2017.
Audrey Dean-Wright (BM ’78, Voice; MM ’83, Music Education)
September 12, 1949 – September 23, 2018
Audrey served as the founding director of the Adventist Meistersingers, co-founder of the National Children’s Choir and a professor at the University of The Bahamas where she started the University’s Concert Choir in 1998. Audrey also served as music adjudicator for the E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival for over 25 years. A world-class master musician, she has led her choir’s performances in Cuba, Jamaica, Barbados, Poland, Russia and Prague, and at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. Audrey composed over 250 original compositions; they encompassed a broad spectrum of music, including Bahamian Folk Songs, Spirituals, standard choral music, and works for piano and flute. Her music has been performed frequently in the Bahamas and in the United States, and her music and poetry have led to performances in Prague and London as well as in Poland, Ghana, Surinam, Haiti, and Jamaica. The first non-American to be a featured composer with the Southeast African American Collegiate Music Festival, she has been recognized with numerous medals and awards for outstanding music achievement. In 2005 she was bestowed the title ‘Composer Extraordinaire’ at South Carolina State University. In 2006 she was chosen “Woman of the Year” by the American Biographical Institute and has also been listed twice in the International Who’s Who of Professional and Business Women. In 2008 she was chosen as one of the “25 Most Outstanding Women in The Bahamas” in recognition of her contributions to the arts in that country and was also given a “Living Legend Award” that same year. In 2014 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award for the Southeast African American Collegiate Music Festival. For her life’s work, in 2015 she was awarded “Woman of Distinction” by the Celebrating Women International Organization. “Pianist, composer, singer, choral conductor and poet, Audrey Dean-Wright has been an integral part of the music and cultural tapestry of The Bahamas for over 47 years. Her ‘footprints’ in music education and by extension the music industry are clear and bold for all to see. There is no doubt that her rich legacy will live on through her works and students.” Read more about Audrey here.
Paul Henle (’81, Percussion)
November 30, 1949 – October 7, 2018
Paul Jacobson Henle graduated from the University of Rochester in 1971 and later received a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Paul’s love of New Hampshire began in childhood with happy summer vacations. His early career included logging in the New Hampshire woods, working on a dairy farm, and theatre production at the Barnstormers in Tamworth. He went on to become a lead programmer with Primavera Systems, a trusted realtor, and ultimately retired as a community organizer from the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund in Concord. Paul excelled at making music. He played percussion for many years in the Lakes Region with the Irish band, Odd Men Out. He also played with the New Hampshire Music Festival and the Scottish band Tullochgorum and was the percussionist for several recordings of New England musicians. Paul’s own CD is The Golden Keyboard: Celtic Marimba. Most recently, his String Quartet #1 in A Major was premiered on March 18, 2018, by members of the Holyoke Civic Symphony at a chamber music concert. Paul will be remembered always for his gentle kindness, bright intellect, good humor, and wit. Read more about Paul here.
Katherine Hoover (MM ’74, Music Theory)
December 2, 1937 – September 21, 2018
Katherine, composer, flutist, and poet, is the recipient of a National Endowment Composers Fellowship and many other awards and commissions, including the prestigious Academy of Arts and Letters 1994 Academy Composition Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Flute Association. Her works for orchestra, chamber groups, and soloists have been widely recorded and published by Theodore Presser and Papagena Press. Her Kokopelli for Solo Flute has sold over 13,000 copies and has been performed world-wide. There have been over 60 performances of her orchestral pieces by groups including the Long Beach (CA), Harrisburg, Fort Worth, and Santa Fe Symphonies. Chamber groups including the Colorado Quartet, the Eroica Trio, the New Jersey Chamber Music Society, the Dorian and Sylvan Quintets, and the Amherst Saxophone Quartet; cellist Sharon Robinson, pianists Christopher Taylor, Anne-Marie McDermott, Joseph Kalichstein, and Mirian Conti; flutists Julius Baker, Carol Wincenc, Eugenia Zukerman, and jazz clarinet virtuoso Eddie Daniels have all featured her work. In the January 1997 issue of Classical Pulse, Critic Leslie Gerber picked Hoover’s Quintet Da Pacem (Koch) as one of the five best recordings of 1996. In March of 2013, the New York Flute Club sponsored a celebration concert of her work. Ms. Hoover’s book of poems, “This Way About” was published in 2015 by I Universe as an Editor’s Choice book. Having graduated from the Eastman School of Music and Manhattan School of Music, she went on to give concerto performances at Lincoln center and has performed with ballet and opera companies in New York’s major Halls. She has played numerous recitals, both live and on radio and television, and recorded solo and chamber repertoire for Arabesque, Leonarda, CRI, Grenadilla, and Opus One. She has taught Flute in the Juilliard Preparatory Department, and Music theory at the Manhattan School of Music. In 2015, with the encouragement of friends and family members, she published a book of her poems, This Way About. One poem in the collection is called “Music, My Love.” It concludes, “Music, my love, you have taken my hand in sorrow and led me from darkness. You have taught me grace and forgiveness. Music, my love, you whisper to me of paradise.”
Jack Jennings (BM ’57, MM ’58, percussion)
1928 – April 5, 2019
Jack Jennings was born in Youngstown, Ohio and later moved to Brooklyn, NY and attended the Manhattan School of Music for his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in percussion performance. Jack had a very successful and varied career as a percussionist. He worked as a studio-recording percussionist in New York City and Los Angeles, appearing on a range of TV shows, movie soundtracks, and commercial jingles. Jennings performed with many famous musicians throughout his career including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, and many more. Additionally, he toured the U.S. and Canada with Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr. and played for many years in the Broadway musical Cats. Jack later settled in Norwood, New Jersey and was a longtime member of the Immaculate Conception Church and St. Anthony’s Church, serving as co-choir director of the adult and youth choirs with his wife, Jayne. His family was the greatest joy of his life and he and his wife celebrated a marriage of 58 years and five children. Read more about Jack here.
Michael “Blair” Lawhead (BM ’89, Violin)
October 31, 1962 – March 14, 2018
Michael was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, grew up in Austin, Minnesota, and graduated from Austin High School, where he was one of the first recipients of the Austin Music Hall of Fame Award. He went on to attend Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana, where he studied with Joseph Gingold and received a scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music, where he earned a bachelor of music degree. He taught at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Blair toured with the Andy Williams and Perry Como orchestras as a professional violinist. While on tour, he aptly cut both performers’ hair. In 1989, Blair moved to New York City with a violin, scissors and a dream. Upon graduation from the Manhattan School of Music, he began playing with the orchestras of many Broadway musicals, which include Annie, Carousel, The Red Shoes, Secret Garden, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Ragtime. He founded and developed the Chelsea New York Symphony and played in that orchestra for seven years. He also started a hair replacement business, “Blair Hair,” and enjoyed many years of satisfied customers. “He appreciated and collected art. He was also very fond of his golden retrievers, Gus, Liza, Max and Puck. Blair was an extrovert who loved talking to people. He had a lot of friends who loved him dearly.”
Hugh Masekela (’64, Trumpet)
April 4, 1939 – January 23, 2018
Hugh was a renowned South African trumpeter, singer and activist. His music became symbolic of his country’s anti-apartheid movement, even though he lived three decades in exile. He recorded more than 40 solo albums and collaborated with artists ranging from Harry Belafonte to Paul Simon. Mr. Masekela came to the forefront of his country’s music scene in the 1950s, when he became a pioneer of South African jazz as a member of the Jazz Epistles. By 1956, Mr. Masekela was performing in dance bands around Johannesburg and in cities across the country. In 1959, he played in the pit band of the hit musical King Kong, with music composed by the seminal South African pianist Todd Matshikiza. In 1960, Hugh moved briefly to London to study at the Guildhall School of Music, before attending Manhattan School of Music where he studied classical trumpet for four years. Mr. Masekela and Stewart Levine, a fellow student at the Manhattan School, established the independent label Chisa, named for the Zulu word for “burn.” The two would remain lifelong collaborators and friends. The label struck gold in 1968 when Mr. Masekela released the album The Promise of a Future, featuring “Grazing in the Grass,” which hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts. In the 1970s, Mr. Masekela toured sub-Sarahan Africa and began a partnership with the Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, who had recently pioneered the genre known as Afrobeat. He also worked with the exiled South African saxophonist Dudu Pukwana and began fronting the Ghanaian group Hedzoleh Soundz. He recorded two albums with the group, Introducing Hedzoleh Soundz and I Am Not Afraid, and toured the United States with them in 1974. In 1980, Mr. Masekela returned to Africa. He settled in Botswana, where he set up a mobile recording studio and recorded two albums. In 1987, he traveled to London to record the album Tomorrow, which included “Mandela (Bring Him Back Home).” In 1986, Mr. Masekela founded the Botswana International School of Music, a nonprofit organization aimed at educating young African musicians. The following year, he played with Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo on the “Graceland” tour. Mr. Masekela moved back to South Africa in 1990, the year Mandela was released from prison. He continued to record and tour around the world into his mid-70s. In 2010, Mr. Masekela was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in gold, South Africa’s highest medal of honor. MSM is proud to have him among our prestigious alumni. He will be missed by many. Read more about Hugh in the New York Times here.
Robert M. Petta (BM ’74, Percussion)
June 6, 1949 – March 22, 2018
After graduating, Robert became the Principal Percussionist of The Florida Symphony/Orlando Philharmonic, a position he held for thirty-seven years. With The Orlando Philharmonic he made several recordings for Madacy Records. He was also a member of The Brevard Symphony and frequently performed with the orchestras of Naples, Jacksonville, Tampa and Sarasota. He was the Principal Percussionist for The Orlando Opera, Opera Tampa, The Palm Beach Opera, The Southern Ballet Theater and tours with the Ballet Companies of New York City, Houston, Hartford and Pittsburgh. He also performed on tour with The Royal Opera Orchestra of Covent Garden. In addition, Robert performed for many years in The Fife and Drum Corps at Walt Disney World and was on the faculty of The University of Central Florida. In 2012 Robert moved back to Syracuse to pursue semi-retirement. Since returning, he performed with The Binghamton Philharmonic, The Catskill Symphony, The Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, Symphoria of Syracuse and The Coachmen.
Allegra Themmen-Pigott (BM ’97)
October 26, 1967 – May 4, 2019
Allegra was immersed in music from her birth. She was named after the musical term for “lively” by her parents, who were professional musicians. Following her graduation from Ridgefield High School in CT, she pursued a performance degree in classical voice as a coloratura soprano and began a life-long passion of organizing and performed in concerts for a range of charities and events. After Alzheimer’s Disease struck her mother, Allegra became interested in the healing power of music. She attended Leslie College in Cambridge, MA; earned a Masters in Expressive Therapies; and became a Board Certified Music Therapist. Allegra worked in several clinics in the New York City area, ran her own private practice, and earned certifications as a Diplomat Psychotherapist and a Certified Reiki Practitioner. Allegra also served as a Board member at the American Music Therapy Associated for the New England Region, and was a member of the adjunct faculty at the New School in New York City. Allegra is also the author of Life in the Key of Allegra: A Personal and Professional Journey with the Healing Powers of Music, an extraordinary memoir that spans the decades of her growth as a young girl to a mental health professional. More about Allegra here.
Jonathan Sternberg (’46, Viola)
July 27, 1919 – May 8, 2018
Jonathan began his professional career conducting the National Youth Administration Orchestra of New York in Copland’s An Outdoor Overture, before entering military service. At the end of the war he took over the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. Jonathan Sternberg made his conducting debut with the Vienna Symphony Orchesta in 1947. Then he toured extensively as a guest conductor in Europe, North America, and the Far East. After a year at the helm of the Halifax Symphony Orchestra, Jonathan Sternberg was Music Director and the Principal Conductor of the Royal Flemish Opera in Antwerp, Belgium. In 1966 he returned to the U.S. to accept an appointment as the Musical Director and Principal Conductor of the Harkeness Ballet York. Concurrently he was Musical Consultant to the Rebekah Harkness Foundation for their Ballet Commissioning program. Some years later he was appointed Musical Director and conductor of the Atlanta Municipal. After Atlanta, Jonathan Sternberg divided his professional time with the academic world. He took up a visiting professorship of conducting at the Eastman School of Music and later took a position at Temple University, where he taught and conducted for 20 years. In 2004 he was appointed as Musical and Artistic Director of the Bach Festival of Philadelphia. Among the artists with whom he has collaborated in concert and opera, are Isaac Stern, Yehudi Menuhin, Henryk Szeryng, Paul Badura-Skoda, Alfred Brendel, Annie Fischer, Philippe Entremont, Byron Janis, Teresa Stich-Randall, Lisa Della Casa, Hilde Gueden, George London and Paul Schoeffler. (Information acquired from Bach-Cantatas.com)
Sanford Sylvan (BM ’76, Voice)
1953 – January 29, 2019
The beloved American baritone Sanford Sylvan performed with the world’s leading orchestras under such conductors as Pierre Boulez, Herbert Blohmstedt, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Christopher Hogwood, James Levine, Roger Norrington, Simon Rattle, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. In opera, Sanford worked with directors Peter Sellars, Robert Wilson, Sir Peter Hall, John Copley, Tim Alberry, and many others at companies including Glyndebourne, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, and at the La Monnaie theater in Brussels. His portrayals of Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro and Alfonso in Così fan tutte had been seen on PBS’s Great Performances and are recorded on DVD for Decca. Sanford recorded the title role in John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer, also on Decca. He sang the role of Chou-En Lai for the premiere of Adams’s Nixon in China which received a Grammy and an Emmy. With pianist David Breitman, Sanford had performed numerous recitals worldwide. Two of their three recordings on the Nonesuch label received best classical vocal performance Grammy nominations. In 2011, he was nominated again in the same category for his performance of Wilde: A Symphony by Charles Fussell. Sanford was on the voice faculty at The Juilliard School and Bard Conservatory and had previously been on the faculty of McGill University in Montreal. Read more on Juilliard’s in memoriam page here. ‘”Not only was he a professional singer,” said Sylvan’s sister Gwen, “as a teacher of voice, he allowed his students to emerge, to really find their own voices. I look at his life as such a full, total life. It’s extraordinary in terms of his gift as singer – his voice was absolutely healing. But his teaching, in the latter part of his lifetime — he was so devoted to his students, and they were to him.”‘ – from NPR’s Sanford Sylvan, A Baritone On His Own Terms, Dies At 65
Maestro Hugo Vianello (BM ’50, MM ’51, viola)
January 16, 1929 – March 30, 2018
Hugo joined the Army Air Corps (precursor to the Air Force) in 1944 and was stationed in the Philippines, Arizona, and the Mariana Islands. Hugo was an airplane Radio Operator/Mechanic and also qualified as a Carbine Sharpshooter. He was honorably discharged on May 14, 1946, as a Corporal. After service, he enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music, earning his Bachelor and Master of Music. Hugo performed with the Knickerbocker Chamber Players, the Bell Telephone Hour Orchestra and the Radio City Music Hall Symphony. Before becoming a conductor, he also played viola in the Minneapolis Symphony and the New York Philharmonic, and was Principal Violist of the Oklahoma City Symphony. He toured extensively throughout the U.S., and also in Greece, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Yugoslavia and Canada. He made his conducting debut was with the Oklahoma City Symphony. He subsequently accepted an appointment as Assistant Conductor of the Kansas City Philharmonic. During his tenure there, he founded the Kansas City Civic Orchestra. Honored with the American Symphony League Conductor Recognition Award, he was selected to participate in conducting projects with the Baltimore and Cincinnati symphonies. Hugo left Kansas City for an appointment as Music Director of the Lansing Symphony in Michigan. Concurrently, he accepted the prestigious position of Director of Orchestral Activities at Northwestern University. While there, he conducted National Education Television (NET) opera productions. The family moved to Columbia in 1968, when Hugo became Director of Orchestral Activities at Stephens College. In 1970, he founded the Missouri Symphony Society. Hugo served as Artistic Director and Conductor for 28 years, until his retirement, when he was named Conductor Laureate. For thirteen seasons, he concurrently held the post of Associate Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony. Hugo conducted orchestras around the country and the Orquestra Sinfonica Estados Mexico in Mexico City. Hugo was also a composer. His Christmas Kaleidoscope was performed by numerous orchestras throughout the country. In Dec. 2017, Hugo saw the world premiere of his operetta, An Antique Carol, at Talking Horse Productions. In 2006, the Missouri Arts Council honored Hugo with a Lifetime Achievement Award. He and his wife, Lucy Marino, celebrated 67 years of marriage and had four children.
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