Success Stories

Explore Recent News and Success Stories about MSM Students, Alumni, and Faculty.

  • Jul 15, 2024Jazz

    MSM Jazz Arts faculty member Darcy James Argue is named Arranger of the Year by DownBeat magazine

    MSM Jazz Arts faculty member Darcy James Argue has been named Arranger of the Year in the 72nd Annual DownBeat Critics Poll. In addition, his recent recording Dynamic Maximum Tension — which features MSM Dean of Jazz Ingrid Jensen and MSM trombone faculty member Ryan Keberle — was voted one of the Top 10 Jazz Albums of the Year.

    The composer and bandleader serves as one of the driving forces behind new generations of ambitious large ensemble instrumental music. Dynamic Maximum Tension serves as proof,” writes the magazine.

    Read the list of the Top 20 Jazz Albums of the Year selected by the DownBeat Critics Poll here.

  • Jul 11, 2024Strings

    MSM Artists in Residence the American String Quartet celebrate their 50th anniversary in a concert at the Aspen Festival

    On July 8, the American String Quartet (ASQ) performed a recital of Beethoven, Shostakovich, and Ravel to an enthusiastic audience at the Aspen Music Festival, celebrating their 50th anniversary as an ensemble.  In 1974, the ASQ was appointed as Quartet-in-Residence at AMF, a position held until the mid-2010’s.

    The ASQ are Peter Winograd and Laurie Carney on violin, Wolfram Koessel, cello, and Daniel Avshalomov, viola. The group has been Artists in Residence at MSM for many years performing several concerts a year. Several members of the ensemble are on the MSM Strings faculty.

    Learn more about the ASQ here.

  • Jul 10, 2024Vocal Arts

    Six MSM alumni are part of recent productions at the Opera Theatre of St Louis

    MSM President James Gandre (on left in photo) recently met up with a few of the alumni performing with the Opera Theatre of St Louis (OTSL) along with MSM Trustee and alumna Noémi Neidorff, who is also an OTSL board member (on right in photo).

    Justin Austin, Hongni Wu, Benjamin Ruíz, Eric Sedgwick

    The six MSM alumni who have been part of  OTSL recent productions are Justin Austin (BM ’14, MM ’17) (second from left) who starred as Barber in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville; Hongni Wu (MM ’17, PS ’18) (third from left) also starred, playing the role of Rosina in the production. Robert Mellon (MM ’11) (not pictured) recently sang multiple roles, including Cardinal 2 in Philip Glass’s Galileo Galilei, and sang Benoit and Alcindoro in Puccini’s La bohème.

    Benjamin Ruíz (MM ’23) (third from right) and Jouelle Roberson (PS ’22) (not pictured), are both OTSL Young Artists; and Eric Sedgwick (MM ’07) (second from right) is a Repetiteur at the OTSL.

    Learn more about the OTSL here.

  • Jul 3, 2024Jazz

    MSM Dean of Jazz Arts Ingrid Jensen headlines the Iowa City Jazz Festival with the Iowa Women’s Jazz Orchestra

    MSM Dean of Jazz Arts Ingrid Jensen and the Iowa Women’s Jazz Orchestra are headlining the Iowa City Jazz Festival taking place from July 5–7. An interview with Ingrid is featured this week in The Daily Iowan, the independent newspaper of the University of Iowa.

    The paper says this collaboration with Ms. Jensen and the Orchestra has been years in the making, and that there are great expectations about the event, which Ms. Jensen says she is looking forward to.

    “When I’m playing I’m always paying attention to the sounds around me, and that includes the audience… I’m very in tune with vibe, and music is all vibrations. When the audience opens up to that atmosphere, it can be very rewarding,” she tells the paper.

    Last week, the MSM Dean of Jazz Arts led a jazz camp for high-school-aged players in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    Read the interview with Ingrid Jensen in The Daily Iowan here.

  • Jul 1, 2024Piano

    MSM alumnus Marco Rizzello joins music staff at the Staatsoper in Stuttgart

    MSM alumnus Marco Rizzello, a pianist and opera coach from Mercato Saraceno in Italy, recently joined the full-time music staff at the Staatsoper in Stuttgart, Germany, where he will be Solorepetitor and Italian Diction Coach.

    A recent graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Butler Studio, his summer 2024 engagements include contracts withThe Santa Fe Opera and the Ravinia Festival.

    Learn more about Marco Rizzello here.

  • Jun 26, 2024Jazz

    MSM jazz faculty member Darcy James Argue is named Composer in Residence of the Frankfurt Radio Big Band

    Darcy James Argue is following in the footsteps of Composer in Residence and MSM faculty emeritus Jim McNeely who has been the Composer in Residence of the Frankfurt Radio Big Band for the past 16 years.

    Writes the Frankfurt Radio Big Band in a news release on their website: “The Canadian composer and big band leader Darcy James Argue began his musical career in the Montreal jazz scene before making his way to New York, where he has been attracting a great deal of attention for years with his ensemble Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society. Today he arranges and composes for the biggest names in the genre and is active all over the world.”

    The first musicians that Darcy James Argue has invited as guest artists are Warren Wolf and Aaron Diehl. “The band is going to love playing with them!” says Darcy. “For my part, I’m very excited to dive into writing for Warren and Aaron, taking their original compositions and other works from their repertoire and reimagining them for jazz orchestra.”

    The Warren Wolf concerts take place January 23rd in Darmstadt and January 24th in Frankfurt, and the Aaron Diehl concerts are June 5th in Frankfurt, and June 6th in Giessen.

    Learn more about the appointment here.

  • Jun 22, 2024Strings

    MSM strings alumnus Niles Luther opens first exhibition at The Brooklyn Museum as its composer in residence runs through mid-August

    The first exhibit with compositions by MSM alumnus Niles Luther as the composer in residence at The Brooklyn Museum is on display at the museum through August 4th. In the photo above, the cellist (on left) poses with MSM President James Gandre earlier this month.

    For the exhibition called Hiroshige’s 100 Famous Views of Edo (feat. Takashi Murakami), Luther wrote compositions that respond to three prints by Japanese artist Utagawa Hiroshige:  Chiyogaike Pond, MeguroKinryuzan Temple, Asakusaand New Year’s Eve Foxfires at the Changing Tree, Oji. The recordings feature an ensemble of musicians on the violin, viola, koto, shakuhachi, and traditional Japanese percussion, with Luther on the cello.

    To hear the compositions, download the free Bloomberg Connects app and navigate to the Brooklyn Museum’s digital guide. Or enjoy the music while viewing the prints in person at the Museum.

    More information here.

  • Jun 21, 2024Jazz

    MSM Jazz Arts faculty member Jean Baylor and husband Marcus Baylor of The Baylor Project perform on The Today show

    NAACP Image Award winners Marcus and Jean Baylor of The Baylor Project performed on NBC’s The Today Show on June 17, 2024 performing their Grammy-nominated single Laugh and Move On. Watch the appearance here.

    They also appeared on the syndicated Tamron Hall Show for their 3rd annual “Father’s Day Extravaganza,” also performing Laugh and Move On. Watch their interview here, and their performance here.

  • Jun 19, 2024Brass

    MSM alumnus Christopher A. Watkins honors WWI soldiers in Washington, D.C. on Juneteenth

    MSM alumnus Christopher A. Watkins (MM ’10), Classical Trumpet who studied at MSM with Mark Gould, honored the Harlem Hellfighters of the 369th Infantry Regiment by playing Taps at the World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Juneteenth, June 19, 2024.

    The tribute not only honored the highly decorated 369th Infantry Regiment, but it also honored and embraced diversity within US fighting forces going back to WWI.

    Originally from Marietta, Georgia, Watkins sounds Taps for the Doughboy Foundation, a nonprofit organization; the World War I Memorial is one of D.C.’s newest memorials, and is scheduled for completion in September 2024.

  • Jun 18, 2024Strings

    MSM faculty member Jessica Meyer performs live on The Violin Channel

    On June 19 at 10:30 PM ET, composer, violist, and MSM faculty member Jessica Meyer performs a special recital , live from Zipper Hall at The Colburn School in Los Angeles.

    In this concert called Sounds of Being, Jessica will perform a collection of self-composed works for loop pedal and viola.

    Watch the concert here.


  • Jun 12, 2024Brass

    MSM trombone faculty member Sasha Romero featured on cover of June’s International Musician

    MSM trombone faculty member Sasha Romero, who is also Principal Trombone in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, is the featured artist on the cover of this month’s issue of International Musician.

    In an article titled “Visibility Promotes Acceptance” the publication writes as an introduction: Romero’s journey toward self-acceptance started with striving for an understanding of who she was, and her place growing up as young boy in the East Texas town of Longview.

    “I didn’t really know enough back then to question my identity,” she says. “I realized that I didn’t like my assigned gender at birth. I wanted to be a girl from the age of 5. But I didn’t have the basis to even begin to understand what being trans meant.

    Read the article here.


  • Jun 10, 2024Piano

    MSM student Dmitry Yudin places second at the 2024 Géza Anda International Piano Competition

    On June 8, Dmitry Yudin (MM ‘25), who studies at MSM with Horacio Gutierrez, was awarded second place at the prestigious Géza Anda International Piano Competition in Zurich, Switzerland.

    Second prize includes award money of 20,000 Swiss francs, along with many concerts arranged by the Géza Anda Foundation over the period of 2024 to 2027.

    Dimitri is a prizewinner of numerous national and international competitions, and has performed across Russia and abroad both as solo recitalist and in concertos, with orchestras including the Moscow Virtuosi Orchestra (Spivakov).

    Learn more about Dimitri here.

    Learn more about the competition here.



  • Jun 1, 2024Jazz

    Recent graduate Kellin Hanas (BM ’24) wins first prize in the International Trumpet Guild’s Ryan Anthony Memorial Jazz Trumpet Competition

    Kellin Hanas (BM ’24) was the student speaker at MSM Commencement 2024, and placed first on June 1 in the International Trumpet Guild Ryan Anthony Memorial Trumpet Competition: Jazz Division.

    At MSM, Kellin took on several student leadership roles, and she is also the leader of her own band, the Kellin Hanas Quintet, which debuted in 2022 at the iconic Birdland Jazz Club in NYC.

    Kellin spoke with us a few days before graduating in this blog post.

  • May 31, 2024Strings

    MSM College and Precollege faculty member Xiao Wang wins first prize at the New York Classical Violin Competition

    MSM Alumnus and faculty member Xiao Wang (BM ’13, MM ’15, AD ’16) placed first of ten finalists in the New York Classical Violin Competition which was held at Manhattan School of Music in late May.

    In addition to winning $22,000 in prize money, Xiao Wang is eligible to participate in the invite-only inaugural Classic Violin Olympus International Competition taking place in Dubai in April 2025.

    Learn more here.

  • May 23, 2024Orchestra Performance Program

    David Chan, the head of the MSM Orchestral Performance Program, is named new principal conductor of the Apollo Orchestra

    Violinist and conductor David Chan joins the artistic team of the Apollo Orchestra as principal conductor this month. The Orchestra was founded in 2010 and provides a platform for many of the Washington D.C. area’s finest professional freelance classical musicians. In addition his role as head of the Orchestral Performance Program at MSM, David Chan is also the concertmaster for the MET Orchestra.

    Learn more here.

  • May 15, 2024Jazz

    MSM faculty and alumni among top winners at the 2024 Jazz Journalist Awards

    Congratulations to the MSM Jazz Arts alumni and faculty members who won high-profile awards in the prestigious Jazz Journalists Association Awards for 2024. The winners in the MSM Community include faculty member Darcy James Argue who won Best Arranger, and the ensemble Artemis with MSM Dean of Jazz Arts Ingrid Jensen which won for Best Mid-Sized Ensemble.

    Learn more here.

  • May 7, 2024Vocal Arts

    The Met Opera 2024–25 season features many MSM alumni

    The Metropolitan Opera’s 2024–2025 season features many MSM alumni including SeokJong Baek (BM ’16, MM ’18), tenor, in Tosca, performing Sep 25, 28; Oct 3, 6, 11, and J’Nai Bridges (BM ’09), mezzo-soprano, in Rigoletto, performing Sep 30; Oct 4, 8, 12, 17, 20, 23, 26; Nov 1, 4, 8.

    Learn about the performers and the productions here, in alphabetical order.

  • May 1, 2024Musical Theatre

    MSM trustee Bebe Neuwirth receives Tony Award nomination for her performance in the Broadway revival of Cabaret

    The Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and MSM trustee Bebe Neuwirth (HonDMA ’15) has been nominated for Featured Actress in a Musical at the 2024 Tony Awards for her role as the landlady Fräulein Schneider in the current Broadway revival of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s Cabaret. The production (full name: Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club) has received nine Tony Award nominations, including for lead performers Eddie Redmayne and Gayle Rankin.

    Read an interview with Ms. Neuwirth in The New York Times here.

  • Apr 29, 2024Jazz

    MSM Dean of Jazz Arts Ingrid Jensen is nominated for a 2024 Jazz Journalist Award as part of the ensemble Artemis

    MSM Dean of Jazz Arts Ingrid Jensen is part of the critically acclaimed ensemble Artemis that has been nominated Best Small Ensemble by the Jazz Journalist Association (JJA) for the all-female group’s recent recording In Real Time.

    Ingrid is also part of MSM faculty member Darcy James Argue’s ensemble Secret Society that played with him on his JJA award-nominated recording Dynamic Maximum Tension, along with two other MSM faculty members, Nadje Noordhuis and Ryan Keberle. Darcy James Argue has been nominated for four awards by the JJA, including best album.

    The winners will be announced on May 8.

    Learn more about Artemis here.
    Learn more about the 2024 Jazz Journalist Awards here.

  • Apr 29, 2024Jazz

    MSM Jazz Arts faculty member Darcy James Argue is nominated for four top 2024 Jazz Journalist Association Awards

    MSM Jazz Arts faculty member Darcy James Argue has been nominated in the categories of Record of the Year, Composer of the Year, Arranger of the Year, and Large Ensemble of the Year, in the 2024 Jazz Journalist Awards for his most recent release Dynamic Maximum Tension, recorded with his ensemble Secret Society.

    “I’m absolutely thrilled and deeply honored to be nominated, ” he says. The winners will be announced on May 8.

    Darcy James Argue was recently in Paris attending the world premiere of his new orchestral arrangements for singer Cécile McLorin Salvant with L’Orchestre National d’Île-de-France. These arrangements will receive their New York premiere next March at Carnegie Hall, with Salvant and The Knights, as part of Carnegie’s Perspective series.

    Learn about the 2024 Jazz Journalist Association nominees here.
    Watch video clips of Salvant’s tour in France featuring arrangements by Darcy James Argue here.
    Information about the Carnegie Hall concert here.

  • Apr 26, 2024Vocal Arts

    MSM alumnus and trustee Anthony Roth Costanzo (MM ’08) to lead Opera Philadelphia

    MSM alumnus and trustee Anthony Roth Costanzo (MM ’08) — the celebrated American countertenor who is one of opera’s biggest stars — will be leading Opera Philadelphia as its next general director and president beginning in June, the company announced on Thursday.

    “Costanzo will be a rare figure in classical music: an artist in his prime who is also working as an administrator,” writes The New York Times.

    Read the full article here.

  • Apr 4, 2024Strings

    MSM strings faculty member Ilmar Gavilán to take part in Summerfest at the Kaufman Music Center this summer

    MSM faculty member, the respected violinist Ilmar Gavilán, will be part of Summerfest at the Kaufman Music Center taking place this summer at the respected arts center in New York City from August 19 to 24, 2024.

    Kaufman Music Center’s SummerFest is an intensive week of masterclasses, lessons, workshops, chamber ensembles and performance opportunities led by world-renowned guest artists and faculty for advanced pianists, violinists and cellists age 14 – 22.

    Musicians taking part also include: Adele AnthonyFabio BidiniAmir Eldan, Richard GoodeGrigory KalinovskyYoheved Kaplinsky, Masao KawasakiClara Minhye Kim, and others.

    Learn more about Ilmar Gavilan here.

    Learn more about Summerfest here.

  • Apr 3, 2024Composition

    MSM Composition faculty member Paolo Marchettini record releases new recording Ebony Chants on April 12

    Ebony Chants, Paolo Marchettini‘s second album on the label New Focus Recordings showcases music for clarinets in both solo and ensemble setting and will be released on April 14th.

    The album features Rome-born and New York City-based Paolo Marchettini as both composer and clarinetist, working alongside with three other clarinetists who are MSM current and former students: Meng Zhang (DMA) (also worked as recording engineer), Ka Hei Chan (MM ’23) and Tommy Shermulis (MM ’23).

    In liner notes, the respected guitarist Dan Lippel comments that Ebony Chants evokes the rich wood used in clarinet construction, and highlights Marchettini’s “subtle, lyrical composition voice.”

    “Marchettini strikes an engaging balance between experimental elements such as the use of microtones and extended techniques, and more traditional material, performing the works with elegance and virtuosity…  Allusions to multiple eras and styles of music are seamlessly integrated in music that is natural and always breathes,” he writes.

    Preorder the CD here.

  • Apr 2, 2024

    MSM President James Gandre to receive an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from his alma mater, Lawrence University

    MSM President James Gandre will receive an Honorary Doctor of Music degree and deliver an address at his alma mater, Lawrence University, in Appleton, Wisconsin, on June 9 and 10, during the school’s 2024 Commencement weekend.

    A graduate of the Lawrence Class of 1981, President Gandre will address graduates and their families at the Baccalaureate Service on Saturday, June 8.  The multi-faith service is scheduled for 2:30 pm in Memorial Chapel at the University.

    And then on Sunday, June 9, President Gandre will be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Music degree at Commencement, where his fellow honorary doctorate recipient (and Commencement Speaker) will be Lawrence University alumnus Pawo Choyning Dorji, Class of ’06, an Oscar-nominated Bhutanese filmmaker.

    Learn more here.

  • Apr 1, 2024Strings

    MSM alumnus Dr. James Kim is appointed Assistant Professor of Cello at the University of Georgia

    Dr. James Kim (DMA 2023) who studied at MSM with Philippe Muller, was recently appointed Assistant Professor of Cello, tenure-track, at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. His appointment will begin in fall 2024.

    “James Kim brings an exceptionally high levels of artistry and teaching to the Hugh Hodgson School of Music faculty, and we look forward to welcoming him to the Hodgson school and UGA,” said Hugh Hodgson School of Music Director Pete Jutras in a statement. “We are excited to see the impact he will have on our students and programs.”

    Kim holds an Artist Diploma from The Juilliard School, where he served as Studio Teaching Assistant to Joel Krosnick, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from Manhattan School of Music, where he was a Teaching Fellow.

    “I am proud to join the incredible faculty of Hugh Hodgson School of Music and the vibrant campus of University of Georgia,” said Kim. “It is my honor to be part of a community that not only achieves excellence but also participates in society within and beyond its state borders. I look forward to guiding students toward their goals and sharing the lessons I’ve learned in the process.”

    Learn more here.

  • Mar 31, 2024Jazz

    An MSM student and MSM alumni are featured at Dizzy’s Club at Lincoln Center in the Diva Jazz Orchestra

    The DIVA Jazz Orchestra performed at Dizzy’s Club at Lincoln Center in late March that featured MSM student Kellin Hanas (BM ’24) trumpet, who studies and MSM with Dean of Jazz Arts Ingrid Jensen, along with alumni Pureum Jin (MM ’17), alto saxophone, and Barbara Laronga (MM ’02), trumpet.

    In the photo above, MSM President James Gandre poses with the three after the performance.

    Read our interview with Kellin Hanas here.

    Learn more about the DIVA Jazz Orchestra here.

  • Mar 30, 2024Precollege

    MSM Precollege student Jancis Xu wins first prize at the Musical Life Competiion

    Pianist Jancis Xu, who studies in the MSM Precollege Division program at MSM with Irina Edelman, won first prize at Musical Life Competition held by the Musical Life Foundation.

    Jancis started playing piano since she was 5 years old.  She has won many music competitions including the Grand Prix of Young Maestro International Music Competition 2022, First Prize in the William Knabe International Piano Competition in 2022, Second Prize in 2022 in the XIII Chopin International Piano Competition in Hartford, CT, and first place winner of the 2022 American Music Talent Competition and won first place in the Crescendo International Competition in 2021,

    The Musical Life Competition and Composers in Residence supports meaningful talent development opportunities for up-and-coming musicians and composers, to provide visibility and a platform for musical and artistic growth.  It features young musicians under 18 years of age in piano, violin, viola and cello in solo or small ensembles.

    The winners will be performing at Carnegie Hall on April 30th. Information about that concert can be found here.

    More information about the Musical Life Competition here.

  • Mar 18, 2024Vocal Arts

    MSM alumnus Daniel Espinal is named a winner of the 2024 Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition

    Tenor Daniel Espinal (BM ’22) from Sarasota, Florida, is a winner of the 2024 Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition along with four other competitors. He receives a prize money of $20,000 prize along with the prestige, exposure, and networking opportunities that come with winning this renowned competition that has launched the careers of many of opera’s most well-known stars.

    Yulin Wang (MM ’25), tenor and Zhenpeng Zhang (MM ’23, PS ’24), baritone, both students of Cynthia Hoffman at MSM, won Encouragement Awards during the Competition.

    Learn more here.

  • Mar 10, 2024Jazz

    MSM Jazz Arts student Motswedi Modiba is featured at the Forbes magazine African Leading Women Summit in South Africa

    MSM Jazz Arts student Motswedi Modiba, known professionally as Moe, was a featured speaker at the Forbes magazine African Leading Women Summit held in South Africa on March 8, 2024.

    According to organizers, the event “brings together the who’s who of female leadership from the African continent and beyond – from the world of business, politics, art, sports, civil society and life; a unique collection of female trailblazers who are distinct in their thinking but single-minded in their purpose.”

    Moe was recently a contestant on the high-profile singing competition in China known as “Sing! China” (photo above).

    Learn more about the event here.

  • Mar 4, 2024Orchestra Performance Program

    MSM Orchestral Performance alumna Kayla Burggraf (MM ’16) named Associate Principal Flute with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

    MSM Orchestral Performance alumna Kayla Burggraf (MM ’16) studied at MSM with Robert Langevin. She performed with the Kansas City Symphony in the 2019–20 season. She was previously a fellow with the New World Symphony, served as Principal Flute of the Des Moines and Ann Arbor Symphonies and a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.

    During the 2022–23 season she is playing Guest Principal Flute with the San Francisco Symphony for selected weeks as well as for their European tour with Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen. She has performed as Guest Principal Flute with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and as solo piccolo and in the flute sections of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Milwaukee Symphony among others. She has worked with such notable conductors as Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov, Riccardo Muti, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Stern, Michael Tilson Thomas, Osmo Vänskä, Edo de Waart and Jaap van Zweden among others.

    Learn  more about Kayla Burggraf here.

    Email This Page

    Email Message

    Page Reference
    (will be sent in email)