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Check out the recent activities and accomplishments of our alumni.
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CLASSES OF 1960–1969
John Corigliano (‘63, Honorary Doctorate 1992) is a 2017 Grammy-nominee for The Ghosts of Versailles under the category "Best Engineered Album, Classical and Best Opera Recording."
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CLASSES OF 1970–1979
Edward Deptula (MM ‘77) received a Distinguished Service Award in June 2016 by the New Jersey Association of School Business Officials (NJASBO). Edward retired as the Mahwah Township Public Schools Business Administrator/Board Secretary in 2015 and is one of only six awardees throughout the state. Joseph Kelly, President of Bergen County ASBO, said, “Mr. Deptula has worked in multi-faceted districts over his 25-year career as a BA, and has served as a resource for many newer BAs. His demeanor is professional, encouraging, and respectful, and has led to his service as an unofficial mentor to many BAs throughout the years.”
Douglas Hedwig (BM ‘73) In July 2016, Dr. Hedwig’s work for concert band, Tone Poem on Taps (published by TRN Music), was performed for a sell-out crowd at the Blossom Music Festival and included instrumentalists from the Cleveland Orchestra. A Certain Slant of Light was recently published by Carl Fischer Music. His new choral work, Gitanjali, based on poems by Nobel Prize winning Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, received its world premiere by Choral Arts of Chattanooga on October 29, 2016. Douglas’s three-movement String Quintet, commissioned by the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, will premiere on February 19, 2017.
Larry Hochman (BM ‘75) was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award at the 2016 MSM Alumni Reunion. Larry was a 2016 Tony Award nominee for Best Orchestration for She Loves Me. He also orchestrated Broadway’s The Visit, On the Twentieth Century, and the 2015 Tony and Drama Desk nominated Broadway show Something Rotten. Larry orchestrated The Book of Mormon and he has received 5 Emmy awards as the composer of The Wonder Pets!
Katherine Hoover (MM ‘74) has been awarded the National Flute Association’s “Lifetime Achievement Award”, which was celebrated with concerts and honors at the San Diego NFA Convention in August 2016. Katherine’s Flute Concerto “The Four Winds” was performed at the Masterworks Festival in Cedarville, Ohio, with Bonita Boyd as soloist. “The Four Winds” was also performed on October 8, 2016 featuring Amy Porter with the Michigan Philharmonic. Ms. Hoover’s “Requiem for the Innocent” for chorus, soloists, brass, percussion and organ will be given at New York’s historic Trinity Church on September 21, which is World Peace Day. A CD of the “Requiem for the Innocent” will be issued in August by Fortay Records.
George Manahan (BM ‘73, MM ‘76, 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient) conducts the American Composers Orchestra this season at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in the 2016–17 season as part of the orchestra’s 40th anniversary. In December 2016, George is conducting Handel’s Messiah featuring members of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra at New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
Bob Mintzer (‘74) is a 2017 Grammy-nominee for his album All L.A. Band under the category "Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album."
Composer David Owens (MM ‘73) reports the premieres of three new major works in 2016. In February the Opal Ensemble (clarinet, viola, piano) introduced his Trio Opalesco in Arlington, MA. October saw the premiere in Boston of his Sky Legends: Twelve Vignettes on Signs of the Zodiac for Piano Four-Hands. In November, at its inaugural concert in Brookline, MA, the new Amabile Piano Trio gave the first performance of Owens’s Out of the Shadows. Albany Records recently released a CD of several of Mr. Owens’s compositions, including his Sonata for Two Pianos.
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CLASSES OF 1980–1989
Rich DeRosa (MM ‘85) was a 2016 Grammy-nominee for Best Instrumental Composition.
Carolyn Enger (MM ‘89) has a residency in Chicago, with performances at PianoForte Studios, the College of DuPage, and University of Chicago. She performed on her 3@3@3 series at Spectrum, which was aired and archived on David Osenberg’s Cadenza program on WWFM, along with an interview. Carolyn’s latest “American Miniatures” video reached the top of the Apple Music Classical Music Video playlist in March 2016.
Karen Geer (MM ‘85) is the new Executive Director of InterSchool Orchestras of New York.
Aaron Jay Kernis (MM ‘81) premiered his new flute concerto with Marina Piccinini and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra on February 4 and 6, 2016. Piccinini will perform the U.K. premiere in February 2017 with the London Philharmonic and it will be performed again in April 2017 with the Peabody Symphony Orchestra led by Leonard Slatkin.
Peri Mauer (BM ‘88, MM ‘90) is premiering a new orchestral work, All Along the Heights, with the Jackson Heights Orchestra on December 14, 2016. In November her composition Trumpet Trio received its world premiere at Good Shepherd RC Church in Brooklyn, NY. She can be seen playing her cello in the new hit Amazon TV series Mozart in the Jungle.
Susan Merdinger (‘87), Svetlana Belsky (DMA ‘94) and Elena Doubovitskaya (MM ‘01, PS ‘02), members of Chicago's Premier Four Piano Ensemble Pianissimo, are winners of the 2016 Global Music Awards.
Ted Rosenthal (BM ‘81, MM ‘83) joins the faculty at The Juilliard School.
Richard Sussman (MM ‘85) performed a mix of original compositions, standards, and music by the great Hank Jones at Smalls in April 2016 with his quintet.
Blair Tindall (BM ‘82, MM ‘83) is the author of Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music, the book that was the basis of the Amazon streaming comedy series created by Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola. Now shooting its third season, Mozart in the Jungle won two 2016 Golden Globes for best comedy series and best actor in a comedy series. It stars Bernadette Peters, Malcolm MacDowell, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Lola Kirke and features onscreen cameos by musicians Joshua Bell, Alan Gilbert, Lang Lang, and Emanuel Ax.
Richard G. Williams (MM ‘87, MM ‘88) is keeping busy as the Principal Trombonist with the Westchester Symphonic Winds (www.westchestersymphonicwinds.org). He also performed a solo recital on Sunday, April 24th 2016 at Larchmont Avenue Presbyterian Church.
David J. Wolfsohn (DMA ‘84), partner at Duane Morris LLP, has been named Co-Director of the American Bar Association (ABA)’s Section of Litigation Division VI for the 2016–2017 year. David will oversee 10 section committees focused on the legal profession—Corporate Counsel, Ethics and Professionalism, Federal Practice, Implicit Bias, LGBT Litigator, Minority Trial Lawyer, Solo & Small Firm, The Woman Advocate, Young Advocates, and Young Lawyer Leadership Program.
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CLASSES OF 1990–1999
Rebecca Barnes (MM ‘93) was recently appointed the Priest-in-Charge of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Scranton, PA. The Scranton Times-Tribune wrote an article that was picked up by the Associated Press and ran nationwide:
Pianist Sara Davis Buechner (DMA ‘94) gave two summer recitals at the Usdan Center for Creative and Performing Arts in Wheatley Heights, Long Island for students at the creative summer academy, as well as master classes and lessons at the Orford Arts Center in Quebec. In August Sara gave a solo performance for Music Niagara in Ontario at St. Marks Church followed by performances of the Ravel Piano Concerto No. 1 in F Minor for the Brott Music Festival at the McIntrye Performing Arts Center in Hamilton, Ontario. Sara was a featured performer at the NY Mets Pride Night event at Citifield, performing her YouTube sensation arrangement of "Meet the Mets." Sara made her solo debut performing music in honor of Busoni's 150th anniversary at the XX Festival Internacional de Piano En Blanco y Negro at Mexico City's Centro Nacional de las Artes in September 2016. October performances included a performance of Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with Maestro Gerhardt Zimmermann and the Canton Symphony at the Umstattd Performing Arts Hall as the Audience Choice performer pick for the season. Other performances include Sara's debut performance of Bartok’s Concerto No. 3 with the Harrisburg Symphony, conducted by Stuart Malina, at the Forum Auditorium and Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 3 with Marc Taddei and the Vallejo Symphony at Hogan Auditorium. In November Sara performed a solo concert at Munetsugu Hall in Nagoya, Japan, including music of Mozart and Liszt’s Paganini Études, followed by her debut recital at Temple University, where Sara has recently joined the piano faculty. In December Sara makes her debut performance with the Shanghai Symphony performing Rhapsody in Blue.
Robert Cassidy (MM ‘92) released his new CD Pathways, featuring the music of Chopin, Debussy, and contemporary composer Joel Feigin, in February 2016.
Sara Catarine (PS ‘97) performed the role of Queen Elizabeth of Castilla in the Venezuelan opera Los Martirios de Colón at Teatro Teresa Carreño Opera in Caracas.
Lee Cioppa (MM ‘93) was recently featured in Musical America Worldwide for her appointment as the new dean of the Conservatory of Music at the Colburn School.
Michael Dabroski (BM ‘90) led the Vermont Mozart Festival in multiple performances as conductor, violinist, and lecturer this past year. The Vermont Mozart Festival provides fellowships to the most talented and promising young professional musicians seeking artistic training and entrepreneurial guidance. Lyceum Mozartiano de La Habana invited Michael to perform two all-Mozart violin recitals in Havana, Cuba, in February 2017.
Marlon Daniel (BM ‘93) made a debut in London at the Southbank Centre for the Chineke Foundation in the Royal Festival Hall and in the Africa Utopia Festival in August 2016. He conducted the Pazardzhik State Symphony Orchestra on September 21, 2016 and also conducted Ensemble Pi’s 13th Peace Project Concert: BLACK LIVES MATTER on November 11. Marlon was privileged to be guest lecturer at Yale University and is returning as a guest artist and lecturer at Columbia University Teachers College for the Diversity in Classical Music Project for Fall 2016–Spring 2017. In February 2017, Marlon will be the Artistic Director and Music Director of the Saint Georges International Music Festival in Guadeloupe, France. Marlon is also making his debut with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Cuba (National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba) in April 2017. Marlon continues to work as the Artistic Director of the Bahamas National Symphony Orchestra (BNSO) workshop project and as the Music Director of Colour of Music Festival. He will also be the 2017 Saint-Georges International Music Festival Artistic and Music Director.
Salvatore Di Vittorio (BM ‘97) The Morgan Library & Museum invited Salvatore to donate the autograph manuscript of his latest orchestral composition, La Villa d’Este a Tivoli, to its prestigious music manuscripts archive. Maestro Di Vittorio becomes the first composer to ever compose for, and dedicate a musical work to, The Morgan Library & Museum, and the first native Italian composer during his lifetime to be invited to donate an autograph manuscript to the museum’s music archive.
Catina Franklin Sweedy (MM ‘99) founded and directed the first George Mason University Summer Clarinet Academy held July 25th-29th, 2016. Talented young clarinetists learned about reeds, historic clarinets, clarinet repair, sight-reading, taking auditions and performed in clarinet choir concerts. Learn more about the program here: http://www.catinasweedy.com/clarinetacademy.htm. Catina says, “We had such a fabulous time that we are already planning for next year! Please "Like" our FaceBook Page to stay up to date on future developments!” https://www.facebook.com/georgemasonuniversitysummerclarinetacademy
Eve Gigliotti (BM ‘97) performed in the Ring Cycle with Washinsgton National Opera at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in May 2016.
Gila Goldstein (MM ‘90) was busy touring China in October 2016. She gave master classes in Beijing’s Middle School of the Central Conservatory and at Minzu University, as well as at Xinghai Conservatory Middle School in Guangzhou, the Wuhan Conservatory and the Shanghai Conservatory. Gila also performed recitals at Minzu University and at the Wuhan Conservatory. During the first half of 2017 she will perform recitals in Boston, Jacksonville, New York, Israel, and Los Angeles.
Kelly Hall-Tompkins (MM ’95) received an honorary doctorate from MSM in May 2016. Kelly is the violin soloist in the Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof and was featured on NBC's TODAY Show with Harry Smith discussing her role in the show.
Stephen Hamilton (DMA ’94), concert organist, recently returned from a four concert tour of Europe. On Saturday, May 21, 2016, Stephen presented a solo organ concert in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris; on May 26, he performed on the new Dobson pipe organ recently installed at Merton College-Oxford, United Kingdom; and on May 28th Hamilton performed at Bloomsburg Central Baptist Church in downtown London. The tour ended in at the Cathedral in Regensburg where Hamilton played the magnificent 120 stop Rieger pipe organ suspended from the ceiling of the Cathedral with an access only by elevator. Hamilton’s repertoire included music by Widor, Messiaen, Alain and Dupré. Stephen recently retired early from being organist/choirmaster at the Church of the Holy Trinity (Episcopal) in New York City from 1991-2011.
Stefon Harris (BM ‘95, MM ‘97) will join Manhattan School of Music in July 2017 as Associate Dean and Director of the Jazz Arts program.
Shuler Hensley (BM ‘90, MSM Honorary Doctorate 2014) played President James Garfield in TV’s most-watched history series, Murder of a President, on PBS in February 2016. Shuler performed at the 2016 MSM Gala.
Hyung-ki Joo (BM ‘93, MM ‘99) was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award at the 2016 MSM Alumni Reunion.
Brandon Jovanovich (‘98) sings on the recording of Schoenberg's Gurrelieder, which recently received a Gramophone Award
Internationally acclaimed violist Gilad Karni (BM ‘93) was appointed Professor of Viola and Chamber Music at the Kalaidos University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland. She is also Professor of Viola at Lausanne HEMU. Principal violist of the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra since 2004, Gilad recently founded the K2K Viola & Piano Duo.
Martin Kuuskmann (BM ‘97) performed on the recording of Theofanidis's Bassoon Concerto, which has been nominated for a 2017 Grammy under the category "Best Contemporary Classical Composition".
Anne Mironchik (BM ‘92) In January 2016, Anne received her Master of Science degree from Boston University in Speech-Language Pathology with a concentration in Voice Therapy.
Jane Monheit (BM ‘99, 2008 MSM Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipient) Jane was recently featured in Jane’s Way, a special concert celebrating the centennial of Frank Sinatra’s birth, with the MSM Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Justin DiCioccio (MM ’71). in She toured the U.S. with stops in New York City Birdland, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Blue Note Jazz Club, the Waldorf Astoria, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in spring 2016. Her new album, The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald, was recently reviewed in the New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/07/arts/music/jane-monheit-songbook-sessions-ella-fitzgerald.html?emc=eta1&_r=0
Kristin Norderval’s (DMA ‘93) new opera, The Trials of Patricia Isasa, with a libretto by the Obie Award winning playwright Naomi Wallace, received a public reading in New York City in January 2016 and public discussion at Café Quebecor — Monument-National in May 2016. The opera, presented by Chants Libres, premiered May 19-21, 2016 at the Monument National Theater, during Opera Conference 2016 in Montreal. Norderval sang the lead role of Adult Patricia. Lucie Renaud reports, “An interesting libretto is surely not enough to make an opera memorable. One must seduce the public with a high level roster of performers, several memorable arias and scenography that espouses the story. This is the case here. One undoubtedly wants to see this opera again and get into a more detailed analysis. No weakness whatsoever with the main roles and the backing vocalists (l’Ensemble Kô), with Pauline Vaillancourt’s directing (memorable) or with Dominique Blain’s scenography". She also remarks, “Composer Kristin Norderval chooses a lyricism that occasionally invokes tango (a bandoneon is part of the instrumental ensemble), which does not fall into any of the excesses usually attached to the genre, but instead builds on a lyrical score that avoids the kind of hermeticism one often associates with contemporary music One can acknowledge without a doubt the accomplished work concerning the musical and vocal timbres (the complementarity of the tones is very attractive).” Neil Weisensel writes that it was "beautifully written, this music made the most of the fine voices in the cast…” Francine Grimaldi, music critic of Radio Canada Montreal, states that it’s “ an unforgettable opus, I would even say a masterpiece. This is not to miss.”
N’Kenge Pacurar (BM ‘96) is currently a featured soloist in Indianapolis Symphony's Yuletide Celebration performing alongside THE VOICE Winner Josh Kaufman through December 23. 2016. She was recently was seen on national TV performing the national anthem at Madison Square Garden. N'Kenge made her debut as a soloist this season with both Sarasota Symphony and Jacksonville Symphony. She joined the all-star cast of Hairspray the musical with Baltimore Symphony with John Waters as the narrator. N'Kenge is a soloist at NY's legendary jazz club BIRDLAND and graced the cover of Sexy Magazine in the August Summer Edition.
Isabel Puente (PS ‘97), currently a professor at Madrid Royal Conservatory, recently discovered the original score of Manuel de Falla’s composition Noches en los jardines de Espana. The manuscript was considered lost until Isabel unearthed it at a library in Switzerland. The Spanish press El Pais wrote an article about this fascinating story: http://cultura.elpais.com/cultura/2016/11/25/actualidad/1480086276_897802.html
Gene Pritsker (BM ‘94) released his album, ‘Groove Possessed’ Electronic Groove Music of Gene Pritsker, on Composers Concordance Records in June 2016. He and MSM alumnus Arthur Kampela (MM ’92) composed music performed for the concert “Convex vs. Concave” at (Le) Poisson Rouge in June. Gene also performed in Singapore with Absolute Ensemble and the Korean Ensemble Sinawi and is premiering a composition called 'Soul / Seoul Wave’. In July 2016, Gene co-produced the ‘Eclectic Music Extravaganza - New York Meets Berlin’ at Gruner Salon in Berlin, Germany, with four world premieres on this event. In August, Gene presented Composers Concordance Records European album release concert for the album 'The Mozart Influence’, performed by The Comp Cord Ensemble at the 2016 'Outreach Festival' in Schwaz, Austria.
Cynthia Scott (BM ‘93, MM ‘95) was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in October 2016. In March, she performed at the Iridium Jazz Club and Smoke Jazz & Supper Club in New York City. Cynthia reported “Deshana Barber, a black woman, was crowned Miss USA and I had a flash back. Did you know I was the first Black girl to ever enter an all-white beauty pageant and Place... maybe in the whole world? It was 47 years ago, June 29th, 1969. Read the whole story here... ”
Stacey Tappan (MM ‘97) appeared in LA Opera’s production of Akhnaten as Queen Tye.
Craig Terry (‘99) was named Musical America Worldwide’s New Artist of the Month in July 2016. Craig is the Music Director of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center and arranger and collaborative pianist for Joyce DiDonato, Patricia Racette, and Stephanie Blythe.
Talise Trevigne (BM ‘98) was a 2016 Grammy-nominee for performer on the "Best Classical Solo Vocal Album".
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CLASSES OF 2000–2009
Andy Akiho (MM ‘09) received an award from the 2015 Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund. In May, the National Symphony Orchestra performed his composition New Work for Steelpan & Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Andy wrote music for the recently released RighteousGIRLS album gathering blue.
Kathryn Andrews (MM ‘09) and Kristi Shade (MM ‘07) of the harp duo, Duo Scorpio, recently received an award from the Classical Recording Foundation at National Sawdust in Brooklyn in November 2016. The duo will be releasing their new album Two Bridges on April 18, 2017 at National Sawdust. The album is made up entirely of newly commissioned works by MSM alumni and composers Andy Akiho (MM ‘09), Christopher Deitz (MM ’02), and Giovanni Piacentini (MM ’13), as well as composers Nico Muhly and Ferdinando DeSena.
Hayk Arsenyan (PS ’08) performed an entire solo recital of Antonio Soler's Sonatas and Fandango on June 3, 2016 for the IV Encuentros Juaves Pianistas International Piano Festival in Havana, Cuba, a festival led by MSM faculty member Solomon Mikowsky. On July 12 and 14 Hayk will be teaching master classes at the II Miami International Music Festival (Piano Institute) alongside MSM alumnus Alexandre Moutouzkine. Hayk will also be opening the Summit Music Festival this year on July 27, 2016 with a solo recital.
J'Nai Bridges (BM ‘09) was a finalist in Placido Domingo's Operalia, The World Opera Competition 2016. She won 1st place in the Francisco Vinjas International Singing Competition in February 2016. The recipient of a 2016 Richard Tucker Career Grant, she was recently featured in WQXR’s Forty under Forty. J’nai recently performed as Suzuki in Madame Butterfly with San Diego Opera. She will be performing the title role in The Rape of Lucretia at Wolf Trap Opera and as a soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Philadelphia Orchestra in summer 2016. In the 2016–17 season, J’nai will be performing the role of Bersi in Andrea Chénier with San Francisco Opera and Bayerische Staatsoper, as Nefertiti in Akhnaten with LA Opera, and as Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking with Vancouver Opera. She is also performing as a soloist in Mahler’s Second Symphony with the Louisville Orchestra in October 2016.
Rachel Lynn Calloway (MM ‘06) performed in Haydn’s Nelson Mass and the NY premiere of Provost Marjorie Merryman’s Jonah at Carnegie Hall with the Oratorio Society of New York, conducted by Kent Tritle, Director of Choral Activities at MSM, in May 2016.
Elina Christova (MM ‘06), with her partner Andrew Smith of the Elan Duo, recently released Ludwig van Beethoven: Complete Violin Sonatas to rave reviews. Critics have praised their "style that shows the way some of the finest artists perform Beethoven in the 21st century," "deeply considered interpretation," and a rendition to "rival any number of famous performers in this repertoire." elan-duo.me/
Anna Clyne (MM ‘05) won the 2016 Hindemith Prize.
Alondra de la Parra (MM ‘08) was appointed the Music Director, a designation that will include the combined roles of Chief Conductor, Artistic Director, and Community Arts Leader, of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
Shirin Eskandani (MM ‘08) will be making her stage debut as Mercedes in Carmen with the Metropolitan Opera in the 2016–17 season.
Daryl Freedman (MM ‘09) performed in the Ring Cycle with Washington National Opera at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in May 2016.
Emma Gerstein (BM ‘09) won the position of Principal Flute with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra in New Zealand.
Kirill Gerstein (MM ’00) made his Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra debut at the end of January and Berlin Philharmonic debut in April. In March, Kirill also toured Europe with the Czech Philharmonic, traveling to Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. Kirill’s world premiere recording of the 1879 version of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto is one of three recordings nominated in the Concerto category for the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2016. Kirill will premiere a new piano concerto by Thomas Adès in the 2016–17 season with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and he returns to play with the New York Philharmonic at David Geffen Hall in February 2017.
Lindsey Goodman (PS ‘04) released her debut CD, “reach through the sky”, on New Dynamic Records in April 2016. The recording, featuring six works written for her by living American composers, features Goodman as a soloist, flutist, vocalist, and chamber musician, and is available through iTunes, Google Play, and CD Baby.
Cooper Grodin (MM ‘09) performed the role of Magaldi in Evita with Vancouver Opera in May 2016. He also performed in Town Hall’s Broadway by the Year Series, The Broadway Musicals of the 1960s.
Soloman Howard (MM ‘10) performed in the Ring Cycle with Washington National Opera at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in May 2016. Soloman is also performing the role of the Prince in Aida at the Metropolitan Opera in the 2016–17 season.
Scott Joiner (BM ’05, MM ‘07, DMA candidate) started off 2016 performing the role of Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with St. Petersburg Opera. He performed the title role of Handel’s oratorio Judas Maccabeus and the tenor soloist in Mendelssohn’s Saint Paul with the Greenwich Choral Society, as soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Garden State Philharmonic, and made two appearances at Carnegie Hall, including his hall-debut as Piemonteser in Strauss’s Friedenstag with the American Symphony Orchestra under Leon Botstein, then as tenor soloist in the New York premiere of Howard Goodall’s Eternal Light: A Requiem with Distinguished Concerts International. He performed as Joseph Treat in Victoria Bond’s opera Mrs. President at the National Opera Center, as soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Helena Symphony Orchestra, and in concert with Jessica Fishenfeld (MM ‘15) and Kristin Noverderval (DMA ’93) for Eric Salzman and Friends with the Center for Contemporary Opera. In April 2016, the Rainy Park Opera Co (a collaborative project between Joiner and filmmaker Adam Taylor) released their first short-film opera, Connection Lost: The Tinder Opera, which starred Joiner as vocalist/actor (alongside more than a dozen MSM students and alumni), with a score composed by Joiner. In addition, Joiner performed as jazz pianist in the film. The film was screened at Los Angeles’ Downtown Independent Theater and was an official selection of numerous festivals, including the Orlando Film Festival, the Williamsburg Independent Film Festival, and Ireland’s Kerry Film Festival, where it won Best Score. Opera Carolina adapted the piece for live performance and gave the world-stage premiere as part of National Opera Week. Joiner’s second work with the Rainy Park Opera Co, Something Blue: L’opera del Bachelor will receive its world-premiere screening at MSM in December, co-starring soprano Jessica Fishenfeld.
Rebecca Jo Loeb (MM ‘07) is performing in Rusalka and La Traviata at the Metropolitan Opera in Spring 2017.
Scott Lindroth (MM '10) is the Co-Founder of New Camerata Opera, a newly formed opera company based in New York City whose mission is to broaden the reach of opera to current and future generations by offering a wide range of repertoire through both live performance and digital media channels. Last fall, NCO created and produced an opera pastiche that included works from Lehar’s The Count of Luxembourg and Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. We have also commissioned a comedic opera that will be distributed via Youtube in the spring. NCO has also created a new children's opera based on the story of Peter Rabbit. For more information about New Camerata Opera, please visit www.newcamerataopera.org
Yi-Hsuan Lu (BM ‘02) was invited to play a piece by VK, currently one of the most popular piano composers of Taiwan, in his "Wings of Piano Concert" at ATT Show Box in Taipei on October 9, 2016. The music Yi-Hsuan played was an rearrangement of VK's "Evolution Era." The original rhythm of the piece is in 4/4 time and she rearranged it into triplet "waltz" style: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wigGZ6dT_EE. Yi-Hsuan has been conductor and Director of the children's band at ZhongShan Elementary School in Taipei since 2011, and the band has won its fifth "excellent" prize in the music competition of Taipei. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJU_ZPw1JsU&feature=youtu.be) This year the band performed Yi-Hsuan's composition "Solomon" in the competition. (https://tw.streetvoice.com/Skier/songs/305558/)
Jeremy Kittel (MM ‘07) is currently working on a solo album featuring innovative string players (http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/jeremykittel). Jeremy has been busy honing his craft and getting to compose, arrange, and perform with some stellar artists like Yo-Yo Ma, My Morning Jacket, Abigail Washburn, and Béla Fleck. He performed on the Late Show in May 2016 with Jon Batiste and Stay Human.
George Mathew (Postgraduate Diploma ‘03) is a recipient of the Bendetson Award for Public Diplomacy from the Tufts University Institute for Global Leadership.
Nathan Patrick Morgan (BM ‘02) is currently performing in the new Broadway production of Cats the Musical.
Alicia Olatuja (MM ‘07) made her Miller Theatre debut at Columbia University with the Alicia Olatuja sextet on November 12, 2016. Alicia wowed audiences when she sang at Barack Obama’s 2013 inauguration and has been called “one of the most thrilling vocalists of today” by JazzTimes.
Simon O’Neill (MM ‘00) performed with the San Francisco Symphony at Carnegie Hall as a featured soloist in Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde and Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759 ("Unfinished”) in April 2016.
Anthony Roth Costanzo (MM ‘08) was nominated in the International Opera Awards this spring for Male Singer. He was also featured in Vanity Fair as one of the "7 emerging artists you should know about." Anthony was recently a National Sawdust curator and performed as Orpheus in Orphic Moments in March 2016. He also performed in Philip Glass’s Akhnaten with English National Opera and as Roane in Jake Heggie’s Great Scott at San Diego Opera. In June, Anthony performed in the U.S. premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s Only The Sound Remains at the Ojai Festival. In the 2016–17 season, he will be singing the title role in LA Opera's Akhnaten and as Prince Go-Go in Ligeti’s Le grand macabre with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Simon Rattle and directed by Peter Sellars.
Sahoko Sato Timpone (MM ‘99, PS ‘01) joined PORTopera performing in a production of Carmen in summer 2016. She is also a member of the Metropolitan Opera chorus.
Kyle Saulnier (MM ‘06) and his ensemble, the Awakening Orchestra, released interlude: Atticus Live!, the music of Jesse Lewis, on December 6, 2016 on Biophilia Records. Also involved with the project were MSM alumni Nick Biello, Seneca Black, Michael Boscarino, Vito Chiavuzzo, Will Clark, Aaron Kotler, Jesse Lewis, Nadje Noordhuis, Joshua Paris, James Rogers, Samuel Ryder, Max Seigel, Daniel Urness, and Biophilia Records founder Fabian Almazan.
Amy Shoremount-Obra (BM ‘01, MM ‘03) was awarded a grant from the Wagner Society of New York in October 2016. In Spring 2016, Ms. Shoremount-Obra made her debut at David Geffen Hall in Lincoln Center as the Soprano Soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with the National Chorale.
Renee Tatum (MM ‘06) was recently featured in WQXR’s Forty under Forty. Renee also performed as Flosshilde in Wagner’s Gotterdammerung with Teatro Massimo di Palermo in Italy and in the Ring Cycle with Washington National Opera at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in May 2016.
Kimberly Thompson (BM ‘03) was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award at the 2016 MSM Alumni Reunion.
Joseph Trapanese (BM ‘06) In 2016, Joseph composed the music for the documentary Game Fever, film-short Present, and movie Shimmer Lake. Coming out in 2017 is Granite Mountain starring Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, and Jeff Bridges.
Pablo Villegas (PD ‘04, PS ‘06, AD ‘07) played in the historic event of “Plácido en el Alma” (Plácido in the soul), a tribute concert to the great and beloved Plácido Domingo at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain on June 29, 2016.
Jorell Williams (MM ‘08, PS ‘09) joined PORTopera performing in a production of Carmen in summer 2016. In February 2016, Jorell was featured in Opera Noire’s sold-out LEGACY SECURED! concert honoring Paul Robeson, William Warfield, and Robert McFerrin at the National Opera Center in New York City.
Miguel Zenon (MM ‘01) was a 2016 Grammy-nominee for Best Latin Jazz Album and was named Alto Saxophonist of the Year at the 2015 Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards.
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CLASSES OF 2010–2015
Darnell Abraham (MM ‘13) has performed in The Festival of the Lion King as a lead Equity performer at Disney's Animal Kingdom for the past year and portrayed the lead role of Coalhouse Walker Jr., in “Ragtime the Musical in Concert” July 9-10 in the Walt Disney Theater at the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center in downtown Orlando, FL.
Michael E. Anderson (MM ‘16) joined Central City Opera’s chorus for Tosca and Ballade of Baby Doe for their 2016 Summer Festival.
Nanci Belmont (MM ‘12) recently won Second Prize in the Fernand Gillet-Hugo Fox Competition of the International Double Reed Society. Ms. Belmont was selected as one of five finalists for the competition from an international pool of applicants. Her finals performance can be viewed online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mchQlch4_Hs.
Christina Bouey (MM ‘11, PS ‘12, PS ‘13) won the coveted Grand Prize of the 2016 Fischoff National Chamber Music Association competition as a member of the Ulysses Quartet.
Helena Brown (MM ’14) received an Encouragement Grant from the Wagner Society of New York in October 2016.
Raehann Bryce-Davis (MM ‘12, PS ‘13) was a semi-finalist in Placido Domingo’s Operalia, The World Opera Competition 2016.
Jean Caze (BM ‘04) performed with Michael Bublé on Good Morning America in October 2016.
Yajie Chen (BM ‘12/MM ‘14) found a Chinese publisher and translated Angela Myles Beeching's book Beyond Talent in Chinese.
Silvie Cheng (BM ‘13, MM ‘15), alongside her cellist brother, Bryan Cheng, is the pianist of Cheng² Duo, which released its debut album, Violoncelle français, in October 2016, on the German classical label Audite, to international acclaim. Named by CBC Music as one of 2015’s “30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30,” the duo has performed throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, and has been featured on CBC Radio Two and Vermont Public Radio. Highlights of 2016 included a 13-city tour throughout China and a 10-city tour across Canada as Debut Atlantic artists. Currently based in New York, Silvie is also the pianist of sTem trio, as well as a teaching artist of Manhattan School of Music's Distance Learning Program and the Bridge Arts Ensemble.
Kate Davis (BM ‘13) performed "World on a String: Swinging Songs of Broadway" with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis in April 2016.
Marc Day (MM ‘11) sung on the 2017 Grammy-nominated Steinberg: Passion Week recording with the Clarion Choir.
Jill Dewsnup (MM ‘10) will join Lyric Opera of Chicago's Core Supplemental Chorus in the 2016–17 season for performances in Les Troyens, Norma, and Carmen.
Mark Dover (MM ‘12) joins Imani Winds as their new clarinetist in 2016.
Tom Duboski (MM ‘15) won the first Ruth Widder String Quartet Competition as a member of Luminaria Quartet. The quartet will be presented in a performance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in February 2016.
Caroline Dunigan (BM ‘14) is a current member of the Graduate Vocal Arts Program of the Bard College Conservatory of Music. Highlights of Caroline’s 2015/2016 season includes debuts with the Albany Symphony Orchestra as Rey in “Star Wars: The Opera” and the Brevard Music Festival as Helena in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In March 2016 she will be performing as Pamina in a one-act adaptation of Mozart’s The Magic Flute with the Graduate Vocal Arts Program of the Bard College Conservatory of Music.
Jessica Fishenfeld (MM ‘15) is currently in her second year of residency with the Palm Beach Opera as a Benenson Young Artist, singing the roles of Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance family performance), covering Gilda (Rigoletto), and performing as a soloist in concerts with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra and the PBO Orchestra. Last season (2015–16), directly following her graduation from MSM, she had a fruitful debut season with PBO, singing lauded performances of Frasquita (Carmen), Najade (Ariadne auf Naxos), and Norina (Don Pasquale family performance). Between seasons, she reprised the role of Frasquita with the Long Island Opera, was featured in the Music for Montauk Festival’s Inspired By Shakespeare concert, performed in concert with Scott Joiner (BM ‘05, MM ‘07, DMA candidate) and Kristin Noverderval (DMA ‘93) for Eric Salzman and Friends with the Center for Contemporary Opera, and—along with three other short/feature film appearances—co-starred in the Rainy Park Opera Co.’s latest opera-film Something Blue: L’opera del Bachelor alongside tenor/composer Scott Joiner, which receives its premiere screening on December 14 at MSM.
Alaysha Fox (BM ‘13, MM ‘15) is a 2015-16 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions District and Region Winner.
Chelsea Rose Friedlander (MM ‘12) performed the role of Lucy in Menotti’s The Telephone with Light Opera of New Jersey in November 2016. She will make her Dayton Opera debut in February 2017 as Blonden in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. Ms. Friedlander will then continue on as the Artist in Residence singing Opera Outreach programs throughout schools in Ohio and will conclude with Dayton Opera as Frasquita in Carmen in May 2017. www.chelseafriedlander.com
Jacqueline Choi (DMA ‘15) has been appointed to Indiana University South Bend as Lecturer in Music/Cello as well as cellist of the resident ensemble Euclid String Quartet.
Jake Hertzog (MM ‘16) joins the faculty at University of Arkansas.
Grace Ho (MM ‘12, DMA ‘17) won the coveted Grand Prize of the 2016 Fischoff National Chamber Music Association competition as a member of the Ulysses Quartet.
Tiffany Hoffer (MM ‘13) recently won a job in the United States Army Field Band.
Bryn Holdsworth (BM ‘14, MM ‘16) is currently in Atlanta Opera’s opera studio and performing as Madeleine in Silent Night, Clorinda in La Cenerentola, Norina in Don Pasquale, and First Handmaiden in Turandot in the 2016–17 season. Bryn won the 2016 Rebekah Clark Coolidge Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Gina Hughes (BM ‘10) won the position of piccolo with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in fall 2016.
Michael Jarrett (MM ‘16) has won a position with the New World Symphony in the 2016-17 season.
Sol Jin (MM ‘15) is the winner of the 2016 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was a semi-finalist in Placido Domingo's Operalia, The World Opera Competition 2016.
Kyoung Im Kim (MM ‘06, DMA ‘12) was the only staff pianist for the fourth consecutive year for Aaron Rosand's Intensive Violin Program at the Summit Music Festival in July 2016. It was attended by 28 young violinists from all over the world. Dr. Kim will also be featured in Mr. Rosand's upcoming Sarasate DVD.
Pascal Le Boeuf (BM ‘07, MM '10) and Remy Le Boeuf (BM ‘07, MM ‘09), The Le Boeuf Brothers, released their new album, Imaginist, on October 14, 2016 in collaboration with the JACK Quartet and are touring the West Coast in November and Canada next spring. Imaginist was selected as a music pick of the week by the New York Times.
Robert Mellon (MM ‘11) joined PORTopera performing in a production of Carmen in summer 2016.
Malcolm J. Merriweather (DMA ‘15) was named the new Music Director of the Dessoff Choirs in May 2016. In addition to his work with the Dessoff Choirs, Malcolm is Assistant Professor and Director of Choirs at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, a faculty member and Guest Artist in Residence at Union Theological Seminary, and Associate Choirmaster at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and the Music Director of the “Voices of Haiti” children’s choir in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He has been instrumental in the programming of the 2016–17 season, which opens with a concert at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center—the first time the choir has performed there since 2010.
Matous Michal (MM ‘16) recently joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s second violin section.
LaMarcus Miller (MM ‘13) made his New York City Opera debut as the leading baritone role in Fallujah in November 2016.
Carlton Moe (MM ‘15) recently performed in Opera America’s Romeo and Juliet Meet in Manhattan.
Brian Michael Moore (BM ‘15) joined the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at LA Opera in the 2016–17 season.
Thomas Mulder (MM ‘14) is performing in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2016–17 season in the chorus of Guillaume Tell, Fidelio, and Der Flingender Höllender. In October 2016 Tom performed as OB in the premiere of Roscoe: An American Grand Opera, starring Deborah Voigt, with the Albany Symphony.
John Myers (BM ‘10, MM ‘12) performed in Haydn’s Nelson Mass and the NY premiere of Provost Marjorie Merryman's Jonah at Carnegie Hall with the Oratorio Society of New York, conducted by Kent Tritle, Director of Choral Activities at MSM, in May 2016.
Megan Pachecano (MM ‘10) earned critical acclaim in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Soluna International Music and Arts Festival with the Orchestra of New Spain as Une Amante Enchantée in Boismortier’s Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse and Mystery in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen. She sang the soprano solos in Brahms’s Neue Liebeslieder with the Denton Bach Society, and created the role of Elizabeth on the cast recording of Stephen Melillo’s Son of the Storm, to be released in the summer of 2016. This coming season, Ms. Pachecano returns to the Ad Astra Music Festival to perform Iphis in Handel’s Jephtha and to the Astoria Symphony Orchestra for a summer pops concert at the Queensborough Performing Arts Center. She makes her Metropolitan Opera debut in the chorus of Beethoven’s Fidelio in the spring of 2017.
Elliott Page (MM ‘15) participated in the Opera Theatre of St. Louis Gerdine Young Artist Program in June 2016 and performed in Germany for a five-city tour of Porgy and Bess singing the role of Robbins in July 2016. Elliott joins the Metropolitan Opera extras chorus in the 2016–17 season for performances in Der Flingender Höllender.
Jake Robinson (MM ‘10) recently performed at Joe’s Pub at The Public with Frances Ruffelle, 1987 Tony Award winner for her role as Eponine in Les Misérables. He performed with this group at the Kennedy Center in March 2016, alongside fellow MSM alumnus Tim Basom (MM ‘11). Jake holds positions at the Music Conservatory of Westchester as Drum Set faculty and as Assistant Dean and Director of Summer Programs. He recently accepted the position of Pep Band Director at Manhattan College in the Bronx.
Gordon Schermer (MM ‘10) is Assistant Conductor at Tulsa Opera.
Michelle Siemens (MM ‘15) joined the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at LA Opera in the 2016–17 season.
Jason Smoller (MM ‘11) is being featured on English Horn for the New York City premiere of Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks’s Concerto for English Horn with the Chelsea Symphony on January 28, 2017.
Colin Stokes (‘15) is currently the cellist in the Berlin-based electro-classical crossover band, Symphoniacs (www.symphoniacs.com). After the band’s album release, they performed for 8 million people on ARD’s Schlagerboom and were featured in Das Bild, Germany’s largest paper. Live Nation is producing their tour in Spring 2017. www.colinstokes.com
Krysty Swann (BM ‘08) performed as the mezzo-soprano soloist in Verdi's Requiem with the National Chorale at David Geffen Hall in May 2016. She also performed as the mezzo-soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with Distinguished Concerts International (DCINY) at Carnegie Hall in February 2016.
Jiaxin Tian (MM ‘12, PS ‘13) performed solo with the Manhattan Symphonie at Carnegie Hall in February 2016 as part of a celebration of the Chinese New Year.
Josefina Urraca (MM ’14) is Co-Director of CreArtBox and performed in Visuality at Queens Theatre on December 3, 2016, which featured MSM alumni and ensemble members Aminda Asher (MM ’08) and Jonathan Cohen (BM ’12). CreArtBox is an award-winning multidisciplinary music ensemble based in New York City led by flutist Guillermo Laporta and pianist Josefina Urraca and known for its merging of classical and contemporary music, with visual art, stunning stage design, and cutting-edge technology.
Xiao Wang (BM ‘13, MM ‘15, AD ‘16) won the 2016 William C. Byrd International Competition and the New York Concert Artists Competition. Xiao performed a recital in Berlin this October and will be performing with the Flint Symphony Orchestra in April 2017.
Yunpeng Wang (MM ‘13) was recently reviewed by Musical America. “Yunpeng Wang, who has been singing Prince Yamadori at the Met, made this bitter figure intriguing, his flexible and attractive dark baritone seething in anger in flowing phrases. His bedroom explosion, on overhearing Parisina’s dreams (she murmurs a couple of stanzas, not just "Ugo") raised the theatrical level considerably.” Yunpeng will be performing the role of Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette at the Metropolitan Opera in 2017.
James Wetzel (MM ’11, PS ’12) has been appointed Director of Music and organist of the Parish of Saint Vincent Ferrer and Saint Catherine of Siena in New York City.
Marta Wryk (BM ’11) performed the role of Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte with Capella Cracoviensis in Krakow Philharmonic Hall in Poland, Suzuki in Madame Buttefly at Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, and Ascanio in Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini at Oper Theater Bonn in the 2015–16 season. Upcoming highlights include Wellgunde in Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung at Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, and Siegrune in Die Walküre at Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden.
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PRECOLLEGE / PREPARATORY DIVISION (all classes)
Isabel Leonard performed as Ada in the world premiere of Cold Mountain with Nathan Gunn at the Santa Fe Opera in August 2015. She returns to the Lyric Opera of Chicago this fall in the title role of Rossini’s La Cenerentola and will also be performing as Rosina in The Barber of Seville at the Metropolitan Opera in December 2015. In February 2016 she returns to the Metropolitan Opera as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro. The recent DECCA Classics release of Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortilèges, featuring Isabel as the Child, has been nominated for a 2016 GRAMMY for Best Opera Recording.
Alexandra Wilkis Wilson was interviewed in the New York Times in the context of her role as Chief Executive Officer of Glamsquad, an app-based beauty provider.
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We honor the memory of alumni, former faculty, and staff members who have passed away in 2015:
Laura Ahlbeck (MM ‘81, oboe) passed away on June 11, 2015 at the age of 57. Laura taught at New England Conservatory from 1993 to 2012 and was active in the College, Preparatory, and Continuing Education programs. She was principal oboist with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, Boston Lyric Opera, Bard Festival Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Columbus (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra, and the Orquesta Sinfonica de Maracaibo in Venezuela. She was active as a chamber musician in Boston and a frequent substitute with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Christopher Buck (BM ‘90, violin) passed away on February 16, 2015 at the age of 46. Born in New York, he was a virtuoso violinist graduating from Manhattan School of Music with postgraduate studies at Rice University under Camilla Wicks. After his first battle with cancer he became an expert in antique violins and then moved to Taiwan to continue studies in Mandarin, in which he became fluent. Subsequently he joined his family in New Zealand and taught violin at Nelson School of Music.
Robert Christesen (MM ‘72, voice) passed away on October 12, 2016 at the age of 73. Robert was known to his students and colleagues in the Wake County Public School System as “Mr. C.” He was a respected husband, father, grandfather, educator, and former opera singer. Born in Washington D.C., he was a Congressional Page Boy in high school, then continued his education at East Carolina University, University of Madison, Wisconsin, and NC State. He specialized in Danish, German, Spanish, French and Italian. His love for singing started when he was a young boy, eventually landing him a full scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music. He won numerous international vocal competitions including the 1973 Prague Spring Music Festival, where he met his Czech wife Mirka, a reporter for a radio station. He was a professional baritone opera singer in Frankfurt and Dortmund, Germany for thirteen years, with many guest performances throughout Europe. Among his favorite roles were Rigoletto, Onegin, and Don Giovanni. He moved with his family to North Carolina in the mid-1980s, accepting a teaching job within the Wake County Public School System. Robert taught foreign languages and Social Studies at Ligon and Carnage Middle Schools before becoming Foreign Language Chair at Wake Forest Rolesville High. His first job as an administrator was in Vance County in 1994 and then at Enloe High in 1995. He worked at West Cary Middle School as Assistant Principal until his retirement in 2009. As an administrator “M. C” was a teachers’ advocate and cared deeply about the students in his care. However, he never totally left his singing. Throughout the years, he performed with the North Carolina Symphony, Duke Chapel, and at memorial services for his close friends and co-workers. As a devoted Rotarian, he contributed to numerous charities to aid the needy both in the Carolinas and abroad. His commitment to the Wake Forest Rotary lasted until his final days. At 6’5” tall, his larger than life presence and booming voice made him an unforgettable figure on the stage and came in handy also in the school hallways.
Peter James Dimitriades (BM ‘54, MM ‘56, violin) passed away on March 14, 2015 at the age of 93. Peter’s distinguished and eclectic career began when he won first prize at both the Chicago Young Artists Competition and the Indiana State Violin Contest. After serving as the principal second violinist for the Dallas Symphony, he moved to New York City in 1950 to become the assistant concertmaster at Radio City Musical Hall Orchestra. He also performed as concertmaster for the following orchestras: the Little Orchestra Society, National Orchestra Association, and Robert Shaw Chorale and Orchestra for its 1956 Europe and Middle East tour. Along with being a member of the Classic String Quartet and the American String Quartet, he performed with the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, Musica Aeterna, Master Virtuosi of New York, and Symphony of the Air. Mr. Dimitriades also amassed an impressive discography as a freelance session musician on hundreds of recordings of Broadway musicals, soundtracks, jingles, television commercials, and studio albums, including those by Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, Backstreet Boys, Frankie Valli, Carly Simon, Stevie Nicks, Wynton Marsalis, Luther Vandross, Roberta Flack, Shirley Bassey, Herbie Mann, and Chaka Khan, among many others. He also toured with Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra and the Frank Sinatra Orchestra, the latter from the 1950s to Mr. Sinatra’s “80 Years My Way” final concert in 1995. In his later years, Mr. Dimitriades moved to Salisbury, Connecticut, and taught violin at Simon’s Rock College, the Hotchkiss School, the Berkshire School, and the Indian Mountain School.
Judith Paula Manley Dreher (BM ‘72, MM ‘74, viola) passed away on October 9, 2015. Judith studied viola with John DiJanni of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and with Rafael Bronstein at Manhattan School of Music. After a season in North Carolina with the Charlotte Symphony, she performed for the next 36 years with Syracuse Symphony Orchestra until its untimely fall in 2011. She continued with the SSO’s successor, Symphoria, until her retirement at the end of the 2013-14 season.
Leroy “Lee” Oliver Earle (BM ‘61, theory, MM ‘63 music education) of San Antonio, Texas passed away on July 28, 2016 at the age of 78. Lee was born Sept. 26, 1937, in Harlem, N.Y. Lee’s childhood was filled with music lessons because his mother was fueled by the passion of the Harlem renaissance and the music of The Cotton Club and The Apollo Theater. She felt that young Lee needed a craft that would assist him in going to college. Lee worked as a music teacher and administrator for the New York City Board of Education, teaching primarily at I.S. 292 in Brooklyn for more than 30 years. For more than 40 years he freelanced as a musician all over New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and upstate New York. Lee’s hobbies were music, traveling with his wife, and being a dad. He was active in his local churches and gave piano lesson until 2009, when his health began to fail. Lee married Priscilla Jane Fullerton on March 26, 1964; they were married 49 years. http://southsidedaily.com/2016/08/01/obits-leroy-oliver-earle-78/
Mabel Gerber (BM ‘51, MM ’55, piano) (‘96, cello) passed away on November 21, 2015 at the age of 85. In 1952 Mabel gave a recital at the original Circle-in-the-Square Theater in the Greenwich Village. She also appeared in recital at Carl-Fisher Hall and played for the Music Group of Mount Vernon in New York. Most notably Mabel performed at Carnegie Hall in 1961. Over the last six decades she was well-known by the Norwood community in the Bronx as an accomplished piano teacher who was dedicated to her young students.
David Gotay (‘96, cello) passed away on April 3, 2015 at the age of 42 after a lengthy battle with kidney cancer. Based in New York City, David performed at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and the White House. His TV appearances included Saturday Night Live, MTV’s Unplugged, and The Jimmy Fallon Show with Florence and the Machine as well as Jim James; The Late Show With David Letterman, with Paloma Faith, and The Last Play at Shea with Billy Joel. Throughout his career, David collaborated with a number of prominent artists such as Jay Z, Alicia Keys, Nas, Billy Joel, Aretha Franklin, K. D. Lang, David Sanborn, Billy Ocean, Sheryl Crow, and Little Jimmy Scott. He was a founding member of Sweet Plantain, a string quartet whose mission is to give voice to a contemporary, urban, Latino sound.
Vlasta Jantzi (BM ‘70, voice, MM ‘73, music education) passed away on November 24, 2015 at the age of 90. Born in Glina, Croatia, she immigrated to the United States in 1950, moving to Manhattan. Vlasta was an accomplished soprano who often performed with the St. Cecilia in New York City. She was also a music instructor in Brooklyn and Manhattan for 20 years for the former city Board of Education and taught music at the College of Staten Island, Willowbrook.
Camellia Johnson (1975-77, Special Graduate Studies, voice) passed away on August 26, 2015. Camellia made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1985, as Lily in Porgy and Bess. Her other Met roles included Madelon in Andrea Chénier, Serena in Porgy and Bess, and the Priestess in Aida. Carmellia also performed at Glyndebourne as the Strawberry Woman in Trevor Nunn’s production of Porgy. An exceptional recitalist and concert artist, Camellia has performed at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, as well as at the White House for President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama.
Margaret Juntwait (BM ‘80, voice and 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient) passed away on June 3, 2015 at the age of 58. Margaret was “the voice” of the Metropolitan Opera for the last ten seasons. She was only the third regular host of the Met Broadcasts in its 83 years on the air and the only woman. On the occasion of Margaret being awarded a Distinguished Alumni Award from MSM in 2014, , General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera Peter Gelb said, “There is something happily ironic in that a soprano graduate named Margaret Juntwait gets more air time around the world talking about sopranos, as the host of the Met’s radio broadcast, than any of the sopranos singing on the Met stage. Congratulations, Margaret, for making opera accessible to millions and for this award, a fitting tribute for such a distinguished and accomplished figure in the world of opera – that certainly is you.”
Irwin Katz (BM ‘51, Trumpet, MM ‘52, Music Education), musician and recording industry executive, passed away in July of 2016 at the age of 87. Beloved husband for nearly 67 years and devoted father of four children and eight grandchildren, Irwin is remembered for his dashing good looks, numerous creative talents, and his singular joy of life. A Brooklyn native, he attended Thomas Jefferson High School where he played soccer and met Rose, the love of his life. Graduate of Manhattan School of Music, he played the trumpet with many orchestras including the Boston Pops, the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, and the Cleveland Orchestra-- the first American orchestra to tour behind “the iron curtain” after World War II. He left the orchestra to help build the Discount Records chain (CBS). During this time, Irwin reconnected with many performing artists, who were his kindred souls. He later joined RCA Records as the Director of Marketing for Classical Music and then returned to CBS Masterworks (Sony) as the head of Artists & Repertoire. In his retirement, he and his wife, Rose, established a boutique label, Helicon Records. (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/lohud/obituary.aspx?pid=180761728)
Ursula Mamlok (BM ‘57, MM ‘58, former College Faculty) passed away on May 4, 2016 at the age of 93. Born in Berlin in 1923, Ursula’s life and musical studies were uprooted when she and family fled Nazi Germany in 1939 and found refuge in Ecuador. She came on her own to New York and studied at the Mannes College of Music with George Szell. She then earned bachelor of music and master of music degrees from Manhattan School of Music. Ursula also studied with Roger Sessions, Ralph Shapey, and Stefan Wolpe. For 66 years Ursula Mamlok lived in New York, composing, and teaching primarily at Manhattan School Of Music, and was a leading figure in New Yorkʼs musical scene. Among her numerous commissions are those from the Koussevitsky and Fromm Music Foundations, Alaria Chamber Ensemble, Eastman School of Music, Earplay and the San Francisco Symphony. She has received awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation, and in 1995, a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. Her works are regularly performed by major domestic and foreign ensembles and have been recorded by the CRI, Gasparo, Leonarda, Newport Classics, Music and Arts, Opus One, True Media, and Centaur labels and are published by C.F. Peters Corporation, American Composers Edition, McGuinness and Marx, and Hildegard. In 1987, Ursula Mamlok received a Commendation of Excellence "for her contribution to the world concert music" by BMI. Since her move back to Berlin in 2006, she had been championed by such leading musicians as Heinz Holliger, and performed widely throughout Europe. She is the subject of a biography Time in Flux (in German) by Habakuk Traber. Recordings have appeared on CRI, New World, Naxos, and Music and Arts. The intrepid Bridge Records has recorded five volumes of her music.
Edmund Niemann (BM ‘68, MM ‘73, piano) was a longtime member of Steve Reich and Musicians and founding member of the contemporary ensemble Parnassus. He and Nurit Tilles formed the piano duo, Double Edge, which made its New York debut at Town Hall in 1987. The duo performed throughout Europe, Australia and the U.S. In March 2008, Double Edge returned to Los Angeles to play Visions de l'Amen in a celebration of Messiaen's centenary. Edmund also appeared as guest artist with the New York New Music Ensemble, the Da Capo Players, Speculum Musicae, and Newband. The New York Times said of his l984 Merkin Hall solo debut, "throughout the evening his playing was technically dazzling, his musicality unquestionable." His teachers included Artur Balsam, Robert Goldsand and Arminda Canteros. Edmund taught at Princeton University, Sarah Lawrence College, Hoff-Barthelson Music School and Third Street Music School Settlement. MSM alumna and registrar of Hoff-Barthelson Music School, Terry Wager, said Edmund Niemann was a “treasured faculty member” and the School called him “a supremely gifted musician; he will be sorely missed by the students whose lives he touched and by all who had the good fortune to have known him.”
Erica Ohm (MM ‘88, PS ‘88, Piano) earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Michigan State University after completing her Master’s degree and Professional Studies Certificate in piano performance at MSM. An exciting pianist equally at home in the music of J. S. Bach and George Crumb, and committed to performing music of her contemporaries, she was a first-prize winner in Korea’s most prestigious competition, the Dong-A Music Concours, and the International Institute of Music Competition. After her acclaimed first recital in Seoul in 1993, she performed as a soloist as well as an ensemble player throughout Korea, Japan, and China and the United States. The concert series of the complete Beethoven Violin Sonatas, with violinist Kyung Min Kim, and the complete Beethoven Piano Trios, with BINTRIO (cellist Hee Jin Paik, violinist Kyung Min Kim) have been featured on Korean radio and TV. Erica Ohm was named as one of “the best and the most active pianists in Korea” by Pianoforte (1997) and chosen as “pianist of the month” by Piano International (March 2011). Her solo CDs include Musical Moment (Blue Griffin Records) and Czerny—50 Kunst der Fingertigkeit (Ilsong Media). Erica served on the faculty of Michigan State University School of Music, Seoul National University, and Seoul High School of Music and Art, and was chair of the Department of Musical Arts, Seoul Arts College in Korea.
Honorable Richard Owen (Special Undergraduate Studies, ‘61 and MSM Board of Trustees from 1979-2009) passed away on November 20, 2015. He was just shy of 93 years old. His undergraduate studies at Dartmouth were interrupted for several years when he joined the United States Army Air Corps and served as a navigator in the Pacific during the WWII. After returning and completing his A.B., he earned his L.L.B. from Harvard Law School. He entered private practice and was also an assistant professor at New York Law School. Richard became an assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, also serving as a special assistant U.S. attorney general. He was a senior trial attorney in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and worked as associate counsel to the New York State Commission on Alcoholic Beverage Laws. In 1973, President Nixon appointed him to the federal bench, where he served for almost 40 years. While maintaining a full-time legal career, Judge Owen also pursued his other passion: music. He studied composition with Vittorio Giannini at the Manhattan School of Music where he later received an honorary doctorate and became a member of the Board of Trustees. Judge Owen went on to compose nine operas, including Abigail Adams and Rain, all of which have been performed and acclaimed throughout the U.S. and Europe, including in Lincoln Center, and five of his art songs were published by the General Music Publishing Company. He met his late wife, Metropolitan Opera soprano Lynn Owen (1933-2014), while studying music at Tanglewood. Both his musical and legal legacy live on in his sons. David attended the MSM Precollege Division and Richard Jr. received a Master of Music degree from MSM in 1998.
George Robert (MM ‘87, jazz saxophone) passed away on March 14, 2016 at the age of 55. While enrolled at Manhattan School of Music, he studied with Bob Mintzer. He played lead alto in the Manhattan School of Music Big Band for two years, which earned in 1985 the 1st Prize in the College Big Band Category in the Down Beat Magazine Jazz Awards. George is internationally recognized as one of the leading alto saxophonists in jazz today. His discography includes more than 50 albums, among others with Kenny Barron, Clark Terry, Tom Harrell, Phil Woods, Ray Brown, Jeff Hamilton, Ivan Lins, Ray Drummond, Rufus Reid, Billy Hart, the Metropole Orchestra and many others. In 1995 George was hired as Director of the Swiss Jazz School in Berne, the oldest independent jazz school in Europe. In 2006 he founded the Jazz Department at the Lausanne Music University. He was named Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters of the French Republic in 2008. George had been touring throughout the world since 1984 and is the author of The Music of George Robert.
McNeil Robinson II (Organ Faculty 1984-2015) passed away on May 9, 2015. He was 72. An acclaimed organist, composer, teacher, and gifted improviser, McNeil served as chair of the Manhattan School of Music organ department. He was the organist of the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City from 1965 until 2012, and had also long been the organist and Music Director at the Park Avenue Christian Church. He moved to the Holy Trinity Catholic Church on the Upper West Side, where he worked until last fall. McNeil studied in the United States and abroad with some of the most famous organists and composers of the day, including the French virtuoso Marcel Dupré, who praised Mr. Robinson’s recording of one of his pieces as “a magnificent performance of my work.” Mr. Robinson’s own compositions for organ include the Concerto for Organ and Orchestra, first performed with the San Francisco Symphony in 1984, and the Dismas Variations. His works have been published by Theodore Presser, C. F. Peters, and Oxford University Press, and in many hymnals. Mr. Robinson played recitals in both hemispheres and conducted the premieres of works by Jacob Druckman and Jack Gottlieb. He also revived long-neglected works by Pergolesi, Scarlatti, and Cavalli, as well as early pieces by Mozart and Méhul.
Larry Rosen (‘61, Percussion, MSM Honorary Doctorate 2012, MSM Jazz Gala Honoree 2013) passed away on October 9, 2015 at the age of 75. Larry Rosen was the Chairman of Larry Rosen Productions, Inc., creator and producer of Jazz Roots – A Larry Rosen Jazz Series, co-founder of GRP Records, co-founder of LRSmedia, and co-founder and past Chairman of N2K, Inc. (NASDAQ). Larry was the creator and producer of the PBS television series Legends of Jazz and the creator and producer of multimedia TV series Recording: The History of Recorded Music, with hosts Quincy Jones and Phil Ramone. He produced/executive produced over 350 albums, which won 33 GRAMMYS and were nominated for 80, as well as numerous award-winning film/video productions and television specials. Larry began his musical career as a drummer with the Newport Youth Band and met future partner Dave Grusin while working with singer Andy Williams and attending Manhattan School of Music. In 1972, the duo produced vocalist Jon Lucien for RCA and Columbia Records and went on to form Grusin/Rosen productions, which discovered and produced new recording artists Earl Klugh, Noel Pointer, Patti Austin, Lee Ritenour, and others. In 1978, Grusin/Rosen Productions signed a long-term contract with Arista Records president Clive Davis to develop new talent for the Arista/GRP label, including Dave Valentin, Angela Bofill, Bernard Wright, and Tom Browne. In 1979, he engineered and co-produced the Dave Grusin album Mountain Dance, the first digitally recorded nonclassical album. Larry received Ernst & Young’s prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year Award in New Media & Entertainment; Forbes magazine named Rosen an “Internet Icon” in the cover story entitled “Masters of the New Universe.” Mr. Rosen served as a member of the Board of Governors of the New York Chapter of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) and served on the GRAMMY Screening Committee. He received the NARAS Governor’s Award and was inducted into the A&R/Producers Honor Roll. Larry served on the boards of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA), the Music for Youth Foundation (MYF), and the Music Educators National Council (MENC). He also served on the board of the Brubeck Institute, the UM Frost School of Music Deans Visiting Committee, and, along with Mr. Grusin, co-founded the National Foundation for Jazz Education (NFJE), a philanthropic group that helps young jazz musicians.
Henry “Hank” Ross (BM ‘50, piano) passed away on April 23, 2015 at the age of 88. He continued his piano work for his entire life as a jazz stride player in NYC, in the tradition of Thomas Waller and James P. Johnson. He became a legacy player in Manhattan. His album with Wild Carrot, I’ve Heard That Song Before, was released in 2008.
Robert Schrade (BM ‘48/MM ‘48: piano, College Piano Faculty: 1949 – 1955, Prep Division Piano Faculty: 1969 – 1991) passed away on December 14, 2015 at the age of 91. Robert was an internationally known pianist, educator and patriarch of Schrade Family Pianists and Sevenars Music Festival in Worthington. Mr. Schrade began performing masterworks of the piano repertoire as a child. After serving as corporal in the Army Air Corps from 1942-1945, he continued his musical studies with Harold Bauer at the Manhattan School of Music. He received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees simultaneously in 1948 and subsequently began a performance career that included solo, chamber music, concerti, and accompanying. His international career was launched with his Town Hall debut in New York in 1949 and included numerous recitals in New York and tours of Europe, Canada, and the U.S. Mr. Schrade also championed work by many contemporaries, including Nicolas Flagello, Paul Creston, Peter Mennin, and Ernest Bloch, among others. He performed Bloch's Concerto Symphonique for piano and orchestra at Carnegie Hall with the National Orchestral Association in 1965. Among other notable programs in Mr. Schrade's concert career were "Evening of Fantasies" (including Schumann's Op. 17, Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy, and works by CPE Bach); his "Op. 53 Program," a recital of works of that opus number by Beethoven, Chopin, Scriabin, and Arensky, among others); and "Around the World on 88 Keys". Along with Mr. Schrade's performing, he maintained a distinguished teaching career at his alma mater, Manhattan School of Music and also at the Chapin School. It was at the Manhattan School of Music that he met Rolande Young, whom he married in 1949. They were husband-and-wife for 65 years until her death last January.
Gunther Schuller (Precollege alumnus, MSM Honorary Doctorate 1987) passed away on June 21, 2015 at the age of 89. He was a French horn prodigy as well as an influential composer, conductor, and educator. At age 16 he performed Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony under Arturo Toscanini in the work’s first American broadcast. He performed with the American Ballet Theatre, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and the Metropolitan Opera, where he served as principal until 1959. When the Met was off-season, he played in the pits of Broadway theaters. Gunther was recommended as a hornist to Miles Davis and went on to record with Charles Mingus and Dizzy Gillespie. At Aaron Copland’s invitation, Schuller began teaching in 1963 at the Berkshire Music Center, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, now called Tanglewood. He was Tanglewood’s Artistic Director from 1969 to 1984. Schuller served as President of the New England Conservatory from 1967 to 1977. Among his more than 180 compositions, Schuller wrote numerous pieces for orchestra, two operas, several concertos, many works for small groups, and a number of pieces for jazz ensembles. In addition to his book on French horn technique, he authored two books on jazz, as well as The Compleat Conductor. In 1994, Schuller won the Pulitzer Prize for his Of Reflections and Reminiscences and was also awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, or “genius grant,” in 1991.
Joseph Seiger (Postgraduate Diploma ‘51, Former Piano Faculty 1967-1990) passed away on March 3, 2015 at the age of 91. Joseph joined the MSM Piano Faculty when the School was still housed on East 105th Street, two years before the move to our current home in 1969, and went on to co-found the Vocal and Instrumental Accompanying Department in 1970. He was also, together with David Wells and violinist Ariana Bronne, a founding member of the Manhattan Trio. Joseph was born in Israel in 1923 and began playing the piano at the age of eight. His prodigious talent earned him first prize in a national competition for young pianists in Tel Aviv just two years later, and he was subsequently accepted as a student at the Shulamit Conservatory, where he studied with Alexander Buch. After World War II, he continued his studies here at MSM, studying under Harold Bauer and Dora Zaslavsky, and winning the Harold Bauer Award for pianistic excellence on his way to earning his Master of Music degree in 1951. In 1952 he was selected by Mischa Elman to become the renowned violinist’s exclusive accompanist, and he collaborated with Mr. Elman throughout the world, in recitals, radio, and television appearances, and on a series of recordings, until Mr. Elman’s death in 1967. Joseph also performed with, among others, violinists Erick Friedman, Aaron Rosand, Ruggiero Ricci, Henryck Szering, Zvi Zeitlin, and Michael Rabin. In 1988, Joseph was invited to become a Visiting Professor at London’s Royal Academy of Music and appeared in concerts and festivals throughout Europe, presenting master classes in piano and chamber music in Germany, Spain, Hungary, Japan, and Australia. Since 1998, Mr. Seiger had been living in Tel Aviv.
Lew Soloff (Former Jazz Faculty 1986-2006)Lew joined MSM faculty at a pivotal time in the School’s history, just two years after MSM began offering a Master’s degree in Jazz in 1984 and just one year before our Jazz Bachelor’s degree program was announced in 1987. Lew, who was born in Brooklyn in 1944 and took up the trumpet at age 10, was a fixture on the New York jazz scene for half a century. In 1968, he began a fertile and extremely influential five-year run with seminal jazz-rock band Blood, Sweat & Tears, with the high point of that stretch arguably coming at the two-minute mark of the band’s Top 40 smash, “Spinning Wheel,” when Lew’s memorable, upper-register, be-bop-fueled solo blew open the doors of rock and roll, offering up new possibilities and fusions to generations of jazz musicians. As The Late Show with David Letterman’s Paul Shaffer is quoted as saying in Lew’s New York Times obituary: “There was no jazz-rock before Blood, Sweat & Tears. [Lew] changed the idiom.” Lew’s long and fruitful career as a musician also saw him contributing regularly to recordings by Gil Evans and Carla Bley and serving as sideman for many other artists, including Barbra Streisand, Lou Reed, Dizzy Gillespie, Paul Simon, and Frank Sinatra. Lew was also a featured trumpet soloist on several occasions with innovative multi-instrumentalist Ornette Coleman, was lead trumpeter of the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band under the direction of Jon Faddis, and spent six years as first trumpet in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. In addition, he recorded eight albums as a leader.
Elena Wolkonsky (Former Precollege Piano Faculty) passed away on August 14 at age 91 in New York City. She had given her last concert in May. Born in Ekaterinodar, Russia, Wolkonsky began her studies with her mother and graduated from a professional children’s school at 13 before moving on to the Leningrad Conservatory. According to a 1958 New York World-Telegram & Sun profile of her on the occasion of her Town Hall debut, she and her mother escaped the U.S.S.R. and walked across Europe after World War II and then settled in the U.S.; her father had been sent to Siberia and was never heard from again. In 1948, Wolkonsky entered Juilliard and studied with Beveridge Webster and Ernest Hutcheson and minored in chorus. She was on the precollege faculty at Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School. (information acquired from The Juilliard Journal)
Phil Woods (‘48, clarinet) passed away on September 29, 2015 at the age of 83. A preeminent jazz alto saxophonist, Phil Woods was known for touring and recording with Quincy Jones and performing alongside musicians like Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Goodman. He was prominently featured on Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are.” Woods also played the alto sax solo on Steely Dan’s “Doctor Wu” from their 1975 album Katy Lied, as well as Paul Simon’s “Have a Good Time” from the 1975 album Still Crazy After All These Years. Although Woods was primarily a saxophonist, he studied clarinet at Manhattan School of Music in 1948 and then at the Juilliard School, where he graduated in 1952. His education made him a sought-after player for his sight-reading skills. Mr. Woods won four GRAMMY Awards and in 2007 was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master and received a Living Jazz Legend Award from the Kennedy Center.
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