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Check out the recent activities and accomplishments of our alumni. 

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In Memoriam


CLASSES OF 1950–1959

Nicolas Flagello's (BM ’49, MM ’50) Concerto for String Orchestra was performed by the German orchestra Deutsche-Kammerakademie conducted by Lavard Skou Larsen on April 2, 2017.

Kenneth Lane (’54) performed for the New Life Expo at The New Yorker on March 18, 2017. Selections included love songs from opera, Viennese operetta, and musicals, and even included a few tunes by The Beatles and Elvis.

CLASSES OF 1960–1969

Ralph Blauvelt (MM ’67) published his third book, A Blauvelt Descendant, in August 2016. He is being honored with other Rockland County, NY historians, past and present, in the current exhibit, “Past/Forward,” at the Orangetown Historical Museum and Archives in Orangeburg, NY. Ralph published a remastered version of his CD Frances Riley Blauvelt Sings the Music of Ralph Blauvelt in April 2017, which includes four performance recordings and the four compositions of his “Opus 2015.” In May 2017, Ralph published the eighteenth CD of his music, From Those Beginning Notes, which includes nine new compositions featuring bassist Motoharu Yoshizawa, Bradford Graves, reeds, and Ralph at the keyboard.

Francis Brancaleone (MM ’60), Professor emeritus at Manhattanville College, served on the screening jury of the Eighth New York International Piano Competition held at MSM in the summer of 2016. He also served as coach for the Ensemble Round where one of his teams was awarded second prize. On March 11, 2017, he presented a paper, currently in preparation for publication, entitled “Georgia Stevens, R.S.C.J., Indefatigable Educator and the Pius X School of Liturgical Music” for the Gregorian Chant in Pastoral Ministry and Religious Education National Conference at St. Joseph’s Major Seminary (Dunwoodie), in Yonkers, NY. This spring, he was an adjudicator for a number of organizations: the Young Musicians Festival at Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT on March 18 and 19; the Schubert Club of Fairfield County’s Special Award Competitions in Weston, CT on April 1; and the New York State Music Teachers Association, Westchester/Putnam Chapter at the Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains, NY on May 7. His article “Wagnerian Influence and Motives in the Works of Edward MacDowell,” the transcript of a paper he gave at the Edward MacDowell Festival and Symposium at Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA, is pending publication at Pendragon Press. He is happy to report that his wife, Elsa Jean Davidson, former MSM Dean of Students, is cancer free following eight months of treatment.   

John Corigliano (’63, Honorary Doctorate 1992) is a 2017 Grammy Award winner for The Ghosts of Versailles under the category "Best Engineered Album, Classical" and "Best Opera Recording." 

Joseph Rescigno (MM ’69) is celebrating his 35th anniversary with the Florentine Opera (Milwaukee, WI). He is now the longest-serving principal conductor of any opera company in the United States, with the retirement last year of James Levine from the Metropolitan Opera. A native of New York City, Rescigno was tapped to guest-conduct a production of La Gioconda with the Florentine, the nation’s sixth oldest opera company, in 1981. “When I first joined the company, and John Gage was the General Director, we did a lot of Italian and French operas, what you’d consider the traditional repertoire. With Dennis Hanthorn, we branched out into doing more Wagner and Strauss. And with the arrival of Bill Florescu, the emphasis has been on doing more contemporary works, in addition to other repertoire. I think that’s a healthy sign, that the company continues to evolve,” said Rescigno. Maestro Rescigno has also served as Music Director of La Musica Lirica, a summer program for singers in Northern Italy, since 2005. In addition, he is honored to continue mentoring young conductors in the Opera Residency Program of the Solti Foundation U.S.

Carl Topilow (BM ’68, MM ’69) will be celebrating his 40th season in Summer 2017 as Music Director and Conductor of the National Repertory Orchestra (NRO). This year also marks the 20th anniversary season of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, an ensemble for which Carl is the founding conductor. Currently in his 36th season as Conductor and Director of the Orchestral Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), Carl has appeared as guest conductor with 120 orchestras in 37 states and 12 foreign countries. His CIM students and NRO alumni may be found as orchestra members and conductors both nationally and internationally.  

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CLASSES OF 1970–1979

Steve Cohen (BM ’76) was commissioned by the Zamir Choral Foundation for a new choral piece. Titled Al Rosh Simchati (Above My Chiefest Joy), it will premiere on May 21, 2017 at the Rose Auditorium, Jazz at Lincoln Center, in New York City. MSM alum Alan Mason (BM ’80, MM ’82) is among the performers.

Shirley Gruenhut (MM ’73) has been collaborating with flutist Marla Nistico, who is a finalist for the Astral Management auditions on June 6, 2017 in Philadelphia. Here is their pre-audition submission of a performance of Gaubert’s Fantasie for flute and piano: https://youtu.be/Fa65bFA4jLw. Shirley will also be the featured soloist and ensemble member on June 10, 2017 at the Master Works Theatre, with all proceeds going to the Hearts for the Arts Foundation founded by Dr. Joann Freeburg.  

Douglas Hedwig (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, premiered on February 19, 2017.

Larry Hochman (BM ’75) was nominated for a Tony Award (Best Orchestration) for Hello, Dolly!

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 was given at New York’s historic Trinity Church on September 21, 2016 which is World Peace Day. A CD of the “Requiem for the Innocent” was issued in August by Fortay Records.

Drake Mabry (BM ’71) became a composer after attending MSM and playing in orchestras. He has lived in France for 30 years, playing the Turkish ney flute, painting ebru paintings, writing haiku poetry, and composing. “I am a long way from the oboist I was,” he writes, “but I’m still moved when hearing this instrument.” Drake was a Harold Gomberg student at MSM.

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.

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) had a number of performances in April 2017. Victor Cayres and Heeyeon Chi performed his Sky Legends: Twelve Miniatures on Signs of the Zodiac for piano four-hands on April 3 in a concert that also featured the world premiere of his Sonata for Cello and Piano, played by Victor Cayres and Hyun-Ji Kwon. On April 7, the Trio Alexander (Caroline Sonett, flute; Adam Cordle, viola; Rosanna Moore, harp) were joined by baritone Isaac Assor for the premiere of David’s song cycle, At the Landing: Verses from a Poet’s Life, at the Rockwell Museum in Corning, NY. The DiMenna Center was the venue for the New York premiere of his Out of the Shadows, by the Amabile Piano Trio on April 29.

David Schiff’s (BM ’73, MM ’75) violin concerto, 4 Sisters, was performed by Regina Carter and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on March 3, 2017. Recent commissions include Ducal Suite for Clarinet and String Quartet, which will be premiered by David Shifrin and the Dover String Quartet at Chamber Music Northwest in July; Allemande en rondeau, written for Nancy Ives, Principal Cellist of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra; and Songs Without Words, commissioned by Portland Piano International for its Rising Star program.

Randall Svane (BM ’77) had his Saint Francis Symphony premiered on November 20 by the Moravian Philharmonic under the direction of Philipp Amelung. The seven-movement symphony, scored for large orchestra and tenor soloist, received rave reviews from the Munich press.

Sondra Tammam (BM ’73) was a guest speaker at the MTNA National Conference in Baltimore in March. She also presented a workshop to the Piano Teachers Congress of New York. Her recent master classes were at the University of Graz (Austria) and the Accademia di Santa Cecilia (Rome).

Ann Tedesco (MM ’76) performed her 23rd Piano Benefit Concert on March 28, 2017 at St. John’s University, where she is a faculty member.

Thomas Webb (MM ’77) is Head Boxing Coach at Iron Industry Boxing Gym in Adelaide, South Australia.

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CLASSES OF 1980–1989

Audrey Axinn (BM ’86) taught a masterclass in collaborative piano at Oberlin Conservatory on Oct. 29, 2016.

Fred Bronstein (MM ’82), Dean of Peabody Institute, was named one of The Musical America Worldwide’s top 30 innovators in the performing arts industry during 2016.

Frank Daykin (’83), member of the advisory board of the Art Song Preservation Society of NY, has been invited to give an all-Poulenc masterclass on May 17, 2017, to be held at Manhattan School of Music.

Richard DeRosa (MM ’85) and Andrea Pejrolo (BM ’96) wrote the second and expanded edition of Acoustic and MIDI Orchestration for the Contemporary Composer, published by Focal Press in 2016 and available on Amazon.com. Rich DeRosa has released a CD titled Perseverance, available through CD Baby, which was published by North Texas Jazz | UNT Division of Jazz Studies, where DeRosa is Director of Jazz Composition and Arranging. His compositions and arrangements were recorded by the One O’Clock and Two O’Clock Lab Bands along with the UNT Concert Orchestra. Included on the CD is his composition Neil, which received a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Composition in 2015. Rich recently received the Presidential Excellence Award from the University of North Texas, a $10,000 award given to outstanding faculty members. 

Carolyn Enger’s (’89) latest work, The Mischlinge Exposé, created with alumna Carrie Frey (MM ’16), pays tribute to Carolyn’s father, Horst Joachim Enger, who survived forced labor and the Holocaust as a Mischling—a half-Jew—in Germany. Combining music, literature, and images, the multimedia concert program focuses on the haunting memories of the lives of Mischlinge and converts, in Germany before, during, and after the Holocaust, an experience reflected in Ms. Enger’s own family history. Ms. Enger presented The Mischlinge Exposé at community centers throughout New York and New Jersey, premiering a new work by Bruce Adolphe, written especially for this ambitious project, at the Center for Jewish History in spring 2017. Other highlights of her 2016–17 season include a performance at Michaelis Kirche in Erfurt, Germany; a Chicago residency with recitals at several Steinway Galleries and the Chicago Public Library; and a performance at the Chelmsford Center for the Arts in Massachusetts.

Karen Geer (MM 85) is the new Executive Director of InterSchool Orchestras of New York.

Dan Grabois (MM ’89) received tenure at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he is in his sixth year teaching horn. Before coming to Madison, Dan was Chair of the Contemporary Performance Program at Manhattan School of Music.

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 performed 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. 

Benjamin Loh (MM ’88) was named a Steinway Artist on December 9, 2016. Mr. Loh is based in Singapore and teaches at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and the LASALLE College of the Arts, while also maintaining an active private studio. He is often invited to teach at music festivals and to adjudicate at competitions in Asia, Europe, and the United States. www.benjaminloh.com

Karen (Engert) Luttik (BM ’84)
has published An Analysis of Géza Frid’s Concerto for Clarinets, Op. 82 (1972): Rediscovered repertoire by a Hungarian, Jewish, Dutch composer, her Lecture Recital Research, in partial fulfillment of her DMA requirements, on Boston University’s Open University Database, April 2017. http://hdl.handle.net/2144/21329

Dr. Alan Mason (BM ’80, MM ’82), retired Associate Professor of Music at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida, is the conductor of HaZamir Miami, a chapter of HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir. Alan accompanied HaZamir on their recent concerts at the Metropolitan Opera House (March 26, 2017) and Jazz at Lincoln Center (May 21, 2017). He is President of the Guild of Temple Musicians and has made a flourishing career as a noted pianist, accompanist, and program director for sacred Jewish music concerts throughout the United States and abroad.

Peri Mauer (BM 88, MM 90) premiered 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. The world premiere of her string quartet, Shadow Lake, was performed on February 21, 2017 by the Klang String Quartet, featuring alumnus Gregor Kitzis (BM ’83, MM '86).

Steinway Artist Susan Merdinger's (DMA ’88) busy 2016–17 season began with performances of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico under the direction of Gabriela Diaz Alatriste in Toluca, Mexico and at the Festival Quimera in Metepec, Mexico. She continued her series of live recordings of Beethoven’s Sonatas for Piano and Cello and Piano and Violin for “Live from WFMT” (Chicago), hosted by Kerry Frumkin, with performances with cellist Steven Honigberg in October and violinist Ilya Kaler in January. Merdinger’s organization, Sheridan Music Studio Presents, produced the first “Piano Masters” concert, which featured Merdinger, two of her students, and her four-piano ensemble, Pianissimo! in a concert of Piano concerti for one, two, and four pianos and orchestra. It included Bach–Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Pianos, Mozart and Poulenc’s Concertos for Two Pianos, and a Chicago premiere of Jeremy Beck’s Nightlife for Four Pianos (2008). The members of Pianissimo! include two MSM alumna, Dr. Svetlana Belsky and Dr. Elena Doubovitskaya. April 2017 featured the debut release of Merdinger’s recording of Beethoven’s Sonata in B-flat, Op. 22 for Steinway Spirio; recordings of Copland, Mendelssohn, and Chopin are to be released soon. On May 21 Merdinger returned to Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall to perform with her husband and duo-piano partner, Steven Greene, as first-prize winners of the 2017 Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition in the Duo Piano Professional Category. (Merdinger previously won first prize in the Bradshaw and Buono Competition in the Solo Professional Category in 2012.) In June, Merdinger is touring with the Tahoe Symphony Orchestra under the direction of James Rawie, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21. In July and August, Merdinger returns to Summit Music Festival, where she has been a member of the piano faculty since 2011.

On a personal note, Merdinger and her husband Steven Greene celebrated 30 years of marriage in June 2016. They have three children, who are all professional musicians: Stefanie, a soprano, is about to embark on a Master’s degree in sacred music at Hebrew Union College to become a cantor; Sarah, a violist and violinist, is currently touring professionally for Lincoln Center Stage; and Scott, a clarinetist and composer, has had his electronic music compositions aired on national television. First Clarinetist of the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra since his freshman year, he will graduate next year with degrees in music technology and in clarinet performance. The family performs together as “The Five Greenes.”  

Donovan Mixon (MM ’85) released his first YA novel, Ahgottahandleonit, in March 2017 by Cinco Puntos Press. His bookings included a Black History Month presentation in February 2017 and a talk about the blending of music and literature in April 2017 at Evanston Library. On March 23, Donovan presented for writer’s week at Niles North High School. HER Story Theatre in Chicago produced a live music and dramatic reading for the project in March and upcoming is the Chicago Printer’s Row Festival this June.
Review: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/search/?q=ahgottahandleonit&t=all
More info here: donovanmixonwriter.com

Dr. Stephen Moore (MM ’83), a student of Dora Zaslavsky, was inspired to pursue the study of Dalcroze Eurhythmics with the late Robert Abramson. In 2016 the Institut Jaques-Dalcroze in Geneva awarded the Diplome Superieur to Dr. Moore, one of only 50 people in the world with this degree. Dr. Moore is currently Associate Professor, Performance Specialist (Piano/Theory/Jazz) at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Brenda Murray (MM ’86) performed a concert at Meredith College on March 21, 2017 with Manny Laureano, the principal trumpet of the Minnesota Orchestra, conductor of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra and the Minnesota Youth Orchestra. Brenda also performed on March 25, 2017 at Meredith College with alumna Lorraine Duso (MM ’87), Professor of Double Reeds at University of Central Arkansas and Oboe/English Horn of the Arkansas Symphony.

John Musto (BM ’76, MM ’80) was recently appointed Coordinator of the DMA Program in Music Performance at the CUNY Graduate Center. Commissioned works include his children’s opera Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt, which will receive its premiere in fall 2017 with OnSite Opera, Chicago Lyric, and Pittsburgh Opera. He also commissioned a silence that speaks with Chanticleer, which will receive its premiere in July 2017, and Be Music, Night for soprano and piano with Lyric Fest, which had its premiere on April 2, 2017.  John’s opera production performances included Bastianello with Rochester Lyric Opera in April 2016, The Inspector with the University of Houston in January 2017, and Later the Same Evening with Central City Opera, Northwestern University, University of South Carolina, and Opera Memphis. John’s performances in 2017 included the Gershwin Concerto with Greeley Philharmonic, a cabaret with his spouse Amy Burton at Café Sabarsky, a recital with Amy at Wave Hill, and Late Night with Leonard Bernstein (Music from Copland House).

Anders Paulsson’s (MM ’86) first symphonic tone poem, Kumulipo Reflections, premiered in April 2017 with the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra conducted by JoAnn Falletta and featuring vocalist Aaron D. Mahi. Celebrating the power of the ocean, Paulsson’s score “captures the timelessness and beauty of the Hawai’ian landscape and seascape, . . . a symphonic reflection of the Hawai’ian creation chant Kumulipo, presented and uplifted with the HSO to a new audience.” Anders is the cofounder and Artistic Director of Coral Guardians.
www.coralguardians.org  http://anderspaulsson.se/site/ocean-dreams

Jack Perla's (BM '83, MM '84) opera, An American Dream will be performed by the Studio Artists of Opera Maine in July 2017.  The opera will also return to Opera Seattle in September, after receiving its world-premiere there in August 2015.  

Neil Semer (BM ’83) gave master classes and lessons in Australia for the Melba Trust, Queensland Conservatorium, and Victorian ANATS in March 2017. This summer he will hold his 21st annual Neil Semer Vocal Institute in Germany. This year, his students are singing at the Metropolitan Opera, Bayreuth, Covent Garden, La Scala, Rome Opera, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Dresden, Leipzig, Canadian Opera, Vancouver, Calgary, Basel, Cologne, Baden-Baden, Komische Oper, Copenhagen, Mainz, Regensburg, and Michigan Opera Theatre.

Lauren Shapiro (BM ’85) is the winner of a  2017 Bronx Council of the Arts award in the category of literary fiction for her short stories, “In Spite of the Devil” and “Rochelle La Belle.”  Ms. Shapiro’s song “Better Things to Do” was recorded by blues singer Annika Chambers on her album “Wild & Free,” in August 2016, and her article on dance accompanying was published in Dance Studio Life Magazine: https://www.dancestudiolife.com/february-2017-thinking-out-loud-the-bottom-line-and-the-big-picture/. In addition to her degree from Manhattan School of Music, Lauren holds an MA in Writing from Manhattanville College and is an accompanist for the schools at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the American Ballet Theatre.

Amy Webb (MM ’83) taught elementary general music in private, parochial, and public schools for many years. Currently teaching piano privately, she invites her students to perform their pieces at an assisted living facility, where she conducts a monthly sing-along. Her goal is to encourage her students to give joy to others through music. Amy also currently volunteers as a chaplain at a nursing home, leading hymn sing for patients with dementia and other challenges. Her individual visits as a chaplain often involve singing, flute playing, and playing songs on her lap harp. Amy writes, “I credit my MSM years with giving me real-life experience in teaching. A degree from Manhattan School of Music has been respected and recognized by employers throughout my working life. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be immersed in a music school. It’s inspiring to imagine how many lives have been touched by graduates spread throughout the world singing, playing, and teaching music!”

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

Thomas Michael Allen (MM ’91) has been appointed Assistant Professor of Voice at USC Thornton School of Music beginning in August 2017. After previous seasons in which he appeared as a soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Zurich Tonhalle Orchester, Thomas Michael Allen covered the third Knappe in Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival and performed his first Wagner role (Kunz Vogelgesang) in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the Komische Oper Berlin in October and November. He also performed the tenor roles in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen with Les Nouveaux Caractères on tour in France and returned to the Komische Oper as Arnalta in Barrie Kosky’s staging of L’incoronazione di Poppea in April, May, and June. He will sing the tenor solo in Britten’s War Requiem at the Berlin Philharmonie in June.

Flutist and composer Jamie Baum (Jazz Faculty, MM ’99) performs with her band Short Stories (Gregoire Maret on harmonica, Gilad Hekselman on guitar, Andy Milne on piano, Joe Martin on bass, and Jeff Hirshfield on drums) at the SideDoor in Connecticut on July 7, 2017, at the Falcon in Marlboro, NY on July 9, 2017, and at the Jazz Standard in New York City on July 11. 

Justin Bischof (BM ’90, MM ’92, DMA ’98) is Conductor and Artistic Director of the Canadian Chamber Orchestra of New York City. On April 30, 2017, he conducted Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at SUNY Purchase in New York for a benefit entitled Transforming the Lives of Children through Music, the orchestra’s 10th annual children’s benefit concert. Many of the performers involved were MSM alumni, including soprano soloist Amy Shoremount-Obra (BM ’01, MM ’03), alto soloist Sahoko Timpone (MM ’99, PS ’01), bass soloist Hans Tashjian (MM ’13), the concertmaster Nicole Sharlow (MM ’01), the associate conductor Elliot Moore (MM ’10), and 18 other members of the orchestra. Susan Botti (MM ’90) was the composer in residence with the Alabama Symphony (Birmingham, AL) for the 2015–16 season, which included the premiere of a new commission for orchestra, Glaze. The ASO also performed a chamber music concert featuring Botti singing her operatic soliloquy, Telaio: Desdemona, and an orchestra concert featuring her EchoTempo for soprano, percussion, and orchestra (with the composer as soprano soloist). EchoTempo was originally commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, which premiered the work in 2001 with Principal Percussionist Christopher Lamb, Chair of MSM’s Percussion Department, as Botti’s co-soloist. Other premieres this year included Mangetsu for soprano and violin, commissioned by violinist Airi Yoshioka.

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 made her debut performance with the Shanghai Symphony performing Rhapsody in Blue.

Robert Cassidy (MM ’92) performed Franz Schubert’s song cycle Die Winterreise with MSM alumnus and operatic singer DeAndre Simmons (MM '05) on March 19, 2017 at Castleton in Performance. He made his Parisian recital debut in April 2017 at The American Church in Paris.

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.  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.

Mark Dix (MM 95), violist of the Phoenix Symphony, received a 2017 Ford Musician Award for Excellence in Community Service from the League of American Orchestras.

In October 2016 Michael Fennelly (MM ’95, DMA ’01) performed at National Chorale's "All Gershwin Concert" at Geffen Hall playing Rhapsody in Blue.  He also played for Renee Fleming and Tituss Burgess at the Sing for Hope Gala.

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)
 completed her run as the violin soloist in the Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof in Fall 2016 and this spring she joins the Broadway production of Sunset Boulevard as the concertmaster and soloist of the orchestra. Kelly performed the U.S. premiere of Siegfried Matthus’s latest violin concerto “Dream of A Summer Night” on November 18, 2016 with the Oakland Symphony and conductor Michael Morgan.  In January 2017, she was the featured Guest Soloist in Fiddler on the Roof with StarStruck Theatre and is also performing with the Ritz Chamber Players in various locations in Florida and New York City from January through May. Kelly is also the winner of a 2017 Sphinx Medal of Excellence.  

Richard Hammond (MM ’98) is performing in the orchestra of Broadway’s Hamilton.

Stacie Haneline (MM ’92) has had a busy year as the Interim Piano Chair for the University of Nebraska Omaha School of Music where she is a keyboard faculty member. Stacie was honored to perform at the African American Arts Song Alliance at the University of California Irvine with soprano Dr. Gale Robinson-Orturo for the world premiere of the piano/vocal arrangement of honoree Leslie Adams’s song cycle, Dunbar Songs, as well as Robert Owens’s 4 Sonnets to Duse, with soprano Dr. Jamie Reimer. Performing engagements this year will take her to the International Symposium on Performance Science in Reykjavik, Iceland, where she and Dr. Reimer have been invited to perform and present their research on “Personality and Performer: Defining a Satisfying Collaborative Relationship.” They were also invited to the World Convention for Music Educators in Stockholm, Sweden. Stacie will appear on the National Flute Convention with flutist Dr. Christie Beard in Minneapolis, MN. Stacie also maintains a busy teaching and collaborative schedule at the University of Nebraska Omaha. She is active as a pianist for the Omaha Symphony, the Omaha Chamber Music Society (where she was Executive Director for 12 years), and Broadway touring shows such as Wicked, Book of Mormon, Legally Blonde, and Sister Act.

Stefon Harris (BM 95, MM 97) 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) performed the role of Marsh in Muny’s 42nd Street in Summer 2016 and also in the sold out Off-Broadway production of Sweet Charity with Sutton Foster in Fall 2016. Shuler also appears in the TV series Shades of Blue, The OA, and Elementary.

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. He 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.

Kelly Kuo (MM ’98) is currently in his fifth season as Artistic Director of Oregon Mozart Players and Music Director and Conductor of the Butler Opera Center of the University of Texas at Austin. Recent conducting debuts include the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Ballet Fantastique, Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, and Cincinnati Opera. He will be making his Memphis Symphony conducting debut in the 2017–18 season. In February 2017 Kelly conducted Charlie Parker’s Yardbird for Lyric Opera of Chicago with tenor Lawrence Brownlee and alumna Krysty Swann (MM ’08), who sang the role of Rebecca Parker.

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".

Carla López-Speziale (DMA ’98) performed as the mezzo-soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Orquesta Filarmónica de la UNAM in November 2016 and also played the title role in Carmen in December 2016 at Hong Kong City Hall.

Peri Mauer (MM ’90) was honored to be a featured composer in the Composers Now Festival 2017, which took place throughout February. Other recent performances include her solo trumpet piece RED SKY in the Women Composers Festival of Hartford, played by trumpeter Kate Amrine; her flute, harp, and marimba trio Pixeliance at Vassar College; the world premiere of her string quartet Shadow Lake in a New York Composers Circle Concert of New Music at St. Peter’s Church, NYC; and the world premiere of All Along the Heights for orchestra, commissioned and premiered by the Jackson Heights Orchestra to critical acclaim: http://soundwordsight.com/?p=2086

Kristin Norderval’s (DMA 93) receives two OPUS prizes for her opera The Trials of Patricia Isasa: Best Production in Montreal in 2016 and Best Production of New Music in 2016. The OPUS prizes are given annually in February by the Quebec Council for Music to institutions and ensembles who have had noteworthy productions the previous year.
Here is a look at a 9 minute mini documentary on the production: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hEoJjJjYm8
And a film of the full opera: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBTdgoFtngM

N’Kenge Pacurar (BM 96) was 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. 

Kyle Pfortmiller (MM ’94) performed the role of Aquilio in Farnace in the Spoleto Festival in June 2017.

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

Bryan Register (MM ’94) performed as Tristan in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at the UK’s Grange Park Opera and in Tokyo under Maestro Jesús López Cobos. Highlights of 2017 include Bryan’s role debut as Énée in Berlioz’s Les Troyens in Frankfurt, Tristan in Trieste, Siegmund in Die Walküre at Grange Park Opera and appearances at other leading European festivals. 

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... ” 

Salvatore Di Vittorio (BM ’97) will open the Chamber Orchestra of New York’s 10th anniversary season, as its founding Music Director, at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall on Saturday, October 28, 2017. The program, “Postcards from Italy,” includes music of Rossini and Verdi; Di Vittorio’s completion of Respighi’s first Violin Concerto (with violinist Elena Urioste); and two premieres—his own Palermo Overture and Dirk Brosse’s own Pictures at an Exhibition. As New York’s premier young professionals’ orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of New York auditions musicians who are enrolled or have graduated from the major music conservatories, including Manhattan School of Music. https://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2017/10/28/0730/PM/Chamber-Orchestra-of-New-York/

Maksim Zhdanovskikh (MM ’96) performed in the ensemble of New York City Opera's fall opening production of Aleko and Pagliacci.

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CLASSES OF 2000–2009

Christopher Allen (BM ’08) is the recipient of the 2017 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, a $30,000 grant to support “talented young American conductors as they continue to develop their orchestral and operatic conducting skills.” It is the largest grant awarded to young American conductors in the United States. 

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.

Sharin Apostoulou (MM ’06) debuted in the U.S. premiere of Louis Andriessen’s Odysseus’ Women/Anais Nin in the 2016-17 season at National Sawdust and performed in Resphigi’s La campana sommersa with New York City Opera. Sharon returns to The Little Opera Theatre of New York as Nell Gwynn for the New York premiere of Carlisle Floyd's latest opera, Prince of Players, and Ash Lawn Opera for her first Ado Annie in Oklahoma!. 

Pascal Archer (MM ’06) won the Principal Clarinet position with the Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra. 

Hayk Arsenyan (PS ’08) performed in Musical Armenia 2017 in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in March 31, 2017 and also performed a solo concert on April 2, 2017 at Steinway Hall in New York City.

Alon Bisk (BM ’02, MM ’04) is performing in the orchestra of Broadway’s Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.

Laura Bohn (MM ’08) recently premiered “A Mouth is Not for Talking: La voix humaine” at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust. She covered the role of the Governess in The Turn of the Screw at the Dallas Opera and will be returning in 2018 to cover the role of Marinus in a virtual reality opera by Dutch composer Michel van der Aa entitled Sunken Garden. In the Netherlands, Ms. Bohn has been a part of two new productions, one entitled Before I Die, which sets the two heroines of Bellini’s Norma and Puccini’s Butterfly in a surreal afterlife, and another that paired La voix humanine with staged songs by Edith Piaf. Ms. Bohn is presently in rehearsals at Festival Opera preparing to sing the role of Anna in The Seven Deadly Sins by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht. https://www.laurabohn.com/

J'Nai Bridges (BM 09) performed 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 during the 2016–17 season. 

Jean Caze (BM
 ’04) performed with Michael Bublé on Good Morning America in October 2016.

Charlie Christenson (MM ’08) was accepted into the DMA Jazz Voice Performance Program as a Mancini Fellow at the Frost School of Music, University of Miami for fall 2017. He will be leaving his post as Head of the Voice Department at the McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, MN, which he has held for six years.

Amanda Crider (MM ’01)
debuted at Boston Lyric Opera in November 2016 in Mark Anthony Turnage’s opera Greek. In the fall of 2017, Amanda will debut at Los Angeles Opera in Keeril Makan’s new opera, Persona, in the lead role of Alma. Previously performing this role with Beth Morrison Project, the New York Times proclaimed, “Ms. Crider sang with deep expressivity and impressive stamina,” and Boston Globe said, “At the heart of this production was Amanda Crider’s nuanced performance as Alma. She conveyed with often-gleaming vocalism the slow unmasking of a self.” The Wall Street Journal stated, “The eloquent Ms. Crider carried the evening.”

David Dash (MM ’03) has recently been appointed Assistant Professor of Trumpet at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, beginning in fall 2017. He was previously a member of the Naples Philharmonic and “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. He continues to perform as a member of the Santa Fe Opera in the summer. David’s wife, Mary Bowden, a trumpet soloist and chamber musician, will be a Resident Artist at UNCSA. They often perform together as the Bowden–Dash Duo.

Rebekah Diaz-Fandrei (MM ’07) became the Director of the department of Community Engagement and Education with Florida Grand Opera in 2016.

Lisbeth Dreier (BM ’03, MM ’05) won a violin position with the Oregon Symphony. After several years performing as an acting member of the orchestra, she will begin her tenure-track position in September 2017. In June she and Oregon Symphony Assistant Principal Timpani Sergio Carreno will be married in Italy.

Shirin Eskandani (MM 08) made her stage debut as Mercedes in Carmen with the Metropolitan Opera in the 2016–17 season.

Daryl Freedman (MM 09) performed in Dead Man Walking with Washington National Opera at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in March 2017.

Blake Friedman (MM ’09) performed in "American Opera Project’s Composers and the Voice" in Fall 2016.  In January 2017 he played the role of Nemorino in L’elisir D’amore with St. Pete Opera. On March 5, 2017, Blake was the Evangelist in Bach’s The Passion with Canterbury Choral Society.  March also included performances in Rossini’s Otello with LoftOpera. He also performed in The Sarasota Artists Series Concerts in April, as well as the Tenor Soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with The Sarasota Orchestra. In May, Blake performed as the Tenor Soloist in Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana with The York Symphony Orchestra.

David Friend (BM ’05, MM ’07) is a guest pianist on Third Coast Percussion’s Steve Reich album, which won a 2017 Grammy award for best chamber music performance.
Link to the album for further info: http://www.cedillerecords.org/albums/third-coast-percussion-steve-reich
Link to third coast's web post about the Grammy win: http://thirdcoastpercussion.com/news/first-grammy-award/

Melanie Gall (PS ’08) performed her children’s opera, Opera Mouse, off-Broadway at SoHo Playhouse from October–December in 2016. She recently completed a worldwide concert tour, performing Opera Mouse and giving Semaine de La Francophonie recitals in Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Taiwan, and England, as well as in N’Djamena Chad, and Khartoum, Sudan. Melanie’s upcoming performances include Opera Mouse at Opera Festival Grimeborn in London, England, as well as her cabaret Piaf and Brel: The Impossible Concert at the East Riding Theatre in Beverley, UK. In August 2017, Melanie will present Piaf and Brel, as well as her new show, We’ll Meet Again: Vera Lynn, the Forces’ Sweetheart, at the festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Melanie is currently recording a new CD, which will be released in December 2017.   

Emma Gerstein (BM ’09) won the 2nd Flute position with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2017.

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 premiered a new piano concerto by Thomas Adès in the 2016–17 season with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and he returned to play with the New York Philharmonic at David Geffen Hall in February 2017. 

Jennifer Goode Cooper (MM ’01) performed in American Opera Project’s Composers and the Voice in Fall 2016.  Jennifer debuted at Anchorage Opera as Older Alice in Glory Denied in February 2017 and also sang Mimi in La Bohème at the Festival of the Arts, Boca, under the baton of Constantine Kitsopoulos.

Rena Harms (BM ’06) sang Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly with Arizona Opera and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in the 2016–17 season.

Craig Hartley (BM ’06) was music producer for events for COACH, Stella Artois, and Harry Winston, among others, in 2016, assembling and conducting an ensemble playing his arrangements. Craig composed and produced music for various art films, including Private, featuring Bella Hadid for Visionaire, and Dressing Ceremony, featuring international artist Daniel Lismore, which premiered at Miami Art Basel. He created soundscapes for art installations in Beijing and New York (including Autoportrait, an art installation at Cadillac House Gallery) and was music supervisor for the installation Toiletpaper Paradise (Pierpaolo Ferrari and Maurizio Cattelan). He also served as producer and composer for a NARS Cosmetics commercial. In addition, Craig released his second CD, Books on Tape, Vol. 2 – Standard Edition, which has received critical acclaim. It was featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition, included on numerous Top 10 albums of the year lists, and chosen by the Observer as one of the 20 Best Jazz Albums of 2016. This January, Craig produced and composed music for a VR film featuring the artist KAWS for Visionaire in celebration of M&M’s 75th anniversary. It premiered at the New York Public Library and was recently nominated for a Webby. Craig just returned from his sixth tour as a leader in Italy playing jazz clubs and concert halls.  www.craighartley.me   http://n.pr/2fWVNxT

Clay Hilley (PS 09) performed in Dead Man Walking with Washington National Opera at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in March 2017.

Dr. Michael Ibrahim (DMA ’09), Associate Director of the West Virginia University School of Music and associate professor of saxophone, has been appointed interim director of the school.

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 received its world-premiere screening at MSM in December, co-starring soprano Jessica Fishenfeld. 

Trumpeter Andy Kozar (MM ’09) has been actively performing worldwide with his quartet loadbang, which includes MSM alumni Jeffrey Gavett (MM ’09), William Lang (MM ’09), and Carlos Cordeiro (MM ’12).  They have commissioned and premiered over 250 pieces for their unique instrumentation (trumpet, trombone, bass clarinet, and baritone voice) and released numerous records to great critical acclaim. In addition, Andy has started the Byrne/Kozar duo, a trumpet and soprano duo with his wife, Corrine Byrne (MM ’12); they have been performing historically informed baroque music on period instruments in addition to commissioning new works for modern trumpet and soprano. Since 2015, he has been on the trumpet and chamber music faculty at the Longy School of Music of Bard College.

JoAnn Lamolino (MM ’02) was appointed Acting Associate Principal Trumpet for the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra in Honolulu in September 2015. Duties include masterworks, Pops, Honolulu Brass Quintet, and performances on neighboring islands.

Jocelyn Medina (MM ’07) released her new album, Common Ground, on June 1, 2017, celebrating the event in New York City with a CD release concert at Jazz at Kitano on May 31. Common Ground, Jocelyn’s third solo record, consists of nine original tunes combining jazz and world-music styles from India and Africa. The project features Pete McCann on guitar, Art Hirahara on piano, Evan Gregor on bass, Mark Ferber on drums, Hadar Noiberg on flute, Steve Gorn on bansuri flute, Robert Levin on African percussion, Achyut Joshi on Hindustani vocals, and MSM faculty Samir Chatterjee on tabla. The CD is available on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, and www.jocelynmedina.com. Jocelyn curates and hosts a weekly vocal jazz concert and jam session series every Sunday night at Rue B in the East Village (8:30–11:30 PM), which has been going strong since 2015. She also teaches voice and vocal jazz at the New York Jazz Workshop School, Bloomingdale School of Music, and the Dalton School, as well as privately out of her home studio in Brooklyn.

Alex Mincek (BM ’98, MM ’02) released his new album, Torrent, the first recording in Sound American’s Young Composer Portrait Series. In addition to Wet Ink, Alex’s new CD features the groups Yarn/Wire with Ian Antoni (BM ’03) and the Mivos Quartet, which was founded in 2008 by graduates of MSM’s Contemporary Performance Program. http://soundamerican.org/alex-mincek.html

Tae Yeon Lim (MM ’06) is featured on a new CD released by Toccata Classics. The album, Joachim Raff: Complete Music for Cello and Piano, marks the first time the complete cello and piano catalog of the 19th Century German-Swiss composer has been presented in its entirety. The recording features Raff’s Two Romances, Op. 182, Two Fantasy Pieces, Op. 86, Duo, Op. 59, and Sonata for Cello and Piano in D major, Op. 183. Tae Yeon recently completed her DMA at University of Southern California, has appeared as a concerto soloist across the world and received the Special Award at the MPE Loeb Competition.

Rebecca Jo Loeb (MM 07) performed in Rusalka and La Traviata at the Metropolitan Opera in Spring 2017.

Remy Le Boeuf (BM ’07, MM ’09) is a 2016 ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award recipient.

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. They have also commissioned a comedic opera that will be distributed via Youtube in the springNCO 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

Todd Low (MM ’03) is performing in the orchestra of Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen.

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/)

Nicole Mitchell (MM ’04) performed in the U.S. premiere of Louis Andriessen’s Odysseus’ Women/Anais Nin in the 2016-17 season at National Sawdust in New York City. 

Nathan Patrick Morgan (BM 02) is currently performing in the new Broadway production of Cats the Musical.

Isabelle O’Connell (MM ’01) gave a solo recital at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland in September 2016 as part of the ‘Composing The Island Festival’, a 100-year retrospective of musical composition since the founding of the Irish state. Her recital focused on recent works from the last decade for solo piano and piano with electronics. Review: http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/music/exceptional-composing-the-island-surveys-last-100-years-of-music-in-ireland-1.2806323
Isabelle is also featured on a double-CD release, featuring highlights from the festival on the Lyric fm label and it is now available on iTunes:

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.

Adrien Roberts (MM ’03) made her Opera Santa Barbara debut as Suor Dolcina in Suor Angelica in Spring 2016.  She returning to “rule the roost” as the Rooster in The Cunning Little Vixen on March 3 and 5, 2017 and performed again with Opera Santa Barbara in April as Yvette in La Rondine.

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 sung 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. Anthony performed the title role in Farnace in the Spoleto Festival in June 2017.

Sahoko Sato Timpone (MM '99, PS '01)
was  appointed as Assistant Professor of Voice at Florida State University's College of Music starting August 2017.

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) will be portraying Joan Sutherland in the Casta Diva scene from Norma in the 2018 film Untouchable, starring Nicole Kidman, Bryan Cranston, Julianne Margolis, and Kevin Hart.

Magdalena Stern-Baczewska (DMA ’08) is Director of the Music Performance Program at Columbia University. She performed Tan Dun’s concerto The Banquet with Tan Dun conducting in Guangzhou, Shenzen in May 2016 and Shanghai in December 2016. In May 2016 she was appointed Visiting Professor at Accademia Europea Villa Bossi in Bodio Lomnago, Varese, Italy. In June 2016 she gave the European premiere of Toys for piano by Peter Susser (MM ’84) in Reid Hall in Paris, France. Magdalena conducted piano master classes in Beijing and at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in March 2017. Her CD, released by the French label Paraty in September 2017, has been praised for its “rich lyricism” by American Record Guide, “imagination and spontaneity” by Classical Music Guide Online, and “aristocratic character” by Musikalifeiten. She is currently taking a Chinese language course at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies.

Krysty Swann (BM ’08) performed the role of Olga in Eugene Onegin in the Spoleto Festival in June 2017.

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.

Dan Urness (MM ’06) is performing in the orchestra of Broadway’s Miss Saigon.

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CLASSES OF 2010–2017

SeungHyeon Baek (MM ’13) performed in a double bill of Cavelleria Rusticana and Pagliacci with the Martha Cardon Opera at the Good Shepherd Faith Church in New York City in December 2016. 

Alex Bender (MM ’13) originated the role of Nick Radel on Broadway in the new musical Bandstand, currently running at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater. Alex was most recently heard in the band of Cirque Du  Soleil’s first Broadway show, Paramour

Evan Bennett (MM ’10) was appointed the Learning and Engagement Manager at Seattle Opera in February 2017.

Patrick Brancato (BM ’13) made his Off-Broadway debut as the lead in Stone Soup, the Musical (Soldier 1) and also performed in A Christmas Carol (Fred/Mr. Fezziwig/John) both with the Players Theatre in New York City. Most recently, Patrick was cast in Jesus Christ Superstar (Soldier/Ensemble) with the Seven Angels Theatre, which ran from March 23rd to April 23rd in Waterbury, CT.

Helena Brown (MM ’14) received an Encouragement Grant from the Wagner Society of New York in October 2016.

Corrine Byrne (MM ’12) has appeared with the REBEL Baroque Ensemble, One World Symphony, the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, New Music Miami, Boston Early Music Festival, and the Carnegie Hall Chamber Chorus with Peter Phillips and the Tallis Scholars. She was a finalist in the 2015 Handel Aria Competition. Byrne is a cofounder of Ensemble Musica Humana, known for their annual Pioneer Valley Early Music Day and appearances across the U.S. and Canada; recordings from their four albums have been used on the BBC TV adaptation of Poldark. The Byrne/Kozar duo, with trumpeter and husband Andrew Kozar (MM ’09), has commissioned many new works for trumpet and soprano, adding to the repertoire written for Byrne’s voice, which have won awards including the Jerome New Music Award and songSLAM. Byrne appeared on a professional career development panel alongside Kent Tritle at Manhattan School of Music and has given master classes at Wagner College, Florida International University, Susquehanna University, and North Carolina Governor’s School West. She recently joined the faculty of Susquehanna University as a tenure-track professor of voice and ear training.

Theresa-Marie Chaix (BM ’15) is a 2016 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award recipient.

Yajie Chen (BM 12/MM 14) found a Chinese publisher and translated Angela Myles Beeching's book Beyond Talent in Chinese.

Jarrett Cherner (MM ’10) released his trio album Expanding Heart in October 2016 on BaldHill Records, featuring fellow MSM alumnus Jason Burger (BM ’12) on drums. More info: www.jarrettcherner.com.

Gideon Dabi (MM ’06, DMA ’16) performed in the ensemble of New York City Opera's fall opening production of Aleko and Pagliacci.

Marc Day (MM 11) sung on the 2017 Grammy-nominated Steinberg: Passion Week recording with the Clarion Choir.

Jill Dewsnup (MM 10) performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago's Core Supplemental Chorus in the 2016–17 season for performances in Les Troyens, Norma, and Carmen.

Benjamin Dickerson (BM ’17) join Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artists Program for the 2017-18 season.

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 received its premiere screening on December 14 at MSM.

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

Samuel Gelber (BM ’11) was appointed Artistic Administrator of Los Angeles Opera in February 2017. In his role, he oversees casting and artistic administration in close collaboration with Plácido Domingo, James Conlon, and Christopher Koelsch.

Michael Gracco (BM ’17) joins Tulsa Opera's Young Artist program.

Juliana Han (MM ’10) is currently finishing her doctorate in collaborative piano at the Juilliard School. She cofounded and codirects the Piedmont Chamber Music Festival, an annual, one-week long chamber music festival in Piedmont, California. The festival, which has its second season in August 2017, presents three mainstage concerts featuring prominent chamber musicians from all over the country, educational events such as children’s concerts, and community events at local institutions such as homeless shelters and nursing homes. www.piedmontcmf.org 

Alexandra Hany (MM ’17) won a Trumpet position with the Air Force Band of the Golden West.

Brian Harris (MM ’10) made his company debut with Boulder Opera, directing a new production of Goyescas by Enrique Granados.

George Hemcher (MM ’13) joins Sarasota Opera as the Education and Music Administration Assistant and Assistant Conductor for their Youth Opera Program.

Jake Hertzog (MM ’16) is on the faculty of the University of Arkansas and is authoring a book for Hal Leonard called Guitar SFX, due in 2017. www.jakehertzog.com

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. 

Soloman Howard (MM 10) performed the role of the Prince in Aida at the Metropolitan Opera in the 2016–17 season.

Gina Hughes (BM 10) won the position of piccolo with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in Fall 2016.

Briana Hunter (MM ’12) joins Glimmerglass Festival this summer performing the role of Annie in Porgy and Bess and covering Arsamene in Xerxes.

Mark Hui (MM ’14), the Associate Conductor of the Hong Kong Festival Orchestra, performed Brahms' Violin Concerto with world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell in November 2016. Among the orchestra members were MSM alumni and violinists Tingting Mo (MM ’13) and John Sit (MM ’14).

Susan Hwang (BM ’14, MM ’16) joined the Finnish National Opera and Ballet Orchestra for the fall 2016 season and went on tour performing Elektra with Esa-Pekka Salonen at the Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm. In 2017 she won a job with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

Chris James (BM ’13) won the Assistant Principal Flute/Piccolo position with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. He currently holds the Piccolo position with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and the Principal Flute position with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra.

Michael Jarrett (MM 16) has won a position with the New World Symphony in the 2016-17 season.

Blake-Anthony Johnson (’16) made his solo debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on May 5, 2017.

Joachim Junghanss (MM ’08, DMA ’12) was appointed the Director of the Conservatorium Maastricht in the Netherlands. http://www.conservatoriummaastricht.nl/en/about-us/news/conservatorium-maastricht-has-new-director

Joo Won Kang (MM ’11)
is making his Opera Maine debut in Verdi’s La Traviata in summer 2017.

Katharina Kang (BM ’14) received a job as section viola in the New York City Ballet Orchestra.

David Kaverman (MM ’10) is making his Equity and National Tour debuts as Smokey Robinson in Motown the Musical! www.davidkaverman.com

Beomjae Kim (MM ’14, AD ’17) won the 2017 Astral Artists National Auditions and will be joining their distinguished roster in the fall.

M. Hayne Kim (BM ’12) has been appointed as full-time lecturer at the Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music in Bangkok, Thailand and will begin working for the school in July 2017.

Andy Klima (MM ’12) performed in the ensemble of New York City Opera's fall opening production of Aleko and Pagliacci.

Margarita Kreine (BM ’15) is currently touring, composing, and recording violin pieces in every state in the country and making a music video of the project. Her first recording is in New York: https://youtu.be/Z5mljv_X1Io. She also created a music video in North Dakota to support the Native Americans’ fight for clean water at Standing Rock Reservation: https://youtu.be/T8EhN93lswA. Prior to this project, Margarita was working with Florida Grand Opera Orchestra and Palm Beach Symphony: performing at Mar-a-Lago, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, and Arsht Center in Miami; and teaching violin privately in South Florida. 

Brittany Lasch (BM ’10) won the 2017 Astral Artists National Auditions and will be joining their distinguished roster in the fall.

Julie Lawrence (BM ’10, MM ’12) premiered Sonata for Violin and Piano by MSM alumnus composer Kyle Werner (MM ’11, DMA ’14) with MSM alumna Sohyun Ahn (PS ’02) on the Geneva Conservatory of Music faculty recital in New York City on March 11, 2017. Also on the program was the premiere of Fete Paradiso, a piano trio by MSM faculty member J. Mark Stambaugh. Julie published her article “An In-depth Look at Vibrato Practices of the 17th and 18th Centuries According to Primary Sources of the Time” in the peer-reviewed American String Teachers Journal. As a Baroque violinist, Julie performed Concerto Op. 7, no. 8 by Albinoni at Rutgers University, NJ and at the Park Avenue Christian Church in its concert series. She also performed for inmates on Rikers Island with the Chelsea Symphony. Julie is the Concertmaster of the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra as a DMA candidate at Rutgers University. In May 2016 she married Ryan Lawrence.

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 this spring.  Imaginist was selected as a music pick of the week by the New York Times.

Shi Li (MM ’16) made his Metropolitan Opera stage debut in the chorus of Der fliegende Holländer in April 2017.

Angelo Di Loreto (BM ’11, MM ’13) recently received a commission from All Saints Parish in Rehoboth Beach, DE, to write a Jazz Mass for the 100th anniversary of their church.  The piece will be premiered during the Rehoboth Jazz Festival in October 2017 and will feature former classmate Andrea Wood (MM ’13). Angelo has also been touring extensively in Europe with the Philippe Lemm Trio, alongside classmates Philippe Lemm (MM ’13) and Jeff Koch (BM ’11, MM ’13).  The trio toured for three weeks in Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany in October 2016 and made a sold-out debut at Amsterdam’s Bimhuis.  They will perform at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands and the Pori Jazz Festival in Pori, Finland in July 2017, and are slated to tour Poland in February 2018. Angelo also tours regularly in a piano duo, the Genesis Piano Project, with classmate Adam Kromelow (BM ’11). The duo plays original piano arrangements of the music of the British progressive rock band Genesis and most recently performed throughout Italy and Portugal in November 2016.

LaMarcus Miller (MM 13) made his New York City Opera debut as the leading baritone role in Fallujah in November 2016.

Matthew Mitchener (MM ’17) won the Principal Percussion position with the Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale in May 2017.

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 Patrick Murphy (MM ’12) was awarded a graduate teaching assistantship and a doctoral fellowship from the University of Oklahoma, where he will pursue a DMA in piano performance and pedagogy.  

Tim Murray (MM ’16) is covering the baritone solos in Britten’s War Requiem with the Oratorio Society of New York in April 2017 and performing the role of Dandini in Rossini’s La Cenerentola with ARE Opera in New York City the following month.  This summer he is singing Moralés on the mainstage in Carmen and Ananias in Britten’s The Burninging Fiery Furnace as an Apprentice Artist with Central City Opera. He is joining the resident artist program with Lyric Opera of Kansas City singing Zaretsky and the Captain in Eugene Onegin, Guy Cotter in Everest, Marullo in Rigoletto, and the Seargent in Il barbiere di Siviglia, . Tim is also covering the title role in Eugene Onegin and Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia.

Maria Natale (PS ’15) is making her Opera Maine debut in Verdi’s La Traviata in summer 2017.

Scott Ninmer (MM ’13) is a 2017 ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award recipient.

Megan Pachecano (MM 10) made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the chorus of Beethoven’s Fidelio in the spring of 2017.

Elliott Paige (MM ’15)
made his Metropolitan Opera stage debut in the chorus of Der fliegende Holländer in April 2017.

Junghwa Park (MM ’11, PS ’12) was appointed Assistant Professor of Music at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania in fall 2016.

Giovanni Piacentini (MM ’13) released his debut album as a composer on the Navona/Naxos label in May 2017 with an album release concert on May 6 at National Sawdust in Brooklyn alongside MSM alumna Sophia Vastek (MM ’13).

Tookah Sapper (MM ’16) performed in American Opera Project’s Composers and the Voice in Fall 2016. This summer, she will perform with The Chautauqua Opera Company, under the direction of Steven Osgood, as a Studio Artist for their 2017 season.

Michelle Siemens (MM 15) joined the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at LA Opera in the 2016–17 season.

Julianne Skones (BM ’08, MM ’10) won the Principal Oboe position with the Austin Symphony Orchestra in August 2016, and a month later won the English Horn position with the Austin Opera.  

Alexa Smith (MM ’10) performed in the ensemble of New York City Opera's Fall opening production of Aleko and Pagliacci.

Jason Smoller (MM 11) was featured on English Horn for the New York City premiere of Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks’s Concerto for English Horn with the Chelsea Symphony on January 28, 2017. 

Colin Stokes (15) is currently the cellist in the Berlin-based electro-classical crossover band, Symphoniacs (www.symphoniacs.com).  After the band’s album release, they performed for 8 million people on ARD’s Schlagerboom and were featured in Das Bimild, Germany’s largest paper.  Live Nation is producing their tour in Spring 2017. www.colinstokes.com

Christian Thurston (MM ’17) joins Minnesota Opera as a Resident Artist this summer.

Sophie Subbayya Vastek (MM ’13) releases “Histories”, her debut solo album, produced by multiple Grammy-winning engineer and MSM alumnus Adam Abeshouse (MM ’85), and includes works by composers Michael Harrison (MM ’15), Donnacha Dennehy, and John Cage. 

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.

Alyssa Weinberg (MM ’13) is a 2016 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award recipient.

Marta Wryk (BM ’11) performed the role of 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 in the 2016-17 season.

Christopher Zuar (MM ’13)
is a 2017 ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award recipient.

Dante Zuccaro (previously Daniel Buccheri, MM ’13) and Boris Mitchell Korneff (MM ’11) won two awards for Best Comedy for their web series The Mitchi & Vlad Show, which uses singing, acting, and puppetry. In 2016, Dante became a member of the Actors Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA. He has worked on the television series Girls (HBO) and The Americans (FX).

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Andrew Mayer (Precollege 1999-2001) is currently an ensemble member in Broadway’s Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. http://www.andrewcmayer.com/

Drew Petersen is the 2017 winner of the American Pianist Award. http://www.americanpianists.org/classical/winners

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In Memoriam

We honor the memory of alumni, former faculty, and staff members who have passed away in 2016 and 2017:

Barry Busse (MM ’70, Opera Theater) was a world-renowned tenor with a career that spanned 30 years. Having started as a baritone, he received a George London Award and made the switch to tenor during which time he performed at Radio City Music Hall as the tenor soloist, Santa Claus, and the tap dancing Easter Bunny. Opera companies with whom he performed include the Paris Opera de la Bastille, the Netherlands Opera, Maggio Musicale, Grand Teatre de Geneve , Teatro la Fenice , opera de Toulouse, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Canadian Opera Company, Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera, Greater Miami Opera, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Locally, Barry was a choir member and frequent soloist with St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Massillon, OH, sang for an AIDS benefit at the Palace Theatre and with Carroll County Community Chorus. He volunteered as an acting coach with Carrollton High School and Glen Oak High School. He also volunteered with the Timken High School Magnet School for the Arts, a highly productive program developed to help rescue at-risk 15-year olds.  He was an award winning choral director for Sandy Valley High School. He co-owned and was the principal chef of the Quintessential Epicurean, a private chef service. He wrote educational software for children. He was also a master cabinet maker and during his graduate studies he built and installed a massive, temperature controlled violin case for the legendary Isaac Stern in his apartment in New York City. http://freepressstandard.com/barry-l-busse-70/

Robert Christesen (MM 72, Voice) passed away on October 12, 2016 at the age of 73. Robert was known to his students and colleagues in the Wake County Public School System as “Mr. C.” He was a respected husband, father, grandfather, educator, and former opera singer. Born in Washington D.C., he was a Congressional Page Boy in high school, then continued his education at East Carolina University, University of Madison, Wisconsin, and NC State. He specialized in Danish, German, Spanish, French and Italian. His love for singing started when he was a young boy, eventually landing him a full scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music. He won numerous international vocal competitions including the 1973 Prague Spring Music Festival, where he met his Czech wife Mirka, a reporter for a radio station. He was a professional baritone opera singer in Frankfurt and Dortmund, Germany for thirteen years, with many guest performances throughout Europe. Among his favorite roles were Rigoletto, Onegin, and Don Giovanni. He moved with his family to North Carolina in the mid-1980s, accepting a teaching job within the Wake County Public School System. Robert taught foreign languages and Social Studies at Ligon and Carnage Middle Schools before becoming Foreign Language Chair at Wake Forest Rolesville High. His first job as an administrator was in Vance County in 1994 and then at Enloe High in 1995. He worked at West Cary Middle School as Assistant Principal until his retirement in 2009. As an administrator “M. C” was a teachers’ advocate and cared deeply about the students in his care. However, he never totally left his singing. Throughout the years, he performed with the North Carolina Symphony, Duke Chapel, and at memorial services for his close friends and co-workers. As a devoted Rotarian, he contributed to numerous charities to aid the needy both in the Carolinas and abroad. His commitment to the Wake Forest Rotary lasted until his final days. At 6’5” tall, his larger than life presence and booming voice made him an unforgettable figure on the stage and came in handy also in the school hallways.

Dr. William (Bill) Henry Collins, Jr. (MM ’60), known as “Sonny” to close family and friends, was awarded a four-year scholarship in music to Savannah State College (now Savannah State University), which he briefly attended before being drafted. He served honorably in the U.S. Air Force for four years, where he was the organist for chapel and special service events. Upon completion of his military service, Sonny enrolled in the Candell Conservatory of Music, where he received his BA in music and graduated as valedictorian of his class. In 1958, he moved to New York City and enrolled at Manhattan School of Music, where he earned his MM in Music in 1960. In 2003 Bill received an honorary doctorate in sacred music from the Richmond Virginia Seminary. Sonny’s immense talents in music were recognized and fulfilled through his service as the Minister of Music at several churches throughout his life. He joined Mount Hermon Baptist Church in 1962 and served as Minister of Music for 55 years. Bill was a celebrated and nationally recognized artist, composer, and musicologist. He toured the country for several years as the accompanist and musical arranger for gospel singer Georgia Louis. He recorded two solo albums, Gospel Mediations and Thy Grace, with background vocals provided by the Voices of Mount Hermon and the Davis Trio. He published an essay, “Music in the Black Church,” and was a contributing editor of the New African American Jubilee Bible in 1999. He was honored to be listed in Distinguished Church Musicians of the United States (1995–1996) and in Who’s Who of Executives and Professionals (2003–2004 edition). Bill was even featured in a Korean documentary produced by one of his former students, Black Gospel, which was released at the Jecheon International Music and Film Festival in 2013. A dedicated teacher, Bill shared his love of music with others as the founder of the Collins Music Studio in Harlem. He taught piano, voice, organ, and music theory in Harlem until relocating his studio to the church in the Bronx. Dr. Bill Collins was a devoted son, nephew, big brother, godfather, and teacher. His students described him as “one of God’s favored and chosen soldiers.” His church families described him as “steadfast, generous, and dedicated to serving the Lord.” To his beloved family and godchildren, he was known as “the family griot, protector, and cherished patriarch.” 

Leroy “Lee” Oliver Earle (BM 61, Theory, MM 63 Music Education) of San Antonio, Texas passed away on July 28, 2016 at the age of 78. Lee was born Sept. 26, 1937, in Harlem, N.Y.  Lee’s childhood was filled with music lessons because his mother was fueled by the passion of the Harlem renaissance and the music of The Cotton Club and The Apollo Theater.  She felt that young Lee needed a craft that would assist him in going to college.  Lee worked as a music teacher and administrator for the New York City Board of Education, teaching primarily at I.S. 292 in Brooklyn for more than 30 years.  For more than 40 years he freelanced as a musician all over New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and upstate New York.  Lee’s hobbies were music, traveling with his wife, and being a dad.  He was active in his local churches and gave piano lesson until 2009, when his health began to fail. Lee married Priscilla Jane Fullerton on March 26, 1964; they were married 49 years. http://southsidedaily.com/2016/08/01/obits-leroy-oliver-earle-78/

Jocelyn Gertel (MM ’90, Violin) passed away in June 2017. Jocelyn taught orchestra at public middle schools in Paramus, NJ and had been employed in the district for more than 20 years. She was a talented violinist who, prior to her degree from MSM, graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor's degree in music. Jocelyn was a member of Romanza Music.

Grete Hirsch (BM ’50, Violin, MM ’51, Music History) passed away on October 18, 2016. Born in Stuttgart, Germany, she had an idyllic childhood, but as a teenager was forced to leave her parents after the Nazis came to power, fleeing to England with her sister and two cousins, and later immigrating to the United States. A violinist, she toured with the Robert Shaw Chorale and played at the Marlboro Music Festival. Her passion was not performing, but the music itself. A gifted teacher, she inspired hundreds of music students of all ages. A “magical aunt,” she loved travel and adventure and shared her zest for the world’s peoples, places, and achievements. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/nytimes/obituary.aspx?pid=182156673#sthash.Aw3qFjtX.dpuf

Danny Holgate (Diploma ’62, Piano) passed away from Parkinson’s disease on August 31, 2017 at the age of 84. Danny attended the Berklee School of Music, served a tour of duty with the U.S. Army Band, attended Manhattan School of Music as a piano major and later studied advanced orchestration with Nicholas Flagello. He taught piano and theory at the Third Street Music School while appearing in the New York area and touring in South America with his Holgate, Perkins & Shaw Jazz Trio. Danny was also at City College of New York teaching Contemporary Vocal Pop Styles. His credits include  musical supervision, direction, composition and arrangement for Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope, Bubblin’ Brown Sugar, Mikki Grant’s It’s So Nice to be Civilized, Eubie!, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill and Rainbow Jones, among others. He also toured Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill with his wife, Gail Nelson, who performed the role of Billie Holiday. For many years, Danny served as conductor and arranger for the legendary Cab Calloway and for the annual jazz festivals with the Hi-De-Ho Orchestra. Danny had been a popular vocal coach putting together club acts and arrangements for numerous performers, including legends Lena Horne, Carol Channing, Alexis Smith and Timmy Rodgers. He arranged music for symphony and pops orchestras including Chicago, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Oklahoma, Detroit, Portland, San Francisco, Hartford, Indianapolis and New Jersey. With the Palm Beach Pops, he orchestrated for full orchestra and band, A Salute to Louis Armstrong, which continues to be part of their annual season.          

Irwin Katz (BM 51, Trumpet, MM 52, Music Education), musician and recording industry executive, passed away in July of 2016 at the age of 87.  Beloved husband for nearly 67 years and devoted father of four children and eight grandchildren, Irwin is remembered for his dashing good looks, numerous creative talents, and his singular joy of life. A Brooklyn native, he attended Thomas Jefferson High School where he played soccer and met Rose, the love of his life. Graduate of Manhattan School of Music, he played the trumpet with many orchestras including the Boston Pops, the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, and the Cleveland Orchestra-- the first American orchestra to tour behind “the iron curtain” after World War II. He left the orchestra to help build the Discount Records chain (CBS).  During this time, Irwin reconnected with many performing artists, who were his kindred souls. He later joined RCA Records as the Director of Marketing for Classical Music and then returned to CBS Masterworks (Sony) as the head of Artists & Repertoire. In his retirement, he and his wife, Rose, established a boutique label, Helicon Records. (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/lohud/obituary.aspx?pid=180761728)

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.”

In May 2017 Navona Records released Spells, a retrospective album of classical and vocal music by the late Juli (Elizabeth) Nunlist (BM ’61, MM ’64), presenting a comprehensive look at her work. Offering a touching journey through Juli’s earnest, romantic, and dramatic compositional language, Spells demonstrates her appreciation for tradition and grandeur, her remarkable gift for melody, and her clear fascination with instrumental texture. An educator, composer, musician, and poet, Juli Nunlist devoted much of her career to teaching music to dancers, dance teachers, and choreographers. Her compositional catalog includes works for string quartet, piano, voice, chamber music, and symphony. http://navonarecords.com/epk/spells/

Erica Ohm (MM 88, PS 88, Piano) earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Michigan State University after completing her Master’s degree and Professional Studies Certificate in piano performance at MSM. An exciting pianist equally at home in the music of J. S. Bach and George Crumb, and committed to performing music of her contemporaries, she was a first-prize winner in Korea’s most prestigious competition, the Dong-A Music Concours, and the International Institute of Music Competition. After her acclaimed first recital in Seoul in 1993, she performed as a soloist as well as an ensemble player throughout Korea, Japan, and China and the United States. The concert series of the complete Beethoven Violin Sonatas, with violinist Kyung Min Kim, and the complete Beethoven Piano Trios, with BINTRIO (cellist Hee Jin Paik, violinist Kyung Min Kim) have been featured on Korean radio and TV. Erica Ohm was named as one of “the best and the most active pianists in Korea” by Pianoforte (1997) and chosen as “pianist of the month” by Piano International (March 2011). Her solo CDs include Musical Moment (Blue Griffin Records) and Czerny—50 Kunst der Fingertigkeit (Ilsong Media). Erica served on the faculty of Michigan State University School of Music, Seoul National University, and Seoul High School of Music and Art, and was chair of the Department of Musical Arts, Seoul Arts College in Korea. Ms. Ohm passed away on January 27, 2016.

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.

David Simon (BM ’50, Trombone; MM ’51, Composition), former dean of Manhattan School of Music, passed away on July 7, 2017. He was a musician, an artist, and the founding director of the Baltimore School for the Arts. A native New Yorker, Simon began his interest in the arts as a child through drawing and painting. His path into music began when he received the chance to play a baritone horn in a band. He then was awarded a music scholarship at age 13, and at 16 he conducted a concert band of his peers at Carnegie Hall. In 1946, he graduated from the School of Industrial Arts; Simon then attended Manhattan School of Music where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. After graduating, he traveled for a couple years with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus as a euphonium player. Following this, Simon became a euphonium specialist for the New York Philharmonic. His career in academia began in 1953, and he taught graduate music courses at the Teachers College of Columbia University until 1966. From 1967 to 1970, he took a position as the conductor of the New York University concert band and as the registrar for Manhattan School of Music. In 1970, Simon became the dean of Manhattan School of Music. He remained in this position until 1979 when he moved to Baltimore to become the founding director of the School for the Arts. The public high school offered classes in all areas of the arts: acting, music, dance, and visual arts. Simon based the school on a conservatory model and held the school to high standards assembling a faculty of professionals. He also established the TWIGS program that offered free classes at the Baltimore School for the Arts to students, grades second through eighth, within the community. After retiring in 1995, Simon remained on the school’s board and took up drawing and painting. His artworks were exhibited at the Baltimore School for the Arts, the Schuler School of Fine Arts, and the Charcoal Club. He is fondly remembered by those who knew him as a warm, friendly person, who strove to nurture and inspire young artists.

Lawrence Paul Sobol (BM ’68, Clarinet; MM ’71, Music Education), renowned clarinetist, educator and author, passed away on November 28, 2016. Lawrence was hailed by The New York Times as an “intrepid music explorer.” The winner of the Ford Foundation Grant (1964-1965) to study at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, he later received degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. He studied clarinet with Harold Wright, Ignatius Gennusa, David Weber, Herbert Blayman and Rudolph Jettel and was recognized for his unique bel canto sound.  Mr. Sobol performed and recorded extensively throughout the world as soloist with orchestra, in recital and in chamber music programs. He worked with leading composers of the 20th century and expanded the clarinet literature for coming generations through the works of Karel Husa, Alan Hovhaness, Roy Harris, and William Schuman. Mr. Sobol led the Smithtown High School  music department for over 33 years. He remained dedicated to music education after his retirement from public education in 2001, maintaining his multi-faceted career in concert production and publishing. Further examples of his commitment to music include countless performances at major concert halls across the country most notably at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and lectures at America's leading colleges and universities. He continued to serve as a mentor, clinician and consultant at his Huntington, NY studio up to his final days. 

Jonathan Strasser (BM 67, Violin; MM 70, Music Education; Precollege Faculty), American violinist, conductor and educator, passed away on March 8, 2017. Since 1977, Mr. Strasser had been a beloved member of the MSM Precollege faculty and was the Conductor of the Precollege Philharmonic Orchestra for over 20 years.  He was a regular guest conductor of the renowned Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela in Caracas, Music Director of the Staten Island Symphony for nine years, and the Music Director of the orchestra program at the New York State Music Camp/Institute at Hartwick College for more than ten years.  He played the role of ‘the conductor’ in the 1980 MGM movie Fame. Mr. Strasser’s passion for music education was felt beyond MSM and extended to his nearly three decades as a music teacher at the famed Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (also his alma mater) and as Music Director of the InterSchool Orchestras of New York. Born and raised in the Bronx, Mr. Strasser lived his entire adult life in Manhattan.  He was a graduate of the High School of Music & Art and of Manhattan School of Music. His violin studies were with Stanley Bednar and his conducting studies were with Anton Coppola and the late Nicholas Flagello.  He will be deeply missed by the MSM Community. Mr. Strasser is survived by his beloved husband, Romir Antonio Robles.

Elena Wolkonsky (Former Precollege Piano Faculty) passed away on August 14, 2016 at age 91 in New York City. She had given her last concert in May. Born in Ekaterinodar, Russia, Wolkonsky began her studies with her mother and graduated from a professional children’s school at 13 before moving on to the Leningrad Conservatory. According to a 1958 New York World-Telegram & Sun profile of her on the occasion of her Town Hall debut, she and her mother escaped the U.S.S.R. and walked across Europe after World War II and then settled in the U.S.; her father had been sent to Siberia and was never heard from again. In 1948, Wolkonsky entered Juilliard and studied with Beveridge Webster and Ernest Hutcheson and minored in chorus. She was on the precollege faculty at Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School. (information acquired from The Juilliard Journal)

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