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Below are alumni updates from the fall 2018 issue of Fanfare.
Sheldon Harnick (49) received an honorary degree from Northwestern University at the 2018 commencement ceremony in June. One of the most honored lyricists in American musical theater, Harnick is known for best-musical Tony Award winners Fiorello! and Fiddler on the Roof as well as Tenderloin and the Tony-nominated musicals She Loves Me, The Apple Tree, and The Rothschilds. He won the 2009 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre, and in 2016 Harnick received the Drama League Award for Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre and a special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Michael Sellers (63), a pianist who has an active teaching and performing schedule, embarked on his 34th European concert tour last November. Sellers had recitals in Paris; Amsterdam; and London, Bristol and Bournemouth, England.
Soprano Brenda Roberts (65, G67) received a positive review for her CD An Evening with Wagner, Strauss and Schreker. The album features sixteen powerful renditions of classic German art songs and is available from CD Baby.
Tenor Frederic Chrislip (68) performed a solo fringe concert at the 2017 Boston Early Music Festival, accompanying himself on the Renaissance lute.
Robert Fred Kern (G72) was given a lifetime achievement award at the biennial meeting of the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. The 2017 conference in Lombard, Illinois, celebrated 35 years of excellence and innovation in music education at the keyboard. A Dallas resident, Kern is professor emeritus at the University of North Texas, where he served on the keyboard and piano pedagogy faculty for 31 years. He previously taught keyboard skills at Northwestern for 9 years.
Hollis Thoms (G73), a composer and educator, wrote the 50-minute opera And did the world with devils swarm, all gaping to devour us... to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 theses. The Bach Concert Series premiered the work last November at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The piece was also performed at Christ Lutheran Church Inner Harbor in Baltimore. The premiere was underwritten by the Christopher Foundation.
Aaron Alter (75) composed the piano trio Solar Rays, performed by the Sheridan Solisti Trio in a series of Chicago-area concerts in December. Alter’s jazz big band arrangement of the work premiered in March at New York’s Cutting Room.
George Pope (G75) of Akron received the 2018 Distinguished Service Award from the National Flute Association at its convention in August. A performer at NFA conventions since 1980, he has served as president, board member, program chair, and committee member; he also initiated and coordinates the convention’s annual Remembrance and Healing Concert. Pope is professor emeritus of flute at the University of Akron and a flute instructor at Baldwin Wallace University’s Conservatory of Music.
Martha Schmaling Gilmer (78) is CEO of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. Her passion is to bridge the gap between San Diego community members and the symphony’s musicians, board, staff, and other cultural leaders. Gilmer has helped implement citywide celebrations, free public concerts, and other innovative programming to help bring the community together. Under her leadership the San Diego Symphony set a record for ticket sales, revenue, and subscriptions. She and her husband, William Gilmer (G80), have three sons.
Jeff Bradetich (80, G92) presented a recital in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall to celebrate his 60th birthday in November, almost 35 years to the day after his New York debut. He is the Regents Professor of Double Bass at the University of North Texas College of Music.
Rabbi Andrew Bossov (81) of Wilmette was granted an honorary doctor of divinity degree by his alma mater, Hebrew Union College– Jewish Institute of Religion, on reaching the 25th anniversary of his ordination as a Reform rabbi. He previously served congregations in Baltimore, Sarasota, and Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, and was director of senior programs for Westchester Jewish Community Services in Mt. Vernon, New York. Bossov has returned to the Chicago area as a freelance rabbi and pianist.
Mary Ernster (G81) appeared on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre in the new musical War Paint with Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole.
Philip Orem (81, G83) is featured on a new Roven Records CD, Philip Orem: Concerto, which includes his Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra, Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra, Fantasy for Horn and Orchestra, and For Ed, a concerto for flute/piccolo composed in memory of Ed Senechal (83).
Wendy Evans (G85, G86) is director of community engagement and orchestra personnel for the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. She has played in the orchestra’s first violin section since 1996.
Donald Lovejoy (G86) retired from his positions as Winona State University director of bands and Winona Symphony Orchestra music director.
Theo. S. Davis (G87) completed his doctor of musical arts degree at Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Conservatory. Davis lives in the Baltimore area, where he is the organist and choirmaster at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church as well as an active concert artist and private instructor.
Janice Misurell-Mitchell (G87), a Chicago-based composer, flutist, and vocalist, wrote Mad Song, which translates the text and imagery of William Blake’s poem of the same name into a sonic experience. A. J. Keller, a Northwestern doctoral candidate in choral conducting, led 12 Bienen School student vocalists in a February performance of the piece for a special event at Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art. A discussion by Misurell-Mitchell and Keller preceded the performance.
David William Brubeck (89, G90) is celebrating his 20th anniversary as conductor of the Symphony Orchestra with the Florida Youth Orchestra, which spans the three most populated counties in Florida and is comprised of more than 400 students in seven orchestras. Duo Brubeck, an innovative guitar and bass trombone jazz duo, performed at the 2017 International Trombone Festival held in Redland California.
Brian Torosian (89, G95, G03), a classical guitarist, teaches on the music faculty at Northeastern Illinois University, where he gave a solo recital in November. He also performed the recital for the McHenry County College Second Sunday Concert Series.
Cathy Venable (89) and Mel Rogers (G76) performed together in a production of The Phantom of the Opera. Venable is first keyboardist on the national tour, and Rogers was a local woodwinds hire during the show’s two-week run in New Orleans. While exchanging shop talk, they discovered their mutual Northwestern connection.
Michelle Miller Burns (90), was appointed president and CEO of the Minnesota Orchestra. She most recently served as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s executive vice president for institutional advancement and chief operating officer.
Lisa Muci Eckhoff (G90) was named executive director of Tennessee’s Oak Ridge Civic Music Association, home to the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra, Oak Ridge Chorus, and Chamber Music Series.
Rodney Dorsey (G92, G06) was named professor of music in bands at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, effective August 1. He was previously director of bands at the University of Oregon.
Rick Dammers (93) was named the dean of the College of Performing Arts at Rowan University, where he was previously professor of music education and chair of the music department. He lives in Glassboro, New Jersey, with his wife, Becky Dammers (94), and twin daughters, Abby and Emily.
Timothy Loest (G93) is an exclusive composer and arranger for the FJH Music Company with 78 published works for concert band. In September 2017, the Windiana Concert Band performed his composition Cloud Gate (Reflections of a City) at the Confucius Institute's Friendship Lasts Forever Concert at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. He has co-authored numerous methods, including Measures of Success: A Comprehensive Musicianship Band Method. FJH will soon release Chorales and Beyond, a supplemental method that Loest co-authored with Chip De Stefano (94, G96).
Julia A. Miller (G93, G04), purchased the historic Chicago-based blues and jazz label Delmark Records, where she is now CEO and president.
James Fellenbaum (G94) was named artistic director and conductor of the Brevard Philharmonic. He has served as a guest conductor for a Brevard Philharmonic concert in each of the last two seasons. Fellenbaum is currently resident conductor with the Knoxville Symphony.
Eric Stiles (94) teaches music for Tonasket School District in Tonasket, Washington.
Mark A. Taylor (G95) is the music director of the Milwaukee Festival Brass, two-time North American Brass Band Association section champion. He is also the music director of the Waukegan Band Foundation. Taylor received his DMA degree in wind conducting from the University of North Texas.
Joseph Johnson (G96), principal cellist of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, performed Bernstein’s Three Meditations from Mass with the Lexington Philharmonic as part of its season finale concert.
Eun-Joo Kwak (G96) adjudicated the MTNA Young Artists Performance Competition at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, presented lectures for the New York State School Music Association in Rochester and the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association Conference, taught master classes at Seoul’s Sunhwa Arts High School, and served as piano liaison for Wisconsin’s Green Lake Music Festival. She is keyboard area chair at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania.
Alexander Laing (96) received a Sphinx Medal of Excellence from the Sphinx Organization. The award recognizes emerging classical artists of color who demonstrate artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination, and ongoing commitment to leadership. Principal clarinetist of the Phoenix Symphony, Laing serves on the Arizona School for the Arts board of directors and Gateways Music Festival’s artistic and strategic planning committees, in addition to cochairing the institutional readiness task force for the League of American Orchestras’ Diversity Forum.
Katrina Lenk (97) won the 2018 Tony Award for best performance by an actress in a musical for The Band’s Visit. Lenk originated the role of sultry cafe owner Dina in the Atlantic Theater Company’s off-Broadway production, which later transferred to the Barrymore Theatre for its Broadway run. The production swept the Tony Awards with 10 wins, including best new musical.
Marc Lubbers (G96) played the role of Pseudolus in Theater Harrisburg’s recent production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Lubbers is the director of music at Bindnagle Lutheran Church in Palmyra, Pennsylvania, and the director of medical student admissions at the Penn State Hershey College of Medicine.
Christopher J. Woodruff (G96) was named director of bands at California Polytechnic State University. He served as Cal Poly’s 2017–18 interim director of bands and has been associate director of bands since 2006.
Amanda Baker (98) is the managing director at Real Art Ways, a multidisciplinary contemporary arts organization in Hartford, Connecticut. She was recently appointed adjunct instructor of flute at Eastern Connecticut State University as well as adjunct instructor of entrepreneurship in the arts at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School. She maintains a private flute studio and is the piccoloist for the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra.
Minna Rose Chung (G98) cowrote CelloMind, a new pedagogical method book for cellists, with Bienen professor Hans Jørgen Jensen. Published in November, the two-part book and online demonstration videos were created for cellists of all ages and skill levels, with a specific focus on enhancing intonation and left hand cello technique.
Michael Gillis (99) was cast in the national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies, the stand-alone musical sequel to The Phantom of the Opera.
Ben Bokor (00) has served as ceremonial band saxophonist with the US Army Band “Pershing’s Own” since June 2017. Recent performances include Bruch’s Concerto for Clarinet and Viola with violist Phillippe Chao and the Catholic University Orchestra, the national tour of the Broadway musical An American in Paris with the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra, and a spring production of The Wiz at Ford’s Theatre.
Jennifer Marotta (00) was appointed assistant professor of trumpet at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music.
Ian Derrer (G01) was named the new general director and CEO of the Dallas Opera, where he was artistic administrator from 2014 to 2016. Most recently he served as general director of Kentucky Opera.
Stephen Lytle (G01) is associate director of bands at West Virginia University, where he conducts the Pride of West Virginia Mountaineer Marching Band, the symphonic band, and other athletic pep bands. Previously he was associate director of bands at Miami University in Ohio.
D. Edward Davis (02) was appointed practitioner in residence in the University of New Haven’s Department of Music. He completed a PhD in music composition at Duke University in 2016.
Molly Barth (G03) is assistant professor of flute at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music as of this fall. A Grammy Award winner, Barth previously taught at the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance, the University of Richmond, and the University of Chicago. She is a founding member of the new music sextet Eighth Blackbird, a cofounder of Duo Damiana with guitarist Dieter Hennings, and a core member of the Zohn Collective, a newly formed chamber ensemble.
Pin Chen (03) has been elected to a two-year term as vice president of string education for the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association. The largest professional organization for music teachers in 11 Southern California counties, it serves over 1,000 schools with over 100,000 instrumental music students.
Lindsey Goodman (G03) released her second solo album, Returning to Heights Unseen, in May on the Navona imprint of PARMA Recordings, distributed by Naxos of America. The album features eight flute-and-electronics works composed for Goodman.
Andrew Mason (03), founder of Groupon, launched Descript, a startup audio editing tool for podcasters. The tool automatically transcribes an audio file in a few minutes using artificial intelligence. Descript was born from Detour, another Mason startup.
Ronen Shapira (G03), a music teacher at Levinsky College in Tel Aviv, performed in a Carnegie Hall concert last fall for the United Nations.
Billie Howard (G04) was promoted to artistic director at High Concept Labs, a Chicago-based arts service organization. Howard is responsible for providing creative strategy, program planning, and implementation of HCL’s vision for artist experimentation and discovery across its portfolio of programs and services.
Michelle Edgar (05) is an agent at ICM Partners in Los Angeles. She also founded Music Unites, a nonprofit that works to raise academic and lifetime achievement for at-risk public school students through the support and creation of unique music education partnerships and programs. Four years ago she launched the XX Project, a network of top female leaders across industries who share empowerment stories and strategies. In October the XX Project presented the Power Women Panel “Legendary Lessons on Making It as a Woman in Hollywood: Suzanne de Passe.”
In May, 12 Bienen School clarinet alumni representing six U.S. military bands joined the school’s own clarinet studio in a concert led by Mallory Thompson. Alumni performers included: Kristin Bowers (G08), Andrew Dees (G06), Parker Gaims (G13), Lewis Gilmore (G16), Vicki Gotcher (G94, G95), David Halperin (G09), Andy Jacobi (12), Sam Kaestner (G02), Michael Morris (G09), Manuel Ramos (G15), Laura Shoun (07), and Kevin Walko (G08).
Aaron Holloway-Nahum (05) was one of two composers selected for the 2018 Peter Eötvös Mentorship Program. Offered by the Peter Eötvös Contemporary Music Foundation, the program provides funding and opportunities for young professional conductors and composers.
Mark Liu (G05) received the Music Inspiration Award from the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras and a Distinguished Secondary School Teaching Award at Northwestern’s June Commencement. Liu has completed his 17th year as a high school orchestra teacher, currently at Metea Valley High School, Indian Prairie School District 204, where he was named Most Influential Educator. He also conducts the Youth Symphony of DuPage.
Tristan Arnold (06) organized and conducted the inaugural Kronos Quartet Community Concert, where students from four San Francisco public schools joined the quartet to perform works from its 50 for the Future commissioning project. Artistic director of the Napa Valley Youth Symphony, Arnold is orchestral director at Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, a public arts high school.
Third Coast Percussion – Sean Connors (G06), Robert Dillon (02), Peter Martin (G04, G11) and David Skidmore (05) – released its newest album, Paddle to the Sea, on Cedille Records. The album, which debuted in the top 25 classical albums on the Billboard charts, features music collaboratively composed by the four members of Third Coast Percussion.
Travis J. Cross (G06, G12) is the new chair of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music’s Department of Music. Cross joined the UCLA faculty in 2013.
Sandra del Cid-Davies (06) accepted a flute-piccolo position with the Florida Orchestra, conducted by Michael Francis. She previously served for nine years as second flute-piccolo with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.
Elena Cholakova (G07, G10) received a full-time appointment in collaborative piano at Emory University, where she recently performed Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring with conductor Robert Spano.
Patricia Cornett (G07) was named director of bands at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance.
Joel Esher (07) is a collaborating composer and arranger for the new musical Folk Wandering, which premiered off-Broadway in March. Esher also composed PharmaBro, a satirical musical based on the life of Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals. The production received attention from several national news outlets and was nominated for an Off Broadway Alliance Award for best new musical.
Caroline Nordlund (07) was featured in the “Ask the Experts” column of the June 2016 issue of The Strad. She also presented the session “Bow Games and Twinkle and Solfege, Oh My!” at the 2016 American String Teachers Association national conference in Tampa, Florida. As members of the Samford String Quartet, she and her husband, cellist Samuel Nordlund (G06), performed in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in October.
Kristin King Bowers (G08) won a clarinet position with the United States Marine Band. Previously she was principal clarinet with the United States Air Force Band.
Jade Maze (G08) received a positive review from the Chicago Writers Association for Walk until Sunrise, her recently published memoir about her experiences as a 15-year-old runaway. Maze is on the voice faculty at the Merit School of Music and a teaching artist for the Ravinia Festival.
Teresa Suen-Campbell (G08) premiered a harp concerto by Wing-Wah Chan in March with the Kindred Spirit Orchestra and conductor Kristian Alexander in Markham, Ontario. She performed the same work in April at the Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall.
Miki Sawada (09) traveled around Alaska for three weeks with a piano in a van, accompanied by documentary filmmakers, for the project Gather Hear Alaska. She gave 16 concerts and 8 school presentations in 15 towns, focusing on rural communities. The tour explored the idea of the piano as a central gathering place and the social possibilities of classical music in community spaces outside the concert hall. The tour received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities by way of the Alaska Humanities Forum.
Ari Evan (15) was accepted for Carnegie Hall’s 2018–20 Ensemble Connect Fellowship. The program prepares the finest young US professional classical musicians for careers combining musical excellence with teaching, community engagement, advocacy, music entrepreneurship, and leadership. Up to 20 musicians are selected every two years on the basis of musicianship, commitment to music education and audience engagement, leadership qualities, and aptitude for teamwork. The program offers top-quality performance opportunities, intensive professional development, and the opportunity to partner throughout the fellowship with a New York City public school.
Geoffrey Agpalo (G10) starred as Alfredo in Opera Theatre St. Louis’s production of La traviata. He was called a “wonderfully gifted tenor” in a review by Broadway World and also featured in the June 2018 issue of Opera News. Agpalo is a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago chorus.
Joseph Baldwin (10) is the new assistant director of development for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Roderick Cox (G11) received the 2018 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award from the Solti Foundation U.S. The $30,000 prize is the largest grant awarded to young American conductors in the United States. Cox was also chosen as one of four participants for the highly selective 2018 Daniele Gatti Masterclass with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Joshua Paulus (G11), joins the San Francisco Symphony horn section this fall.
Benjamin Adler (12) won a position as second and E-flat clarinet with the St. Louis Symphony. He previously played second clarinet with the Milwaukee Symphony.
Alyson Frazier (12) cofounded Play for Progress, a London-based, award-winning NGO that delivers therapeutic and educational music programs for unaccompanied minor refugees in association with the Refugee Council UK. The organization has delivered programs abroad in Greece, France, and Thailand and has collaborated with the British Red Cross, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Southbank Centre, Shakespeare’s Globe, and other London institutions.
Sam Suggs (12), a member of the Concert Artists Guild roster, made his New York solo recital debut at the Sheen Center in March. The recital featured the premiere of Suggs’s chamber concerto, a joint commission by the BMI Foundation and CAG, performed with the CAG ensemble PUBLIQuartet.
Marissa Olegario (13) worked and performed with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra as its 2017–18 bassoon fellow. She is currently pursuing a DMA at Stony Brook University.
Michael San Gabino (13) is an associate producer at WFMT, Chicago’s classical and arts radio station. He is the host of Introductions, WFMT’s Saturday morning showcase of the finest precollege classical musicians in the Chicago area. Last fall he was one of 14 young journalists and media professionals from across the United States selected to participate in the Berlin Capital Program, sponsored by the German Fulbright Kommission, for a week of immersion in German culture, media, and politics.
Addison Teng (G13) was awarded the Oberlin College and Conservatory Outstanding Young Alumni Award, recognizing alumni who are 35 or younger and have distinguished themselves professionally or through service to humanity. Teng teaches violin at the Music Institute of Chicago and the Montecito International Music Festival.
Michael Harper (14) was named second trumpet with the Jacksonville Symphony. This summer he served as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center.
Lisa Meyerhofer (G14) was selected for the principal flute position with the Lexington Philharmonic.
Ryan Townsend Strand (G14), made his debut with Third Coast Baroque in November. He has continued to appear as a tenor soloist with Music of the Baroque under the baton of Jane Glover. In March he gave a solo recital with CHAI Collaborative Ensemble, premiering a new work for tenor and chamber ensemble by Marc LeMay. Strand made his North Shore Choral Society soloist debut in Bob Chilcott’s Requiem in June and made his Oregon Bach Festival debut under the baton of John Nelson in July. He also performed as a member of the Grant Park Chorus under Christopher Bell.
Jonathan Charles Tay (G14) made his Singapore Lyric Opera debut as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore and returned to the company to appear in Aida. He also performed in La bohème with Angel Blue and Charles Castronovo and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. Tay was awarded a scholarship to the Richard Wagner Festival in Bayreuth in August.
Caitlin Finnie (16) was cast as an ensemble member and Cosette understudy in the North American tour of Les Misérables. The show opened last September in Providence and is scheduled to tour for a year.
Alyssa Giannetti (16) was cast in the national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies, the stand-alone musical sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, as a swing for Christine.
Alexandria Hoffman (16) won the 2017 Piccolo Orchestral Audition Masterclass Competition at the National Flute Association’s annual convention.
Taylor Lockwood (16) was named operations and community programs coordinator for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
Matthew Richardson (G16) was named associate instructor of ethnomusicology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Tomaz Pires Soares (G16) is teaching at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro’s School of Music, one of Brazil’s oldest music schools.
Thaddeus Warren Tukes (16) won the Chicago Music Association’s Scholarship Competition, part of the National Association of Negro Musicians’ National Scholarship Competition.
Soprano Madison Leonard (G16) was named a winner in the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. In addition to being recognized as one of the top young opera stars in the country, Leonard received a $15,000 cash award. The program is designed to discover promising young opera singers and assist in developing their careers. For over 60 years, the annual competition has helped launch the careers of countless young singers, including some of opera’s greatest stars. Hosted by Joyce DiDonato, the Grand Finals concert took place April 29 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
Jason Thompson (G16), assistant professor of music education at Arizona State University, was awarded a $10,000 grant from the National Association for Music Education and the Society for Research in Music Education to conduct a study addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion within the profession. Over a two-year period, the funds will enable him to explore the community capacity and cultural wealth that Phoenix-area 13- to 18-year-olds use to “do music” in school music programs, in community music programs, or on their own apart from any school or community organization.
Steven Banks (G17) was appointed to a tenure-track position as assistant professor of saxophone at Baldwin Wallace University’s Conservatory of Music.
Samantha Baran (17) advanced to the final round of Soirée Lyrique’s Young Artist Program Competition. She will continue her studies at the Mozarteum University Salzburg.
DaJuan Brooks (G17) was named director of orchestras at Niles West High School in Skokie, Illinois.
Alexandra Dee (G17) was appointed director of orchestral activities at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois.
Antonio Escobedo (G17) joined the New World Symphony as a bass fellow. He previously performed with the Utah Symphony and served as a substitute bassist with the Seattle Symphony.
Liana Gineitis (G17) won the Edith Newfield Scholarship from the Musicians Club of Women.
Michael Hopkins (17) won the percussion position in “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band.
Frank Laucerica (17) was named an associate member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus.
Alison Wahl (G17) was named assistant professor of voice at Ithaca College.