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School of Music 2017 Winter News Recap

Tue, Mar 14, 2017

Student News

Daraja Ensemble teamed up with D.C. rapper Konshens and pianist Brian Cunningham to fuse classical music with hip hop. You can read more about their project in Washingtonian Magazine and watch their February 8 performance at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage here.                        

Robert Schroyer (DMA, Percussion) was featured as a solo artist at the University of South Florida's annual McCormick Marimba Festival. After a full day of performances from several percussion ensembles, including Arizona State University and McGill, Robert presented a solo recital to end the festival.  

Brian Coffill (DMA, Conducting) and David Wacyk (DMA, Conducting) were selected to give poster presentations at the 2017 College Band Directors National Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. David will be presenting his paper, "Stravinsky's Symphonies of Wind Instruments: Toward a New Understanding of Pitch Structure​," on Thursday, March 16, and Brian will be presenting his paper, "Charles Ives' Decoration Day: A Conductor's Guide," on Friday, March 17.

Sequina DuBose (DMA, Voice) has been invited to sing the role of Clara in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in an international tour with Harlem Productions that will take place in Tel Aviv and Haifa, Israel and Bari, Italy. In addition, this summer she continues her role as Development Director for Baltimore-based theater company ArtsCentric, which will present in 2017 an African-American cast production of Chicago, the musical, a first of its kind.                                                 

Stephen Cunningham (DMA, Trumpet) was appointed Adjunct Instructor of Music at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and will teach Jazz Orchestra II. He is also Assistant Director of the VCU Greater Richmond High School Jazz Band.

Christopher Koelzer (DMA, Collaborative Piano) recently auditioned and was offered a position in the Washington National Opera Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists Program as a coach/accompanist. Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program is a leading resident-training program for artists on the verge of international careers. Founded in 2002 by Plácido Domingo, the program offers exceptionally promising young singers and coach/accompanists two years of intensive training, study, and career guidance with a team of world-renowned master teachers and coaches.

Renowned soprano Dawn Upshaw and collaborative pianist Gilbert Kalish gave a recital on campus, then held master classes featuring several UMD voice and piano students the following day. View the photo album.

Composer/librettist team Martin Hennessy and Tom Rowan joined students in the Maryland Opera Studio as they workshopped and gave the world premiere performance of The Young King.

Faculty News

Bradford Gowen (Associate Professor, Piano) was at Ravinia on February 18 to give a masterclass for the Music Institute of Chicago's Academy. The Academy is made up of the top twenty-eight of MIC's hundreds of students.

Irina Muresanu's (Assistant Professor, Violin) ensemble, the Boston Trio, performed Beethoven's Triple Concerto with the Boston Philharmonic and conductor Benjamin Zander on February 23rd, 25th and 26th in Sanders Theatre (Cambridge, MA) and Jordan Hall (Boston, MA). Muresanu's latest recording with the Boston Trio "Elegy and Blues," which includes works by Fauré, John Musto and Arenski, has just been released by Centaur Records. She is also featured on "Lift: Chamber Music by Elena Ruehr" (Avie Records), which has been nominated by the classical radio station WBUR as one of the "13 Best Classical Music Recordings of the Year 2016.

The third and fourth volumes of Thomas J. DeLio’s (Professor, Theory and Composition) collected works were released this month by the Neuma Recordings label; one volume is a CD and the other a DVD of multi-channel works in 5.0 surround sound.  Neuma is planning to release his complete works on disc.  The fifth volume is in progress for release in 2018.  Also, the first volume of his Collected Essays 1980-2000 is scheduled for release this spring by the Mellen Press.  A second is under contract.

Chris Vadala (Professor, Saxophone, Conductor; Director, Jazz Studies Program) was a featured guest soloist at the annual Jazz Education Network Convention (JEN) in New Orleans. As the first call saxophonist with the National Symphony Orchestra, he performed in recent NSO Pops concerts featuring Diana Ross, Patti LaBelle and Snarky Puppy. He was a guest soloist with Jazz Ensembles and Wind Ensembles at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee, University of Kansas and Western Illinois University, conducted the New York State Zone 1 All-State Jazz Ensemble at SUNY Fredonia, the NY All-District Jazz Ensemble at Long Island Ubiversity/C.W. Post and will conduct his 49th HS All-State Jazz Ensemble in Delaware next month. He can be heard performing on the soundtrack of the recently released motion picture Dr. Strange.

Eric Kutz (Assistant Professor, Cello) performed a recital at Towson University featuring works by Barber and Balakirev with pianist Daniel Weiser; unaccompanied works by Dutilleux and Maria Newman; and two cello octet arrangements. The cello octet featured four UMD graduate students, Frances Borowsky, Katy Chiang, Samantha Flores, and Peter Swanson. Also in the ensemble were Towson Professor Cecylia Barczyk and two of her students.

Highlights for Anthony Manzo (Lecturer, Double Bass) include a period instrument recording of two Haydn symphonies and a Mozart violin concerto with the Handel and Haydn Society Orchestra in Boston and a bit of "fishing" with the Fitzwilliam Quartet from London — a performance of the Trout Quintet at their annual residency at Bucknell University.

Chris Gekker (Professor, Trumpet) was featured as soloist in a PostClassical Ensemble concert at National Cathedral. On Feb. 10, he performed as soloist at the Maryland Music Educators Association Annual Conference in Baltimore with the Walter Johnson High School Wind Ensemble. His recent book "Slow Practice" (Charles Colin Publications, NY - also available digitally from qPress) is now being translated into Japanese. On Feb. 24th and 26th was principal trumpet (National Philharmonic) for performances with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra in Wynton's work "All Rise" at Strathmore, and on Feb. 25 will perform at American University with fellow faculty Robert DiLutis in the premiere of Carson Cooman's "Moon Marked" for clarinet and trumpet.

Timothy McReynolds (Lecturer, Voice/Opera Division) finished this past year with a sold-out Richard Rogers cabaret at the Gordon Center for the Performing Arts near Baltimore with Carolyn Black-Sotir and the Concert Artists of Baltimore, and a performance of new music premieres at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. with the Inscape Chamber Orchestra. Most recently, he returned from the US Virgin Islands where he performed three concerts with Trio Montage through the St. Croix Landmark Society at the Estate Whim Plantation. Trio Montage includes three UMD School of Music alumni: Phillip Collister (DMA, Voice) and Marguerite Baker Levin (DMA, Clarinet).

Barbara Haggh-Huglo (Professor, Musicology) presented two papers at the conference 'Historiae: Repertory and Research in Medieval Chant for the Divine Office' in Venice, Italy: 1. 'Some Medieval Offices from Ghent and a New Way of Interpreting their Melodies' and 2. 'Post-Tridentine Marian Offices in Mexico and their Old and New Chant.' The second paper was based on Dr. Haggh's research in Mexico, her evaluation of some of the material, and on work accomplished in MUSC 699M in fall 2016 by Eric Pazdziora, Simon Polson, and Rachel Ruisard, as preparation for the submission of an article in spring 2017.

Patrick Warfield (Associate Professor, Musicology) curated two performances during January for the United States Marine Band, "The President's Own." The first was a clinic on the structure and performance practice of marches at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. The second was the Marine Band's season opener and an examination of John Philip Sousa's career during the first world war.


Alumni News

John O. Pursell (DMA '98, Trumpet) is currently performing as a Trumpet Artist for the Yamaha Music Corporation. He was recently featured as a clinician at music educator conferences in Tennessee, Wisconsin, New Jersey and West Virginia.

Alicia Kosack (DMA Flute ’10) and Laura Armstrong (DMA Clarinet ’10) are founding members of the Fortunata Trio along with bassoonist Kimberly Buchar Nolet. Together since 2010, their most recent performance was a Faculty/Guest Artist Recital at York College of PA this past October. The program included two premieres, Summer Dance by Jim Colonna and Caricatures by Mattthew Jaskot (MM and DMA Composition ’11).

Jennifer Hamady's (BM Voice '96) recent Hal Leonard publication, The Art of Singing Onstage and in the Studio, discusses how to manage technology on stage and in the studio, and how to interact with the people who run it. 

Anthony Rivera (DMA Wind Conducting '16) has accepted a position as Conductor and Music Director at Santa Clara University.

Matthew Hill (BM Voice '13, MM Voice '16recently won the Choralis Young Artist Competition and will now perform the tenor solos with the other winners of the competition in Mozart's Coronation Mass with Choralis on Sunday, May 13 at 7 pm at Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center. Hill also won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in the Washington, D.C. district round and advanced to the regional round which will be held on Sunday, February 12, 2017 at 2pm at the University of DC, Van Ness Campus, Washington, D.C. Finally, he will make his "Evangelist" debut in Bach's Saint Matthew Passion with the Concert Artists of Baltimore on Saturday April 1, 2017 at the Basilica in Baltimore.

Robby Burns (BME '08, MM Percussion '10), a music teacher in the Howard county public school system, will be presenting at the Texas Music Educators Association conference as part of the TI:ME Pre-Service on February 8th. Robby's session, "Digital Organization Tips for Music Teachers", is based on his recent publication by the same name. The content of the session is aimed at helping musicians and educators manage the musical and non musical responsibilities of their work through productivity software and tips. You can read more about Robby's book and his work at

Michael Boyd (BM Composition and BME '00, DMA Composition '06) won the 2016 Foundation for Emerging Technologies and Arts (FETA) Prize in Sound Art for his work Confessional, which he describes as "a user-driven installation that provides the opportunity for composers to briefly take pleasure in and then (symbolically) destroy one of their dubious creations." Boyd is Assistant Professor of Music at Chatham University. 

Boden Sandstrom (Ph.D. Ethnomusicology '02) was published in "Sinister Wisdon: A Multicultural Lesbian Literary & Art Journal, Special Issue: Celebrating the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival." Her article is “Two Magical Moments at the Twentieth Anniversary of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.” 103 (Winter 2017): 42-44.

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