Alumni Achievements

Alumni: If you would like to let your classmates know what you have been doing, please send your information to our online submission form, or submit via email to You can also send the information to Fanfare, Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music, 70 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, IL 60208. (Note: If you are submitting digital images to go along with your news item, you must use the email address and attach those images to the email.) We reserve the right to edit your item for either online or print publication. Below are alumni updates from the fall 2016 issue of Fanfare.

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Sheldon Harnick (49) received a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre during the 70th annual Tony ceremony in June.

Bill Hayes (G49), a singer, dancer, and actor known for his ongoing role on Days of Our Lives, was recognized in Chicago at the 54th national conference of the National Association of Teachers of Singing with a prize named in his honor. 


Marshall Turkin (50, G51), who celebrated his 90th birthday this year, is an active musician and composer in Boca Raton, Florida. He founded the Symphonia Boca Raton and Lynn University’s Classic Jazz Ensemble series.

Roy W. Clare (G52) retired in 2016 after a 57-year career as a middle school music teacher in Williamsville, New York.

Rupert Hohmann (G59) received Bethel College’s Erwin C. and Verna Kaufman Goering Award. The biennial award honors a Bethel College alumnus of outstanding character for distinguished achievement in music.


Trumpeter Charles Few (G68) and pianist Otis Kitchen (G64) are featured lecturer-performers with the Pathways Institute for Lifelong Learning in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Both remain musically active throughout the local area. 


Roger Dowdy (G70) coordinated a Northwestern alumni gathering in July at Virginia’s Wintergreen Summer Music Festival, where Erin Freeman (95) is artistic director and Bienen School professor Victor Yampolsky appeared as guest conductor.

David Jacobsen (G72) has retired after a 44-year teaching career. For the last 28 years he has been professor of flute, saxophone, and chamber music at Virginia Tech’s School of Performing Arts.

Calvert Johnson (G72, G76) presented an organ concert of works from the Middle East at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Family in Jasper, Georgia. Johnson is organist at First Presbyterian in Marietta, Georgia, and the Charles A. Dana Professor Emeritus of Music and college organist emeritus at Agnes Scott College.

Art Brownlow (G78) was a 2016 recipient of the University of Texas System Regent’s Outstanding Teaching Award. Currently professor of music at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Brownlow has taught in higher education for over 30 years. Previously he won the 2014–15 College Music Society Instructional Technology Initiative Award and was selected as an Apple Distinguished Educator. Brownlow’s recent book Teaching Music History with iPad is available free in the Apple iBooks Store. 


Mark Running (80, G87) retired from Glenbrook North High School at the end of the 2015–16 academic year after a 35-year career as a band director, roughly half of which he spent at the school. He received a 2016 award for teaching excellence from the Illinois Music Education Association.

David Evan Thomas (81) received the 2016 An die Musik Award for outstanding dedication and commitment to the work and mission of the Schubert Club. The award was presented at the club’s annual luncheon on June 8 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Thomas is a composer and program annotator in Minneapolis. 

Andrew Parks (G85, G86) has joined the Manhattan School of Music’s inaugural musical theater faculty. Launched this fall, the program will give students a fully rounded foundation in musical theater technique in addition to offering courses in musical theater repertoire and history, drama study and analysis, and technical production training. Parks will serve as voice instructor and teach classes in repertoire and audition technique.

Daniel Brame (86), band director of Deerfield High School, won a 2016 Chicagoland Outstanding Music Educator Award.

Lawrence T. Sisk (G86), music director of Joliet’s Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra since 1991, conducted a March program featuring pianist Haysun Kang (G01) in Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain. Also appearing as guest soloist for the concert was harpist Janelle Lake (06, G07).

Shelby Keith Dixon (66, G68) retired on the occasion of his final Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra concert on May 8 after 32 seasons on its conducting staff—the last 28 as associate conductor of the Senior Symphony, MYSO’s flagship ensemble.

Singer-songwriter Ilene Angel (87) recently released the CD In Color, featuring the duet “Friends Like Me & You,” recorded with the legendary Kenny Loggins.

James Crowley (G87, G93) was commissioned by the guitarcontrabass duo Dez Cordas to compose Pilgrimage as the title track on its latest Summit Records CD. The Museum of Modern Art recently presented the New York premiere of his Circle in the Round, performed by the New Juilliard Ensemble. His wind ensemble fanfare Silver Soundings was commissioned by and premiered at the University of Wisconsin–Parkside, where he was recently promoted to professor of music.

Augusta Read Thomas (87) received the 2016 Composer’s Award from Pennsylvania’s Lancaster Symphony Orchestra. Established in 1959, the award is the nation’s oldest honor of its kind and recognizes contemporary composers for significant contributions to symphonic music through creative efforts and personal advocacy. Thomas is spearheading and co-curating Chicago’s first Ear Taxi Festival, to be held October 5–10.

Randall Everett Allsup (88) spent his sabbatical year teaching courses on creativity and problem solving at the Arts College of China’s Xiamen University. He was recently appointed program director of music education at Teachers College, Columbia University. His book Remixing the Music Classroom: Toward an Open Philosophy of Music Education was published this year by Indiana University Press.

Percussionist Michael Brothers (G88) released his first album as leader of the Michael Brothers Quartet in January on Girod Records. Reunion has received critical acclaim and airplay on over 270 stations throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia, including the syndicated radio programs Jazz after Hours on Public Radio International and Jazz with Greg Bridges on Jazz Network– WFMT Radio Network. Reunion reached number 26 on the CMJ New Music Report Jazz Top 40 and number 49 on the JazzWeek Top 50.

William G. Wiggins (G89) retired as principal timpanist of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra after 49 years with the organization. He continues as associate professor of timpani and percussion at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music and as principal timpanist of Wisconsin’s Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra, directed by Bienen School professor Victor Yampolsky. 


Carolyn Barber (90, G95), director of bands at the University of Nebraska– Lincoln’s Glenn Korff School of Music, has been named its inaugural Ron and Carol Cope Professor of Music.

William Dyer (G90) completed his DMA in music education at Boston University. A 2008 Fulbright Award recipient, Dyer is the director of music at Grays Harbor College in Aberdeen, Washington.

John Richmond (G90) was named dean of the University of North Texas College of Music. He previously served as the director of the Glenn Korff School of Music at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Jennifer Morgan DelMonico (94) was elected to the board of directors of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra in February.

Chip De Stefano (94, G96) received the 2016 Skokie Award for Artistic Excellence. De Stefano is director of the University of Chicago’s Wind Ensemble and director of bands at Skokie’s McCracken Middle School.

Denise Apodaca (G96) received a Colorado State University Alumni Association award for outstanding achievement in university teaching. Piano proficiency coordinator at CSU, Apodaca teaches music appreciation and piano skills for music therapists and music educators.

Kyle Dzapo (G96), Caterpillar Inc. Professor of Music at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, is the author of Notes for Flutists: A Guide to the Repertoire, published by Oxford University Press. Oxford has named her the editor for its new Notes for Performers series. 

Jan Berry Baker (G98, G03), saxophonist of the Bent Frequency Duo Project, performed at Carnegie Hall in a concert celebrating composer Dorothy Hindman’s 50th birthday. The program featured New York premieres of Hindman’s 21st-century chamber music.


Jenny Grégoire (G00), concertmaster of the Mobile Symphony and assistant professor of violin at the University of Alabama, premiered Stephanie Ann Boyd’s Amerigo for violin and piano as part of the 50 State Sonata Project. A cocommission involving one violinist in every state, the project is the first part of a two-year celebration of the life and work of John Kendall, a pedagogue who helped bring the Suzuki teaching method to the Americas.

John Hain (00) was appointed associate dean of academic and international affairs at the Eastman School of Music, where he also serves as director of institutional research and assessment. 

John Marshall (G00), professor of cello and chamber music at Eastern Washington University and principal cello of the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, and his wife, Lynne Feller-Marshall—the duo Paradox— released Dances with Friends, their third album of music for cello and bassoon. The CD features a wide variety of classical and popular dance music performed with various instrumental combinations.

Cellist Úna Fionnuala O’Riordan (G00) and clarinetist Shannon Orme (01) hosted the eighth annual Strange Beautiful Music festival in September as members of the six-person ensemble New Music Detroit.

Ian Derrer (G01) was named general director of Kentucky Opera.

Phillip Serna (G01, G07), a performer and teacher of double bass and viola da gamba, partnered with Naperville North High School orchestra director Dana Green to start a viol consort program in Chicago’s western suburbs. To raise money for purchasing viols, Serna partnered with the Viola da Gamba Society 3rd Coast, Naperville North High School Department of Music, and Grounds for Hope Café at Trinity Lutheran Church to present a June benefit concert showcasing viol players from across the country in an ambitious marathon performance of Johannes Schenck’s The Nymphs of the Rhine.

Cory Hills (03) released his second children’s CD, Drum Factory, in February; it was named Children’s CD of the Year by Creative Child. The album features stories from Percussive Storytelling, a program Hills created to bring classical music and storytelling to children in underserved communities. Hills has presented more than 400 programs to over 60,000 children in eight countries and released two CDs and one children’s book. A freelance musician in Los Angeles, Hills is a member of the Grammy-nominated Los Angeles Percussion Quartet.

Brandon Keith Brown (04) led the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra in a program of works by Mendelssohn, C. P. E. Bach, and Mozart in May.

Steven Menard (04) joined the faculty of the University of North Texas as assistant professor of trombone.

Emily Threinen (G04) was named director of bands at the University of Minnesota.

David Skidmore (05), Sean Connors (G06), Robert Dillon (02), and Peter Martin (G04, G11) of Third Coast Percussion launched a mobile app inspired by the music of Steve Reich. Earlier this year the Chicago-based quartet released a new album of Reich’s music to celebrate the composer’s 80th birthday.

Jay Dorfman (G06) was appointed associate professor and coordinator of music education at Kent State University.

Elizabeth (Betsy) Kerns McCann (G08) was named assistant director of bands and director of marching and athletic bands at the University of Minnesota. McCann is the first female director of a marching band in the Big Ten Conference.

Katelyn Simon (G09) was appointed marketing manager of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in September 2015. Previously she served as marketing manager and acting associate principal oboe of the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. In summer 2016, for the second time, she traveled to Haiti as a volunteer teacher at the Ecole de Musique Sainte Trinité.

The Spektral Quartet—violinist Austin Wulliman (G08), violinist Clara Lyon, violist Doyle Armbrust (00), and cellist Russell Rolen (G11)—premiered Bagatellen by Hans Thomalla, Bienen School associate professor of composition and music technology, at the Art Institute of Chicago as part of the Frequency Festival. Reviewing the festival’s seven concerts for the New York Times, David Allen wrote, “All were formidable, none more so than the Spektral Quartet’s.” 


Jack Marquardt (G10) is clarinetist of the quintet WindSync, which won the gold medal in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition’s senior winds division.

William Robin (10) has joined the University of Maryland School of Music faculty. In April, Robin hosted the second annual Symphomania, a 24-hour marathon stream of music composed in or after the year 2000. The program is archived at WQXR.

Becca Laurito (11) received a National Repertory Orchestra fellowship for percussion.

Frank A. Watkins (G11) was named music director and conductor of the Eau Claire (Wisconsin) Chamber Orchestra.

Trumpeter Kris Hammond (G12) and hornist Jacob DiEdwardo (G13) are members of the quintet Axiom Brass, which placed third in the inaugural M-Prize Competition’s senior winds division at the University of Michigan in May.

Kyle Kremer (12) organized the Solar System Symphony at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall in May. Astronomy visualizations were screened while the Bienen School’s Brass Ensemble performed Holst’s The Planets. Between movements Kremer briefly discussed each planet, and following the concert he led an observation on the Arts Circle with Northwestern astronomers. A similar event was held at the Ravinia Festival in July.

John Shawger (12) won the fourth horn position in the Virginia Symphony. 

Samuel Suggs (12) is double bassist in the ensemble Foundry, which placed second in the senior open division of the inaugural M-Prize Competition at the University of Michigan.

Deanna Tham (G12) was named music director of the Louisville Youth Orchestra.

Matt Barker (14) was appointed fourth/utility trumpet of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

Anthony Bellino (14) won a position in the trumpet section of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band.

Hornist Melanie Erena (G14) and trombonist Mary Tyler (11) joined the Chicago-based quintet Axiom Brass in August.

Ian Greenberg (14) was selected as a fellow for the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival.

Harris Malasky (14) was a finalist in the 2016 Lewis Van Haney Philharmonic Prize Orchestral Tenor Trombone Competition.

Trombonist Weston Olencki (14), a fellow with Germany’s International Summer Course for New Music Darmstadt, received a 2016 Kranichstein Music Prize for his performances there.

Composer Shawn Jaeger (G15) was named one of three 2016–18 Princeton University Arts Fellows and has begun two years of teaching and community collaboration. He was selected from a diverse and multitalented pool of over 700 applicants in dance, music, creative writing, theater, and the visual arts.

Nicholas Platoff (14) won the associate principal trombone position in the San Francisco Symphony. He was previously a member of the New World Symphony.

Joanna Wu (14) received a $3,000 prize as winner of the 57th annual Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra Instrumental Competition.

John Zastoupil (G14) was named director of concert bands at Missouri State University. He previously served as associate director of bands and assistant professor of music education at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Sandra Bailey (15) received the Jerome and Elaine Nerenberg Foundation Scholarship from the Musicians Club of Women. She also received a National Repertory Orchestra fellowship for bassoon.

Cellist Ari Evan (15) received an honorable mention in the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Program competition.

Susannah Foster (G15) received first prize in the Bienen School’s inaugural Dover Quartet Competition as a violinist in the Laydeez Quartet.

Donna Gallo (G15) accepted a position as assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Igor Lipinski (G15) was named a lecturer in piano and piano pedagogy at the University of Tennessee.

Benjamin Rivera (G15) was named interim music director and choirmaster at Chicago’s Church of the Ascension.

Robinson Schulze (G15) was a finalist in the 2016 Donald Yaxley Bass Trombone Competition.

Thomas Mesa (G14) won the $50,000 first prize in the senior division of the 2016 Sphinx Competition. Mesa was also selected as a fellow for the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival. 

Alumni Return for World Premiere

An impressive group of Bienen School of Music brass and percussion alumni joined Symphonic Wind Ensemble members for a special concert May 22 featuring the world premiere of Lontano: Symphony for Wind Ensemble by Michael Martin (07, G08). Currently third/utility trumpet with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Martin dedicated Lontano to the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Professor Mallory Thompson. “My goal in writing Lontano was for each movement to be a gift,” Martin explained. “The first movement, by far the longest and most complex of the three, is for Mallory; the second movement, incredibly technical and aggressive in its demands on the players, is for the current Symphonic Wind Ensemble, filled to the brim with tomorrow’s great players; the last movement is for all SWEs, past and present.” The 34 brass and percussion alumni featured at the May concert hold performance and teaching positions with esteemed orchestras and institutions nationwide.


Ryan Beach (G12)
Karin Bliznik (G08)
Brandon Eubank (08)
William Gerlach (13)
Michael Martin (07, G08)
Amy McCabe (G06)
Troy McKay (G98)
Rob Singer (G02)
Jeffrey Strong (G08)
Kristopher Westrich (10)
Steve Woomert (12) 


Matthew Annin (G00)
Stephanie Blaha (04)
Joshua Paulus (G11)
Josh Phillips (G05)
Bernhard Scully (99)
Katherine Smith (G11)
Jason Snider (97)
Anna Spina (10)
Leander Star (G10) 

Tenor Trombone

Keith Dyrda (G13)
Paul Jenkins (10)
Steven Menard (04)
Timothy Owner (G06)
Timothy Smith (G05) 

Bass Trombone

Christopher Davis (G06)
Brian Hecht (G09)


Jamie Lipton (03)


Thomas Haggerty (04)
Andrew Hitz (97)


Brett Dietz (G04)
Andrew Emerich (G13)
William James (04)
Jacob Nissly (05) 

Several conducting alumni led performances at the 2016 College Band Directors National Association Western/Northwestern Division Conference in Reno, Nevada: Patricia Cornett (G07), California State University, Fullerton, Symphonic Winds; Gerard Morris (G13), University of Puget Sound Wind Ensemble; Rodney Dorsey (G92, G06), University of Oregon Wind Ensemble; and Travis J. Cross (G06, G13), UCLA Wind Ensemble. Also attending the conference was Robert Taylor (G02, G06) of the University of British Columbia.

In Memoriam

All dates are 2016.


Francis H. Baxter (G40) in Whittier, California, on June 2
Robert V. Jones (42) in St. Charles, Illinois, on March 30
Kathleen O’Brien Hackley (44) in Geneva, Illinois, on May 30
Bette M. Sherrill (44) in Iowa City, Iowa, on January 12
Terry C. Crabb (G46) in Kennewick, Washington, on March 25
Marilyn Kreml (46) in Vernon Hills, Illinois, on April 2
Robert W. Becker (47) in Springfield, Illinois, on April 19
Edna Gard-Knobe (47) in South Bend, Indiana, on March 3
Cecil Havens (47) in Indianapolis on July 17
June B. Rudolph (47) in Springfield, Missouri, on March 31
Juanita (Nita) Smith (47) in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, on May 22
Frank Mario Solazzi (47, G48) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on July 24
Lucy E. Steinberg (47) in Austin, Texas, on March 18
Bernard J. Bell (G48) in Leesburg, Florida, on May 23
Wendell L. Exline (48, G49) in Spokane, Washington, on April 7
Norma J. Peterson Seaton (G48) in New Braunfels, Texas, on March 15
Germaine Asbury (49) in Prescott, Arizona, on February 13
Joann Erickson (49, G56) in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, on July 21
Dorothy Greenough (49) in Wallingford, Connecticut, on May 3
Harriet Morgan Mogge (49, 59) in Reston, Virginia, on June 16
Elizabeth G. Pappas (G49) in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on April 4
M. Virginia Renbarger (G49) in Marion, Indiana, on May 31 


Marshall H. Bialosky (G50) in Gardena, California, on February 26
Henry M. Hedges (51) in Gaylord, Michigan, on May 9
Walter L. Kratz (52) in Middleton, Wisconsin, on June 23
Sharon Retoff (52) in Denton, Texas, on March 24
Robert D. Sorrells (G52) in St. Louis on March 14
Carl B. Swanson (G52) in Santa Barbara, California, on February 20
Joyce Markey (53) in Bryan, Ohio, on May 8
Ruth M. Spies (54, G62) in Palatine, Illinois, on May 20
Addie Ilene Lamb (G55) in North Canton, Ohio, on April 11
Roger W. Bresnahan (G57) in Denton, Texas, on January 2
Roslyn E. Bryner (57) in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on January 27
John G. Suess (G57) in Sarasota, Florida, on April 18
Elsie Madden (59) in Naples, Florida, on June 23
Marshall Moss (G59) in De Pere, Wisconsin, on May 19
Robert H. Wessberg (59, G60) in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, on July 29 


Stephen J. Platko (60, G62) in Joliet, Illinois, on March 1
Barbara Sheldon (62) in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on May 21
Ruth I. Porikos (G63) in Highland Park, Illinois, on May 26
Thomas L. Matthews Jr. (G65) in Forest, Virginia, on April 7
Dennis Kettl (G69) in Greeley, Colorado, on May 22 


Robert D. Goodell (G72) in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, on March 7
Ann O. Walton (G76) in Michigan City, Indiana, on March 9 


Kelley E. Benson (80) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on April 1
James M. MacDonald (G80) in Chicago on March 12 .


Lisa Marie Reynolds (G91) in Charlestown, Indiana, on May 11


Phyllis Weil Ellis, a former member of the Bienen School’s Music Advisory Board, died at age 93 on July 17. Ellis graduated from Chicago’s Senn High School and attended the University of Chicago. During her long life she committed her time to countless arts-related and civic organizations, including the League of Women Voters, the Evanston Symphony Orchestra, the Illinois Arts Council, the Mary and Leigh Block Museum, and the Bienen School of Music, where she served on the advisory board for 14 years. After the death of her husband, Averon, she worked in Northwestern’s Department of Human Resources for over 25 years, ultimately retiring at age 90. An Evanstonian devoted to the arts, the symphony, and the opera, she loved to throw parties for her friends and family to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and special events.

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