Faculty Achievements

This page includes achievements, performances, and publications of the Bienen School faculty from the spring 2017 issue of Fanfare

Faculty: If you would like your achievements to be published on this page, please use our online submission form, or submit via email to fanfare@northwestern.edu. (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.

Stephen Alltop (conducting) and the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra received a $220,000 Music Alive Grant for a three-year residency by composer Stacy Garrop. A national residency program of the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA, Music Alive is designed to foster connections between composers, musicians, and communities. Alltop conducted the Apollo Chorus of Chicago in a recording of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah for a 2016 Christmas special of the Netflix series Sense8. As keyboardist, Alltop performed a series of recitals in Europe and the United States with soprano Josefien Stoppelenburg; these included a two-hour WFMT Fine Arts Network live broadcast that was named one of the station’s Top Ten Live Broadcasts of 2016.

Linda Phyllis Austern (musicology) presented the paper “Willow Songs, Cultural Memory, and the Establishment of an ‘Authentic’ Shakespeare Music Canon” at the 2016 British Shakespeare Association conference at the University of Hull. She has been elected vice president of the North American British Music Studies Association and was invited by its executive board to participate in the senior scholars colloquium at its 2016 biennial conference, where she presented the paper “‘Shakespeare His Musicke,’ Historiography, and Celebrity Cult[ure]s: Two Examples.” Austern coedited the book Beyond Boundaries: Rethinking Music Circulation in Early Modern England, published by Indiana University Press.

Ben Bolter (conducting) conducted the world premiere of Nox by Drew Baker (G07) at Chicago’s Harris Theater as part of the Ear Taxi Festival. Featuring Third Coast Percussion, Spektral Quartet, Acromusical Sextet, and 40 other Chicago-based musicians scattered throughout the hall, the premiere was named the best classical performance of 2016 by Third Coast Review. Also at the Ear Taxi Festival, Bolter led the Chicago premieres of Wonderblock by Hans Thomalla (composition) with the Bienen School’s Contemporary Music Ensemble as well as the Violin Concerto of Marcos Balter (G08) with soloist David Bowlin and the International Contemporary Ensemble. Bolter is starting an ArtsBridge summer chamber orchestra program, to be held at the Colburn School in July and August.

Theresa Brancaccio (voice and opera) wrote the article “Staying on Track: Vocal Points Tracker, a Voice-Budgeting Tool,” published in Voice Prints, the journal of the New York Singing Teachers’ Association.

Vasili Byros (music theory and cognition) was invited to the University of Texas at Austin’s Butler School of Music to speak at its Music Theory Forum. In November he presented a talk on his book project, “Nights at Van Swieten’s: Models, Creativity, and Meaning from Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Their World.” For the second year in a row, Byros was recognized on the North-western University Associated Student Government’s Faculty Honor Roll.

Helen Callus (viola) released a new technique book, One-Step Scale System for Viola: 10 Exercises to a Better Left Hand, published by Carl Fischer. She was invited to perform with the renowned Fine Arts Quartet in October and will join the ensemble again for a con-cert in June. She also performed with the Avalon String Quartet at the Art Institute of Chicago. Callus was invited by the Violin Channel and The Strad to write several feature articles, reviews, and blogs for their print and online publications. One of her recent posts, “5 Things You Need to Succeed as a Musician,” was their most-read December article. Callus and the Northwestern viola studio are also writing weekly posts for the American Viola Society’s From the Studio blog, covering topics such as practice techniques, adjusting to a new school, and overcoming stage fright.

Alan Chow (piano) presented recitals and master classes at Western Michigan University and the Eastman School of Music. He was also a juror at the Shanghai National Piano Competition in September and the Music Teachers National Association’s Southern Division Piano Competition in January.

Steven Cohen (clarinet) played a recital on the First Monday Series as part of the Brevard Music Center’s winter season. In fall 2016 he presented a master class at Furman University. Cohen has recently performed with the Chicago Chamber Musicians and in Northwestern’s Winter Chamber Music Festival. He also served as a judge for the Backun International Clarinet Competition at Vanderbilt University. Cohen continues to perform with the Music of the Baroque Orchestra, Chicago Philharmonic, and other area orchestras.

Drew Edward Davies (musicology) presented his paper “Convidando está la noche and the Development of the Latin Baroque” at the Early Music Festival of Úbeda and Baeza, Spain, in December. Conformación y retórica de los repertorios catedralicios (Formation and Rhetoric of Cathedral Repertoires), an essay collection Davies coedited with Lucero Enríquez, was published by the National Autonomous University of Mexico Press.

Steven M. Demorest (music education) gave presentations at the International Conference for Music Perception and Cognition on the Seattle Singing Accuracy Protocol and factors influencing young children’s singing development. He also gave the keynote address at the 2017 College Music Society’s Southern Division Conference. The Journal of Research in Music Education recently published his research on singing ability and musical self-concept as it relates to children’s future participation in music, and Music Perception published his study on the effect of contextual variables on cultural bias in music memory.

Bernard J. Dobroski (music education) presented a paper at DePauw University’s national invitational music symposium in September. As part of its final plenary session he chaired “Is There Still Room in the World for Curiosity?,” a deans’ panel on the future of music and how institutions might reimagine the preparation of students for that future. Dobroski remains an active member of the University Library Commit-tee and University Undergraduate Research Grants Committee and an elected member of the Northwestern University Faculty Senate, where he participates in the Educational Affairs Committee’s discussions of proposed changes to the academic calendar.

Ryan Dohoney (musicology) presented his paper “Antimodernism, Ultramodernism, and ‘After Modernism’” in November at the annual meeting of the American Musicological Society in Vancouver, British Columbia. Dohoney has been named to a 2017-20 term on AMS’s Pisk Prize Committee, which selects a graduate student paper to be honored at the annual conference as the year’s best. He has also been appointed to the editorial board of Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture

Michael Ehrman (opera) was one of 30 US opera educators and program directors invited by the Metropolitan Opera to participate in a March conference on opera training for young singers.

James Giles (piano) was the conference artist for the Arkansas Music Teachers Association and played recitals at Cincinnati’s Art of the Piano festival and the Amalfi Coast Music Festival, which he directs. He also taught on the artist faculty at Spain’s Gijon International Piano Festival last August. Fall performances included recitals at Boston University and the University of Iowa as well as collaborations with violinists Gerardo Ribeiro and Ilya Kaler in two separate programs in Galvin Recital Hall. As a judge for the American Pianists Association fellowship awards, Giles is traveling to Indianapolis several times to hear the finalists. He was artistic director of the 2017 American Liszt Society Festival, held April 27–30 at the Bienen School.

Robert Gjerdingen (music theory and cognition) gave the president’s plenary address at the annual meeting of the American Musicological Society in November. In January he presented the keynote lecture for Florida State University’s 34th annual music theory forum.

Victor Goines (jazz studies) premiered his work Untamed Elegance with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in October at New York City’s Rose Theater. Commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center, the piece was inspired by the sounds, styles, and culture of the Prohibition years. The Northwestern University Jazz Orchestra’s April 2016 rendition of Goines’s Crescent City with guest artist Branford Marsalis was named one of the best jazz performances of 2016 by the Chicago Tribune.

Nancy Gustafson (voice and opera), founder and executive director of the Songs by Heart Foundation, has expanded the foundation’s interactive musical programming into 25 memory care and assisted living communities in the Chicago area, Southern California, Phoenix, and Washington, DC. The program aims to improve quality of life for persons with age-related memory issues. At the end of 2016, Songs by Heart concluded a 10-week research project in collaboration with Steven Demorest (music education) and the Feinberg School of Medicine’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center. Data analysis is in progress, and publication of a full report is expected later this year.

Robert G. Hasty (conducting) was an adjudicator and clinician for the Indiana American String Teachers Association Orchestra Invitational in November. He con- ducted the 2016 Illinois Music Educators Association District 1 senior honors orchestra, which performed at Elmhurst College. At Gordon College’s 2016 Summer Work-shops for Music Educators, Hasty presented the workshop “Bowing from A to Z: Strings Techniques and Pedagogy That Promote Instrumental Proficiency and Quality Musicianship.”

Maud Hickey (music education) presented a series of lectures on creativity to Mexico City students at Universidad Panamericana’s School of Fine Arts. She and music education master’s student Jashen Edwards participated in a panel at the International Society of Music Education conference in Scotland, where they presented research on North-western student mentors who work with residents in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. In November at a Xiamen University symposium on university music education in contemporary China, Hickey and Sarah Bartolome (music education) presented the paper “Community Engagement in 21st-Century University Music Education,” discussing two case studies of current student engagement work at Northwestern. Hickey also presented a paper on theories of creative thinking in music.

Hans Jørgen Jensen (cello) served on the faculties of the National Arts Centre’s Young Artist Program in Canada, the PyeongChang summer festival and school in Korea, and the Festival Musica de Santa Catarina in Brazil. He also presented a week of master classes at the Royal Danish Academy of Music and taught at Israel’s Jerusalem Music Center. Jensen was recognized on the Northwestern University Associated Student Government’s 2016–17 Faculty Honor Roll.

Alex Mincek (composition and music technology) was awarded a commission by Harvard University’s Fromm Music Foundation to write an opera for Alarm Will Sound to be conducted by Alan Pierson (conducting). In October, Fulcrum Point New Music Project gave the Midwest premiere of Mincek’s Pendulum II: Yap, Yaw, Yawp at Chicago’s Ear Taxi Festival. Reviewing the concert, the Chicago Tribune’s John von Rhein said of Mincek, “Here is a compelling new voice in Chicago music one very much looks forward to hearing again.”

Toni-Marie Montgomery (dean) presented a recital with cellist Anthony Elliott in January as part of the Four Seasons Arts Series in Oakland, California. The program featured sonatas by Samuel Barber, David Baker, and Richard Strauss. Dean Montgomery was invited to be one of three presenters in the University of Rochester’s Eastman Leader-ship Conference; the June event will focus on preparing the next generation of music school leaders.

Michael Mulcahy (trombone) premiered Australian composer Carl Vine’s Five Hallucinations for trombone and orchestra on October 6 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Jointly commissioned by the CSO and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Five Hallucinations was inspired by the writings of British-American neurologist Oliver Sacks. Mulcahy also performed the concerto with the Sydney Symphony in April.

Donald Nally (conducting), conductor of The Crossing, received a 2017 Grammy nomination for best choral performance for the group’s recording of Thomas Lloyd’s Bonhoeffer. In October he led The Crossing in John Luther Adams’s Canticles of the Holy Wind at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Philadelphia-based choir has also recently performed at the Winter Garden, National Sawdust, the Gardner Museum, and Colgate University. Nally and The Crossing collaborated with Taimur Sullivan (saxophone) and the Prism Quartet in Gavin Bryars’s The Fifth Century, released in November and named one of the top 10 classical albums of 2016 by the Chicago Tribune. Nally conducted the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble in the Midwest premiere of Ted Hearne’s Consent at Chicago’s Ear Taxi Festival and in two sold-out performances of Handel’s Messiah with the Callipygian Players at Northwestern.

Inna Naroditskaya (musicology) wrote the chapter on Azerbaijani Mugham jazz in Jazz Worlds/World Jazz, edited by Philip V. Bohlman and Goffredo Plastino and published by University of Chicago Press. She recently began work on an English translation of Catherine the Great’s opera librettos, to be published by Northwestern University Press in 2018.

Susan Piagentini (music theory and cognition) was an invited speaker in October at the College Music Society National Conference, where she participated in the president’s forum “Values and Mission: Maintaining and Transforming.” Last fall Northwestern awarded her an Educational Technology Teaching Fellowship; fellows complete a pedagogical experiment with the support of Northwestern Information Technology Academic and Research Technologies. Piagentini’s project focuses on using the new ARC video application to assess performance in the Bienen School’s core music classes and to mentor teaching assistants and graduate music theory pedagogy students.

Alan Pierson (con-ducting) conducted a MusicNOW concert in November in honor of Steve Reich’s 80th birthday. The all-Reich program featured Bienen School students and musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Pierson also conducted a Reich program at Northwestern during the com-poser’s first Bienen School residency as winner of the Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition. As artistic director and conductor of Alarm Will Sound, Pierson led that ensemble in the St. Louis premiere of Reich’s The Cave in March. He conducted The Desert Music with the American Composers Orchestra in April. He is also currently touring two new operas by Donnacha Dennehy: The Hunger with Alarm Will Sound and The Last Hotel with the Crash Ensemble. Pierson’s recent recording of David T. Little’s Dog Days was named 2016’s top opera recording by NPR.

Robert Reinhart (music theory and cognition) attended the world premiere of his Fit for alto flute and harp in October at San Francisco’s Center for New Music as well as its Midwest premiere at Chicago’s Cafe Mustache, both featuring flutist Emma Hospelhorn and harpist Ben Melsky (08, G09) of Ensemble Dal Niente. For Chicago’s Ear Taxi Festival, Reinhart performed as bassoonist in the world premiere of Nox by Drew Baker (G07) as well as with the a.pe.ri.od.ic ensemble, directed by Nomi Epstein (G08). He is heard on a.pe.ri.od.ic’s upcoming recording and performed Tim Parkinson’s opera Time with People with that ensemble in February. Recently named to the board of Ensemble Dal Niente, Reinhart continues to codirect the Outer Voices Ensemble with Kenn Kumpf (G13) and play bassoon with the Triple Reed Trio.

Gerardo Ribeiro (violin) presented master classes in China at the music conservatories of Beijing and Shanghai, in Canada at Calgary’s Mount Royal University Conservatory, and in Chicago at DePaul University. He also adjudicated Chicago’s Musicians Club of Women Competition in March.

Desirée Ruhstrat (violin) received a Grammy Award nomination for best chamber music/small ensemble performance as a member of the Lincoln Trio for its Trios from Our Homelands (Cedille Records).

Robert Sullivan (trumpet) toured Asia in March with the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops Orchestras. Sullivan has recently served as guest principal trumpet with the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Pops Orchestra. In Chicago he appeared as soloist with the Chicago Philharmonic and performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Fulcrum Point New Music Project. Sullivan joins the faculty of Brevard Music Center’s summer music festival this summer.

Taimur Sullivan (saxophone) performed as concerto soloist and in two Prism Quartet concerts at Russia’s St. Petersburg Palaces International Music Festival. Prism has recently performed on the Eastman School of Music’s Kilbourn Concert Series, Yale University’s Oneppo Chamber Music Series, and the Hartt School’s Richard P. Garmany Chamber Music Series, in addition to appearances at Temple University, Western Michigan University, and Brandeis University. Prism’s album The Fifth Century, featuring Donald Nally (conducting) and The Crossing, was named one of the best classical albums of 2016 by the Chicago Tribune. Sullivan also performed in Chicago’s Ear Taxi Festival and as soloist at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust for a concert honoring American composer Martin Bresnick. His debut faculty recital at the Bienen School featured members of Ensemble Dal Niente, faculty member Alex Mincek (composition), and the Dover Quartet, Bienen School of Music Quartet-in-Residence.

Hans Thomalla (composition and music technology) received a faculty research grant from Northwestern’s Graduate School to begin work on his third opera, which will use song lyrics by poet Joshua Clover. The Contemporary Music Ensemble gave the Chicago premiere of Thomalla’s Wonderblock at the Ear Taxi Festival in October; the Chicago Tribune called the work a “mesmerizing exploration of resonance.” A new production of Thomalla’s opera Kasper Hauser opened in April at Germany’s Theater Augsburg.

John Thorne (flute) substituted with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for subscription concerts conducted by Riccardo Muti, James Levine, and Emmanuel Krivine. Thorne presented a recital and master class at the Cleveland Institute of Music and also gave guest artist master classes with Stefan Hoskuldsson of the Chicago Symphony, Cynthia Meyers of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Marie Tachouet of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra. Thorne was a member of the Classical Pops Festival Orchestra that performed in Barbados in December. He also performed with the Chicago Chamber Musicians in a live radio broadcast on WFMT and in concert at Roosevelt University’s Ganz Hall.

Sylvia Wang (piano) performed two solo recitals in Malaysia, where she also appeared with Musica Sinfonietta under the baton of alumna Ruth Lin (02, G05, G10). Wang taught a master class at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts and gave lectures on memorization at Singapore’s Yong Siew Toh Conservatory and Hong Kong Baptist University. In the United States she appeared in the Lighthouse Chamber Music Festival with violinist Elizabeth Chang and served as a guest judge in piano for the Wheaton Conservatory concerto competition and the Michigan Music Teachers Association senior division finals.

Jay Alan Yim (composition and music technology) and Marlena Novak created the video installation Naming Things, featured in October at Chicago’s Ear Taxi Festival. Previously exhibited in Wales and Croatia, it has been selected by an international jury for inclusion in Copenhagen’s 160th-anniversary Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition. This past fall the Northwestern University Cello Ensemble, conducted by Hans Jørgen Jensen (cello), performed Yim’s Das Lila der Bienen at Chicago’s Constellation and at Northwestern, where the piece premiered with an orchestra of more than 150 cellists last June.

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