Faculty Achievements

This page includes recent achievements, performances, and publications of the Bienen School faculty.

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.) Your information may also be included in the next issue of Fanfare. We reserve the right to edit your item for either online or print publication.

Stephen Alltop (conducting) was added to Northwestern’s Alumnae Centennial Honor Roll through a gift in his name to the Alumnae Centennial Endowment for Undergraduate Research. The gift by Felicia Finkelman honored Alltop’s inspiring course Great Composers—From Schubert to Gershwin. Alltop also participated in the Kellogg School of Management podcast “Executives, Put On Your Dancing Shoes” to discuss why business executives are turning to the arts to become more effective leaders.

Linda Austern (musicology) presented the paper “Domestic Music Making as a SingleSex Activity in Elizabethan and Jacobean England” at the Renaissance Society of America’s annual national meeting. In April at the University of Washington’s Walter Chapin Simpson Center, she gave a presentation in the colloquium “Shakespeare, Music, and Memory” as part of a celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Austern gave an invited lecture at the University of London’s Birkbeck College and also presented the keynote address at the International Medieval and Renaissance Music Conference at the University of Sheffield. She has been appointed musical consultant for the Oxford Works of John Marston.

Marcia Bosits (piano) gave presentations at conferences in Ohio, New Mexico, and Illinois on peer mentoring and promoting education development in young teaching artists. She also gave a lecture at the World Piano Conference in Serbia on inspiring piano repertoire with popular and traditional roots. In addition to adjudicating competitions in Chicago, Bosits designed and coordinated outreach projects with the People’s Music School and the College Music Society Community Engagement Symposium.

Karen Brunssen (voice and opera) was a keynote presenter for the Symposium on Singing and Song in St. Johns, Newfoundland. She presented a session on healthy singing at the Central Region American Choral Directors Association Conference in Chicago and at Choral Canada Podium 2016 in Edmonton and held teaching residencies at the Zürcher Sing-Akademie in October and in Zurich in April. Brunssen was program chair for the National Association of Teachers of Singing 54th national conference, held in Chicago in July, and began a two-year term as national president-elect; her term as NATS president starts in July 2018. She previously served as governor of the NATS Central Region and president of the Chicago chapter.

Alan Chow (piano) recently served as a guest artist or faculty member at John Brown University, Biola University, and several summer festivals, including Austria’s Classical Music Festival, the New Orleans Piano Institute, the Colburn Academy Piano Festival, and the Northern Lights Festival. He presented solo, duo, and trio concerts in Utah, Iowa, and North Dakota and performed Mozart’s two-piano concerto with Alvin Chow as part of the Haydn Festspiele at Austria’s Esterhazy Palace. He also served as a juror at the Dallas International Piano Competition.

Steven Cohen (clarinet) participated in a digital master class exchange between the Bienen School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. Cohen led a distance-learning master class for MSM students; the same week, Bienen clarinet students enjoyed a master class with MSM faculty member Anthony McGill.

Alan Darling (voice and opera) spent his 18th summer as a faculty member at Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center. His 2016 performances included a duet recital with internationally renowned singers Amber Wagner and Jamie Barton at the Tucson Desert Song Festival and a campus performance of Die schöne Müllerin with Metropolitan Opera tenor Matthew Polenzani in Galvin Recital Hall. He spent a week as a guest teacher in the collaborative piano studio of Martin Katz at the University of Michigan and returned to the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program as a master coach.

Drew Edward Davies (musicology) presented his research at three events: his essay “Calatrava’s Instrument Bridges, or Affinities between Music and Architecture in a Signature Age” at the Bienen School’s “Sounding Spaces” workshop, which he coorganized; his paper “Contrafacts and Speech Genres in Viceregal-Period Latin American Music” at the Society for Eighteenth-Century Music in Austin; and his paper “Africa and Africans in 17th-Century Christmas Villancicos” in the musicology colloquium series at Bowling Green State University. Volume 2 of his Catalog of Musical Works at the Archive of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City, coauthored with Lucero Enríquez and Analía Cherñavsky, was published by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Steven Demorest (music education) coauthored (with Jamey Kelley) the article “Music Programs in Charter and Traditional Schools: A Comparative Study of Chicago Elementary Schools,” published in the Journal of Research in Music Education. Demorest was a featured clinician at the Texas Music Educators Conference and gave a lecture at the Eastman School of Music on creating an online measure of accurate singing. He presented a paper and research poster at the National Association for Music Education biennial conference and the clinic “Tone Deafness and Other Myths” at the Illinois Music Educators Conference.

Bernard Dobroski (music education) has served for five years as the elected chair of Northwestern’s all-University Faculty Appeals Committee and a member of the Faculty Senate Governance Committee. In addition to teaching full-time, Dobroski is active as an adviser or board member for a number of Chicago performing arts organizations and is a life member of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center. He remains active in the College Music Society with yearly major presentations at its national and international conferences. Dobroski narrated two performances of Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra as part of the Bienen School’s Kids Fare series.

Ryan Dohoney (musicology) wrote the chapters “A Flexible Musical Identity: Julius Eastman in New York City, 1976–90,” published in Gay Guerrilla: Julius Eastman and His Music (University of Rochester Press), and “Charlotte Moorman’s Experimental Performance Practice,” published in Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960–1980 (Northwestern University Press). Dohoney co-organized Northwestern’s “Sounding Spaces” workshop.

James Giles (piano) gave five recitals, including concerts in North Shields, Newcastle, and Durham, during a tour of north England. He performed recitals at Penn State University and Bowling Green State University and in the inaugural season of the Bienen School’s Skyline Piano Artist Series. Giles gave a master class at the San Francisco Conservatory and served as conference artist for the Arkansas Music Teachers Association. He also taught on the faculty of four summer festivals: The Art of the Piano at the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Italy’s Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Festival, Copenhagen’s Royal Danish Academy of Music summer piano festival, and Spain’s Gijón International Piano Festival.

Victor Goines (jazz studies) received the Jazz Institute of Chicago’s 2016 Jazz Educator of the Year Award at an April event at Chicago’s Standard Club featuring a performance by Bienen School jazz students. A Northwestern University Jazz Orchestra concert that month featured two Goines works, prompting the Chicago Tribune’s Howard Reich to commend him for his “prowess as composer” and to conclude that Goines “can write as well as he plays.” In July, Goines was a featured guest artist at Chicago’s Straight Ahead Jazz Camp.

Robert Hasty (conducting) conducted the gala performance of the International Schools Choral Music Society in Zhuhai, China. In celebration of the first year of the Bienen School’s Ryan Center for the Musical Arts, Hasty collaborated with alumni Anna Burden (06), Winston Choi (G02, G08), and Minghuan Xu (G03, G04) in a performance of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with the Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra. In March he served as honorary guest conductor for a high school orchestra festival in California’s Capistrano Unified School District, working with string players in preparation for festival performances. Hasty was also the judge and clinician for the Kenosha Unified School District’s large group festival.

Randall Hawes (trombone) taught at the Cleveland Trombone Seminar as well as the Pokorny Low Seminar at the University of Redlands this summer. He also performed in the Steamboat Strings Festival.

John Henes (Alexander technique) gave presentations at the Bienen School’s Peak Performance Horn Symposium and Summer Oboe Workshop. He was on the faculty for the piano and strings program and the voice program at Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute.

Maud Hickey (music education) spent a week’s residency as the Outstanding Educator in Residence at the Singapore Teachers’ Academy for the Arts. While there, she worked on professional development with music teachers and gave lectures to Singapore National Institute of Education graduate students on teaching, supporting, and assessing creative music making in schools.

Timothy Higgins (trombone) premiered several new arrangements for brass and percussion at the Steamboat Strings Festival. The Northwestern University Brass Ensemble premiered his Sinfonietta in May. This summer Higgins taught at the Pokorny Low Seminar at the University of Redlands, where he also presented a recital with faculty colleague Michael Mulcahy (trombone).

Pamela Hinchman (voice and opera) taught at the Aspen Music Festival this summer and led her annual Vocal Career Seminar at the Bienen School. Hinchman appeared as soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with Glen Ellyn’s New Philharmonic in April. 

D. J. Hoek (musicology) presented the paper “We All Want to Change the World: John Cage and the Beatles” at the Popular Culture Association’s annual conference in Seattle.

Hans Jørgen Jensen (cello) is featured as conductor of the Northwestern University Cello Ensemble in its latest album, Shadow, Echo, Memory, released in July by Sono Luminus. Comprising current and former cello students from the Bienen School, the ensemble previously won critical acclaim for its recording of Canticles of the Sky on John Luther Adams’s album The Wind in High Places

Chris Mercer (composition and music technology) was featured as composer in an Electric Spring Festival concert at England’s University of Huddersfield. In February the Evergreen Experimental Vocal Ensemble premiered Mercer’s Vowelscape.

Toni-Marie Montgomery (dean) received the 2016 Golden Baton Award from Midwest Young Artists. The award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to classical music. In April, Montgomery presented a recital of works by Barber, Rachmaninoff, and Debussy with cellist Anthony Elliot in Galvin Recital Hall and at the University of Michigan.

Michael Mulcahy (trombone) presented his annual summer recital and performance master class at the Bienen School of Music. He recently taught at the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne and performed at the Pokorny Low Seminar at the University of Redlands and the Steamboat Strings Festival. Mulcahy will give the world premiere of Carl Vine’s Five Hallucinations for solo trombone and orchestra with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on October 6.

Donald Nally (conducting) led the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble in special performances at the American Choral Directors Midwest Conference in February; in Galvin Recital Hall in April, premiering David Lang’s a house; and at a MusicNOW concert at Chicago’s Harris Theatre in June, premiering Samuel Adams’s Light Readings. Nally led his award-winning ensemble The Crossing in a performance with the Prism Quartet at Trinity Church Wall Street. The Crossing served as resident ensemble at Montana’s Big Sky Choral Initiative in July. For the ensemble’s Seven Responses project, Nally led seven world premieres with the International Contemporary Ensemble in June in Philadelphia as well as repeat performances in August at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival.

Inna Naroditskaya (musicology) gave presentations at the Georgian Music Academy and Tbilisi Orthodox Music University and also served as a judge at the Tbilisi Musicological Conference. At Madrid’s Complutense University she gave a lecture on Rimsky-Korsakov’s operas and participated in a dissertation defense on Russian music. Naroditskaya also conducted ethnographic fieldwork and presented a lecture in Odessa, Ukraine. Her chapter “Azerbaijani Mugham Jazz” was published in Jazz Worlds/World Jazz. She co-organized Northwestern’s “Sounding Spaces” workshop, where she presented new research on Azerbaijani sound-space politics.

Andrew Raciti (double bass) served as acting principal bass of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, where he performed Zivoin Glisic’s Concerto for double bass and string orchestra. He also performed the Koussevitzky Concerto with the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra. Raciti played in the Grand Teton Music Festival’s orchestra this summer.

Gerardo Ribeiro (violin) presented a series of master classes at Mount Royal University in Alberta, Canada, in January and at Minnesota’s St. Olaf College in February. In March he performed the Bernstein Serenade with Bienen Strings, conducted by Victor Yampolsky (conducting). Ribeiro taught violin and chamber music at the Meadowmount School of Music this summer.

Taimur Sullivan (saxophone) was a featured concerto soloist with the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra at the 2016 North American Saxophone Alliance national conference’s evening gala concert. On campus he appeared as soloist with the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, conducted by Mallory Thompson (conducting), in the world premiere of James Aikman’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone. Sullivan performed with the Joffrey Ballet’s Bold Moves in February. His saxophone ensemble, the Prism Quartet, was featured in a newly commissioned work by Julia Wolfe at the Chamber Music America conference and in multiple recitals and outreach engagements at the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival. Other recent Prism performances included an appearance with Donald Nally (conducting) and The Crossing at New York City’s Trinity Church Wall Street. Prism released the album The Curtis Project in May on the quartet’s new label, XAS Records.

Hans Thomalla (composition and music technology) was commissioned to write I come near you for The Crossing’s Seven Responses project. Conducted by Donald Nally (conducting) and accompanied by the International Contemporary Ensemble, the work premiered in Philadelphia in June and was performed again in August at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival. Thomalla’s opera Kaspar Hauser received positive reviews following its premiere in Freiburg (see more below).

Mallory Thompson (conducting) led the Symphonic Wind Ensemble in the world premieres of that secret from the river by Joel Puckett, Last Lights in the North by Ben Hjertmann (G13), and March of the Wildcats by Parker Gaims (G13). Thompson’s guest engagements included her sixth California All-State ensemble appearance, conducting the world premiere of David Maslanka’s California. She also led performances of the Detroit Chamber Winds and Monarch Brass. Under Thompson’s direction, Monarch Brass has been invited to perform at the 2016 Midwest Clinic, and the Symphonic Wind Ensemble has been invited to perform at the 2017 national conference of the Collegiate Band Directors National Association.

John Thorne (flute) substituted with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for concerts in January, April, and May and performed on the CSO’s benefit concert for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. He also performed in concert with the Chicago Philharmonic, Chicago Chamber Musicians, and Dempster Street Pro Musica. Last spring in Galvin Recital Hall, Thorne gave a solo recital and a joint faculty recital with Michael Henoch (oboe) and David McGill (bassoon). He taught a master class and gave a recital at Bradley University in March and taught at the Aria International Summer Academy in July.

Gail Williams (horn) organized Northwestern’s summer 2016 Peak Performance Horn Symposium. For the three-day event she performed in two recitals, presented several workshops, and led a master class. Williams was a featured guest artist at several festivals, including Central Washington University’s Northwest Horn Symposium, Ithaca College’s International Horn Symposium, and the Steamboat Strings Music Festival. She continues to serve as principal horn for the Grand Teton Music Festival.

Jay Alan Yim (composition and music technology) was featured at the Northwestern University Arts Circle Celebration on June 4 with the premiere of his Das Lila der Bienen. Hans Jørgen Jensen (cello) conducted an expanded cello ensemble featuring more than 150 cellists from the Bienen School and other participating schools.

Thomalla’s Kaspar Hauser Premieres
Hans Thomalla’s opera Kaspar Hauser, commissioned by Germany’s Theater Freiburg, premiered there on April 9. The opera explores the story of the mysterious young German boy Kaspar Hauser, who appeared in the streets of Nuremberg in May 1827. “The strangely creature-like manner of expression ascribed to Hauser piqued my artistic curiosity,” recalls Thomalla. “Amid the cacophony of documents, texts, and reports on Hauser, it is nearly impossible to give him a voice through opera. Yet it seems to me of central importance that the musical theater stage should offer a platform for the gradual silencing of his otherness.” The Stuttgarter Zeitung called the opera “a strong piece,” adding that “Thomalla proves in this work again to be a vocal composer of utmost fantasy, power, and quality. The work operates on the highest level in regards to compositional technique as it does with respect to aesthetic reflection on music history.” 

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