Bienen School of Music alumni hold positions as performers, administrators, and educators in leading arts and educational institutions throughout the world.

Alumni Magazine

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Mary Beth Peil ’62 is an actress and singer known for her work on Broadway, television, and film.

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Kate Lee ’17 is director of choirs at Maine East High School in Park Ridge, Illinois.

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Roderick Cox ’11 MMus is a Berlin-based American conductor.

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Bassist and composer Rufus Reid ’71 has been an active presence in the jazz world since the 1970s.

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Agnieszka Roginska ‘04 PhD is a professor of music technology at New York University.

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Matt Martin ‘07 currently serves as alderman of the 47th Ward in Chicago.

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Beth Kirkpatrick ‘03 is a multi-talented performer best known for her work on Broadway.

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Thomas Mesa ‘14 MMus is an award-winning cellist.

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Paula Grissom-Broughton ‘99 MMus is chair of the department of music at Spelman College.

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Mallory Thompson ‘79, ‘80 MMus is director of bands at the Bienen School of Music.

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Ian Derrer ‘01 MMus is general director and CEO of the Dallas Opera.

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Pianist Ralph Votapek ‘60 won the prestigious Naumburg Award and the first Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

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Rena Kraut ‘99 is founder and executive director of the Cuban American Youth Orchestra.

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Rodney Dorsey ‘92 MMus, ‘06 DMA is professor of music and chair of the department of bands at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

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Caitlin Finnie ’16 serves as the Christine Daaé alternate on the world tour of "The Phantom of the Opera."

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Elizabeth Bennett ‘04, director of orchestras at Buffalo Grove High School, was one of 10 finalists for the 2020 Music Educator Grammy Award

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Curtis Moore ‘95 is an Emmy nominated musician, composer, songwriter, and producer.

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Michelle Edgar ‘05 leads creative marketing campaigns for her roster of artists as VP of brand marketing for Epic Records.

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Kangmin Justin Kim ’11 was the first male singer to play the role of Cherubino in "Le nozze di Figaro" at London’s Royal Opera House.

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Susan Young ’62 was inducted into the Illinois Senior Hall of Fame in the performing arts category. She has received many awards and accolades throughout her 30-year music teaching career and has taught at Northwestern, Roosevelt, and North Park Universities. She is currently choir director at Friendship Village Life Care Community in Schaumburg, Illinois, where she lives.

Tenor and lutenist Frederic Chrislip ’68 performed sacred songs for voice and lute at a virtual fringe concert of the Boston Early Music Festival in June.

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Barry Farmer ’71 MMus was featured in the “Stories of Excellence” series from Northa Carolina’s Mitchell Community College, where he completed his first two years of training in music education. He received a master’s degree in organ performance from Northwestern and a doctoral degree from the University of Colorado–Boulder and has served as a musician, educator, and administrator for churches throughout the country. He has also taught at the secondary and university levels.

Steven Larsen ’76 MMus retired following the 2020–21 season after serving for 30 years as conductor and music director of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra. During his tenure, the orchestra flourished, growing to become the third-largest symphony orchestra in Illinois.

André J. Thomas ’76 MMus, a conductor, composer, and author, was elected president of the American Choral Directors Association. He is the recently retired Owen.F. Sellers Professor of Music, director of choral activities, and professor of choral music education at Florida State University.

Daniel Washington ’78 MMus, a professor of voice at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance, was awarded the ninth annual Shirley Verrett Award by the Women of Color in the Academy Project. He was recognized for his leadership and advocacy on behalf of diverse students and faculty artists and for advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives through his performances and service.

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Channing P. Philbrick ’81, ’82 MMus, a member of the Bienen School’s brass faculty since 2007, retired at the end of the 2020–21 academic year. He also retired from his position as assistant principal trumpet with Chicago’s Lyric Opera Orchestra. He remains a member of the Grant Park Orchestra.

Virginia Croskery Lauridsen ’82, ’87 MMus was named a 2021 Woman of Influence by the Des Moines Business Record in recognition of her support of the arts in the greater Des Moines area.

Edward J. Lewis III ’85 was appointed president and CEO of Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. He was previously vice chancellor for advancement at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Janice L. Minor ’88 MMus was appointed clinical associate professor of clarinet at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She also enjoys an active career as a solo recitalist, chamber musician, orchestral player, clinician, and music educator. A Buffet Crampon and D’Addario Woodwinds Performing Artist, she recorded the album The Recital Clarinetist with pianist Paulo Steinberg.

John Murphy ’89 MMus was named director of development and donor relations for Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. He was previously director of milestone reunions for Hamilton College.

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Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate ’90, a Chickasaw classical composer and pianist, was named a cultural ambassador for the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Part of the American Music Abroad Program’s 2021–22 season, Tate’s appointment will take him on a multicountry virtual tour that includes public concerts, interactive performances, lectures, workshops, and other activities. He recently released Lowak Shoppala’ (Fire and Light) on Azica Records. Conducted by Tate, the album features the Chickasaw Nation Children’s Chorus, Nashville String Machine, and an ensemble of Nashville Symphony musicians.

Giancarlo Guerrero ’92 MMus led the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic in eight programs last spring, including a recording session with violinist Bomsori Kim. Naxos recently released three new recordings by Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony. Guerrero delivered the 2021 Bienen School of Music convocation address.

Wayne Toews ’93 MMus presented the 15th annual Saskatchewan Orchestral Association International Saito Conducting Workshop in July to participants from around the world. He is editor of the English edition of The Saito Conducting Method, and he has won six successive national awards during 25 years as conductor of the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra.

Kevan Kosobayashi ’94 was named director of the Schaumburg Youth Symphony Orchestra. He returns to the program after serving as its chamber strings director from 2001 to 2008. Kosobayashi is currently an orchestra director at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Illinois.

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The Grossman Ensemble, the resident ensemble of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition at the University of Chicago, released its debut album, Fountain of Time. Performers on the album include Doyle Armbrust ’00; John Corkill ’08; Andrew Hudson ’12 MMus, ’18 DMA; Ben Melsky ’08, ’09 MMus; Andrew Nogal ’07, ’10 MMus; Matthew Oliphant ’07, ’12 MMus, ’18 DMA; and Russell Rolen ’12 DMus. The ensemble was founded by Augusta Read Thomas ’87.

Katrina Lenk and Carrington Vilmont ’00 participated in a dramatic reading of The Exonerated presented by Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and the School of Communication in April. The event coincided with the 10-year anniversary of the abolition of the death penalty in Illinois.

Christin Schillinger ’01 was promoted to associate professor at the Ithaca College School of Music. She has held positions with Miami University, the University of Nevada, and various orchestras.

Patrick Liddell ’02 MMus, ’09 DMus released his fifth studio album under the moniker “ontologist” in May on Canzona Records. Cantor’s Comb, the last of a four-album arc that began in 2010, was recorded during summer 2020 with the help of over 50 musicians from around the world who never met in person. Liddell performs as ontologist in venues throughout the San Francisco Bay area and performs and tours regularly with the gamelan ensembles at Mills College and the University of California, Berkeley.

Teresa Suen-Campbell ’02 MMus, ’08 DMus was appointed to the harp faculty of Lakehead University in Ontario. She has taught at Carleton University in Ottawa and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Daniel David Black ’03 was promoted to associate professor of vocal music and conducting and director of choral activities at Houghton College in New York, where he has served on the faculty since 2016.

Lindsey Goodman ’03 MMus was named adjunct lecturer of flute at Glenville State College. She is also adjunct lecturer of flute at Marietta College and Ashland University and principal flutist of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

Matthew Harder ’04 DMus was appointed to the arts and culture commission of Wheeling, West Virginia. He is professor of music and director of music technology at West Liberty University.

Travis Cross ’06, ’13 DMus was selected to lead the National Association for Music Education’s premier All-National Honor Ensembles, along with five other conductors, in master classes and virtual performances in January 2022. Cross is a professor of music at the University of Los Angeles’s Herb Alpert School of Music.

Amanda Majeski ’06 and Jeanne Ireland ’16 MMus performed Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito at the Paris Opera over the summer as Vitellia and Annio, respectively. 

Adrienne Taylor ’06 MMus, a cellist and composer, won a major grant from the Rhode Island Foundation’s Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson Fellowship Fund. The grant will enable her to expand her compositions to include chamber music and to create a set of place-inspired works that honor natural spaces and draw attention to the impact climate change may have on them. A member of the Providence College cello faculty since 2019, Taylor has also been a resident musician at Community MusicWorks in Providence since 2012.

Suna Gunther ’07 was named assistant professor of voice at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Glenn Korff School of Music. She was previously assistant professor and coordinator of voice at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York.

Brian Hecht ’09 MMus won a utility trombone position with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He was previously a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the US Navy Band.

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Will Curry ’10 presented “The Artist’s Survival Guide: Creating during COVID” as part of the Northwestern Alumni Association’s virtual mentor circle series. A conductor, instrumentalist, and educator, Curry recently served as music director of the national tour of Miss Saigon. He is a faculty member at the Elisabeth Morrow School and founder of the Leadership Academy for Conductors, an online conducting course that trains young theater conductors to lead with confidence.   

William Robin ’10 wrote Industry: Bang on a Can and New Music in the Marketplace, published by Oxford University Press. Robin is an assistant professor of musicology at the University of Maryland’s School of Music.   

Five Bienen School alumni presented works by Black composers for Chicago’s 2021 Impromptu Fest in June. Performers included violinist Kate Carter ’11 DMus, pianist Kuang-Hao Huang ’05 CERT, cellist Paula Kosower ’07 DMus, soprano Joelle Lamarre ’04 MMus, and violist Claudia Lasareff-Mironoff ’88 MMus.   

Roderick Cox ’11 MMus made his debut with San Francisco Opera conducting Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia in April. The company’s first production since the start of the pandemic, it ran for 11 outdoor performances for drive-in audiences.   

Chase Hopkins ’12 was appointed general director of Chicago’s Haymarket Opera Company. He is also the founding artistic director of Opera Edwardsville, a nonprofit based near St. Louis.   

Michael Steiger ’12 MMus joined the US Navy Band’s trombone section. He previously served in the US Air Force Bands.   

Cara Dailey ’13 MMus won a flute position with the Air Force Concert Band in Washington, DC. 

Cameron Dennis ’14, a pianist and software developer, launched, an online, interactive performance tool for learning inventions, sinfonias, and preludes and fugues by J. S. Bach. The project, coproduced with associate professor of piano Sylvia Wang, was three years in the making.   

Amanda R. Draper ’14 MMus, ’20 PhD was appointed assistant professor of music education at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. She was previously lecturer of music education at the Bienen School and is involved in Northwestern’s multidisciplinary Trauma, Music, and the Breath research project. 

Timothy McNair ’14 MMus has been accepted on a full scholarship and Ornoff inclusion fellowship to Tufts University’s department of music to begin a master’s degree in musicology.   

Tenor Ryan Townsend Strand ’14 MMus won the 2021 American Prize in Voice– Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award in the professional men’s art song division. He has performed with The Crossing, Haymarket Opera Company, the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Music of the Baroque, and the Grant Park Chorus. He is a founding tenor and executive director of Constellation Men’s Ensemble in Chicago.   

Soprano Véronique Filloux ’15 was named a 2021 apprentice artist at Des Moines Metro Opera.   

Brendan Fitzgerald ’15 joined the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s bass section in 2019 and was granted tenure by music director Stéphane Denève in February.   

Baritone Nathaniel Hill ’15 MMus was named a 2021 apprentice artist at Des Moines Metro Opera.   

Shawn Jaeger ’15 DMA was named the resident composer at the Loretto Project, a weeklong composition workshop and celebration of new music at the Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Kentucky.   

Ethan Vincent ’15 MMus advanced as one of 23 semifinalists among 1,200 applicants in the 2021 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. During the 2020–21 season, he sang the role of Captain and covered the title role of Eugene Onegin at the Santa Fe Opera, performed as Marcello in La Bohème at the National Performing Arts Center in Taiwan, and covered the title role in Rigoletto with Tulsa Opera. He performs Riolobo in Florencia en el Amazonas at Lyric Opera of Chicago in October.   

Soprano Regina Ceragioli ’16 MMus received the Farwell Trust Award from the Musicians Club of Women.   

Cellist Russell Houston ’16, a member of the Balourdet String Quartet, won the grand prize in the Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition and the top prize in the Premio Paolo Borciani International String Quartet Competition.   

Amanda Hudnall ’16 MMus, second/ E-flat clarinet in the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, performed with Bienen faculty member Victor Goines in a Tulsa Symphony collaboration with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis. The performance of Marsalis’s All Rise commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre. Both Hudnall and Goines are former students of clarinet professor Steven Cohen. Hudnall is also second clarinet in the Illinois Symphony Orchestra.   

Madison Leonard ’16 MMus made her European debut at England’s Garsington Opera as Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier. She also recently performed Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with the Florida Orchestra and returned to Seattle Opera as Adina in a streaming production of L’Elisir d’Amore.   

Mezzo-soprano Quinn Middleman ’16 MMus was named a 2021 apprentice artist at Des Moines Metro Opera.   

Elena Murphy ’16 won a clarinet position with the US Air Force Concert Band in Washington, DC.   

Joan Arnau Pàmies ’16 DMA released his debut album, Nocturnes, Fantasias, on Chicago’s Sideband Records. The collection of 12 electronic tracks was produced and mixed by the Catalan composer, who is currently working on his third string quartet, a commission from L’Auditori Barcelona for its 2022 Quartet Biennale.   

Gabriel Wernick ’16 made his debut at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, Italy, in the role of Dulcamara in L’Elisir d’Amore in June. Baritone   

Alexander York ’16 MMus sang the role of Tarquinius in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia at the Paris Opera in May.   

Saxophonist Steven Banks ’17 MMus gave his Young Concert Artists debut recital in March in a program featuring three world premieres, including his own Come As You Are, and he released two new video recordings with the Kenari Quartet in June. He also served as a curator of the Illuminate Series, in partnership with the Sphinx Organization, which covers topics including music education and artist activism in the LGBTQIA+ community through the lens of a pandemic. Banks will make his solo debut with the Cleveland Orchestra during the 2021–22 season, performing “Facades’’ from Glassworks by Philip Glass under the baton of John Adams.   

Chelsea Lyons ’17 MMus joined the Bienen School staff as administrative assistant for choral organizations and the Institute for New Music. She also maintains a successful career as a choral musician, performing regularly with The Crossing, the Grant Park Chorus, Chicago A Cappella, and Music of the Baroque.   

Eric J. McConnell ’17 MMus was named a 2021 Bonfils- Stanton Foundation apprentice artist at Central City Opera.   

Kaileigh Riess ’17; Gabrielle Barkidjija ’18, ’20 MMus; and Ryan Lustgarten ’20 MMus performed in a masked production of Mansfield Park presented by the Boston University Opera Institute. Filmed over several days, the opera premiered virtually in April.   

Cellist Wick Simmons ’17 released Exquisite Drones, a work for cello and electronics, with film by Laurie Olinder and music by Conrad Tao, inti figgis-vizueta, and Jack McGuire. The video premiered in May as part of Pickman Hall’s “Seen/ Unseen” online series at the Longy School of Music at Bard College.   

Katherine Young ’17 DMA was awarded a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition, which will allow her to complete Mycorrhizae, a cycle of interconnected and mutually sustaining electroacoustic solo and chamber music pieces. Guggenheim Fellowships are awarded to those who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts. This year, the Guggenheim Foundation awarded 184 fellowships to a diverse group of artists, writers, scholars, and scientists from a pool of nearly 3,000 applicants.   

Chase Waterbury ’18 was selected as a finalist in the 2021 Lewis Van Haney Philharmonic Prize Tenor Trombone Competition.

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Aryssa Leigh Burrs ’20 MMus was named a 2021 Bonfils-Stanton Foundation studio artist at Central City Opera. 

Caleb Carpenter ’20 MMus was appointed saxophone instructor at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg. 

Carla Vargas Fuster ’20 MMus was named a 2021 Bonfils- Stanton Foundation apprentice artist at Central City Opera. 

Joshua Henderson ’20 was chosen for the 2021–22 cohort of Yenching Scholars. The fellowship will allow him to pursue a master’s degree at the Yenching Academy of Peking University in Beijing. 

Chris LaMountain ’20 was awarded a 2020–21 Fulbright Fellowship. He plans to compare the musical style of devotional songs at the Lotus Temple in Delhi, India, with that of other places of worship to determine the influence of local sacred music on devotional music at the temple. 

Ryan Lustgarten ’20 MMus was named a 2021 Bonfils- Stanton Foundation apprentice artist at Central City Opera. 

Morgan Mastrangelo ’20 released Souvenir, a video recording of vocal music inspired by paintings, on YouTube in June. The project was influenced by professor Linda Austern’s Music and Visual Art course, which makes connections between composers and painters throughout history. Ted Pickell ’16 MMus, who collaborated with Mastrangelo to produce the film, is executive director of Conduit Studios Media, a production company specializing in filmed content for musicians and artists. 

Cellist Caroline Paulsen ’20 received the Nerenberg Award from the Musicians Club of Women. 

Madison Rice ’20 MMus was named a 2021 Bonfils- Stanton Foundation studio artist at Central City Opera. 

Jason Rosenholtz-Witt ’20 PhD accepted a position as visiting assistant professor of music at Oxford College of Emory University this fall. He was awarded a grant from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation to do research in Italy for his book Between Innovation and Tradition: Musical Life in the Venetian Terraferma, 1550–1650

Soprano Emma Rothfield ’20 was named a 2021 apprentice artist at Des Moines Metro Opera. 

Marisa Sardo ’20 won the Diploma Prize in the 2021 Tabula Rasa International Guitar Competition in Russia. She also placed second in the International Youth Music Competition’s USA Classical Music International Competition and advanced to the finals of the 2021 American Prize in Instrumental Performance in the college/university division. 

Marin Tack ’20 MMus was named a 2021 Bonfils-Stanton Foundation studio artist at Central City Opera. 

Anna Thompson ’20 MMus was chosen as one of three library fellows at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, where she worked with librarians from the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood.

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In Memoriam

All dates are 2021 unless otherwise noted


Dorothy Engstrom ’41 in Johnson City, New York, on January 7
M. Day Kaufmann ’42 in Topeka, Kansas, on March 12
Mary Virginia Murphy-Smith ’45 in Overland Park, Kansas, on April 20
Clayton H. Rippey ’45 in Bakersfield, California, on January 13
Ann Glasser ’46 in Indianapolis on April 23
Bonnie-Jean Kimball ’47, ’48 MMus in Santa Rosa, California, on April 27
Elizabeth J. Stielow ’48 MMus in Portland, Oregon, on March 22


Donna Krusel Fandrey ’52, ’54 MMus in Oswego, Illinois, on February 6
John J. Meacham ’53, ’59 MMus in Knoxville, Tennessee, on May 15
Inga Johnson ’54 in Strongsville, Ohio, on June 19
Diane Martindale ’55, ’62 MMus in New York City on March 19
Vincent J. Picerno ’55 MMus in Cortland, New York, on March 18
Ruth Baker Syrett ’55 in New York City on February 11
William F. Wakeland ’55 MMus in Muncie, Indiana, on February 20
Jill Sedlacek Dial ’56 in Geneseo, Illinois, on December 23, 2020
Patrick J. Mann ’57 in Seattle on January 31
Elizabeth J. Indihar ’58 MMus in Lilydale, Minnesota, on May 13


Frank Tirror ’61 MMus in North Haven, Connecticut, on March 28
Richard Cox ’63 PhD in Greensboro, North Carolina, on December 25, 2020
Deborah B. Plonski Buhse Stafford ’64 in Nashua, New Hampshire, on March 3
Marvin H. Koch ’65 MMus, ’75 PhD in Saint Joseph, Michigan, on January 1
Rita Mae Gingrich Black ’66 MMus in Pisgah Forest, North Carolina, on December 15, 2020
Louis R. Magor ’67, ’74 MMus in Seattle on April 11


Marguerite Iskenderian ’70 MMus in New York City on April 24
Rosagitta Podrovsky ’78 DMus in Wilmette, Illinois, on June 8

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