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Strings Alumni

This list of alumni was last updated September 2018. Please send changes and additions to the SMTD Webmaster.

Rebecca Ansel (DMA ’99) was awarded fellowships at Aspen & Tanglewood festivals,  served as Professor at Ohio State University, and has been appointed Professor Ithaca College 2002

Andrée Azar (MM ’86) was a member of the Montreal Symphony, and is currently Professor at the Conservatoire de Quebec in Canada

Marjorie Bagley was first violin of the Arcata String Quartet and Professor of Violin at Utah State University. She is now Professor of Violin at Ohio University at Athens.

Jeremy Black (MM ’02) is a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony. He has performed frequently with the Chicago Symphony, and is currently the concertmaster of the Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra.

Laurel Butler (DMA ‘95) is a Professor at Ohio State University

Tim Christie (MM ’02) won Aspen Fellowships, played with New World Symphony and Seattle symphony, and is Professor at University of Puget Sound. He is also the founder of the WallaWalla Chamber Music Festival.

Scott Conklin (DMA ’03) was  awarded Aspen Fellowships, and is currently Professor at University of Iowa

Aaron Dworkin is the Director Sphinx Competition. He was awarded the MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, the National Governor’s Association Distinguished Service Award, the Bingham Foundation Award, University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance Paul Boylan Award for Outstanding Alumni, and was named in Crain’s Who Who in Emerging Detroit Business. Appointed 2015 as Dean of the University of Michigan School of Music Theater and Dance.

Lara Hall (DMA ’04) has been appointed Research Associate at Waikato University, Hamilton, New Zealand

Carolyn Huebl (DMA ’00) won Aspen & Tanglewood fellowships, and is on the faculty of Blair School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Vanderbilt University.

Laura Jackson (DMA ’05)  is Assistant Conductor with the Atlanta Symphony

Jeremy Kittel (BM ’05), Jazz and Irish Fiddler, was featured as soloist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for four sold out subscription series concerts. He has also performed with the Rochester Philharmonic. He is the first prize winner of the American String Teachers Association Alternative Styles Competition, and has won the Detroit Music Awards Best Folk Artist. On CD he was a soloist on Grammy winning album Bolcom Songs of Innocence and Experience (Naxos), and has recently celebrated the Release of his third Solo CD, Jeremy Kittel Jazz Violin.

Haerim (Liz) Lee (DMA 2016) has won a Tarisio Career Grant. Liz is also a member of the Evita Quartet which was a prize-winner of the 2014 Fischoff Competition and finalist in the 2015 Wigmore Hall competition

Min Lee (BM ’05) has been featured as soloist with San Diego Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (Australia), and Singapore Symphony Orchestra. She is a recording artist for Universal.

Fabian Lopez (DMA ’07) is Assistant Professor of Violin at University of North Carolina Greensboro

Katie McLin (DMA ’96) is a Professor at Arizona State University, and concertmaster of ProMusica Chamber Orchestra in Ohio. She was a fellow at Aspen Music Festival.

Christopher Neal (DMA ’97) won Tanglewood fellowships, and is a member of the Houston Symphony

Esther Noh (MM’02) was a Stuhlberg Competition Winner, and has collaborated with Bang on a Can Ensemble in New York City

Yuki Numata (MM ’05) – Specialist in new music for many NYC ensembles. Assistant Professor at SUNY Buffalo.

Daniel Roumain (MM ’98) is a Composer in New York City

Maria Sampen (DMA ’02) was awarded Tanglewood & Aspen fellowships, and was appointed Professor at the University of Puget Sound

Mari Sato (MM ’97) Joined Cavani Quartet and and is on the faculty of Cleveland Institute of Music

Carolyn Semanchik (BM ’97) played with the New World Symphony, and performs often with the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Milwaukee Symphony. She is a member of the Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra.

Martha Walvoord (DMA ‘05) was a fellow at Tanglewood, appointed Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington 2006

Elvis Chan (MM ’05) is the principal violist of Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra.

Youming Chen (BM ’03) has recently become a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Nicole Divall (MM ’96) is the Principal Violist of the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Carmen Flores (MM ’03) is the Principal Violist in the Royal Ballet Sinfonia in Birmingham, UK. She is also a member of the Villiers Quartet, currently the Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Oxford

Nicolas Hancox is the Principal Violist in the Lübeck Symphony Orchestra

Cathy Lynn (MM ’98, and DMA ’01) is a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Amy Mason (BM ’09) is on the faculty of the University of North Carolina and is a member of the North Carolina Symphony.

Megan Mason (BM ’06) was a member of the Tesla Quartet, who won the first prize in the Fishoff Competition. She is on the faculty of the Gifted Music School in Utah.

Jessica Nance, (’94) is the Assistant Principal Violist in the Kansas City Symphony.

Robert Meyer (BM ’99) was the violist of the Arianna Quartet and is currently the first sub for the New York Philharmonic.

Jarita Ng (BM ’12) has recently become a member of the Houston Symphony

Amy Pikler (BM ’15) has won the first prize of the American Viola Society Orchestral Excerpts Competition and has won a position in the New World Symphony. She is a member of the San Antonio Symphony.

Carla Maria Rodriguez, (BM ’86) is the Principal Violist of the San Francisco Opera, former pricipal violist for the Australian Chamber Orchestra

Renee Skerik, (MM ’89) is a faculty member at the Interlochen Center for the Arts

Emily Watkins, (MM ’01) is the Assistant Principal Violist in the San Antonio Symphony.

Minor Wetzel, (MM ’86) is a member of the LA Philharmonic.

Megan Yanik, (DMA ’08) is on the faculty of George Mason University.

On any given concert, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will have up to three recent U of M cello students performing in the cello section.  Following competitive auditions in the fall, Daniel Thomas (MM ’03) and Avi Friedlander (MM ’02) were chosen to perform with the orchestra on a substitute basis.  Daniel Thomas, presently a member of the New World Symphony in Miami, also was recently selected into the Spoleto Festival. Upon Michael Tilson Thomas’ return to lead a series of four concerts with the New World Symphony, he chose Dan to be his principal cellist on three of them, including their tour to New York City. Avi Friedlander, formerly a member of the New World Symphony, recently was appointed to the faculty of Andrews University, and is teaching and performing this summer at the Triada Festival In Vermont.

Nathanael Jasinski (DMA ’06) is Professor of Cello at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, KY.

Mauricio Lopez (MM ’99) is principal cellist of the Virtuosi de Caracas in Venezuela.  The ensemble recently completed a tour of Spain.  As principal cellist, he is featured as a concerto soloist with the orchestra each season.  He is a founding member of the Humboldt Quartet, which toured recently in Venezuela, Mexico, and London.  He is on the music faculty of the Colegio Emil Friedman in Caracas.

Anne Patterson (MM ’06)  spent the summer of 2005 with the National Orchestral Institute in College Park, Maryland, where she was chosen as principal cellist.  She has earned a fellowship this summer to serve as principal cellist of the Sinfonia Orchestra at the Aspen Music Festival.  Joining her at Aspen will be current masters student Emma Quackenbush, who has been awarded a mentoring fellowship.

Alisa Horn (BM ’04) earned a position with the Chicago Civic Symphony Orchestra, and won 2nd prize in the WAMSO Competition, sponsored by the Minnesota Orchestra.  Alisa was a concerto competition winner at the University of Michigan, performing Bloch’s Schelomo in April 2004 with the University Philharmonia under the direction of Jonathan Shames.

Yoouyoung Kim (DMA ’99) is on the faculty of Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, and at University of Ulsan in Ulsan.  She is a member of the Seoul String Ensemble, and recently presented a recital at the Seoul Arts Center.

Michael Lawrence (BMA ’96) is Program Director in charge of Artistic Services of the American Symphony Orchestra League, where he directs all conductor and composer programs, including the American Conducting Fellows Program, the Donald Thulean Conducting Workshop, the biennial National Conductor Preview, the composer-in-fresidence program Music Alive!, and the co-commissioning project, Ford, Made in America, both in conjunction with Meet the Composer.  In 1999 he was selected to participate in the League’s prestigious Orchestra Management Fellowship Program, with placements at the Aspen Music Festival, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Virginia Symphony.  He has also held positions at Columbia Artists Management, and Ann Arbor’s renowned University Musical Society.  Michael Lawrence continues to perform as a freelance cellist, and is a section member of the Greenwich Village Orchestra.

Following on the heels of completing his masters degree, cellist Joshua Kowalsky (MM ’01) continued his cello studies in Berlin, and performed at the Verbier Festival under the direction of Pavel Jarvi.  More recently he has played as an extra cellist with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC.

Also gaining major orchestra experience as an extra cellist is Alexander Cheung (BM ’01) who performed recently with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in Canada.

Elizabeth Weamer (BM ’03) performs in the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and the Madison Symphony.

Kate Dykstra (MM ’02) teaches 40 young cellists at the Preucil School in Iowa City.

Music Education cellists from Michigan have also been attaining a significant impact in the field:

Dr. Bret Smith and Dr. Kathie Goodrich have both made presentations at national meetings of ASTA and other important musical organizations.

Diane Strasser and Abby Alwin are teaching in the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

Reid Smith is teaching in Atlanta Public Schools.

Kareem Goode teaches in the Houston Public Schools.

Ben Salsbury is teaching public school in South Florida.

Cheryl Darden is teaching at the Detroit School for the Arts.

Wendy Stuart is teaching in the Clarkston Public Schools in Michigan.

Miranda Hill (MM, 2005) performed at the SEAMUS (Society of Electro Acoustic Musicians in the United States) national convention in Indiana, and at the Feminist Theory in Music convention 2005 in NYC. She was recipient of a GROCS grant for an interactive audio-visual installation. She was featured in solo and chamber music performances at a film/electroacoustic gig at the tank theatre in NYC. She premiered a new work by U of M Professor Mary Simoni, as well as many commissioned and new works by student composers.

Ron Merhavi (DMA, 2004) is a Program Director at the Jerusalem Music Centre. He aims to commission further works for the bass, to be performed in recitals with pianist Ariel Halevy.

Mickey Rybiski (MM, 2002) was the Orchestra Director of Lake Highlands Junior High School, and is currently the Head Orchestra Director of Lake Highlands High School in the Richardson Independent School District and the Area Coordinator for Orchestra in Lake Highlands. His students have received Superior ratings at UIL Concert and Sightreading contests, and have also received prestigious awards at the District level at chamber music festivals and at the State level participating in the TMEA All-State Symphony Orchestra. Mickey has organized and taught double bass clinics for TMEA Region 3, served as a judge for the TMEA All-State Orchestra this year, and this year servedas the principal bass of the Allen Philharmonic Orchestra.

Anthony Stoops (DMA ’02) has been appointed Assistant Professor (Artist/Teacher) of Double Bass at the University of Oklahoma School of Music, Theatre & Dance in Norman, OK. He previously served as Visiting Assistant Professor of Double Bass at Bowling Green State University from 2003-2006.

Kevin Sylves (BM and BSE, 2003) is a doctoral student in aerospace engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is Principal Bassist of the Boulder Chamber Orchestra and has played with several local Colorado groups including the Boulder Philharmonic and the Longmont Symphony.

Brad Townsend (BM, 2003, MM in Jazz, 2005) teaches at UW Platteville, and is playing 5 shows a week at a dinner theatre in Janesville, which features NYC casts.

Matthew Agen (BM ’03) received his Master of Music degree with honors, studying with Nancy Allen, from The Juilliard School in April 2005. Mr. Agen is currently completing the Professional Studies program through the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, Ontario, studying with Judy Loman. Mr. Agen was a finalist in the Astral Artistic Services competition in January of 2006.

Margot (Box) Hayward (BM ’03) received her Master of Music degree studying with Yolanda Kondonassis, from The Cleveland Institute of Music in April 2005. Ms. Hayward was the solo harpist for the International Festival at Round Top (Texas), summer 2005.

Rachel Brandwein (BM, ’05) performed for the World Harp Congress, Focus on Youth performance (competitive audition) in Dublin, Ireland, July 2005. She was an invited participant to the Lily Laskine International Harp Competition in Deauville, France, August 2005. Rachel Brandwein is currently a student of Germaine Lorenzini in Lyon, France.

Nicole Brubaker Brady (MM ‘00) is a doctoral candidate in Harp Performance at The Juilliard School. Ms. Brady has a faculty appointment beginning in September 2006 at Brigham Young University, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Julie Lang Bunzel (BM ’89) presented a conference paper and performance for the WHC, Dublin, Ireland (July 2005) on transcribing the music of Francis Poulenc.

Jeremy Chesman (BM ’00, MM ‘01) is a member of the faculty of Southern Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, and on the editorial board of the Harp Column magazine.

Robyn Goldberg (BM, ’04) is currently enrolled at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris as a student of Isabelle Perrin.

Chilali Hugo (MM’02) received highest class honors, and the Artist Diploma in Music from the Royal Academy of Music, London, England, June 2005. Ms. Hugo studied with Skaila Kanga.

Bridget Kibbey is one of 3 recipients of an Avery Fisher Career Grant for 2005. She appears regularly as second harpist in The New York Philharmonic, New York City; is an Orchestral teaching fellow at The Juilliard School, a founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE); on the roster of Astral Artistic Services, (concert management), Philadelphia, and was a finalist in the Concert Artist Guild 2006 competition.

Amy Ley (BM ’97, MM ‘00) is on the faculty of the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, is Principal Harpist for the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, the Flint Symphony Orchestra and the Windsor, Ontario, Symphony Orchestra and teaches at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan.

Alison Perkins (BM, ‘01) is Managing Editor of the Harp Column magazine, Philadelphia, PA and Principal Harpist for the Haddonfield (NJ) Symphony and the Allentown (PA) Symphony orchestras.