Alumni Notes


Joel Hastings, DMA ’11 (piano performance), just accepted a full-time position on the piano faculty at Florida State University, to commence in the fall of 2011. Hastings cites Logan Skelton, with whom he studied, as a key figure in his training and growth as a musician.


David Heetderks, Ph.D. ’11 (music theory), was just named assistant professor in Music Theory at the Oberlin College Conservatory. His primary area of research is the expansion of the tonal system in the first half of the twentieth century. He also researches the music of New York-based alternative rock band Sonic Youth.


Marcia PorterRoberta Raider SloanRobert Streckfuss

From top: Katharine Eberle Fink; Dave Flippo; Andy Papas; Dr. Marcia Porter; Roberta Raider Sloan; Robert Streckfuss;



Christopher Urbiel, MA ’08 (musicology), DMA ’10 (church music and organ), presented his dissertation "The History of the Frieze Memorial Organ at the University of Michigan" at the 50th annual U-M Organ Conference. With Professor Michele Johns, he published examples of improvisation and hymn-playing techniques in the GIA Quarterly and presented these techniques to the Detroit Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. He collaborated with Dr. Norah Duncan IV (DMA ’94) at a conference on African-American church music in Southfield, MI, where Urbiel is organist and choirmaster. He is also choral director at Divine Child High School in Dearborn, MI.


Daniel Albert, MM '05 (music education), recently conducted the 2011 Central District of the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (CDMMEA) Junior Festival Concert Band. The CDMMEA includes cities and towns in central Massachusetts and metro-west Boston. He was also awarded a grant by the Longmeadow Educational Excellence Foundation for Band Day 2012, a collaborative event that includes Longmeadow, MA middle school band students engaged in master classes and ensemble clinics with regional musicians and conductors.


Gavin Bidelman, BM and BS ’07 (music theory and sound engineering), recently received his Ph.D. in hearing science from Purdue University. His dissertation work lay at the intersection between music theory, signal processing, and auditory neuroscience, attempting to understand how the brain interprets music, the connections between music and language, and the effects of musical training on the nervous system. His research has recently appeared in the Journal of Neuroscience, Brain Research, and Brain and Language. Bidelman has accepted a postdoctoral position at the world renowned Rotman Research Institute in Toronto. He moves there with his fiancée, Jen Karpicke, this fall.


Rachel Childers (née Parker), BM ’03 and MM ’06 (French horn), won the second horn position with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which began in the fall.


Drew Leslie, BM '02 (trombone performance), is the newly appointed Assistant Professor of Trombone at Appalachian State University.  He begins this position in the fall of 2011 after two years teaching at the University of Missouri.  His wife, Jessica Warner (BM '04, oboe performance), will begin teaching oboe and English horn at East Tennessee State University this fall.  She recently finished a season as English hornist in the Peoria Symphony Orchestra and also released the premier recording of Dirk-Michael Kirsch's Ganymed for solo oboe. Drew and Jessica reside in Boone, NC with their new baby, Thad.


David T. Little, MM ’02 (composition), recently heard the world premiere of Radiant Child, commissioned by the New World Symphony, and saw a new production of his opera Soldier Songs at the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. This year, Little’s works will be premiered by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Marin Alsop, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and Alarm Will Sound. His ensemble Newspeak just released their first CD featuring Little’s sweet light crude. His and the sky was still there can be heard on Todd Reynolds’s recent release Outerborough. Little is currently executive director of New York’s MATA Festival.


Andy Papas, BM ’07 (voice), returned to Union Avenue Opera in St. Louis in July as Pong in Turandot. He previously enjoyed a successful run as The Major General in that company’s The Pirates of Penzance. Papas was a 2011 Emerging Artist with St. Petersburg Opera, performing Marullo in Rigoletto, Schaunard in scenes from La Bohème, and covering Sharpless in Madama Butterfly. In 2012, he will tour with Wisconsin-based Opera For the Young as Father in Hansel and Gretel.


Dr. Marcía Porter, DMA ’02 (vocal performance), and now on the voice faculty at Florida State University College of Music is a recipient of the Fulbright Scholars Grant. She will spend spring semester 2012 at the Universidade de São Paolo to teach a graduate performance and literature course on contemporary American and Brazilian art song literature. In collaboration with Brazilian pianist Dr. Luiz Ballestero (DMA 2003), Porter will present recitals of both American and Brazilian contemporary classical vocal literature. Recent performances include Mozart’s Requiem and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the San Antonio Symphony, with Anthony Elliott conducting.


Kristen Sague, BFA ’06 (dance) and colleagues from San Francisco’s Ballet Afsaneh traveled to remote Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region in Tajikistan this summer. They were the first western dance ensemble to perform at the “Roof of the World” festival in Khorog Central Park in the Pamir Mountains. The international participants represented the countries of Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan. For the remainder of the summer, she and her colleagues traveled to other remote areas of the Pamiri mountains in order to study, collect costumes, and learn music and dance forms of ancient Central Asian cultures. They returned to the US in September.


Eric Shieh, BM ‘04 (music education), is a founding teacher and curriculum designer of the New York City Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School, "A School for a Sustainable City," currently recognized in its first year for its ground-breaking interdisciplinary, community-action based curriculum. He was also named a New York City Education Pioneers Fellow, and awarded the "Courage" award for his pursuit of social justice in urban education reform. Shieh continues to publish widely on music education and policy, recently contributing a chapter on youth cultures to the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Music Education and a research review for the National Standards in Music revision committee.


Donald J. “DJ” Sparr, MM ’99, DMA ’03 (composition), has been selected as the new Young American Composer-in-Residence for the critically acclaimed California Symphony in Walnut Creek, CA, now celebrating its 25th anniversary. It’s a two-year residency during which the symphony commissions and performs one of his works, preceded by multiple reading rehearsals which are recorded, with direct feedback from the symphony’s music director and the musicians. Sparr, a prolific American composer and guitarist, will also be involved in educational programs in the schools and community at large.


Emery Stephens, DMA ’09 (voice performance), completed his first year as assistant professor of voice at Wayne State University in Detroit. He was awarded the Dean’s Creative Research Grant from the College of Fine, Performing & Communication Arts, and will visit repositories at the Center for Black Music Research in Chicago and the Schomburg Center for Black Culture in New York to produce a multimedia recital of African-American art songs, including spirituals, by under-represented composers of color in classical music.


Gregory X. Whitmore, BM ’01 (music education), led the Cathedral City High School Symphonic Band on a two-week performance tour of France and Germany in March 2011. Gregg conducted the CCHS Band in France at the Chateau Vaux-le Vicomte outside Paris and in Germany at Heidelberg Castle and The America Haus in Munich. Prior to the tour, the band worked in collaboration with composer Frank Ticheli (MM ’83, DMA ’87). Whitmore also led the CCHS Marching Band in a nationally televised performance in the 2010 Hollywood Christmas Parade. Whitmore has been selected as a CCHS “Top Ten Educator Of The Year” six times.


Paul M. Collins, BFA ’96 (theatre & drama), just earned his MFA in theatre design from the University of Iowa and will begin as assistant professor of theatre at the College of Charleston in South Carolina in the fall.


Catherine Gordon-Seifert, MA ’86, Ph.D. ’94 (musicology), writes that her Music and the Language of Love: Seventeenth-Century French Airs was just published by Indiana University Press this past March.


Keren Schweitzer-Lippmann, BMA ’94 (flute), was the 2011 first place winner of the Byron Hester Flute Competition. As winner, she will perform a solo recital at the University of Houston in 2012. She appeared in concert with cellist Jason Lippmann at the National Flute Association Convention in August, 2011 in Charlotte, NC, where they performed Yuko Uebayashi's Suite for flute and cello.



David Belcher, MM ’81 (piano performance), has been named chancellor of Western Carolina University.  He previously served as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Missouri State University.


Lynette Kessler, MFA ’83 (dance), recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of Dance Camera West, a dance film festival she founded in Los Angeles. This festival has been awarded two “Best of LA” awards by the Los Angeles Times, as well as numerous other accolades over the past decade. This fall, Lynette will travel to Mexico City, Brussels, and Paris to present dance media programs. You can see more information about the festival at


Daniel De Kok, BM '82 (music education), has retired from public school music teaching. He continues to sing and play professionally in greater Philadelphia and will start course work towards a master’s in library science at Clarion University of Pennsylvania in January.


Katherine (Kitty) Eberle Fink, DMA ‘86 (vocal performance), has been touring with her one-woman show Pauline Viardot: Composer, Singer, Forgotten Muse, both in the U.S. and, most recently, in Liverpool, England at the “Diva” Interdisciplinary Conference at Liverpool Hope University. In September, she was featured at the International Association of Women in Music Conference in Flagstaff, AZ, performing the Viardot show. In December, she will lecture on Viardot’s Lieder in Maynooth, Ireland. There is now a DVD of the project and in 2012 she will record her next CD of women composers. This fall, she continues her voice teaching at the University of Iowa School of Music where she is professor of voice.


Dave Flippo, DMA ’87 (composition), released his fourth CD, Tao Tunes, with his Chicago-based jazz quartet FLIPPOMUSIC. Flippo adapts the English text of eighteen chapters of the ancient Tao Te Ching into lyrics and sets and arranges them in over ten different styles, including jazz, Latin, and contemporary. On the CD, he appears as both pianist and vocalist with group members Dan Hesler (saxophone/flute), Donn De Santo (bass), and Heath Chappell (drums). FLIPPOMUSIC has been performing and recording his compositions since 1992 and has released two world-jazz fusion CD's, Tendrils of Light and Ganesh, and his vocal debut, When the Heart is Strong.


Israel Kremen, DMA ’89 (composition), is teaching at the Duquesne University School of Music City Music Center and Civic Light Opera Musical Academy in Pittsburgh, PA. The Michigan Record Company released the two CDs from the live performance of the world premiere of his interactive composition Kaleidoscope of 25 Preludes and Fugues for Piano and Humankind with pianist Irena Portenko (MM ’99, DMA ’04).


James Lowe, BM '89 (piano), is the music director and conductor of the current Broadway production of Cole Porter's Anything Goes. The production won three 2011 Tony Awards, including Best Revival. Jim recently conducted and served as associate producer of the new Broadway cast album, which was released in September on Ghostlight Records. He and the cast have appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, The CBS Early Show, A Prairie Home Companion, and recently sang the National Anthem for a New York Mets game. In the upcoming season, Jim will conduct Floyd's Of Mice and Men with the Utah Opera.


Michael Mazzatenta, BM ’85, MM ’86 (organ performance), was the 2011 Guest Conductor for the United Methodist Handbell Festival in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Performances included two of his published works for handbells, “Renewed Spirit” and “Resplendent Ringing.” His latest arrangement, “On This Day Earth Shall Ring” (Alfred Music) is his nineteenth published piece for handbells. He is the jazz pianist on the latest MazzJazz recording Time for You, which features original jazz compositions by his twin brother and guitarist Mark Mazzatenta. Michael is the director of organ and handbells at La Casa de Cristo Lutheran Church in Scottsdale, Arizona.


Barbara Neri, MFA ‘80 (dance), produced her new play Unlocking Desire at the Marlene Boll Theater in Detroit in September, choosing 2011 which marks the 100th anniversary of playwright Tennessee Williams’ birth. The play is in part a fascinating homage to Williams, appearing to imagine his tragic heroine Blanche DuBois as she might have been after A Streetcar Named Desire, but all is not as it seems, Neri says. Unlocking Desire emerged from her exploration of Williams’ allusion to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, a subject of ongoing scholarly interest for her, in Scene 3 of the Williams play.


Albert Wang, MM '81 (violin), was in Thailand in June to present recitals and master classes at Chulalongkorn, Mahidol, and Payap universities. In July, he served as concertmaster of the Baroque on Beaver Festival Orchestra on Beaver Island, MI, and was also featured as a soloist, performing the J.S. Bach Concerto for Violin in E Major, BWV 1042. Recently appointed concertmaster of the North Shore Chamber Arts Ensemble, Dr. Wang is a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra.



Tim Bartholow, BM ’73 (music education), MM ’74 (percussion performance), enjoys retirement with his flutist wife Lisa, after thirteen years as Founding Director of the University of Georgia’s Office of Performing Arts, presenting concerts ranging from Bolcom & Morris to the Cleveland Orchestra, and two years on the music business faculty of UGA’s Terry College of Business. He previously held management positions with the New Orleans and Chicago Symphonies and the University of Nebraska’s Lied Center for Performing Arts. Over the course of his career, Bartholow was a Tanglewood fellow, performed with the Boston and Chicago Symphonies, the Leningrad Philharmonic, and was a member of the United States Army Band at West Point, NY.


Connie Bergstein Dow, MFA '76 (dance), recently completed her second book. One, Two, What Can I Do?  Dance and Music for the Whole Day (Redleaf Press, 2011), offers over 100 creative dance activities that can be used throughout a young child's day. Two music CD's are included, with 43 songs and instrumentals by Debbie Clement.


Marshall J. Fine, MM ’79 (viola performance), was violin soloist with the Dyersburg (TN) Community Orchestra in the Mozart Concerto no. 1, with his own cadenzas. The next day, his song-cycle, Terezin Child-Songs op. 120 for soprano and flute was premiered in Nashville before Holocaust survivors and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. The flute part of the cycle has an alternate version for viola, in case Mr. Schotten is interested.


Nancy Groce, BM '74 (flute performance), MM '76 (musicology and ethnomusicology), is now Senior Folklife Specialist at the Library of Congress's American Folklife Center in Washington, D.C. Her latest book, Lox, Stocks, and Backstage Broadway:  Iconic Trades of New York City, was published recently (Smithsonian Scholarly Press, 2010) and she co-produces a regular radio feature, "Treasures from the American Folklife Center," for the Bob Edwards XM show.


Mary Z. Maher, Ph.D., 1973 (theatre & drama), has won the 2010 Falstaff Award for Best of the Books About Shakespeare for her third book on Shakespeare in Performance, Actors Talk About Shakespeare, published by the Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group. It features interviews with Kevin Kline, Stacy Keach, Kenneth Branah, Derek Jacobi, Zoe Caldwell, Nicholas Pennell, and others.


Ann McCutchan, MM '76 (clarinet), published two books in 2011, Circular Breathing: Meditations From a Musical Life (Sunstone Press) and River Music: An Atchafalaya Story (TAMU Press). She is on tour with both this fall. McCutchan is a professor of creative writing at the University of North Texas and was named to the Texas Institute of Letters in 2010.


Roberta Raider Sloan, MA ’67, Ph.D. '70 (theatre & drama), was appointed Founding Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication at Sam Houston State University. This follows positions as chair of the Arts Commission and the Department of Theater at Temple University, chair and producing artistic director of University of Central Florida Conservatory Theatre, executive producer of the Orlando Repertory Theatre, and chair of the Department of Theatre, Dance and Media Arts at the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an active director and actress, most recently receiving raves for her one-woman show The Life and Times of Deborah Franklin.


Donald Sosin, BM '73 (composition) is celebrating 40 years of writing silent film music with performances at Lincoln Center, MoMA, and Bologna, Pordenone and Shanghai festivals. He scored several shorts for the Criterion Collection and NYU Press, and Edison's Origins of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata for the Library of Congress. San Francisco Chamber Orchestra members premiered his octet for a Harold Lloyd film. At the Music Teachers Association of California convention he lectured, coached students and presented the results at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. He and his wife, Joanna Seaton, just completed a commission for the Chicago Symphony Chorus.



Robert Streckfuss, BM ’65 (music education) MM ’66 (wind instruments), retired in May after 45 years teaching, 36 of those as professor of music at the University of Delaware, where he directed the wind ensemble, taught conducting and music education methods classes, supervised student teachers, and mentored graduate students. His wind ensemble was chosen eight times to perform at eastern division meetings of MENC. He also performed as principal trombonist in the Delaware Symphony Orchestra for 15 years. Streckfuss continues as music director of the Wind Symphony of Southern New Jersey, a community wind ensemble that he has conducted since 1977.



Eugene Heffelfinger, BM ’48, MM ’49 (music education), sent us a photo of a recent reunion of the 1948 Rose Bowl Michigan Marching Band. “What a great year that was,” Heffelfinger says of the ’48 Rose Bowl experience, “what a great trip that was.” That was the year the Wolverines earned the first outright Big Ten championship since 1933, having shut out both Michigan State and Ohio State. That team was coached by Fritz Crisler’s and included Chalmers “Bump” Elliott, playing both offense and defense. At the 1948 Rose Bowl game, Michigan defeated the highly regarded Southern California 49-0.



What’s New with You?

Please send your latest news to (please note), keeping submissions to 100 words (longer entries will be edited for length) and submitting them in paragraph form—please, no CV’s, resumes, lists, or press releases. Deadline for the Spring 2012 Muse is February 15, 2012.

Email to or type on separate sheet and mail to Betsy Goolian, Editor, Michigan Muse, School of Music, Theatre & Dance, 2005 Baits Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2075. Photos welcomed either as jpeg attachments to emails (must be high resolution, at least 300 dpi) or sent as prints to be scanned and returned. Let us know if photo credits are required.

The vehicle for address updates may be found at Click on “alumni/donors,” then, at the top of the new screen, select “alumni record update.”

Any questions, call Betsy Goolian at 734-763-1478