Faculty News

Amy PorterKenneth KieslerEvan ChambersJoe GramleyMichael HopkinsJeffrey Lyman

From top: Amy Porter, Kenneth Kiesler, Evan Chambers, Joseph Gramley, Michael Hopkins, Jeffrey Lyman

Steven Ball, carillon, continues his work with silent films, with concert appearances across the country, including the recent North American live score premiere of the newly restored Metropolis—possibly the most iconic science fiction picture of our time. Other notable appearances include the premiere transcription of Scheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov for organ solo at Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church in Detroit and the Saint-Saëns Third Symphony for organ and orchestra with the Ann Arbor Symphony at Hill Auditorium. Massive restoration work continues on the Burton Tower and the Charles Baird Carillon, with the re-dedication schedule for June 28.

Judith Becker, ethnomusicology emerita, was named an Honorary Member of the Society for Ethnomusicology in recognition her major contributions to the Society and the discipline at large.

Andrew Bishop, jazz and contemporary improvisation, performed Enescu (Re)imagined with Lucian Ban and John Hébert at Le Poisson Lounge in New York. He also performed with Gerald Cleaver’s Uncle June and Group at Twins Jazz in Washington D.C.; The Ars Nova Music Series in Philadelphia; Cornelia Street Café, the Stone and Barbes, all in New York; Windup Space in Baltimore; and at a residency at Towson University. Cleaver’s new release Be It As I See It has received high praise from the music media. His trio Bishop/Cleaver/Flood performed at the Stone in New York and the Jazz Education Network Conference in New Orleans.

William Bolcom, composition emeritus, and Joan Morris, musical theatre, performed in and around Ann Arbor in September and October; spring performances will take them to New York and Philadelphia. Recent premieres of Bolcom’s works include The Hawthorn Tree, with mezzo-soprano Joyce Castle and chamber group in New York, Washington, D.C., Fort Worth, and Lawrence, KS; Prometheus, poetry by Lord Byron, by the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, chorus, and pianist Jeffrey Biegel in Costa Mesa, CA; and Laura Sonnets, by baritone Thomas Hampson and pianist Craig Rutenburg in Athens, GA. In January, the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma produced Bolcom’s opera, A View from the Bridge.

This past year, Chad Burrow, clarinet, appeared at the University of Houston, Rice University, Texas Christian, U-T Austin, University of Arkansas, University of Oklahoma, the University of Alabama, Le Collége Doctoral Européen in Strasbourg, the Midwest Arts Conference in Indianapolis, Liesing, Austria and Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Concerto performances were with the U-M Concert Band, and, in Taiwan, with the Classical Youth Symphony. Festival appearances included the Arizona MusicFest, AlpenKammerMusik Festival, the SMTD MPulse summer clarinet institute, and the Quartz Mountain Music Festival. He and his wife, pianist Amy Cheng, also maintain their artistic directorship of the Brightmusic Society of Oklahoma City.

Evan Chambers, composition, co-hosted a colloquium on arts and the environment on what role the arts can play in our continuing environmental crisis. He served as resident composer and host for the Ann Arbor Symphony’s family concerts, with performances of his orchestral/video work Watershed. His new solo piano piece, torn, in memory of composer William Albright, was premiered by Robert Satterlee, and Chambers’ music was featured in the U-M Museum of Art concert series on connections between folk and classical music. April saw him in Columbus, OH for a week of workshops and lectures and the premiere of his new work for orchestra with solo flute, Hestia’s Fire.

Amy Chavasse, dance, continued work on her 2010 The Hunger for the Longing (a biased history of seduction), with the support of an OVPR grant, rehearsing with collaborators in New York for a performance of an excerpt at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters in January; more performance dates are pending. Chavasse wrote a successful proposal to Teatro Pubblico Pugliese in Italy for an exchange with the Bari (Italy) dance & theater company ResExtensa, in residence in the Department of Dance in April. Then in July, her company travels to Bari to work with ResExtensa on completing the full-length version.

Timothy Cheek, voice and diction, received plaudits for his book The Bartered Bride/Prodaná nevěsta: Performance Guide withTranslations and Pronunciation in a review by noted Czech critic Helena Havlíková in the Prague journal Czech Music. He presented a master class on Czech art song with students at Binghamton University and performed an all-Czech recital and coached and taught master classes on Czech song at Lawrence Conservatory, WI. Other recent recitals included an all-Czech program at the University of Akron; a recital with soprano Kira Slovacek (MM ’01) at Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor; and a concert of songs based largely on the poetry of Langston Hughes.

Colleen Conway, music education, presented at the Illinois and Michigan Music Education Conferences in January. She did a workshop for pre-service and in-service teachers in Cleveland in March, presented four papers at the American Education Research Association in April, and one paper at the Instrumental Music Teacher Educators conference in May. A research article by Conway, co-authored with recent Ph.D. alumna Kristen Pellegrino, MM ’93, Ph.D. ’10, and Chad West, appeared in the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education; a book review, co-authored with current Ph.D. students Scott Edgar, Erin Hansen, and C. Michael Palmer, appeared in the Journal of Music Teacher Education.

Jerry DePuit, musical theatre emeritus, was musical director and accompanist for “Wine, Women, and Song” at Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor. He wrote three arrangements for soprano Leah Crocetto, one of twenty singers to compete in the BBC’s Cardiff “Singer of the World,” and wrote a Victors fanfare for the dean of LSA. He is currently finishing a medley of ten songs made famous by crooners from Nat King Cole to Michael Bublé. Lastly, he is writing a cabaret revue for the Pine Mountain Music Festival of songs about Paris and New York City, to be performed in five venues in the Upper Peninsula in June.

Kate Fitzpatrick, music education, joined in a session, with several successful high school band directors on teaching music in urban settings in the Detroit Public Schools, at the Michigan Music Conference. Her article, "A Mixed Methods Portrait of Urban Music Education," was accepted for publication in the Journal of Research in Music Education as the first published mixed methods article in the field. She presented a paper on the experiences of urban music teachers at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. She continues as guest clinician for area bands and as adjudicator for the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association.

Joseph Gramley, percussion, performed at the Percussive Arts Society’s fall gathering in Indianapolis and lectured at its Weekend of Percussion in New York City. He and organist Clive Driskill-Smith performed at the University of Denver and at Union College in Schenectady, NY. Gramley participated in the Silk Road Ensemble's residency at Harvard and its tour of Texas, California, and British Columbia. His new composition for them, Rionji, premiered at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and was repeated in San Francisco, Berkeley, Davis, and Vancouver. In May, he will travel with the U-M Symphony Band on its tour of China.

Joan Raeburn Holland, harp, and Elizabeth Richter, professor of harp at Ball State University, joined together in a duo and solo faculty harp program, first at Ball State, then at U-M. Holland performed a program of Italian composers for an Italian Cultural Event near Grand Rapids. She presented at the American String Teachers Association at the National Convention in March and then at the American Harp Society National Convention in June. Her students participated in a master class at Harp Weekend at Michigan State University and performed for the Western Michigan Chapter of the American Harp Society in Grand Rapids.

Michael Hopkins, music education, completed commissioned compositions for the Wayland, MA School District, and the Grosse Pointe School District, had two new pieces published by Alfred/Belwin, and a new composition for elementary orchestra published by Kendor Music, Inc. He presented string education sessions at the Vermont Music Educators Conference, the Michigan Music Conference, the Nevada Music Educators Conference, and the national conference of the American String Teachers Association. Hopkins conducted performances with the Burlington Chamber Orchestra and was an orchestra clinician for Ann Arbor Orchestra Night, the Farmington Orchestra Festival, and Clarkston Public Schools. He published articles in the Michigan Music Educator, MASTA Notes.

James Kibbie, organ, directed the January symposium, “The Pipe Organ in African-American Worship” (see p. for more). Recent organ performances included a recital on U-M’s Létourneau organ with Martin Philbert, Dean of the School of Public Health, an Alain recital and workshop at Bruton Parish, Colonial Williamsburg, an all-Bach recital for Wichita State University’s “International Artists Series,” and a recital at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Dallas. He performed the Kodaly Missa Brevis with the University Choir and the Duruflé Requiem with the choirs of Central Methodist and Metropolitan Methodist Churches in Detroit, directed by alumnus Dr. Edward Maki-Schramm (MM ’93, DMA ’99).

Kenneth Kiesler, conducting, is serving as music advisor of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra during its music director search, culminating in 2012. He was honored with the title of conductor laureate after serving as music director from 1980 to 2000. Kiesler conducted two concert programs with the Musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and led the University Symphony and Philharmonia Orchestras in Mahler’s Sixth, streamed live globally to over 33,000 viewers. He led the first annual Kiesler Opera Conducting Master Class, sponsored by Syracuse Opera and Ithaca College, and week-long conducting master classes in Berlin, Leipzig, Vilnius (Lithuania), and the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Nancy Ambrose King, oboe, was featured as the only non-European oboist invited to perform at the Rencontre Européene d’anches double in Rouen, France. She performed with bassoon colleague Jeffrey Lyman in recital, as well as on the jury for the Association Française du Hautbois Competition. She performed recitals and presented master classes in Seoul, Korea and Tokyo, Japan and presented a master class at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. In November, she performed with her U-M wind colleagues and the USO in the Frank Martin Concerto for 7 Winds and with colleague and pianist Christopher Harding in Robert Schumann’s 3 Romances for Oboe and Piano.

Christopher James Lees, conducting, was chosen as one of six featured young conductors at the Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation National Conductor Preview in New Orleans, hosted by the League of American Orchestras & the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. This showcase has featured several U-M alumni in the past, and biennially presents outstanding young conducting talent to industry representatives, administrators, and artist managers. This summer, Lees will attend the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen as part of a fellowship awarded by the Aspen Music Festival.

Stephen Lusmann, voice, has added another teaching assignment to his busy schedule as the Fort Worth Opera Studio voice teacher, traveling to Fort Worth one weekend every month to work with the young professional singers in the studio. In November, he sang two recitals of Logan Skelton song cycles at U-M’s Museum of Art. In April, he presented a master class at Texas Christian University and returns to the Seagle Music Colony, the oldest summer vocal training program in the U.S., for his tenth summer as a member of the voice faculty.

Jeffrey Lyman, bassoon, gave the premiere performance of a new work for solo bassoon by Chinese composer Xinyan Li at his faculty recital in March. Legend of the Sea is a dramatic and descriptive work for solo bassoon inspired in part by characters and vocal styles used in the Beijing Opera. Lyman will perform this work at various cities in China as he accompanies the U-M Symphony Band on its China tour in May. Upon his return, he will teach and play at the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina. 

Marilyn Mason, organ, and her annual International Organ Series will again be part of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival with concerts in the Blanche Anderson Moore Hall at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Performances will include Brenda Wimberly, soprano, with Mason on organ, on June 19; Tapani Yrjola, violinist on June 26; David Troiano, organist, on June 26; and colleague and organist James Kibbie on July 3. All concerts are at 4:00 p.m., with tickets at the door.

Annette Masson, theatre & drama, President of the National Society of Arts and Letters, was faculty coordinator for the Michigan Competition for Choreography: the Art of the Solo. The competition was held in March in the Towsley Studio at the Walgreen Drama Center. Two SMTD dance students took top honors:  Katie Muth won second prize and Derek Crescenti placed first. Derek received $500 and an all-expense-paid trip to participate in the National Competition in Birmingham, AL in May.

Christian Matjias, dance, travelled this past fall to present at conferences in Helsinki and London. While in London, he was invited to present a session to the dance education program of the Royal Academy of Dance. This June, he will present a concert on an 1809 Clementi piano at the Jane Austen House and Museum in Chawton, Hampshire, England, performing music from Austen’s personal library and other music of the period. Christian will then travel to Athens, Greece, where he has been invited to present a paper on Claude Debussy’s incidental music for Chanson de Bilitis.

Christianne Myers, theatre & drama, designed costumes for Rigoletto in May 2010 and the upcoming Baroque double bill of Venus & Adonis and Dido & Aenaes, both at The Florentine Opera in Milwaukee. At the Purple Rose Theatre, she designed costumes for Boeing, Boeing and the world premieres of Corktown and Some Couples May.... For U-M University Productions, Myers did the costuming for the opera production of The Elixir of Love and the annual dance concert Dancing Americas.

Stephen Rush, performing arts technology & dance, will release his Concierto Brasiliera, a clarinet concerto recorded by the Warsaw Philharmonic. He is recording a new jazz album with percussionist Jeremy Edwards (BM ’03, MM ’10). His Inner Rebellion and Rebellion for trombone, percussion, and piano continues to be performed around the world. His work with the U-M Creative Process class is moving forward, with an invitation, along with U-M art professor Elona Van Gent, to Columbia University to present their exciting and fun “OOBLA” (Out-of-the-Box Lunch). From there, Rush is off on his sixth trip to India with students to study music, dance, and yoga in Mysore.

Ed Sarath, jazz and contemporary improvisation studies and director of the Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies, continues his active schedule of national and international performances, speaking, and writing. As a leading voice in the emergent movement to bring meditation and related studies into the academy, he has been invited to speak in Russia, Greece, Holland, England, and various locations throughout the U.S. He is co-editor of a forthcoming volume on contemplative education, to be published by SUNY press, which will also publish his forthcoming book, Improvisation, Creativity, and Consciousness:  Jazz as Integral Template for Music, Education, and Society.

George Shirley, voice emeritus, was honored by Opera Index, along with the late Shirley Verrett, at a Distinguished Achievement Award Dinner and Operatic Recital Tribute in January (Shirley’s photo turned up in The New York Times’ “Style” section that weekend!). Also in January, the George Shirley African-American Art Song and Operatic Aria Competition, organized by Dr. Louise Toppin and sponsored by Videmus Records, was held at Bushnell Congregational Church in Detroit. In April, Shirley offered a master class as part of the Voice Forum held at The Ohio State University.

Robert Swedberg, voice, has been engaged by Michigan Opera Theatre to direct the double bill of The Medium by Gian Carlo Menotti, and Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, using talent from Cirque du Soleil, for performances in Detroit in October 2011. Swedberg developed this concept originally in 2005 for performances presented at Orlando Opera, where he was general director from 1990-2007. In addition to full chorus, orchestra and principal singers, the productions will use six Cirque performers, choreographed by original Cirque du Soleil choreographer Debra Brown.

Leigh Woods, theatre & drama, served as an Equity Guest Artist last December, playing Leonato in John Neville-Andrews's Power Center production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. In January, he served as media consultant to journalists covering Governor Rick Snyder's state-of-the-state address. His essay on undergraduate acting degrees, first printed in The Politics of American Actor Training, will be seen by more general readers owing to the latest paperback re-issue of the book, first published by Routledge in 2010. In August, he'll lead a U-M Alumni Association theatre tour to Canada's Shaw and Shakespeare Festivals.