Sharon Jensen
Bob PhillipsMichael WayneNadine BalbeisiZachary BoothKelly Hirina

Alumni Society

Dear Alumni,


The 2012 Reunion was a truly memorable weekend for School of Music, Theatre & Dance alumni. Attendees experienced a special chamber music performance and lecture given by current students in collaboration with professor of piano Louis Nagel. Additionally, a memorial concert to celebrate the life and career of collaborative pianist Eugene Bossart (1917-2011), the Earl V. Moore Professor of Chamber Music, was presented with performances and remembrances by his friends, colleagues, and former students.  


I encourage you to join us for the 2013 Reunion and Homecoming Weekend, scheduled for October 3-6, 2013. We will honor the illustrious alumni who are detailed on these pages with Alumni Society Awards for their professional accomplishments.


Please visit the school's website for further details on all reunion activities. We look forward to welcoming you back to campus this fall.




Peter Witte (BM '89, MM '97, French horn and conducting)

Chair, Board of Governors





Sharon Jensen, BA ’69, MA ’71 (theatre), has served as executive director of Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts for 24 years. Jensen and Inclusion in the Arts received the 2011 Tony Honor for Excellence in Theatre. In 2009, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented Jensen with New York’s diversity “Made in NY” award for Inclusion in the Arts’ “significant contributions to the City’s entertainment industry.” Jensen and Inclusion in the Arts champion the creative power of diversity and inclusion in theatre, film, and television. She and her staff work closely with arts and entertainment unions, guilds, trade associations, artists, and other professional practitioners for full inclusion throughout the industry. Previously, from 1971 to 1975, Jensen worked in the casting department of Theatre Communications Group, and for the next 13 years served as executive director of the League of Professional Theatre Training Programs. In 2002, she organized and chaired the Theatre Diversity Coalition. She is a Member of the Board of The Actors Center (NYC), and served on the Task Force for the 1998 and 2009 National Summits on Careers in Arts for People with Disabilities. Jensen currently serves on the executive committee of United Cerebral Palsy’s Eleventh Annual Women Who Care Luncheon.


Bob Phillips, BM ’76, MM ’79 (music education and clarinet), is a pedagogue, composer, teacher, trainer, and conductor in string education. He is an expert in the use of large-group pedagogy and in the development of alternative styles for strings. In Saline, MI, Phillips built a string program with more than 700 students that is a national model of excellence in both classical and alternative music. His orchestras have performed at Midwest Clinic in Chicago, as well as Michigan’s State Conference. He founded the nationally renowned folk-fiddling ensemble, the Saline Fiddlers, which, under his direction, gained an international reputation, performing multiple times at the White House and the Kennedy Center, and appearing on many TV and radio shows and in international venues. Phillips has authored more than 18 series that include 120 books for use in the classroom, all published by Alfred Music Publishing. Phillips and his wife Pam (BGA, ’80) have created 28 instructional DVDs for band and strings. He’s had more than 100 compositions and arrangements published for orchestras and bands, in addition to being an award-winning ASCAP composer. In fall of 2010, Phillips served as the Endowed Chair in Music Education at the University of Alabama. Currently, he is the director of string publications for Alfred Music Publishing and serves as president of the American String Teachers Association.





Michael Wayne, BM ’03 (clarinet), is a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Prior to joining the BSO in 2008, Wayne was principal clarinet of the Kansas City Symphony and a member of the Grand Teton Festival Orchestra.  He is currently on the faculty of the New England Conservatory and has been a visiting professor at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.  Wayne made his Carnegie Hall solo debut with the world premiere of the Michael Daugherty Clarinet Concerto. He completed his studies at the Interlochen Arts Academy and University of Michigan where he studied with Richard Hawkins and Fred Ormand.





Kelly Hirina, BFA ’99 (dance), received a Fulbright Scholarship in 2000 and moved to the Netherlands to research non-verbal communication. Hirina has been working as a dancer with De Nederlandse Opera and in works by independent European choreographers Barak Marshall, Sasha Engel, Boukje Schweigman, Liat Waysbort, Dylan Newcomb, Jack Gallagher, Suzy Blok, Clara van Gool, Krisztina de Chatel, and Jakop Ahlbom. She has served as choreographic assistant for television projects and as a dancer and actor for various film and video projects. In 2008, she returned to the U.S. to study at the Atlantic Theatre Acting School (NY). From 2011 until recently, Hirina was a member of Dansgroep Amsterdam. She is currently part of Emio Greco | PC.


Nadine Balbeisi, BM ’00 (voice), an American/Jordanian soprano, began her international solo career when she moved to Germany to perform oratorio, chamber music, opera, and recitals, with a specialty in early music. She has performed with various ensembles and orchestras such as Atalante, Concerto con anima, Neues Rheinisches Kammerorchester, Neue Düsseldorfer Hofmusik, and Churpfälsische Hofkapelle. Together with viola da gambist Fernando Marín, Balbeisi founded the duo Cantar alla Viola. In this duo she has researched and recorded repertoire for several critically acclaimed CDs: The Complete Polyphonic Works of Juan Blas de Castro (1561–1631), Robert Jones: The Second Booke of Songs and Ayres (1601), and The Vihuela de arco in the Reign of Aragon. In 2010, she was named artist-in-residence researching and performing 16th-century polyphony from the archives of the Cathedral of Huesca in Spain. Her CD of Italian laments with the ensemble Atalante was hailed by Musicweb International as “Recording Of The Year 2011.” In commemoration of the 400th year anniversary of the Second Book of Songs and Ayres (1612) by William Corkine, she released the CD Each Lovely Grace with Cantar alla Viola in 2012.


Zachary Booth, BFA ’04 (theatre) played the role of Glenn Close’s son on the Emmy Award-winning drama Damages from 2007 to 2012. Other television credits include NYC 22, Royal Pains, Law & Order: SVU, New Amsterdam, and What Goes On. Booth has had many roles in films including Assassination of a High School President (2008), Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008), Taking Woodstock (2009), The Mark Pease Experience (2009), The Beaver (2011), and Dark Horse (2011). In 2012, Booth co-starred in Ira Sachs’ autobiographical film Keep the Lights On, which was nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards. Booth will appear in a new film, Last Weekend, in 2013. Currently working in theatre, he is starring off-Broadway in The Mound Builders by Lanford Wilson at the Signature Theatre. Most recently in 2012, he worked alongside Peter Dinklage in an all-male production of the Imaginary Invalid at Bard College. Other credits include New York premieres of Me, Myself & I, by Edward Albee, at Playwrights Horizons; Prayer for My Enemy at Playwrights Horizons; Victoria Martin: Math Team Queen at the Women’s Project; and Spine and Pentecost at the Barrow Group Theater.