Student News

Sam Lips, Maddie Trumble, and Andrew JonesGil ChapmanMatthew ZelkindAkropolis QuintetChristopher Hernacki


From top: Sam Lips, Madeline Trumble & Andrews Jones; Gil Chapman; Matthew Zelkind; The Akropolis Reed Quintet; Christopher Hernacki

Students Invited to Kennedy Center for 7th Year

Each year since 2005, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance has been sending its top students to Washington, D.C. to perform as part of the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage Conservatory Project. Launched as a way to introduce the best young musicians in America to Washington audiences, the Project invites undergraduates and graduate students from the nation’s leading conservatories, colleges, and universities to perform each year.

This year, that Washington, D.C. audience was treated to an evening of flute, cello, bass trombone, jazz piano, and musical theatre. You can view that performance on the Kennedy Center Conservatory Project Web site; just type “University of Michigan” under “archives.” [photo with captions naming students]

Concerto Competition Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2011 Concerto Competition. Each year, undergraduate and graduate students at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance vie for a chance to solo with a large ensemble. This year’s winners at the undergraduate level are Sean Krissman, clarinet, Premiere Rhapsodie by Debussy, and Anna Skálová, violin (accompanist Amy I-Lin Cheng), Fire and Blood for violin and orchestra by Daugherty. Graduate level winners were Steven Eddy, baritone (accompanist Grant Jones), Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen by Mahler, and Katherine Weintraub, soprano saxophone (accompanist Kathryn Goodson), Fantasia, Op. 630 by Villa-Lobos.

Second Annual Senior Capstone Experience

On Saturday, March 12, graduating seniors in theatre and drama gathered at the Walgreen Drama Center for what is becoming an annual tradition. Each year, the School brings in industry professionals to both critique student work and to answer questions about the profession. This year’s guests were Melissa Berger, a talent agent from Los Angeles; Michael Kelly Boone, an agent from New York; David Ivers, artistic director of the Utah Shakespearea Festival; and Claire Simon, a casting director from Chicago.

After an informal meet-and-greet, a Q&A session began. Then each senior presented two 2-minute monologues. After a lunch break, the visitors went into break-out sessions so that students could meet with them for an intensive one-hour session. During that time the guests could respond to the work they saw in the morning, ask the student to reprise the monologue with adjustments, and offer advice on the student’s picture and resume.

Contacts made during the weekend often prove extremely valuable as our emerging actors seek a career in theatre, TV, and film.

Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Regionals

Students from the Department of Theatre & Drama were conspicuous at this year’s Great Lakes Region American College Theatre Festival. Undergraduate Adam McCarthy won the Barbizon Award for his lighting design for Pentecost and Michelle Elias won the Regional Stage Management Fellowship for her work on L'Elisir D'Amore. Both Adam and Michelle won trips to the national Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Washington, D.C. in April. Porscha Kazmierczak received the Director's Award for her submission to the Ten Minute Play Festival. Lisa Griebel won for her set design for The Three Penny Opera. Marguerite Woodward received an honorable mention for her set design for Pentecost. Ingrid Olson received an honorable mention for stage management on Into the Woods. Other SMTD participants included, Rachael Albert, Mary Clare Blake-Booth, Michelle Bryan, Corey Lubowich, Shawn McCulloch, Yonit Olshan, and Meryl Waldo.


Choral Directing Students Take Top Prizes

Michigan brought home awards from the recent American Choral Directors Association conference, held in Chicago in March. Both Ken Sieloff, undergraduate, and Arian Khaefi, DMA in choral conducting, advanced to the finals in their respective divisions. Over 150 students submitted applications to the two divisions; of those only 7 undergraduates and 8 graduate students were selected to advance. Sieloff won the undergraduate national choral conducting competition and Khaefi was one of four finalists in the graduate division. “They were both fantastic,” said Professor Jerry Blackstone, SMTD Director of Choirs.

Society for Musical Arts

The Ann Arbor Society for Musical Arts, composed of alumni members of Mu Phi Epsilon and Sigma Alpha Iota, held its annual Young Artists Competition in February. The competition focuses on a different discipline each year; this year it was strings. Piano faculty member Christopher Harding served as liaison. Amy Cave, a violinist from Cleveland, took first place; Ashley Martin, violin, from Raleigh, NC, took second place; and Ethan Young, a cellist from Oswego, IL, and Daniel Smith, a cellist from Long Beach, CA, tied for third place.

New York String Orchestra Seminar

Every December, Carnegie Hall and the New School in New York City sponsor the New York String Orchestra Seminar. Each year, the Seminar auditions over 400 students and chooses some 50 to participate in two concerts at Carnegie Hall and ten days of orchestra rehearsals and chamber music coaching by the most outstanding chamber musicians of our day. Last December, the Seminar chose three U-M students to participate in the festivities. They were Anna Skálová, Sangwon Lee, and Rainer Eudakis. Ms. Skálová served as the concertmaster of the orchestra, Sangwon Lee, as principal clarinet, and Rainer Eudakis was a member of the cello section.

Danny Abosch (Choral Music Education '11) will be attending NYU's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program this fall, an MFA program through the Tisch School of the Arts. Danny wrote the music and lyrics for Placebo, a musical which premiered at UM in November and was also workshopped at Oklahoma City University in February.

Music education student Elizabeth Crabtree presented a poster at the Michigan Music Education conference in Grand Rapids in January called “Working with Autistic Children in the Elementary Music Classroom, A Literature Review.”

Scott Edgar, a Ph.D. student in music education, presented at the CIC Music Education Conference in Madison, WI, and the MENC North Central Regional Conference in Cincinnati on the topic of principal interactions of entry-year music teachers. He is currently conducting a study on how a high school music educator interacts with students regarding their social and emotional needs. Scott has had publications in the Michigan Music Educator and Arts Education Policy Review.

Ben Brady is playing the role of Pooh-Bah in the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Mikado put on by the U-M Gilbert and Sullivan Society. This summer he will spend two and a half months in Italy, studying Italian language for four weeks, and then, after a two-week tour of Europe, will go the Music in the Marche summer program to study Italian and voice for four more weeks.

Porscha Kazmierczak, a junior in theatre & drama, directed a new work for Playfest entitled Manic Pixie Dream Girl, written by a junior BTA student named Emma Jeszke. In April, she directed a show with a social justice group on campus called Yoni Ki Baat that opened in the Keene Theatre in East Quad.

Ben Smolen was selected as one of four flute fellows at the 2010 Tanglewood Music Center and as such will return for the 2011 season, along with DMA flutist Seth Morris. They will work with conductors and composers in chamber music and orchestra settings. Ben was also acting principal flute of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra in Orange County, CA last fall and was named principal flute of the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra last June, where he holds the Irene Goodwin Memorial Chair. As the Betty Brewster Scholar at U-M, he was invited to perform on the Cranbrook Music Guild's 2010-2011 season, with pianist Jennifer Hsiao.

In addition to receiving numerous performances and commissions from performers and artists across the United States, Sam L. Richards, a first-year DMA in composition, was invited, along with fellow student, David Biedenbender, to present a paper, “Culture in Flux, Music Education as Constant:  Reexamining Music Curriculum in the 21st Century” at the symposium “traditions/progressions/transgressions” at the University of Toronto in May. He has also been invited to present a session, “Beyond These Walls: Music/Dance Collaboration in Education,” at the National Dance Education Association at its national conference in Minneapolis in October.

Lisa J. Furman, third-year Ph.D. candidate in music education, presented a paper “Perceptions of Female Middle and High School Band Conductors Regarding Gender and Sexual Diversity in Band Conducting Leadership Positions” at the University of North Texas Research Symposium, along with a poster session at the 4th Biennial Colloquium for Teachers  of Instrumental Music Methods. She presented a research poster at the Michigan Music Conference along with a practitioner session: Tools For Building a Bigger Band. Her The Lived Experiences of a Lesbian Instrumental Music Educator is currently under review for publication in the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education.

Erik Heitz, BFA in musical theatre and a BTA with a directing/ stage-management focus, spent fall term at Fordham University's London Dramatic Academy, with 14 other American students from around the country. In addition to taking rigorous classes in classical British theatre, Shakespeare, dialects, stage combat, and historical dance, students had master classes with English performers like Sir Ian McKellan, Imelda Staunton, Toby Spence, and Toby Stephens. He also attended theatrical productions at the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as the English National Opera and Royal Ballet Company.

Heidi Madagame, a junior vocal performance major and a mezzo-soprano, performed in a recital with Kathryn Graham at Kerrytown in March. She appeared in the production of Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann performing a portion of the role of Nicklausse. This summer, she will study in Perigeaux, France with the Franco-American Vocal Academy’s summer program, in the role of Baron Puck in Offenbach’s La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein.

Akilah Bryant, master’s student in flute, won first place in the National Federation of Music Clubs biennial student/collegiate auditions in the category of orchestral woodwinds, at the state level. As the recipient of the first place award she performed with the first place winners in the other categories in April, during the biennial convention of the Federation of Music Clubs, in her home state of Alabama.

Seth Allyn Morris, DMA, flute performance, was a guest artist at the Texas Flute Festival in May, after having won its Myrna Brown Competition in 2010. He also has been accepted as a Fellow for the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, MA this summer.

Steven Eddy, a first-year baritone in the specialist in voice program, was a winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in Kansas City this spring, advancing to the midwest regionals.

Tenor Kevin Newell, a first-year masters student, was a winner at the district level of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, held in Milwaukee. He will go on to compete at the regional level in St. Paul.

David McLemore, master’s candidate in tuba performance, was one of five finalists in the 55th annual WAMSO Young Artist Competition, of the Minnesota Orchestra, out of an original field of 63 contestants. He was awarded a full scholarship to the Aspen Music Festival and School for summer 2011.

The U-M trombone quartet, EuFouria was named winner of this year’s Eastern Trombone Workshop National Quartet Competition. They presented a split recital at the 2011 Eastern Trombone Workshop in March. The members of the quartet are James Ginn, Christopher Hernacki, James Layfield and Patrick Montgomery. They were also the only American quartet to advance to the final round of the International Trombone Quartet Competition, hosted by the International Trombone Association. As one of three finalists, they will perform this summer at the International Trombone Festival in Nashville, Tennessee.

Madeline Huberth, cellist, was accepted into YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011. Last year, 101 musicians from 33 countries uploaded videos to YouTube in audition. Chosen with the help of leading orchestras around the world and the YouTube community, the selected musicians performed in a concert conducted by Grammy Award-winning YouTube Symphony Orchestra Artistic Advisor, Michael Tilson Thomas. The concert was streamed live on YouTube directly from Sydney Opera House and can still be seen on YouTube.

DMA candidate in trumpet performance Jason Bergman (MM ’08) has been appointed to the music faculty of The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS. He has also been named principal trumpet of the Gulf Coast Symphony in Biloxi, performs as principal trumpet with the Mobile Symphony, and has performed with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

David Fienup, a graduate student, worked on sound design and mixing for five films submitted to the Detroit Independent Film Festival in March. Those five films were nominated for a combined 13 awards, often competing against each other. The films are Bilal's Stand, Runways & Bunkbeds, The Bicyclist, Certain Essential Elements (short), and Bare Witness (short).

In September, Scott Padden won a position with the Flint Symphony Orchestra. This summer, he will attend the Castleton (VA) Music Festival, under the baton of Maestro Lorin Maazel, who founded the program in 2009. The festival runs from June 6th until August 1st and includes a tour to Toronto and Beijing.

Dance students Derek Crescenti took first prize and Katie Muth, second in the National Society of Arts and Letters competition, "The Art of the Solo." Derek will travel to Birmingham, AL in May for the national competition. “All the works were very strong,” said dance chair Angela Kane, “in a wide range of styles. Amber Kao, Ellen Busch, Sadie Yarrington, and Tara Sheena also deserve a special shout-out for their lovely performances.”

Nermis Mieses, DMA in oboe, was the first-prize winner of the International Oboe Competition of Santa Catarina, Brazil in January 2011. She also received the prize for Best Interpretation of a Brazilian Piece. The competition was held in the city of Jaragua do Sol, Brazil, which hosts 600 students every year for the internationally renown festival.

Jovanni-Rey de Pedro, doctoral student in piano pedagogy and performance, presented his research, "Baroque Beethoven: Symbolism in the Piano Sonata in A-flat, Op. 110," for the 2011 College Music Society Regional Conferences in California and Idaho. Jovanni will also present his research on the pedagogy of Austrian crossover pianist Friedrich Gulda and perform an all-Ginastera recital at the World Piano Conference in Serbia and the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference in Australia this summer. Jovanni was also recently invited to present a master class and solo recital at the University of Idaho and join the piano faculty at Interlochen Summer Arts Camp.

Becca Rothman, student in theatre & drama production, will be assistant stage manager for three operas at the Brevard Music Center in Brevard, NC this summer.

Neeraj Mehta, a second-year pre-candidate in the DMA percussion program, has been accepted to present on fractal mathematics in the music of Danish composer Per Nørgård at three conferences:  University of Calgary Graduate Music Conference; Music Theory Mid-West Society 22nd Annual Conference; and the West Coast Conference of Music Theory and Analysis. 

T.J. Wolfgram, a senior studying music education, recently presented at the research poster session, “Perceptions of Chamber Music Inclusion in the Secondary Classroom: A Literature Review,” at the Michigan Music Conference.

Senior in viola performance Patrick Behnke is the founder of a benefit concert called "Concert for Crossroads," held in Birmingham, MI. The second annual concert last December, which included two of Patrick’s own compositions, featured violinist Jordan Broder, a new faculty member at the Cranbrook Arts Academy, the pianist Glenn Burdette, and Behnke and raised $3,000 for an agency that runs soup kitchens and provides pharmaceutical purchasing assistance for individuals in the inner city of Detroit.

Jeremy Crosmer, DMA student in cello performance and a master’s candidate in composition, was awarded the Presser Music Award, to publish, record, and perform his project the Crosmer-Popper Duets. The Presser Foundation selects the top 16 graduate schools in music, and each school picks one top student to receive a $10,500 grant to pursue a project which is outside the scope of their normal schooling.

Joyce Yip, Ph.D. candidate and lecturer in music theory, presented a paper titled "Tonal Ambiguity in Selected Mazurkas of Chopin" at the 2011 meeting of the Music Theory Midwest Society at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in May.

Michelle Bryan, a senior stage manager and electrician, has a job as a journeyman electrician at the Dock Street Theatre in Charleston, SC, for the Spoleto Festival USA.

Kieran Hanlon, a junior in double bass performance and jazz studies, has been accepted into the 2011 National Repertory Orchestra. He also won first prize in the 2011 U-M Double Bass Studio Dittersdorf Concerto Competition.

Yaniv Segal, MM '10 in orchestral conducting, current DMA, guest conducted the Opole Philharmonic Orchestra of Poland in April as part of the Ludwig Van Beethoven Easter Festival. The program will include Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and Mahler's Fourth Symphony. Segal is also in his second year as music director of the Michigan Pops Orchestra and in the fall he music-directed the University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society's production of The Sorcerer.

The University of Michigan Euphonium-Tuba Quartet—Phillip Bloomer, DMA tuba performance, Ryan Chen, sophomore euphonium performance, Curtis Prichard, master’s candidate in euphonium performance, and Jacob Wade, master’s candidate in tuba performance—performed a recital at the Midwest Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference in Mt. Pleasant, MI in March. Phillip Bloomer placed third in the Solo Artist Competition at the same conference and was accepted to the Bar Harbor Brass Week in Bar Harbor, ME this summer.

Sophie Verhaeghe, junior in violin performance, was accepted to Kent/Blossom Summer Music Festival and the Chautauqua Music Festival.


Joe Brown, master’s student in trumpet performance and second-year master’s student in brass chamber music, won the third trumpet position with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra and third trumpet with the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra. Joe also advanced to the semi-final round of the San Francisco Symphony audition.

Senior in trumpet performance Matt Bloomfield, master’s student Joe Brown, second-year master’s student in trumpet performance and brass chamber music, and Joe Nibley, first-year master’s student in trumpet performance and first-year master’s student in brass chamber music, all advanced to the finals of the National Trumpet Competition, held in Washington DC annually and the most recognized national competition for trumpet players in the United States.

Katherine Cosgrove, a first-year master’s student in trumpet performance and brass chamber music, was a finalist for the principal trumpet position of the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra.

Jon Ney, a senior trumpet performance major, and Paula Guro, a junior trumpet performance major, were finalists for the principal trumpet position of the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra.

Sean Krissman, an undergraduate in clarinet performance, was accepted into the Hot Springs Music Festival and the Brevard Music Festival.