Faculty News

Michael HaithcockJerry BlackstoneCaroline CoadeJoseph GramelyRobert HurstNancy Ambrose KingJerry SchwiebertRobin Wilson


From top: Michael Haithcock, Jerry Blackstone, Caroline Coade, Joe Gramley, Robert Hurst, Nancy Ambrose King, Jerry Schwiebert, Robin Wilson

Michael Haithcock (wind conducting) has been named an Arthur F. Thurnau professor in recognition of his outstanding contributions to undergraduate education at the University of Michigan. Haithcock was lauded for working tirelessly to provide unique learning experiences for students and for developing strong relationships with them—each year, he attends every one of his student's individual recitals, and writes more than 100 recommendation letters. In addition, he seeks out opportunities for his students to perform in major venues around the world, most recently in China as part of the 2011 Symphony Band China Tour. In preparation for the tour, he organized a seminar series on Chinese history and culture for participating students and designed an itinerary that balanced performances with educational excursions to significant cultural sites.

Each year Thurnau professorships recognize and reward a select group of tenured faculty members for their outstanding contributions to undergraduate education. Haithcock will retain the title throughout his career at the university. The professorships are named after alumnus Arthur F. Thurnau and supported by the Thurnau Charitable Trust, which was established through his will. Recipients receive $20,000 to support teaching activities, including travel, books, equipment and graduate student support.


Recent performances by Andrew Bishop (jazz and contemporary improvisation) include shows at the Hungry Brain in Chicago and Roulette in New York, and with the Ellen Rowe Quintet at the Blue Wisp in Cincinnati. Bishop appeared at the Jazz Education Network National Conference in Louisville, presenting a new research initiative, “An On-line Discography of Jazz Improvisation Devices.” He performed his “Funeral Music for Jobim and Piazzolla” with the Arizona State University Jazz Ensemble at the North American Saxophone Alliance gala in Tempe, AZ. His performance with Gerald Cleaver’s Uncle June was voted one of the 10 best live performances of the last year by Jazz Record-New York. Bishop gave master classes at the Detroit Jazz Festival, Detroit Civic Jazz Ensembles and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has recorded with the Hot Club of Detroit for Mack Avenue Records.


Jerry Blackstone (choral conducting) led the Chamber Choir in performances of Mason Bates's new Mass Transmission as part of the San Francisco Symphony/UMS MAVERICK's series in March. In the fall, he was the featured clinician and conductor at the Fox Cities Choral Festival in Appleton, WI, and led the Men of Song Festival in Plano, TX, with male singers from Plano high schools. In January, he led a one-day workshop with the Baldwin-Wallace Men's Chorus, and in February he was the featured clinician and conductor at the Kalamazoo Choral Festival, hosted by the Kalamazoo Bach Festival. In April, he conducted a massed choir of high-school students at Carnegie Hall under the auspices of Manhattan Concert Productions. As music director and conductor of the UMS Choral Union, Blackstone prepared the chorus for multiple performances with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra during their 2011–12 season.


This summer, Caroline Coade (viola) will join the faculty of both the Chautauqua Music Festival in New York and the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Maine. In June, she will return as artist-faculty member to the National Music Festival in Chestertown, MD, for her second summer. During the academic year, Coade balances her U-M teaching responsibilities with her job as third chair violist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.


Colleen Conway (music education) delivered several days of guest lectures at the University of Nebraska and Ithaca College this spring. This semester, her articles appeared in Research Studies in Music Education, the Journal of Research in Music Education and the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education. She also presented two research studies, co-authored with current Ph.D. students Scott Edgar, Erin Hansen and Michael Palmer, at the Music Educators’ National Conference in St. Louis, MO.


Jane Fulcher (musicology) planned and edited The Oxford Handbook of the New Cultural History of Music, published by Oxford University Press. Among the 22 contributions from international historians and musicologists are her own two chapters: "Defining the Cultural History of Music: Its Origins, Methodologies, and Lines of Inquiry" and "From the Voice of the Marechal to Musique Concrete: Pierre Schaeffer and the Case for Cultural History." She also published an article in the November issue of The Musical Quarterly, "Debussy as National Icon:  From Vehicle of Vichy's Compromise to French Resistance Classic," and an article titled "Essential Exchanges" in the volume A Community of Scholars, to be published by Princeton University Press this spring.


In January, Joseph Gramley (percussion) spent 10 days in residence at Harvard University with the Silk Road Ensemble (SRE), collaborating with students and working on four new works commissioned by SRE. In March, Gramley and the SRE (whose Leadership Council he now heads at the request of Yo-Yo Ma) toured Asia. At U-M, he taught a new course covering essential literature from the percussion canon. Last summer, he directed Juilliard’s annual Summer Percussion Seminar, appeared at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont and performed with the Knights in New York and Chicago. In the fall, he performed as guest percussionist with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and toured with organist Clive Driskill-Smith in Georgia and South Carolina.


Christopher Harding (piano) spent a sabbatical semester in Seoul, South Korea, in fall 2011, teaching as a Fulbright senior specialist at Seoul National University and as a special chair in piano performance at Ewha Woman’s University. He presented numerous master classes and performances in Seoul and throughout Korea. Since his return, he has taken up duties as chair of piano and continues to lecture and perform in Ann Arbor, Toledo and Chicago.


Michael Hopkins (music education) was the featured string education presenter at the Maryland Music Educators’ Association Conference, and also presented at the national conference of the American String Teachers Association. Hopkins recently completed a commissioned orchestral composition for the first graduating class of Skyline High School in Ann Arbor. Four of his new compositions for string orchestra have been published by Alfred Music Publishing, Grand Mesa Music and Kendor Music Publishing. He was the guest conductor for the Oklahoma All-State Orchestra, and was featured as a guest conductor and composer with the Saline and Chelsea, MI, high-school orchestras.


Robert Hurst (jazz and contemporary improvisation) can be heard on Paul McCartney’s new CD Kisses on the Bottom. In its review, New York’s The Daily News said, “The instrumental focus more often falls on the velvety bass of Robert Hurst.” Hurst can also be heard on Chris Botti’s new CD Impressions and he releases his own album, BoB a Palindrome, this summer. He was voted one of Downbeat magazine’s “Top Bassists of 2011” in their Annual Critic’s Poll and his albums Unrehurst Vol. 2 and Bob Ya Head, both released in 2011, received great critical acclaim. He will be featured on Diana Krall’s USA tour this summer.


James Kibbie (organ) performed “Ascend the Mountain: A Walk With Dr. King” by Dr. James Lee III (DMA ‘05) at Hill Auditorium in January for the annual concert celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  In April, he performed “Messe Solennelle” by Louis Vierne at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Detroit, directed by Joseph Balistreri (MM ’11).  He will teach and perform for the AGO’s Pipe Organ Encounter in Holland, MI, in June. In July, his students will perform an Organ Mass by Attaingnant for the AGO National Convention in Nashville as part of a presentation on the new scholarly edition by Dr. Scott Hyslop (DMA ‘07).


Kenneth Kiesler (conducting) recently conducted at the Syracuse Opera and led the University Symphony Orchestra in Carmina Burana, Mahler’s Seventh Symphony and the world premiere of Kristin Kuster’s Rain On It. He also conducted recordings of the piano concertos of Alberto Ginastera with alumna Barbara Nissman, and taught conducting master classes in Vilnius, Berlin, Leipzig, Ithaca and at the Royal Academy of Music in London. This summer, he returns as director of the Conductors Program of the National Arts Center Orchestra (Ottawa) and the Conductors Retreat at Medomak (Maine), and conducts at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival and the Atlantic Music Festival.


Nancy Ambrose King (oboe) released her new CD, Global Reflections, on Equilibrium Records, recorded with the Prague Chamber Orchestra and featuring oboe concertos by Strauss, Foss, Sierra and Skalkottas. She appeared as a soloist with the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra in Amarillo, TX, performing Strauss’s Oboe Concerto. In addition to a faculty recital at the University of Michigan, she gave recitals as a guest artist at the Ball State University Wind Symposium, the University of Virginia, West Texas University and the University of Iowa. 


Mark Kirschenmann (jazz and contemporary improvisation) led the Creative Arts Orchestra (CAO) on a tour that included performances at West Virginia University, Towson University, and the 6th annual International Society of Improvised Music conference, with special guest Karl Berger, at William Paterson College and the Bowery Poetry Club in New York. CAO is a creative improvisation ensemble currently comprising 24 highly select students. Kirschenmann is also working on his third solo trumpet album, recording and controlling unedited improvisations (via pitch-to-MIDI conversion) with Abelton Live software.


In December, Stephen Lusmann (voice) performed a song recital that included the Ohr Songs by U-M faculty member Logan Skelton (piano). Lusmann later performed these songs at Western Washington University, where he also gave a master class, and will perform them again at the Amalfi Coast Music & Arts Festival in Italy this July. In February, he performed Brahms’ Liebeslieder in a Michigan Chamber Players concert, and in May he sang the role of Arbace in Mozart’s Idomeneo with the Florentine Opera. He joins the faculty of Music in the Marché in Mondavio, Italy, for June, then returns to teach at the Seagle Music Colony for his 11th year.


Jeffrey Lyman (bassoon) joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic and music director Gustavo Dudamel on their tour to Caracas, Venezuela, in February, performing Mahler's Sixth Symphony. In July, he will be a featured concerto soloist at this summer's International Double Reed Society Conference, performing Dana Wilson's Avatar, and at the same conference he will lead U-M bassoon studio members in a concert titled "Music From Michigan: Past and Present," highlighting music by U-M composition faculty and students.


Marie McCarthy (music education) was in residency at Guangzhou University, China, in November where she presented a keynote address at a national conference and several lectures and workshops for undergraduate and graduate students. She met with music education faculty at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, where Samuel Leong (MM ’87) is professor and head of the Department of Cultural and Creative Arts. McCarthy returned to the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in February as external examiner for the Graduate Diploma in Music Education. She has several publications in press, including a chapter for Inquiry in Music Education: Concepts and Methods for the Beginning Researcher (Routledge, 2012), and an article re-reprinted in Critical Essays in Music Education (Ashgate, 2012), edited by Marvelene C. Moore (PhD, ‘77).


Eugene Rogers (choral conducting) was recently guest lecturer and adjudicator for the Rave Music Group in Hong Kong where he worked with choirs from both Singapore and Hong Kong. He also conducted the Virginia District XII Honor Choir in Tuscorara, VA, and the Oregon High School All-State Mixed Choir in Eugene, OR, during their 2012 OMEA Conference. In February, he was the guest artist for the Northern Illinois University Women's Chorus Festival and was the guest clinician for the Chicago Children's Choir Male Chorus Festival at Northeastern Illinois University in March.


Stephen Rush (performing arts technology) led the premiere of his U.S. Grant—a FluxKit Opera, with a score that is essentially a board game that determines actions, sounds and staging. The work was premiered with the Digital Music Ensemble at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, then at Shapeshifters in New York.  Rush has released recordings of his works Rebellion and Inner Rebellion on Summit Records, Concierto Brasiliera on Parma Recordings, and Roscoe Mitchell’s 8-8-88 on RogueArts Recordings. His “Naked Dance” project toured the Midwest in the spring and will play an East Coast tour this summer.  Rush’s group, Listening Music for the Age of the Crystal Moon Cone, will perform a West Coast tour in June, featuring U-M alumni Chris Peck and Jon Moniaci on laptops and Rush on keyboards.


Ed Sarath (jazz and contemporary improvisation) recently presided as founder and president of the International Society for Improvised Music on the East Coast.  Upcoming activities include performances of his music in Brazil; talks in Greece; workshops and concerts in Siberia; a book chapter on improvisation for a collection published by Oxford University Press; an article and a book for SUNY/Albany Press applying an emergent worldview called Integral Theory to music; and a new commission for choir, strings and jazz quartet.  


Jerald Schwiebert (theatre) has published a new book, Physical Expression and the Performing Artist: Moving Beyond the Plateau, written with Candace Platt, which offers an organized approach to movement for actors, conductors, dancers, singers and musicians. Capturing the energy of his popular workshops as a master movement teacher, Schwiebert draws from hatha yoga, tai chi and Pilates, as well as from the teachings of Stanislavski, Structural Integration (Rolfing), Alexander, Feldenkrais and Laban. More than 300 anatomical drawings help readers pinpoint specific muscles, joints and actions as they explore the capacity of the performer's physical instrument, the components of dynamic movement and the anatomy of expression.


Professor Emeritus George Shirley (voice) presented the Keynote Address at the African American Art Song Alliance 15th Anniversary Conference at the University of California, Irvine. Shirley also provided narration for a performance of Dr. Stephen Newby’s (DMA ’94) work Montage for Martin, featuring soloists Sylvia Twine (MM ’00), Gregory Broughton (DMA ’94) and Brenda Wimberly (MM ’00), with the Duke Ellington School of the Arts student chorus and orchestra in Washington, D.C. In addition, he judged the George London Foundation Vocal Competition in New York and recently received the 2011 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for the article "Music Education in Detroit's Public Schools: The Struggle to Survive," published by NewMusicBox.


Peter Sparling (dance) recently received two awards at the Uptown Film Festival in Birmingham, MI, for his screendance video Patient Spider. It received Best Experimental Short for Sparling and Best Original Score-Short for composer Yehuda Yannay. The video was also featured at the DANCE:FILMS Festival in Glasgow in November on the program “Is It Dance?,” which identified its selection of dance films as having  “a more experimental edge … that challenge the notions of dance and choreography.”  The film will travel to the U.K.’s Leicester International Dance Festival in May as part of the Cultural Olympiad associated with the London Summer Olympics.


Stephen West (voice) recently appeared as Pater Profundis in Mahler's Eighth Symphony with the Grand Rapids Symphony and traveled to Colorado to adjudicate the Denver Lyric Opera voice competition. On campus, he performed in Faculty Showcase and Michigan Chamber Players. West will next appear as Timur in Puccini's Turandot with the Toledo Opera, and will star as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof with the Encore Music Theater Company in Dexter, MI. This summer he again teaches in the MPulse high-school vocal program.


E. J. Westlake (theatre) received a Fulbright Award to teach American drama in Romania for the winter 2012 term. She will be affiliated with the University of Bucharest American Studies department and will teach an undergraduate course on American drama and a graduate seminar on American drama and race. Her article "El Güegüence, post-Sandinista Nicaragua, and the Resistant Politics of Dancing" will appear in the The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theater, edited by Nadine George-Graves (forthcoming).


Robin Wilson (dance) presented two works at the 15th annual Bluegrass State International Dance Festival in Kentucky: her duet Blues/Crossroads with alumna Erika Stowall, and the solo Blues Woman performed by alumna Marly Spieser-Schneider. Wilson was also a panelist for the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and was choreographer for the Performance Network’s production of Ain’t Misbehavin’. This March, Wilson presented her work Shattered Globes-For Tamara at the U-M’s 12th annual Tamara Williams Memorial Lecture, which raises awareness of sexual assault and intimate partner violence and memorializes Tamara Williams, a U-M student who was killed by her boyfriend in 1997. Wilson spent summer 2011 teaching in New York and researching Afro-Cuban dance and music.


Leigh Woods (theatre) helped organize and coordinate the "Tennessee Williams @ 100" conference, which was hosted by the Department of Theatre & Drama in October. He also chaired a panel titled "Williams in Production," speaking about his experience playing the part of Val Xavier in Williams' Orpheus Descending. He has recently begun serving the American Society for Theatre Research’s Executive Committee, to which he was elected for a three-year term last June. In March, he spoke on dramatic translation for a panel organized in conjunction with the latest U-M residency of the Royal Shakespeare Company. In July he will teach Play Analysis for high-school students at the MPulse summer theatre program.