Michigan Muse Summer 2023 > Faculty Updates

Faculty Updates

Two percussionists perform on a reflective studio stage floor

Ian Antonio (left) and Ben LaMar Gay. Photo credit: Sarah Elizabeth Larson

Notable Performances by Ian Antonio

Highlights from the performance schedule of Ian Antonio (percussion) include appearances at the Art Club of Chicago with multi-instrumentalist Ben LaMar Gay, the premiere of a micro concerto by Czech composer Petr Kotik, and duo performances alongside Ingrid Laubrock and Eric Wubbels. Additionally, Antonio gave master classes at the Aaron Copland School of Music and DePauw University.

Jose Casas headshot wearing a light blue collared shirt

José Casas

José Casas (theatre & drama) has had four plays published by Dramatic Publishing: jj’s place, Desvelado, The Tale of La Llorona as Told by Consuelo Chavez, and Mariposa/Butterfly (co-written with Sandy Asher). Mariposa/Butterfly was produced by Trike Theatre (Bentonville, Arkansas) and the Magik Theatre (San Antonio, Texas). It was awarded the American Alliance of Theatre and Education’s Distinguished Play Award. Casas was awarded the Children Theatre Foundation of America’s 2023 Corey Medallion Award for excellence in the field of theatre for young audiences, and he also received the Dominic Orlando Playwriting Award, which comes with a $10,000 prize and honors playwrights who have focused on smaller-budget theatre companies and ensembles. Casas recently directed the play Balloonacy at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

Colleen Conway studio headshot wearing a white blouse

Colleen Conway

Colleen Conway (music education) is currently serving as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Music Teacher Education and recently completed her term as editor-in-chief of Arts Education Policy Review. She presented in winter 2023 at the Michigan Music Conference, the New Directions in Music Education Conference (with alumnae Jessica Vaughan Marra and Ann Marie Stanley) and the American Educational Research Association (with current PhD students Sean Grier, Dan Taylor, and Tiffanie Waldron). Her second edition of Musicianship-Focused Curriculum and Assessment (GIA Publications) will be available in November 2023.

Antonio Cuyler greyscale portait, wearing black, seated on an outdoor stairway

Antonio C. Cuyler. Photo credit: Anna Prentiss

Antonio C. Cuyler (entrepreneurship & leadership) has recently published articles in Cultural Trends and Journal for Cultural Research and chapters in Business Issues in the Arts, Voices for Change in the Classical Music Profession: New Ideas for Tackling Inequalities and Exclusions, and Oxford Handbook of Arts and Cultural Management. He has also delivered lectures at HUMAK University of Applied Sciences, Stockholm University, and the University of Cincinnati and presentations at the Caribbean InTransit and Southeastern Arts Leadership Educators conferences. He participated in panels at the Ohio State University and the HBCU Opera and Musical Theatre Collective Forum, and he moderated panels for the National Center for Institutional Diversity and Forth Worth Opera. In May, the Wallace Foundation announced funding for Cuyler’s grant to partner with the Arts Administrators of Color Network to conduct a survey study on what matters most to global majority artists and arts leaders when advocating for the arts.

Angled headshot of Aaron Dworkin outdoors under storm clouds

Aaron Dworkin

Aaron Dworkin (entrepreneurship & leadership) published his second collection of poetry, The Poetjournalist. He was also elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and was named poet-journalist-in-residence of Grantmakers in the Arts and of Complexions Contemporary Ballet.

Large group poses in a theatre lobby in front of the show poster

Jungah Han (third from left, front row) in NYC with theatre & drama students

Design & Production Students Go Behind the Scenes on Broadway

Jungah Han (theatre & drama) traveled to New York with several theatre design & production students (and one student pursuing a PhD in architecture) to attend the Broadway production The Thanksgiving Play. Han, who serves as the play’s associate scenic designer, arranged for the students to attend the afternoon tech rehearsal to get a close-up view of the fast-paced, collaborative process on a Broadway production. The students met the creative teams, including scenic designer Riccardo Hernández, who is the co-chair of design at Yale’s David Geffen School of Drama. Han introduced the students to the playwright, Larissa Fasthorse, and to actor and associate director Chris Sullivan, who welcomed the students warmly. After the rehearsal, the SMTD students spent time with Yale and NYU MFA students who are studying set, costume, projection, sound, and lighting design, making connections and discussing their programs.

Everett poses holding up a copy of his book

Walter Everett, with his new book

Walter Everett (music theory), professor emeritus of music (and SMTD alumnus, earning his PhD in music theory in 1988), is celebrating the June 2023 launch of his latest book, Sex and Gender in Pop/Rock Music, from Bloomsbury Press. (Information and early reviews can be found at bloomsbury.com/us.) He teaches various online courses on topics in rock music, along with colleagues Jack Petruzzelli (of the Fab Faux) and Cameron Greider (producer and studio performer with Sean Lennon and many others); details of current and upcoming courses can be found at rpm-school.com. In June, he taught rock topics in Albany with John Sebastian, Kate Pierson, and Marshall Crenshaw.

Karen Fournier headshot, wearing abstract floral blouse

Karen Fournier

During the 2022–23 academic year, Karen Fournier (music theory) published two articles. The first, “Gender, Rage, and Age in Alanis Morissette’s ‘Reasons I Drink,’” appears in the collection Gender and Age/Aging in Popular Culture, edited by Nicole Haring, Roberta Maierhofer, and Barbara Ratzenböck (Bielefelder Verlag, 2023). Papers in this collection engage with the comparatively new field of age/aging studies to examine how intersections of gender and age reflect what Susan Sontag (1972) termed a “social judgement” against women rather than a “biological eventuality.” In Fournier’s second paper, she returns to her established interest in punk rock with a critique of the subculture’s response to trans identity as recounted in two memoirs. This essay, “Jayne County, Laura Jane Grace, and the HerStory of Transgender Punks in America,” appears in the collection Women in Rock Memoirs: Music, History, and Life-Writing, edited by Cristina Garrigòs and Marika Ahonen (Oxford University Press, 2023).

Patricia Hall seated in a classroom/lab space

Patricia Hall

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Abgang and Kaddish for Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano had its New York premiere in Lincoln Center, performed by Jaime Laredo, Sharon Robinson, David Shifrin, and Shai Wosner. The quartet uses the same instrumentation as Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time and quotes passages from the foxtrot manuscript researched by Patricia Hall (music theory) at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

Greyscale headshot of Michael Hopkins, window panes in background

Michael Hopkins

Michael Hopkins (music education) was guest conductor for the Florida All-State High School Honors Orchestra, the Eastern Tennessee All-State Symphony Orchestra, and the University of Memphis Honors Orchestra. He had several new pieces published by Alfred and Kendor, and he presented string education sessions at the Texas Orchestra Directors Conference, the New York State School Music Association Summer Conference, and the national conference of the American String Teachers Association.

Exploring the Contributions of African American Composers

In February 2023, Caroline Helton (musical theatre) and her colleague, Emery Stephens – assistant professor of music, St. Olaf College, and an SMTD alum with a DMA in voice – traveled to Shenandoah Conservatory for a residency on the contributions to vocal concert literature by African American composers. The residency was a collaboration with alumni from the Singing Down the Barriers Institute, a U-M adult learning program led by Louise Toppin (voice). They performed together with voice faculty from Shenandoah Conservatory, taught master classes with students on this beautiful and under-performed repertoire, and led panel discussions on issues surrounding its respectful performance by singers of all ethnicities.

A group stands on a stage, arms linked, with an organ behind them

Caroline Helton (7th from left) and Emery Stephens (5th from left) at Shenandoah Conservatory

Inderjit Kaur portrait wearing coat and scarf outdoors, stairway in background

Inderjit Kaur

Inderjit Kaur (musicology) published an article in the prestigious Oxford Handbook of the Phenomenology of Music Cultures. Titled “Toward a Phenomenology of Rasa: Theorizing from Ras in Sikh Sabad Kīrtan Practice,” Kaur’s essay is an exploration of the experience of ras/a (literally juice) – the flavor or essence of something – an important notion in the Indian aesthetics of performance. Based on extensive ethnography and deep textual study, she explicates how, in Sikh musical worship, ras can be understood as an interrelational experience co-constituted by all the elements in a phenomenal field, including not only people and sound, but objects, food, ideas, memory, and aspirations.

Paul Lehman studio headshot, wearing brown suit coat and tie

Paul Lehman

Paul Lehman (music education), professor emeritus of music, recently published the article “Toward a Better Tomorrow” in the March 2023 issue of Music Educators Journal. Also an alumnus (MM ’59, wind instruments; PhD ’62, music education), Lehman taught at SMTD 1975–96; he served as associate dean, 1977–89, and as senior associate dean, 1989–96.

Greyscale headshot of Nathan Martin, wearing a suit coat

Nathan Martin

Nathan Martin (music theory) recently had an article, “Toward a ‘Global’ History of Music Theory,” published in Journal of Music Theory 66 (2022).

Andy Milne wears headphones, seated in a recording studio

Andy Milne. Photo credit: Kasia Idzkowska

Andy Milne (jazz & contemporary improvisation) recently completed scoring the documentary film Black Life: A Canadian History. The civil rights documentary is part of an eight-part series being produced for CBC TV in Canada. Milne composed and produced the score, which evokes the sounds of 1960s jazz; the film was directed by Guggenheim Fellow Michèle Stephenson.

Christianne Myers headshot, wearing black and red patterned sweater

Christianne Myers

In spring 2023, Christianne Myers (theatre & drama) was the co-lead convener for the fourth ReDressing the Narrative Costume Pedagogy workshop. Last year, the workshop considered the sustainability of costume design, using “boundary thinking” to explore healthier relationships around teaching, design, and production. This year, the workshop investigated global aspects of sustainability and discussed questions such as, What are the ethical and ecological implications of costume production? As costumers and as educators, what are our responsibilities to climate justice and social justice? How can academic spaces work as laboratories for encouraging industry change towards “greening” our costume practice? Myers’s article published on the HowlRound website shared the Department of Theatre & Drama’s approach to including students in the season selection process.

With the USO seated on stage around them, Ambrose King stands playing oboe while Kiesler conducts

Nancy Ambrose King with Kenneth Kiesler and the USO performing Spirit of the Wild

A Season of Teaching, Performing, and Running

Nancy Ambrose King (oboe) performed the North American premiere of Nigel Westlake’s oboe concerto Spirit of the Wild with the University Symphony Orchestra, Kenneth Kiesler, conductor. She was the featured guest artist at Louisiana State University’s Double Reed Day, performing a solo recital and presenting master classes. She was also a guest artist at the Royal Conservatory’s Glenn Gould School, Toronto, Canada, presenting a day-long series of master classes for the woodwind departments. She returned as faculty of the Round Top and Sarasota Music Festivals in June 2023. In April, King and 17 students from the oboe studio ran the Big House 5K together. The race, which starts on State Street and ends on the 50-yard line of Michigan Stadium, raises funds for area nonprofits.

Tiffany Ng stands in front of a massive carillon bell

Tiffany Ng

In January 2023, Tiffany Ng (organ, carillon) toured Florida performing carillon concerts of compositions by Black composers and civil rights music in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In April, she taught master classes at Yale University followed by “inclusive repertoire office hours” to help students expand their repertoire with works by diverse composers.

Diane Oliva portrait outdoors, wearing a blue floral print dress

Diane Oliva

Diane Oliva (musicology) published the article “Sonic Decency: Music in the Aftermath of Guatemala’s 1773 Santa Marta Earthquake” in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, which is the flagship journal for the discipline of musicology. The article examines the ways that music marks and is marked by natural events. It expands the relationship between music and nature, weaving a history of music that intersects with environmental history. The article centers on the Santa Marta earthquake of 1773 and its effects on music and musicians in the colonial capital of Santiago de Guatemala. Archival work for this article included research at numerous archives in Guatemala and Spain, supported by a CLIR-Mellon Fellowship for Research in Original Archival Sources.

Two string performers on a stage with extra instruments lined up

Brad Phillips, left, performs with Jeff Daniels at the Purple Rose Theatre in December 2022. Photo credit: Hope Shangle

Brad Phillips (jazz) has happily returned to SMTD, his alma mater, as a lecturer in the Department of Jazz & Contemporary Improvisation, where he studied violin for undergraduate and master’s studies. As a student at SMTD, he dreamed that one day he would design and teach a course on various traditions of non-jazz/non-classical string music, and he has now begun teaching the course “Roots Music Improvisation for Strings,” also known as Jazz 420.

Porter stands out of focus in back, holding a palm-sized white ribcage in the foreground

Amy Porter holds My Breathing Buddy. Photo credit: Bob Foran Photography

The new innovation developed by Amy Porter (flute), My Breathing Buddy, is on the market through her new company Anatomy of Sound™. Mentored by U-M Innovation Partners mentor-in-residence MJ Cartwright, and funded by SPARK Ann Arbor, UMOR, and MSBA, Porter has developed and patented a lung/rib cage/diaphragm simulator as a teaching tool to educate and inform about the origins of breathing and sound and to help better understand breathing for music, sports, mental health, and more.

A busy city sidewalk with bright Jazz signage and oversized poster

Dizzy’s Club in the Jazz at Lincoln Center complex

Ellen Rowe (jazz & contemporary improvisation) conducted the Idaho All-State Jazz Ensemble February 1–4, also presenting a clinic, “Selection Criteria for Secondary School Jazz Ensemble Libraries,” at the Idaho Music Educators Association conference. On March 21, Rowe’s critically acclaimed octet Momentum performed at Dizzy’s Club in the Jazz at Lincoln Center complex. They were also featured performers at the Amazonas Jazz Festival in Manaus, Brazil, in July. The U-M Jazz Ensemble, under Rowe’s direction, toured the East Coast in the first week of May, giving clinics and concerts at 10 schools and after-school programs as well as performing at Dizzy’s Club.

A Full Slate of Choral Conducting

Eugene Rogers (choral conducting) was recently the guest director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus in their performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 3: Kaddish, under the baton of Marin Alsop and featuring SMTD alumna Janai Brugger as the soprano soloist. In January 2023, he served as chorus master for Maestro James Conlon’s performance of Verdi’s Requiem with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Washington Chorus. In the same month, he conducted the EXIGENCE Vocal Ensemble and the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra for the organization’s 25th anniversary tour performances at the Kennedy Center and Hill Auditorium. In addition, he served as guest conductor for the American Choral Directors National High School Mixed Honor Choir, the Texas All-State Choir, and the Tennessee All-State TTBB choirs. Lastly, he led master classes and choral residences at Notre Dame University and the University of Oregon.

Performers on stage stand taking a bow; with audience below and choir in balcony above

Eugene Rogers (third from left) with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Washington Chorus

Greyscale studio headshot of Stephen Rush in deep shadows

Stephen Rush

Stephen Rush (performing arts technology) has signed with University of Michigan Press to publish his controversial book Fundamentals of Music Theory: From Stevie to Tupac to Pauline. Rush’s mini-hip hop opera Black Pilgrims (depicting conversation between Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.) was premiered during the MLK Symposium at U-M, featuring wonderful performances by Scott Piper and Daniel Washington. His new work Sara-Durga for tuba and piano is published by Cimarron Music Press. Rush will lead the Digital Music Ensemble in his groundbreaking 17th installation, “Pond Music” (at the pond behind the Moore Building), focusing this year on the Underground Railroad in southeastern Michigan. In fall 2022, Rush gave six piano recitals, in Michigan, Ohio, California, and Canada.

Full orchestra, choir, pianist, and soloists on stage, listening to their conductor

The Johannesburg Philharmonic rehearses Ed Sarath’s composition, His Day Is Done

Ed Sarath (jazz & contemporary improvisation) traveled to South Africa last December for performances of His Day Is Done, his work for symphony orchestra, choir, and soloists. Featuring 150 musicians, the piece sets to music Maya Angelou’s poem of the same title that she dedicated to Nelson Mandela. The Imbumba Freedom Orchestra premiered the work, with the Johannesburg Philharmonic performing it shortly thereafter. Soloists included NEA jazz master Regina Carter and South African legend Dizu Plaatjies. The Brazilian premiere of the piece took place in June. Sarath’s book, Music Studies and Its Moment of Truth, is forthcoming.

Paola Savvidou headshot wearing a scarf and blue blouse

Paola Savvidou

Paola Savvidou (wellness) presented at the Music Teachers National Association conference in Reno, Nevada, on the topic of how educators can support their students’ mental health post-COVID. Her co-authored article “Load and Fatigue Monitoring in Musicians Using an Online App” was published by Frontiers in Psychology – Performance Science. In March 2023 she started her tenure as chair of the editorial board for the MTNA eJournal following six years of serving as a board member.

Kirk Severtson studio portrait, arms folded, wearing dark grey collared shirt

Kirk Severtson

In recent months, Kirk Severtson (voice) conducted workshops of two new operas: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer) at the Dallas Opera and Hobson’s Choice (Tom Cipullo) with SMTD students. He guest-conducted Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen for Manhattan School of Music’s Graduate Opera Theatre, and he returned to the Dallas Opera to serve on the music staff for a new production of Das Rheingold (Wagner).

Three dancers perform on stage in red and white costumes

Fangfei Miao’s Hereafter, performed at the Power Center. Photo: Kirk Donaldson

Dance Piece Performed in China

Fangfei Miao (dance) presented her new dance piece Hereafter at the Power Center in February. She took the student casts to perform this work in China in late May, a trip that involved an education exchange with Shanghai Theatre Academy and Heilongjiang Art Academy. Her paper “A Corporeal Epistemology of US-China Transnational History” was selected among a very competitive pool to present at the Association for Asian Studies annual conference. She published the essay “Writing ‘Chinese Dance’ in the West” in the new issue of the Dance Studies Association’s annual journal publication. Miao received the 2023 Scholarship Award from the SMTD Office for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

Jeremy Sortore studio portrait, wearing dark suit coat

Jeremy Sortore

Jeremy Sortore (theatre & drama) recently presented at the Fitzmaurice Voice Institute’s Five-Day Intensive in New York City and the Voice Foundation Annual Symposium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In June, he provided voice, dialect, and text coaching support for productions of The Winter’s Tale and One Man, Two Guv’nors at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.

Louise Stein studio portrait, wearing a colorful scarf and suit jacket

Louise K. Stein

For Louise Stein (musicology), 2023 had an energetic start with public talks about the music of G.F. Handel and Alessandro Scarlatti. Stein’s latest monograph, The Marqués, the Divas, and the Castrati. Gaspar de Haro y Guzmán and Opera in the Early Modern Spanish Orbit, will soon appear as an open-access monograph from Oxford University Press, thanks to a TOME subvention from the U-M Library and the LSA Research Office. A Weiss-Brown Publication Subvention Award from Chicago’s Newberry Library will support the inclusion of color illustrations. Recently published is a retrospective recordings review essay, “Hidalgo’s golden age in sound: Hispanic songs on recordings since 1966,” invited by the journal Early Music for the May 2023 50th anniversary issue.

Jeremy David Tarrant portrait with a shiny church organ; wearing black tie attire

Jeremy David Tarrant

In addition to concerts in Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Providence, Jeremy David Tarrant (organ) performed on February 14 at the St. Mark’s School of Texas for the Robert T. Anderson series hosted by the Dallas Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. He gave a master class for the students at Southern Methodist University on February 13. Tarrant is the organist and choirmaster of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Detroit, and he conducted the Cathedral Choir’s residency in Ely Cathedral in England in July.

Directing a Boston Baroque Production

In April 2023, Mo Zhou (voice) directed Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Iphigénie En Tauride with Boston Baroque to great acclaim. The production was livestreamed globally on April 21 on IDAGIO and was available to view on demand for the month following. Zhou also was a recipient of OPERA America’s 2023 Opera Grants for Women Stage Directors and Conductors for her company debut with Boston Baroque.

Two opera singers in costume on stage; the orchestra plays behind them

Iphigénie En Tauride, directed by Mo Zhou. Photo credit: Sam Brewer