New faculty welcomed for 2015-16

Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir
Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, cello, performs with the UW Symphony on Nov. 4.

The School of Music welcomes new faculty for the 2015-16 academic year, with new appointments in Strings, Instrumental Performance, Music Education, Jazz Studies, and more.

Tekla Cunningham, Baroque Violin
Strings program

Tekla Cunningham joins the UW School of Music strings faculty in Fall 2015, teaching baroque violin. In addition to directing the orchestra of Seattle production company (and UW ensemble-in-residence) Pacific MusicWorks, Cunningham serves as principal second violin with Seattle Baroque Orchestra & Soloists, and plays regularly as concertmaster and principal player with the California-based American Bach Soloists. She directs the Whidbey Island Music Festival, a summer concert series presenting period-instrument performances of repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to Beethoven. An avid chamber musician, Cunningham explores the string quartet repertoire of the 18th and early 19th century with the period-instrument Novello Quartet, whose abiding interest is the music of Haydn. She also performs with La Monica, an ensemble dedicated to music of the 17th century. Cunningham received her musical training at Johns Hopkins University and Peabody Conservatory (where she studied history and German literature in addition to violin), Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, in Vienna, Austria, and at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she completed a Master’s degree with Ian Swenson. She teaches Suzuki violin in both German and English and previously served on the early music faculty of Cornish College for the Arts.

Ryan Ferreira, Electric Guitar
Jazz and Improvised Music

Ryan Ferreira joins the School of Music faculty in Fall 2015.  An in-demand New York City-based session guitarist now making Seattle his part-time home base, Ferreira is well regarded in forward-thinking jazz and improvised music circles, having collaborated and performed with renowned jazz and creative improvisers Tim Berne, Colin Stetson, Chris Dingman, and others. In his work with ambient sound, Ferreira seeks to create “soundscapes that provide a comfortable open environment for the listener." At the University of Washington he will teach electric guitar and work with students in the Jazz and Improvised Music program.


Stephen Fissel, Trombone
Instrumental Performance: Brass

Stephen Fissel, trombone, joins the faculty of the UW School of Music in Fall 2015. He is a longtime member of the Seattle Symphony, having joined as a trombonist in 1981 after playing in orchestras in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and New Orleans, Louisiana. Fissel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and a Performer’s Certificate from the Indiana University School of Music, where he returned in 2010 on a short leave from Seattle Symphony in order to teach trombone at his alma mater. At the UW, he instructs trombone students in the UW’s Instrumental Performance program.  


Paul Harshman
Jazz and Improvised Music; director, UW Big Band

Paul Harshman has joined the faculty of the Jazz and Improvised Music program, where he will serve as the director of the Studio Jazz Ensemble, the UW’s Big Band. Harshman received his bachelor of arts from Central Washington University and his master of music from Northwestern University. As director of bands at Kentridge High School in the 1990's, Shorewood High School from 2000-2009, Lakeside Scool from 2008-2015, and Shoreline Community College from 2010-2015, his bands consistently received superior ratings at festivals and contests throughout the West. His jazz ensembles have taken top honors at many prestigious jazz festivals and have qualified for the Essentially Ellington Festival in New York City five times, receiving the Honorable Mention Award at that festival in 2005 and 2008. In addition to his work at the UW, Harshman also serves as the band director at Hamilton International Middle School in Seattle as well as the leader of the pH Factor Big Band 


Mary Lynch, Oboe
Instrumental Performance, Woodwinds

Mary Lynch joins the School of Music instrumental performance faculty in Fall 2015. Principal oboe with the Seattle Symphony, she previously served as second oboe with The Cleveland Orchestra. She has toured internationally with both The Cleveland Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Originally from Washington, D.C., Lynch earned her M.M. at the Juilliard School, where she studied with Elaine Douvas and Nathan Hughes, and her B.M. from the New England Conservatory, where she studied with John Ferrillo. Her awards include Juilliard William Schuman Prize and the Boston Woodwind Society’s Ralph Gomberg Oboe Award. During recent summers, she has performed at the Marlboro Music Festival, Music Academy of the West and Tanglewood Music Center. Her performances at Marlboro have been heard across the country on American Public Media’s Performance Today. At the University of Washington, she will instruct oboe students in the UW’s instrumental performance program.


Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, Cello
Instrumental Performance, Strings

Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, cello, joins the School of Music strings faculty in Fall 2015 as a full-time artist-in-residence in the strings program. A renowned concert performer, she, has appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Toronto and Iceland Symphonies, among others and has performed extensively internationally in recital and chamber music settings. An avid chamber musician, Thorsteinsdóttir has collaborated in performance with Itzhak Perlman, Mitsuko Uchida, Richard Goode and members of the Emerson, Guarneri, and Cavani Quartets. She also has participated in numerous chamber music festivals, including Prussia Cove and Marlboro, with whom she has toured. She is cellist of the Manhattan Piano Trio and a founding member of Decoda, Carnegie Hall’s affiliate ensemble. Along with her interest in the masterpieces of the 18th, 19th and 20th century, Thorsteinsdóttir is equally adept at performing music of our time, frequently working with living composers. She has premiered dozens of works, including new pieces by Daníel Bjarnason, Peter Schikele, Paul Schoenfield, Kendall Briggs, and Jane Antonia Cornish. Thorsteinsdóttir holds a BM from the Cleveland Institute of Music, an MM from The Juilliard School and a DMA from SUNY Stony Brook.

Alison Farley, Lecturer
Music Education

Alison Farley joins the School of Music faculty for 2015-16 as a lecturer in the Music Education program. She teaches courses in music education, alternative teaching approaches and advises graduate students. She also serves as a member of the Laboratory for Music Cognition, Culture, and Learning. Her research interests include psychology of music, student-directed learning, teacher education, and perception and performance of written notation. Farley completed her doctoral work at the University of Washington, serving as graduate assistant director for the Husky Marching Band and assistant conductor for the Symphonic Band.  She also taught public school in Steelville, Missouri, where she taught middle and high school band, jazz band, and chorus. She holds a BME from the University of Kansas, an MM in Wind Conducting from the University of Louisville, and a PhD from the University of Washington.

Christopher John Roberts
Lecturer, Music Education

Christopher Roberts joins the School of Music faculty for 2015-16, serving as lecturer in the Music Education program. An elementary music teacher for almost 20 years, he holds research interests in children’s musical cultures, world music pedagogy, and the nature of children’s interest in music. Roberts is an active workshop clinician, working with inservice and preservice teachers throughout the United States and Canada.  During the summer, he directs the Kodály Levels Program of Seattle, and teaches in the Kodály certification program at Westminster Choir College.  Roberts serves as the Western Division President for the Organization of American Kodály Educators. He holds a BA, BM, MA and PhD in Music Education from the University of Washington.