Winter 2016 Student/Alumni update

Seattle-based Choral Arts performed at the White House over the winter holidays (Photo courtesy the White House)
Seattle-based Choral Arts performed at the White House over the winter holidays (Photo courtesy the White House)

New projects, appointments and awards are among recent accomplishments reported by our students and alumni both locally and beyond the UW campus.

Three former doctoral teaching assistants in the UW wind conducting program report recent promotions and academic appointments. Dr. Eric Smedley, assistant professor of music, has been promoted from Assistant Director of Bands to Associate Director of Bands at Indiana University. Dr. Linda Moorhouse, Senior Associate Director of Bands at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, is now Associate Director of Undergraduate Affairs in the University of Illinois School of Music. 

Jiannan Cheng (MM, 2014), graduate of the UWSOM wind conducting program who now serves as lead TA in the orchestral conducting program at the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, reports a reunion with UW Music colleagues at the University of Oklahoma’s 4 X 4 competition in composition and conducting. Composition associate professor Huck Hodge served as a composition adjudicator for the competition and Trevor Cosby, a recent BM grad of the UW and student of Jeff Fair serves as a teaching assistant in the horn studio at the University of Oklahoma. Cheng won second prize in the conducting portion of the competition. 

Dr. Philip Yampolsky  (’14 Ph.D. Ethnomusicology) received the 2015 International Book Award of the International Institute for Asia Institute for his dissertation, “Music and Media in the Duth East Indies: Gramophone Records and Radio in the Late Colonial Era, 1903-1942.” The institute is a leading organization in European scholarship on Asia. Yampolsky is widely known as an ace-scholar, with more than 20 recordings for Smithsonian Folkways documenting numerous musical genres, practices, and niches across the island-nation of Indonesia.

Several Ethnomusicology graduate students are engaged in funded research and fieldwork this year, including Jocelyn Moon, conducting research in Zimbabwe and Joe Kinzer, engaged in research in Malaysia, both with funding through Fulbright Awards. Students Jim Morford and David Aarons received research funding for their work in Guinea and Ethiopia, respectively.

A contingent of Seattle-area singers including several UW alumni and School of Music staff member Julia Tobiska sang for President and First Lady Obama over the winter holidays. The nonprofit Choral Arts, directed by choral conducting alumnus Matthew Blegen, sent a group of 24 singers to Washington, D.C. as part of a showcase of the best of American choral performance hosted by the White House Social Office.

“We received an official invitation to provide a private performance at the White House for guests of the President and First Lady as part of a White House Social Office effort to utilize the 2015 holiday reception season as an opportunity showcase the best of American choral performance,” Blegen says. “Twenty choirs were hand selected from all over the country to provide these performances, and Choral Arts was honored not only to be the only choir from the PNW invited, but the finale choir in the series.” The group performed at a reception hosted by the Obamas and the White House staff for the Democratic National Committee. “We were treated like honored guests - particularly during our private meeting with the Obamas when they made an effort first and foremost to meet and thank each of us individually.”

Alumni Susan Taylor (’73 BA, BM, MA) and Louise Hullinger (’85 BA Music) send word of music-related activities in the years since graduating from the School of Music.

“I taught public school band, orchestra, chorus, swing band, composition, and drumming and dancing of Zimbabwe (student of Dumisani Mariare),” writes Taylor. “I was selected to conduct several honor bands and was thrilled that my bands won every state contest they entered. I am thankful that I studied piano with Bela Siki, Randolph Hokanson, Neal O'Doan, conducting with Sam Krachmalnick, Stanley Chappelle, and composition with Bill Smith (Willian O). During my time at the UW School of Music, the faculty and students were amazing. I was proud to be in classes with Penny MacLeod Degraff, Chung Lee, Eunmee Lee, Kevin Aanerud, Gary Hammond, Rick Kemp, and so many talented musicians. Thank you all for a lifetime of great music.”

After graduating from the UW in 1985, Hullinger launched a 30-year career as a self employed piano/ singing teacher and professional accompanist. “I was a performing artist with my singer Heather Burke for three and a half years,” she writes, adding that she accompanied churches, artists, ballet and singing studios on the piano.

Choral conducting alums Wendy Moy (DMA Choral Conducting) and Jeremiah Selvey (DMA Choral Conducting) continue their work with Chorosynthesis, a professional project-based ensemble they founded in 2010 while students at the School of Music. The group’s most recent project, “Empowering Silenced Voices,” a program of choral premieres championing issues of social justice, will be presented March 19 at Seattle’s Good Shepard Center.  

The group seeks to broaden the scope of American choral music in innovative and sustainable ways, collaborating with composers, conductors, and singers to effect social change and foster choral excellence.

Moy is director of choral activities and music education at Connecticut College in New London. Selvey is currently serving as Lecturer of Choral and Vocal Music at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, where he teaches applied voice majors and diction and directs the Choral Union.