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Faculty Notes: Spring 2019

Submitted by Joanne De Pue on April 10, 2019 - 2:01pm
  • glasses on sheet music (photo: Dayne Topkin)

Projects and performances come to fruition, concert tours, commissions, and world premieres are among recent activities of School of Music faculty.  

Patricia Shehan Campbell, Music Education and EthnomusicologyPatricia Shehan Campbell, Music Education and Ethnomusicology
Professor Campbell was consultant for a recent episode of the Decoder RIng podcast on the newsite  “Baby Shark: Origins of an Earworm,”  investigates children’s musical tastes and the ways in which children assert agency expressing enculturative and autonomous qualities in musical taste. In other recent activities, Professor Campbell is collaborating in a third (since 2008) grant-funded project of the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Council. Grant projects include "Advancing Interdisciplinary Research in Singing," "Music and Lifelong Learning," and "Music and Children’s Culture." “The involvement of UW graduate students of Ethnomusicology and Music Education in these projects has contributed to the knowledge base on these topics,” Dr. Campbell notes, “while also providing support to them for their studies.” 


Joël-François Durand, CompositionJoël-François Durand, Composition
A new work, Tropes de : Bussy, commissioned by Seattle Symphony, receives its world premiere on April 18 and 20 in an SSO program inspired by ancient legends and love stories (see interview about this work here). Retired Music History Professor Larry Starr delivers the pre-concert lecture for these performances, which also include Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 and works by Ravel and Marc-André Dalbavie.


Richard Karpen, CompositionRichard Karpen, Composition
A new CD on the Neuma label, Nam Mai/Strandlines, captures work by the faculty composer with the Vietnamese-Swedish collective The Six Tones and Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Two compositions are featured on this disc: “Nam Mai,” commissioned by SSO in 2014-15, and “Strandlines,” a 2006-07 composition rearranged for solo guitar and performed by the Swedish guitarist Stefan Österjö. 


Steven Morrison, Music EducationSteven Morrison, Music Education
The chair of the UW Music Education program continues his six-year term as editor of the Journal of Research in Music Education, a quarterly academic journal that publishes research on a wide array of topics on music pedagogy, history, philosophy, psychology, and sociology of music teaching and learning.


Kari Ragan, VoiceKari Ragan, Voice
The UW artist-in-residence has been chosen to serve as the chair for the advancement committee of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.  Appointed by NATS President Karen Brunssen, Ragan will lead the committee in implementing the organization’s first-ever annual fund campaign. With guidance from fundraising consulting agency Strategic Funding Solutions, the organization’s new initiatives are centered on celebrating the 75th birthday of NATS.


David Alexander Rahbee, Orchestral ActivitiesDavid Alexander Rahbee, Orchestral Activities
The UW’s Director of Orchestral Activities recently conducted the Seattle Symphony in the northwest premiere of Páll Ragnar Pálsson’s Quake, for cello and orchestra, with cellist and UW colleague Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, as well as UW faculty (and SSO) bassoonist Seth Krimsky’s new piece Rabble Rouser in a March performance at the UW's Gerlich Theater.  In May, he conducts two concerts at the Arutiunian Wind Festival in Yerevan, Armenia. He was also named a semi-finalist for the national American Prize in two categories: Orchestral Programming (fourth consecutive year), and Conducting. UW Symphony was also named a semi-finalist for the American Prize in Orchestral Performance—College or University Division. These awards are for the 2016-2017 season of the UW Symphony, during which 30 works were performed from Bach to Vasks.  


Christopher Roberts, Music EducationChristopher Roberts, Music Education
The lecturer continues his work with active music educators on topics of children’s music, world music pedagogy, Kodaly context and method, music and cultural diversity, and the development of music literacy (and aural skills) in children. Recent clinics, conference sessions, and guest teaching appointments included appearances at NAfME-Northwest (Portland), a guest teaching appointment at Western Washington University, and an appearance as featured clinician at the national meeting of Organization of American Kodaly Educators (OAKE).


Stephen Rumph, Music HistoryStephen Rumph, Music History
The Music History professor has signed a contract with Oxford University Press to write the life-and-works study Fauré. The volume will belong to the Master Musicians series, composer studies aimed at students and generalist audiences.



Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, CelloSæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, Cello
The UW’s cello professor is engaged in numerous upcoming projects and performances and in February was nominated for performer of the year for the Icelandic Music Awards. Her new CD, Vernacular, on the Sono Luminus label, includes works—some of them composed especially for her—by Icelandic composers Páll Ragnar Pálsson, Thuríður Jónsdóttir, Halldór Smárason, and Hafliði Hallgrímsson. Upcoming recitals include appearances in Chicago, Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Spartanburg, South, Carolina, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. 


Melia Watras, ViolaMelia Watras, Viola
Her CD Schumann Resonances was released in February on Seattle’s Planet M Records. Recent concert appearances included engagements with chamber trio Frequency and a performance at the Icicle Creek Spring Chamber Music Festival in Leavenworth. A 13-song work, Folk Style Project, premieres April 17 at Meany’s Gerlich Theater in a recital in which she also reprises her 2018 piece String Masks for viola and Harry Partch instruments. 


Giselle Wyers, Choral ConductingGiselle Wyers, Choral Conducting
The choral conducting professor has been commissioned by Portland Lesbian Choir to create a choral work on the theme of homelessness. Working with UW Music Librarian Erin Conor, Wyers located an anthology of homeless authors, compiled by WHEEL (Women's Housing and Equality and Enhancement League), that served as source material for the new work. “Together with Mary McCarty, the conductor of PLC, I selected three poems to appear beside each other in a through-composed form,” Wyers says. “The work is now complete and will receive its Portland premiere next year.”