Spring 2019 Student and Alumni Update

Guitarist David Russell works with UW guitar student Max Schaeffer (Photo: Dean Ritz).
UW guitar student Max Shaffer works with Grammy winner David Russell during Russell's March 24 visit to the UW (Photo: Dean Ritz).

Students and alumni of the University of Washington School of Music share recent successes and achievements, including new appointments, awards and honors, research and performance activities, and more.

Alumnus Bret Amundson (’12 DMA, Choral Conducting) has been named dean of the School of Arts and Letters at The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota. Amundson joined the St. Scholastica faculty in 2010 as assistant professor of Music and director of Choral Activities, was appointed director of General Education in 2015, and promoted to associate professor in 2018. The School of Arts and Letters offers more than 20-degree programs with areas of study that include history, communications, political science and theology. As Director of Choral Activities at the college, Amundson oversaw all aspects of the College's Choral Program, including four vocal ensembles: The St. Scholastica Concert Choir, Bella Voce, CSS Women's Choir, and the Vocal Revolution. As director of the College's first-year program, Dignitas, he coordinated the integration of academic affairs and student affairs learning initiatives and worked closely with faculty and staff to develop Veritas, the College's general education program.Amundson assumes his new role on July 1, 2019.

Max Shaffer ('20 BM, Guitar) was a finalist at the Northwest Guitar Festival Competition on April 7. The festival was hosted by Artist in Residence Michael Partington, April 5-7, with the final day's events taking place at the School of Music. 

Gabriela Garza (DMA, Orchestral Conducting) was recently appointed assistant conductor of the Whidbey Island Orchestra in Langley, Wash. She has been invited to Guanajuato, Mexico to conduct an homage concert dedicated to Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas in May 2019. The concert, to take place in historical theater, Teatro Juárez, features faculty from the University of Guanajuato. Other upcoming engagements include summer concerts with the Whidbey Island Orchestra and a concert in June with Poulsbo Community Orchestra.

Mario Alejandro Torres (DMA, Orchestral Conducting) was recently appointed the new Music Director and Conductor of Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra. The first two concerts of the season included four sold-out and well-received collaborations with top artists such as Nathan Chan, cello and Cyndia Sieden, soprano. His most recent performances with the orchestra included a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade with a live painting of the main characters of the story, Scheherazade and the Sultan. In April, Torres leads the Bainbridge Symphony in spectacular Symphony No. 7 in D minor by Dvorak. In other activities, Torres has been an active member of the Seattle Conservatory, serving as chamber music coach.

Voice student Erika Meyer was recently named a semi-finalist in the category of Composition—Vocal Chamber Music (student division) for the 2019-19 American Prize.  A student of Dr. Kari Ragan, Ms. Meyer has focused on composing along with her voice studies and last summer attended the Nadia Boulanger school in France.

Darrell Jordan (’20 DMA Voice), student of Kari Ragan, learned recently that he has been named a national semifinalist for the Ernst Bacon Award in American Music. He’s also been active with a number of recent appearances throughout the Puget Sound region. He sang the baritone solo on Nielson’s Third Symphony with the Thalia Symphony Orchestra; sang the role of Counsel for the Plaintiff in Trial by Jury for G&S Society of Seattle’ was baritone soloist for Bellingham Chamber (Faure Requiem); sang the role of Gubetta in Lucrezia Borgia with Puget Sound Concert Opera; Figaro in Barber of Seville with NOISE; and sang the baritone solo for Choral Arts Alliance of Missouri’s performance of Orff's Carmina Buranaj.

Seattle band i///u, whose members include founder and UW student Scott Elder along with School of Music students Katyrose Jordan and Andrew Sumabat,took first place in MoPop’s Sound Off! Competition in early March. The annual competition of new, unsigned Seattle bands is sponsored annually by Seattle's Museum of Popular Culture, and past winners have gone on to local and national prominence.

“Book of Hours,” A new CD by alumnus Gregg Belisle-Chi (’16 MM Jazz and Improvised Music) brought the New-York based guitarist back to Seattle for an April 12 gig at Seattle’s Royal Room among other West Coast dates to promote the release, his third as a band leader. Originally composed for a nine-piece jazz/chamber ensemble, the eight-movement suite, based on the text and history of the Mass Ordinary, has beem re-orchestrated for guitar, keys, drums, and bass. The work caught the attention of Matthew Golombisky, musician and director of the Chicago-based label ears&eyes Records, which has the work scheduled for a May, 2019 release.

Shayna Stahl (ABD Wind Conducting) has accepted a position as Associate Director of Bands/Director of Athletic Bands at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Christopher Chapman ('08 DMA Wind Conducting), Director of Bands at Oregon State University, has accepted a new position for this coming fall at Central Michigan University, where he will serve as Associate Professor/Director of Bands.

 Wind Conducting alumna Linda Moorehouse was recently elected president of the American Bandmasters Association. Moorehouse serves as Associate Director of the University of Illinois School of Music and also holds an appointment in the Bands Division as Senior Associate Director. While a graduate student at the UW, Moorehouse served three years as a graduate teaching assistant with Professor Salzman and the Wind Ensemble. 

Joe Kinzer (’17 PhD, Ethnomusicology) presented his research on “Malay Music, Identity, and an Arab Lute: The Political Ecology of a Musical Instrument in Urban Malaysia” at the annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies (March, Denver). His review of the recording Laos: Musique des Khmou, from theMusee d’ethnographie de Geneve, appears in The World of Music, Volume 1, 2019.

Anita Kumar, lecturer in Music Education at Georgia State University and PhD Candidate in Music Education, continues her research on “Perceptions of Trust in Conductor-Ensemble Interactions through Rehearsal Observation,” which she presented at the 2019 Georgia Music Educators Association Conference and the 2019 Desert Skies Symposium on Research in Music Education in Tempe, Arizona.  She also presented on “Code-Switching the edTPA Through Rubric Walks” at the Seventh International Symposium on Assessment in Music Education, Gainesville, Florida.

Will Coppola (’18 Phd Music Ed), recently appointed assistant professor of music education at the University of North Texas College of Music, presents two spoken papers at international conferences this summer: "Performing Humbleness & Haughtiness: Dramaturgical Perspectives of Musical Humility & Pride” at the International Symposium for Sociology in Music Education (ISSME) in Denton, TX;  and “The Solid Foundation of All Virtues”: Proclaiming the Need for Humility in Music Education” at the Cultural Diversity in Music Education (CDIME) XIV International Conference in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Coppola and UW colleague Cory Meals (’18 PhD, Music Ed) co-presented a poster, “'Y’all Means All': Exploring Diversity Within the University Interscholastic League Band Prescribed Music List,” at the 2019 Texas Music Educators Association Convention Research Poster Session this past February. The poster explored the marked underrepresentation of women composers and composers of color within prescribed wind band literature available for state-sanctioned performance, and represents Coppola and Meals’ preliminary research on this trend nationally. 

Results of a Music Education project within the long-running Music Alive! in the Yakama Valley program were published in the Journal of Popular Music Education (2019). Co-authors of “'Atawit Nawa Wakishwit': Collective Songwriting with Native American Youth” are Patricia Shehan Campbell, Will Coppola (University of North Texas), Skúli Gestsson (Music Education PhD Candidate), and Christopher Mena (Music Education PhD student).

Taina Lorenz, PhD student in Music Education, was invited to membership on the University of Washington Centre for Teaching and Learning TA instructional team, through which she teaches UW workshops on classroom management, conflict resolution, and preparation, all with very high ratings. She presented research on “Interpersonal Relationships within a College Marching Band” at the 2019 NAfME-Northwest conference in Portland in February 2019. Her co-authored work with Professor Steven J. Morrison on audio-visual asynchrony and music processing was a featured presentation at the 2019 Clifford K Madsen International Symposium for research in Music Behavior in March 2019. Lorenz also was recognized by the University of Washington as an exceptional woman as part of Women's Month, nominated by members of the Symphonic Band and officially recognized at a ceremony at the end of February. She also was recently inducted as an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi.