Winter 2020 Student and Alumni Notes

  • Music Ed alumnus Kevin Clayton (left) was recently named Washington State Teacher of the Year by the Washington Music Educators Association (Photo: Pasco School District).
    Music Ed alumnus Kevin Clayton (left) was recently named Washington State Teacher of the Year by the Washington Music Educators Association (Photo: Pasco School District).
  • Concerto Competition winners, faculty, and judges. Photo: Sam Kui.
    Concerto Competition competitors, faculty, and judges, left to right: Craig Sheppard, Alice Liu, Yiyi Chen, Nick Tagab, Kiwa Mizutani, Robin McCabe, Julia Tai, Oksana Ejokina, Will Schultz. Photo: Sam Kui. Missing: Hanyan Zheng. Sam Kui

Academic appointments, performances, career milestones and other notable achievements are among recent news reported by UW Music students and alumni.

Music Education alumnus Kevin Clayton, now director of instrumental music at Chiawana High School in Pasco, Washington, has been named the Washington Music Educators Association 2020 High School Music Educator of the Year (See story, here). As director of Chiawana High School’s band program, which did not exist when he took on the position, Clayton built a music program from scratch over ten years of serving a district of underserved students, eventually elevating the school’s marching band to an award-winning ensemble. WMEA honorees are nominated by the WMEA membership, made up of music educators from across the state. Awards are presented at the WMEA state conference in Yakima in February, 2020.

Music Ed PhD candidate Juliana Cantarelli led a Community Sing at Laurelhurst Elementary in December in a celebration of the 25th anniversary year of the UW-Laurelhurst School "Music at Laurelhurst" partnership. The partnership places Music Ed graduate students in the classrooms to lead music activities at the north Seattle public school.  "This is an important program," says Music Ed Professor Patricia Campbell, co-founder of the program. "It has afforded us with an opportunity to reach regularly to a community of children, their teachers, and their families. We have seen children grow musically from their first years of their musical education. Many are involved in music at Eckstein Middle School, and then in band, choir, orchestra, and jazz ensembles at Roosevelt High School.  A few of these students have gone on to music major studies at Julliard, Eastman, McGill, New England Conservatory, and Indiana University."

Nathan Whittaker (’12 DMA, Cello) presented research from his dissertation and performing experience in a paper titled "Chordal Cello Accompaniment:  The Proof and Practice of Figured Bass Realization on the Violoncello, 1660-1850," at a conference on basso continuo at the Paris Conservatory in January. Whittaker studied with Toby Saks and JoAnn Taricani while a student at the UW.  

Ph.D. music history student Michael Bennett performed with the Boston Camerata in January at Seattle’s St. Mark's Cathedral in a production of the medieval "Play of Daniel," a version that has been presented nationally over the past few years. Bennett is a student of JoAnn Taricani and Kerry O'Brien.
Alumnus Jake Cohen (’09 MA, Music History), former UW student of Larry Starr, has been appointed visiting assistant professor of music history at Oberlin College for 2020. His area of specialization is contemporary music. 

Tigran Arakelyan ('16 DMA, Orchestral Conducting) served as the assistant conductor of California Philharmonic and made his Walt Disney conducting debut in July of 2019. In his second year as the Music Director of the Northwest Mahler Festival he conducted Mahler's first symphony. Tigran took the Federal Way Youth Symphony on tour to Korea where he also worked with two youth orchestras from Jeju Island. He recently guest conducted the Lark Orchestra (Los Angeles), Mercer Island Orchestra Festival and the Ballard Civic Orchestra. Tigran continues as Music Director of the Port Townsend Symphony and youth orchestras in Federal Way and Bainbridge.  

Gabriela Garza (DMA Orchestral Conducting) was selected to participate in Spazio Musica; a four-week opera conducting workshop in Orvierto, Italy under the instruction of maestro Vittorio Parisi. Additionally she participated in the summer Cascade Conducting Master Class with maestro Sarah Ioannides. Gabriela has recently been invited to guest conduct performances with the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra, the Poulsbo Community Orchestra and the Whidbey Island Orchestra. Additionally, in collaboration with the Ballard Civic Orchestra and with partial funding from the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Gabriela recently presented a second performance of her own interdisciplinary project titled [R]evolve.

Ethnomusicology alumna Barbara Rose Lange is Professor of Ethnomusicology at the Moores School of Music, University of Houston. Her book Local Fusions: Folk Music Experiments in Central Europe at the Millennium was published by Oxford University Press in 2018. 

Sean Williams (’90 PhD Ethnomusicology) teaches at The Evergreen State College in Olympia. Recent work includes the publication of two of her books: English Grammar: 100 Tragically Common Mistakes and How to Correct Them (Zephyros Press 2019) and a textbook titledFocus: Irish Traditional Music, second edition (Routledge 2020). Another textbook, Musics of the World, is set to appear in 2021 with Oxford University Press. Her Facebook alter ego, Captain Grammar Pants, has more than 60,000 followers.

Kiwa Mizutani and Nicole Stankovic, students of Robin McCabe, were finalists in the Coeur d’Alene Symphony Competition in January. They performed in Spokane, Washington. In December, Mizutani and piano studio colleague Hexin Qiao performed for University Rotary, presented by Professor McCabe. 

2019-20 Concerto Competition Winners: Dave Lin, student of Michael Brockman, placed first in the Winds division competition in the UW Concerto Competition this past November. He performs with the UWSO on June 5. The Keyboard division, meanwhile reported five winners: Kiwa Mizutani took first place and Nicholas Tagab is alternate for the UW Symphony performance on June 5; Alice Liu, Yiyi Chen, and Hanyan Zheng were selected to perform with Philharmonia Northwest May 31 at Meany Hall.  Winner of the Strings Competition is Randy Zhang, violin. Eugene Chen, viola, is the alternate. 

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