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Spring 2022 Faculty Notes

Submitted by Joanne De Pue on June 1, 2022 - 4:21pm
  • Steve Rodby
    School of Music artist-in-residence Steve Rodby is a 2022 Grammy winner

Honors, awards, accolades, commissions, new appointments and more from the UW School of Music faculty.

Geoffrey Boers, Choral Conducting

Professor Boers conducted the National Association of Music Educators National Honor Choir this past winter. The choir of 240 singers from all fifty states met over a weekend via Zoom and created two virtual choir videos, along with rehearsals, master classes and vocal study.

Boers was inducted into the Washington Music Educators Association Hall of Fame this past February, noted for his contributions to choral music education, and in particular his work to help teachers navigate the challenges of teaching choir remotely.

Joël-François Durand, Composition

Faculty composer and School of Music director Joël-François Durand produced a number of recordings of his music in recent months: the Mivos Quartet (New York) recorded his first String Quartet (2005, rev. 2018) in Vienna (Austria) and the Quatuor Bozzini (Montréal) recorded his Second String Quartet Canto de Amigo (2020). Both recordings were made in summer 2021. 

In October 2021, Chicago-based ensemble Dal Niente recorded two works: In the Mirror Land (2004), for flute and clarinet; and Geister, schwebende Geister (2020) for viola and ensemble. Geister, schwebende Geister was then mixed and edited by producer extraordinaire (and School of Music faculty member) Steve Rodby. Also in October 2021, the violinist Olivia De Prato recorded in Vienna (Austria) Durand's work for solo violin, In a weightless quiet (2020). 

Michael Partington, Guitar

Head of the UW's Guitar Program performs music of living composers at two festivals this summer: As a featured artist at the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival in Virginia he’ll play Leo Brouwer’s Concerto "From Yesterday to Penny Lane," as well as "Motherlands" and "Watts Chapel" by Stephen Goss. *Motherlands* was premiered by Partington and faculty saxophonist Michael Brockman in Brechemin Auditorium in 2019. 

At the Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) festival in Indianapolis, Partington premieres "Hearing the Thing Itself," a new 30-minute solo work for guitar by Bryan Johanson. He’ll also serve on the final round jury for the GFA International Concert Artist Competition, the most prestigious competition of its kind in the world.  Partington was also recently elected to the GFA Board of Trustees.

Steve Rodby, Jazz Studies

Count Jazz Studies faculty bassist Steve Rodby among the Seattle winners at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards. The artist-in-residence produced “Mirror Mirror,” an album of duets by  jazz pianist Eliane Elias with Chick Corea and Chucho Valdés, which took home the GRAMMY in the category of Best Latin Jazz Album. Rodby also co-produced this year’s Best Instrumental Composition winner, the late pianist Lyle Mays’ single-track “Eberhard” EP. Mays and Rodby were longtime bandmates in the Pat Metheny Group.

Carrie Shaw, Voice

Voice faculty Carrie Shaw is featured on Ensemble Dal Niente's most recent release, object/animal, on Sideband Records. The album includes work by Jeff Parker, Murat Çolak, and LJ White. The Chicago Reader writes that LJ White's work for two sopranos and ensemble "manages to pull off a slow burn in eight short minutes: Shuddering, sputtering synth textures retain their chewy grit even as they fan out into intoxicating chords as sumptuous as anything Maurice Ravel ever wrote—imagine his Daphnis et Chloë sung by the hollowed-out shell of an abandoned city, its rusted I beams groaning and its streetlamps humming." The album is out now on Bandcamp. Next up, Carrie travels to Pittsburgh in June to premiere the role of Christlieb in Julia Werntz's new microtonal opera "The Strange Child" with Quince Ensemble and Kamraton. 

Melia Watras, Viola

Faculty violist Melia Watras has had a number of recent world premieres, as a violist and a composer. On April 11, 2022, three of her compositions were debuted: Hertabuise for narrator and violin, premiered by Herbert Woodward Martin (recorded voice) and Michael Jinsoo Lim (violin); 5 Poems of Herbert Woodward Martin for narrator, violin and viola, premiered by Carrie Henneman Shaw (narrator), Lim (violin) and Melia Watras (viola); and Weeping Pendula for voice and loop pedal, premiered by Shaw (voice). For the concert, Watras also commissioned two new works: Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti’s to be two for violin and viola and Alessandra Barrett’s La Foliage for violin and viola, and premiered them with Lim. On April 29, 2022, Watras’s A brazen butterfly alights for viola solo, harp and strings was given its world premiere with the composer on viola, harpist Valerie Muzzolini, conductor David Alexander Rahbee and the University of Washington Symphony Orchestra.

Giselle Wyers, Choral Conducting

Head of the UW's Choral Conducting Program has been selected to join the five-member International Conductors Exchange Project Committee as part of her work with the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) International. The committee coordinates international collaborations between ACDA conductors and choirs and universities across the globe.  In other ACDA news, Wyers presented and took part in panel discussions at the Northwest ACDA Conference: “Kintsugi Choir: A Group Composition Primer,” with Angela Kasper and Som alumnus Ethan Chessin; and  “Women, BIPOC and LBGTQ Composers Panel,” with composers Sydney Guillaume, Judy Rose, and Pat Carrabre.
In April, she traveled to Reno, Nevada to conduct the Nevada High School All-State Chorus and led over Zoom a Symphonic Choir Group Composition Project at Eastern Washington University.  

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