You are here

Spring 2023 Faculty Notes

Submitted by Joanne De Pue on May 18, 2023 - 3:19pm
IMPFEST guests with Jazz Studies faculty
IMPFEST 2023 faculty and guest artists (left to right): Ted Poor, Michael Libramento, Cuong Vu, Steve Rodby, and Kris Davis (Photo: courtesy Ted Poor).

World premieres, new appointments, and prestigious opening gigs are among news reported recently by School of Music faculty

Kelly Kitchens, Voice

School of Music faculty member Kelly Kitchens has been appointed interim artistic director of Seattle’s Book-It Repertory Theatre. The appointment was announced recently in the wake of the departure of Gus Menary, the company’s artistic director since 2020. Kitchens has stage directed two successful Opera Workshops at the UW since her appointment to the Voice faculty in 2019—Philemon Und Baucis (January 2023) and Vinkensport (April 2022).

Ted Poor, Jazz Studies

The Jazz Studies associate professor performed 11 solo sets opening for, and then playing with, indie rock musician Andrew Bird across the east coast and midwest this past spring.  Poor coordinated a successful Improvised Music Project Festival (IMPFest) in April at the School of Music, welcoming guest artists Kris Davis and Michael Libramento to the UW to work and perform with UW Music students and faculty. The festival was made possible with funding from Seattle's Raynier Foundation.  

Carrie Shaw, Voice

Artist in residence Carrie Shaw recently returned from Guadalajara Mexico, where she premiered a new opera by Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Destierros, as part of Jalisco’s monthlong Festival de Mayo.  In June, she can be heard at Society of America in New York City, performing works by Marcos Balter, Melissa Vargas, and the premiere of a new work by Tomás Gueglio with Ensemble Dal Niente.  In July, the School of Music welcomes Shaw's vocal group Quince Ensemble to lead a weeklong pilot program to train treble voices in extended techniques and improvisation with guest composers Aida Shirazi and Gilda Lyons (Details to be shared as arrangements are finalized).

Melia Watras, Strings

Faculty violist Melia Watras soloed with Chicago chamber group Ensemble Dal Niente in April in the world premiere performance of School of Music Director Joël François Durand’s, "Geister, schwebende Geister…," a viola concerto he wrote for her. The performance at the UW’s Meany Hall featured premieres by Durand and Composition Professor Huck Hodge.  On her faculty concert in May, Watras premiered four new works by UW faculty and student composers and had two collaborative compositions (created with her former UW student Madeline Warner) premiered by faculty vocalist Carrie Henneman Shaw and Pacific Northwest Ballet concertmaster Michael Jinsoo Lim.  Watras spent a week as guest professor at Indiana University, where she taught the studio of Atar Arad, gave a master class and performed on a faculty/guest recital. The concert included selections from her composition "The almond tree duos." Her piece, "Bagatelle IV, Contemplation of Beethoven’s Op. 18, No. 4," was performed on tour by the Avalon Quartet, and she recently had three solo violin works recorded by violinist Michael Jinsoo Lim and Grammy-winning producer Judith Sherman (to be released at a later date). 

Giselle Wyers, Choral Conducting

Wyers’ chorus University of Washington Chorale sang twelve pieces as backup choir for Andrea Bocelli for a Mother’s Day performance at Seattle's Climate Pledge Arena. The singers learned chorus parts for opera arias such as La Traviata’s Brindisi Chorus, Tosca: Te Deum, Carmen: Habanera, Trovatore’s Di Quella Pira, as well as the epic O Fortuna from Carmina Burana. Wyers just completed a chamber ensemble version of her composition The Waking, short on the heels of a string quartet version that premiered in May in Skagit Valley. The chamber ensemble version was commissioned by an educational suite of orchestras in Chile similar to Venezuela’s famed “El Sistema,” under the direction of Patricio Quijada Hernández.

News Category: