Honors, accolades, research highlights and other news from the School of Music faculty.
Robin McCabe, piano
The UW piano professor recently completed a three-city tour of China with her sister, pianist Rachelle McCabe. The duo performed recitals and master classes at Xi’an Conservatory, in Xi’an, Remnin University in Beijing, and Tianjin Conservatory in Tianjin. McCabe sums up the tour succinctly, reporting “great halls, excellent pianos, scrumptious cuisine, and avid musical ‘consumers’ as our audiences!”
Michael Partington, Guitar Studies
Head of the UW Guitar Studies program recently celebrated the release of his 11th solo CD with a series of concerts, including an October performance at the School of Music. “Concoctions from the Kitchen,” dedicated to the music of Portland-based guitarist composer Bryan Johanson, is Partington’s first release from Canadian publishers Productions d’Oz. Performances in support of the release included an appearance on Guitar Hour with Michael Millham on KPBX 91.1 FM (listen here), and concerts at Richland Community Center and Gonzaga University. He also recently recorded an interview with host Rick Cox for the October release of his podcast All Things Six Strings.
John-Carlos Perea, Ethnomusicology
The UW’s newly appointed assistant professor in Ethnomusicology celebrated the September release of Cedar Flute Songs, the product of a residency at University of California, Berkeley in the 2021-22 academic year during his appointment there as Visiting Associate Professor of Music. His teaching during the year focused on, among other subjects, Indigeneity and improvisation. As part of that work, he gave a solo recital of American Indian cedar flute music along with three invited guest musicians, all of whom were graduate students in Music. Perea is set to perform selections from this release on May 1, 2024 at the School of Music.
Ted Poor, Jazz Studies
The faculty drummer appeared on a recent episode of Late Night with Seth Meyers,performing with singer-songwriter Ryan Beatty. He collaborated with UW colleague Cuong Vu, trumpet, bassist Anna Butters, and saxophonist Josh Johnson on shows at the 2023 Earshot Jazz Festival and a pop-up show at Studio X on Seattle’s Capitol Hill that was filmed and recorded for later release. His first solo faculty concert at the UW is set for Jan. 9 at the Gerlich Theater and will showcase his explorations of the drumset as an instrument of melody as well as rhythm.
Stephen Price, Organ Studies
The UW’s newly appointed Paul B. Fritts Faculty Fellow has wasted no time getting out into the community following his arrival at the UW this fall. A performance at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lynwood in late October was followed by an early November recital at Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco. On campus, Price performed a private concert for donors of the UW Organ Studies Program in late September and convened a group of alumni, current students, and faculty colleagues to collaborate in hosting a hugely successful Halloween Organ Concert at the Walker-Ames Room, Kane Hall, home of the UW’s famed Littlefield Organ.
David Alexander Rahbee, Orchestral Activities
The senior artist-in-residence and director of Orchestral Activities at the UW was recently awarded the Adelaide D. Currie Cole Endowed Professorship (one of two) in the School of Music. He and the University of Washington Symphony Orchestra won first place in the collegiate division for the 2023 American Prize in orchestral programming (See story here).
Stephen Rumph, Music History
The Music History Chair has been awarded the Adelaide D. Currie Cole Endowed Professorship (one of two) in the School of Music. He appears as Basilio in Pacific Northwest Opera’s November 2023 production of Marriage of Figaro and as Belmonte in the company’s April 2024 production of The Abduction from the Seraglio.
Anne Searcy, Music History
Music History assistant professor Anne Searcy and doctoral voice student Cee Adamson and were panelists for a recent Seattle Opera discussion, “Gender Fluidity in Opera,” exploring the genre’s long history of gender flexibility in vocal range and roles, considering relationships between gender and vocal range, and discussing how vocal range might influence audience perceptions of opera characters, among other topics. Adamson and Searcy were joined in this discussion by panelists John Marzano, tenor, and Randall Scotting, countertenor. The discussion was videotaped for broadcast on Seattle Opera's YouTube channel.
Marc Seales, Jazz Studies
The Jazz Studies professor performed the first of three concerts at the UW in the 2023-24 academic year to an appreciative crowd in Brechemin Auditorium on Oct. 19, joined by faculty colleagues Ted Poor, drums, and Steve Rodby, bass. Future performances are Friday, Jan. 19 and Friday, May 17, with lineups and programs to be announced.
Melia Watras, Strings
Faculty violist Melia Watras recently appeared as both violist and composer at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, as part of Atar Arad’s “Partita Party.” Arad and four of his former students (including Watras) each composed and performed a movement of a partita to create a collective piece in this world premiere performance. Watras also served as performer and composer at the Unbound Chamber Music Festival in Mammoth Lakes, CA, where her composition “Kreutzer” was performed. Her work for violin solo, “Selvaggio” was premiered by Mark Fewer in July at the soundSCAPE Festival at the Hindemith Music Centre in Blonay, Switzerland. Fewer also presented the work at the Vale of Glamorgan Festival in Wales. Melia was recently commissioned by the American Viola Society to write a piece for viola ensemble, to be premiered at the 2024 AVS Festival at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. She was recently awarded the Ruth Sutton Waters Endowed Professorship in the School of Music
Giselle Wyers, Choral Conducting
Wyers' climate-change inspired choral cycle, "Fire in the Garden," is set to be released shortly through Hildegard Publishing, a publishing company dedicated to promoting the works of women composers spanning different historical eras. “Fire in the Garden" was initially commissioned by the Cantilena Women's Chorus based in Boston. It includes exclusively female-authored texts, featuring prominent voices such as Greta Thunberg, Denise Levertov, Barbara Deming, and Hildegard von Bingen.
In addition, Wyers’ “Song Has a Bird for Rhythm” for chorus and piano was published in Fall 2023 by Santa Barbara Music Publishing, and “A Field of Hosannas,” originally premiered by the UW Chamber Singers under the direction of Geoffrey Boers, was published in September by MusicSpoke.
Wyers’ composition The Waking, in a newly commissioned chamber orchestra/choral version, premiered at a concert sponsored by the Culture Department of Santiago (Chile) on October 20th with Ensemble Vocal Australes, under the direction of Patricio Hernandez. The performance may be viewed here.
An examination of Wyers' compositions will constitute a chapter in an upcoming publication by GIA titled "Women Choral Composers." This comprehensive encyclopedia, the first of its kind, will showcase 240 women composers representing various historical periods.