You are here

Winter 2024 Student and Alumni Notes

Submitted by Joanne De Pue on March 6, 2024 - 12:42pm

School of Music students and alumni report recent academic appointments, performances, career milestones and other notable achievements.

Daren Weissfisch (’21 MM, DMA Orchestral Conducting), student of David Alexander Rahbee, is conducting all four productions this year at the Tacoma Opera. He is a finalist for the music director position at both the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra and the Lake Union Civic Orchestra.

Ryan Farris (’18 MM, Cello, DMA, Orchestral Conducting), student of David Alexander Rahbee, has twice recently been guest conductor with the Octava Chamber Orchestra and is a finalist for the music director position at the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra. He has also been appointed assistant conductor of the Lake Union Civic Orchestra for the 2023-24 season. He also recently conducted the holiday concert of the Seattle Festival Orchestra on short notice.

Gabriela Garza (DMA Orchestral Conducting), former student of David Alexander Rahbee, is currently on her third year on staff at the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra (SYSO). At SYSO, she is the Director of the Seattle Conservatory of Music. Additionally, she has led and conducted multiple SYSO orchestras and summer programs, including the Junior Symphony Orchestra, the Debut Symphony Orchestra, SYSO Summer Music and Marrowstone Music Festival. In addition to her roles at SYSO, Ms. Garza has been an active conductor and musician throughout Washington state and abroad, having guest or assistant conducting appearances with the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra, the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra, the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra, Albuquerque Philharmonia, UANL’s Philharmonic Orchestra in Monterrey, Mexico and more. She is currently working on the creation, planning and conducting of a concert production with the Lake Washington Symphony Orchestra, to be presented in June 2024, featuring a show of Latin American music and dance songs. 

Alumnus Tigran Arakelyan (DMA Orchestral Conducting), former student of David Alexander Rahbee, was recently named to the Yamaha Music USA’s “40 Under 40” list of outstanding music educators. Nominations for the annual list come from students, parents, teachers and administrators, local instrument dealers and mentors and are intended to honor educators who have “elevated music and music-making in extraordinary ways.” Arakelyan is music director of the Port Townsend Symphony Orchestra, executive director of Music Works Northwest, and director of the Northwest Mahler Festival.

In addition to her studies at the School of Music, violinist Hannah Chou (DMA strings student of Ron Patterson) has been taking advanced science courses throughout her program and is currently registered for coursework in the Radiology department, where she is assisting with research to improve diagnostic technologies for breast cancer detection as a student researcher with the UW’s Quantitative Breast Imaging Lab.

Sandy Huang, double majoring in piano and microbiology, is a student of Robin McCabe. This summer, she stayed in Barcelona for an internship at an oncology lab while spending her remaining time on the beaches. Working with the research lab, she learned special diagnostic techniques that help detect lung cancer early on. She acquired useful laboratory skills while practicing her Spanish. Now, she looks forward to her trip to Orcas Island with UW HCASB, a pre-health student organization, where she will be shadowing doctors to learn about rural medicine.

Anthony Sun, a double major in piano and neuroscience who studies with Robin McCabe, is currently working on a research project at the UW’s Freedman lab relating to the possibilities of genetic editing in neuronal cells. “At the Freedman lab where I work, we primarily focus on growing kidney organoids (basically culturing fully grown kidney nephron cells) by reverse engineering the cells of patients with chronic kidney disease into stem cells and then growing them into these three dimensional kidney organoids that we can target with modern gene-editing techniques like CRISPR-Cas9,” Sun says. “I've been taking advantage of this technology to look into ways to genetically edit neuron cells present in these organoids.” Sun was part of a group of students, faculty, and post-bacs from the UW Freedman Lab who presented findings at an Alzheimer and Gene Editing Conference at the University College London.

News Category: