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The Latest from Faculty, Staff, and Students March 2017

♦ indicates performances that readers can attend or enjoy at home


In February, dance faculty member Janis Brenner's company, Janis Brenner & Dancers, toured Bosnia and Herzegovina where, in addition to repertory, they danced the world premiere of Brenner's Once You Are Not a Stranger, a multimedia work that also incorporates text and video, at the Sarajevo Winter Festival. Ruth Howard (BFA '15, dance) and Sumaya Jackson (BFA '08, dance) are company members.


Excerpts from Music Theory and Analysis faculty member Michelle DiBucci's ('87, composition) Charlotte Salomon: Der Tod und die Malerin were performed as part of the New Opera Showcase presented by Opera America at Town Hall in January. The cast included mezzo-soprano Brenda Patterson (Barnard-Columbia-Juilliard Exchange '98, MM '02, voice).

In January, the Music @ Menlo Live label released Russian Reflections, eight discs of recordings from the Music @ Menlo festival's 14th season. Among the performers are faculty member David Finckel (the festival's founding co-artistic director), Paul Huang (Pre-College '09; BM '13, MM '15, violin), Ani Kavafian (BM '70, MS '71, violin), Matthew Lipman (BM '14, MM '16, viola), and viola faculty member Paul Neubauer (BM '82, MM '83, viola; see Portrait on Page 9).

Dance faculty member Laura Glenn's White Mountain Summer Dance Festival returns to the UMass Amherst campus for the second year in a row. Glenn started the festival in New Hampshire 38 years ago; it has also taken place at Bard, Springfield, and Sarah Lawrence colleges.

In January, piano faculty member Stephen Hough (MM '83, piano) performed Beethoven's “Emperor” Concerto with the New York Philharmonic.

♦ The newly formed New York Philharmonic String Quartet is composed of faculty members Frank Huang, Sheryl Staples, Cynthia Phelps, and former faculty member Carter Brey. On March 9, the quartet will make its debut as the solo ensemble in John Adams's Absolute Jest, performing with the Philharmonic led by Alan Gilbert (Pre-College '85; MM '94, orchestral conducting), director of conducting and orchestral studies. The ensemble will reprise the work on the Phil's European tour, March 23–April 7.

♦ Guitar faculty member Sharon Isbin played a solo recital in February at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood, N.J. Among her many engagements this spring is an April 2 recital with mezzo Isabel Leonard (BM '04, MM '06, voice) in St. Paul, Minn.

In Tokyo in January, assistant violin faculty member Ray Iwazumi (Pre-College '94; BM '98, MM '99, DMA '04, violin) played a recital program of works by Franck, Bach, and Erich Korngold that was originally performed by Fritz Kreisler at Carnegie Hall in 1920. Iwazumi played a copy of a 1733 del Gesú—Kreisler regularly played a del Gesú—and was accompanied by Akira Eguchi (MM '90, piano).

Graduate Studies faculty member Philip Lasser (DMA '94, composition) was commissioned by Ensemble Connect (the former Ensemble ACJW) to arrange eight songs by Debussy and Fauré for soprano Natalie Dessay, who performed them in a private concert under the auspices of the Rothschild Foundation in Paris in December.

Snow Angel by David Lindsay-Abaire (Playwrights '98), co-director of the Playwrights Program, was performed at Brandon Furniture, a flex space in Ossining, N.Y., in January.

In January, piano faculty member Jerome Lowenthal (MS '56, piano) performed with Michael Brown (BM '09, composition and piano, MM '11, composition and piano) as part of the El Paso Pro Musica concert series including a joint recital at the University of Texas at El Paso.

♦ Vocal Arts faculty member David Paul directed Salome at L.A. Opera, which is running through March 19 and conducted by James Conlon (BM '72, orchestral conducting). The cast includes tenor Allan Glassman (Pre-College '71) as Herod and bass-baritone Patrick Blackwell (Certificate '91, voice) as the Second Soldier.

♦ Vocal Arts faculty member Sanford Sylvan, baritone, is the soloist in a recently released recording of late faculty member Steven Stucky's American Muse, for which Stucky set texts by John Berryman, E.E. Cummings, A.R. Ammons, and Walt Whitman. Sylvan is accompanied by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. The album, Steven Stucky: American Muse, was released by BMOP/sound in November.

In January, Evening Division faculty member Dalit Warshaw (MM '97, DMA '03, composition) played Winter Dream—her response to Schubert's Die Winterreise and the work of 1930s Berlin composer Charlotte Salomon— as part of a Schubertiade at Greenwich House Music School in New York City. In February, Warshaw's Transformation for theremin and string quartet was given its European premiere in Germany by members of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and thereminist Thorwald Jorgensen.


Library staff member David Snow had his composition Guernica for two brass quintets and band performed by the Banda Municipal de Bilbao (Spain) under the direction of José Rafael Pascual Vilaplana at the Palacio Euskalduna in January. His music video Wake Me When We Get There was screened at the Toronto International Electroacoustic Symposium in August, and his percussion trio Assault and Battery won the TorQ Percussion Seminar Composition Competition in July.


Master's student Kevin Ahfat (BM '16, piano) performed Shostakovich's Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 in January with the Seattle Symphony as part of its yearlong Shostakovich Festival. He'll play No. 1 here this month; see Page 4.

In November, mezzo-soprano Avery Amereau (MM '15, voice), an Artist Diploma candidate, and collaborative piano master's student Katelan Terrell performed the “Urlicht” movement from Mahler's Symphony No. 2 during a reception at Sotheby's in New York that was held to exhibit the autograph full score of the symphony, which was later sold at auction.

Third-year composer Matthew Liu (Pre-College '13) conducted the Fidelity Chinese School Chorus from Marlboro, N.J., in the national anthem for Taiwanese Culture Night at the Brooklyn Nets game in January. See a video of Liu at

In January, Artist Diploma candidate Miles Mykkanen, tenor, sang the role of Belmonte in Opera Columbus's production of Mission: Seraglio, a reimagining of Mozart's The Abduction From the Seraglio as a James Bond-like spy thriller.


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