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Glimpses of Some Recent Alums May 2017

James Wetzel, Clara Lyon, Evan Schwarz, Forrest Malloy, Midori Sampson

 (Photo by Wetzel: Alice Young, Lyon: Elizabeth Lyon, Schwarz: Nir Arieli, Malloy: Nicholas Podany )

Clara Lyon (BM '08, violin)

After Juilliard, I received a master's and doctorate at SUNY Stony Brook, and honed my entrepreneurial skills as a freelancer and a fellow of the Academy (the Carnegie Hall-Juilliard-Weill Music Institute training program, now Ensemble Connect). I'm thrilled to have had a focused performing career since 2014 with the Spektral Quartet in Chicago, with which I've had administrative roles that use skills including coordinating programming, negotiating with presenters, and developing educational activities. When I'm away from the quartet, I enjoy collaborating with other friends: I recently joined members of Decoda for a chamber music festival in Mexico, and my Academy colleague Hannah Collins and I direct a Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival outreach program.


James D. Wetzel (BM '09, organ)

In February, I married oboist Kimberly Preiss, a fellow alum of Manhattan School of Music where I received a master's in choral conducting. Last year I was appointed director of music and organist of Saint Vincent Ferrer on the East Side, a dream job with a professional choir in a stunning building. Previously, I was choirmaster of midtown's Saint Agnes and organ scholar at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. Additionally, I taught at Hunter College for several years, have been the assistant conductor of the Greenwich Choral Society since 2010, and am a board member of the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists and the Catholic Artists Society.

Evan Schwarz (BFA '14, dance)

After graduating, I moved almost immediately to Switzerland, where I joined the dance company of Konzert Theater Bern. While living abroad, I was able to connect with my Swiss relatives as well as perfect both my German and Swiss-German language skills. In my free time, I've been exploring nearby countries and traveling as much as I can. Come summer, I plan to leave the company in Switzerland and begin a European freelance career. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to explore other dance outlets within Europe and create a platform for more discovery and cultural enrichment. Hopefully along the way I can add a few more languages to my list!

Forrest Malloy (Group 45)

I'm nearing the one-year out mark, which is hard to believe. Last summer I got to act with heavyweights like John Douglas Thompson and Corey Stoll in Troilus and Cressida at the Delacorte in Central Park, and I've spent the past several months creating a role in Tasha Gordon-Solmon's I Now Pronounce at the Humana Festival of New American Plays. I recently co-produced a site-specific Macbeth that featured a cast of Juilliard students and alums, and I finished a draft of a play I've been writing.

Midori Samson (BM '14, bassoon)

Since graduating, I got my master's at U.T. Austin, taught in India and the Philippines with Artists Striving to End Poverty, and subbed with orchestras around the U.S. Most recently, I joined the Civic Orchestra of Chicago as a fellow, which means that in addition to playing in the orchestra, I get to create and curate community engagement projects around the city. I also won a position with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and I commute to Madison every month to perform. What makes me most happy is that I help run Trade Winds, a wind quintet that teaches music in Kenya, Tanzania, and Chicago, and in my free time, I'm cooking a meal from every country of the world (82 countries cooked so far!). Life is so good.


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