Alumni News

Diana Burgess

Diana Burgess releases solo debut album

Monday, May 3, 2021   |  Diana Burgess Music

Diana Burgess (B.M., Strings and Harp, 2015) launched a solo career with the release of her debut album, You Run. The album contains 12 songs, all performed by Burgess, and is available on all music platforms. The title track was recently featured on NPR Music's All Songs Considered. Photo by Marshall Tidrick

Dr. Marisa Ishikawa

Dr. Marisa Ishikawa releases interactive multimedia experience with Carpe Diem String Quartet

Monday, May 3, 2021   |  Carpe Diem String Quartet

In 2019, Dr. Marisa Ishikawa (M.M., Strings and Harp, 2017) became the second violinist of the Carpe Diem String Quartet, an internationally recognized string quartet based in Columbus, Ohio. On May 15, the quartet will be releasing An American Story, a project presented by PNC Arts Alive. The project is an interactive multimedia experience, with music composed and performed by Carpe Diem and animation created by Janet Antich. Ishikawa’s story follows her grandfather, the son of two Austrian immigrants, and will be available for viewing on-demand following its premiere. Photo by Janet Antich

Clifton Croomes

Clifton Croomes becomes assistant director of bands at Louisiana State University

Monday, May 3, 2021

In 2020, Clifton Croomes (B.M., Music and Human Learning/Music Education, 2001) was appointed assistant director of bands at Louisiana State University. In 2019, Croomes was also appointed as music director and principal conductor of the Civic Orchestra of Baton Rouge. Photo by  Angele Rosendahl

Fenton Mack Wood

F. Mack Wood completes first year as associate director of bands at Illinois State University

Monday, May 3, 2021

F. Mack Wood (B.M., Music and Human Learning/Music Education, 2005) is completing his first year as the associate director of Bands and director of the Big Red Marching Machine at Illinois State University. Photo by Dr. Rachel E. Wood

Kendra Friar

Kendra Friar named Elementary Music Educator of the Year

Monday, April 26, 2021   |  Oregon Music Educators Association

Kendra Friar (M.M., Music Education, 1999) was recently named Elementary Music Educator of the Year by the Oregon Music Educators Association for her Oregon teaching career, scholarship focusing on elementary general music and service to the profession. Friar has also published the first article in the three-part series, Scott Joplin: A Guide for Music Educators. The series is a collection of articles that provides K-12 teachers with an asset-based representation of Scott Joplin's life, artistic contributions and cultural impact. This will be the largest number of pages dedicated to Scott Joplin in any NAfME journal. Photo by Julie Metz

Oladotun Ayobade

Oladotun Ayobade becomes Assistant Professor at Northwestern University

Monday, April 26, 2021   |  Brown University

Oladotun Ayobade (Ph.D., Theatre, 2016) has recently accepted a new position at Northwestern University where he will become an assistant professor with a joint appointment in Performance Studies and African American Studies. Dr. Ayobade was previously an assistant professor of Africana Studies at Brown University.

Ariel Rene Jackson & Michael J. Love

Ariel René Jackson and Michael J. Love awarded $15,000 Tito’s Prize

Monday, April 26, 2021   |  Sight Lines

Ariel René Jackson (M.F.A., Studio Art, 2019) and Michael J. Love (M.F.A., Theatre, 2020) were awarded the 2021 $15,000 Tito’s Prize. The award, sponsored by Tito’s Homemade Vodka and organized by non-profit Big Medium, was presented to these Autin-based artists for their project “Descendance.” The film features a performance by Love and an original score by jazz musician Joseph C. Dyson Jr.

Jonathan Nesvadba

Jonathan and Joel Nesvadba co-produce album with Moby

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Jonathan Nesvadba (B.A., Music, 2005) is releasing an album next month with electronic musical icon Moby. The album, Reprise, features orchestral versions of the singer’s best-known hits. Nesvadba co-produced the album, contributing sound engineering and backup vocals along with his twin brother, Joel (B.M., Music Studies, 2004). Work on the album started at the beginning of 2020 with recording sessions at the legendary EastWest Studios in Hollywood; the orchestra was tracked at East Connection Music Recording in Budapest, Hungary. After widespread lockdowns in March 2020, however, Nesvadba said the group tracked featured musicians in various home studios in Los Angeles.

Helen Sung

Helen Sung named 2021 Guggenheim fellow

Wednesday, April 14, 2021   |  John Simon Guggenheim Foundation

Helen Sung (B.M., Applied Music, 1993; M.M., Music Studies, 1995) was recently named a 2021 Guggenheim fellow in music composition. The College of Fine Arts honored Sung with the E. William Doty Distinguished Young Alumna Award in 2017 for her prolific work as a jazz pianist.

Jonas Criscoe

Jonas Criscoe featured in new art exhibition

Wednesday, April 14, 2021   |  Columbia University

Jonas Criscoe (B.F.A., Studio Art, 2006) has  work featured in Art in Isolation, an exhibition hosted by The Macy Art Gallery at Columbia University. 

Jacob Schnitzer

Jacob Schnitzer creates Holocaust Remembrance opera documentary film based on fellow alumnus' opera

Monday, April 12, 2021   |  Density512

Jacob Schnitzer (B.M., Music Studies, 2016) collaborated with composer Thomas B. Yee (M.M., Music, 2017) to create the Holocaust Remembrance opera documentary film, Remembrance and Ritual: Reflections on Eva and the Angel of Death. The film is based on the opera Eva and the Angel of Death by composer Yee and librettist Aiden K. Feltkamp and contextualizes the story of Eva Mozes Kor, a survivor of Josef Mengele’s twin studies in Auschwitz. Photo by Hannah Rose Photography

riel Sturchio

riel Sturchio shortlisted in 2020 ICP/GOST First Photo Book Award

Wednesday, April 7, 2021   |  Department of Art & Art History

riel Sturchio (M.F.A., Studio Art, 2018) was shortlisted for the 2020 ICP / GOST First Photo Book Award, alongside their sibling Bianca. The ICP / GOST First Photo Book Award was created to promote and support the work of unpublished photographers through the production of a first photo book by the ICP / GOST imprint. Sturchio's photo book, Chasing Light, is part of a project between Sturchio and their twin sibling, Bianca, where they utilize photography to delve into complications of their non-normative identities and health-related challenges.

Courtney Sale

Courtney Sale featured in HowlRound discussion

Wednesday, April 7, 2021   |  HowlRound

Courtney Sale (M.F.A., Theatre, 2012) was recently featured in the HowlRound discussion, "Moving the Field Forward Faster at American Regional Theatres," dealing with the future of theatre and its inner workings since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Christine Boone

Christine Boone promoted to associate professor of music

Wednesday, March 31, 2021   |  University of North Carolina Asheville

Christine Boone (M.M., Theory, 2006; Ph. D., 2011) is now an associate professor of music at the University of North Carolina Asheville, where she recently received tenure and a university teaching award.

Deanna Miesch

Deanna Miesch opens fine art gallery

Monday, March 29, 2021   |  Lydia Street Gallery

Deanna Miesch (B.F.A., Studio Art, 1991) recently opened Lydia Street Gallery, a contemporary fine art gallery located in the East End IBIZ District in Austin. Miesch brings her unique understanding and appreciation of art and artists from her decades of work in the field of Art Therapy and her own art practices to the exhibition’s focus on mid- and late-career artists from Austin and afar. Lydia Street will focus on artists currently living in Austin or who have lived in Austin and have strong ties to the community. Image courtesy of Deanna Miesch

Justin Badgerow

Justin Badgerow debuts first solo piano album

Monday, March 29, 2021   |  Divine Art Recordings Group

Justin Badgerow (M.M., Piano, 2001) recently released his debut solo piano album, Reminiscences of Brazil, with Divine Art Records. The album is available from all streaming sites, Amazon and at Photo by Sam Interrante

Troy Armstrong

Troy Armstrong selected as escape room game designer

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Troy Armstrong (M.M., Composition, 2016) was selected as a game designer for The Escape Game. In this role, Armstrong will create puzzles and challenges for various escape rooms and write the music and sound effects for new products. His most recent work can be heard in the soundtrack and sound effects for The Escape Game’s recently opened in-person game, The Depths.

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