Alumni News

Picture of Maryn Lee Gier

Maryn Gier Taylor selected as a 2021 Tillman Scholar

Thursday, July 1, 2021   |  Pat Tillman Foundation

Taylor (B.A., Woodwinds, 2000) is currently a PhD student at UT Tyler studying human resource development with a focus on the effects of gender bias on the workplace. The mission of the Pat Tillman Foundation is to unite and empower remarkable military veterans and spouses as the next generation of public and private sector leaders committed to service beyond self.

Picture of Kimberly Theodore Sidey

Kimberly Theodore Sidey recently joined Chorus America as Program Officer in Music Education

Thursday, July 1, 2021   |  Chorus America

In this role, Sidey (B.M., Music Education, 2005) will be responsible for launching the inaugural Music Education Partnerships Grants program. This new funding opportunity is designed to support partnerships between community choruses and schools to increase access to choral music education and promote non-arts learning and cultural literacy, all while upholding the principles of access, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Rachell Ellen Wong named concertmaster to the Seattle Baroque Orchestra

Thursday, May 27, 2021   |  Early Music Seattle

Rachell Ellen Wong  (B.M., Music, 2013), a rising star on the historical performance and modern violin stages, was recently named concertmaster to the Seattle Baroque Orchestra. She was the recipient of a prestigious 2020 Avery Fisher Career Grant (the first baroque recipient in the respected program’s history) and Grand Prize winner of the inaugural Lillian and Maurice Barbash J.S. Bach Competition in 2019.

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.

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. 

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.

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