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April 8th, 2013 | Posted in Congratulations



Lisa Bost-Sandberg (DMA performance – student of Terri Sundberg and Elizabeth McNutt, Related Field composition – student of Andrew May) will be appearing as a flutist-composer at the 2013 National Flute Association Convention in New Orleans, August 8-11, 2013.  She is writing a new flute duo, Etching NOLA, which will receive its world premiere at the convention; also, she had a performance proposal accepted to perform her piece Fluxion for solo flute and improvise with a colleague.

Graduate student in musicology, Clare Carrasco, has won a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Intensive Language Course Grant ( to advance her dissertation about musical expressionism in the years following World War I. DAAD Grants go to students who stand to make significant contributions to their fields of study. Clare’s research advisor, Dr. Margaret Notley, wrote a comprehensive letter of recommendation for her.

Derek Chester (DMA student of Jennifer lane and TDF Award recipient) has been chosen as this year’s outstanding graduate student by the Division of Vocal Studies. Derek has accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Voice at Northern Colorado University and a summer faculty position at the Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival at Luther College. In February, Derek’s students at J. J. Pearce High School won first division rankings in solo and ensemble. During March, he will perform the Evangelist in St. John Passion with Ascension Music in New York City, the role of Acis in Acis & Galatea with Ars Lyrica in Houston, and as tenor soloist in St. Matthew Passion in River Forest, IL and B minor Mass with the Grand Philharmonic in Ontario, Canada.

Addison Frei (piano) and Jordan Gheen (trumpet) have been selected to participate in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program with artistic director Jason Moran at the Kennedy Center on March 11-22, 2013.   Faculty are Jason Moran, residency director; Carmen Lundy, vocalist; Peven Everett, trumpeter; Marc Cary, pianist; Dwayne Burno, bassist; Craig Handy, saxophonist; Nate Smith, percussionist.  Participants must be performers and composers.

Jacob A. Garcia has an article being published in the March issue of Percussive Notes.

Saule Garcia (Tlenchiyeva), student of Vladimir Viardo, was invited for the second time to participate in Marilyn Horne’s annual workshop “Song Continues…” at Carnegie Hall in New York in January 2013.  She successfully worked in Marilyn Horne’s, Jessye Norman’s and Dalton Baldwin’s masterclasses and received professional training from renowned pianists Warren Jones and Ken Noda.

Melissa Hatheway was recently notified by the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA) that she won the 2013 Alice G. Brandfonbrener Young Investigator Award.  Ms. Hatheway is an Honors College student pursuing an undergraduate music education degree and mentored by Dr. Kris Chesky.   This international research award is highly competitive and usually given to a graduate student pursuing performing arts medicine research as part of a medical degree.  Melissa will present her epidemiology research on the Green Brigade Marching Band and receive this prestigious award during the annual conference of PAMA this summer in Aspen.

Christopher Jackson, DMA candidate in choral conducting, has been appointed director of choral activities at Lycoming (PA) University.

Seula Lee (violin student of Philip Lewis) won the Grand Prize in the Coeur d’Alene Young Artists’ Competition in Washington and will perform Sibelius’s Concerto with the Spokane Symphony in March.

Freshman composition student Brandon Maahs is one of ten selected composers whose works will be performed on the 3rd Annual Texas Young Composers Concert by the Austin Symphony Orchestra at Long Center for the Performing Arts (Austin, TX) on April 3, 2013.

Alyssa Narum (mezzo-soprano) has been selected as the 2013-14 Presser Undergraduate Scholar for the UNT College of Music.  A student of Dr. Linda Di Fiore, Regents Professor of Voice, Alyssa has participated since her freshman year in A Cappella Choir, Collegium Singers, and UNT Opera, and has been featured as a soloist with each of these groups.  She performed the role of Stefano in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, was the only undergraduate student to be chosen one of the four finalists for the Division of Vocal Studies in the concerto competition, and was featured in two roles in the 2011 Opera Gala.  Alyssa was a finalist in the most recent UNT Winspear Opera Competition and was selected as Outstanding Undergraduate in Vocal Studies in 2012.  The Presser Undergraduate Scholar award is presented annually to a student entering his or her senior year who has shown extraordinary musical and academic accomplishments.  The winner is nominated and selected by UNT music faculty and receives the award from the Presser Foundation, which awards annual scholarships, grants, and  funds for the furthering of music education and music in America.  The organization was founded in 1916 by Theodore Presser, a music publisher and philanthropist.

Marcin Parys (first-year DMA student of Adam Wodnicki) won the Isabel Scionti Scholarship Competition held at TWU on February 9, 2013.

Jason Powell won the 2013 Student Conference Award given by the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA).  Jason is a 4th year Ph.D. Computer Science Engineering student mentored by Dr. Kris Chesky.  Mr. Powell is conducting research in the College of Music that focuses on automated sound measurement systems.  The monetary award was presented Feb. 23 during the NHCA annual conference in St Petersburg, Florida.

Kristyn Son, a DMA flute student under the guidance of Dr. Mary Karen Clardy, won first prize in the Kentucky Flute Society Young Artist Competition.  She performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall on March 3, as winner of New York’s Protégé Competition.  Kristyn will perform CPE Bach’s Concerto in D minor with the Symphony Orchestra on March 6 in Winspear Hall.

Juan Vizcarra (DMA student of Joseph Banowetz) has provided the link to volume one of Richard Wagner’s piano transcriptions made by August Stradal [].  Juan recorded it last July at UNT and it has just been released by Toccata Classics.

Five current and former UNT double bass students have been chosen for the semifinals of the International Society of Bassists Solo Competition at the Eastman School in June. Of only 10 chosen for the semifinals of the classical competition, four are UNT students – former students Tian Yang Liu (China) and Lauren Pierce (USA) and current students Heran Yang (Singapore) and Mariechen Meyer (South Africa). Former student Gavin Kelso (USA) was selected to the semifinals of the jazz competition.

Linda Di Fiore student news:

Laura Begley, MM student, is the second cover for the role of Tina, sung by mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, for the Dallas Opera production of Argento’s Aspern Papers.

Christian Bester, DMA student, was recently accepted as an intern in the prestigious NATS Intern Program, which pairs young voice teachers with master teachers for an intensive two-week residency.  There are four master teachers and 12 interns chosen each year on a national level.  The program is competitive and based on evidence of the applicant’s teaching and singing.  Linda Di Fiore served as a Master Teacher for the program in 2004.

Chaazi Munyanya, MM student, is the recent winner of the Winspear Opera Competition, worth $15,000 per year, at UNT.  The competition was judged by Diane Zola of  Houston Grand Opera.  Chaazi will be attending the Wolf Trap Summer Opera program this summer.

Alyssa Narum, BM student and recent recipient of the undergraduate Presser Award at UNT, was recently a finalist and the youngest participant in the Winspear Opera Competition held at UNT.

Laurel Smerdjian, MM student, is covering the role of Sonja, sung by mezzo-soprano Sasha Cook, in the Dallas Opera production of Argento’s Aspern Papers.


Ten UNT-affiliated composers were selected to participate in the SEAMUS 2013 Conference at McNally Smith College in St. Paul, MN, 18-20 April 2013: faculty composers Panayiotis Kokoras and Jon Christopher Nelson; doctoral composer Mark Oliveiro; alumni composers Jon Anderson, Greg Dixon, Eli Fieldsteel, Dave Gedosh, Elainie Lillios, and L. Scott Price; and former faculty composer Butch Rovan.

Jon Anderson‘s electroacoustic work for fixed media, dash.em, was selected for performance at the regional Society of Composers Inc. Conference hosted by Clarke University. His work for fixed media and video, luft am morgen, was selected for performance at the 2013 New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival at the Graduate Center at CUNY. Both works were also invited for performance at the 2013 Electronic Music Midwest Mini-Festival, part of the New Sounds Festival 2013 hosted by Western Michigan University.

Maria José Romero participated in the 2013 National Society of Arts and Letters Instrumental Competition, Bloomington Chapter, and won 2nd place!  She earned a MM in the studio of Julia Bushkova.

Soprano Kathryn Summersett (MM 2011 in studio of Jennifer Lane), who is now pursuing her DMA at the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, has been chosen as one of six singers out of many who auditioned for the Boston Early Music Festival’s Young Artists Training Program. Kathryn will sing the role of Bellante and understudy the role of Edilia in Handel’s Almira. Immediately after BEMF, she will tour China with ensemble Sacabuche.

Yoonjoo Yang, DMA 2011 in studio of Jennifer Lane, performed Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire in Seoul, Korea with Ensemble Trois C, semi-staged and from memory, on the anniversary of the composer’s birthday.  Her dissertation entitled “The Twelve-Tone Song Cycles of Donald Martino” captured the interest of visiting artist, Yehudi Wyner during his visit to UNT.

Linda Di Fiore alumni news:

Casey Finnigan, BM 2009, was recently accepted into the Florida Grand Opera Apprentice Program.  He is currently finishing a two-year Young Artist Program with Kansas City Lyric where he is appearing in their production of Der Fliegender Hollander.

Laura Krumm, BM 2011, will be featured in main stage roles with San Francisco Opera in their 2013-14 season.  She is currently an Adler Fellow in their Young Artist Program.

Catherine Martin, BM 2005, is currently performing the role of Amneris in Aida with Santa Barbara Opera.  She will be covering Delora Zajick in the same role at Houston Grand Opera.


Kris Chesky presented a pre-conference workshop titled “Hearing Conservation in Music Education” last week during the annual conference of the National Hearing Conservation Association.  This workshop was an outreach program designed to assist local music educators, school administrators, hearing conservationists, and local health professionals to respond to new NASM Health and Safety accreditation standards.  Together with Dr. Amyn Amlani (UNT Audiology), he presented a conference session titled “Accountability in Schools of Music Requires a Noise Exposure Assessment Standard” last week in St. Petersburg, Florida during the annual meeting of the National Hearing Conservation Association.  This session was part of an ongoing to effort to steer the National Institutes of Occupational Health and Safety to adopt a new hearing conservation standard that is specifically designed to address music-related hearing concerns in the education sector.

Richard Croft and his brother Dwayne appear in an article entitled “Sibling Revelry” in the February 2013 issue of Classical Singer.   Two pairs of brothers and a set of sisters, all in the midst of active singing careers, tell what it’s like to share genes, a profession, and the stage as siblings.

Linda Di Fiore recently presented masterclasses at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.  Luther has over 150 voice students in the program.  She will be judging the finals of the Denver Opera Guild Competition in March.  Di Fiore will be teaching  and performing again in the Amalfi Coast Music Festival this summer.  Linda and her daughter Julia appear in an article entitled “Wonder Women” in the February 2013 issue of Classical Singer.  Singers who are also moms discuss balancing careers, family life, and personal life.  They admit that it’s not always easy and they’re not always successful, but they all agree that it’s worth it.

On February 23 Panayiotis Kokoras’ work Hiss and Whistle for alto recorder, tenor voice and electronics was premiered by Ensemble UMS ‘n JIP in Thessaloniki at Solon Michalidis Hall.

UMS ‘n JIP is one of the most innovative and accomplished Swiss contemporary music ensembles. Founded in 2007 by Ulrike Mayer-Spohn [UMS] and Javier Hagen [JIP], it is, alongside Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Kronos Quartet and Ensemble Recherche, one of the most active contemporary music ensembles worldwide commissioning around 10-15 works and performing more than 100 international concerts annually, including mobile chamber operas & multimedia performances.  See  On February 15 during the CCRMA at Bing’s Festival, CCRMA Ensemble premiered West Pole Reloaded for piano, celleto and electronics at Bing Concert Hall, the new hall on the Stanford campus in Palo Alto, California. Performers of the ensemble included: Chrysi Nanou (piano), Chris Chafe (celletto) and Rob Hamilton (electronics). Concert title Sonic Bing!  On February 26, guitarist Christelle Sery performed Slide for classical guitar and electronics at Theatre Comedie Nation in Paris. Réalisation informatique: Alexis Baskind.  See and  Performance of Breakwater on February 16 by Minas Borboudakis on piano and Felix Dreher on electronics & sound direction at Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens.

See and

During the month of February, Associate Professor of Voice, Jennifer Lane, garnered rave reviews for performances of Bach and Handel in Seattle and Ft. Townsend, WA. In March, Professor Lane will give masterclasses at Morehead University, University of Louisville, The Peabody Institute, Baldwin-Wallace College, and the University of Alabama, and, this summer, will join the faculty of the Baroque Performance Institute at Oberlin College. She will return to Hawaii for The Enchanted Isle Vocal Workshop. Professor Lane will perform Messiah with Tempesta di Mare in Philadelphia with Ah Young Hong and William Sharp, and will perform and record Darius Milhaud’s L’Orestie with the University of Michigan Music Society in Ann Arbor. She will perform the Verdi Requiem with the Hawaii Vocal Arts Ensemble.

Cathy Ragland was an invited presenter and workshop facilitator for “Composing, Performing and Innovating Tejano Conjunto Music,” which also featured the only female pioneering Texas-Mexican accordionist Eva Ybarra, at the National Association for Chicano and Chicana Studies Tejas Foco Conference at the University of Texas-Pan American, February 22-24.  She also served on the program organizing committee.

Retired Faculty

Deanna and Cody Garner are enjoying the beauty and majesty of Colorado. They live in Broomfield, which is 12 miles from Boulder.  Cody is teaching voice privately and giving occasional masterclasses. The lure of snow skiing has brought Cody back after 40 years and he has also taken up fly fishing. Deanna is healthier than she has been in years and stays busy organizing and hosting various events. We are enjoying the good life. Retirement really is what it’s cracked up to be!!!  Deanna is also our travel agent. Our favorite trips are to see the grandchildren in Texas and my former students in performance.  The singing business is taking a hit like most fine arts, however some singers are managing to “hang on” and are living their dreams of singing on the stage.  Cody’s “boys” are singing literally all over the world: Germany, Switzerland, Italy, England, Spain, Canada, Japan, China and throughout the United States. They all cherish their days at North Texas and continue to sing its praises wherever they go.  Keep singing Scott Scully, Michael Mayes, Gerardo Garciacano, David Portillo and Nathan Carlisle.

My thanks to the hundreds of jazz students who in their busy professional lives these days continue to correspond with me.  I’m also honored to have received the Sammons “Jazz Artist of the Year (2012)” award, and to Hal Leonard for publishing my textbook on jazz arranging.  Warmest congratulations also to my a cappella group The New Collection on their first CD “My Romance” – looking forward to their performance April 21 at Denton’s Campus Theater. –Paris Rutherford


To promote the International Janáček Festival and Conference, Feb. 6-9, the Bancroft String Quartet appeared on WRR Classical 101 on Feb. 5.