Stephanie Goldberg ’14
Stephanie is currently program assistant for Community and Family Programs with Lincoln Center Education at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. She helps with the production of screenings of Lincoln Center archived performances at libraries throughout the outer boroughs. She continues to sing and produce her own music. Prior to working at Lincoln Center, Stephanie spent time in Washington, D.C., for an internship at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. As jazz programming intern, she assisted with the programming and production of jazz concerts for NPR’s Jazz Piano Christmas, and artists including Megan Hilty, Muhal Richard Abrams, Lou Donaldson, Craig Handy and Brad Mehldau. She also worked special events including the National Symphony Orchestra Ball, the Mark Twain Prize and the Christmas Concert for the Troops. While in D.C., she continued vocal performance study with Tricia Lepofsky. Beyond this, Stephanie was the Friends Office coordinator at Tanglewood Music Center, assisting patrons with membership services.
Hallie Stotler ’14
Hallie is alto section leader of choir of St. Michael’s Church, Manhattan; she is a member of the Ghostlight Chorus. She was production manager for The Magic Flute, St. Michael’s Youth opera, and is Program Assistant at the 92nd Street Y School of Music in New York.
Jesse Greenberg ’13
Jesse Greenberg currently serves as development assistant for the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), where he works on fundraising programs, grants, and database management. For Jesse, music administrative work of this kind has helped him create a strong network of musicians and artists throughout the NYC area while honing entrepreneurial skills that continue to be invaluable to his own work as a freelance composer and performer. As founding mallet-percussionist and composer-in residence of ShoutHouse, a new-music ensemble made up of several Vassar music alums and other NY-based players, and a percussionist for various performance and recording projects, these entrepreneurial skills play into almost every aspect of his music career.
Jesse also works at an early childhood education program, Free to Be Under Three, where he provides musical and artistic support to a curriculum aimed at providing social and linguistic structures for the development of young children. As an educator, Jesse has also provided private instruction in piano and percussion, and worked as an assistant for an innovative, middle-school composition course, ComposerCraft, founded and led by Robinson McClellan (VC ’99).
Thomas Hochla ’13
Peabody Conservatory (2014-16), voice; current program: master’s of music, vocal performance—Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, studying with William Sharp. Recent roles: Edmund in the U.S. premiere of Jonathan Dove’s operatic setting of Mansfield Park; Bellhop in Henry Mollicone’s Lilith. Cantor and staff baritone at America’s first Catholic Cathedral, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Student director of the Peabody Voice Opera Scenes Program performed in spring 2015. Singer/soloist in the Peabody Renaissance Ensemble.
Michael Hofmann ’13
After graduating, Michael continued his musical studies as a master’s student in voice at the Bard Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program. During the two-year program, he performed Bach’s Magnificat and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. In March 2014, he premiered the role of Harlan Hubbard in Shawn Jaeger’s new one-act opera, Payne Hollow. That summer, he attended the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute. In November 2014 he contributed to a song recital series in the living room of the Vanderbilt Historic Mansion in Hyde Park. Michael made his drag stage debut as “Miss Holly Day” in a performance of “Sing for Your Supper” with Dawn Upshaw and Kelly Newberry. He appeared with the Albany Symphony Orchestra in February 2015, the American Symphony Orchestra in March, and in April, premiered Kyle Gann’s song cycle, Your Staccato Ways, at the Morgan Library in New York. He presented his degree recital, Monomyth, a musical exploration of Joseph Campbell’s theory, in May 2015. In addition, he has been an ensemble member of the medieval music drama The Play of Daniel, produced by Gotham Early Music at Trinity Wall Street, for the past two seasons. In addition to his musical pursuits, Michael is an active freelance graphic designer specializing in print media and branding.
Gretchen Eng ’12
Gretchen lives in Chicago and is applying her multifaceted, Vassar-style musical upbringing to the real world. She is music administration coordinator at Lyric Opera of Chicago, primarily overseeing auditions and assisting in other day-to-day operations of the chorus, orchestra, and ballet. She gets to watch a vast amount of opera (a dream come true).
Additionally, she runs a choir for kids in 2nd-grade-and-under, and is “singer-for-hire” as a soprano section leader for Saint Paul and the Redeemer, an Episcopal church near the University of Chicago.
Her primary form of artistic expression, however, is in comedy; and she improvises all around the city—mostly with house teams at iO Chicago and the Playground Theater—although this often involves musical elements. For example, she is currently producing a short, original musical, Self-Starters, along with her fellow alums of No Offense Sketch Comedy, Andi Sharavsky and Danny Galvin.
Jacob Finkle ’12
Jacob received a BA in music from Vassar with a correlate sequence in early British literature. At Vassar, he served as the conductor of the Camerata Choir, a student-run early music group. Upon completion of his degree, he moved to Seattle, WA, where he recently completed an M.Mus. in choral conducting and a music education teaching certification at the University of Washington. As part of his degree, he served as non-residential differential fellow for the Men’s Glee Club. Jacob currently serves as the conductor of the University Unitarian Church’s Intergenerational Choir, assistant conductor of the Seattle Jewish Chorale, and as the conductor of the Herzl Ner Tamid High Holidays Choir. Musical areas of interest for Jacob include Jewish choral music, Baltic choral music, and the effects of visual information on musical performance ratings. Jacob is also an avid SCUBA diver and goes diving whenever his increasingly busy schedule permits.
Andrew Gaines ’12
Andrew lives in New York City and works at IMG Artists as a managerial associate in the Opera/Vocal Division. He manages the logistics of performance engagements for the opera singers on the IMG roster and coordinates with opera houses, symphony orchestras, universities, and recital presenters across North America and Europe. He oversees the details of each singer’s schedule, visa applications, contracts, travel, housing, finances, itineraries, and press activities. Prior to working at IMG, Andrew held positions at Columbia Artists Management Inc. (CAMI) in the booking department and the Glimmerglass Festival in the development department. His interest in arts administration began at Vassar in the Vassar College Choir, where he was the manager and librarian for three years.
Andrew has been a member of the Baldwin Festival Choir for the past three seasons and the Astoria Choir for the past two seasons, and recently began serving on the Astoria Choir’s board of directors. He also volunteers with Sanctuary for Families, New York’s leading service provider and advocate for survivors of domestic violence and their families.
William Healy ’12
“I am currently in New York City working as a composer and pianist. After graduating from Vassar, I moved to Brooklyn with a few Vassar music friends to play in “Yes Noyes”, our afrobeat/hip-hop band. That project inspired me to start up a new group, called ShoutHouse, a 15-piece ensemble that plays music inspired by classical, jazz, and hip-hop sounds. I spent the past year writing, funded by Vassar’s W.K. Rose Fellowship, and I have been working on an orchestra piece based on abandoned towns and cities throughout the world. I’m excited to start graduate school next year—I’ll be getting my master’s in composition at Juilliard, where I’m studying with Steven Stucky.”
Jon Fuller ’11
Jon has not strayed too far from music since his graduation, for which he feels profoundly grateful. His first job out of college was doing publicity for classical artists (among other things, he was the man behind the curtain of Anna Netrebko’s Facebook page in 2012). In September of 2013, he transitioned to education, taking a position as accompanist at the Marymount School of New York. In June of 2015, he was given notice that he would be taken on as a full-time faculty member for the 2015–16 school year, still accompanying but also musically directing shows, teaching vocal production and giving one-on-one voice and piano lessons. Jon has also continued to make music in his free time: his debut album, Skipping Away from Dissonance, was produced by Christopher Connors ’12 and released in June of 2013. It was heavily featured on NPR affiliate WVIA-FM that year and was listed as one of the station’s best albums of 2013. He is currently working on a new full-length album, titled When the Noise Started, due for release by the end of 2015.
Alex McCoy ’11
Alex, as tenor, has been a proud member of the Marble Choir at Marble Collegiate Church since 2013. At Vassar he studied under Drew Minter and James Ruff. Since graduating, he can be heard singing in various ensembles around the New York area. In addition to singing at Marble, Alex is a member of Ghostlight, a chamber choir under the direction of Evelyn Troester DeGraf. He also has been a member of internationally ranked barbershop quartets and choruses, including Voices of Gotham, based in NYC. When not singing, Alex can be found working to improve mathematics content for New Classrooms, an educational non-profit that designs personalized instructional models for schools. He also works as a math tutor in Westchester County, where he lives and can be found playing competitive Ultimate Frisbee.
Toru Momii ’11
After graduating from Vassar in 2011, Toru moved to Tokyo to start a job in the investment banking industry. Deciding that he needed more music in his life on a daily basis, he pursued an MA in music theory at McGill University in Montréal, teaching why sevenths must always resolve down to undergraduate students and writing a master’s thesis on the influence of Maghrebi music on Saint-Saëns’s Africa, Op. 89. Toru will begin a PhD in music theory at Columbia University in September 2015, hoping to teach and inspire future students at a liberal arts college one day.
Nicholas Rocha ’11
Nick has been the director of Music Ministry, Holy Angels Church in Barrington, RI, since 2012. He was assistant music director of the Southeastern Massachusetts Festival Chorus (SMFC) in Taunton, MA, 2012—2013. Prior to that, he served as director of Music Ministry, Annunciation of the Lord Parish in Taunton, MA. from 2011—2012. Presently, he is accompanist of the Rhode Island Chorale and Bristol County Chorus (Bristol, RI).
Crystal Tung ’11
Crystal released her debut album, Resilient Heart, in March 2020. A collection of musings with music and lyrics composed entirely by the artist in a four year period, Resilient Heart reflects on what it is to be a daughter, a fighter, a woman of color, a hopeless romantic, and a highly sensitive person.
Emily Bookwalter ’10
Emily is an open-minded collaborator, improviser, and freelance violist/singer in New York City. As a faithful advocate for accessible music in communities, Emily is a violist and the external affairs manager for the String Orchestra of Brooklyn and has spent the past five years working as grantmaking and community manager at New Music USA. She performs regularly with many large and small groups throughout the East Coast, having recently served as artist-in-residence at the Berkeley Repertory Theater’s Ground Floor Residency Lab with Brian Carpenter’s Beat Circus, and is the violist within the newly-formed SORA quartet. She has toured with Carpenter’s Ghost Train Orchestra, and performed with Operamission, the Handel Festival Orchestra of New York, the New York Repertory Orchestra, the Reona Ito Chamber Orchestra and Chorus in Carnegie Hall, and more. As a true believer in music of our time, she is an avid performer of improvisatory and experimental music with friends and composer Scott Wollschleger.
Emily has devoted much of her time to both for- and non-profit arts organizations, including the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, American Ballet Theatre, Schott Music, Red Light New Music, and Benaroya Hall in Seattle, WA.
Sarah Goldfeather ’10
Sarah is a singer, songwriter, violinist, and the bandleader of the indie-folk Sarah Goldfeather Band. A “young and multi-talented” (The ABCs of NYC) performer, with “a sweet, bubbly stage presence” (Gili Malinsky, writer for the NY Times and Village Voice), Sarah was a 2014s fellow at Bang on a Can New Music Festival, and was recently presented by the Permutations concert series, the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, and the Tribeca New Music Festival. In 2014, she released her band’s “downright charming” and “endearing” EP (Listen To Them), Goldfeather, and will release a full-length album in the early 2017.
Sarah is the founder and co-director of the new music ensemble Exceptet and one half of the Fragments Duo. She has recently performed with Cooper Boone, Contemporaneous, Damien Escobar, Great Caesar, Pete Lanctot and the Stray Dogs, Jesus on the Mainline, CDZA, Furia, Mixtape: A Cover Band for Hipsters, among others. In addition, Sarah has recently collaborated with 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner Julia Wolfe on her With a Blue Dress On, with Pulitzer-Prize-nominated composer Christopher Cerrone, Grammy winner Phil Galdston, and others. Sarah received her master’s in violin performance at NYU-Steinhardt, where she served as concertmaster of the NYU Symphony Orchestra and adjunct faculty in violin.
Mark Van Hare ’10
“I have been working as a composer and sound designer for theatre since graduation. I have written music and designed sound for around 50 plays, including Icarus by Edwin Sanchez with the Yale Dramatic Association at the University Theatre in New Haven, CT; In Fields Where They Lay by Ricardo Pérez González at the New Ohio Theatre in New York, NY; and Generation Sex with Teatro Luna Theater Company at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles, CA. I got my start in theater immediately after graduation when I met Fitz Patton, also a Vassar graduate, and he invited me to shadow him at Williamstown Theatre Festival that summer. The opportunity to write original music in a huge variety of styles and using the full spectrum of techniques available to composers today—recording, sampling and remixing, using digital instruments, and live reinforcement of musicians, among others—is extremely exciting and artistically satisfying.
In September of this year Kelly Stout (’10) and I will be getting married in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. We are excited to share our ceremony with a small group of family and friends.”
Jacquelyn Matava ’09
“After graduating from Vassar, I went on to get my M.Mus. in voice at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, IN, where I studied with mezzo-soprano Mary Ann Hart (a former Vassar voice teacher). I ended up staying to do my DM, which I completed in May 2014. Upon graduation from IU, my fiancé Brett and I moved to San Antonio, Ttexas, where he is the director of bands at the University of the Incarnate Word and I am a voice instructor at St. Mary’s University and Trinity University. In addition to academia, I keep a busy performing schedule, which includes opera productions, concert appearances, and recitals. Most recently I sang the title role in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Opera Piccola of San Antonio, and Queen Jezebel in Mendelssohn’s Elijah alongside Nathan Gunn at the University of Notre Dame. Upcoming performances include a recital at St. Mary’s University, concerts celebrating the music of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Shulamit Ran in Chicago, and a production of Britten’s Noye’s Fludde, in which I will sing the role of Mrs. Noye.”
Peter Walker ’09
Peter is a member of several early music ensembles, including the Broken Consort and Skylark Vocal Ensemble. He performs with Early Music New York, Texas Early Music Project, Santa Fe Desert Chorale and the Thirteen; he makes annual performances with Gotham Early Music. Peter is an artist fellow at Staunton Music Festival.
Lidiya Yankovskaya ’08
Lidiya’s recent work as symphonic and opera conductor has been hailed as “superb,” “expert,” and “coax[ing] every possible expressive note from the instrumentalists.” Currently, she serves as music director of Harvard University’s Lowell House Opera, artistic director of Juventas New Music Ensemble, and music director with Commonwealth Lyric Theater. She also works regularly with Gotham Chamber Opera, Center for Contemporary Opera, and New York Lyric Opera. Lidiya also served as a conducting fellow under renowned conductor Lorin Maazel at the Castleton Festival, where she had the privilege of assisting Maestro Maazel and filled in for him regularly in rehearsal and performance. Recent productions have received multiple awards from the American Prize and the National Opera Association Award, and have included a large number of commissions, premieres, and crazy collaborations such as an NEA-funded puppetry and music project entitled Poetry in Motion and the electro-acoustic ballet HackPolitik based on the hacktivist conglomerate known as Anonymous. In addition to her work as a conductor, Lidiya is a pianist and coach, recently serving as music director for Opera Boston’s education tours and currently as a Russian diction coach for Boston Symphony Orchestra/Tanglewood Festival Chorus. www.LidiyaYankovskaya.com.
Alison DeSimone ’07
“After graduating Vassar, I attended the University of Michigan, where I obtained my PhD in musicology in 2013 with a special focus on Baroque opera and female singers in early 18th-century England. At Michigan, I also studied harpsichord formally—an instrument on which I started performing while in college. I have taught music history at the University of Michigan, Albion College, and the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (2014s), where I worked with another Vassar alum, Stephanie P. Schlagel. My new position, as an assistant professor of musicology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, begins with the 2015s school year. I am also part of a music cataloguing project in the Czech Republic, where I work alongside Professor Kathryn Libin, my wonderful undergraduate advisor.”
Diana Hill ’07
Diana loves to involve herself in anything musical that calls for dedication or leadership—as composer, arranger, transcriber, director, consultant, coordinator, conductor, teacher, singer or pianist. She is the choir director at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Ridgewood, Queens, both the adult choir and the children’s choir; she additionally acts as a cantor for services when the choir is not present. Outside of the church she sings most often with Ghostlight Chorus, an elite chamber choir with a varied repertoire of sacred and secular a cappella choral compositions. In the past year she was hired as the on-set music coordinator for Steven Soderbergh’s television series The Knick, rehearsing and providing direction for actors who are either singing or using a musical instrument.
Along with performing, composition remains one of her favorite paths to musical expression. In 2014 Diana won the Morton Feldman Composition Award for special excellence in composition upon receiving her master’s degree from the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music, where she studied under the direction of composers Doug Geers, Wang Jie, and Tania León. Ghostlight has premiered several of her original choral works. She is currently based in Brooklyn and writes for podcasts, films, plays, vocal ensembles, and anything else interesting that comes along.
Patrick Litterst ’07
Patrick holds a master’s of music degree in percussion performance from the Boston Conservatory and a bachelor of arts degree in computer science from Vassar College. While at Vassar, Patrick was the recipient of the Adams Prize for Excellence in Computer Science and twice won the Vassar College Orchestra’s concerto competition. Patrick resides in Durham, NC, and is a software developer for PreSonus Audio Electronics, where he is the lead developer for Notion, an acclaimed music notation and composition software application. Prior to joining PreSonus, Patrick was a software developer for Zenph Sound Innovations, a music technology startup based in Durham, NC, that developed technology for creating “re-performances”, making it possible to hear pianists from old audio recordings (such as those from wax cylinders or 78s) perform live again using state-of-the-art, high-precision, reproducing pianos. Patrick has also developed innovative music education software for TimeWarp Technologies. Patrick remains an active musician. He performs regularly as a percussionist in North Carolina, and is a member of the percussion sections of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, the Carolina Philharmonic, and the Durham Symphony Orchestra.
Ilana (Tolkoff) Revkin ’07
“After graduation I earned an MA in musicology at Brandeis University and then an MLS with a specialization in music librarianship at the University at Buffalo, in order to become a music librarian. In 2010 I married Ben Revkin (’06) and moved to Rhode Island. I worked for three years as Public Services Librarian at the Boston Conservatory. In July 2014, upon the birth of our daughter Maya, I left my position in order to devote my professional life to the viola, through teaching, gigging, and performing, a life that is wonderfully compatible with being a (mostly) stay-at-home mom. I became a member of the La Bella Musica String Quartet, which performs an annual library concert series as well as many weddings. I teach private violin and viola lessons in my house. I also play in the Narragansett Bay Symphony Community Orchestra, the South County Chamber Orchestra, and various other chamber ensembles.”
Michael Sheetz ’07
Michael is assistant music director of Musica Sacra; full-time music associate at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola; teaching fellow at the Juilliard School;and assistant conductor of the Fairfield County Chorale in East Norwalk, CT. During the summer he serves as chorus master and music coordinator for La Lingua della Lirica, a summer training program for young opera singers in Novafeltria, Italy. He has been assistant conductor for the women’s chorus of Holst’s The Planets at the New York Philharmonic, and other Philharmonic collaborations with its music director Alan Gilbert include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Ligeti’s Kyrie from Requiem, Ives’s Symphony No. 4, William Walton’s Henry V, and Varese’s Noctural. Michael was an accompanist at the Berkshire Choral Festival in July 2014 and an accompanist to the Oratorio Society of New York and Manhattan School of Music Symphonic and Chamber choirs. He has collaborated as accompanist with Sir Roger Norrington, Pablo Heras-Casado, Philippe Entremont, Emmanuel Plasson, and Steven Schick.
Elizabeth G. Elmi ’06
Elizabeth earned a master’s degree in Italian literature from Indiana University in 2009 and is currently a PhD candidate in musicology at the Jacobs School of Music, also at IU. Her research focuses on the relationship between music and poetry in medieval and early modern Italy. She has presented on the connection between the Commedia dell’Arte and Monteverdi’s operas in several forums, including the 2011 meeting of the Renaissance Society of America in Montreal. Since then she has investigated the concept and practice of orality in musical and literary production in Renaissance Italy. Her dissertation considers issues of orality and improvisation in secular song and poetry from the Aragonese court of late 15th-century Naples, and she plans to organize a series of performances of the music related to her dissertation through a collaboration with members of IU’s Historical Performance Institute. At IU, Elizabeth has also taught a variety of courses in music history, Italian, and comparative literature at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In pursuing her interest in performance at IU, Elizabeth has studied voice with Professor Scharmal Schrock and performed with several choirs affiliated with the Jacobs School. In addition, she is a member of the Voces Novae Chamber Choir in Bloomington.
Julia Flath ’06
“After graduating I worked in arts administration in the development department at Carnegie Hall for four years. (I currently work in development at environmental nonprofit Rainforest Alliance). During 2008s, I sang in the Young New Yorker’s Chorus and Melodia Women’s Choir. More recently, I played keyboard and sang back-up in garage punk rock band Sexy Neighbors from 2011s. Meanwhile, I have continued to perform occasionally in New York City as a solo keyboard singer songwriter and released a new solo album in 2014 (juliavantieghem.bandcamp.com).”
Eli Spindel ’06
“Since tearing myself away from Poughkeepsie in 2006, I’ve spent the last nine years in Brooklyn as a full-time dilettante, working in various positions relating to visual art, publishing, human rights, journalism, literature, and music. My one significant contribution to society has been the founding of the String Orchestra of Brooklyn (yes, the S.O.B.) in 2007, a group that continues to perform some of the most adventurous classical music concerts in NYC, and which has kept me in touch with a number of wonderful music department graduates the likes of Emily Bookwalter, Mary Beth Alexander, Sarah Goldfeather, Mark Van Hare, and many others. More information about the orchestra can be found at www.thesob.org, and about my other projects atwww.elispindel.com.”
Ruth L. Carver ’05
“Although I wasn’t a music major, I have gone on to a career in music. Following Vassar, I received a M.Mus. from the Peabody Conservatory, and an artist certificate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, both in voice performance. I’m currently based out of Denver, and after starting my career as a lyric mezzo-soprano, have recently changed fachs to spinto soprano. I just received a grant that allowed me to come to NYC for several weeks to coach my new repertoire with the experts here. Here follow excerpts from my formal biography.”
Known for her bold characterizations and powerful voice, Denver, Colorado native Ruth L. Carver is quickly gaining recognition as a spinto soprano on the rise. Her voice is especially suited to Italian and German repertoire, and after a concert of German Lieder near Munich, Germany, the regional newspaper Münchner Merkur praised her for her “dark, romantic voice.” Ms. Carver appeared with New York Lyric Opera Theater in their spring 2015 reduced Ring Cycle.
An avid arts advocate, Carver also writes about classical music for online music journals. She recently made her directorial debut with Boulder Opera, and created an interactive opera event with Opera on Tap Colorado in 2014.
Thomas Heuser ’05
Thomas completed his DMA in orchestral conducting from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) in 2013. After an extensive national search, he was named in 2011 the 10th music director of the Idaho Falls Symphony, where he continues to broaden the scope of the symphony’s programming while generating tremendous enthusiasm and support for the orchestra. He commutes to Idaho from the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lives in Oakland with his wife, violinist Lauren Avery (‘04), and their newborn son Theodore. Thomas enjoys an active career as a freelance conductor in the Bay Area, and has made notable appearances with the San Francisco Academy Orchestra, the Berkeley Symphony, and the Hayward Festival Youth Orchestras, among others. He was a Fulbright scholar in Munich, Germany, where he mentored with renowned German conductor Bruno Weil at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München. Prior to living in Germany, he served as the 2010 conducting fellow with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under Paavo Järvi. Thomas was the last senior to graduate as a piano student of distinguished Vassar faculty member Blanca Uribe, and he was admitted directly from Vassar into the master’s program in conducting at Indiana University’s prestigious Jacobs School of Music.
Blake Howe ’05
Blake Howe received his MA and PhD in musicology from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2010, writing his dissertation on the intersections between music and disability studies. He is currently assistant professor of music at Louisiana State University, where he teaches seminars on German lieder, performance practice, film music, among other topics. His publications include articles in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Music Theory Spectrum, and The Journal of Musicology, and he is co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Music and Disability Studies.
Benjamin Krauss ’05
Ben received his master’s degree in composition from the Aaron Copland School of Music in the spring of 2007. He then returned to Vassar the following fall where he served as an adjunct professor, teaching an introductory harmony course for the fall semester. Additionally, Ben has spent the last 10 years working as a pianist/music director of musical theater, both in New York and around the country. He was on the music teams for the Broadway productions of The Addams Family and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, serving as an orchestration associate for the latter. Selected regional theaters include Westport Country Playhouse, North Shore Music Theater, and Theater by the Sea. He continues to perform regularly in New York, and can often be heard playing at venues including 54 Below, the Metropolitan Room, and Upright Citizens Brigade comedy theater. As an orchestrator, his work has been featured in numerous benefit concerts, including Broadway Backwards, Gypsy of the Year, and the Easter Bonnet Competition. These orchestrations have accompanied singers such as Tituss Burguess, Lillias White, and Stephanie J. Block. Ben is also an alumnus of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Writing Workshop.
Gabriel Lubell ’05
“Starting this fall, I will be joining the faculty of Knox College in Galesburg, IL, as a visiting assistant professor of music. But for the past 10 years, I have been living, working, and studying in Bloomington, Indiana. I moved here right after Vassar to study astrophysics at Indiana University, which culminated in a master’s degree and thesis on stellar populations in the globular cluster M15. At some point, however, I rejoined the music stream I’d explored at Vassar and earned my doctorate in music composition from the IU Jacobs School of Music. All the while, I have been teaching music theory and astronomy, and have offered an undergraduate seminar on the intersections of music, astronomy, and scientific thought. My creative output has focused largely on chamber music, though I have also written for voices, electronics, orchestras, elevators, and other such things through collaborations with musicians throughout the United States, in Sweden, and the Netherlands. The first album of my music, Studies in Light and Sound, was released in 2014. Additionally, I have been active as a music scholar and have presented several papers at national and international conferences. My work is primarily focused on issues of sound, space, color, and form in the music of Mozart, Schubert, and the Beatles.”
Joanna Marsden ’05
“Since graduation, I decided to specialize in flute and historical instruments. I completed master’s degrees in baroque flute at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music with Claire Guimond and the Hague Conservatory with Wilbert Hazelzet and Jed Wentz. I lived in the Netherlands for three years (playing the St. Matthew Passion sometimes twice in one day.) I’m starting a D.Mus. this autumn at McGill.
In the Hague, friends and I started a conductorless chamber orchestra, Symphonie Atlantique. We play classical and romantic repertoire on historical instruments. Our season is based in the Netherlands, and we tour together in Belgium, Spain, Mexico, etc. We made our Concertgebouw debut with a production of Handel’s Giulio Cesare.
I have recently collaborated with harpsichordist Mark Edwards in Canada, the U.S., and Europe. We just finished recording an album of Devienne sonatas, charming pieces with nice melodies, glacial harmonies, and occasionally troubling voice leading. I recorded on my antique flute made by Tortochot in Paris around 1770 or 1780.
I have worked at Harvard’s and McGill’s libraries and just started as web developer at a startup called Bookwitty. I live in Montréal with my husband, David Benson, a PhD candidate at McGill in music technology and high baritone.”
Serra J Schlanger ’05
“After graduating, I joined Melodia Women’s Choir of NYC and performed at a number of venues in NYC including Symphony Space and Merkin Concert Hall. I also had the opportunity sing with Meredith Monk and her vocal ensemble and as a guest with the Stonewall Chorale. When I moved to Baltimore, I joined Legally Sound, the University of Maryland School of Law’s a cappella group. I now practice health care law in Washington, D.C., and sing with the Congressional Chorus.”
Lauren Avery ’04
Lauren received her M.Mus. in violin performance from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music in Houston, TX. Since leaving Texas, she has pursued a career as a freelance musician and private teacher in Cincinnati, Munich, and now in Oakland, California, while she and her husband, conductor Thomas Heuser (’05), have moved. Lauren was a core member of the Castleton Festival Orchestra for many summers and played principal second violin under the late maestro Lorin Maazel for the grand opening of the Royal Opera House Muscat in Oman. She has been re-engaged as concertmaster with the El Paso Opera Company and the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra for several consecutive seasons. As a member of the highly-active freelance community in the San Francisco Bay Area, she performs regularly with the Berkeley Symphony and with orchestras in Sacramento, Marin, Modesto, and the Napa Valley, among others. Lauren has spent the last two summers performing with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music under the baton of Marin Alsop; and since October 6th, 2014, she has been adjusting to life as a mom after celebrating the arrival of her first child, Theodore Avery Heuser.
Nathan Hall ’04
Since graduating, Nathan Hall has gone on to receive a Fulbright fellowship to Iceland in 2011, and his doctorate of musical arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2014. He continues to compose, using music as an artistic medium to explore a variety of fields including science, nature, the fine arts, history, and sexuality. His works have been performed by groups as diverse as the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, Boulder’s Ars Nova Singers, a convention of roller coaster enthusiasts, and Icelandic choirs. Nathan has been the recipient of several art residencies, such as the CATWALK residency in Catskill, NY, and the Ogilvy Travel Fellowship to Ireland. Most recently, he was Denver Art Museum’s inaugural Creative in Residence, where he performed works inspired by the museum’s art and architecture, and installed site-specific pieces in the galleries for visitors to explore. He currently lives in Denver.
Francesca Inglese ’04
Francesca is currently finishing up her PhD in ethnomusicology at Brown University, supported by a fellowship from the American Association of University Women. Her research focuses on the global circulation of black popular music and dance and discourses of race, particularly in South Africa, the United States, and Europe. For her dissertation she traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, where she conducted ethnographic research on contemporary carnival music and dance in relation to “coloured” identity, urban space, and corporeal knowledge in a post-apartheid context. This spring she will be teaching a seminar in the music department at Brown University titled “Dancing the African Diaspora.” She continues to enjoy listening, playing, and dancing to music.
William Barclay ’03
“I’m currently the director of music at Shakespeare’s Globe here in London and have been for three years. It’s a dream job for me as you might well imagine. I’m still composing – the Globe-to-Globe Hamlet tour to every country in the world – meaning that by April, 2016 I will be able to count myself perhaps the only composer to have music performed live in every country on earth – until Scotland passes the vote, of course! The Romeo and Juliet I’ve composed here is currently touring in Austria, previously in Oslo and before that for three weeks at the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina. I’m publishing now – two volumes of the Jon Lipsky Play Collection, an important Boston-area playwright (Smith & Kraus is the publisher), and in 2015 I will be coediting a book called Shakespeare, Music, and Performance for Cambridge University Press with the esteemed Shakespeare music expert David Lindley. I’m collaborating in 2016 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra for the sixth time and just guest conducted La Orquesta Sinfónica de Santiago in Chile in a Prokofiev/Tchaikovsky Romeo y Julieta program in Santiago and Antofagasta.”
Christine DiGiallonardo ’02
Christine is part of the singing trio, the DiGiallonardo Sisters, who have been featured on “Prairie Home Companion” and other shows.
Patrick Castillo ’01
“What I’ve been up to—Composing: lots of chamber, choral, and electronic music, which I’ve been fortunate to have commissioned and performed throughout the U.S. and internationally, a recent highlight being an appearance at the Havana Contemporary Music Festival last November. I also recently wrote music for an indie horror flick and a commercial for NYC Pride. Innova Recordings will release an album of my vocal chamber music this fall, featuring mezzo-soprano and fellow Vassar alum Abby Fischer ’01. I host a concert series for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and give lectures for various other organizations and festivals throughout the year; I also provide program and liner notes for orchestras, recording companies, et al. I was involved in the launch of Music@Menlo, a summer chamber music festival in Silicon Valley, where I was artistic administrator for more than 10 years and continue to develop various educational programs. For three seasons, I served as the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s director of artistic planning, and I’m currently an artistic advisor to the Milwaukee Symphony. I recently founded a Pierrot ensemble, Third Sound, which will launch its inaugural season this fall with a weeklong residency in Cuba, at the aforementioned Havana festival.”
Abigail Fischer ’01
“After Vassar, I lived a year in Florence, studying Italian and taking private voice lessons. I then went to Eastman School of Music for a master’s degree in voice performance, also playing Baroque cello. This year I made my Carnegie Hall debut with Hindemith’s When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d, and I look forward to my October 2015 L.A. Opera debut in Missy Mazzoli’s multi-media opera Song from the Uproar, written for me and the NOW Ensemble, also available on New Amsterdam Records. This year I performed Mahler Third Symphony with Santa Rosa Symphony, the usual handful of Messiahs, and I am happy to work again this year with the BSO and Orchestra of Saint Luke’s. I have traveled a lot with John Zorn, performing his vocal chamber music in Australia, Jerusalem, all over Europe, and the Lincoln Center Festival. I have premiered other new works by composers such as Nico Muhly, Bernard Rands, Elliott Carter, and our very own Patrick Castillo ‘01. My repertoire has been consistently widening to perform more standard opera rep, including Cenerentola, Ariodante, Marriage of Figaro (Cherubino), and Clemenza di Tito (Sesto), while keeping the fun unknown things with companies like Gotham Chamber Opera. I look forward to see where it will go next!”
Peter Holmes ’01
“I live in Connecticut these days and work in NYC, and while my job is crazy, I try to stay active on trombone. For a number of years, I was on the board of the Chelsea Symphony is New York City, founded by Yaniv Segal (’03). I continue to play with the group, along with Robin Berg (’04).”
Dana Astmann ’00
Dana Astmann is the director of communications at the Yale School of Music in New Haven, CT. She is also a collaborative theater artist and musician with A Broken Umbrella Theater, which creates original works inspired by New Haven history. As a pianist and/or musical director, she has worked with the New Haven Theatre Company, Yale Cabaret, and Jerusalem Music Theatre Company. Dana earned a master’s degree in musicology from the University of Toronto, where her independent project, “Freylekhe Felker: Queer Subculture in the Klezmer Revival,” was published in the online journal Discourses in Music. She went on to work as a music journalist, publishing articles in the Hartford Courant, New Haven Register, and Parterre Box, and winning a fellowship to the 2009 N.E.A. Arts Journalism Fellowship in Music and Opera. She has written program notes for the Yale School of Music and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. Before coming to Yale, she lived abroad for a year each in Israel and New Zealand and worked for Long Wharf Theatre.
Emerson Morgan ’99
Emerson is the Librarian for Special Collections at the Oberlin Conservatory Library, having been introduced to music librarianship as a student worker at Vassar. He enjoyed music courses under Professors Libin, Mann, Pisani, Reilly, and Wilson, piano lessons with Tom Sauer, cello in the orchestra under Tony Rowe, choir under Bill Appling and Chuck Kamm, and participating in composers’ concerts. Working in the slide collection of the Art Library, Emerson hand-coded the first website of Art 105/106 and served as its classroom projectionist, while getting involved in emerging data standards conversations among galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAM). After Vassar, Emerson worked in the Visual Resources Collection at Yale and at Artstor in New York, before undertaking a decade of graduate studies in music and librarianship at Yale, Harvard, and Simmons. Before joining the libraries at Oberlin, Emerson worked as a project cataloger for the music collection of Frédéric Louis Ritter, who in 1867 joined the faculty of the Vassar College School of Music (later the department); Ritter’s music materials today form the largest named special collection at Tufts, and his personal papers are held in the Catherine Pelton Durrell ’25 Archives and Special Collections Library at Vassar.
Yoshio Haraguchi ’99
“I’ve been running a recording studio called Faultline Studios in San Francisco for the last eight years, engineering, producing and arranging recordings of all sorts. I also co-produce a concert and album series called UnderCover Presents where we invite a diverse roster of artists to each reinterpret a song off of a classic album in their own style.”
Robinson McClellan ’99
After leaving Vassar’s music program in 1999, Robin came to New York City and worked for S.E.M. Ensemble, then G. Schirmer, all while composing as much as he could. From 2004s he pursued a doctorate in composition from Yale’s School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music, and finally caught that elusive prey in 2011 after a few more years teaching and composing in the big city. He did time as an adjunct professor at several local colleges, with a stint helping to digitize the Morgan Library’s music manuscript collection.
Since 2011: at Kaufman Music Center he teaches ComposerCraft, a seminar for advanced composers ages 11–14, plus a gaggle of high school composers at the Special Music School, NYC’s only school where composition is a core part of the academic curriculum. These things, plus writing and teaching online theory courses for Rutgers, and consulting work for the fast-growing online music notation program Noteflight (a community of 1.6 million composers that includes most of his own young students), currently sustain him.
All the while he continues to compose, fulfill commissions, and consternate about the creative process. Learn more about this last, most important, thing at robinsonmcclellan.com
Amanda Forsythe ’98
Amanda made her European opera debut as Corinna in Il viaggio a Reims at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro in 2007. Since then, her operatic performances have included Dalinda in Ariodante (Grand Théâtre de Genève under Kenneth Montgomery and Bayerische Staatsoper under Christopher Moulds), Jemmy in Guillaume Tell and Rosalia in L’equivoco stravagante (Rossini Opera Festival under Michele Mariotti), Venus in Venus and Adonis, Edilia in Almira, and the title role in Steffani’s Niobe (Boston Early Music Festival), Barbarina (Théâtre des Champs-Elysées under Mark Minkowski and Covent Garden under Sir Colin Davis), Manto in Niobe (Covent Garden and Luxembourg under Thomas Hengelbrock), and Nannetta in Falstaff (Covent Garden under Daniele Gatti and Angers-Nantes Opera under Mark Shanahan). Last season, she appeared in concert at Tanglewood, the Mostly Mozart Festival, Vancouver Early Music, Portland Baroque, Apollo’s Fire, Boston Baroque, and the Seattle Symphony.
Upcoming performances include Vivaldi Gloria (Seattle Symphony under Stephen Layton), the title role in L’incoronazione di Poppea (Boston Early Music Festival), Poppea in Agrippina (Boston Baroque under Martin Pearlman), Iris in Semele (Seattle Opera under Gary Thor Wedow), Brahms’s German Requiem and Bach’s Magnificat (Accadamia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under Sir Antonio Pappano), and L’Amour in Gluck’s Orphée (Covent Garden under Sir John Eliot Gardiner).
Jamie Christopherson ’97
Multi-award-winning composer Jamie Christopherson has built a reputation for consistently delivering unique, fresh, and unexpected scores. He constantly experiments with new ways to create music that gets to the heart of a project.
Known for his interest and expertise in multiple media and genres, Jamie’s music can be heard in feature films, video games, television shows, documentaries, theatrical trailers, commercial spots, webisodes and theme parks. His most notable works include feature films such as The Crow: Wicked Prayer, Ghost Image, Inside Out and interactive scores to best-selling video games such as Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth series, Lost Planet 1 & 2, John Woo’s Stranglehold and Lineage II. He has also scored several documentaries such as Goal Keepers and provided additional music for TV shows such as The Affair (Showtime), Extant (CBS) and Revolution (NBC).
Jamie’s most recent projects include the moving independent film Wrong Side of Right, the teen racing action film Born to Race: Fast Track, the romantic made-for-TV film Love Finds You in Charm (UPtv), writing additional music for the TV show Ray Donovan (Showtime), and composing the ringtone branding music for all Samsung Galaxy 6 products.
Gary Hohenberger ’97
After graduating, Gary left for Germany to continue training toward a career in the music industry. After a year in Cologne, he moved to New York City determined to do his part to support the performing arts and spent several years working in grants and development for Lincoln Center, during which time he learned traditional Bavarian folk dance. In July 2008, he returned to Vassar in a professional capacity and marvels still at the endlessly hard work it takes to realize a Vassar education. Musically and artistically inclined in spite of himself, he indulges the compulsion to compose, write and play, and his sounds have been heard on the Discovery network and in a number of colorful haunts in and around New York. He is most proud of his musical children: Eva Rose (5) has gifts for ballet and song, and Frederick William is a spirited capoeirista at age 8.
Thea Tullman, Moore ’97
On both opera and concert stages, Thea has delighted audiences with her “crystalline voice and natural stage presence” (Wall Street Journal). She has performed roles with Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Festival of New Jersey, and Central City Opera, and has been heard in recital at the Ravinia Festival and the Aspen Music Festival. Thea has been invited to sing roles in several contemporary works, including the title role in Seymour Barab’s The Betrothal of Becky Brown at the Actors Institute of New York, the Assistant in Richard Wilson’s Æthelred the Unready at New York City’s Merkin Concert Hall, and the role of Jenny in Phil Hagemann’s Roman Fever, performed at the Clark Theater at Lincoln Center. As part of the Monteverdi series at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, she sang the role of La Musica in Orfeo and was praised by the Chicago Tribune for her “shining vocal grace.” In May of 2014, Thea founded Baltimore Musicales, a not-for-profit arts organization dedicated to preserving the art of the song recital. She also serves as associate professor of voice at Notre Dame of Maryland University. She resides in Towson with her husband and daughter.
Lorian Bartle ’96
Lorian is a classically trained freelance guitarist who performs in the Denver area as a soloist and as a member of the Colorado Lark Flute and Guitar Duo. She provides music for special events and performs regularly at local memory care facilities and retirement communities. She was recently selected by the Wheat Ridge Cultural Commission to appear in the 2014–15 “Meet the Artist” series and was the featured performer at the first annual Taste of Golden. She teaches guitar, music theory, and keyboard theory to students ages five to adult in her Wheat Ridge home studio. Lorian earned an M.Mus. in music theory at Florida State University and received extensive post-graduate private guitar instruction from maestro Ricardo Iznaola. She credits her Vassar music education for giving her the opportunity to set the foundation of her musical goals in an environment free of gender biases where students were challenged and encouraged to succeed.
David Ezer ’95
David is senior director of programs at the Jewish Funders Network, a membership association of family foundations and individuals. He leads the team that programs and produces the annual conference as well as other convenings. Prior to joining JFN, David was conference manager for Chamber Music America, producing their annual conference and numerous other training seminars, showcases, and concert events. He also worked a talent agent for classical musicians, and produced two seasons of the Bard Music Festival at Bard College. He presently sings with the Dessoff Choirs in New York City, with which he performed Britten’s War Requiem and Mahler’s Eighth Symphony in Lorin Maazel’s final performances with the New York Philharmonic; toured to London for a performance of Belshazzar’s Feast, in a concert recreating the music performed at Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation in 1953; and visited Mexico City for a performance of Bach’s B Minor Mass – a particularly memorable event as the Mass was his central musical experience at Vassar, performing it under William Appling’s direction in Skinner Hall in 1994. The chorus has also appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman. He runs a blog cataloguing film, television, and musical references to Vassar at vassarmedia.blogspot.com. After Vassar, David received an MBA in marketing from the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College in New York City.
Sam Nichols ’94
A composer, Sam lives and works in Northern California. He’s received commissions from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard, the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Earplay, the Empyrean Ensemble, and the Composers Conference at Wellesley. His string quartet Refuge has been widely performed across the US by a number of groups, and was selected for performance at the ISCM’s “World Music Days 2014” in Wracłow, Poland. He’s received awards from Composers, Inc. (Lee Ettelson Prize), the League of Composers, the University of Illinois (3rd prize, 2010 Salvatore Martirano Memorial Composition Prize), and the Third Millennium Ensemble. The Fromm Foundation commissioned Things That Had No Opposites, a song cycle on texts by Tim Horvath (Vassar ’93). Upcoming projects include the premiere of This Is Not a Toy for a Child, a cello concerto for David Russell and the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra.
In 2006 Sam received his PhD in composition and theory from Brandeis University. For the past 12 years he’s been a lecturer in the UC Davis Department of Music. In 2011 he received the UC Davis Academic Federation Award for Excellence in Teaching. He is a founder and co-organizer of the UC Davis Composition Workshop, part of a biennial music festival at the Mondavi Center for the Arts.
Linda Lister ’91
Linda received her M.Mus. from the Eastman School of Music and her DMA in voice performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The Durham Herald-Sun has described her singing as “gloriously refulgent, with a brightly etched sound that enchanted,” while the Buffalo News praised her “strong, shimmering soprano.” Her solo credits include performances with the Washington Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Evansville Philharmonic, Las Vegas Philharmonic, Piedmont Opera Theatre, Opera Theatre of Rochester, Greensboro Oratorio Society, Cambridge Gilbert and Sullivan Society, and Maine State Music Theatre. She created the role of Madge in the world premiere of Libby Larsen’s opera Picnic (2009) and sang Savannah in the world premiere concert version of Andrew Fowler’s The Prince of Tides (2010) with the Carolina Master Chorale. A featured soloist on the Albany Records CDs The American Soloist and Midnight Tolls, she won the 2014 American Prize in directing. Author of the book Yoga for Singers: Freeing Your Voice and Spirit through Yoga (2011), she is director of opera at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Alexandra Gardner ’90
Alexandra creates music for varied instrumentations, often mixing acoustic instruments with electronics. Her compositions have been featured at festivals and venues throughout the world, including performances at the Aspen Music Festival, Warsaw Autumn Festival, MATA, Beijing Modern Festival, Centro de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Look & Listen, Conservatory of Amsterdam, Symphony Space, Merkin Hall, the Library of Congress, and the Kennedy Center. Gardner’s music has been commissioned and performed by acclaimed ensembles and musicians such as SOLI Chamber Ensemble, cellist Joshua Roman, Percussions de Barcelona, NOW Ensemble, violist Nadia Sirota, the Chicago Composer’s Orchestra, and the Seattle Symphony.
Among Gardner’s honors and awards are recognitions from Meet the Composer, ASCAP, American Music Center, American Composers Forum, Mid-America Arts Alliance, the Netherland-America Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution. She has held residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Harvestworks, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, and the MacDowell Colony. She was awarded the 2002–03 Vassar College W.K. Rose Fellowship in the Creative Arts, and from 2002s she was a visiting composer at the IUA/Phonos Foundation in Barcelona. Her music is recorded on the Innova, Ars Harmonica, and Naxos labels. For more information, please visit www.alexandragardner.net.
Arthur Clay, ’89
“After graduation, I lingered around Poughkeepise hanging around established artists from the Flusus, Pop, and Beat eras - all of which Po’town” still had to offer during the late 80s. Billy Name, … taught me a lot about following ones intuition and cutting the brush rather than taking the beaten path. Combined with fond memories of learning from Professors Edward Reilly and Annea Lockwood, who seem to be driven by a truly shared my love for music and accompanied me kindly on that journey.
Winning a fellowship from Vassar, I went to Basel Switzerland and studied electronic music and composition with the Swiss Composer Roland Moser which was intermingled with another fellowship to create instruments and music at the famed STEIM institute in Amsterdam for music instruments and performance research.
My studies at the Music Acadamy ended with winning a prestigious award for composition for my work “I Clearly Saw” and a short time later I was honoured with an artists award for my work using intermedia. Free again from financial burden, I composed music for well known performers ( the percussionist Fritz Hauser, the violinist Malcom Goldstein, and the Gambist Imke David) and toured Europe and Asia performing my own works for instruments and electronics for about a decade.I thought my journey would continue as was, but I made a slight detour into the world of Hoerspiel and Music Theatre and wrote a slew of works with the Swiss author Urs Jaeggi and three large theatre works for actors and music ensemble which then premiered in established theatre venues in Germany and Switzerland. Although met with much success, one of the works “Spinoza is(s)t” - a portrait of the philosopher in his persecution by religious and political figures- caused a riot amongst the audience and caused a second detour for which I embraced a strong interest in media art and sound art. Tis has proven to be a gold mine for opportunity and I began to create works that were “playable” by the audience. Exhibits in major museums in Asia and Europe came along and a research position at the ETH Zurich (Einstein’s school) in its Computer Science Department around me to continue the concept of engagement and immersion using high tech research to create works using satellites.
My fondest memory of Vassar was after graduation when I organised a concert of music from fellow Vassar grads at Skinner Hall. It gave all of us feeling of a connection through the arts and also a sense of gratitude for what the music department at Vassar had given each one of us.
Kendall Kennison ’89
“After graduation, I went to graduate school at Rutgers to study composition with Robert Moevs and Peabody to study with Robert Hall Lewis, and—eventually—got a job teaching music theory and composition at Goucher College, where I am currently associate professor and member-at-large of the faculty. I still manage to keep writing music. In 2014, I opened the Volvo Off-Road Fest 2014 Zagreb in Croatia, with a lecture–recital of my own piano music and that of my mentors Robert Moevs and Richard Wilson; Stanley Alexandrowicz played my guitar piece, Backanally, at Schott Recital Room in London; and, closer to home, I had back-to-back performances of a solo mandolin piece on a Tuesday and my Real Estate Rag on a Wednesday at Goucher. This year, I had a premiere by local group the Poulenc Trio of my oboe-bassoon-piano piece Trilogue. On the personal side, I got married 25 years ago; we have three children and live in North Baltimore.”
Stephanie Schlagel ’89
“After Vassar I attended University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where I received a MA in music history (1991) and PhD in musicology (1996), with a focus in Renaissance music, specifically the posthumous reception of Josquin des Prez. I have been on faculty at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music since 1998, teaching music history at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral level. For approximately 10 years I directed the recorder consort and the alta capella of CCM’s Early Music Lab and oversaw the acquisition of approximately 15 fine reproductions of Renaissance recorders, gambas, sackbuts, and shawms. I have published articles on Josquin’s reception in Journal of Musicology and Tijdschrift van de Koninklijke Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis[TVNM] among others, and have presented at national and international conferences. My edition of Si placet Parts for Motets by Josquin and His Contemporaries (with critical commentary) was published by AR Editions, and a collection of parody masses on Josquin’s motets from the Bavarian ducal court is currently in production, also with AR Editions. In 1999 I began volunteering for Cincinnati’s early music ensemble Catacoustic Consort, where I currently serve as treasurer. I am the proud caretaker of two delightful cats, runner of half-marathons and marathons, and practitioner of hot yoga.”
Fitz Patton ’88
“This past year has been very strong. I designed the sound for three plays on Broadway: It’s Only a Play, with Nathan Lane and Mathew Broderick, directed by Jack O’Brien; Airline Highway, by the extraordinary young playwright Lisa D’Amour and directed by Joe Mantello; and Act of God, an almost one-man show with Jim Parsons of ABC’s Big Bang Theory. In addition, the performance and design magazine I started in 2013, Chance, has continued to expand, achieving over 1,000 subscribers and distribution on Amazon as well as Manhattan, Chicago, and Los Angeles newsstands. And finally, eight members of the editorial staff of Chance have been invited to the Prague Quadrennial to present a talk in their main forum and a workshop on performance journalism. Additionally, we were one of five publications worldwide to be nominated by the Quad for their Best Scenography Publication award. Chance was chosen as one of the most innovative magazine launches of 2014 by the Magazine Innovation Center, receiving the award at a breakfast in Manhattan alongside executives from the Hearst Corporation and other major national organizations (a little strange, actually!)”
Susan (Stagnitta) Bialek ’86
Susan was appointed artistic director of the Children’s Chorus of Maryland & School of Music in the fall of 2014. Before that, she was co-founder and director of the community based Cappella Festiva Children’s Treble Choir for nine years. She served as music teacher, choral director and department head at Dutchess Day School in Millbrook, N.Y. for 22 years.
Susan received a master’s degree in music education from Manhattanville College in 1991 and received certifications from the Creating Artistry conducting program with Henry Leck at Butler University, was trained as an intern conductor under Jean Ashworth Bartle with the Toronto Children’s Chorus and is currently pursuing Kodaly certification at the Hartt School of music.
Susan’s past positions as a guest conductor also include: the Bard Summerscape Festival Youth Opera Chorus; Putnam County School Music Association; the Westchester County School Music Association; and the Hudson Valley Bach Fest Children’s Choir. She served as the president of the Dutchess County Music Educators Association from 2012 to 2014. Susan also sang in the first alto section of the Cappella Festiva adult chamber choir from 2004s.
James John ’86
James is professor of music and director of choral activities at the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College-CUNY, where he conducts the Queens College Choir, Vocal Ensemble and Choral Society, teaches choral conducting, and serves as advisor to the graduate program in vocal performance. He is also artistic director of the Manhattan-based vocal ensemble, Cerddorion, a select chamber choir dedicated to adventurous programs that span the breadth of the choral repertoire, from medieval polyphony to newly commissioned works. Recent professional highlights include performances in Tokyo of Brahms’s German Requiem and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Tokyo Oratorio Society, and an invited performance by the QC Choir at the 2012 Eastern Division Conference of the American Choral Directors Association in Providence, R.I.
James’s choirs have performed in such prestigious New York venues as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Trinity Church Wall Street. Under his direction the QC Vocal Ensemble released its first CD, featuring premiere recordings of partsongs by Scottish composer Hamish MacCunn.
James received his DMA in conducting from the Eastman School of Music. He received his MA from the Aaron Copland School of Music, where his primary teachers were Maurice Peress and the late Paul Maynard.
Jonathan Elliott ’84
Jonathan continued his composition studies at the University of Chicago from 1984s (MA and PhD) with Ralph Shapey and Shulamit Ran. In 1985 and 1987 he received BMI Prizes for his works Night Prayer and Epiphany. He moved to New York City in August 1988, took a job as a rehearsal pianist for Twyla Tharp Dance, and began teaching composition, theory and jazz performance at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn Heights. He has been awarded residencies and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Ragdale Foundation, Centre Acanthes (France), the Darmstadt Festival (Germany), and NYSCA. He has been commissioned by PS122, the American Composers Forum, Koch International Classics, the Monadnock Music Festival, the Poetry Project at St. Marks, the Center for Experimental Theater at Vassar College, Grace and Spiritus Chorale, the Mana Quartet, the American Liszt Society, and the Helton-Thomas Duo, among others. His music is recorded on Centaur, Koch, and Duo Montagnard. He performs in his works for piano and live electronics, which have been featured on the Music with a View Festival (NYC). He is also active as a visual artist. His compositions are published by Lux Nova Press and PBP Music. He enjoys collaborating with other artists in works for theater and in sound installations.
Fredrika Brillembourg ’82
Fredrika was described as “vocally plush and dramatically courageous” by the New York Times for her performance as the Narrator in Toshio Hosokawa’s The Raven at the 2014 Inaugural NY Phil Biennial Festival. Recent appearances by the mezzo-soprano include: Suzuki, Madama Butterfly (Stuttgart Opera); Maddalena, Rigoletto (Komische Oper Berlin);Teresa, La Sonnambula (Frankfurt Opera); and Marco in Tan Dun’s Marco Polo (Bergen International Festival). Her repertoire includes: Carmen, Amneris, Brangäne, Herodias, and Mescalina (Le Grand Macabre). She sings regularly in Europe and the U.S. at, among others: De Nederlandse Oper, Komische Oper Berlin, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Bregenz Festival, La Fenice, Seattle Opera and Washington National Opera. She has performed with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and has worked with conductors and stage directors including: Antonio Pappano; Sir Jeffrey Tate; Manfred Honeck; Placido Domingo; Christof Loy; Barrie Kosky; Robert Carson; Stephen Wadsworth and Jonathan Miller. Her discography includes Madama Butterfly (Suzuki), Bach’s B Minor Mass, I Puritani (Enrichetta), Stravinsky’s Les Noces conducted by Sylvain Cambreling, and the Verdi Requiem, conducted by Plácido Domingo. Upcoming performances include: The Witch (Hänsel und Gretel) and the Stepmother in a new children’s opera Schneewitchen und die 77 Zwerge by Elena Kats-Cernin (Komische Oper Berlin).
Joseph Bertolozzi ’81
Composer Joseph Bertolozzi, ’81, best known for Bridge Music, a suite using only the sounds of the Mid-Hudson Bridge, is currently finishing up a similar project entitled Musique de la Tour, using only the sounds of the Eiffel Tower. The Bridge Music album (Delos DE 1045) went to #18 on the Billboard Classical Crossover charts in 2009. Joe has also written many works for orchestra, band, chorus, voice and the stage (conductors and performers take note!). Many of his works can be heard at www.JosephBertolozzi.com. After graduation in the 1980s he toured as a concert organist across the U.S. Eastern seaboard as well as Europe—including a 1985 tour of Portugal for the U.S. State Department. He continues playing organ and directing choirs for synagogues and churches, as he had done while an undergrad.
John Delorey ’81
After leaving Vassar, John continued to study at Berklee College of Music (film scoring) and Harvard (conducting), while he interned at local recording studios. He sang tenor at Trinity Church, Copley Square and countertenor with Schola Cantorum of Boston, and the Boston Camarata.
John started conducting in 1990, forming a professional chorus in Worcester (Convivium) that recorded and performed most of the choral works of Leo Sowerby. In 1998 he began teaching at Clark University, followed by his current position at Worcester Polytechnic Institute where he is Instructor of Music and Director of Choral Activities, overseeing four choruses and four a cappella groups.
John’s interest in technology started at Vassar where his advisor suggested he take a class in computer programming, and has blossomed since. As an arranger, he has over three hundred titles, and has composed extensively for his current singing groups, including a complete Evening Service for a three week tour of London. His most recent musical theater work – Witchwife – chronicles the last days of his 13th great-grandmother, Susanna Martin, who was hanged for being a witch in Salem during the hysteria.
John teaches and lectures frequently in London where he continues to spread the early American choral tradition across the pond.
Steve Hayden ’81
“After college, I continued studying with Dennis Sandole in Philadelphia until early 1989. I also continued playing in a band that formed at Vassar with Ed Bair ’81, Charlie Lewis ’81 and Matt Drake ’81.The group disbanded in late 1982, and I began a long slog of wedding and bar mitzvah band work that lasted until 2008. All along, I have taught guitar and bass privately and in various secondary schools. And..I’m married with two children.
But my real project, the part that matters most to me, has always been trying to compose original music. At this stage, there is a fair quantity of it…music for double-neck electric guitar, as well as chamber and orchestral stuff. I spend my time, energy and what’s left of my brain cells doing that.
While it doesn’t exactly ‘pay the bills,’ it keeps me out of trouble.”
Catherine Wolff ’79
Catherine has a diverse background in the non-profit performing arts with a demonstrated record of success in sound financial management, creative program development and collaborative community projects gained while serving opera, symphony, university, service and presenting organizations. She has served as general and artistic director of Syracuse Opera, executive director of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, artistic administrator of Pittsburgh Opera, administrator of the Pittsburgh Opera Center at Duquesne University, and program assistant of OPERA America (the national service organization for opera). In addition, Catherine serves currently on the music panel of the New York State Council on the Arts, has reviewed decentralization grants for CNY Arts, and was founding president of the Arts and Culture Leadership Alliance of CNY. A member of the St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral Choir, she has sung professionally with Schola Cantorum and the Society for New Music in Syracuse.
Jeffrey Hass ’75
Jeff is currently professor of composition at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he serves as the director of the Center for Electronic and Computer Music (CECM), having previously taught music theory and composition on the faculties of Rutgers University and the Interlochen Center for the Arts. His compositions have been premiered by the Louisville Orchestra, Memphis Symphony and the Concordia Chamber Orchestra, and have had performances at Lincoln Center, and at national conferences of the Society of Composers, International Computer Music Conference, International Double Reed Society, SEAMUS, and the College Music Society. His band and orchestral works have won several national competitions and are published by MMB Music Publishers, St. Louis and Ludwig Music Publishers, Cleveland.
After Vassar, where he studied composition with Richard Wilson, Jeff pursued a master’s degree at Rutgers University, working with Robert Moevs. Continuing studies with Frederick Fox, Donald Erb and Bernhard Heiden, he received a doctorate from Indiana University in 1989. The recipient of many awards, most recently his Symphony for Orchestra with Electronics was selected as winner of the 2006 ASCAP/Rudolph Nissim award and the 2007 Heckscher Award for his chamber orchestra work City Life. The Utah Arts Festival commissioned a chamber orchestra work, Postcards from the Canyons, for their 2009 festival.
George Litterst ’75
George received an M.Mus. in piano performance at New England Conservatory. He has taught piano, theory, and music history in a variety of settings, including college, community music school, and private studio. In 1984, he and his wife, Helen, bought their first computer, which sent his career in another direction. He quickly got involved in music software development projects, including the Finale music notation program. In 1987, the Yamaha Disklavier—an acoustic piano with MIDI capabilities—enabled him to combine his interests in teaching and performing with computers and music technology.
In recent years, George has had a varied career as a music software developer (president of TimeWarp Technologies), multimedia performer, frequent clinician at music educator conferences, and author of numerous articles on the educational and professional applications of new music technologies. In particular, he is noted for the development of interactive technologies for long distance teaching and performing. Today, George is focused on the development of a landmark platform for the sales and distribution of interactive, digital music scores. A sneak peak is available at: www.timewarptech.com/superscore.php.
More importantly than the foregoing, George and Helen produced a son, Patrick, who graduated from Vassar as a percussionist and computer programmer in 2007.
Patricia Ann Neely ’75
Pat began her exploration of early music at Vassar specializing in early bowed-strings (viola da gamba, violone, vielle, and Baroque double bass). She found her passion through courses in the department (history with Edward Reilly and Janet Knapp, modal counterpoint with Richard Wilson, and singing in the Vassar Choir under Jameson Marvin). She continued her study of the viola da gamba at Sarah Lawrence, earning an MFA in historical performance--with additional studies in Belgium with Wieland Kuijken. Pat has appeared with the Folger Consort, Smithsonian Chamber Players, the New York Collegium, the Washington Bach Consort, Glimmerglass Opera, New York City Opera, the Boston Camerata, Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, the Newberry Consort, Rheinischen Kantorei Köln, the New York Consort of Viols, and Early Music New York. A founding member of the viol consort Parthenia, Pat is director of Abendmusik, which focuses on repertoire of the 17th century. She has taught at the Amherst Early Music Summer Festival, the Viola da Gamba Society of America Conclaves, and is currently on the faculty of the Brearley School where she teaches recorder and double bass and coaches an early-string repertoire ensemble. Pat has also served as executive director of the Connecticut Early Music Society and Festival.
Danny Brill ’74
“I was in Vassar’s legendary class of 1974—the first coed class. I spent several years playing in rock bands after college before starting a musical instrument rental company, Keyboard Instrument Rentals, which I still own and operate in Manhattan. Then about five years ago I finally got around to recording a solo CD of original progressive rock music I’d written over the years. It is aptly titled Better Late Than Never, as I was in my mid 50s when it was released.
I play keyboards on it (piano, Hammond organ, and various synths), and was fortunate enough to hook up with some world-class musicians such as Tony Levon (from Peter Gabriel’s band and King Crimson,) who played bass. It was also mixed by a world-class engineer, David Henschel.
It was a serious musical endeavor that took three years to write and record. There are many musical influences in my writing, including many bands I saw live while in college, such as Emerson Lake and Palmer, Yes, Pink Floyd, etc. And certainly the harmony and composition classes I took at Vassar served me well, particularly those with Prof. Middleton.”
Cynthia Herbst ’74
Cynthia is president of American International Artists, Inc., an artist management firm that represents composers as well as jazz and classical performers. After studying keyboard and composition at Vassar, she pursued a graduate degree at Hunter College, where she developed a passion for electronic music. Her works were performed, broadcast, and received awards. Nonetheless, her harpsichord teacher, Igor Kipnis, urged her to consider a career in music management feeling that she possessed an intuitive grasp of the field. After working with Albert Kay Associates she started her own company. Soon she was presenting Christoph Eschenbach and the Vienna Symphony in Carnegie Hall and Orchestra Hall in Chicago. Her association with Anthony Davis and Julius Hemphill led to her involvement in the jazz world. Saxophonist James Carter is currently one of her clients along with Roberto Sierra, Madeleine Peyroux, Lizz Wright, and Jane Monheit.
Candace Johnson ’74
Candace is a global infrastructure, network, and innovation expert and entrepreneur. She is co-initiator of SES/ASTRA and architect of SES Global, one of the world’s largest satellite systems. She is also founding president of Europe Online Investments S.A., the world’s first internet-based online service and satellite broadband network, and founder of Loral Cyberstar-Teleport Europe, Europe’s first independent private trans-border satellite communications network. Ms. Johnson recently co-founded Oceania Women’s Network Satellite (OWNSAT). OWNSAT has become a founding investor in the Kacific Satellite System based in Singapore. Candace is also founding president of the VATM, the Association of Private Telecom Operators in Germany and founding president of the Global Telecom Women’s Network (GTWN). She has continued to be a long-time member of the board of directors of all of these companies.
Candace is also president of Johnson Paradigm Ventures (JPV) which is a principal founding shareholder with AXA, Caisse des Depots, Bayerische Landesbank, and the SPEF of Sophia Euro Lab, Europe’s first trans-border early-stage investment company based in Sophia Antipolis. JPV is also a principal shareholder in London-based Ariadne Capital, “Architecting Europe.net”, one of the earliest supporters and promoters of Skype, the global VoIP phenomenon. She has served as founding member of the boards of both companies.
Mark Luther ’73
“After graduating, I joined a rock’n’roll band and played and toured for three years, 1974s. We never cut a record, but we stayed busy, a fairly significant accomplishment, I’ve since learned. Then I went back to school and earned my MBA in finance and accounting, becoming a CPA.
At Vassar, I learned from a classmate about the Suzuki method for teaching little kids violin. So when I had kids, a boy and girl, I introduced them to Suzuki violin. It worked out well. My son is now professor of viola at University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, and my daughter is a thriving freelance musician in Los Angeles. Both have toured and taught internationally. Along the way, I started Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp, which continues to this day. www.RMFiddle.com.
At my 30th Vassar reunion in 2003, I met Elyssa Paternoster Guardino, who was also a music major. She and I are still a couple, sharing homes in Palm Springs, CA, and Manhattan.”
Andrea Baldeck ’72
“1972–75: worked, took post-baccalaureate pre-med courses, played in three amateur orchestras in the Philadelphia area.
1975–79: med school at U. of Pennsylvania; French horn mothballed in ’77.
1979–84: residency (Hospital of U. of Pennsylvania) in internal medicine and anesthesia, boards in both, volunteer medical service in Haiti and Grenada.
1984–91: assistant professor of anesthesia at U. of Pennsylvania and its satellite hospitals.
1987: picked up the flute (easier on neighbors in city row houses than the horn!).
1991: left practice of medicine to pursue B&W film-based photography, trading the operating room for the darkroom; nine books and more than 40 solo shows later, still enjoying it.
1995–present: service on multiple non-profit boards (including Vassar from 1995-2007), currently involved with four in Philadelphia, including Settlement Music School, the largest community music school in the U.S., where I continue with flute study and chamber music ensembles.
Photographic website: www.andreabaldeck.com”
Judith Malafronte ’72
“Since graduation, I earned a master’s degree in musicology from Stanford, pursued doctoral study in voice at the Eastman School of Music, and studied in Italy on a Fulbright Grant. In addition to raising two children, largely as a single parent, I have pursued a career as performer, journalist, and educator in classical music. My singing career focuses on music before 1800, while my writing has centered on opera performance criticism. I perform often with Vassar Music Department faculty member Drew Minter, a longtime friend and colleague. I am on the faculty at Yale University and the American Bach Soloists Academy, teach and coach privately in New York City, and write regularly for Opera News, Early Music America Magazine, and various online outlets.”
Antoinette Van Zabner ’72
After studying with Nadia Boulanger and graduating from Vassar, Antoinette attended the Yale School of Music, receiving her master’s degrees in music and musical arts. She won a Fulbright for piano at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, earning her diploma in piano performance. She studied with such distinguished pianists as Byron Janis, Gina Bachauer and Claude Frank. She also studied with Philippe Entremont and Gaby Casadesus at the Ravel Academy in St. Jean de Luz where she performed with the Toulouse Orchestra under the direction of Michel Plasson. Antoinette made her American debut in 1982 at the Pan American Union in Washington, D.C., her London debut at Wigmore Hall, and her Viennese debut at the Konzerthaus. As soloist and duo pianist she has performed all over the world. In addition to giving international master classes, she holds a full professorship in piano at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna. She is co-author of Piano Fitness and Piano Fitness with Etudes (Universal Edition) and TWOgether (Breitkopf und Härtel). Her recordings can be found on the Austrian label, Gramola. She is a member of the Austrian Fulbright Commission and was awarded the Ian Mininberg Award — the highest award of distinction for alumni of the Yale School of Music.
Elizabeth Margoshes ’71
“Musical: After graduation, I went to Michigan State University and studied music therapy (1972s). Hated it. It almost ruined my love of music. I stopped. Resumed cello playing, which I had given up in 8th grade. I now play with a string trio every Thursday evening. I write and perform songs (pop and folk), sometimes with my husband. Our band, Your Parents, can be found at: listentoyourparents.bandcamp.com
Not Musical: Received a PhD in clinical psychology from the New School for Social Research (1982). I’ve been practicing psychotherapy in New York City ever since.
Combined Musical/Non-Musical: Raised a son (we sang together a lot). He graduated from Vassar a week ago (with honors in English; he also took a number of music courses and played in several bands).”
Barbara (Suzy) Buenger ’70
“I earned my advanced degrees in art history at Columbia and have spent my professional career in the Department of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I’m a specialist in classical European modernism and have devoted myself mostly to studies of the German artist Max Beckmann; I have completed an English anthology of his writings, Self-Portrait in Words (Chicago 1997), and essays on all phases of his production, including studies of portraits for exhibitions in Leipzig (2011) and New York (2003, 2010). I’m now producing a monograph on his years in National Socialist Berlin, 1933s, a short extract of which will appear in the Berlinische Galerie exhibition catalogue, Beckmann and Berlin, that opens in November 2015. My students and I are also producing an online catalogue of the German Expressionist prints and publications in the university collections. I’ve worked extensively with our Chazen Museum, have also written on the art of Vienna, Biedermeier, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Edward Munch, and Eva-Maria Schön, and taught in and directed the university’s program in Florence. I’ve remained single and travel frequently for lectures and research and to see family and friends across the United States and Europe. Had to abandon flute, but have re-embarked on piano.”
Claudia Stevens ’69
Claudia has received many honors and artist residencies, first as a composers’ pianist and subsequently as a multidisciplinary performer and playwright. These include 12 grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts to create and present her original works on tour. Several of her plays and her libretto for the comic chamber opera, A Very Large Mole, appear in the avant-garde literary journal Exquisite Corpse. With degrees in music from Vassar College (summa cum laude), UC Berkeley, and a DMA in piano from Boston University, she was adjunct associate professor of piano at the College of William and Mary until 2005.
Now based in the Bay Area, Claudia is a contributing director of Sonic Harvest, a new music series in Berkeley. She is the librettist of four chamber operas in collaboration with composer Allen Shearer. Their one-act opera The Dawn Makers (2009) was chosen by the National Opera Association as one of three finalists in the National Opera Association’s 2014 Dominick Argento Chamber Opera Competition. Middlemarch in Spring premiered at Z Space in San Francisco in March, 2015, produced by Composers, Inc. and conducted by Jonathan Khuner of the San Francisco, Chicago Lyric and Metropolitan operas. Janos Gereben (SF Examiner) called it “a rare triumph for a new opera.”
Lucia Torian ’69
“After graduation I did freelance cello for about ten years in chamber and pickup orchestras for special events productions. I was an alternate in the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. After my husband David Novak died, I went to graduate school and became an epidemiologist. I have been doing AIDS epidemiology since 1987 and at the NYC Department of Health since 1992. I am currently the deputy director of the HIV Epidemiology and Field Services Unit. This 150-person group does HIV surveillance and analysis and partner notification and testing. I also run the HIV Epidemiology Laboratory, where we investigate special cases involving diagnostic dilemmas and variant strains such as HIV-2.”
Adene (Green) Wilson ’69
After graduation, Dee moved to New Haven where she studied violin with Syoko Aki and taught first grade. The following year she moved back to Poughkeepsie and began her 33-year career teaching first and third grades in the Spackenkill School District. She continued violin studies for a number of years and played freelance. In 1971 she married Richard Wilson with whom she has two children. After retirement, she created the annual arts festival at Vassar called Modfest, which is now in its 14th year. Modfest, which she continues to run, explores poetry, film, dance, literature, drama, music and art of the 20th and 21st centuries. It features teens from the area, Vassar students, faculty and alums, as well as guest artists. Dee has enjoyed the study at Vassar of Italian and German. She has picked up some Spanish in connection with her activities as tutor to students aged five to seventeen. Additionally, she has become expert in the inputting of musical scores, especially those of her husband.
Denise Dewart Carnell ’68
“Music has always been an integral part of my life, but never my profession. I did teach elementary music for one year, but did not enjoy it. I have studied with my Vassar teacher, Karen Ranung (known at Vassar as Karen McComb) since leaving Vassar and have been an active chorister and soloist with several organizations in the Albany, NY, area. I am a founding member of Albany Pro Musica and have appeared in leading roles in countless musicals with both professional and community theater organizations. My most prestigious (and fulfilling) affiliation has been with Glimmerglass Opera (now Glimmerglass Festival). I sang in the chorus and did comprimario roles for 27 years, allowing me to work with many of the top opera stage directors of the past 30 years. In 1970 I married Andrew Carnell. We have one son, Bradley (class of 1999) who is the manager of a “studio musician” business in Brooklyn.”
Valborg Gross ’68
Valborg Gross has been a violist in the Louisiana Philharmonic orchestra since 1994, after playing violin in the orchestra during its first two seasons. She has served as chair of the orchestra’s concert committee, secretary of the board of trustees, treasurer, and president of the organization. In addition to her work with the LPO, Val taught viola at Tulane University as an adjunct instructor from 1987 to 2010. In June 2006 she was honored to perform in the World Philharmonic Orchestra in Paris, France.
After graduation, Val earned a Master of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music, where she was a student of Lillian Fuchs. She was a member of the American Sinfonietta and performed with this chamber orchestra on four European tours and at the Bellingham Festival of Music from 1993s. Prior to moving to New Orleans, she was a member of the Florida Symphony, the Syracuse Symphony, the New Jersey Symphony, and was principal viola in the Orquesta Sinfónica de Maracaibo in Venezuela. She was a faculty member and performer at the Eastern Music Festival from 1987s and studied at the Aspen Music Festival and Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival.
She is married to Bob Gross, and they have two children, David and Elizabeth.
JoAn Kunselman ’68
“Since graduating from Vassar as a music major, I received an M.Mus. in Musicology (1974) from the University of Maryland, College Park, a PhD in Music History and Literature (1976) from LSU, Baton Rouge; and an MLS in Library Science (1974) from LSU, Baton Rouge.
As a full-time librarian 1974s, I held librarian positions that often included music responsibilities at University of California campuses (Riverside and UCLA) and California State University campuses (Fullerton and Los Angeles). Significantly, I was head of the five Fine Arts Libraries at UCLA (including the Music Library) 1985s, and University Librarian at Cal State Los Angeles 1990s. I was then a full-time professor of music, teaching music history, music appreciation, and ethnomusicology at Cal State Los Angeles 1993s. During those years I was at times the graduate advisor for the Music Department and was the major advisor for many music students’ masters’ theses or M.Mus. reports. Along the way I carried out research projects in music.
I’m now retired and sing and play in various local bands with friends focusing on Celtic, old-time, traditional jazz, and classic American popular music. I also have been working as an editor for oral history projects.”
Jane (Strong) O’Leary ’68
“I completed a PhD in music composition at Princeton University, taught at Swarthmore College for a year, then moved to Ireland in 1972, after marriage to an Irishman. My musical career in Ireland has had several different paths.
Teaching and lecturing: I have taught piano, music theory, music appreciation, arts administration, and more recently composition.
Performance: I continued a career involving piano performance but soon chose to focus on contemporary music. I founded the new music ensemble Concorde in Dublin in 1976 and have directed it for nearly 40 years. This remains at the heart of my life although I had to stop performing as pianist three years ago after a bout of cancer.
Composition: I continue to enjoy success as a composer. My music has been featured at ISCM World Music Days and has been performed at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. I enjoy writing for amazing friends and musicians around the world. In 1981 I was elected to Aosdána, an affiliation of distinguished creative artists in Ireland.
Concert Promotion: I was instrumental in establishing Music for Galway in 1981 and the Galway Music Residency in 2003. I have also served on the Arts Council of Ireland, the National Concert Hall, the Contemporary Music Centre, etc.”
Lynn Laitman Siebert ’67
“After Vassar, I earned a master’s in musicology (Rutgers, under Robert Moevs) and then a PhD in music/musicology (CUNY Graduate Center, dissertation on Cole Porter, under H. Wiley Hitchcock). A music professor for 30 years, I taught courses in history, theory, world music, musical theatre and jazz history, conducted a vocal chamber ensemble and performed as violin soloist and chamber musician. After 23 years on the board of Morris Arts (www.morrisarts.org — the countywide Arts Council), I joined its staff as Director of Arts Participation and Communications. My responsibilities, among others, include extensive artistic programming (for First Night Morris County — 89 performances in 25 venues on New Year’s Eve, a world music /dance series, and such), planning exhibitions for two art galleries as well as handling press, photography and media coverage. Still an active violinist and lecturer, I authored the lead essay in the 2012 monograph, The Eternal Woman (on the art of Lyanne Malamed) and have a chapter in the upcoming book, I Concentrate on You: A Cole Porter Companion, slated for 2016 publication. Our two children, a special funds attorney and a climate scientist, are also accomplished musicians (a violist and trumpeter/composer, respectively) and our two grandsons (6 and 8) are budding pianists.”
Martha “Mattie” Banzhaf ’65
“After Vassar I headed back to NYC, my hometown, as a graduate teaching assistant at Queens College, CUNY, pursuing an M. Mus. in music theory, which I never completed. Got married and spent four years as junior high/high school choral/classroom music teacher in Ledyard, CT, pre-casino. One year circumnavigating North America in a van. Four years in Rutland, VT, doing random music teaching including Womens’ Glee Club director at Dartmouth. Daughter born, moved to Hartford, CT, area. Son born. Church choir director at three churches (Unitarian and Congregational) totaling 37 years so far. Elementary school vocal/classroom music teacher 16 years. Two grandsons. Sang in several good choirs. Lead a madrigal sightsinging group, which is my most favorite and brings me back to my roots sightsinging madrigals with my dad’s group in the Bronx. Flying to Okinawa in two weeks for my son’s wedding where I’ll accompany my trumpeter son-in-law — Brahms!”
Nancy Kenny ’65
“I married within a year of graduation and moved to Oxford. There the early music movement had firmly taken hold, with the added difficulty for sopranos that the ideal sound for a soprano voice was thought to be that of a boy treble. I met Emma Kirkby at that time and wondered how someone with that voice could ever make a professional career. I had to find a coach for my voice of altogether a different style, which was not straightforward. Eventually I had some small-scale success, singing Dido, Alice Ford, the Mother in Amahl, and other operatic roles, as well as giving recitals. I enjoyed these, and usually included unfamiliar music, which, rather unexpectedly, frequently went down best of all with audiences. I also taught piano to the boys at New College School and had my own singing pupils.”
Margaret Aydelotte Mills ’55
“After graduation, having won the Frances Walker Piano Prize studying with Elizabeth Katzenellenbogen, I pursued piano in Freiburg, Germany, at the Hochschule für Musik. During that time, I performed extensively through Amerikahaus. Upon returning home, I studied at the New England Conservatory in Boston and received my master’s degree. While in Boston, I performed the MacDowell Piano Concerto with the Boston Pops under Arthur Fiedler.
Moving to New York City after marriage, I studied with Frank Sheridan at the Mannes College of Music. My concert debut in 1974 at Carnegie Recital Hall has been followed by recitals all over the United States as well as in Berlin, Munich, Paris, Rome and other European cities. Besides the Boston Pops I have been soloist with the Schenectady Symphony, the Fort Myers Symphony and the Fairfield Orchestra. I have been featured with the Fine Arts, Manhattan, Cassatt and Laurentian string quartets. I have recorded four solo CDs and two chamber music CDs.
As an educator, I chaired the piano department at the Third Street Music School Settlement in New York and managed their faculty concert series. Eight of my performances appear on YouTube. I plan to do another recording of American piano music. My website is www.margaretmills.com.”
Margot (Sheridan) Courtright ’51
“After graduation, I continued piano at Mannes in NYC with the distinguished pianist Frank Sheridan. Awarded a Fulbright for study in Germany in 1954, I married Sheridan instead and assisted him at Mannes and Barnard. MA from Hunter College in 1960. Thesis: analysis of Chopin’s use of keys by chronology, genre and musical idea. Concerts both solo and with orchestra. After Sheridan’s death (1962) joined board of directors Hunter College Opera Association. Was NYC critic for Chicago publication Musical Leader. Taught piano privately. Began concerts in 1972 on Cunard QE II including first world cruise (1975). Spent three years in London in 1980s, and still go for three months annually.
Other events: modeled barefoot in First International Harper’s Bazaar, photo by Avedon. Journalist (1987-9O) byline NY Post “How to Eat on $15 a Week.” Literature: all of Trollope, Dickens, Hardy, Scott, James, Dostoevsky, etc. plus novels, histories, biographies. Devoted to theater, especially in London. When my arthritic fingers give up, and eyes grow dim, I plan to investigate computers. Still too busy. My brother’s progeny are my greatest joy.”
Marjorie Fryxell ’50
After Vassar, Marjorie went to New York for piano study with Isabelle Vengerova. She took courses in theory and chamber music at Mannes and spent one season in a fill-in job at the Met as rehearsal accompanist. She earned her MA from Columbia Teachers College, worked in music therapy, and played in dance studios.
Back in her hometown of Schenectady, she taught at Schenectady Conservatory and gave some recitals. She took a job at WGBH in Boston writing lesson plans for school music programs and sometimes filling-in on WGBH-FM for BSO broadcasts. She taught piano at South End Music Settlement in Boston, was an accompanist for Chorus Pro Music under Alfred Nash Patterson, and worked toward degree in musicology at Harvard.
Marjorie met her husband, a GE chemist and cellist, in Lenox, MA, playing trios; the couple moved to Cincinnati where she taught for one year at girls’ school. She taught piano privately, coached singers, was staff accompanist at CCM, and performed many chamber music concerts and recitals with CCM voice faculty. She has three musical sons; one is violist in Cincinnati Symphony, married to CSO violinist, their son is cello student at Juilliard.
In 1990, Marjorie started a chamber music series in her house. They give two concerts a year.
Elizabeth Hiteshew ’50
“In the 65 years since I graduated from Vassar, music has continued to be a vitally important part of my life. Over the years, I have continued to study voice and to perform in a variety of choirs and choral groups. For the past eight years, I was a member of an exceptional choir, Angel City Chorale, here in Los Angeles, and have toured with them in Ireland. In April, 2014 I performed Christopher Tin‘s The Drop that Contained the Sea with the Chorale in Carnegie Hall. I retired from the Chorale in June 2014 on my 85th birthday. Without a doubt, my music education at Vassar continues to enrich my life and well-being!”
Marshall Barron ’48
After graduating from Vassar, Marshall received her M.Mus. from Teachers College at Columbia University. She taught violin classes in Bedford, and Mt. Kisco, NY, and became a member of the Tuesday Consort, performing early music in recitals, churches, nursing homes. She has been a violinist with the Greenwich Philharmonia. With a pianist, she has performed Bach, Brahms, Stravinsky, and Kreisler in recitals, churches, and nursing homes. Currently, she teaches at Neighborhood Music School in New Haven, CT. She has self-published about 50 books of music, mainly arrangements of English country dance tunes, which are used at Friday night dances. Marshall plays tenor viol twice weekly in an ensemble of gambas. Her teaching now is mainly focused on coaching ensembles of adults. Despite aging, she is still active.