Alumni News

Dance | Drama | Music



In August, Adam H. Weinert (BFA ’08) presented his new work titled Smoke Signals at the Manor in Brooklyn. The piece featured dancers Logan Frances Kruger (BFA ’07), Roarke Menzies, Michelle Mola (BFA ’07), and current student Zack Winokur.

Belinda McGuire (BFA ’06) performs the Desert Island Project, a five-solo evening of three commissioned works by Kate Alton, Andrea Miller (BFA ’04) and Idan Sharabi (BFA ’06) and two by McGuire at 303 Bond Street, the Company XIV performance space in Brooklyn, on October 2-4, 9-11, and 16-18. The program will be repeated in Toronto, Canada, at the Winchester Theater November 5-9.

In July, Ariel Freedman (BFA ’05) taught a two-week workshop in the gaga technique and repertoire of Ohad Naharin (’77) at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York. Gaga, conceived by Naharin, which is, according to the Baryshnikov Arts Center Web site, an “evolving language of movement research designed to access an ever-expanding range of physicality through the imagery of sensation.” Freedman is in her second season with Naharin’s Batsheva Dance Company.

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, which includes Jubal Battisti (BFA ’04), Harumi Terayama (BFA ’06), and Kristen Weiser (BFA ’04), performed The Copier, an installation piece by Jill Johnson with original music by Christopher Poe, at Cedar Lake’s theater in New York in August. Johnson is a frequent guest teacher in the Dance Division and teaches improvisation to the second-year dancers this semester. Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet will tour Israel in October.

Andrea Miller’s (BFA ’04) Chanson will be performed by her company, Andrea Miller/Gallim Dance, at White Wave’s John Ryan Theater in Brooklyn as part of the 2008 DUMBO Dance Festival, on October 15, 16, 18, and 19.

Tiffany Vann (BFA ’04), Pablo Piantino (BFA ’99), Philip Colucci (BFA ’99), Laura Halm (BFA ’02), and Kevin Shannon (BFA ’07), members of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, appeared with the company at the Joyce Theater in New York in August. The program included Minus 16 by Ohad Naharin (’77).

Frances Chiaverini (BFA ’03), Stephan Laks (BFA ’03), and current second-year student Olivia Ancona were among the six dancers who performed in September in choreographer Luca Veggetti’s production of Iannis Xenakis’s opera Oresteia at Columbia University’s Miller Theater in New York. The opera also opened the Works and Process series at the Guggenheim Museum in September.

Grasan Kingsberry (BFA ’03) will tour the U.S. with The Color Purple as a member of the ensemble, from September through June 14, making stops in Texas, California, Oregon, Washington, Oklahoma, Michigan, Tennessee, Iowa, Ohio, Missouri, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

Elisa Clark (BFA ’01) received a Princess Grace Award for dance and choreography in October.

In July, Nicholas Villeneuve (’00) choreographed Photo Finish for an evening of dance at Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts Camp in Steamboat Springs, Colo. Dancers included current students Hanan Misko and Kelly Robotham. He choreographed the camp’s production of Sweeny Todd, featuring drama student Corey Hawkins (Group 40). Perry-Mansfield celebrated its 95th season this summer as the oldest continually run performing arts camp in the U.S. Juilliard dance faculty member Linda Kent (BS ’68) has directed the dance program at Perry-Mansfield for eight years.


In August, Jessica Lang’s (BFA ’97) The Calling, an excerpt from her acclaimed Splendid Isolation II, was performed by Ailey II as part of a performance series celebrating the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 50th anniversary. Lang’s “Conversation,” an excerpt from Sadako and the Thousand Cranes, was performed in August during the New York Summer School of the Arts program, as part of the faculty concert series at Skidmore College. Lang collaborated with visual artist Carlos Amorales on a piece for Cincinnati Ballet that premiered in September.

OtherShore Company, founded by Brandi Norton (BFA ’96) and Sonja Kostich, will have their premiere performances at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York, October 9-12. The program, with work by Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar of Big Dance Theater, Edwaard Liang and Stacy Matthew Spence, features Elizabeth Dement (BFA ’97). OtherShore was in residence at the Baryshnikov Arts Center for three weeks this past spring, during which some of the works on the program were developed.

In May, Vladimir Conde Reche (BFA ’95) received an M.F.A. in dance/choreography from the University of Iowa, where he had a teaching assistantship position in ballet and modern dance. His thesis, a work titled A Solemn Stillness Holds, was to an original score by doctoral student Christopher Gainey, with live performance by students of the university’s music department. While at Iowa, he created 13 new works and danced as a guest with the Quadcities Ballet. As of August, he is now assistant professor at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, teaching ballet, modern, and choreography.

Tony Powell (BFA ’95) created a new ballet for the Ailey School titled Deconstruction. Created for 16 dancers and set to the fifth movement of Steve Reich’s Sextet, the piece received its premiere in July at the Ailey Citigroup Theater in New York.

Nancy Bannon (BFA ’90) received a Works in Progress Award from the Princess Grace Foundation in October.


Pina Bausch (’60) and Sylvia Waters (BS ’62) will be honored at the 2008 Dance Magazine Awards in December.



Finn Wittrock (Group 37) and James Davis (Group 36) are currently appearing in an all-male production of Romeo and Juliet at the Shakespeare Theater Company in Washington. The production, directed by Michael Kahn (former director of the Drama Division), runs through October 12.

Group 35 members Erin Krakow and Clancy O’Connor appeared this summer in a production of George the Fourth by Michael T. Middleton, as part of the New York International Fringe Festival.

Michael Markham (Group 35) appeared in a production of The Corn Maiden, by Joyce Carol Oates, during the New York International Fringe Festival in August.

Kara Corthron (Playwrights ’05) has been named the winner of the Princess Grace Prize for a playwriting fellowship at New Dramatists in New York.

Patrick Heusinger (Group 33) joined the cast of the CW television series Gossip Girl in September.

Jeff Biehl (Group 32) appeared in Thomas Bradshaw’s new play Southern Promises at P.S. 122 in New York in September.

Craig Baldwin (Group 31) is currently appearing with Mandy Patinkin (Group 5) in Classic Stage Company’s production of The Tempest by William Shakespeare in New York. The production, directed by Brian Kulick, runs through October 12.

In August, Group 31 alumni Daniel Talbott, Samantha Soule, and Denis Butkus’s theater company Rising Phoenix Rep produced Too Much Memory, written by Keith Reddin and Meg Gibson (Group 11), as part of the New York International Fringe Festival. The production was directed by Gibson and was awarded one of the festival’s prizes for outstanding production of a play. Talbott also directed The Umbrella Plays by Stephanie Janssen, which also won a prize for outstanding production of a play.

In August, Sarah Grace Wilson (Group 31) appeared at the California Shakespeare Theater in Berkeley, in Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, adapted by Emily Mann and directed by Timothy Near.

In August, Beth Bartley (Group 29) appeared in a production of The Seven Little Foys by Chip Deffaa at the New York International Fringe Festival.

Glenn Howerton (Group 29) returned to FX in September on the comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a show he continues to write for, star in, and produce.


Stephen Belber’s (Playwrights ’96) newest play, Fault Lines, was performed at New York Stage and Film in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in August. The workshop was directed by David Schwimmer.

Philip Lehl (Group 19) has been named a resident company member at the Alley Theater in Houston, Tex.


In April, David Rainey (Group 16) appeared in Othello at the Alley Theater in Houston, Tex.


This summer, James Harper (Group 3) appeared in the West Coast premiere of The Accomplices by Bernard Weinraub at the Fountain Theater in Los Angeles.



Maciej Bosak (MM ’07, clarinet) performed the Mozart Clarinet Quintet during the Verbier Festival in Switzerland this summer, with violinists Xiao Ming Wang and Filip Fenrych, violist Carolyn Blackwell, and cellist Semiramis Costa. He also performed the Clarinet Duet by current clarinet student Uriel Vanchestein, with Vanchestein joining him in the European premiere of the work.

Mezzo-soprano Faith Sherman (Artist Diploma ’07, opera studies), debuted as Dorabella in Chautauqua Opera’s July production of Così fan tutte, directed by Jay Lesenger with Joseph Colaneri conducting. Sherman was a featured artist on the Sing for Hope concert in September at Houston Grand Opera’s Cullen Theater, benefiting Bering Omega Community H.I.V./AIDS Service. On Houston Grand Opera’s upcoming season, she will sing three performances as Beatrice in Berlioz’s Beatrice and Benedict (November 4, 5, and 7), conducted by Michael Hofstetter and directed by Robin Tebbutt. She shares the role with Joyce DiDonato, whom she will also cover for five performances.

Sarah Crocker (MM ’06, violin) joined the second violin section of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in August. Previously, she was in the first violin section of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Sarah Frisof (MM ’06, flute) won the $25,000 second prize in the National Flute Association’s Young Artist Competition in August.

Opera for Humanity, founded by Metropolitan Opera soprano Amy Shoremount-Obra (Artist Diploma ’05, opera studies), will present a concert version of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor at Symphony Space on October 23. Performers include Shoremount-Obra in the title role; Christina Henson (Pre-College, voice) is artistic director for this production. This is Opera for Humanity’s first season as an official 501(c)3 organization, whose benefit performances are dedicated to helping children around the world overcome poverty and disease.

In July, the Adam Birnbaum (Artist Diploma ’03, jazz studies) Trio was named as the recipient of a Chamber Music America Award for new works for its Suite for piano, bass, and drums based on poems from John Berryman’s 77 Dream Songs.

Joseph Bousso (MM ’02, orchestral conducting) was appointed conductor of the opera house in Weimar, Germany, in August and will serve a two-year contract. (He steps down from his posts as music director of the Hamburg Youth Orchestra and coach at the Hamburg State Opera House.) Projects for the 2008-09 season include performances of The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, Don Pasquale, William Tell, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, a children’s opera, and various symphonic concerts. This summer, Bousso was a conducting fellow (auditor) at the Tanglewood Music Center.

Spencer Myer (MM ’02, piano) earned the gold medal in the 20th annual New Orleans International Piano Competition in July. Along with a $20,000 prize, Myer will return to Roussel Hall for a solo recital in 2009, and will have a recital debut at Wigmore Hall in London. Myer, who also won the $1,000 prize in the competition for the best performance of a work by Debussy, will play concertos with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the Baton Rouge Symphony, and Acadiana Symphony. This season, he looks forward to debuts with the Knoxville, Tucson, and Wyoming Symphonies.

Fia Durrett (BM ’01, MM ’03, violin) has joined the Vega String Quartet, in residence at Emory University in Atlanta, as first violinist. The other Vega String Quartet members are violinist Jessica Wu, violist Yinzi Kong, and cellist Guang Wang. Durrett is also founder and music director of the new Fringe series in Atlanta.

Young-Ah Tak (BM ’01, piano) will perform a solo recital on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago on October 8, broadcast live on Chicago’s cable station, the LOOP, and on WFMT 98.7. In September, she performed on the South Nyack Recital Series in Nyack, N.Y. Her upcoming engagements include recitals at Ceramic Palace Hall in Seoul, Korea, and in Baltimore, Md., in November.


Jens Georg Bachmann (Advanced Certificate ’99, orchestral conducting) conducted two programs with the NDR Symphony (North German Radio Symphony Orchestra) in Hamburg, Germany, in May and July. He also conducted 10 performances of Weber’s Der Freischütz at the Stuttgart State Opera in June and July. In June, he conducted the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra in a concert featuring works by Haydn, Smetana, and Beethoven.

The second Magnum Opus commissioning project, funded by Kathryn Gould under the auspices of Meet the Composer, was announced in June. Commissioned works by five composers—Miguel del Aguila, Kenji Bunch (BM ’95, viola; MM ’97, viola and composition), Avner Dorman (DMA ’06, composition), Lowell Liebermann (BM ’82, MM ’84, DMA ’87, composition), and John Tavener—will each receive three performances by different North American orchestras through the 2009-10 season, each conducted by one of the five conductors who are also part of the project: JoAnn Falletta (MM ’83, DMA ’89, orchestral conducting), Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; Giancarlo Guerrero, Nashville Symphony; Jeffrey Kahane (’76, piano), Colorado Symphony Orchestra; Alexander Mickelthwate, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra; and Alasdair Neale, Marin Symphony.

In June, Jamée Ard (DMA ’94, voice) delivered a paper on Pauline Viardot at the 15th Biennial International Conference on 19th-Century Music in Dublin, Ireland.

Tomoko Kanamaru (Advanced Certificate ’94, piano) is featured on a new release from MSR Classics titled MirrorImage at the Opera, an album of opera duets and songs arranged for horn duo (Lisa Bontrager and Michelle Stebleton) and piano. Richard Price (’79, horn) was the producer/engineer for the album.

Stephen Gosling (BM ’93, MM ’94, DMA ’00, piano) and soprano Elizabeth Keusch were featured performing music by Oliver Knussen and Carole King in September as part of the tribute to Maurice Sendak at the 92nd Street Y in New York, hosted by the Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center.


Matt Haimovitz (Pre College ’87, cello) and pianist Geoffrey Burleson will perform on the Edward T. Cone Concert Series at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., on November 14 and 15.

The recipients of this year’s Opera News Awards were announced in August. Sopranos Natalie Dessay and Renée Fleming (’86, voice/opera), mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, baritone Sherrill Milnes, and composer John Adams will be presented with their awards in a ceremony at the Plaza Hotel in New York on November 16.

The Concerto per orchestra a pizzico by Victor Kioulaphides (MM ’86, double bass) was released in August on a CD titled Music for Mandolin Orchestra, performed by the Dutch ensemble Het Consort, on the Stemra label in the Netherlands.

Andrew Appel’s (DMA ’83, harpsichord) Four Nations Ensemble will present three concerts of 18th-century music this fall in great houses and barns in New York’s Hudson Valley. Ryan Brown (MM ’85, violin) and mezzo-soprano Stephanie Houtzeel (MM ’95, voice) will be featured as guest artists on the October 25 concert in a Dutch barn in Ancramdale, N.Y. Appel and his ensemble performed a program titled “The Austrian Fortepiano” (featuring sonatas, rondos, and trios by Mozart, Haydn, and C.P.E. and J.C. Bach) at the New-York Historical Society in June.

JoAnn Falletta (MM ’83, DMA ’89, orchestral conducting) is the host of the PBS special The Bernstein Celebration Concert, commemorating Leonard Bernstein’s historic performance on Christmas Day 1989 marking the fall of the Berlin Wall. The program will be broadcast from August through December on PBS stations nationwide.

Maria Larionoff (BM ’83, violin) has been named the David and Amy Fulton Concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony by the orchestra’s music director, Gerard Schwarz (BS ’72, MM ’90, trumpet). Larionoff became acting concertmaster in 2004 and was one of four concertmasters last season.

Sara Davis Buechner (BM ’80, MM ’81, piano) was chosen by Orchestra London (in Ontario, Canada) to kick off its 2008-09 concert season in September with performances of Mozart’s Concerto No. 24 in C minor and Concerto No. 26 in D Major. Buechner will be performing and recording all 24 of the Mozart Piano Concertos with Orchestra London over the next two years. Her recording for Koch International Classics featuring piano music by Bach-Busoni was released in September and features a live concerto performance with Maestro Bramwell Tovey and the Vancouver Symphony, recorded in October 2007 at the Chan Center in Vancouver, Canada.

Pianist William Ransom (BM ’80, MM ’81, piano) made his Italian debut with a recital in Siena in June. As artistic director of the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival, he welcomed members of the Eroica Trio—violinist Susie Park, Erika Nickrenz (BM ’85, MM ’86, piano) and Sara Sant’Ambrogio (’84, cello)—as well as Richard Stoltzman (’67, clarinet), Yasuo Watanabe (MM ’75, piano), violinist Cecylia Arzewsk, Miles Hoffman (MM ’77, viola), Chris Rex (’73, cello), John Kochanowski (’71, violin) and Connie Heard (BM ’78, MM ’79, violin) to the five-week festival in the mountains of western North Carolina during July and August.

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg’s (Diploma ’80, Professional Studies ’82, violin) fall season began in September with performances with the New Century Chamber Orchestra in Berkeley, San Francisco, San Rafael, and Palo Alto, Calif., and with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Loebel, at the Cannon Center for Performing Arts in Memphis, Tenn. Salerno-Sonnenberg will play the Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1 with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jahja Ling, October 10-12 and perform Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra in Costa Mesa, Calif., October 16-18.


A new piano trio by Kenneth Frazelle (BM ’78, composition), written for pianist Jeffrey Kahane (’76, piano), received its premiere in August at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Palo Alto, Calif., on the final concert of Music@Menlo’s series Music Now: Voices of Our Time. In addition to Kahane, the performers included Joseph Swensen (Diploma ’82, violin) and cellist David Finckel. Frazelle also participated in a pre-performance “Encounter” with Juilliard Dean and Provost Ara Guzelimian. The work is the first to be commissioned by Music@Menlo. A recording of Frazelle’s Blue Ridge Airs II has just been released on Pergola Recordings, performed by Paula Robison (BS ’63, flute).

In September, the Baltimore Symphony, conducted by Marin Alsop (BM ’77, MM ’78, violin), recorded Mark O’Connor’s Americana Symphony, “Variations on Appalachia Waltz” for OMAC records. Also in September, O’Connor performed and recorded his Concerto No. 6, “Old Brass,” at Harvard with the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Juilliard faculty member Joel Smirnoff (BM ’75, MM ’76, violin).

In July, Richard Justin Fields (BM ’74, MM ’75, piano) presented a program of solo, four-hand, and original piano music in Santa Maria Val Mustain, Switzerland, with Hungarian pianist Eva Szabo. The concert was part of an ongoing series they have recently been presenting throughout Switzerland and Germany.

Retired Metropolitan Opera baritone Ryan Edwards’s (’71, voice/opera) book The Verdi Baritone was released in September in a new paperback edition by Indiana University Press.

James Correnti (BM ’70, piano) has been appointed director of keyboard studies at Eastern University in Radnor, Pa.

Madeleine Forte (BM ’70, MS ’71, piano) was a performer at the Mu Phi Epsilon International Convention in Jacksonville, Fla., this summer. She was featured in a program of music by Olivier Messiaen, in a selection from Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus, with presenter Allen Forte.


In July, Christina Petrowska Quilico (BM ’68, MS ’69, piano) premiered works written for her by Ann Southam at the Sound Symposium in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. She premiered another work by Southam, written for her and dancer Terrill Maguire, in another July concert at the Sound Symposium. Both events were recorded for future broadcast.

Susan Alexander-Max (BS ’66, MS ’67, piano) and her ensemble, the Music Collection, can be heard on a recording of keyboard concertos by J.C. Bach and J.C.F. Bach that was released in August by Naxos. To launch this CD, the Music Collection perform at the Tudeley Festival in Tudeley, Kent, U.K., in September.


Uri Pianka (Diploma ’58, violin) and Jonathan Zak (’63, piano) just released a new CD of the two Bela Bartok Sonatas for Violin and Piano, on the Romeo Records label.

The first 12 rags from 24 Really Bad Rags for Piano by Aaron Blumenfeld (’54, composition) were performed by pianist Willis Hickox at a soiree concert at the pianist’s home in Alameda, Calif. in April.

Henry Grimes (’54, double bass) was among the performers in Hal Willner’s Bill Withers project, presented in August in the Prospect Park bandshell as part of the Celebrate Brooklyn Festival. Also in August, Grimes was part of the Symphony for Improvisers Double Quartet, performing at the Jazzfestival Saalfelden in Austria and in Sardinia, Italy, and performed at Fred Anderson’s Velvet Lounge in Chicago.

The songs of Max Reger will be presented on October 12 on the Con Brio series at Christ Church in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in honor of Donald Nold’s (BS ’51, MS ’52, piano) and Richard Mercier’s new book, The Songs of Max Reger, released by Scarecrow Press in April. Performing are soprano Sarah Levine Simon (’72, voice), bass-baritone Peter Ludwig (BS ’68, voice), tenor James Ruff, soprano Christine Howlett, mezzo-soprano Barbara Hardgrave, and soprano Shirley Perkins, with pianists Michael Golubov (BS ’67, piano), Ruthanne Schempf, Sylvia Buccelli, and Gregg Michalak. Faculty emeritus Frank Corsaro is the consultant for the project. More information is available from the Max Reger Foundation in New York City (

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