November 2009

Dance | Drama | Music



To kick off the fall season of Works & Process at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, Keigwin + Company, which includes dancers Aaron Carr (BFA ’09) and Kristina Hanna (BFA ’09), and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet participated in “Steve Reich Interpreted.” For the performance, each company’s choreographer (Larry Keigwin and Peter Quanz, respectively) choreographed a dance to Steve Reich’s Double Sextet, offering his own interpretation of the piece. The event took place in September in the Peter B. Lewis Theater. 

Erica Furst (BFA ’08) and Kendrick Carter (’06), members of the Chase Brock Experience, performed in the company’s fall season in early October at the Abrons Arts Center in New York City. 

In October, Robert “Buddy” Valdez (BFA ’08) began working full time with Zvi Dance. He continues to do freelance work with Riedel Dance Theater, 360 Degree Dance Company, and Laura Ward/Octavia Cup Dance Theater.  

Timothy Emmett Lee Ward (BFA ’08), a company member of Douglas Dunn and Dancers, performed in the premiere of Cleave, a new work by Dunn. The performances, presented by Danspace project, took place at St. Mark’s Church in New York City in early October. 

Grasan Kingsberry (BFA ’03) was recently featured in several episodes of ABC’s All My Children and is currently performing in the new Broadway revival Finian’s Rainbow at the St. James Theater.

Minnesota Dance Theater, with company member Justin Leaf (BFA ’01), opened its 2009-10 season in September with a program featuring dance ranging from classical to contemporary to ballroom. The company’s next performances will take place November 5-8. All M.D.T. performances this season are being held at the Lab Theater in Minneapolis, with the exception of Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy (December 18-20), which will be performed in the State Theater. 

ODC/Dance, with member Annie Zivolich (BFA ’00), performed 24 Exposures, choreographed by Brenda Way, in October at the ninth annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Music Festival on the Porch Stage in Speedway Meadow in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. In January, ODC/Dance is scheduled to tour Southeast Asia, performing in Myanmar, Indonesia, and Thailand. 

The 2009 DanceNOW [NYC] Festival took place in September and October and included performances at three different venues in New York City. The festival featured John Heginbotham’s (BFA ’93) dance group with Brandon Cournay (BFA ’09), and TAKE Dance, founded by Takehiro Ueyama (Diploma ’95), with guest artist Amy Young (BFA ’96), at the Dance Theater Workshop. Gallim Dance, founded by Andrea Miller (BFA ’04), with company members Troy Ogilvie (BFA ’07), Caroline Fermin (BFA ’07), Arika Yamada (BFA ’09), and Evan Teitelbaum (BFA ’09), performed work at both FAB! Festival & Block Party and Duo Multicultural Arts Center in the East Village. 

Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal company members Jeremy Raia (BFA ’96), Robin Mathes (BFA ’01), Annie Shreffler (’07), and Karell Williams (BFA ’07) performed with the company in Noces, a work choreographed by Stijn Celis, during this season’s Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center. The festival included the Paul Taylor Dance Company, with Amy Young (BFA ’96), performing Offenbach Overtures; the Batsheva Dance Company, with Bobbi Smith (’06), performing Ohad Nahrin’s (’77) B/olero (from the work Project 5); and Elisa Clark (BFA ’01), John Heginbotham (BFA ’93), and Bradon McDonald (BFA ’97), with members of the Mark Morris Dance Group, performing Grand Duo. Fall for Dance ran from September 22 through October 3.

The Ringling International Arts Festival, which ran October 7-11 on the campus of the Ringling Museum of Art and Florida State University Center for the Performing Arts, featured OtherShore, founded by Brandi Norton (BFA ’96) and Sonja Kostich, performing The Snow Falls in the Winter. Also featured in the festival was Aszure Barton and Artists, including company members Kyle Robinson (BFA ’09), Stephan Laks (BFA ’03), Banning Roberts (BFA ’02), Andrew Murdock (BFA ’07), Collin Baja (BFA ’08), and Emily Oldak (BFA ’05), performing Busk, choreographed by Aszure Barton. 


Ranardo-Domeico Grays (’92), artistic director and choreographer for Visions Contemporary Ballet, presented Caught: 100 Dove in the BlakTino festival in October at the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance.


Adam Shankman (’85) has permanently joined So You Think You Can Dance as a third judge to sit alongside Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy. Shankman has been a guest judge on the show since 2007. So You Think You Can Dance airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays on the Fox network.


The Saeko Ichinohe (Diploma ’71) Dance Company offered a free community performance on Staten Island as part of a summer outreach educational program for students ages 9 to 18. The performance, which took place in August at the St. George Theater, was comprised of a Japanese folk tale performed to brisk music with colorful costumes. After the program, volunteers from the audience were invited to learn and experience the dance they had seen.


Elizabeth Weil Bergmann (BS ’60) taught at DanzFest in Cattolica, Italy, in July. In June she performed A Constant Thread, a piece she created with Christine Dakin for the 100th-year celebration of dance at the University of Michigan.



Brian J. Smith (Group 36) was featured on the cover of the September issue of SFX magazine for his work on the Syfy network’s television series Stargate Universe.

In October, David Adjmi (Playwrights ’03) was one of the inaugural recipients of the Steinberg Playwright Awards. The award, established by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, recognizes Adjmi as a promising new voice in theater. It comes with a $25,000 prize.

Arden Kelly (Group 32) appeared in the musical My Illustrious Wasteland at the ATA Chernuchin Theater in New York City in October. The show, written by Tod Kimbro and directed by Julia Granacki, was featured as part of the 2009 New York Musical Theater Festival.

Strand Releasing’s film Peter and Vandy, which features Tracie Thoms (Group 30) and Jessica Weixler (Group 32), premiered in October. The movie was written and directed by Jay DiPietro.


Damon Gupton (Group 28) made his Carnegie Hall conducting debut on October 7, leading the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra in a program that included music by Mozart, Piazzolla, Guido Gavilan, Tchaikovsky, J.S. Bach, and Michael Abels.

Opal Alladin (Group 25) can be seen in Ann Marie Healy’s new play What Once We Felt, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll. The production, LCT3’s first of the season, runs through November 21 at the Duke on 42nd Street in New York City. LCT3 is the arm of Lincoln Center Theater devoted to producing new works by emerging playwrights, directors, and designers. 

Laura Linney (Group 19) was featured in Image Entertainment’s film The Other Man. The film, directed by Richard Eyre and co-written by Eyre and Charles Wood, opened in September.


Tony Reilly (Group 5) can be seen as Nixon in Peter Morgan’s Frost/Nixon at Good Theater in Portland, Me. The production, directed by Brian P. Allen, runs through November 22.

John Michalski (Group 2) performed the role of Zeus in Homer’s Odyssey, an adaptation by Simon Armitage presented by Handcart Ensemble at the Green Room Theater in New York City. The production ran in early September and was reopened for a three-week run in October.

Charles E. Gerber (Group 1) appeared in Topsy Turvy Loves at Wings Theater in New York City through October 17. The musical, based on W.S. Gilbert’s play Engaged with songs by Gilbert and Sullivan, was adapted and directed by Robert Sickinger.



Igor Pikayzen (BM ’09, violin) won first prize in the fourth International Tadeusz Wronski Violin Competition in September in Warsaw. The competition, held every five years, is considered unique as it requires an all-solo violin program.

Jakub Ciupinski (MM ’08, composition) and Cristina Spinei (BM ’06, MM ’08, composition) founded the contemporary music ensemble Blind Ear Music in New York City in April. They have performed at the Gershwin Hotel, the World Technology Awards, and the Brooklyn Lyceum, and were recently featured in YouTube’s “Spotlight on Music” section.

In October, Augustin Hadelich (’07, violin) released his debut solo recording, Flying Solo, on Avie Records.

Ola Gjeilo (MM ’06, composition) has been appointed composer in residence with the Phoenix Chorale for the 2009-10 season.

In September, Sun Mei-Ting (DMA ’06, piano) and Koji Attwood (MM ’99, DMA ’05, piano) performed in the Cziffra Society’s all-transcription concert at the Yamaha Artist Services in New York City. Attwood performed his transcription of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony and Sun premiered his transcription of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite.

David Greilsammer (MM ’04, piano) has been appointed music director of L’Orchestre de Chambre de Genève for the 2010-11 through the 2012-13 seasons. He will also perform Mozart’s sonatas throughout Europe in 2010. His recording of Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 22 and 24 as conductor and pianist with the Suedama Ensemble will be released this fall by Naïve Records.

Matthew Garret (MM ’03, voice, Artist Diploma ’05, opera studies), Kent Tritle (BM ’85, organ, MM ’88, choral conducting and organ), and Jennifer Zetlan (MM ’06, voice, Artist Diploma ’09, opera studies) performed at the Church of St. Ignatius in New York City in October. The program included John Tavener’s Requiem and excerpts from The Veil of the Temple, Valentin Silvestrov’s Diptychon, and excerpts from Rachmaninoff’s Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.


Asako Hirabayashi (DMA ’98, harpsichord) won a 2009-10 McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians. She received $25,000 to support her performances and to release new recordings of her own compositions for harpsichord, including the award-winning Sonatina II for harpsichord. She was also awarded the American Composers Forum’s Subito grant to support her recordings. In May, she performed her work at the Olivet Congregational Church in St. Paul with the principal second violinist of the Minnesota Orchestra.

Eric Kutz (MM ’96, DMA ’02, violoncello) and Miko Kominami (BM ’95, MM ’96, piano), both faculty members at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, performed as the Murasaki Duo on October 1 in Noble Recital Hall in the Jenson-Noble Music Hall on the Luther campus. The recital featured Mariah Johnson’s Peccavi Duo as well as works by Ginastera, Piazzolla, and Schumann.

Ilya Finkelshteyn (BM ’95, violincello) was named the new principal cellist of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, beginning in the 2009-10 season.

In July, Helen Goldsby Qahhar (Certificate ’95, voice) made her Los Angeles Philharmonic debut in a concert performance of Porgy and Bess at the Hollywood Bowl.

Arianna Zukerman (BM ’95, voice) created an application for the iPhone and iTouch called myDiva. The application, which was released on October 1, allows users to send operatically sung insults.

Nikolaj Znaider (’93, violin) made a recording of the Elgar Violin Concerto on the same instrument that Fritz Kreisler played in the concerto’s 1910 premier. The recording will be released in January by RCA Red Seal/Sony Music. Znaider will tour the world throughout 2010, and will perform the Elgar Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Colin Davis, on November 10, the 100th anniversary of the concerto’s premier.


William Hagenah (BM ’89, clarinet) began Mozartlive, a project that combines comedy and music in order to inspire students to learn more about classical music. Hagenah is scheduled perform throughout New England, New York, and Europe in 2010. 

Sisters Jennifer Chun (BM ’87, violin) and Angela Chun (BM ’86, violin) will perform as a duo in the Orford Festival in Montreal this summer, presenting works by Leclair, Milhaud, Bartok, and Shostakovich. 

Joseph Szurly (BM ’85, MM ’86, tuba), marketing manager for Opening Day Entertainment Group and Canadian Brass, began a new distribution partnership with E1 Entertainment in September.

Peter Oundjian (BM, MM ’81, violin) returned as principal guest conductor with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for the 2009-10 season. In October, he conducted a concert titled “Oundjian & Mahler,” featuring Beethoven’s Overture to Fidelio, Wagner’s Prelude and “Liebestod” from Tristan und Isolde, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 7. 

Dmitry Rachmanov (BM ’81, MM ’82, piano) toured Taiwan and China in May and June. He gave master classes at Shanghai Conservatory, Shanghai Normal University, and Nanjing Art Institute, and also gave solo recitals at Beijing University and the Beijing Concert Hall. He presented a talk on Prokofiev’s “War Sonatas” for a graduate seminar at the National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei, gave a lecture on the four-hand piano music of Beethoven and his teachers at the Beijing National Center for the Performing Arts, and held a weeklong residency at the Beijing Central Music School. Rachmanov’s interview with the late Juilliard piano literature professor Joseph Bloch was featured in the July/August issue of International Piano magazine. In November, Rachmanov’s new album, Prokofiev: The War Sonatas, will be released by Vista Vera records in Moscow. 

Sara Davis Buechner (BM ’80, MM ’81, piano) will perform at Merkin Concert Hall on November 11, marking the 25th anniversary of her New York debut.

In October, Alexander Mishnaevski (’80, violin), principal violist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, performed with the orchestra in a program that included three pieces by Samuel Barber and Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote. The concert, led by D.S.O. music director Leonard Slatkin (BM ’67, orchestral conducting), featured pianist James Tocco and principal cellist Robert deMaine. 


Thomas Brown (MM ’79, piano) was a featured artist at the 10th Annual Lexington Bach Festival in Lexington, Mich. He performed Bach’s “Brandenburg” Concerto No. 5 and Beethoven’s Triple Concerto; conducted a master class for local organ students; and played continuo. As part of the festival’s 10th-anniversary celebration, the Lexington Arts Council released a new CD of some of Brown’s performances that had been recorded throughout the festival’s history. Brown was a founding player of the Lexington Bach Festival and has appeared there every year.

In September, Larry Bell (MM ’77, DMA ’82, composition) conducted the premiere of his fully staged two-act rock opera Holy Ghosts at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston. The libretto, by Andrea Olmstead, is based on the play by Romulus Linney, and the cast included 21 singers accompanied by a live electric ensemble. In July, Bell recorded piano miniatures by Vincent Persichetti for a Naxos release next year, and in June, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, conducted by Charles Ansbacher, released a recording of Bell’s work David and Old Ironsides, a piece for narrator and orchestra that was commissioned by the orchestra.

Bettina Covo (BM ’77, MM ’78, harpsichord) produced the CD The Complete Haydn Masses, which was released by Naxos in September.

Michael Lewin (BM ’77, MM ’78, piano) played recitals in June at London’s Wigmore Hall, Oxford University’s Codrington Library, and at Bargemusic, a floating concert hall located under the Brooklyn Bridge. In August, Lewin performed Rhapsody in Blue with the Boston Pops in Symphony Hall. His solo recording If I Were a Bird will be released in February 2010 by Dorian Sono Luminus.

Jordan Rudess (Pre-College ’74, College Division ’75, piano), keyboardist for the progressive rock band Dream Theater, was featured in an article on the front page of the September 9 issue of The San Francisco Chronicle for his use of the iPod Touch in his work with the band.

In October, Tokyo String Quartet members Kikuei Ikeda (’73, violin) and Kazuhide Isomura (’71, violin) performed Beethoven’s complete string quartets and a selection of sonatas composed between 1797 and 1802 at Kaufmann Concert Hall at the 92nd Street Y. Ikeda and Isomura appeared with fellow quartet members Martin Beaver and Clive Greensmith, and guest pianist Alon Goldstein. This is the Tokyo String Quartet’s fifth year as the 92nd Street Y’s quartet in residence.

In July, Mark Bernat (’72, double bass) was named performing arts coordinator for the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Sarah Levine Simon (’72, voice) performed in an all-Britten concert presented by Concerts Con Brio in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in October.

James Jeter (MM ’71) performed principal bassoon in the Festival Orchestra and Opera and taught 32 bassoon students at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan’s Manistee National Forest from July 13 to August 23. He was also featured in the Blue Lake Faculty Woodwind Quintet concert and master class at the University of Michigan in July, along with Danilo Mezzadri, flute; David Herbert, oboe; J.D. Parr, clarinet; and Allen French, horn. The program included works by Gyorgy Ligeti, Irving Fine, Jacques Ibert, and Arnold Running. In addition, Jeter performed principal bassoon for the Star Wars: In Concert national tour, from September 29 to October 29.

Naoyuki Miura (BM ’71, double bass), artistic director of the organization Music From Japan, will bring new performance programs to Merkin Concert Hall in New York City on February 20 and 21. The concerts will feature works by Sukeyasu Shiba, who specializes in Gagaku (a type of Japanese classical music), and recent works by Japanese composers.


In October, Joseph Smith (’68, piano) appeared in several concerts. For the In the Gardens of Spain series at Instituto Cervantes in New York City he performed Chabrier’s Habanera. Smith played Amy Beach’s Scottish Legend and Edvard Grieg’s Little Bird for a program titled “Jan Sporek’s 20th Anniversary of Artistic Work in the U.S.A.” at Carnegie Hall, and also was heard in “The Piano and Schumann,” part of the Manhattan School of Music’s Lives of the Piano series, where Smith played four pieces from Forest Scenes. He will give a lecture-recital on “Ireland in the Piano Repertoire” on November 18 at the American Irish Historical Society in New York City.

In September, Christina Britton Conroy (Pre-College ’67) was named author of the month by the Romance Writers of America New York City Chapter for her novel One Man’s Music.

In June, Yoav Talmi (’67, orchestral conducting) was awarded the title of officer of the national order of Quebec. Jean Charest, the premier of Quebec, honored Talmi at the opening concert of Talmi’s 11th season with the Quebec Symphony. The event made history as the first time the award recipient did not visit Parliament’s official hall before receiving the honor.

John Moses (BM ’65, MS ’66, clarinet) played in the film score composed by Marvin Hamlisch (Pre-College ’63) for The Informant!, released in theaters in September.


In September, Valerie Capers (BS ’59, MS ’61, piano) performed with the Valerie Capers Quintet with John Robinson, Earl Williams, Alan Givens, and Mark Marino at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.

Howard Aibel (BS ’58, MS ’59, piano) will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his New York Town Hall debut as the 1959 winner of the Naumburg Award with a performance of Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City on November 21. Aibel performed at Carnegie Hall in October in a concert that included several other artists. In addition, a recording of his 1984 recital at the 92nd Street Y, which featured performances of works by Barber and Schumann, was re-released by Impromptu Classics in September.

Joseph Leniado-Chira (’55, orchestral conducting) composed You Are My Love, a vocal and symphonic work that was premiered in July by the Tifereth Israel Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of David Amos, at Tifereth Israel Synagogue in San Diego. An additional performance took place in August in that city’s Gardens Park Concert Bowl.

Henry A. Grimes (’53, double bass) performed with Amiri Baraka at the Issue Project Room in Brooklyn in March, as part of the venue’s Littoral Reading Series exploring the intersection of music and language.

Paul Turok (’53, composition) composed Aspects of Lincoln and Liberty: Variations on an American Song, which was included on the two-disc set Abraham Lincoln Portraits, released by Naxos in February. The recording features the Nashville Symphony, conducted by Leonard Slatkin (BM ’67, orchestral conducting).

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