Alumni News

Dance | Drama | Music



Delphina Parenti (BFA ’07) and Harumi Terayama (BFA ’06) performed at the Joyce Theater in New York in early February with City Dance Ensemble, in a program with works by Roger C. Jeffrey (BFA ’96), Kyra Jean Green (BFA’06), and Idan Sharabi (Diploma ’06).

Frances Chiaverini (BFA ’03) and William Issac (’96) performed with Armitage Gone! Dance at the Joyce Theater in January in Connoisseurs of Chaos, the last installment of Karole Armitage’s The Dream Trilogy (which began in 2004).


In January, Stephen Shropshire (BFA ’94) took over as artistic director for NND/Galili Dance in the Netherlands.

In October and November, Jeremy Raia (BFA 96) and Tony Bougiouris (BFA 02) performed the roles of the stepsisters in the production of Cinderella created by Stijn Celis for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens.

An evening of three New York premieres by Jessica Lang (BFA ’97) was presented by the Richmond Ballet at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College on March 1, as part of the World of Dance series. The works performed were To Familiar Spaces In Dream (2005), Women and the Sea: A Tribute to Will Barnet (2006), and La Belle Danse (2007, commissioned by Richmond Ballet for their 2007-08 season).


Dalienne Majors (BFA ’72) and Wilson Southerland (MM ’04, collaborative piano) collaborated for the second annual benefit performance of Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors at St. Augustine’s Church in Brooklyn in January. The performance featured volunteer singers and dancers from the Brooklyn community. Both currently work at the Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn; Southerland is choral accompanist and Majors is chair of K-12 dance.

Saeko IchinoheThe Saeko Ichinohe (Diploma ’71) Dance Company will celebrate its 38th anniversary season at the Ailey Citigroup Theater in New York on March 29 and 30. The program will include two world premieres (Ichinohe’s Transcending Traditions and Jeff Moen’s A Plastic Life), as well as a revival of a work by Ruth St. Denis restaged by Deborah Zall (’54), who will also perform as guest artist in Ichinohe’s Willow Tree.



In January, Noel Allain (Group 36) appeared at the Michael Weller Theater in the New York premiere of Abi Morgan’s play Tender, directed by Kevin O’Rourke. Allain was also seen in January on the NBC series Law and Order: SVU.

In April, Seth Numrich (Group 36) will appear in Seamus Heaney’s play The Cure at Troy, directed by Tina Landau, at the Seattle Repertory Theater.

Mike Markham (Group 35) made a guest appearance in January on the NBC series Law and Order.

Mary Rasmussen (Group 35) is appearing now in a new production of David Harrower’s play Blackbird in Coral Gables, Fla.

Serena Reeder (Group 34) can be seen opposite Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson in the Warner Brothers feature film The Bucket List, directed by Rob Reiner.

Rutina Wesley (Group 34) is starring in the Paramount Vantage feature film How She Move, directed by Ian Iqbal Rashid. (See the Q&A with Rutina.)

Gillian Jacobs (Group 33) latest independent film, Choke, was screened at Sundance in January. The Fox Searchlight film was written and directed by Clark Gregg.

Mahira Kakkar (Group 33) is performing in Ashland this spring in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s productions of Coriolanus, directed by Laird Williamson, and Our Town, directed by Chay Yew.

Benjamin Walker (Group 33) appeared in February in Los Angeles at the Mark Taper Forum’s Kirk Douglas Theater in Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, a new musical written and directed by Alex Timbers. The production will move Off-Broadway to the Public Theater next fall.

Jess Weixler (Group 32) stars in the Roadside Attractions independent film Teeth, written and directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein.

Tanya BarfieldTanya Barfield’s (Playwrights ’02) new play, Of Equal Measure, will have its premiere at the Mark Taper’s Kirk Douglas Theater in Los Angeles in June. The production will be directed by Leigh Silverman. (pictured)

In January, Lee Pace (Group 30) was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for lead performance in the ABC series Pushing Daisies.

Christopher Rivera (Group 30) is currently appearing in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Mark Rucker, at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Next month, Rivera will also appear in that theater’s production of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus.


Mike Doyle (Group 27) is appearing now Off-Off-Broadway at the Culture Project in Betrayed, a new play written by George Packer and directed by Pippin Parker.

Tom Story (Group 27) and Kevin Kell O’Donnell (Group 33) are appearing together now in a revival of Shaw’s Major Barbara, directed by Ethan McSweeny, at the Shakespeare Theater Company in Washington.

Group 23 classmates Danny Mastrogiorgio and Haynes Thigpen are appearing now in Colorado at the Denver Theater Center in the premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s play Our House, conceived with, and directed by, Daniel Fish.

Carrie PrestonCarrie Preston (Group 23) will appear in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona (scheduled for release next fall) and continues to be seen playing Felicity Huffman’s sister on the ABC series Desperate Housewives. Preston recently starred in the feature film Ready? OK!, written and directed by James Vasquez (Group 23). The film was executive produced by Daisy3 Pictures, a production company run by Preston with Vasquez and Mark Holmes. She is also featured in the Alan Ball series on HBO, True Blood.

Peter Jacobson (Group 20) can be seen in a recurring role on the Fox television series House M.D.

Laura Linney (Group 19) received an Academy Award nomination for best performance by an actress in a leading role for her work in the Fox Searchlight film The Savages. (See alumni Q&A.)


Bill Camp (Group 18) and David Aaron Baker (Group 19) can be seen together now Off-Broadway in the New York premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s play Dead Man’s Cell Phone, directed by Anne Bogart.

Kathleen McNenny (Group 17) can currently be seen in Three Travelers, a new play written by Richard Abrons and directed by Jay Broad at the Theater at St. Clement’s in New York City.

Wendell Pierce (Group 14) was nominated for a 2008 N.A.A.C.P. Image Award for his performance in the HBO television movie Life Support.

Bradley Whitford (Group 14) stars opposite Rupert Penry-Jones and Neve Campbell in the new BBC thriller Burn Up, which will be screened this year on BBC Two.

Kevin Spacey (Group 12), who is in the Warner Brothers feature film Fred Claus, directed by David Dobkin, and currently stars in the West End revival of David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow, will also be seen soon in the HBO movie Recount, directed by Jay Roach, about the 2000 U.S. presidential election. Spacey also produced the film.

Alan Gilmore (Group 11) and Jesse Perez (Group 29) are appearing now in Washington at the Shakespeare Theater Company in Argonautica, directed by Mary Zimmerman and adapted from her The Voyage of Jason and the Argonauts. The production will appear next at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, N.J., and at Berkeley Repertory in California.

Marek J. Cantor (Mary Johnson) (Group 10) is a producer for Roundabout Theater Company’s current Broadway production of The 39 Steps.

Val Kilmer (Group 10) starred in the CBS mini-series Comanche Moon, directed by Simon Wincer, which premiered in January.


Tony Abatemarco (Group 6) appeared opposite Harris Doran (Group 29) in February in the Pittsburgh Public Theater’s production of Amadeus, written by Peter Shaffer and directed by Ted Pappas.

Vivian Neuwirth (Group 3) was seen in the premiere of Brian F. Beatty’s play Rumors of War at the Beckman Theater in Manhattan in November. Neuwirth also performed recently in her new play, Lifeline, which was a semi-finalist in last year’s Samuel French One-Act Play Festival.

Charles E. Gerber (Group 1) conceived, adapted and directed Langston Hughes’s The Simple Stories for the Workshop Theater Company in New York in February.

In January, Kevin Kline (Group 1) won the Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance in the HBO film version of Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

Jed Sakren (Group 1) recently directed productions of Shakespeare’s The Taming of The Shrew, with Richard Baird and Kaitlin O’Neal, and Macbeth, for Southwest Shakespeare Company.



Michael Block (MM ’06, cello) performed with Mark O’Connor as a member of his Appalachian Waltz Trio at the Harvard Club in Manhattan in February.

Julia SakharovaJulia Sakharova (MM ’06, violin) was featured as soloist in the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Symphony, conducted by Timothy Hankewich, in November. She became a member of the Albany (N.Y.) Symphony Orchestra this season and is also on the faculty of the Newark School of the Arts.

The vocal quartet New York Polyphony—which includes countertenor Geoffrey Williams, tenor Geoffrey Silver, baritone Scott Dispensa (MM ’04, voice), and bass-baritone Craig Phillips—was presented by Early Music New York, directed by Frederick Renz, at St. James’ Church in February. The program included music by Bach and his three second cousins.

Alexander Hajek (BM ’04, MM ’06, voice) was featured in the Canadian Opera Company production of Janacek’s From the House of the Dead in Toronto in February.

Elizabeth Joy Roe (BM ’04, MM ’06, piano) and Greg Anderson (BM ’04, MM ’06, piano) released their debut album, Reimagine!, in January. The piano duo album, which features their own compositions and arrangements, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, and a bonus DVD of music videos, is available through CD Baby and Amazon.

Emily Taubl (Pre-College ’04, cello), currently a student at the Hartt School of Music in West Hartford, Conn., won first prize at the Van Rooy Competition for Musical Excellence at the Hartt School in November. Along with $10,000, Taubl was awarded an opportunity to perform with the Hartford Symphony in January. An article by Lary Bloom about Taubl and her family ran in The New York Times on December 9.

World premieres by Erica vonKleist (BM ’04, jazz studies), Frank Foster, and Kurt Bacher will be performed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, led by Juilliard faculty member Vincent Gardner, on March 13, 14, and 15, with guest vocalists Dennis Rowland and Marlena Shaw.

Soyeon LeeSoyeon Lee (BM ’01, MM ’03, Artist Diploma ’05, piano) performed a solo benefit “eco-concert” at Carnegie Hall in February titled “Reinvented,” featuring works that were reused, transcribed, or wholly revisited. The program included music by Albéniz, Prokofiev, Bach/Busoni, Ravel, and D.M.A. composition student Huang Ruo. For the concert, which benefited inner-city music programs, Lee wore a gown by designer Nina Valenti fashioned from recycled drink pouches gathered by students from schools across America.

Anna Polonsky (MM ’01, piano) will perform with cellist Efe Baltacigil at the Walter Reade Theater in New York on March 2 on the Sunday Morning Coffee Concerts series. The program will include works by Fauré and Beethoven.


Melissa Marse (’99, collaborative piano) performed with violinist Boris Kucharsky at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in January. The program included works by Brahms, Saint-Saëns, Suchon, and Aldridge.

Lera Auerbach’s (BM ’98, MM ’99, composition) song cycle Songs of No Return, commissioned by Köln Musik and based on poems by Sylvia Plath and by Auerbach, received its premiere in January in Germany by soprano Angela Denoke and pianist Roger Vignoles.

Excerpts from Jeanne, Justine Chen’s (BM ’98, MM ’00, violin; DMA ’05, composition) bio-opera based on Joan of Arc, was presented on the Serial Underground series at the Cornelia Street Café in January. Performers included soprano Jennifer Zetlan (MM ’06, voice), bass Matt Boehler (Artist Diploma ’06, opera studies), mezzo-soprano Alison Tupay (MM ’02, voice; Artist Diploma ’04, opera studies), tenor Donald Groves, baritone Giuseppe Spoletini, and pianist Eduard Laurel.

In November, Caren Levine (MM ’94, collaborative piano) performed on the Pro Arte series at the Center of Fine Arts in San Juan, Puerto Rico; at Spivey Hall in Atlanta; and in a gala performance at South Carolina State University in Spartanburg, honoring congressman James Clyburn. She performed at Harvard University in January. In April she will be performing at Avery Fisher Hall and in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Philip Glass’s Satyagraha. Levine has worked as a vocal coach/pianist for four summers at Marlboro and will be joining the music staff of the Wolf Trap Opera Company this summer.

Janice Martin (MM ’94, violin) presented her Fascinating Gershwin (A Gershwin Fantasy) at the APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters) conference at the Hilton in New York in January. The one-woman show (with a small band) showcases Martin’s violin, piano, voice, and dance talents.

Jeff ThayerSan Diego Symphony concertmaster Jeff Thayer (Pre-College ’94, violin) will direct the Music Academy of the West’s new Orchestra Leadership Program for advanced string players who aspire to become concertmasters or orchestra section leaders. The inaugural complement of fellows will start the program in June.

The Zéphyros Winds—whose member are flutist Jennifer Grim, clarinetist Marianne Gythfeldt, James Roe (MM ’92, oboe), Douglas Quint (MM ’94, bassoon), and Patrick Pridemore (’98, horn)—were presented on Merkin Concert Hall’s Tuesday Matinee series at the Kaufman Center in New York in February.

In January, Anne Akiko Meyers (Certificate ’90, violin) made appearances in San Francisco with the New Century Chamber Orchestra and in Los Angeles with the New West Symphony. In February, she performed with the Pacific Symphony in Los Angeles and returned to Poland to perform with the Warsaw Philharmonic.


Karen Becker (MM ’89, piano) traveled to Egypt in November and December, presenting a recital and conducting a master class at the American University in Cairo. Now in her third year as assistant professor of piano at SUNY-Plattsburgh, she presents a guest-artist recital series, Karen Becker and Friends, and conducts the Champlain Valley Oratorio Society.

A new CD titled Fantasy, an exploration of the repertoire for two violins featuring Angela Chun (BM ’86, violin) and Jennifer Chun (BM ’87, violin), was released by Harmonia Mundi in January. The recording includes works by Shostakovich, Martinu, Milhaud, and Isang Yun. Angela and Jennifer Chun are visiting music mentors and professors at the Royal Academy of Music in London. 

Ron Wasserman (MM ’85, double bass) premiered his arrangement of Astor Piazzolla’s Tango del Angel for jazz orchestra and violin in January at the Friends Meetinghouse in Manhattan.

In January, Naxos released a second disc of Kenneth Fuchs’s (MM ’83, DMA ’88, composition) orchestral and chamber works recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra. JoAnn Falletta (MM ’83, DMA ’89, orchestral conducting) conducts United Artists and Canticle to the Sun, a concerto for French horn composed especially for principal hornist Timothy Jones. The performers in three chamber works (Autumn Rhythm; Fire, Ice, and Summer Bronze; and Quiet in the Land, all published by E.B. Marks Music Company) hold principal positions in the L.S.O.

Stephen Hough (MM ’83, piano) performed Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Russian National Orchestra, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, in Avery Fisher Hall on Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series in February.

Katherine Thomas, a.k.a. the Great Kat (Diploma ’82, violin) was interviewed by Filippo Casaccia for the January issue of the Italian edition of Rolling Stone.

Sara Davis Buechner (MM ’81, piano) performed at the Phoenix Concert Hall in Osaka, Japan, in December and was invited to meet Tsuneaki Miyazaki, the owner of the baseball team Hanshin Tigers. A fan of Buechner’s performances, he made her an honorary member of the team. In February, Buechner performed with the Lexington Philharmonic in Kentucky and gave concerts in Hemet, Calif., and Redmond, Ore. This month, she performs at Festival Place in Alberta and at the University of Calgary. In April, she will perform at Town Hall in Seattle and at the Greenwich House Music School in New York.

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg (Diploma ’80, Professional Studies ’82, violin) has signed a three-year contract as music director of the New Century Chamber Orchestra in San Francisco, beginning with the 2008-09 season.


Garrick Ohlsson (BM ’71, piano) performed Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Russian National Orchestra, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, in Avery Fisher Hall on Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series in February.

Sandra Rivers (BS ’70, MS ’72, piano) performed as soloist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and with the Hamilton-Fairfield (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra in November.


The Cathedral Choral Society, conducted by J. Reilly Lewis (MS ’69, DMA ’77, organ), will present the world premiere of Dominick Argento’s Evensong: Of Love and Angels at Washington National Cathedral on March 2.

Stephen Schwartz (Pre-College ’64, piano) received three Academy Award nominations in January, all in the category of best song, for his work on the Disney movie Enchanted. The first act of Schwartz’s Séance on a Wet Afternoon, commissioned by Opera Santa Barbara and scheduled for its world premiere there in October 2009, was presented in a piano/vocal workshop by American Opera Projects in Brooklyn in January, featuring soprano Lauren Flanigan (’87, opera) in the role of Myra.


Kenneth Lane’s (’50, voice) “Heroes” concert for the New Life Expo will be presented at the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan on March 29. Wagnerian heldentenor Lane will sing and analyze 15 multidimensional heroes of opera, oratorio, and the Broadway musical, drawing from arias of each of the heroes—historical, biblical, fictional or mythological—that represent the essence of their personalities.

Alumni News Archives