LOLA, or Local Opera Local Artists, will present a free online concert featuring soprano Dr. Nicole Taylor (M.M., Music, 2006; D.M.A., Music, 2011) performing songs by Black Composers. Pianist Nikki Birdsong accompanies. The concert is at 4:30 p.m. CDT on June 5 on LOLA’s YouTube Channel.
Altin Sencalar to release his 3rd album as a leader on the New York City Record Label Outside in Music/Next Level.
Sencalar's (B.A., Jazz Studies, 2017) album features BSOM alumni Daniel Dufour, Dr. Utah Hamrick, and Dr. Pete Rodriguez along with esteemed saxophonist, Roxy Coss. Leaning heavily into elements from both sides of his unique heritage, Altin’s music finds a holistic synergy as he tastefully tailors Afro-Latin, Turkish, and Jazz musical traditions to create a sound both fresh and new to his listeners, and true to his diverse heritage. Reconnected will be available Friday August 27th, 2021.
Rachell Ellen Wong (B.M., Music, 2013), a rising star on both the historical performance and modern violin stages, was recently named concertmaster to the Seattle Baroque Orchestra. She was the recipient of a prestigious 2020 Avery Fisher Career Grant (the first baroque recipient in the respected program’s history) and Grand Prize winner of the inaugural Lillian and Maurice Barbash J.S. Bach Competition in 2019.
Diana Burgess (B.M., Strings and Harp, 2015) launched a solo career with the release of her debut album, You Run. The album contains 12 songs, all performed by Burgess, and is available on all music platforms. The title track was recently featured on NPR Music's All Songs Considered. Photo by Marshall Tidrick
In 2019, Dr. Marisa Ishikawa (M.M., Strings and Harp, 2017) became the second violinist of the Carpe Diem String Quartet, an internationally recognized string quartet based in Columbus, Ohio. On May 15, the quartet will be releasing An American Story, a project presented by PNC Arts Alive. The project is an interactive multimedia experience, with music composed and performed by Carpe Diem and animation created by Janet Antich. Ishikawa’s story follows her grandfather, the son of two Austrian immigrants, and will be available for viewing on-demand following its premiere. Photo by Janet Antich
Clifton Croomes becomes assistant director of bands at Louisiana State University
In 2020, Clifton Croomes (B.M., Music and Human Learning/Music Education, 2001) was appointed assistant director of bands at Louisiana State University. In 2019, Croomes was also appointed as music director and principal conductor of the Civic Orchestra of Baton Rouge. Photo by Angele Rosendahl
F. Mack Wood completes first year as associate director of bands at Illinois State University
F. Mack Wood (B.M., Music and Human Learning/Music Education, 2005) is completing his first year as the associate director of Bands and director of the Big Red Marching Machine at Illinois State University. Photo by Dr. Rachel E. Wood
Artina McCain (D.M.A., Piano, 2011) discusses new work and pandemic performances in a recent interview by the University of Memphis.
Kendra Friar (M.M., Music Education, 1999) was recently named Elementary Music Educator of the Year by the Oregon Music Educators Association for her Oregon teaching career, scholarship focusing on elementary general music and service to the profession. Friar has also published the first article in the three-part series, Scott Joplin: A Guide for Music Educators. The series is a collection of articles that provides K-12 teachers with an asset-based representation of Scott Joplin's life, artistic contributions and cultural impact. This will be the largest number of pages dedicated to Scott Joplin in any NAfME journal. Photo by Julie Metz
Jonathan and Joel Nesvadba co-produce album with Moby
Jonathan Nesvadba (B.A., Music, 2005) is releasing an album next month with electronic musical icon Moby. The album, Reprise, features orchestral versions of the singer’s best-known hits. Nesvadba co-produced the album, contributing sound engineering and backup vocals along with his twin brother, Joel (B.M., Music Studies, 2004). Work on the album started at the beginning of 2020 with recording sessions at the legendary EastWest Studios in Hollywood; the orchestra was tracked at East Connection Music Recording in Budapest, Hungary. After widespread lockdowns in March 2020, however, Nesvadba said the group tracked featured musicians in various home studios in Los Angeles.