Students can still gather virtually with their ensemble colleagues by enrolling in a Community Seminar (MUS 176 C). They meet weekly for 50 minutes and will cover a wide array of topics with some truly stellar guests. Everyone is welcome.

Jazz Orchestra

Fridays 3–4pm


Led by Professor Jeff Hellmer along with the jazz faculty, and open to all jazz studies majors, this seminar will include sessions on a variety of jazz topics. Presenters will include UT jazz faculty and distinguished guests.

Symphony Orchestra

Fridays 1–2pm


This seminar will focus on providing the most useful tools and information for the professional development of a diverse orchestral musician of today. Distinguished and world-renowned guest speakers will regularly join Professor Farkhad Khudyev to discuss musical topics such as leadership, entrepreneurship, collaboration, management, impactful performance, and sustainable creativity. In addition, the class will provide essential skills for the detailed and effective analysis of a musical score.

Concert Chorale

Fridays 12–1pm


Led by Dr. Suzanne Pence, this seminar will include sessions on repertoire selection, choral and vocal tone development, diversity in choral music, and the development of independent musical skills. Throughout the semester participants will be asked to share favorite pieces of choral music that will then culminate in a large and eclectic playlist to end the semester. Special guests will include:

  • Professor Farkhad Khudyev, who will lead us into a deeper understanding of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (now on the performance calendar for September 2021)
  • Dr. Andre Thomas and Dr. Craig Hella Johnson, who will each bring unique perspectives on choral music styles and practice
  • John Proft and Dr. Steven Brennfleck will present sessions on yoga for singers and the Alexander Technique that will offer beneficial mind and body experiences specific to the vocal artist

Wind Ensemble

Fridays 12–1pm


A number of distinguished guests will join Professor Jerry Junkin to discuss the following topics and more: 

  • Dealing with this challenging time as a music student
  • Coping with performance anxiety
  • Preparing for an orchestral/military band audition; life as a military band musician
  • Life as a free-lance Broadway musician
  • Life as a composer and Hollywood orchestrator
  • The work involved in breaking through the gender-based glass ceiling
  • Starting and maintaining a leadership role with non-profit organizations

Slated guests include:

  • Dr. Alaire Lowry, clinical psychologist (and musician)
  • Tage Larson, trumpet, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Col. Jason Fettig, Commander and conductor, United States Marine Band “The President’s Own”
  • Ian Weinberger, percussion performer, music director/conductor of Hamilton on Broadway
  • Joseph Alessi, principal Trombone, New York Philharmonic
  • Butler School professors Billy Hunter (trumpet), Marianne Gedigian (flute) and Omar Thomas (composition)
  • Anthony McGill, principal clarinet, New York Philharmonic
  • Weston Sprott, trombone, The MET
  • Alfred Watkins, Director of Bands, Lassiter High School in Atlanta, GA; founder, Minority Band Director’s Association
  • Dr. Mallory Thompson, director of bands, professor of music, coordinator of the conducting program at Northwestern University
  • Julie Giroux, composer
  • Damien Crutcher, founder, Crescendo Detroit
  • Eric Ripert, superstar chef, Michelin three star winning Le Bernardin in New York
  • Dr. Craig Hella Johnson, Music Director, Conspirare

Butler Opera Productions

Fridays 4–5pm


Framed in historical context, Dr. Tamara Sanikidze will explore such topics as the nuts and bolts of opera production, the tension between music and text, Black composers of opera, Zarzuela, underrepresented Latin American composers of opera and art song, female perspectives in art song, and opera in the United States. Guest speakers will include Prof. Sidney Outlaw, Dr. César Cañón, and Dr. Maureen Zoltek. 

Chamber Music

Fridays 12–1pm


In this seminar led by Professor William Fedkenheuer, you will have the opportunity to explore the ways musicians with high levels of training or with music degrees show up in the real world. The intent is to broaden your vision of what is possible for you in the future, and to help you build some of the skills needed to craft your career.

Through guest interviews, we will discover just how diverse the lifestyles and careers of musicians are, and how the unique lives they have built sustain them artistically and financially. We will examine stories of perseverance, and learn about all the ways artists are changing our world with the skills and mindsets they gained from their music training. How do artists show up in the real world? Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

Guest Panelist Schedule

August 28: Group discussion | Exploration

September 4: Isaac Thompson Vice President, Artistic Planning (violin), New York Philharmonic | BSoM Alum

September 11: Lauren Chipman CEO,  Chipman Design Architecture (viola) | LA Studio Musician, Star Wars, Toy Story 4 

September 18: Kim Kashkashian, Professor of Viola and Chamber Music | Soloist, Chamber Musician | New England Conservatory of Music | Artistic Director/Founder, Music For Food

September 25: Valerie Sim, Prion-Protein Folding Disease Researcher (violin), University of Alberta | Orchestra Borealis | La Folia Ensemble | TED Talks

October 2: Anthony McGill, Principal Clarinetist, New York Philharmonic | Artistic Administrator, Music Advancement Program, The Juilliard School | #taketwoknees

October 9: Group discussion | Exploration

October 16: Ben Summers, Microsoft Team Leader (piano)

October 23: John Zion, Managing Director, MKI Artists (violin) | Co-Founder,

October 30: Augustin Hadelich, International Violin Soloist

November 6: Scott Reed, President and CEO (vocalist), Music Academy of the West

November 13: Thomas Novak, Vice President and Provost (Bassoon), New England Conservatory of Music

November 20: TBD

December 4: Group discussion | Exploration | Potential Surprise Guest!