A native of Philadelphia, sophomore Davey Hiester attended the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute this past summer, performing works such as Mahler’s 4th and Brahms’ 1st Symphonies. In March 2019, he performed in a side-by-side concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and has conducted several concerts in the past year of the Center City Chamber Orchestra for which he is music director, co-founder, president, and bassoonist. In 2019, he was also a conducting fellow at the Philadelphia International Music Festival.
Senior Katia Osorio is the co-founder and managing director of Exposure TV, exposuretv.org, a video project that highlights music by composers of marginalized identities while capturing the stories of the unique artists behind the performances. After winning the 2018-2019 Richard E. Rainwater Grant for Innovation award, Exposure officially launched June 1, 2019. She is also founder of the Butler School’s annual Hispanic Heritage Month Concert, having presented the second annual event on October 5, 2019.
Karen Stephenson, a senior in bassoon performance, attended the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina, for five weeks in the summer of 2019. She performed as principal bassoonist on Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 under the direction of Maestro Gerard Schwartz, as well as Sibelius’ 2nd Symphony, Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, and Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration, and Don Quixote.
Alex Amsel (BM 2014) was appointed conducting fellow for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra for the 2019-2021 seasons, where he will lead the orchestra in a variety of concerts and work closely with Miguel Harth-Bedoya and Robert Spano. For the summer of 2019, Amsel was selected as the assistant conductor for the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, Colorado, where he performed with the orchestra in multiple subscription concerts. Other recent engagements include assistant conductor and choir master for the Peabody Conservatory Symphonies and Opera, and faculty conductor for the Philadelphia International Music Festival. Amsel was chosen as the winner of the Miami Music Festival Conducting Competition and led the Miami Music Festival Orchestra in concert at the New World Center. Amsel holds a MM in Orchestral Conducting, studying under the tutelage of Marin Alsop at the Peabody Conservatory.
Since graduating, Jonathan Castillo (MM 2017) has been the principal bassoonist of the Mid-Texas Symphony, second bassoonist of the Shreveport Symphony, and minister of music and outreach at University Baptist Church in Austin. He has appeared with the Victoria, Corpus Christi, Waco, Austin, and San Antonio symphonies, as well as the Hot Springs Music Festival. In addition to performing, Castillo is passionate about education and teaches in north Austin area. When he is not playing bassoon, he coaches indoor cycling classes and is a certified personal trainer.
Katie Clark (BM 2013) joined the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa / U.S. 6th Fleet Band as bassoonist and a member of the touring wind quintet last year, and is residing in Italy
Rian Craypo (BM 2004), principal bassoonist of the Houston Symphony since 2007, published "The Banana of Life: Peeling Away the Mysteries of Reed Making for the Bassoon" in 2017, and video recorded several episodes of “The Herzberg Kamins Reed Making Method”, available on Professor Kristin Wolfe Jensen’s YouTube channel.
Adam Drake (MM 2017) was recently awarded the positions of second bassoon with the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra and second bassoon with the Symphony of South Texas. As bassoonist and executive director for prismatx ensemble, he enjoys creating multi-sensory concerts and art experiences. A promoter of classical music of all kinds, he collaborates with the Austin Center for Music Therapy’s “Movement Tracks Project,” and is also a board member for the community-based Austin Civic Orchestra. He teaches a studio of private students in Austin as well.
Nicole Haywood (BM 2014), was appointed acting second bassoon of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, and instructor of bassoon at Lewis and Clark College in 2019, which compliment her ongoing appointment as assistant principal and second bassoon with the renowned Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra. She served a one-year position with the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra 2018-2019.
Rebekah Heller (MM 2004) is the new executive director of the renowned International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) in addition to her performances with the ensemble as a world-class bassoonist. In the fall of 2019, she was appointed to the faculty at the Mannes School of Music. She has soloed with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and played at some of the world's most prestigious music festivals, including the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Lincoln Center Festival, the Darmstadt International Summer Courses. In the summer of 2013, she released her first solo album, 100 Names, featuring 6 cutting edge, new pieces with never before heard extended techniques for bassoon.
Dr. Nathan Koch (MM 2009, DMA 2011) is the new assistant professor of bassoon at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, leaving his tenured position at Sam Houston State University where he taught since 2012, and performed with the Houston Grand Opera and the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra.
In addition to serving as associate professor of bassoon at The University of Alabama, Dr. Jenny Mann (MM 2000, DMA 2008) is and principal assoonist and executive director of the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra where she has increased the budget by 33%, enabling the addition of ten positions in the orchestra. She is the author of the new hybrid teaching resource "Teaching Woodwinds: Bassoon" published by Mountain Peak Music.
Midori Samson (MM 2016) is second bassoon in the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, principal bassoon in the Beloit-Janesville Symphony, lecturer of bassoon at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, and founder and bassoonist of Trade Wind Ensemble, an innovative wind quintet dedicated to sharing music and education around the world. In June 2019, Trade Winds Ensemble partnered with the Ruth Ellis Center (a short and long-term residential safe space providing support services for homeless and at-risk LGBTQ youth) to provide workshops centered around creativity, wellness, and self-expression. Upon meeting the youth at Ruth Ellis, it became apparent that dance was a key element in how they expressed themselves. The classes invited students to use interpretive dance as a compositional technique in both soundpainting and graphic notation activities. In addition, the group gave free, family-friendly interactive concerts at local libraries in the Detroit area. Their 2018 project provided similar activities during a 3 week residency in Haiti.
Amanda Swain (BM 2009) was appointed instructor of bassoon at Sam Houston State University in the fall of 2019, which will compliment her activities as the principal bassoonist of the Houston Grand Opera, and second bassoonist in the Houston Ballet where she has performed since 2012. She is very active serving the profession as the Vice President of the Regional Orchestra Players' Association, member of the Executive Board of the Houston local musician’s union, and chairing the Houston Ballet Orchestra Committee. She also chaired both the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet Orchestra negotiating committees this past season.
Lecolion Washington, Jr. (BM 1999) was appointed executive director of the Community Music Center of Boston in 2017. Previously, he served as associate professor of bassoon at the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis, bassoonist of the Memphis Woodwind Quintet, founder and director of the Prizm Festival, and director of in-school programs with the Memphis Music Initiative where he led the creation and implementation of a teaching artist program that reached approximately 4,000 Memphis youth weekly. In 2015, he was named by the Memphis Business Journal as one of the Top 40 Under 40. Washington has performed extensively as an orchestral, chamber, and solo musician, and serves on the Chamber Music America Board.
Anthony Adario (MM 2019) is the new principal bassoon of the Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Arlington, and the Garland Symphony Orchestra, and is maintaining a private teaching studio of middle and high school students throughout the Dallas area.
Following completion of his master’s of music degree from the Yale School of Music last spring, Ethan Lippert (BM 2017) is the Morse Postgraduate Fellow for the Music In Schools Initiative, a partnership between the Yale School of Music and New Haven Public Schools, for the 2019-2020 academic year. He teaches woodwind instruments and runs an after-school workshop designed to prepare students for placement in New Haven's All-City honors ensembles.
Laura Miller (BM 2009, MM 2012) is performing on classical and baroque bassoons in Europe with Concerto München, Accademia di Monaco, Concerto de Bassus, and Ensemble Cordia; she has recorded for the Naxos label.