UPBEAT! eNewsletter Sept. 1, 2017

Director’s Letter


Welcome! I look forward to serving in my new role as Interim Director for the School of Music this year. I appreciate the support of my colleagues and I especially want to thank Ralph Lorenz, former Interim Director, and Dana Brown for their guidance during the transition.


We have three new tenure-track faculty with us, including Amitai Vardi, clarinet; Matt Holm, percussion; and Jungho Kim, orchestra. Joanna Patterson Zakany, viola, and Kristin Coen-Mishlan, music education, are also joining us for one-year appointments. We know that each new faculty member will make a difference in the lives of our students. Additionally, Tina Inks has been promoted to Administrative Assistant and Andrew Paa (MM, ’14) has joined us as the Marketing Assistant.


I am pleased to mention that School of Music facilities have been updated, too. We are now enjoying new energy-efficient and attractive windows. Other updates to our facilities include improved lighting in Ludwig Recital Hall and live-streaming technologies for events.


I look forward to renewing relationships and meeting new members of the School of Music family this year. Please join us for one of our events!



Jane Dressler

Interim Director


School of Music News


A New Class!

For the 2017-2018 academic year, we welcome a strong incoming class of both undergraduate and graduate students to the School of Music family from across the United States and abroad.


Distinguished Alumni and Faculty Award Nominations

Now in its second year, the College of the Arts and the School of Music seek nominations for the 2017 Distinguished Alumni and Faculty Awards. Free and open to the public, the induction ceremony of this year's recipients will be held on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, at 6 p.m. in the Center for the Visual Arts. Nominations are open to anyone and more information, including the nomination form, can be found here.


Outreach in Review

During the 2016-2017 academic year, the School of Music welcomed over 1,000 visitors to campus for audition days, All-Star Choir, Open House, All-Star Band and several other outreach events. We’re looking forward to hosting many more students this year!


Live Streaming

Due to a grant from the University Foundation to our Recording Services, we are now able to offer high-quality broadcasts of our concerts and events for FREE. A full schedule of broadcasts will be available here.


Faculty and Staff News


Theodore Albrecht (Musicology) has received another grant from the Vienna Oboe Society (Gesellschaft der Freunde der Wiener Oboe) to continue his research on orchestral musicians in Beethoven's time. He also published parts 1, 2 and 3 of "Two Contrabassoons and More: The Personnel in Beethoven's Orchestra for Symphonies No. 7 and 8 . . . (1813-1814)," both translated into German by Ernst Kobau. They appeared in the December, March and June editions of the “Wiener Oboenjournal.” The journal has an active readership of circa 450 orchestral musicians, on all instruments, worldwide.


Craig Adams (Sound Engineer) received a grant to support live video streaming for the School of Music’s Recording Services. The Kent State Foundation’s Board of Directors Grants Committee voted to fully fund this proposal in the amount of $20,843. Families of students and friends of the School of Music from out of the area will be able to enjoy our performances via live video. Concerts and other events will be streamed here.


Grammy-winning sound engineer Vance Powell is using custom-built audio processing devices created by Ian Anderson (Stark Campus). About the LFC-7 that Ian built for him, Powell comments: "The Landmine LFC-7 compressor is a great take on a classic piece of audio gear with many extras that set it apart from the rest. The EQ functions give me added control and that makes it suitable for more applications. The 2nd mode, with higher gain structure and added distortion, makes everything more interesting. Another excellent feature is The False Bypass mode, which allows me to use all of the character of the unit without compression. I've had great success using it on the insert of vocals and while tracking drums. The LFC-7 has proven to be a very useful tool for me and the build quality is superb.”


Chris Coles (Jazz) has been named a finalist in the 2017 Knight Arts Challenge. He is writing an “interdisciplinary, four-movement suite for jazz ensemble” inspired by the deaths of the nine members of the Emanual African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, June 17, 2015.


Of Tim Culver’s (Voice) performance as Basil Hallward in the ContemOpera’s performance of selections from “Dorian Gray” at Cleveland Public Theatre in June, Mike Telin of ClevelandClassical.com commented that “The performances of the six selections from Darryl Curry’s ‘Dorian Gray’ left you wanting to hear the entire opera. Johnson (Lord Henry Wotton) and tenor Timothy Culver (Basil Hallward) were superb during ‘You With Your Dull Brown Hair.’ Culver gave a magical performance of ‘Basil’s Secret’.” On that same concert, Culver performed Steven Mark Kohn’s arrangements of American folk songs “Ten Thousand Miles Away” and “The Farmer’s Curst Wife.”


Tim Culver was the tenor soloist in the Akron Symphony Orchestra's production of Mendelssohn's “Elijah” in May. Of the performance, Daniel Hathaway of Clevelandclassical.com wrote, "The other vocal duties fell to Elijah, baritone Brian Keith Johnson, and the other members of the fine quartet of soloists: soprano Kathryn Papa, mezzo-soprano Kim Lauritsen, and tenor Timothy Culver. All brought clear, vivid vocal tone and enunciation to their roles."


Tim Culver sang Verdi's “Requiem” with the Canton Symphony Orchestra in April. Of the performance, Tom Wachunas of ClevelandClassical.com wrote that, "The operatic nature of the work is such that the choir can be regarded as witnesses to, or commentators on the soloists, who are in turn presented as distinct characters on a journey to judgment day. All of the soloists, soprano Karen Foster, mezzo-soprano Kathryn Findlen, tenor Tim Culver, and bass Nathan Stark, were technically superb, and their singing was invested with heartrending, soaring urgency as well as palpable tenderness.”


Tim Culver was elected to a two-year term as the Vice President of the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing during their annual spring meeting in April.


Melissa Davis' (Voice) Nightingale Opera Theatre was invited by the Akron Children's Concert Society to give four performances of a truncated version of Engelbert Humperdinck's “Hansel and Gretel” at Akron's Civic Theatre. They performed in late April for 5,000 Akron City schoolchildren. Singers included Melissa Davis (Gretel), KSU alum Katie Fowler (Hansel), Lara Troyer (Mother/Sandman), and Tim Culver (Witch).


Mark DeMio (Bassoon) played with The Cleveland Orchestra on “Amériques” by Edgard Varèse at Severance Hall in May.


Jane Dressler (Voice) presented two adjudicated papers during the 16th International Willa Cather Seminar held at Duquesne University, June 11-17, 2017. The papers were titled “The Star System, Operas, and Critics: Willa Cather Reviews Opera in Pittsburgh” and “Lillian Nordica (1857-1914): The ‘Valiant Countrywoman’ who inspired Cather from Nebraska to Pittsburgh and Beyond.” She also moderated the panel “’Paul’s Case’, the opera,” a post-performance discussion about Gregory Spears’ 2013 opera based on Cather’s story. Panelist members included composer Gregory Spears, music critic Steve Smith, whose work is familiar to New York Times and Boston Globe readers, and tenor Jonathan Blalock, who created the role of Paul.


The Sir Arnold Bax Website published William B. Hannam's article "A 'Twist' in Sir Arnold Bax's Late Musical Output." The paper examines some of the background and history of Bax's score for the 1948 David Lean film "Oliver Twist," along with the reception of the music both with the film and separate from it. The article can be found here.


Jesse Leyva (Bands) and graduate assistant Malcolm Jones presented at the College Band Directors National Association national conference in Kansas City on Saturday, March 18. The presentation shared research about the success of grant initiatives that CBDNA has funded in efforts to diversify the collegiate wind band conducting career field. Leyva has served on the CBDNA Gender/Ethnic and Diversity Task Force committees the past four years.  


The Cleveland Chamber Choir, a professional ensemble of 32 voices under the direction of Scott MacPherson (Choral), received a review for their spring concert on May 13. Daniel Hathaway commented: “The Cleveland Chamber Choir does a masterful and professional job across the board in all repertoire, but they seem to especially enjoy wrapping their voices around challenging modern music.” The full text can be read here.


Adjunct faculty member and KSU Alum Ethan Miller received a very favorable review from ClevelandClassical.com for his CD, “Travel Notebook: Duende” (Centaur label). The CD includes a commissioned work by alum James Wilding, which the reviewer calls “spirited” and “riveting.” The review can be seen here.


The Thai Music Ensemble along with director Priwan Nanongkham (Ethnomusicology) performed at UCLA’s wai khru ceremony and conference March 11-12.  The event was held to highlight the restoration of the UCLA Thai music instrument collection donated in the 1960s by David Morton, the first American scholar of Thai music. The conference was supported by local Thai businesses and the Thai government, as well as UCLA, and was attended by well-over 300 hundred people from the area.


Meghan Naxer (Theory) presented at the first Pedagogy Into Practice conference, hosted by the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy. Meghan presented some of her research in a poster presentation, "Malleable Mindsets: Reshaping Undergraduate Music Theory Curricula.” This poster presentation focused on motivation in the music theory classroom, theoretical models for improving motivation and music theory ability, and it introduced research from mathematics pedagogy, video game design theory and educational psychology to the field of music theory pedagogy.


Meghan Naxer presented “Video Game Pedagogy: Addressing Motivation in Undergraduate Classrooms” at the Sixth Annual Conference on Video Game Music and Sound (AKA Ludomusicology 2017) at Bath Spa University on April 22nd. The paper outlined optimal learning environments, Deci & Ryan’s Self-Determination Theory (SDT), and Ryan and Rigby’s Player Experience of Need Satisfaction (PENS) in video games and how to apply video game implementations of these theories in our classrooms.


Mark Nowakowski’s (Music Technology, Stark) CD, “Blood, Forgotten—String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2,” was released through NAXOS on June 9 and later received an excellent review. The review can be viewed here


In June, Denise A. Seachrist, Dean and Chief Administrative Officer and Professor of Musicology-Ethnomusicology, presented "Snow Hill: In the Shadows of the Ephrata Cloister" at the 127th Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania German Society in Greencastle PA. Emeritus Professor of Musicology, W. Richard Shindle, was in attendance.


W. Richard Shindle (Musicology-Emeritus) received a Distinguished Humanitarian 2017 award from Marquis “Who’s Who Humanitarians.”


Janine Tiffe (Ethnomusicology) was honored as one of two recipients of the 2016-2017 Advisor Excellence Award from the Center for Student Involvement for her work with Asé Xpressions, the African dance student organization.


Amitai Vardi (Clarinet) performed the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the Blue Water Chamber Orchestra and a very favorable review appeared on ClevelandClassical.com. It can be read here.


Christopher Venesile (Music Education) conducted the OMEA District 4 (west suburbs of Cleveland) middle school Honors Choir at Avon Lake High School in March.


The Black Squirrel Winds, Kent State faculty wind quintet, received the following positive review in ClevelandClassical.com for their performance in the Music from the Western Reserve series March 12th. It can be read here.


Promotions and other news


Jay White (voice) has been promoted to the rank of Professor as a full-time non-tenure track faculty member.

Eve McPherson (Kent State at Trumbull) has been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor as a full-time non-tenure track faculty member.


Three School of Music faculty were awarded Professional Development Excellence Pool funds for their activities: Mel Fucci, Jennifer Johnstone and Christopher Venesile.


Current Student and Alumni News


On Sunday evening, June 10, The Cleveland Opera presented Puccini’s “La bohème” at the Ohio Theater in Playhouse Square. Alum Kyle Kelvington sang the role of Parpignol with the ClevandClassical.com review saying his performance “added to the excitement with a vivacious performance.” The orchestra, which the review called “exemplary," included many alumni, students and faculty/staff members from the School of Music: Hristo Popov, Andrew Paa, Alejandro Luengas, Aaron Fried, Bryan Thomas, and Josiah Dyck. The review can be seen here.


Carol Padgham Albrecht (Ph.D., Musicology-Ethnomusicology, 2008) has been promoted to full Professor of Music at the University of Idaho, effective Fall 2017. Her advisor at Kent State was Kazadi wa Mukuna.


Liz Carney (MM, ’15) was appointed as the Orchestra Personnel Assistant with The Cleveland Orchestra. We wish her well in the next step of her career!


Tiago Delgado (MM, ’17), a clarinet graduate student from Brazil, was featured in Kent State’s eInside. Read the complete story here.


Alumnus John DiCesare (BM, ’08; MM, ’10) won the principal tuba position with the Seattle Symphony. John also served as the tuba professor in the School of Music from 2012 until 2014, when he left to begin the principal tuba position in the Louisville Orchestra.  


Andy Keller, a Ph.D. Theory/Composition student of Frank Wiley, had his piece, “The Forgotten Child of Zeal,” presented by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony. Conducted by Musical Director Steven Smith on the Young and Emerging Composers Concert it was part of NEOSonicFest at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory.


Andrew Paa (MM, ’14) was appointed as the Marketing Assistant for the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music.


Rich Pellegrin (MA Music Theory 2006, thesis co-advised by Richard Devore and Ralph Lorenz), was appointed to a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of Music (Theory) at the University of Florida.


Ricardo Sepúlveda (MM and BM) was appointed as the new Director of the Kent/Blossom Music Festival.


Kent/Blossom Music Festival


Forty-two students from all over the world participated in this year’s Kent/Blossom Music Festival. Undergraduate and graduate students representing the countries of China, Colombia, Japan, Philippines, Singapore and the United States came together to from 38 different chamber music ensembles. We had 11 returning students from previous years. Also, 2 Kent State Students auditioned and were accepted into the program. Students performed a total of 9 chamber music concerts at Kent State’s Ludwig Recital Hall, the Hudson Library & Historical Society and Laurel Lake Retirement Community. A Kent/Blossom Music Festival Chamber Orchestra concert took place at Blossom Music Center under the direction of Charles Latshaw and students also performed Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9: “From the New World” in a side by side concert with The Cleveland Orchestra at the same concert.


Highlights of this past season included 4 faculty recitals by the Miami String Quartet with Steinway Artist, Spencer Myer; and performances by Kent State University faculty and Steinway Artist Jerry Wong joined by members of The Cleveland Orchestra Mark Kosower, Daniel McKelway, Richard King, Lembi Veskimets, Barrick Stees, Frank Rosenwein, Richard Weiss and guest artists Jee-Won Oh, Amelia D'arcy and Hyunsoon Whang.


In collaboration with the Kulas Foundation, Kent/Blossom Music Festival presented a special residency by virtuoso violinist Jennifer Koh as the Kulas Visiting Guest Artist. Jennifer’s residency included 2 masterclasses and a recital. 


School of Music Open House

Tuesday, November 7, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

See for yourself what makes the School of Music undeniably unique!

FREE. Open to students, parents and educators. Registration now open here.


Upcoming Events


Saturday, September 23, 7:30 p.m.

Vanguard Guest Artist Series: Bent Frequency

Ludwig Recital Hall


Sunday, September 24, 3 p.m.

Cleveland Chinese Music Ensemble

Ludwig Recital Hall


Sunday, October 1, 3 p.m.

Kent State University Orchestra $

Cartwright Auditorium

Starting Monday, September 11 you can purchase a subscription for all five concerts for $50 - a savings of 33% over single tickets! Please call the Performing Arts Box Office at 330-672-2787 (ARTS). The flyer can be downloaded here.


Sunday, October 8, 3:00 p.m.

Wind Ensemble/Symphony Band

Cartwright Auditorium


Saturday, October 14, 7:30 p.m.

New Music Series Concert I

Ludwig Recital Hall


Sunday, October 15, 5:00 p.m.

Kent Keyboard Series: Cahill Smith $

Ludwig Recital Hall


$ - There is a fee for this event.



$15 adults

$13 seniors and Kent State University faculty and staff

$10 groups of 10 or more patrons

$ 8 non-Kent State students and Kent Campus students ineligible for the Fee for Free

FREE full-time Kent Campus undergraduate students and those under 18


Tickets can be purchased in advance from the Performing Arts Box Office starting September 11, 2017 by calling 330-672-2787 (ARTS).


For a complete schedule of events and additional ticket information, please visit our website here.