Associate Professor, Theatre, Directing & Dramaturgy
Director, Curb Center for Art, Enterprise & Public Policy
Leah Lowe earned her undergraduate studies in theater and religion at Oberlin College. She went on to earn her MFA in directing at the University of Minnesota doctorate and completed a certificate in women’s studies at Florida State University. Professor Lowe joined Vanderbilt in 2011. Since that time she has raised the bar on innovative student productions, while serving as Theatre’s department chair for a total of seven years. She received the Jeffrey Nordhaus Award for Undergraduate Teaching in the Humanities in 2018 and served as 2021-2022 interim director of the American Studies program.
On campus, Professor Lowe spearheaded the Plays from the Pandemic project, which commissioned and produced plays with themes inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, she led the committee of faculty and students who selected the plays from diverse and emerging playwrights, and she directed two of the shows: Wingman Telegram and To Stab a Butterfly Through the Heart, or Vladimir Nabokov on a Westbound Train.
In the Nashville community, she has directed several plays for Actors Bridge Ensemble, including Tiny Beautiful Things last April, and the Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s upcoming production of Cymbeline. She was a co-collaborator and directed the world premiere of Sloppy Bonnie: A Roadkill Musical for the Modern Chick at OZ Arts Nashville in spring 2021.
As Curb’s Director, her oversight of all center activities ensures that the center is engaging in work to fulfill its guiding mission. She will continue to teach in the theatre department while exploring how the Curb Center can develop trans-institutional programming which sees Curb partnering with groups on campus and in the community to advance creativity.
Ji Hye Jung will serve as Curb’s Associate Director from August-December 2022.
Professor Jung completed a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, both under the tutelage of Robert van Sice. As an artist endorser, she proudly represents Pearl/Adams instruments, Vic Firth sticks and mallets, and Zildjian cymbals.
In 2015, Jung was named Associate Professor of Percussion at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. She previously served as Associate Professor of Percussion at the University of Kansas for six years. An active educator and clinician, Jung has presented master classes at the Curtis Institute, the Peabody Conservatory, Rice University, Beijing’s Central Conservatory, and the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, Poland.
With percussion repertoire still in its formative stages, Jung feels strongly about collaborating with composers to further the creation of a new voice for the art form. She has commissioned and premiered works by several important composers, including Kevin Puts, Alejandro Viñao, Paul Lansky, John Serry, Lukas Ligeti, and Jason Treuting. In 2013, she made the premiere recording of Michael Torke’s marimba concerto Mojave, and in 2014 recorded Phillip Glass’ Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra for the Naxos label.
Associate Professor of Flute
Associate Director, Curb Center for Art, Enterprise & Public Policy
Molly Barth will serve as Curb’s Associate Director beginning January 2023.
Professor Barth is a Grammy Award-winning flutist, professor and clinician who moves effortlessly from concert hall to teaching studio to rehearsal room to orchestral section. She has been described as a “ferociously talented” performer (The Oregonian) whose performances are always concentrated and intense. She has premiered hundreds of pieces, finding the creation of new music uplifting and miraculous. She was awarded first prize at the 1998 Concert Artists Guild International Competition and received the 2000 Naumburg Chamber Music Award. As a founding member of new music sextet Eighth Blackbird, Barth won the 2007 Best Chamber Music Performance Grammy.
As an associate professor of flute at the Blair School, and she guides her students to become comprehensive flutists. She gets her teaching inspiration from her stellar teachers at Oberlin, the Cincinnati Conservatory, and Northwestern.
WILNA JULMISTE TAYLOR
Assistant Director, Curb Center for Art, Enterprise & Public Policy
Visiting Artist, Department of Theatre
Wilna Julmiste Taylor is an actor, writer, producer, and art administrator. She is an alumna of the Negro Ensemble Company in New York. She also studied acting at Rutgers University, The Wilma Theater, and the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Rutgers University, a Master of Science in Arts Administration from Drexel University and a Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University. She is a MOSAIC Change Maker Fellow, a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and the Leeway Foundation Art & Change grant. She is an award-winning film maker; her work has been presented nationally and internationally at several festivals. Wilna’s work has also been published in the 25th anniversary volume of The Caribbean Writer where the editor stated that her writing “resonated” and she was noted as an “emerging Haitian-American voice”.
Ms. Taylor oversees all aspects of the Curb Scholars Program in Creative Enterprise and Public Leadership, which provides selected undergraduate students with year-long programming designed to support a creative practice and to foster broad creative competencies through the integration of socially engaged art, innovation, and public engagement on campus and beyond.
She also leads the Creative Campus Initiative, which provides resources to faculty, students, staff, and members of the Nashville community to engage in creative experiences and collaborations. This includes developing and managing an arts administration incubator, bringing artists, entrepreneurs, emerging creatives on campus, and supporting projects that center arts and culture through the center’s Creative Catalyst awards and co-directing the Racial Equity in Arts Leadership (REAL) program with Metro Arts.
REYNA L. GORDON, Ph.D.
Curb Research Fellow
Director, Music Cognition Lab
Associate Professor, Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery
Dr. Gordon is the Principal Investigator for two NIH and one NSF grants, including the prestigious NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. She and a career development award, and co-founded the Program for Music, Mind & Science at Vanderbilt. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has designated the Program for Music, Mind and Society at Vanderbilt as a 2018 National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab for its focus on the arts, health and socio-emotional well-being in families of children with and without autism spectrum disorder.
She is also the director of the Music Cognition Lab, which has offices and research observation space at the center. The lab is focused on the relationship between music, language, and social development. Lab members come from diverse areas across campus, including neuroscience, psychology, education, audiology, speech-language pathology, medicine, music, and engineering. They employ a variety of behavioral and physiological methods, including electroencephalography, eye-tracking, speech analysis, neuroimaging, genetics, behavioral coding, and various standardized and experimental assessment measures in their work.
MIRIAM LENSE, Ph.D.
Curb Research Fellow
Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology
Director, Music Cognition Lab
Dr. Lense joined the Curb Center as a research fellow in 2016. She completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral training at the Marcus Autism Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine.
Dr. Lense leads the Music, Social Engagement, and Development (M-SED) workgroup at the Vanderbilt Music Cognition Lab. Her research and clinical work focuses on infants, children, and adults with or at-risk for developmental disabilities, with a particular emphasis on autism spectrum disorder and Williams syndrome. Her lab explores the development of rhythmic entertainment in the first years of life, relationships between rhythm and social communication/engagement, musical engagement experiences in individuals with and without developmental disorders, and relationships between music and sensory processing.
In addition, Dr. Lense serves as the Principal Investigator for National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) grant where her group is exploring how infants and young children respond to the ways parents sing or talk to them. In particular, they will consider infants who are at a higher risk of developing autism because they have an older sibling on the spectrum.
2022-2023 Curb Creative Writing Fellow
Lily Someson is a poet and essayist from Chicago. She previously studied poetry at Columbia College Chicago and is a winner of the 2020 Eileen Lannan poetry prize with the American Academy of Poets. She has read at the Poetry Foundation’s Open Door Reading Series and has also been published/is forthcoming in Court Green, Queeriosity (Young Chicago Authors), Columbia Poetry Review, Underblong, and iScream Social Anthology among others. She is currently a second-year MFA student at Vanderbilt University and an assistant poetry editor of the Nashville Review.
While she is at Curb, Ms. Someson will assist Ms. Taylor with all Curb Scholar programming, lead the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center Survivors Writing Workshop Series, and work on short story collection.
Senior Administrative Manager
Ms. Kane oversees all administrative tasks related to Curb’s mission, provides project management expertise to Public Policy Scholars and Creative Catalyst awardees, guides the weekly undergraduate Salon, and works with the local community to curate and execute Curb’s fine art exhibitions.
After earning her BS in Design from Drexel University Ms. Kane worked in the Philadelphia, Miami, and Los Angeles creative communities before arriving in Nashville. She is a graphic artist, writer, and painter who enjoys working with creatives of all ages to explore how creative expression can be used to effect change for the greater good, and how art itself is changing in the digital age.