Joe Rea Phillips, senior artist teacher of guitar, and Michael Alec Rose, associate professor of composition, were honored for 25 years of service to Blair this fall.
This spring the Blakemore Trio (Carolyn Huebl, violin; Felix Wang, cello; and Amy Dorfman, piano) presented concerts in North Carolina at UNCG-Greensboro and Brevard, and Martin Methodist College in Tennessee. Repertoire of concerts this season included collaborations with violists Kathryn Plummer and Scott Rawls celebrating Schumann’s 200th birthday, as well as contemporary works by David Sanford, Shulamit Ran, and a world premiere of Michael Alec Rose’s piano quartet, Burlesques Before the Ark, also with Plummer.
Gregory Barz, associate professor of musicology (ethnomusicology), recently published The Culture of AIDS in Africa: Hope and Healing Through Music and the Arts. He served as program chair for the annual meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology. He was elected treasurer of the Society for Ethnomusicology and sits on the board of directors. He spent the summer conducting research on music HIV/AIDS in South Africa where he will continue his field research for the next few years. His documentary film, Inanga: A Song of Survival in a Daughter’s Rwanda, on music after the genocide in Rwanda, was recently released.
Joy Calico, associate professor of musicology, presented her Schoenberg research on the Lyceum Lecture Series at Baylor University and at the “Jewish Music and Germany after the Holocaust” conference at Dickinson College. She was also a keynote speaker at the “Music in Divided Germany” conference hosted by the University of California at Berkeley and gave a paper on the state of German studies in musicology at the national meeting of the German Studies Association. She published a book chapter on opera stagings in the collection Art Outside the Lines: New Perspectives on GDR Art Culture; a chapter on musical commemorations of Bertolt Brecht in Brecht and the GDR: Politics, Culture, and Posterity; and a book review in Modern Drama. She was also elected to a five-year term on the executive committee of the discussion group on opera for the Modern Languages Association.Karen Clarke, adjunct professor of violin, served as concertmaster in June for a semi-staged performance with baroque orchestra of Shakepeare’s The Tempest, with British actors Richard Clifford and Sir Derek Jacobi in Santa Fe, N.M. She was recently appointed principal second violin of the Santa Fe Pro Musica chamber orchestra.
Amy Dorfman, associate professor of piano, joined violist Amy Leventhal in October to present a recital at Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta.
Jen Gunderman, senior lecturer in music history, performed this summer with Tom T. Hall, Buddy Miller, Duane Eddy, Bobby Bare, Patty Griffin, Jim Lauderdale and others at the Country Music Hall Of Fame’s Ford Theater for Tom T. Hall’s 75th birthday party/ tribute concert. She also played with Paul Burch and Chris Scruggs at the Summertyne Festival in Newcastle, England; with The Wrights at Music City Roots Live From the Loveless Cafe; with Rolling Stones’ saxophonist Bobby Keys at the Copper Country Festival in Copper Mountain, Colo.; and with the Long Players, Vince Gill, Sam Bush, John Oates, and others at a benefit for Pete Huttlinger in Nashville. She also produced an album for Vanderbilt student Sarah Barr and gave a Vanderbilt Family Weekend lecture.
Michael Holland, senior lecturer in percussion, in preparation for the April 1 Blair Percussion VORTEX concert, traveled to New York in December to witness the final performance of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. He returned in January to work with former dancers from the company as they prepare to collaborate with VORTEX in a centennial celebration that honors renegade American composer John Cage (see additional story).Carolyn Huebl, associate professor of violin, spent the summer at the Brevard Music Center teaching and performing chamber music. Recent concerts include recital appearances with pianist Mark Wait in York, Penn., and at the University of Louisville. Carolyn also presented violin master classes in York and Louisville. The Complete Violin Sonatas of Alfred Schnittke, performed by Huebl and Wait, was released on the Naxos label in June to great critical acclaim. MusicWeb International calls the disc “a sympathetic, revealing and enduring set of performances that can only enhance Schnittke’s reputation.”
John Johns, associate professor of guitar, presented Serenata Italiana on the Blair Signature Series in September featuring music by Italian composers. Johns was joined by Kathryn Plummer, professor of viola, and Felix Wang, associate professor of cello. In October and November, he presented solo recitals in New York City at St. Stephen of Hungary’s Guitar Festival, a series featuring guitar alumni from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, as well as performances on the Faculty and Friends series at David Lipscomb University and at the University of the South.
Valerie Middleton, adjunct artist teacher of piano, performed at the October meeting of the Nashville Piano Study Club.
Cheri Montgomery, lecturer in voice, was invited to be a guest author for the September/October issue of the Journal of Singing. Her article “The Dynamic Diction Classroom” provides innovative methods for teaching lyric diction and sets standards for the course, instructor and student.
Kathryn Plummer, professor of viola, gave a lecture and a viola master class last March at the National Conference for the American String Teachers Association in Kansas City. She also will serve a three-year term as the viola forum editor for the American String Teachers Association Journal. She was re-elected in April 2011 to serve as a national board member with the American Viola Society through 2014. In June 2011, she gave concerts for the 40th anniversary of the Sitka Summer Music Festival in Sitka, Alaska. In September, she served as viola clinician at the Middle Tennessee Suzuki Association. In November, she was visiting professor for a week at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Michael Alec Rose, associate professor of composition, on Sept. 30, heard Peter Sheppard Skaerved and Neil Heyde perform his violin and cello duo, Dr. Johnson and Mr. Savage, in the National Portrait Gallery in London, England, where the great portrait of Samuel Johnson by Sir Joshua Reynolds hangs. The concert was related to the NPG exhibition “Only Connect” curated by Skaerved. Rose performed as the “bell ringer,” hitting an antique Israeli brass bowl with a kitchen spoon (both of which he brought from Nashville) when the two friends “heard the chimes at midnight” together.The next night, his string ensemble piece, Hopeful Monsters, premiered as part of the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the anti-fascist Battle of Cable Street at Wilton’s Music Hall, which is located near where that historic street brawl took place. “It was the greatest night of my musical life,” Rose says, “because everything I believe in as composer and teacher and human being was in action that night.”
Helena Simonett, adjunct assistant professor of music history and literature, presented her current research at the SEMSEC meeting on “The Soundingness of Seeing: A Phenomenological or a Neurological Problem?” and at the ICTM Music Archeology Study Group meeting in Valladolid, Spain, on “Songworks: Insight into Musical Practices of the Past through Ethnography.” Three of her articles on transnational musical phenomena have been published this year: “Giving Voice to the ‘Dignified Man’: Reflections on Global Popular Music,” Popular Music 30 (2); “Re-localized Rap and Its Representation of the Hombre Digno,” in the volume Transnational Encounters: Music and Performance at the U.S.-Mexico Border; and “‘La vuelta al mundo en 80 tambores’: reflexiones sobre músicas migrantes.” With a grant from a Swiss foundation she finished her applied ethnomusicology project: the illustration of a children’s book narrated by a Mexican indigenous musician that tells the story of the beginning of the ceremonial fiesta. She spent the month of May continuing her fieldwork among the Yoreme in northwestern Mexico.Michael Slayton, associate professor of composition and theory, had his Fifth Prelude for Orchestra premiered by the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra on October 9 with Marcelo Bussiki conducting. The work was commissioned by the BVSO in June 2011.
Celeste Halbrook Tuten, senior artist teacher of Suzuki violin, was one of the accompanists for the Middle Tennessee Suzuki Association fall workshop at St. Cecilia Academy in September.
Amanda Virelles, adjunct artist teacher of piano, played recitals last spring at Jackson State Community College and at Blair with guest artist Alejandro Drago. She released Souvenir de Cuba, in July featuring music by Ignacio Cervantes, Manuel Saumell, Nicolas Ruiz Espadero and L.M. Gottschalk. The CD is available on iTunes, CDbaby and Amazon. In October she played the Nightcap Concert Series at Blair and recitals in Huntsville, Ala., and at Union College in Kentucky.
Felix Wang, associate professor of cello, was a featured guest artist at the University of North Carolina Greensboro’s Cello Festival in March, where he performed and taught master classes. He also coached and led Vanderbilt’s String Orchestra in a performance of Webern’s Langsamersatz and Mahler’s arrangement for string orchestra of Beethoven’s Op. 95 quartet. He helped direct Cellaboration, overseeing the Blair cello and composition studios in a presentation of eight new works by student composers for student cellists. In addition to performances with the Blair Quartet and Blakemore Trio, he also continued his role as principal cello of the IRIS Orchestra. During the summer, he joined the faculty of the National Music Festival in Floyd, Va., where he taught lessons, performed chamber music and served as principal cello of the festival orchestra. He also served again on the faculty of the Brevard Music Center. At Brevard, he was a featured soloist with the Brevard Sinfonia, performing Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D major. His performance at Brevard of Chopin’s Sonata for Cello and Piano, with fellow Blair faculty member Craig Nies, associate professor of piano, was chosen for radio broadcast on the program SummerStages, which broadcasts to NPR stations across the country.
© 2017 Vanderbilt University | Photo credit: Steve Green, John Russell, Anne Rayner, U.S. Senate Photographic Studio-Renee Bouchard, Zac Hardy, Courtesy of the Country Music Association, Tommy Lawson