School of Music High Notes: May News

High Notes: News from CFA School of Music

Welcome to the ninth issue of High Notes: News from CFA School of Music. High Notes is intended as a monthly information column that highlights the high notes achieved by our students. Feel free to pass along any items of interest, especially related to our students and alums, directly to Cami Sylvia.

May 2021

For many of us, “summer” translated to a break in the routine, a cessation of certain class-based expectations, and an opportunity to relax and rejuvenate. Now, perhaps especially this year, summer represents a renewed commitment to artistic pursuits that have been problematic and challenging over the last year and a half. This summer many of us slowly dipping our toes in the pool of “is-this-what-making-music-used-to-feel-like?”

Our students and alums are engaging project-based art and music-making, and the CFA School of Music is pleased to announce its first cohort of “Meeker Fellows,” funded by the splendid gift of CFA alumna Clare Hodgson Meeker (CFA’75). Being a Meeker Fellow allows an undergraduate student to engage in a project or performance or training opportunity they would not normally have. During non-COVID times this will hopefully allow travel. Our first cohort represents a tremendous diversity of talent and initiative. We look forward to sharing with you their stories and their projects in future months.

Summer—so, alums? What does summer look like in your world? Is summer still a break? Is it time for renewal? Is it “ordinary” time, i.e., life as usual? Is it a chance to catch up? Please share your thoughts on what this time of year means for the life of a CFA School of Music alum.

Please note: the monthly CFA School of Music High Notes will go on break for the summer months, but will return at the end of August. Reach out and let us know of your summer plans.

Calling All CFA School of Music Alums Out There!

We’d like to hear from all alums. What are you up to? New jobs or positions? New creative projects, compositions, performances? Any awards? We want to hear from you. Please communicate directly with Director Gregory Melchor-Barz at with your degree and class year, please.

Roll Out The Red Carpet…

As we conclude a momentous year of Learn from Anywhere hybrid instruction, we are beyond thrilled to highlight the many accomplishments of our students with the 2021 School of Music Awards. Awards presenters Gregory Melchor-Barz (Director and Professor, BU College of Fine Arts School of Music), Martin Amlin (President, Alpha Kappa Chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda), and members of the Student Life and Honors Committee Ruth Debrot (Chair), Samuel HeadrickPavel NersessianBarbara RaneyRachana Vajjhala, and Steven Weigt hosted a virtual ceremony for the School of Music community on Friday, May 7.

We extend our warmest congratulations to all for your admirable excellence and outstanding achievements this year! Watch the full ceremony here and find a complete listing of award winners at this link.

BU Commencement & CFA Convocation Featured SoM Students

Graduating senior Hannah Hooven (CFA’21) and second-year Master of Music student Julian Iralu (CFA’21), the 2021 student speakers, addressed their fellow graduates at BU College of Fine Arts’ Convocation Ceremony, held virtually on Saturday, May 15. If you missed it, you can watch the speeches here.

At this year’s 148th Commencement Ceremony, graduating soprano Jillian Agona (CFA’21) sang the “National Anthem” and “Clarissima”. To view all Boston University 2021 Commencement ceremonies, follow this link.

2021 Clare Hodgson Meeker Fellows

BU CFA SoM presents the 2021 Meeker Fellows. The Clare Hodgson Meeker Fellowships were established in 2019 with a generous commitment from Clare Hodgson Meeker (CFA’75) to provide financial support for travel opportunities that will contribute to transformative experiences within undergraduate education. Due to COVID-19 summer travel restrictions, this year’s fellowships will facilitate funding for remote research, artistic, and professional development outside of the Boston area. Clare Hodgson Meeker is an award-winning children’s book author, teacher, and consultant. The 2021 Fellowships were awarded to the following  undergraduate students:

Ava Figliuzzi (CFA’21, Violin)
Gabriel Harrison (CFA’22, Composition & Theory)
Spencer Hart-Thompson (CFA’24, Composition & Theory)
Grace Helmke (CFA’23, Flute)
Jack Humphrey (CFA’21, Voice)
Pablo Kennedy (CFA’22, Double Bass)
David Ortiz (CFA’23, Trumpet)
Sofia Puccio (CFA’23, Cello)
Amanda Satterfield (CFA’23, Bachelor of Arts)
Alexander Stephan (CFA’22, Music Education)
Caitlin Thompson (CFA’22, Flute)
Jennifer Ortiz Valverde (CFA’24, Composition & Theory)

Time’s Arrow Recordings for Spring 2021 Semester

If you’re curious about what Prof. Rodney Lister and the Times Arrow Ensemble was up to this past semester, check out the following recordings:

SoM Student Receives Schneider Fellowship

Congratulations to music education MM student Charles Cevallos (CFA’22) for receiving the Appleton Schneider Fellowship for the BU Pardee School of Global Studies. Charlie will spend the summer working on research to “identify connections between the loneliness epidemic and placelessness, in the context of discrepancies between the placemaking of community music and the placelessness of music education standards.” Congratulations, Charlie. Read more here.

OI Graduate Wins Third Place in Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition

Soprano Kaileigh Riess (CFA’21) is a third-place co-winner in the prestigious Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition. The annual foundation competition supports young artists pursuing a career in opera. Kaileigh competed along with 20 other artists and is a student of Prof. Penelope Bitzas.

Soprano Maureen Brabec Advances to Zenith Opera Competition Finals

Soprano Maureen Brabec (CFA’21), a student of Prof. Penelope Bitzas, competed in the Zenith Opera Competition Finals on Sunday, May 23. The advancing eight artists sang two arias for the Finals panel. All finalists will receive a 6 month membership in SoftlyLoud Artist Consulting‘s Crescendo Crew, where they will have further opportunity to sing for more industry leaders, Casting Directors, Agents and accomplished musicians, as well as masterclasses specializing in singer related topics.

You can watch Maureen’s performance from the archived livestream on the Competition’s Facebook page. Her segment begins at approximately 01:43:25. Zenith Opera Competition is a new vocal competition established to showcase the talents of singers that are in the prime of their vocal prowess and are looking for more exposure in their opera careers.

Four SoM Students to Participate in the Source Song Festival

Source Song Festival, based in Minneapolis, has announced its piano duos for the 2021 Festival. Four of this year’s sixteen participants are SoM students. This entirely virtual program will run from May through August. The SoM duos are comprised of bass-baritone Devon Russo (CFA’23) and pianist Pierre-Nicolas Colombat (CFA’21), and soprano Sarah Rogers (CFA’21, ‘23) with pianist Regan Russell (CFA’18, ’22). Devon and Sarah are students of Prof. Penelope Bitzas, Pierre-Nicolas is from the studio of Prof. Pavel Nersessian, and Regan studies with Prof. Shiela Kibbe.

Updates from the Studio of Prof. Lynn Eustis

Professor Lynn Eustis shares with us some fantastic updates for four recent graduates!

  • Caroline Bourg (CFA’20) will attend the Guildhall School in London this fall to pursue an MM degree.
  • Tara Dougherty (CFA’21, student of Lynn Eustis & Aaron Sheehan) will attend the Peabody Conservatory of Music next fall to pursue an MM degree.
  • Lu Tan (CFA’21, student of Lynn Eustis & David Guzman) will begin a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Illinois this fall.
  • Katerina Middeldorp (CFA’21, student of Lynn Eustis & David Guzman) will participate in the Russian Opera Workshop (virtual role study of Tatiana in Eugene Onegin) and the Dramatic Voices Berlin program (Chrysothemis in Elektra) this summer.

News from DMA Candidate Angela DiBartolomeo

DMA candidate Angela DiBartolomeo (CFA’06, ’23) has been selected to present at this year’s International Horn Symposium IHS53. Her paper is titled, “Distant Stars: A Performer’s Analysis of Messiaen Appel Interstellaire & Dukas Villanelle”. IHS53 will be held online this summer, per COVID restrictions, from August 9–13. Congratulations, Angela!

BU Dominates Solti Foundation Awards!

The CFA School of Music is pleased to announce that 4 of the 15 winners of Career Assistance Awards from the Solti Foundation are recent BU graduates! This is certainly one of the top international honors for young conductors. Congratulations to Nathaniel Efthimiou (CFA’20), student of former Prof. Bramwell Tovey; Taichi Fukumura (CFA’14), student of Prof. Peter Zazofsky; Lina Gonzalez-Granados (CFA’20), student of former Prof. Bramwell Tovey; and Lidiya Yankovskaya (CFA’10), student of former Prof. Ann Howard Jones. For the full story, click here.

Alum Jamie Hillman Assumes New Position at the University of Toronto

We share some exciting alumni news. Jamie Hillman (CFA’14) just accepted the endowed Elmer Iseler Chair in Conducting at the University of Toronto. Click here for more information. According to Dr. Hillman: “I’m extremely grateful for the education that I received at the CFA.”

Dr. Darryl Singleton Becomes PROF. Darryl Singleton

From Prof. Karin Hendricks: “Please join us in congratulating Darryl Singleton (CFA’20) on his hire as an Assistant Professor at Washington State University, Pullman School of Music. He will teach Black Music in America, Music and Social Justice, and jazz drumset. Here is a link to the announcement. Congrats Darryl – We are thrilled!”

CFA SoM Grad Anna Arazi Featured at the Stretto International Piano Festival

Anna Arazi (CFA’15) from the studio of Prof. Boaz Sharon gave a recital featuring prominent Israeli composer Verdina Shlonsky as part of a virtual piano recital at the Stretto International Piano Festival on Saturday, May 15 at 2:30 pm. To follow Dr. Arazi, visit her website.

SoM Well Represented at the International Trumpet Guild Conference

In the upcoming International Trumpet Guild Conference, there are seven (yes, SEVEN) SoM alumni presenting, co-presenting, or coordinating as detailed below. Congrats to Prof. Terry Everson! The conference runs from June 1–5, 2021.

  • Andrew Stetson (CFA’13) – Team Teaching: How Selfless Team Teaching Leads to Better Student Outcomes (with Rich Harris & Kevin Whalen)
  • Chloe Swindler (CFA’17) – Breaking Boundaries: Diversity in the Trumpet World (with Kate Amrine & Melissa Muñoz)
  • Nathaniel Tighe (CFA’08) – Basic Respiratory Mechanics for Trumpeters (with Ashley Hall)
  • Karin Bliznik (CFA’06) – Principal Trumpet Player Showcase
  • Josh Rzepka (CFA’10) – Musician Success in a Post-Covid World
  • Marisa Youngs (CFA’15) – Linguistics in Trumpet Pedagogy
  • Hyungbin Jung (CFA’20), Prelude Coordinator for the conference

Founded in 1872, Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Music combines the intimacy and intensity of traditional conservatory-style training with a broad liberal arts education at the undergraduate level and elective coursework at the graduate level. The school offers degrees in performance, conducting, composition and theory, musicology, music education, and historical performance, as well as artist and performance diplomas and a certificate program in its Opera Institute.

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