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4 • Year in review 6 • Leonard Bernstein at 100 10 • Global Musical Collaborations 12 • Faculty Research & Publications 16 • Student Spotlight 20 • James Barnes Legacy 21 • Faculty Profiles 24 • Alumni News 28 • KU School of Music Support 30 • Coming Soon

Serenade Magazine is published once a year for alumni and friends of the University of Kansas School of Music. DEAN Robert Walzel EDITOR Christine Metz Howard DESIGNER Leslee Wood CONTRIBUTORS Rick Hellman Omar Sanchez PROOFREADER Janet Diehl Corwin PRINTING Kingston Printing, Eudora, Kansas

PHOTOS Bonica Ayala John Clayton Meg Kumin Russ Mehl Christine Metz Howard Dan Rest Jon Robichaud Valentina Sadiul Peter Schaff Tim Seley Spencer Museum of Art Richard Takenaga Cory Weaver Andy White

Alumni updates can be sent to: KU School of Music Attn: Christine Metz Howard 460 Murphy Hall 1530 Naismith Drive Lawrence, KS 66045 For more information call (785) 864-9742 or e-mail Cover Photo: KU Spencer Museum of Art from Resonant Vessels

MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN Welcome to the first edition of Serenade, a magazine celebrating the University of Kansas School of Music. Music has always been an important priority of the campus experience at KU. For over 100 years, our music alumni have been, and continue to be, leading contributors to the musical fabric of America and beyond. Likewise, our faculty continue traditions of their predecessors by being innovators in research, musical artists of the first rank, and difference-makers for their students. WHY SERENADE? As a noun, “serenade” is a musical selection intended to be shared in the open with an individual of importance. As a verb, “serenade” is to make a musical expression of affection to someone special. Your interest in the School of Music makes you important and special to KU. With our new magazine Serenade, we hope to highlight some of the things that make the KU School of Music a great music school. By featuring accomplishments of our faculty, students, and alumni over the past year, as well as anticipating some of the exciting things planned for the coming year, Serenade will offer a sense of the continuing traditions of excellence that have exemplified music at KU for so many years. WHY NOW? In a rapidly changing and fast-paced world, it is easy for significant accomplishments and uniquely inspirational stories to get lost or overlooked. There are so many great things going on every day in Murphy Hall. We hope that KU’s Serenade reaffirms to you the importance of music and music education in our society and in the individual lives of people everywhere. We are proud of our students, alumni, and faculty for the many accomplishments and contributions they realize every day. Enjoy reading about a few of the highlights that show why music has such a special place at KU and how the School of Music continues to build upon previous successes of our music community. Rock Chalk!

Robert Walzel, Dean School of Music

in review... T

he 2016-2017 school year featured foot-stomping, out-of-this-world performances. From taking the stage of the Kauffman Center to a concert that spanned the Lawrence campus, KU School of Music was host to more than 300 performances last school year. Pictured below are a few highlights of the school year (clockwise from top left): On May 3 at the Lied Center, the KU School of Music and Department of Dance combined talents for the world premiere of Palos Nuevos: The Jazz Flamenco Project. Palos Nuevos was composed by Dan Gailey, director of jazz studies, choreographed by Michelle Heffner Hayes, chair of the KU Dance Department, and featured the KU Jazz Ensemble I and solo trumpeter Steve Leisring, professor of trumpet. The collaboration was made possible through the generous support of Reach Out Kansas, Inc. Former University of Kansas jazz studies director Ron McCurdy returned to KU to perform the Langston Hughes Project on April 7 in Swarthout Recital Hall. McCurdy interwove spoken word poetry, music and images in the performance of Hughes’ 12-part epic poem Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz. On March 12, mezzo-soprano Joyce Castle performed Jake Heggie’s Statuesque, a five-song cycle that was written for Castle, University Distinguished Professor of Voice. The next day Heggie, who is best known for composing the opera Dead Man Walking, gave a lecture in Swarthout Recital Hall. Throughout the spring, the voices of KU School of Music students could be heard in the Kansas State Capitol. Thanks to the generous support of Reach Out Kansas, Inc., the KU Women’s Chorale and Men’s Glee (pictured below with Mariana Farah, associate director of choral activities, conducing) performed on April 7 in the Capitol’s rotunda.

photo credit: Andy White, KU Marketing and Communications

photo credit: Russ Mehl


photo credit: Russ Mehl

photo credit: Tim Seley, KU Marketing and Communications

Clockwise: The KU Wind Ensemble, conducted by Paul W. Popiel, explored the galaxy on April 18 with a multimedia performance of Eric Whitacre’s Deep Field, a work inspired by images of young and distant galaxies captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. The Music That Unites Us, a musical program that lifted up the commonalities of our collective humanity, was held on Nov. 13 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Missouri. Bringing together the talents of the KU Symphony Orchestra, KU Choirs, F.L. Schlagle High School Choir and students from Haskell Indian Nation University, the program included a culturally diverse selection of music. In celebration of the newly renovated Spencer Museum of Art, KU Choirs performed Resonant Vessels, in an Oct. 15 concert that took the audience across campus. Forrest Pierce, associate professor of music composition, composed the work. Each of its seven movements was arranged for the venue where it was sung. On April 25, the KU University Band, conducted by Sharon Toulouse, took the audience at the Lied Center on a Celtic journey. The concert featured bagpiper David McNally and members of the Kansas City St. Andrew’s Highland Dancers Association.

photo credit: Spencer Museum of Art





oyce Castle still remembers the first time she heard the music of Leonard Bernstein. She was a freshman and in a fifth floor practice room of Murphy Hall. A theatre department friend from Brooklyn ‘had just seen this thing called West Side Story’ and brought back the recording. Not long after, in the fall of 1958, Castle’s voice teacher took the sophomore to the concert version of Candide in KU’s Hoch Auditorium. The concert was based on the Broadway musical that opened just two years earlier. The stars singing in Lawrence that night included original cast members Robert Rounseville as Candide and mezzo-soprano Irra Petina as the Old Lady. “It was all so thrilling,” said Castle, now a University Distinguished Professor of Voice. Nearly two decades later, as a high school student in New Jersey, Paul Laird’s interest in Bernstein’s music was just beginning. He’d always loved West Side Story, but it was his introduction to Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, while performing in the 1976 New Jersey All-State Orchestra that sealed the deal. “I was just over the moon. I thought it was the greatest thing I’d heard in my life,” said Laird, now a professor of musicology. While both Castle and Laird were drawn immediately to Bernstein’s work, neither knew that over the next several decades their careers would interweave with one of the greatest composers of the 20th Century. Castle would go on to perform Bernstein’s works on four continents, including a career-defining role for the mezzo-soprano as Candide’s Old Lady at the New York City Opera and on a GrammyAward winning record. 7

Laird would become one of the world’s leading academic scholars on Bernstein, writing three books about the composer, including Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. In January 2018, to mark the 100th birthday of Bernstein, the School of Music will host a two-day conference on the composer and present Candide. At the conference, Castle will share how her career was shaped by Bernstein, and Laird will speak about the composer’s theatrical works.

of Candide for New World Records. “It was one of the great roles for me,” Castle said. One of those performances of the Old Lady was in London where the 5-foot-7-inch Bernstein came backstage to congratulate the cast, saw Castle from across the room, dragged a chair over to her, stood on top of it and planted a kiss on her. “I have never been in a room with a larger personality. I have never worked with a person who had more energy within himself,” Castle said. Castle reconnected with Bernstein in 1988 when she was asked to sing the first performance of his Arias and Barcarolles with the maestro and Michael Tilson Thomas at the piano. Castle spent a ‘pretty heady’ week in Bernstein’s New York apartment at The Dakota rehearsing for the performance. Even for Castle, by then a veteran performer, it was unnerving to sing with Bernstein playing the piano. “Leonard Bernstein was an absolute genius. He could write so beautifully, he could play the piano so beautifully and he was a brilliant conductor. He was the highest spokesman I can think of for selling the world on this thing called music,” Castle said.

Leonard Bernstein was an absolute genius. He could write so beautifully, he could play the piano ‘One of the Great Roles’ so beautifully and he was Castle’s first interaction with Bernstein was shortly after she a brilliant conductor. graduated from KU and while working in the paid chorus for the And, he was the highest New York Philharmonic, which Bernstein conducted at the time. spokesman I can think of Their paths crossed again in the summer of 1971, when he saw her for selling the world on perform Kurt Weill’s Das kleine Mahagonny in a small theatre at the this thing called music. Tanglewood Music Festival. Castle recalls another encounter ten years later in France. She had just finished Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti for the French National Public Radio and was invited to lunch at the American Embassy in Paris. There, she sat around a table of eight that included the U.S. Ambassador to France and Bernstein. “He was just a brilliant story teller, with such energy, humanity and humor. Of course, there was a serious side also,” she said. Shortly after Castle’s return from France in 1983, Beverly Sills cast her in the role of the Old Lady in Candide – the same role she had first seen Petina perform in Hoch Auditorium decades before. She performed this role at the New York City Opera two seasons and on tour. In 1987, she was selected to perform on the Grammy-winning recording 8

‘Hooked for Life’

For Laird, his interest in Bernstein’s work continued into college. As a student at The Ohio State University, Laird focused his master’s thesis on the influence of Aaron Copland on Bernstein. On a whim in 1982, Laird wrote to Bernstein, who at the time was holding a residency at the University of Indiana, and requested an interview. Months later, he was invited to attend Bernstein’s rehearsal with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The invitation came

photo credit: KU University Archives

photo credit: Peter Schaff

with the opportunity to interview Bernstein afterwards. So Laird, then 23, borrowed a friend’s car, drove the 500 miles to Washington and booked a room at a cheap hotel in a lousy part of the city. He met Bernstein, watched the rehearsal, and then got in a limousine to ride around the corner to the Watergate Hotel. At the hotel, the two talked for more than an hour, with Bernstein asking Laird just as many questions as Laird asked him. “This was my first interview of a major figure. I wasn’t a very experienced or cagey interviewer,” Laird said. “And he wasn’t a figure you could control. He wanted to talk about whatever he wanted to talk about.” But Laird did get material not typically found in a master’s thesis and his fascination with Bernstein only grew from there. “After an experience like that, I was pretty much hooked for life,” he said. When Laird arrived at KU as the American music scholar in 1994, he had the chance to study Bernstein in earnest. First he wrote Leonard Bernstein: A Guide to Research in 2002, followed by Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms in 2010 and a second edition of Leonard Bernstein: A Research and Information Guide in 2015. Laird is currently working on a fourth book, Critical Lives: Leonard Bernstein, which is geared toward readers who want a condensed biography on the legendary composer. “His music speaks to me in a way that not many composers do,” Laird said. Laird is drawn to Bernstein’s brilliant writing and conducting, but he’s also interested in the way the composer was able to make music approachable. He points to Bernstein’s documentaries shown on network TV, which mixed concerts with lectures. “He managed to talk about music in a way that was compelling to all kinds of people,”

Laird said. “There are just very few figures like that.” As 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of Bernstein’s birth and 28 years since his death, both Laird and Castle see Bernstein’s legacy cementing in the years to come. “The question has always been, ‘would Bernstein’s music outlive him?’ And it has,” Laird said. “You talk about Bernstein to young musicians today and they want to know about him.” - Christine Metz Howard


On Jan. 19 and 20, the University of Kansas will host the symposium A KU LennyCentennial: The Musical Theater of Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990). Keynote speakers will be KU Professor Paul Laird and Elizabeth Wells, a music professor at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada, who has written a book about West Side Story. Lectures will be intermixed with performances of Bernstein’s work by KU voice students. Alumni and other KU faculty will also present research on Bernstein. Joyce Castle will discuss what it was like to work with the legendary composer. In conjunction with the symposium, KU Opera will present Bernstein’s operetta Candide from Jan. 19 to Jan. 21 at the Crafton-Preyer Theatre.

For more information visit

Clockwise from opposite page: In a 1988 performance of Arias and Barcarolles, Joyce Castle sings alongside baritone John Brandstetter with Leonard Bernstein and Michael Tilson Thomas at the piano. From KU University Archives, the program cover for the Nov. 24, 1958 performance of Candide in Hoch Auditorium. Castle as Candide’s Old Lady in her New York City Opera dressing room in the early 1980s. On the left, Castle as the Old Lady in San Paulo, Brazil, where she performed to sold-out audiences during the 2014 World Cup. Paul Laird stands next to one of his books on Bernstein. 9


here’s a concert being played in a school hallway. Kids in the audience range from kindergarten to high school. Robert Walzel is performing with a pianist. It’s 1997, and Walzel is in Africa as an artistic ambassador for the U.S. Department of State. Outside that hallway, all around the West African country of Sierra Leone, a civil war had taken its toll, ripping apart tribes and families. But this is Milton Margai School for the Blind located in Freetown, and the kids were being offered a brief refuge — here what mattered, at that moment, was the music. What was about to happen after Walzel’s performance was nothing short of extraordinary. Tears would begin to run down his face. The kids got up and sang, in traditional African harmony and coming straight from the heart; a piece that made the longtime clarinet player “an emotional mess.” The day was Walzel’s birthday, and somehow, in a country thousands of miles from home, they caught wind and created a song just for him. “The level of the human connection and the impact that it had on me is why it’s important we do things together so

we can see the value of the relationship and responsibility we have to each other,” said Walzel, now Dean of the KU School of Music. The moment was at the center of Walzel’s drive to increase international outreach at the KU School of Music when he arrived in 2010. Seven years later, there have been collaborations that stretch from performances in a music festival in Lawrence’s Sister City of Eutin, Germany, dual concerts and a formal exchange program in Milan, master classes in Chengdu and Wuhan, China, and many more. Not only do students perform together internationally, but students in universities around the world have gotten the chance to come to Lawrence to perform in the states, as well. Veronique Mathieu, assistant professor of violin, went to Eutin with KU students in May. These trips are extremely important for student musicians because they provide them professional experience, she said, and give the university a better idea of international students and their musical upbringing. “It helps us, the KU faculty, better understand the background of our international students, and it helps us



From left to right: Voice students inside a restored barn in Eutin, Germany, during the KU School of Music’s first year collaborating with the Eutin Festpiele in 2011. The often-photographed Eutin Castle. Recent piano performance and music composition graduate, Kai Ono, first on the left, performs this summer in Eutin. Graduate strings students Mandy Wang, Sunnat Ibragimov and Aaron Chang (far right) with Véronique Mathieu, assistant professor of violin, visiting the College of Music, Mahidol University, Thailand in 2016. 10

Clockwise from top left: Mathieu and Wang instructing a master class at the Central China Normal University in Wuhan, China. KU grad students traveled to Milan in 2016 to perform a concert of modern orchestral music with the Milan Conservatory Orchestra. Pictured left to right are: Jong Ho Kim, trumpet; Louisa Slosar, bassoon; Matt Butterfield, oboe; Becca Lunstrum, horn; and Gun Yong Lee, trombone. Voice graduate students, includingAlexis Alfaro (far right) perform in the Eutin Festpiele in 2015.

make KU a place that responds to their needs,” she said. Before Eutin, Mathieu had visited cities like Milan, Tbilisi, Georgia; Wuhan, China; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Bangkok to perform and teach master classes. Her recent trip to Eutin is particularly special for the KU School of Music’s international timeline, as one of the first collaborations back in 2011. The KU School of Music heard that the Eutin’s Festpiele, a festival that has been going on since 1951, was having financial difficulties, and offered to collaborate. In the summer of 2011, the School of Music brought 64 students to Eutin to perform. Steve Spooner, professor of piano, was instrumental in connecting KU to the Milan Conservatory. During the 201516 school year, KU students and faculty traveled to Milan to perform a music chamber concert with its students. In February, four Milan students performed with the KU Orchestra for the Scholarship Concert featuring Carmina Burana. “Occasions like these are very important for the Milanese students,” said Massimiliano Baggio, associate dean and professor of piano and piano duet at the Giuseppe Verdi Music Conservatory of Milan. “Playing with peers from other institutions is always a relevant and enriching experience at any level: personal, professional but, above all, human.” Walzel agrees. “We had students making music together but they didn’t speak the same language,” he said. “They were communicating through the things we learn in music school. Music is truly an international language.” Mandy Wang knows exactly what he means. Wang is

a doctoral violin student graduating this year and is from Beijing. Wang was moved by a master class she attended in her 2012-13 school year in Beijing. While she doesn’t recall who taught the class, what she does know is that it was taught by someone from KU. She was hooked. “I just wanted to learn more,” she said. Wang’s first experience in the United States was a music festival in New York. There, the language barrier proved difficult, but it was a challenge worth taking on. After all, she could speak the language of music. “Music is not so hard to communicate, even if you don’t know the language. It’s so easy. It’s quite fun,” she added. Wang has since participated in a variety of international opportunities at KU, including going to Milan and Thailand. Working internationally is of great benefit for students who take the opportunity, and in the grand scheme, it also helps bring the world together, Walzel said. Faculty engagement goes far beyond Germany, Italy, China and Thailand and connects to five continents, creating opportunities for musical partnerships and experiences. On Walzel’s birthday in 1997, music did just that. The moment in the school hallway in Sierra Leone brought everyone, no matter the background, together. “If our music students’ international engagment is one grain of sand to the experience I had, it will be profound,” Walzel said. “That experience has impacted me ever since then. Here we are 20 years later.” - Omar Sanchez 11

Left: Canadian composer and percussionist Jesse Stewart performs at the AudioReader Sensory Garden on Aug. 9. Below: Workshop participants rehearse with the AUMI at the Lawrence Public Library. Bottom Right: Melissa Monroe improvises with a fellow workshop participant at a performance in Spooner Hall.


photo credit: Andy White, KU Marketing and Communications



In the center of the sun-soaked great room of Spooner Hall, a diverse group of musicians played tone chimes, xylophone bars and hand drums. On the outskirts, a row of electronic tablets used front-facing cameras to capture the musicians’ improvised movements, transforming their motion into sound. Canadian composer and percussionist Jesse Stewart was leading the group of musicians, which represented a wide mix of ages, musical experiences, cultural backgrounds and mental and physical abilities. They were there to make music, but Stewart said their purpose also went deeper than that. “It is less about sound and more about connection, and connecting in a way that doesn’t minimize or erase differences, but rather is a product of those differences and celebrates those difference,” said Stewart, who is a professor of music at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and founder and director of We Are All Musicians, an organization dedicated to fostering inclusive group musicmaking. The performance was just one of several demonstrations during a 12

weeklong international symposium held in early August that explored the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument. The instrument, called AUMI for short, is a software interface that can operate on electronic devices with front-facing cameras. The camera captures physical movement that triggers sounds, from bells to drums to synthesizer tones, enabling people of all abilities, including those with little voluntary movement, to create music and participate in group improvisation. For the past several years, a group of faculty at KU have worked to incorporate the AUMI into group musical settings. They are known as AUMI-KU InterArts faculty and include Sherrie Tucker, professor of American studies; Abbey Dvorak, assistant professor of music therapy; Bryan “Kip” Haaheim, professor of music composition; Michelle Heffner-Hayes, professor and chair of the dance department; and Nicole Hodges Persley, associate professor and acting chair of the theatre department. Through a $35,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant and a $10,000 grant from The

Commons, along with partnerships with AUMI-KU InterArts, Lawrence Public Library and Independence, Inc. and Hall Center, Stewart led a weeklong workshop for people with disabilities. Stewart than gave three public performances, one solo and two with participants from the workshop. The collaboration also supported a two-day international symposium, where leading experts on the AUMI presented research. Melissa Monroe, who participated in the weeklong workshop, said the experience provided a chance for everyone to be musical. “It left me full of joy, like I was no longer a person with a disability, but just a person,” she said. “We became a community that made music together.” - Christine Metz Howard


e composed the music for 120 films, including Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast. He was a fixture of the Paris avant-garde between the wars and part of the so-called “Group of Six” composers there, along with Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc and others. He was a communist, then an anti-fascist, and finally a leading arts advocate on the international stage. He hit the top of the pops with the title song from Moulin Rouge in 1953.

hanging out together at the Ox on the Roof bar, and Auric was one of them. I learned about him in graduate school, but almost nobody had written about him. He is mostly known as a member of the avant-garde Group of Six. But he also composed a lot of film scores, and he appears in the footnotes and margins of almost every book on 20th century French music.” Not only is Auric’s artistic output worthy of documentation, but so is his political and commercial evolution. “During the 1920s, he was a nationalist and an ultramodernist,” Roust said. “In the ’30s, he became a communist. During World War II, he was part of the Resistance to the Nazis. In the postwar era, he became an arts administrator. He ran the Paris Opera for six years and SACEM (Society of Authors, Composers and Editors of Music),

FACULTY RESEARCH avant-garde, classical, pop, jazz – even a rock musical from the 1970s. He died in 1983 at the age of 84. “The Song from Moulin Rouge topped the 1953 Billboard charts,” Roust said. “Percy Faith and Mantovani had the biggest hits with it, but it’s been covered almost 200 times. My personal favorite version is by Willie Nelson from his 1988 album What a Wonderful World.” While at SACEM in 1957, Auric played a major role in shaping the first French copyright law since the French Revolution. Prior to 2017, Roust had been to France and Britain researching in the archives of the British Film Institute and elsewhere. In the spring, through a Big 12 Fellowship, he enjoyed a residency at the University of Texas, where the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center preserves one of the largest collections of Auric’s correspondence. Continued on pg. 25


GEORGES AURIC But there has never been a major biography of Georges Auric until now. Earlier this year, Colin Roust, assistant professor of musicology, was awarded a $6,000 Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society, which allowed him to travel to France and Monaco this summer to complete his research on the book Georges Auric: A Life in Music and Politics. It is expected to be published by Oxford University Press in 2018. “I’ve been fascinated for a long time by Paris between the wars,” Roust said. “There were artists of all kinds and from all over coming together,

managing music copyright royalties for 30 years and transforming the organization’s mission to include an arts funding program that currently is worth more than 25 million euros per year. He worked with UNESCO and was a delegate to two revision conferences for the Berne Convention, the treaty governing international copyright agreements.” And all the while, Auric never stopped composing. “He’s a musical chameleon,” Roust said. “He adapts his music to whatever style his collaborator wants.” Thus, Auric’s output includes






fter two centuries of scrutiny, finding something new to say about the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven isn’t easy. But in his new book, Martin Nedbal, assistant professor of musicology, treads into unexplored territory. Morality and Viennese Opera in the Age of Mozart and Beethoven, which was released last fall by Routledge, makes the bold claim that Mozart and Beethoven’s German operas are infused with the ideas of German nationalism. As Nedbal began studying Mozart and Beethoven, he was drawn to the moments in their operas where characters stepped out of their roles and spoke to the audience about morality. “At first I thought Mozart and Beethoven were doing it simply because it was the Enlightenment period,” Nedbal said. “But as I started doing more research, I realized there was more to it.” To research the book, Nedbal traveled to Vienna, where he found archives with government censorship records and conducting manuscript scores and librettos of obscure German operas written during the time of Mozart and Beethoven. Nedbal discovered that Mozart, Beethoven and their German contemporaries used morally educational moments far more frequently than their Italian or French counterparts. “Germans in the late 18th century had an inferiority complex. They felt that compared to France and Italy, German national culture lacked recognition,” Nedbal said. “So morality in operas and plays became one way the Germans could show their cultural superiority.” In Mozart’s Magic Flute, a morality lesson can be found early on when three female attendants of the Queen of the Night padlock the mouth of the comical Papageno, who has falsely taken credit for killing a giant snake. As they take off the padlock, they make Papageno promise not to lie again. Then together they sing to the audience that the world would be a better place if everyone who lied wore a padlock. In Beethoven’s Fidelio, a similar moment can be found in the final chorus that praises the virtuous wife Leonore, who disguised herself as a man to liberate her unjustly imprisoned husband Florestan. 14 “Today some audiences and critics find the plots of

these operas naïve and a little bit ridiculous,” Nedbal said. “But the more I studied what people said about them in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, it became clear they were taken very seriously. For the Germans, these moments expressed that they had a culture that was enlightened, upright and sophisticated.” Nedbal, who came to KU in the fall of 2016 after spending seven years at the University of Arkansas, is working on a second book that examines how Mozart’s work was being used by both German- and Czechspeaking residents of Prague to express national identity in the 19th century. “No matter how much has been written about these composers and their works, many of which have become crucial to the Western music canon, there are always new facts and new interpretations to find,” Nedbal said. - Christine Metz Howard

photo credit: Dan Rest




he most important rock band since the Beatles” deserves a book focusing on its music, or at least that was Brad Osborn’s thinking when he considered Radiohead. His publisher agreed. “All the books about them thus far are biographical,” said Osborn, assistant professor of music theory. “This is the first book to really look at the songs themselves.” Osborn’s “Everything in Its Right Place: Analyzing Radiohead” (Oxford University Press, Nov. 1, 2016) takes an in-depth look at the British band’s nine albums, drawing comparisons between the sweeping sonic textures and the lyrics. Having sold more than 30 million albums since 1993, Osborn said, Radiohead occupies “a sweet spot between the completely weird and the completely conventional.” “They are the first band since the Beatles to be both experimental and to sell so many records,” Osborn said. “They are the only band that has done both … in the past 30 years.” And though he was not able to interview band members Thom Yorke (lead vocals, guitar and keyboards), Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards), Ed O’Brien (guitar, vocals), Colin Greenwood (bass) and Philip Selway (drums) for the book, Osborn said he had plenty of material with which to work, based simply on Radiohead’s recordings. “The music deserves it,” he said. “It’s really important, smart music. It’s accessible to the masses — to the average rock listener — and yet it gave someone with a Ph.D. in music theory four years of work to think about.” Only Jonny Greenwood has classical training, Osborn said. Yorke writes most of the music and lyrics, but he avoids rock clichés. “He (Yorke) sits at the piano and figures it out,” Osborn said. “He’s never conventional. Most of the time, you hear guitar chords that move in straight lines, in parallel motion. With the piano, you have the freedom to create angular melodies and harmonies.” Osborn said Radiohead leaves the meaning of its music up to the listener to decipher. “Each song leaves a trail of bread crumbs, and it’s up to you to put them together,” he said. “I don’t think the

obvious answer is always the one we should go for. I don’t think we should consider the composer’s intent. It’s more about individual interpretation.” Osborn hears some clues in Radiohead’s latest recording and in live performances that signal the band’s remarkable run may be coming to an end. “I would be sad, but I would not be surprised if this were the last album,” he said. Osborn said Radiohead has been “a huge influence” on the music he makes under the band name D’Archipelago. Osborn does it all himself, layering guitar, keyboard and drums, among other instruments. Since Osborn released the D’Archipelago recording By the Lights of Gomorrah on Bandcamp in March 2016, it has been referred to as atmospheric, black metal and shoegaze. Osborn said KU was looking for a pop music scholar when it hired him five years ago. He incorporates rock into his freshman theory class, “and I know the students appreciate it,” he said. “They compose and perform work. I make it as hands-on as possible.” - Rick Hellman






uring a practicum in music therapy last semester, a second grader with cerebral palsy was given a drum set and some math equations. The goal: use a vocal chant she learned from music therapy major Elizabeth VanSant to improve her subtraction. When she got a question right, she unlocked a new rhythm to play on her drums. Get enough right, and she got to play a full song. It’s an unconventional way of teaching, but VanSant’s extensive research and her way of fostering empathy with her client struck a perfect balance. “What we see in class is someone who is really poised, doesn’t reveal her stress,” Deanna Hanson-Abromeit, associate professor of music therapy at the KU School of Music and VanSant’s mentor, said. “That comes out in these really good skill sets when working with other people.” VanSant grew up in St. Louis, always knowing she wanted to do something in music. She started early on the piano and it quickly became her safe haven in times of stress. At just three months old, VanSant was diagnosed with a blood disorder called hemophilia. The disorder prevents a person’s blood from clotting normally, which often leads to bouts of internal bleeding. Around the fourth grade VanSant began self-administering her medication with a process that involves infusion via an IV. The process initially led to moments of high anxiety, but she realized when on the piano this burden was lifted off her shoulders. Growing up, VanSant never visited a board-certified music therapist. But this isn’t uncommon, HansonAbromeit said. Music therapy and research is just now becoming prevalent around the nation. Founded in the


1940s, KU’s music therapy program is the longest running in the country and is a world leader of research in the field. The prestige of the Kansas program, plus VanSant’s dedication to give others the kind of care and happiness she got from playing, was key to her coming to Lawrence. She’s loved her decision ever since. “All of my professors are leaders in the field. They are pushing things forward constantly,” VanSant said. “That has been amazing to work with.” Learning from her professors, VanSant has gained the know-how to look keenly for areas of intervention development, like melody, harmony, pitch and style, to succeed beyond KU. “It’s really exciting because you see those skills emerge as a freshman and a sophomore, and now she’s really been able to integrate her learning from different places into this project and a graduate level course,” Hanson-Abromeit said. “She’s going to continue to develop it and evolve it.” Toward the end of the spring semester, VanSant saw tremendous improvement from her client in math. The second grader was able to go through a drum exercise with 100 percent accuracy. This was up from around 60 percent at the beginning of the study. In her senior year, VanSant will begin a new study on preventive music therapy for atrisk toddlers on the autism spectrum. Based on the results of her work and research, VanSant said she’ll look into going to either music therapy research or being a clinician. “I’ve learned so much about myself, as a musician and as a facilitator,” she said. “These experiences have helped me grow so much.” - Omar Sanchez




t gave him nightmares. As a sophomore, Kai Ono was staring down a piece of music that makes or breaks up-and-coming pianists: early 20th century Russian composer Alexander Scriabin’s Piano Sonata No. 4. The piece has lush piano pitter-patter that sways and dances. Unassumingly, it’s a breeze across a field of lilies. But in its second movement, Prestissimo volando — translates to “early flying” — a transition kickoff gives the piece a blistering, near frantic pace. A butterfly evading its predator across the field of lilies. Time and again, Ono couldn’t push through, but the Orange County, California, native didn’t let the unsettling scene crush his spirit. Much like others at the KU School of Music, his growing pains were a part of the game. Ono, now a 2017 graduate in piano performance and composition, used the fight to give him discipline and a sense of accountability. Since then, Ono has a line of work that includes a first place finish with the Great Composers Competition and an Outstanding Composition Award from DownBeat magazine. In the spring of 2017, he received the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award from the American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and an honorable mention from the New York Youth Symphony’s First Music Program. “It was always really obvious even as a little boy. I think he was probably 9 or 10 when I knew he was really talented,” said Scott McBride Smith, who is a Cordelia Brown Murphy Professor of Piano Pedagogy and longtime mentor to Ono. Smith has watched Ono’s rise step-by-step, battle by battle. Smith is originally from Irvine, California. The two met through one of Smith’s piano students, who was Ono’s close friend. Smith would later move to teach in Lawrence. But he wasn’t letting Ono go so easy. Ono’s musical imagination was unlike anything else. So Smith recruited Ono to KU. “Sometimes people are really talented at playing piano or really talented at playing jazz, but that isn’t him. He’s talented in everything he does. His challenge is to develop his talents on many fronts at the same time,” Smith said. Ono is ambidextrous with genre; he can crack open music by the millisecond to make a funk rhythm into hip hop with a simple slide of a quarter note. His composition

style is also predominantly improvisational. This allows him to take a more classical style and give it its own feel. After graduation, Ono took his trained ear and talent on the piano to New York. As a professional composer and pianist, Ono has the opportunity to further explore genre in its intricate details. “If I wanted to write something that everybody would like, what would that sound like?” a question Ono posed for himself. It’s a daunting question, to say the least. Ono remembers sitting in front of Scriabin’s sonata and making himself play it through ten times. He learned the technique from Smith. If he couldn’t play it through ten times perfectly, Ono said, he felt he wasn’t ready to play it in front of an audience. The guidance he’s received from professors like Smith has given him an edge, that extra something that has allowed him to perform internationally, compose with the great minds in music today, and to answer the daunting questions in front of him. “When you move away from home and don’t know anybody, it can be really tough,” Ono said. “I had some great companions to support me from the very beginning, be it mentors or fellow peers. That’s what made my experience here so great.” - Omar Sanchez






usic can make a heart race. You don’t even think twice and the rhythm has already taken over. It can happen when you listen to an old, sentimental tune. The one you haven’t heard since the seventh grade. Your smile brightens, shoulders relax, knees bounce and your heart begins to flutter — almost as if to the beat of the song flowing through your headphones. Nick Shaheed knows that feeling. He knows it so well, in fact, that he has used his education at KU to master what makes it happen. The triple major in music theory, composition and computer science has even gone to the extent of making the heartbeat itself an instrument. With it, he sets the tempo of the heart-fluttering race for you, using his passion in electronic music. “I wanted to see if you could make something more natural with performance,” he said. “Since a lot of electronic music is an MP3 file a musician plays along to and it’s precise, you have no room for interpretation.” The Lawrence native received an Undergraduate Research Award to compose a piece two years ago, the third of six years he needs to complete his study at KU. The piece meshed a live flute performance, with the flutist connected to


a heartbeat monitor, and a computer program that took the heartbeat and made it into a rhythm. The process created a song that embodied the performer more than anything else ever could — a living piece of the flutist’s musical DNA. Since then, Shaheed has finished his fifth year of study. He bolsters a 3.9 GPA and a line of distinctions. He has not only received the Brousseau Creativity Award from the KU Spencer Museum of Art and had his piece Fragment/ Closure performed at the 2017 National Conference for the Society of Electro-Acoustic Music, but he also was named a Presser Scholar. The award is one of the most prestigious undergraduate music recognitions. It is chosen by KU School of Music faculty for excellence in the field. If that wasn’t enough, Shaheed’s roots are in the euphonium, something he plays when not composing electronic music. He performs with the KU Tuba-Euphonium Consort. “I do very consciously try to avoid completely overloading myself,” Shaheed said. “Because then I would have no time to compose.” The rigorous schedule doesn’t bother Shaheed; it is actually the last thing on his mind. He takes joy from the repetition of his work, being able to create sounds on a weekly, if not daily, basis using his software that couldn’t be done anywhere else. There’s something to finding the beauty in what others could consider monotonous. Mentor to Shaheed and professor in music composition Bryan “Kip” Haaheim said that Shaheed’s level of discipline and organization makes his work pop. “What he likes to do is find ways to use repetition, but in ways that never get static or become boring,” Haaheim said. “He really has a skill for using simple musical ideas and making them really interesting.” At first glance it may seem unlikely that someone with an affinity toward music performance would also crave the knowledge of how the music they play is created scientifically— let alone have the time for it. Continued on pg. 25


s a freshman trumpet player at his first KU jazz band rehearsal, Michael Raehpour was flipping through the syllabus when he learned the group would be traveling to Europe that summer. “That is cool news to hear on day one,” Raehpour said. Now with just one semester of student teaching left, Raehpour said touring Europe was just one of the many experiences that made his time at KU memorable. “If I could use one word to sum up my time at KU, it would be opportunities,” Raehpour said. In 2016, he was among the students in KU Jazz Ensemble I who performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. This year he again traveled with the group to perform in California at the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Jazz Festival. There have also been performances with the KU Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, in Kansas City, Missouri, and master classes taught by Grammy-winning artists. “Michael has always had the ability to see the big picture, meaning he consistently participated in as many musical situations as were open to him in order to gain valuable experiences, whether required or not in the curriculum,” said Steve Leisring, professor of trumpet and Raehpour’s teacher. Perhaps the biggest opportunity for Raehpour came in the summer of 2017 when he was selected as one of 21 college students in the country to be part of the Disneyland Resort All-American College Band, which is directed by former KU jazz studies director Ron McCurdy. Over the summer at the California theme park, Raehpour performed five sets a day, five days a week. His days began with two hours of professional development, which sometimes included working with guest artists such as John Clayton, Wycliffe Gordon and Gordon Goodwin. In the afternoons and evenings, the band performed throughout the park in parades, on a jazz band set and

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT frequently among park goers, where the performances mixed choreography with music. The repertoire ranged from Disney favorites to American marches to songs by Stevie Wonder, Tower of Power and Earth, Wind and Fire. A highlight performance for Raehpour was playing When You Wish Upon a Star in a duo with legendary jazz trumpeter and one-time Maynard Ferguson band member Wayne Bergeron. “The opportunity to play alongside one of my musical heroes was incredible,” Raehpour said. Before heading to Disneyland, Raehpour said he was eager to connect with other college musicians, who came from top music schools all over the country, but he was also excited to interact with the audience. “Part of the experience is learning how to be personable and to work with everyone in a positive manner that really engages the audience,” Raehpour said. “You learn many life skills with this group. It goes way beyond playing music.” Mastering how to get an audience’s attention will be helpful when Raehpour heads to the classroom to student teach in the fall. From Andover, Kansas, Raehpour knew since middle school he wanted to pursue a career in music. In high school, he decided he wanted to be a teacher. In the spring, Raehpour was recognized with the Kansas Teacher of Promise Award, an honor that is given to just two KU education majors a year. Debra Hedden, professor and director of music education, said the university-wide honor is well deserved. “He is very creative in the ways he delivers lessons. He knows how to capture students’ attention and when to inject humor,” she said. “He just has a wonderful skill set that will bode well for whatever he does.”

- Christine Metz Howard


19 photo credit: Richard Takenga

photo credit: Jon Robichaud





hen James Barns, a longtime KU professor of music theory and music composition, retired two years ago, he didn’t stop writing music. “I don’t know how to do anything else,” Barnes said. “Except now I’m done at 5 p.m. instead of 5 a.m.” During his 41 years at KU, Barnes didn’t get more than five hours a sleep a night, using the hours instead for composing works that would go on to be performed all over the world. In retirement, Barnes continues to write music that is performed worldwide, but his schedule isn’t quite as grueling. Barnes came to KU as a music major in 1967 from Hobart, Oklahoma, and began teaching full-time in 1974. During his tenure, Barnes was the associate director of bands for 27 years and the division director for music theory and composition for 10 years. One of KU’s most well-known musical exports, Barnes has had his work performed in concert halls all over the world, including Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow, Carnegie Hall in New York City and Tokyo Met20

ropolitan Concert Hall. Barnes’ works continue to be performed internationally, and he often travels to conduct his new pieces. He’s made nearly 40 trips to Japan, including a six-week visit in the spring and another this summer. His work is also being performed frequently in Europe. In the spring of 2015, just before his retirement, Barnes conducted the premiere of his 8th Symphony in Wangen am Algaü, Germany. The symphony was commissioned to celebrate the town’s 1200th anniversary. “It’s really starting to catch on,” Barnes said of his music in Europe. Since retirement, Barnes has limited his writing to one large commission a year. This spring he travelled to Bend, Oregon, where the Central Oregon Symphony performed his Cascades Suite. His next significant work will be his 9th Symphony, commissioned by the KU Band and a consortium of 24 university, conservatory and professional bands, and set to premiere in 2019, the same year as Barnes’ 70th birthday. “After that, no more symphonies,” he said.

He’s also returned to writing smaller, four-to-five-minute pieces that are geared toward school bands, as he did earlier in his career. The easiest are for middle school youngsters and the more difficult are geared for high school bands. “School bands need challenging but playable music. It’s a hard thing to do, write an easy piece that still has musical integrity,” Barnes said. Last fall, a dedication ceremony was held to name a band rehearsal room in Murphy Hall in honor of Barnes. As part of KU Endowment’s Far Above campaign, the School of Music set a goal to raise $250,000 for KU Band student scholarships to honor Barnes. The effort raised more than $300,000. At the time of the dedication, Dean Robert Walzel noted that Barnes continued to be among the giants in the world of concert bands, with his music performed regularly on six continents and heard by tens of thousands of people each year “We rejoice in honoring him and the difference he has made in the lives of so many KU students,” Walzel said.

- Christine Metz Howard


n 1979, Italian composer Franco Donatoni wrote a highly demanding piece for solo violin titled Argot, which means a secret language. For the past several years, Véronique Mathieu, assistant professor of violin, has worked to decode Argot with the hopes of making it accessible to other performers. Argot is the title track on Mathieu’s first solo CD, which Navona Records released in July. Donatoni is one of three 20th century contemporary composers featured on the CD, all of whom have a personal connection for Mathieu. The first time Mathieu heard a recording of Argot, she was so taken by it that she programmed the piece for an upcoming concert without looking at the music. “Then I ordered the score and almost had a heart attack when I saw the complex manuscript,” she said. “There weren’t bar lines or meters and the handwriting was very difficult to read. It took me a very long time to play it slowly and figure out the notes.” Most of Donatoni’s scores are available as only handwritten manuscripts with extremely limited documentation available in Italian. Donatoni, who died in 2000, used a complex system of writing that followed patterns and specific sequences. But Mathieu enjoyed the piece so much that she wanted to make it more approachable to other musicians. So she decided to write about it for her doctoral dissertation. As part of a pedagogical guide, Mathieu entered the score into the music notation software Finale, provided a set of fingerings and offered historical context. She also gave a step-by-step guide on how to learn the piece, including what études and exercises violinists should use. “A lot of people are turned off by 20th century compositions just by looking at the score and not knowing what to do,” Mathieu said. “This was such an amazing piece, I

FACULTY PROFILES wanted to make it more accessible for performers so more people could play it or study it.” Along with Argot, the CD also features works by Pierre Boulez, a French composer who Mathieu connected with through her participation in Switzerland’s Lucerne Festival, and Witold Lutoslawski, a Polish composer whose work Mathieu played to win the 2010 Krakow International Contemporary Music Competition. Thanks to a grant through the KU Office of Research’s New Faculty General Research Fund, Mathieu was able to select whatever pieces she wanted for the CD. That was important since she knew how much time would be needed to play them convincingly. “A challenge in performing contemporary music is that you really have to sell it,” Mathieu said. “If you play Mozart, half the people listening to you know they already like it. But for contemporary pieces, there is some convincing to be done.” Mathieu is working to make more than just contemporary music accessible to the world. Through the nonprofit, Navo, which she co-founded with KU alumnus Shah Sadikov, Mathieu is working to create unique programs that reaches underserved communities in the Midwest. In its second season, the organization has visited more than 20 schools in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Illinois. They’ve also invited young, upcoming artists to perform at regional concerts. “Navo is committed to building new audiences and providing exceptional programming,” Mathieu said. - Christine Metz Howard






f the millions of visitors who pass through the Notre-Dame Cathedral every year, few make it to the organ loft. Through a separate entrance outside the cathedral, a set of winding, worn stone steps takes organists to the loft where they will find a list of Notre-Dame organists dating back centuries. Three of the organists named on that list – Olivier Latry, Vincent Dubois and Philippe Lefebvre – will be at KU in October for the 2017 American Guild of Organists Pedagogy Conference. More than 200 organists from around the world are expected to attend the conference that will explore the French conservatory system. The conference will be the first time that Notre-Dame’s titular organists will be together outside of the cathedral, requiring a substitute for services during their absence. “This is a significant musical event. Nothing like this has been done before,” said James Higdon, the Dane and Polly Bales Professor of Organ and director of the Division of Organ and Church Music.

Other noted presenters will be Michel Bouvard, a professor of organ at the Paris Conservatory; Aurélie Decourt, daughter of the famed French organist MarieClaire Alain; and Shin-Young Lee, an alumna of the Paris Conservatory. Higdon’s connection to France goes back to the early 1980s when, as a new faculty member, he studied in France under Alain. Since then he has performed at Notre-Dame five times and has a sixth concert scheduled in May. “It’s amazing,” Higdon said of playing at Notre-Dame, particularly during middle-of-the-night practices, after the daily mass of tourists have left and the empty cathedral has 14 to 16 seconds of reverberation time. “The history of Western music began at Notre-Dame Cathedral with Léonin and Pérotin,” Higdon said. “You have this sense that you are at the birthplace of Western music.” The fall semester will be a busy one for Higdon, who prior to the conference will travel to Russia with four organ graduate students. This May at the first round of the 10th Mikael Tariverdiev International Organ Competition at Bales Organ Recital Hall, Tyler Boehmer, Jacob Hofeling, Andrew Morris and Shayla Van Hal qualified to go on to the second round, which will be held in early September in Kaliningrad, Russia. During his visit, Higdon will be judging the competition and performing recitals in Kaliningrad and Moscow. - Christine Metz Howard




From Oct. 18 to 21, organists from around the world will come to KU for the 2017 American Guild of Organ Pedagogy Conference, which will focus on the French Conservatory System. The conference will include recitals, lectures, panel discussions and master’s classes. Leading experts in the French Conservatory System will present at the conference including Vincent Dubois, Philippe Lefebvre, Michel Bouvard, Aurélie Decourt, Olivier Latry and ShinYoung Lee. For more information go to: 22





ne hesitates to say that an artist in the prime of his life has created his magnum opus, but it’s hard to believe Professor of Piano Steven Spooner will top the 16CD set of recordings titled Dedications that he released in last September. Spooner’s extraordinary artistry and passion for his subject matter, combined with the set’s breadth and depth, have been winning him rave reviews and concert invitations from around the globe. An exponent of the Russian school of piano, Spooner pays tribute in Dedications to his musical inspirations, many of whom trace their lineage back to the 19th century composer and performer Anton Rubinstein. Three volumes are dedicated to the great, Russian-born 20th century American pianist Vladimir Horowitz. Eight volumes are dedicated to the prodigious Soviet pianist Sviatoslav Richter. Emil Gilels, one of the first Soviets to bring the Russian tradition to America, and Van Cliburn, the golden-toned golden boy from Spooner’s native Louisiana who shocked the world by winning the inaugural Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958 in Moscow, get one volume each. Each disc contains an audio track giving Spooner’s spoken thoughts on the music contained therein, which he says is a substitute for written notes of the sort that would have appeared on a 12-inch vinyl LP disc jacket or a booklet accompanying a CD. The rise of digital music products means that people often choose not to download these anymore — thus the need for audio notes, the first of its kind in the field of classical recordings. The 16th disc is actually a DVD, rather than an audio-only CD, recorded during a concert at KU’s Swarthout Recital Hall. Most of the tracks are Spooner’s solo piano, but one disc – the second in the Richter series — was made in collaboration with the Borromeo

String Quartet. They play the Brahms Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34. Nor are all the tracks strictly classical music. Spooner takes on such popular songs as Shenandoah, Somewhere Over the Rainbow – even Queen’s We Are the Champions. In other cases, he speaks about his admiration for the American jazz pianist Keith Jarrett or gives his thoughts on the art of improvisation. The bulk of the set, however, is given over to Spooner’s take on the Russian school, admiration for which he comes by honestly. As a young man, Spooner moved to Tbilisi and Moscow in the former Soviet Union and learned to speak Russian and Georgian in order to study for three years with the late pianist and composer Nodar Gabunia, to whom several tracks on the set are dedicated. “Listening to these records is like a soundtrack of my life,” Spooner said. “I chose to study in Russia because all my favorite pianists were Russian. It deeply influenced my style. So it’s kind of autobiographical. I recorded pieces I remembered they played.” Spooner said the project, released on his own A Life of Music Records label, didn’t start out so large but grew during a semester-long sabbatical from teaching he took in fall 2014. The project was completed in 19 months. “It was going to be just a fiveCD project, and then I got the sabbatical, and it started to get larger,” Spooner said. “I wanted it to be both monumental and innovative. … I started to say, ‘Let me tell more of my story.’ Van Cliburn is from Louisiana, and he was the conduit who got me to consider going to Russia. Horowitz was one of my big influences in high

school. It’s a big thank-you card to all these great pianists.” Positive reviews have begun to roll in. For instance, in the March/April edition of Fanfare magazine, Radu Lelutiu wrote: “Spooner possesses a fearless virtuoso technique. If I were to describe Spooner by reference to his dedicatees, I would say that his performances evidence Richter’s peerless focus, Gilels’ gold-plated sound, Cliburn’s urbane aesthetics and Horowitz’s outgoing personality and his occasional tendency to play to the gallery. In sum, this is a splendid collection that should be heard by anyone who loves piano music.” The most prestigious piano journal, International Piano in London, has featured the set with a four-star review, and it has likewise been reviewed in the most important publications in North America, Europe and Asia. The box set can be purchased from his record label, records, or streamed at - Rick Hellman 23


photo credit: Cory Weaver




hen Brad Walker performed as the musician Schaunard in the San Francisco Opera’s summer production of La Bohéme, he found it a greater challenge to remember what not to sing than what to sing. “La Bohéme is the show I’ve performed more than anything else,” Walker said. “Because it’s very conversational, I was talking to characters I had already played.” Among his previous appearances in La Bohéme was a production at KU where, as a master’s student in 2013, Walker sang the role of Colline. Several years earlier, he covered the same role and sang in the chorus as a member of the Des Moines Metro Opera’s Young Artists Program. Later, while earning an artist diploma at Yale University, Walker performed on alternating nights in the roles of Colline, Alcindoro and Benoît. This time around, Walker’s performance was in front of audiences of 3,000 people in San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House, where he sang alongside internationally recognized opera stars. “In La Bohéme, the first thing I did was sing an aria that is very hard. That is an intimidating way to start a show,” Walker said. “I’m glad it wasn’t my debut.” For nearly two years, Walker has been with the San Francisco Opera as an Adler Fellow, a residency program 24

for promising young artists. It’s an opportunity that allows Walker to cover and perform main stage roles for the San Francisco Opera, while also singing in concerts and recitals and working with a school outreach program and the donor community. Walker’s debut for the San Francisco Opera was as Zuniga in the American premiere of Calixto Bietio’s staging of Carmen. Since then, he’s performed in Andrea Chénier and The Makropulos Case. In the fall, he’ll perform in Turnadot and cover for the principal baritone in the world premiere of John Adams’ opera Girls of the Golden West. To be an Adler Fellow, Walker first participated in the Merola Opera Program, an 11-week training program that picked 22 singers out of hundreds of applicants. From there, three performers went on to be Adler Fellows. “I feel lucky every day I get to perform,” Walker said. “Whether it is for 30 kindergartners or 3,000 adults in an opera house, I just feel lucky to be part of the artistic community here and the greater artistic community of the world.” From Lake Zurich, Illinois, Walker earned his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University before coming to KU in 2010 for his master’s degree. He studied under John Stephens, professor of voice, for three years. During that time, Walker participated in the Kansas

City Lyric Opera’s Young Artists Program, and for his final year managed KU’s opera productions. “KU was where I figured out I could do this for a living,” Walker said. “It revitalized my love of singing and my passion for the art.” The hard work Walker did at KU and later at Yale paid dividends, he said, in his role in La Bohéme, where he was on stage with Italian soprano Erika Grimaldi, Mexican tenor Auturo Chacón-Cruz and Norwegian baritone Audun Iverson. “For no one in the audience or in the cast to think that I didn’t belong there, that is really an amazing honor and

ALUMNI NEWS thrill,” Walker said. For Walker, the Adler Fellowship Program ends in January. Shortly afterward, he’ll begin a six-week audition tour in Europe. “I honestly don’t think I would be where I am today if I hadn’t ended up at KU,” he said. - Christine Metz Howard


Each year, hundreds of alumni reconnect with their musical Jayhawk roots at KU School of Music alumni reunions. These gatherings are opportunities for former students to meet current faculty and School of Music Dean Robert Walzel. Check out where fellow Jayhawks will be mingling during the 2017-2018 school year: St. Louis: American Music Therapy Association Conference Nov. 18 | 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Midway Suite 4 San Antonio: Texas Music Educators Association Conference Feb. 16 | 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. | Crockett Hotel, Alamo Room

photo credit: Valentina Sadiul

Large photo opposite: Walker as Schaunard in La Bohéme for San Franciso Opera. Georges Auric, continued from pg. 13 During these archival visits he says he has made discoveries “that no one has ever written about before.” “What we know of his childhood comes from his memoirs, but he’s selective,” Roust said. “I’ve been able to find out more about his family, especially their role in the 1848 French Revolution and the 1907 Viticulture Revolt.” Roust’s summer trip was scheduled around a visit to Auric’s second wife, who allowed Roust to comb through the late composer’s surviving manuscripts. “I finally had the chance to look at some of the film scores that I or graduate students have transcribed by ear,” he said. Roust is also working on a critical edition of about three dozen of Auric’s unpublished songs, including seven previously unknown songs discovered on this summer’s trip. With the British pianist Julian Jacobson, he is also planning a three-disc recording of Auric’s

Wichita: Kansas Music Educators Association Conference Feb. 23 | 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. | Wichita Hyatt Regency

complete works for piano, which will include the premiere recording of an unpublished Auric manuscript recently discovered at the Villa Noailles in Hyères. “He was the top film composer in France and England in the postwar period,” Roust said. “He became the go-to guy for international films from Hollywood. His impact as an arts administrator is unmatched by anybody in France. And yet he is so overlooked. The more I research, the more places I find him and his influence.” - Rick Hellman Shaheed, continued from page 18. He brings these two worlds together and wants to keep on doing so after he finishes school in 2018. Shaheed had an internship over the summer at the healthcare software company Epic Systems in Madison, Wisconsin. He hopes to continue his education with a graduate program, and he isn’t writing off a master’s in computer science, either. In the future, Shaheed wants to work developing

music software, or dividing time between being a software engineer and composer. “Part of the fun for Nick is building the tools that you are going to use for a piece,” Haaheim said. “Especially when you can use the computer to do something that either can’t be done with regular instruments or is really difficult to do with regular instruments. The computer is an extension of the human mind.” - Omar Sanchez

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n the third track of the 2017 Grammy-nominated CD Considering Matthew Shepard, Stefanie Moore, in a soaring soprano voice, sings: “Sometimes there’s a story that’s painful to remember. One that breaks the heart of us all. Still we tell the story.” Moore, a featured soloist on the recently released CD, is a member of the Austin, Texas-based professional choir Conspirare, which is touring the country performing the concert-length work that tells the story of Shepard’s tragic death. On the cold night of October 6, 1998, Shepard, a gay, 21-year-old college student, was brutally beaten, tied to a fence post and left for dead in a field outside of Laramie, Wyoming. Shepard was discovered eighteen hours after the attack by a passing cyclist and was taken to a nearby hospital. He died five days later. His murder sparked a national conversation on the need for hate crime legislation. In 1998, Moore remembers being shocked and embarrassed while watching the news coverage on the death of Shepard. At the time, Moore was a master’s student in opera performance at the KU School of Fine Arts. The image of the good-looking, plaid-shirted Shepard reminded Moore of her gay friends in the theatre department at KU.

“Lawrence was a very liberal bubble and I felt shocked that someone would do such a thing,” said Moore, who now lives in Santa Monica, California. “It just seemed unreal.” Then came the embarrassment. While the rest of the nation was being introduced to the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church that had begun protesting outside the hospital where Shepard eventually died, the protesters and their hate-filled signs were familiar to Moore. The Topeka group frequented the KU campus and even protested outside a concert where Moore performed. “I was really embarrassed that they represented Kansas to people on the national stage,” Moore said, “because that wasn’t the Kansas I knew.” Moore knows Kansas well. At the age of 12, she moved to Lawrence, where her father worked as professor of civil engineering at KU. Although she sang all through high school, Moore enrolled at KU as an English major, but thanks to a choral scholarship, she joined the choir and took voice lessons. After one solo performance, Phyllis Brill, then head of the voice department, called Moore into her office, where waiting on Brill’s desk was the paperwork needed for Moore to switch majors. “As soon as I started the voice program, everything shifted and I knew this was exactly what I wanted to be doing,” Moore said. While at KU, Moore studied under Norman Paige, professor of voice; worked with Simon Carrington, a former member of the King’s Singers and then choral director; sang in the vocal jazz ensemble led by Dan Gailey, director of jazz studies; and performed in operas at the encouragement

26 photo credit: Bonica Ayala

photo credit: Bonica Ayala


of John Stephens, professor of voice. “Every single department was supportive of me, which was amazing,” Moore said. In 1997, Moore earned a Bachelor of Music degree from KU. She then attended Trinity College of Music in London and returned to KU to be the first student to complete a master’s degree in opera performance in 1999. On a whim, she moved to Austin, where she joined the Grammy-winning choir Conspirare. Over the years, the memory of Shepard lingered with Moore and remained a touchstone for her gay friends. The tragedy of Shepard’s death also never left Conspirare’s founder and artistic director Craig Hella Johnson. Pulling from poems, newspaper accounts and Shepard’s journal, Johnson wrote the music and lyrics for Considering Matthew Shepard. Typical of his style, he

composed a work that juxtaposed wildly different genres, mixing blues, country, gospel, pop, jazz and classical music. The CD, released in September 2016, debuted at No. 4 on Billboard’s Traditional Classical Chart and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Surround Sound Album. Moore is featured on several tracks, the most prominent being We Tell Each Other Stories, a song that Johnson wrote specifically for her voice. “It came as a complete surprise,” Moore said of learning she would be featured as a soloist. “I couldn’t believe how lucky I was that this genius had written this thing for me. And then I was immediately terrified that I was going to have to sing it because it was very emotional. I had to get through crying the first few times I practiced it.” Moore has since performed the solo throughout the country, including a concert at Boston Symphony Hall and a taped recording for a PBS special. As the nation sees an uptick in hate crimes, Moore said the message is an important one. “We are reminding people that there is another way that we can respond, and that is through love,” she said. - Christine Metz Howard



or nearly 60 years, Swarthout Recital Hall has held a special place in the hearts of KU School of Music graduates as a home of inspiration, celebration, innovation and pride. Last December, the School of Music and KU Endowment launched the “Take a Seat in Swarthout” campaign, allowing donors to sponsor a seat in the beloved recital hall. The campaign aims to raise $136,000 for the creation of an endowed fund for the maintenance and upkeep of the recently renovated hall. With a $500 gift, donors are recognized with an engraved plaque bearing their name, or someone they wish to honor, placed on one of the 272 seats of their choice. “We are blessed with one of the finest acoustic and aesthetically pleasing recital halls in the United States. By purchasing a seat, donors ensure that generations of musical Jayhawks will be able to enjoy this world-class venue,” School of Music Dean Robert Walzel said. “The ‘Take a Seat in Swarthout’ campaign ensures

To sponsor a seat in Swarthout Recital Hall go to For more information contact KU Endowment at 888-653-6111 or

our beautifully renovated recital hall will always be maintained and will continue to provide optimal experiences for performers and audiences alike.” Since 1957, Swarthout Recital Hall has been the principal academic performance space for the School of Music and hosts a recital (or more) nearly every day of the school year. For music students, their educational journey culminates in Swarthout with a senior recital. From Swarthout

Recital Hall students continue to launch their careers to even bigger stages. The “Take a Seat in Swarthout” campaign follows a $2.5 million renovation of the hall that was completed in March 2015. The renovation remade the hall, constructing an entirely new performance space with modern seating, acoustical treatments, audio, lighting and recording and webcasting ability. - Christine Metz Howard 27

KU School of Music Dean’s Club The KU School of Music Dean’s Club is comprised of donors who give $1,000 or more annually to the School of Music. For more information about the program contact Kylie Smith at 785-864-4104 or Dennis L. Alexander Robert J. Anderson Jr. & Marcia F. Anderson William E. Benso & Beverly Runkle Benso Beverly A. Smith Billings Dee Blaser & Chuck Blaser Tom E. Bowser & Judith Strunk Bowser Christopher T. Bradt & Denise White-Bradt Ellen Parenteau Burd John H. Bushman, PhD D. Roger Butts John B. Calbeck, MD Joyce Malicky Castle Alicia A. Clair, PhD Bob Clore & Dale Ann Clore H. Hurst Coffman Harry W. Craig Jr. & Karen M. Craig Mary Ann Curtis Robert M. Daugherty Jr., MD, PhD James F. Duncan Evelyn Fearing Dvorak, PhD Delmar D. Falen & Evelyn M. Falen Matthew Foerschler & Rebecca S. Foerschler Gary Foster Dorothy Brenner Francis Janice Tande Gaumnitz & Jack E. Gaumnitz Marlea Zimmer Gruver & Rev. Barry J. Gruver Kenneth V. Hager & Marilyn J. Hager Loretta N. Hake William J. Hall, PhD &


Elaine Thalman Hall Alan J. Harris Daniel J. Harris Elizabeth L. Harrison David L. Hiebert, MD & Gunda Hiebert Catherine Holland Catherine Huang David R. Ice & Diana Double Ice Beth Gibbs Johnson & Preston Ellis Johnson II Jeffrey A. Johnson & Dawn Boyett Johnson Terry A. Johnson & Del Johnson Maurice Joy & Betsy Joy Patricia Euhus Junod & Forrest L. Junod, MD Suzanne H. Lara Thomas W. Lohmeyer & Joyce A. Lohmeyer Randy Long Jane Wofford Malin, PhD Linda W. Maxey James W. McCalla Betty J. Mitscher Andrea F. Mosher Cynthia Brown Munzer & Gary Glaze Barbara A. Nordling Gary W. Padgett & Sue Summerville Padgett Judith Gorton Parkinson Jarrell J. Priess Susan Frederick Ralston John J. Reese Terri L. Reicher

Nang M. Rives, PhD & James A. Rives, PhD Constance Roeder Richard G. Rossman Kari Ryman Dan M. Sabatini & Nicole M. Sabatini Kent P. Saylor & Donna C. Saylor Steven L. Scheid & Patricia M. Scheid Katherine Schmidt Scott R. Schulte & Amy Havenhill Schulte David A. Seamans, PhD Charlotte S. Simonson Lee M. Smithyman, Esq. Richard L. Stevenson & Alice R. Stevenson Scott N. Storbeck & Kim Sutherland Storbeck Daniel J. Suiter, MD & Marcia G. Suiter Barbara L. Thompson & Willard B. Thompson Robert L. Walzel, Jr. & Marcie Walzel Jeffery B. Weinberg & Mary Haynes Weinberg Delbert L. Williamson & Barbara Ossian Williamson George S. Wilson & Beverley M. Wilson Joseph E. Wise III, MD & Claudia Jacobs Wise Barbara Bateman Wunsch Robert S. Wunsch Carolyn Bryan Young James P. Zakoura

Friends of the School of Music The School of Music Friends are a community of alumni, parents, friends and students who are dedicated to providing annual financial and advocacy support to the KU School of Music. We invite you to join us as a Friend of the KU School of Music by making an unrestricted gift to help students and families discover the wonder of music through our world-class educational programs and hundreds of performances each year. Your investment is essential to our success as we raise the bar of excellence and achievement for our students and faculty. In addition to a free window decal to show your support for the School of Music Friends Program, your membership also grants you recognition in select programs for the year’s concert series. Plus, if you choose to join at the Patron level or above, you will receive tickets to the annual Collage Concert as our gift. For more informaiton go to: For questions about membership or its benefits, please contact Kylie Smith at or by phone at (785) 864-4104. DEAN’S CLUB LEVEL ($1,000)

James F. Duncan Linda W. Maxey & Larry Maxey Judith Gorton Parkinson Jarrell J. Priess Barbara L. Thompson & Willard B. Thompson PATRON LEVEL ($500) Chris Hahn & Paula M. Hahn David R. Ice & Diana Double Ice Kent P. Saylor & Donna C. Saylor Gary Schmeidler Gerald J. Throop, PhD

ADVOCATE LEVEL ($250) Jene Herron Patricia Euhus Junod & Forrest L. Junod, MD Lynn A. Laughlin SPONSOR LEVEL ($100) David A. Ambler & Mary Kate Ambler John E. Bechen George M. Brenner, PhD & Mary Ann Brenner Sarah E. Brown & Randy A. Brown Joe B. Buttram, PhD William A. Dann Richard T. DeGeorge Larry L. Dike & Delores Elliott Dike Steven J. Dillman & Kelly K. Dillman Stephen N. Edmonds & Chris Wolf Edmonds Elizabeth A. Gildea Michael Goldner & Maxine M. Goldner Floyd J. Grimes II, DDS & Mary Deschner Grimes

David W. Henry & Jane Stinnett Henry Donald A. Johnston & Alice Ann Dowell Johnston Dick Meidinger, MD & Barbara Bowman Meidinger Freeman L. Miller, MD Mary Ann Murphey William D. Myers & Becky S. Myers Anthony J. Mynsted & Karen R. Mynsted Pamela L. Pendergast Roger A. Reed & Janet M. Reed Marilyn Belton Reznick & Ira L. Reznick, MD Kathleen Craig Schmidt Amy R. Schwamberger Carol J. Shankel & Delbert M. Shankel, PhD Katherine Weaver Steele & Steven B. Steele Norma Wahl Strecker Mary Ellen Sutton, DMA FRIEND LEVEL ($50) Kristi A. Baker, DMA Virginia Royer Blackman Linda A. Bosse & Anthony E. Bosse Jr. Benjamin J. Broome, PhD & Bliss Little Broome Janet Diehl Corwin Barbara Osborn Humpert & Frederick D. Humpert Janis Brown Hutchison Lesley T. Ketzel Ken Krehbiel Janis M. Letsch Linda E. Lungstrum & John W. Lungstrum Earl A. Nehring Linda Stormont Newfield

Feryl Cauble Potter & Charles A. Potter Thaddeus R. Preisner, PhD & Virginia Kline Preisner Nancy T. Preston & Charles W. Preston OTHER DONORS Christopher L. Atkinson, PhD & Allison M. Atkinson Edwin D. Hundley & Zora Belle Hundley Jeremy G. Wohletz, DMA & Samantha Newbury Wohletz Judith W. Failoni William Boyd Dickinson III William R. Arnold, PhD & Margaret J. Arnold, PhD KU SCHOOL OF MUSIC CAMERATA The School of Music Camerata is a group of leadership donors within the Friends of the School of Music who support the school through fundraising and advocacy. Chuck and Dee Blaser Tom and Judy Bowser Jack and Jan Gaumnitz Dave and Gunda Hiebert Mar Lan Construction Barbara Nordling Richard Rossman Bob and Barbara Wunsch



photo courtesy of

KENNEDY CENTER, WASHINGTON D.C. In an opportunity of a lifetime, more than 60 KU School of Music students will travel to Washington D.C. next spring to give a concert at the legendary John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The KU Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble I will perform at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater on April 29 at 3 p.m. On April 18 at 7:30 p.m., the wind and jazz ensembles will give a preview concert at the Lied Center of Kansas. A highlight will be the world premiere of a work commissioned by Reach Out Kansas, Inc. for the wind ensemble and jazz ensemble. Composed by Kevin Walczyk, the work is based on President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union Address “Freedom from Fear.” Also, the KU Jazz Ensemble I will perform Palos Nuevos, a jazz-flamenco fusion piece written by Dan Gailey, director of the jazz studies program, and choreographed by Michelle Heffner Hayes, chair of the KU Dance Department. The performance is a Legacy Project for Reach Out Kansas, Inc. and is made possible through the generous 30

support of of Jim Zakoura, Lee Smithyman and the Law Offices of Smithyman and Zakoura. INDIANAPOLIS As winners of the Percussive Arts Society’s World Percussion Ensemble Competition, the KU West African Drumming Ensemble, directed by Dylan Bassett, will perform at the society’s international convention in November in Indianapolis. The Percussive Arts Society selects just one high school or college world percussion ensemble to showcase a year, making it a national honor to be chosen. OKLAHOMA CITY The KU Women’s Chorale, which is comprised of 24 to 30 women who specialize in music for treble voices, was selected to perform at the American Choral Directors Association Southwest Division Conference in March in Oklahoma City.



For times and tickets visit





Sept. 8 | 7:30 p.m. | Swarthout Recital Hall | Lawrence, KS


Oct. 8 | 7:30 p.m. | Swarthout Recital Hall | Lawrence, KS


Oct. 20 | 7:30 p.m. |Swarthout Recital Hall | Lawrence, KS


Nov. 6 | 7 p.m. | Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts | Kansas City, MO


Nov. 18 | 7:30 p.m. | Swarthout Recital Hall | Lawrence, KS Nov. 19 | 4 p.m.|Spencer Museum of Art | Lawrence, KS


Dec. 1 | 7:30 p.m. | Carlsen Center for the Performing Arts | Overland Park, KS


Jan. 29 | 12 p.m. | Kansas State Capitol | Topeka, KS


April 6 | 7:30 p.m. | Swarthout Recital Hall | Lawrence, KS


April 8 | 3 p.m. | Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts | Kansas City, MO


April 29 | 3 p.m. | John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts| Washington, D.C.


1530 Naismith Drive Murphy Hall, Room 460 Lawrence, KS 66045-3103

Before The Met, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, they perform here.



7:30 p.m. | Friday, Sept. 15 | Lied Center KU SCHOOL OF MUSIC AND LIED CENTER PRESENT:


with Simone Porter, violin

7:30 p.m. | Thursday, Sept. 28 | Lied Center KU SCHOOL OF MUSIC AND LIED CENTER PRESENT:


with Jim Walker, flute

7:30 p.m. | Wednesday, Nov. 8 | Lied Center 93RD ANNUAL


2:30 and 7:30 p.m. | Sunday, Dec. 3 | Lied Center

Experience the exceptional talents of KU School of Music students, faculty and visiting artists. | 785-864-3436

Serenade: Fall 2017  
Serenade: Fall 2017  

A magazine celebrating the successes of the KU School of Music.