VCU Commonwealth Singers Perform at Carnegie Hall

The Commonwealth Singers, the premier choir at VCU, has been invited to perform in the Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall. The choir, directed by Dr. Erin Freeman, will perform Francis Poulenc’s Gloria as part of the Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) Series. The performance, scheduled for Sunday, February 19, 2017, is part of an east coast tour of several performances by the choir.

VCU Music’s Fabulous Faculty – Yin Zheng

Coordinator for Keyboard Studies Dr. Yin Zheng talks about her work, including her research on all the sonatas for violin and piano by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, to the RVArts Passport class. The students in the Passport course attend events throughout the School of the Arts and around the City of Richmond and engage with arts leaders.

Langston Hughes Project Residency

The Langston Hughes Project (LHP)  returns to VCU for a residency February 20-21, 2017. LHP is a multimedia concert performance of Hughes’s kaleidoscopic jazz poem suite. Ask Your Mama is Hughes’s homage in verse and music to the struggle for artistic and social freedom at home and abroad at the beginning of the 1960s. It is a twelve-part epic poem which Hughes scored with musical cues drawn from blues and Dixieland, gospel songs, boogie woogie, bebop and progressive jazz, Latin “cha cha” and Afro-Cuban mambo music, German lieder, Jewish liturgy, West Indian calypso, and African drumming — a masterwork left unperformed at his death. The performance will feature spoken-word and music by The Ron McCurdy Quartet. Recreating Hughes’ vision of the global struggle for freedom and equality in the early 1960’s has linked words and music to a kaleidoscopic of images. By way of videography, this concert performance links the words and music of Hughes’ poetry to topical images of Ask Your Mama‘s people, places, and events, and to the works of the visual artists Langston Hughes admired or collaborated with most closely over the course of his career. Together the words, sounds, and images recreate a magical moment in America’s cultural history, which bridges the Harlem Renaissance, the post World War II Beat writers’ coffeehouse jazz poetry world, and the looming Black Arts performance explosion of the 1960s.

The residency is led by VCU Music Professor Rex Richardson.It is funded by an “Inclusion Infusion” grant from the VCU School of the Arts with support from the VCU Department of English.

The Value of a VCU Music Degree

“Our graduates know how to frame problems, how to develop strategies to solve them, how to collaborate with others, how to teach themselves things they don’t know. These are the skills you learn at VCU Music. Our graduates are great adaptors; they are determined; they are optimistic; they are highly skilled; and they love their work.”

–Darryl Harper, VCU Music Department Chair

See this video from the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP):

Dean’s List – Fall 2016

The dean’s list is a recognition of superior academic performance. A student is automatically placed on the dean’s list for each semester in which a semester GPA of at least 3.5 is attained, based on a minimum of 12 semester credits, with no grade below C. The following students have made Dean’s List for Fall 2016:

Adams, Daniel R.
Adams, Jake K.
Baldwin, Micah
Barbarji, Haidar M.
Bennett, Jacob R.
Bessicks, Cameron W.
Bourhill, Lida A.
Bradley, Michael J.
Brunson, Andrew C.
Christman, Colleen M.
Cole, Richard K.
Coleman, Tyler J.
Connolly, Bryan K.
Cotter, Georgia R.
Culver, Benjamin J.
Dacosta, Taylor D.
Dickinson, Michael S.
Dodd, Colton T.
Douthwaite, Sarah E.
Duong, Minh Vy
Eichenberger, Kevin A.
Fearnow, Gilson L.
Ferguson, Kirsten K.
Forbes, Jonathan R.
Freeman, Emory S.
Frierson, Chet C.
Frost, Nathaniel A.
Gault, Desean W.
Gibbons, Danielle
Graham, Abigail A.
Harold, Brian C.
Harris, Jasmine
Hazelwood, Cathern M.
Heiter, Evan P.
Hilbert, Christine
Hoster, Samantha M.
Jackson, Victoria A.
James, Mark P.
Jeffrey, Ian P.
Johnson, Elliot W.
Joyner, James
Kelly, Benjamin B.
Kincy, Jason P.
Kreck, Marie L.
Lincoln, Kelleen R.
Liverman, Eric C.
Mattson, Alexandra
Mekhail, Mark S.
Mitchell, Robert S.
Newlon, Lydia
Ossi, Thomas C.
Ottinger, Tess N.
Pauley, Charles W.
Resmini, Marissa R.
Roberts, David A.
Roche, Samuel J.
Santiago Crespo, Alfred L.
Schuhle, Charlotte G.
Siesky, Ryne J.
Skelly, Connor J.
Taylor, Olivia N.
Tekamp, Austin R.
Terrell, Connor A.
Tilghman, Kayla M.
Villanueva, Abigail L.
Vincenti, Peter D.
Whittenburg, Savannah A.
Wilkins, Ashley D.
Wu, Zhiqian

“All-Steinway School” Campaign

As part of the Make It Real Campaign for VCU, VCU Music aims to raise $2.5 million to replace its aging piano inventory with new Steinway & Sons models — and achieve the distinction of becoming an “All-Steinway School.”

“We want to offer our students the best tools possible to help them hone their talents,” says Music Department Chairman Darryl Harper, adding that the pianos will help the Music Department to continue to attract top students and faculty.

“To be designated an All-Steinway School recognizes our commitment to provide music students with the best possible keyboard instruments to support their musical training while at VCU,” says VCUarts Interim Dean James Frazier. “The reputation of VCUarts continues to grow, and we are working to recruit the most talented and passionate young musicians. We owe it to these students to provide them with world-class instruments. It is on these instruments that they will study their craft as they prepare for their professional lives as musicians and teachers, and as VCU alumni, go on to enlighten and enrich our world.”


Student earns internship in Colombia

The Cartagena-based Fundación Tocando Puertas: para abrir futuros has initiated a student internship and has selected VCU Music student Alexandra Mattson as its first intern. Alexandra will be working on organizational, developmental, and public relations projects for the foundation, with its president Evelia Gonzalez Porto and her board of directors, until her graduation in May 2018. One of the projects that the foundation aims to support through her internship is the development of a deeper relationship between VCU and its global partners in Cartagena, specifically Comfenalco School, Nuevo Bosque School, Universidad de Bellas Artes, and the University of Cartagena. Congratulations, Alexandra!

Second Round of Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project a Success!

VCU Music’s second round of the Lullaby Project celebrated 4 new lullabies. Many thanks to our partners: Carnegie Hall, VCUarts Research, VCU Centering Pregnancy, VCU Institute for Women’s Health, and In Your Ear Studio.

Participants Julia and Joe Rakestraw (couple to the right) created “Always It Is Well” with teaching artist Regan Sprenkle (to their left).

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Prof. Antonio Garcia partners with computer scientist Krys Cios to create new scheduling software

Jazz and Computer Science?

In 2007, after working at three universities over the span of 20 years, Tony Garcia realized if he added up every all-nighter he pulled scheduling student ensemble sessions, it would total more than two months…To replace the paper-based system of student schedule grids and contact information, Garcia drew up a flowchart of a proposed computer program to handle the tasks. Garcia had no success finding a computer science expert to create the program, until he met Krzysztof “Krys” Cios, Ph.D. Cios, a jazz fan himself and professor and chair of the VCU Department of Computer Science, thought he and his senior design class could help Garcia.Garcia had no success finding a computer science expert to create the program, until he met Krzysztof “Krys” Cios, Ph.D. Cios, a jazz fan himself and professor and chair of the VCU Department of Computer Science, thought he and his senior design class could help Garcia. Read the full article at VCU News…