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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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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…


John Bullard

Alumni Kudos

John Bullard released a new CD to critical acclaim, Classical Banjo: The Perfect Southern Art. A feature article about Bullard recently appeared in  Virginia Living magazine.

Steven Cunningham passed his comprehensive exams at University of Maryland and is now plunging into his dissertation.

Victor Haskins is Instructor of Jazz Trumpet at William & Mary.

Marcus Grant finished his Masters degree in Trumpet Performance at Indiana University this past May and has been appointed adjunct Applied Brass Teacher at Virginia Union University.

Since leaving the public school system, Maureen Mallory is the Assistant Program Director for The Salvation Army Kroc Center in Norfolk and is experiencing great success with their after school program. She writes to one of her former teachers here, “I am very proud to be a Ram and tell others about the wonderful experiences I had there. I appreciate all of the work and dedication you provided to me and the many other students whose lives you impact.”

Having recently earned her Master’s degree in Voice Performance from Arizona State university, Vanessa Naghdi began her first year of full-time singing which included roles in Arizona Opera’s Education Outreach program and in their production of Madama Butterfly.

Eleven VCU Music alumni sang in Henrico Theatre’s recent production of Noli me tangere and were recognized for their professionalism and strong preparation: Michele (Orr) Baez, Alan Chavez, Liz Carlton Dowdy, Chloe Fortin, Forrest Glass, Vicky Kinney, Fred Newhouse, Catherine Pelletier, Chase Peak, Emma Claire Polich, Nicole Savage.


Faculty Kudos

Wells Hanley received an Adjunct Faculty Research grant from the School of the Arts in support of the upcoming release of his new album Outside Inside.

Cheryl Van Ornam performed an organ recital on the historic Flentrop Organ at Adolphus Busch Hall, one of Harvard University’s Art Museums. The program of Dutch music honored the native country of the builder (Dirk. A. Flentrop) and memorialized her own studies at the Haarlem Summer Organ Academy in the Netherlands.

Charles West published a new book, Woodwind Instruments (Meredith Music). This publication comes on the heels of his Woodwind Methods book last year.


Dr. Terry Austin Named as Honorary Faculty Member for 2016-17 at Guang Dong University

In the summer of 2015, Dr. Terry Austin was invited to come to the Guang Dong University of Technology to serve as a guest conductor on campus. VCU Music faculty member Rex Richardson had previously played at the university, and had maintained a relationship with the band director, Ming Hui Liao. Western-style band music is still very new in China, and Liao knew he wanted his students to have the opportunity to work on their technique. He contacted Austin and asked him to come over and work with his students.

“I was there for a week, and I was stunned at the passion these students had for band music,” Austin noted. Read more »


Kudos

Faculty

Dr. Zheng led another successful Global Summer Institute of Music the first week in August at VCU. A group of more than 70 musicians, students and parents from around the globe spent an enriching week at VCU presenting  concerts and being immersed in a variety of both artistically and culturally inspiring events such as lectures, masterclasses, workshops, English conversations, and excursions to the VMFA and the nation’s Capitol.

Students

Horn student Gloria Ramirez played an outstanding mock audition with members of the USMC President’s Own Band horn section in May. The reviewing committee remarked at Gloria’s positive energy and level of preparation.

Richmond Music Teachers Association (RMTA) awarded Jordyn Burton an RMTA Collegiate scholarship in recognition of her strong work.

Supported by a Department of Music Student Research Grant, Emory Freeman attended the Buffet Clarinet Academy this past summer and writes about his experience at his blog.

Trevor White was profiled in the VCU News story “Rising Freshman Finds His Voice Through Vocal Arts Project.”

Alumni

Stephanie Barrett is attending the Lynn Conservatory to pursue graduate work with David Cole.

Jack Flores received a full tuition + stipend Graduate Assistantship at Florida State University to pursue his graduate work with Greg Sauer.

Lanjiabao Ge accepted a full teaching assistantship and living stipend to attend the University of Miami Frost School of Music for fall 2016.

Malcolm Jones is attending San Jose State with a scholarship and a waiver of out-of-state tuition. He is studying vocal performance and choral conducting.

Hannah Standiford’s project, “Shadow Ballads,” was performed at the University of Richmond, and was profiled in the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Eric Jacobs is tenured in the Seattle Symphony, and performed a series of concerts to bring music to those behind bars.

Rustin “Cetch” Waters has accepted the position of Band Director at Kempsville High School in Virginia Beach.

Anna Bishop is beginning her second season as a violinist with the Richmond Symphony.

Aaron Jones is attending graduate school at Arizona State University.


VCU Jazz Alumni in Turkey

Alumnus/Prof. Taylor Barnett starts the summer off with a ten-day performance tour of Turkey sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, joining American and Turkish musicians in performances of traditional Turkish folk melodies, arranged to incorporate elements of American jazz improvisation. VCU Jazz Drum alumnus Emre Kartari wrote the grant that funded the trip. Sax alumnus Kevin Simpson was also a member of the ensemble.


VCU Music pilots Lullaby Project with Carnegie Hall

Through a partnership with Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project, VCU musicians, are working with researchers and health care providers from across the university on an intervention for new or expectant mothers facing the hardships of parenting in challenging settings such as correctional facilities, group homes for teenagers and hospitals. Such settings often hinder mothers from bonding with their newborns. The Lullaby Project aims to increase the mother-child bond through language that is universal: music.

Read the full article by Leila Ugincius at VCU News…


It’s All in the Game

Doug Richards’ CD documenting his Great American Music Ensemble is released March 4. Says JazzTimes online in February: “The album – which delivers 15 cuts! – is a musical marvel in every regard…. In the shrewdest of ways, Richards shows he knows the fine line between creative experimentation and jejune jive (of which there’s none). The ensemble is admirably and swingingly up to the task. They cover the challenging material with flair and precision.” Almost every regular member of The Great American Music Ensemble on this disc has ties to VCU Jazz as an alumnus or former or current faculty member.

Read VCU News article by Leila Ugincius