Guitar & Other Strings Series

The Guitar and Other Strings Series, held every July, features all styles of music — jazz, bluegrass, folk, Celtic, flamenco, classical and blues.

Begun in 1992, the series has presented nationally and internationally acclaimed artists in concerts and workshops. Artists who have performed on this series include Leo Kottke, Mark O’Connor, John Hartford, John Jackson, the Washington Guitar Quintet, Charlie Byrd, the Tony Rice Unit, the Del McCoury Band, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Pierre Bensusan and Stephen Bennett. The VCU Community Guitar Ensemble also performs annually on this series.



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.


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.”


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

Professor uses sports method in the studio

One thing that most highly successful athletes have in common: They watch themselves over and over again — and then just once more — to figure out why they aren’t performing the way they want…By incorporating the time-honored athletic ritual of “watching film,” violin professor Susanna Klein has students analyze video recordings of themselves performing as part of a more effective, real-world, student-centered learning model. The model has been adopted using the School of the Arts state-of-the-art motion capture lab at The Depot and supported by a grant from ALT Lab.

Read the full story by Blake Birdwell at VCU News…

Faculty Recital: Antonio García, jazz trombone, composition (February 25)

Sunday, February 25, 2018 at 4 p.m.
Sonia Vlahcevic Concert Hall
W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts

Performers include Mary Hermann García, Anne O’Byrne, The Nashville Avenue Stompers, VCU Jazz Orchestra I, VCU Percussion Ensemble, the VCU Greater Richmond High School Jazz Band.

Free Admission

Flute Studio Recital: “From Around the World” (February 27)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 6 p.m.
Sonia Vlahcevic Concert Hall
W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts

Flutists from Dr. Tabatha Easley’s studio will perform works “From Around the World” with pieces from Japan, Ireland, Germany, Russia, Puerto Rico, Canada, and South America.

Free Admission 

Guest Artist: Yingnan Liu, piano (March 1)

Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 7 p.m.
Recital Hall
James W. Black Music Center

Yingnan Liu became a faculty member at the Shenyang Conservatory of Music in 2012, right after earning his Master of Music in Piano Performance at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. He studied for his Bachelor of Music at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.

Mr. Liu started his music career as one of the top students in the Middle School of Shenyang Conservatory of Music and had his debut solo recital at age 17. He won awards for excellence in academics twice during his studies at the Central Conservatory of Music and was awarded a full scholarship to the Eastman School of Music for his outstanding audition and jury performances. In 2008, he was the only pianist at Eastman chosen to represent the school at the Hamamatsu International Piano Academy in Japan. His studies at Manhattan School of Music led him to receive the Lilian Fuchs Chamber Music award and the Dora Zaslavsky Koch Concerto competition award, for which he performed Mozart Piano Concerti with Conductor Philippe Entremont.

As a soloist and chamber musician, Mr. Liu has performed concerts in New York, California, and Florida, as well as Japan and many major cities in China. He has worked with many orchestras including the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, the ShenYang Symphony Orchestra, and the Haerbin Symphony Orchestra. In 2013 at the 4th Hailun Cup National Music Teacher & Associate Piano Competition, Liu won second place in the piano solo competition and third place in the duo piano competition. He was also a double first place winner of both the solo piano and piano duet divisions in the 5th Hailun Cup NMTA Piano Competition in 2015. In 2017, Liu won first place in the duo piano competition at the Golden Bell Awards, China National Piano Competition.

Mr. Liu has presented recitals, master classes, and lectures in many music institutions throughout China. He also performs duo piano concerts regularly with other esteemed pianists. He has studied with many influential piano performers and teachers, including Yuqin Cui, Quming Zhang, Zhu Yafen, Li xin, Thomas Schumacher, Danwen Wei, Marc Silverman and Jeffrey Cohen. 

Free Admission

Liu will also present a piano masterclass on March 1 at 5:30 p.m. in room B-40 of the W.E. Singleton Center.