Mason Music Spotlight May 4, 2017

Posted on 04.05.2017 by Darden

Leigh Pilzer, Doctor of Musical Arts Candidate and Presidential Scholar, led the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Ensemble in a concert of music related to this year’s Jazz Appreciation Month theme of “Women in Jazz” on Thursday, April 20 in the Walter H. Coulter Performance Plaza at the National Museum of American History. The program featured arrangements Leigh had written previously of music by Lil Hardin Armstrong, Mary Lou Williams, Melba Liston, Marian McPartland, and the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, as well as three new arrangements she wrote specifically for this concert: an instrumental version of Mary Lou Williams’s choral work “St. Martin de Porres,” a quintet adaptation of Jerry Dodgion’s big band arrangement of Marian McPartland’s composition “Ambiance,” and an original called “Sideburns” written in honor of Vi Burnside, the star saxophone soloist of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm.



Angela Ammerman, Music Education PhD ’17, was the Fairfax County Public Schools nominee for the Washington Post Teacher of the Year. As orchestra director at Annandale High School, Ammerman has been recognized for her innovative and successful teaching methods. Previously she was named the 2015 Virginia Orchestra Director of the Year by the American String Teachers Association. Using the belief that all students have the ability to feel and make music, Ammerman’s passion and dedication to music education shows in the way she tirelessly recruits students from all backgrounds for Annandale’s orchestra program. She began her teaching career in North Carolina and has been teaching in Fairfax County Public Schools since 2010. Nominators commend her commitment and empathy towards others, evident when she organized a benefit concert to help cover medical expenses for one of her students. Ammerman is active in many professional organizations and has served as a clinician at music conferences across the United States. She earned her bachelor of music education from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, and her master’s of music education from Boston University. She will receive the PhD in music education from George Mason University in May 2017.