Notes from the Director, Issue 3

Posted on 17.08.2016 by Darden

Dear School of Music Family,

I’m thrilled to report that Mason Music has been active around the world during the 2016 summer months. Our School of Music faculty and students have been teaching, coaching, and performing music in Italy, Ireland, Costa Rica, Tennessee, Kentucky, Utah, Alabama, and on the George Mason Campus in Fairfax, Virginia! We hope you will enjoy reading about and viewing photos of our many Mason performances throughout the summer.

In addition, we have some outstanding recent faculty accomplishments to share. We are immensely proud of our School of Music faculty member, Dr. Michael Nickens (aka “Doc Nix”), on his recent honor of being selected as the George Mason University 2016 Faculty Member of the Year. Read the full article here which appeared in the Mason Spirit Magazine.
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Dr. Michael Nickens. Photo by University Creative Services

I am happy to announce that we have hired a wonderful new adjunct faculty member in applied trumpet, Prof. Kevin Gebo. As you can see from his impressive biography, Prof. Gebo brings a wealth of performance and teaching experience to the position. My thanks is extended to our School of Music trumpet search committee: Prof. John Kilkenny, Chair; Prof. Mark Camphouse; Dr. Michael Nickens; and Dr. Dennis Edelbrock.

Mason Music Around the World… And in Fairfax! Summer 2016

Prof. Patricia Miller, Director of Vocal Studies, was a distinguished faculty member at the Amalfi Coast International Music Festival, Maiori, Italy. Mason graduate students/recent alumni Daniel Smith and Brittany Michaelsen-Mulkey were selected for this prestigious opera program. Prof. Miller presented vocal master classes and a lecture on the Art of Bel Canto which was a highlight of the festival. In Prof. Miller’s words, “It was a wonderfully successful program this summer and I’m happy to report that Daniel and Brittany were outstanding in all their concert and opera performances – especially the (four) main stage performances of Marriage of Figaro!”

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Prof. Patricia Miller and Daniel Smith, baritone, 2016 Amalfi International Music Festival, Maiori, Italy.

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Prof. Patricia Miller with her students Alexandra Johnson and Brittany Michaelson-Mulkey, Amalfi, Italy.

Dr. Kathryn Hearden, Associate Director of Vocal Studies, was an esteemed member of the vocal faculty at La Musica Lirica International Opera Festival in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Joining her were recent Mason graduates: mezzo soprano Elise Jenkins, and tenor Felix Polendey, who returns to Mason this fall to begin his MM degree in Conducting.

Italy Opera
Elise Jenkins, right, in The Dialogues of the Carmelites by Francis Poulenc, La Musica Lirica.
Italy Opera 2
Felix Pendoley, right, Verdi’s Falstaff, La Musica Lirica.
Dr. Anna Balakerskaia was a distinguished faculty member at the Orfeo Music Festival in the Italian Alps. Mark Irchai, Junior Piano Performance Major at Mason, earned first prize in the Orfeo International Music Competition. We are most proud of Mark’s extraordinary performance accomplishment!

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Mark Irchai at Orfeo International Music Festival, Italy.

The Banda Conciertos de San Jose in Costa Rica has invited Prof. Mark Camphouse to serve as a guest conductor following a very productive visit to that country in May accompanied by School of Music faculty and Potomac Arts Academy staff for the purposes of establishing a Study Abroad Program for Mason School of Music instrumental students and furthering Potomac’s highly regarded “Instruments In The Attic” Program.

Prof. Mark Camphouse completed two new (commissioned) compositions this summer: “Illuminations for Symphonic Band” (University of Akron: December premiere) and “Canticle of Remembrance for Orchestra” (Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic: Chicago premiere in December by the Ann Arbor Huron High School Symphony Orchestra).

Jane Moore Kaye, collaborative pianist, was honored to be the rehearsal accompanist for the Limerick Sings Choral Festival (200 voices) at the University of Limerick, Ireland. The week-long festival, rehearsals, and tours culminated in a concert in which she played organ continuo with The Irish Chamber Orchestra.

Prof. John Kilkenny, percussion, and Prof. Elizabeth Blakeslee, harp, were faculty artists at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival in Sewanee, Tennessee. They performed on the faculty artist recital series, coached chamber music, conducted master classes, and gave lessons. Mason students included Andrew Nowak, percussion (BM, Music Ed 2016, Fall 2016 MM graduate assistant, Cleveland State university); Sophie Heeden, viola (BA Music, Arts Management Minor); Hannah Whitlock, violin (BM Performance); Joseph Pazanowski, percussion (BM Performance); Kendell Haywood, percussion (BM Performance); Jeremy Killeen, trombone (BM Performance, Arts Management minor).
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Professors Kilkenny and Blakeslee with Mason Music students at Sewanee Summer Music Festival.

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Prof. Kilkenny with percussionists at Sewanee Summer Music Festival.

Prof. John Kilkenny also served as faculty for the Music for All Summer Symposium. He worked with 27 high school students and 40 percussion educators from all across the US presenting master classes, clinics, and performances.
Violin professor Dr. Elizabeth Adams performed and mentored at the National Music Festival 2016 in Chestertown, MD. Highlights include a staged version of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat with Dr. Adams as soloist. Dr. Adams was joined at NMF by Mason students Bryant Hilaire (violin, BM Performance ’16) and Zack Whitaker (cello, MM Pedagogy).

Prof. Jim Carroll, saxophone, was a member of the jazz faculty at the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshop in Louisville, Kentucky.

Prof. Dave Robinson, Traditional Jazz Ensemble, conducted workshops on traditional jazz at a middle school in Magna, Utah, and at the Gulf Coast Ethnic and Heritage Jazz Camp in Mobile, Alabama. These were part of an ongoing series of workshops, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in conjunction with the publication and national distribution of Prof. Robinson’s Traditional Jazz Curriculum Kit.

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Prof. Dave Robinson with his students at the Gulf Coast Ethnic and Heritage Jazz Camp.

Potomac Arts Academy

Potomac Arts Academy had a great summer with over 45 programs serving over 2000 registrants.  Music had just under 600 enrolled in programs that included Orff and Kodaly Teacher Training, Ovations Strings Academy, offerings in Guitar, Piano, Violin and Musical Theater and a new residential week for high school students in Music Recording (taught by Dr. Jesse Guessford), Clarinet (taught by Dr. Kathleen Mulcahy), Composition (taught by Prof. Mark Camphouse), and Percussion (taught by Prof. John Kilkenny).
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Dr. Jesse Guessford teaching Music Technology Camp.

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Orff Teacher Training Program for Elementary School Music Teachers

Michelle Richardson, DMA Candidate in Piano Performance, directed and taught a highly successful week-long piano intensive camp for 20 kids ages 8-18. Additional faculty included Mason pianists Andy Miller, Faith Zuniga, and Dr. Ina Mirtcheva.

George Mason University hosted the international iPiano Institute featuring ten pianists from Beijing, China. Guest master class clinicians included Dr. Linda Monson and professors from Peabody Conservatory and the University of Maryland.

George Mason University hosted the American Choral Directors Association 18th Annual Voices United with special guest clinician Dr. Stanley Engebretson, Director of Choral Studies at Mason. Special thanks to Dr. Lisa Billingham for organizing this wonderful conference which engaged many Mason choral alumni.

This summer, the Performing Arts Building was given a face lift! Our wonderful Building Beautification Committee (dubbed the BBC) comprised of faculty, staff, and a student rep has been hard at work on projects big and small. During the upcoming academic year, we will have new signs to direct visitors around the building as well as a television monitor outside the main office to display posters and more. We are excited to show everyone our new look! Thank you to BBC members Prof. Jim Carroll, Chair; Prof. Jeremy Freer; Dan Hobson; Molly Baldovin; and Marc Anthony.

Delaski Pano

Special thanks to Don Russell, University Curator, for his assistance with the
beautification of the de Laski lobby.

Celebrate the opening of the 2016-2017 Concert Season at Mason with a Grand Piano Celebration on Sunday, September 18 at 3 pm! 

Grand Piano

Click image to buy tickets.
For a listing of major School of Music concerts in the upcoming Fall 2016 semester, click here.
Our Fall 2016 semester begins August 29. We hope that you will join us for a wonderful season of beautiful music featuring our tremendous School of Music students, faculty, and staff.

Warm regards,
Dr. Linda Monson
Director, School of Music