Tag: cello

Six retiring faculty, 191 years of combined teaching experience celebrated at 2018 commencement

The breadth of knowledge and teaching experience immeasurable. The number of classes taught, studio lessons given, recitals and concerts performed virtually incalculable.

Six retiring faculty members — including four from the conservatory — with an incredible 191 years of combined service will be recognized Sunday, June 10 by Lawrence University at its 169th commencement. Each will receive an honorary master of arts degree, ad eundem.

This is the most faculty retirements in one year since 1993, when eight left the academy.

“Retirements are always bittersweet events and that is even more the case this year,” said Catherine Gunther Kodat, provost and dean of the faculty. “These faculty leave sterling legacies in excellent teaching, superior scholarly and artistic accomplishment, and selfless institutional service. It is impossible to imagine Lawrence without their contributions—contributions that will continue to inspire and motivate us for many years to come. They have made Lawrence a better place than it would have been otherwise, and we—their colleagues and students alike—will be eternally grateful.”

Janet Anthony, George and Marjorie Olsen Chandler Professor of Music and cello teacher

Janet Anthony
Janet Anthony

Anthony joined the Lawrence conservatory in 1984 as a 27-year old cellist from Vienna, Austria, via graduate school in New York. During her 34-year career, Anthony has mentored some 300 aspiring cellists, performed on the Lawrence Memorial Chapel stage countless times, played live on Wisconsin Public Radio and entertained audiences in well-known music venues around the world, including throughout Europe, South America as well as in China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam.

“Music is a wonderful way to remove borders and remove blocks,” said Anthony, a native of Tucson, Ariz. “For me, personally, it has mainly been through music that I’ve traveled and gotten to know other cultures and see other things.

“The chance to perform with remarkable colleagues has been one of the greatest gifts of my time at Lawrence,” she added. “Performing with the Lawrence Chamber Players for some 30 years was a rich part of my life.”

When it comes to career highlights her thoughts turn immediately to students.

“It’s really always about the students and the amazing individuals who have come through the studio over the past 34 years,” said Anthony, who earned a bachelor of music degree from the University of Arizona after three years of study at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna. She earned a master’s degree in music at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

“There have been so many people of such varied interests and varied gifts. Keeping in touch with a number of them through the years has been very gratifying and rewarding.”

Much of the last third of Anthony’s career focused on what she calls her “obsession.” The country of Haiti, where she’s compassionately cultivated a variety of youth music programs both before and after the devastating earthquake in 2010, has occupied copious amounts of Anthony’s free time. While on sabbatical this spring, she spent three months there assembling an orchestra for the 2nd Annual Haitian National Orchestra Institute.

“We had members of the Utah Symphony and their music director, a bass player from the Cleveland Orchestra and 100 participants from 23 different music schools in Haiti,” said Anthony. “They played so well.”

Before her involvement, Haiti had one primary music school in the country.

“Since then, there have probably been 20 music programs that have blossomed and are doing very well,” she said while deflecting credit.

“I think the work that I’ve done with a lot of other people has had something to do with it, but really these are organically grown programs. They arrive out of the desire of specific communities to do something in music. We don’t implant things. It all comes from within the community. But there is a burgeoning interest in music there.”

““What I will miss about teaching at Lawrence is the incredible students we have, the camaraderie that develops in the studio, the fun we have and the hard work we do.”
— Janet Anthony

When the subject of legacy comes up, Anthony turns philosophical.

“I hope that it has something to do with striving for beauty, striving to create beauty in the world around us. Bringing that home and further afield, and making what music brings to our lives more accessible to people,” said Anthony, co-recipient of the 2017 Faculty Convocation Award.

She will return to the southwest in retirement — just outside Albuquerque, N.M — and plans to continue teaching locally there and in Haiti, and performing with her piano partner of 36 years.

“What I will miss about teaching at Lawrence is the incredible students we have, the camaraderie that develops in the studio, the fun we have and the hard work we do. Everybody throws themselves wholeheartedly into what happens here. I don’t know if it is that rare, but it’s something that I treasure about Lawrence.”

James DeCorsey, associate professor of music and horn teacher

James DeCorsey
James DeCorsey

Growing up in Palm Springs, Calif., DeCorsey often crossed paths with celebrity A-listers. As a teen, he delivered flowers and groceries to Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Natalie Wood. He frequently sat on the roof of his house to watch the likes of President Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon land at the airport a few blocks away. His next-door neighbors included Liberace’s brother and old-time Hollywood director Eddie Sutherland.

After graduating from Stanford University, DeCorsey enjoyed a 15-year career as a professional musician. It was a life that saw him share a stage with Sinatra for a two-week gig, play with the London Philharmonic and the Royal Ballet during a five-year stay in England and perform in the orchestra pit for the Broadway smashes “Cats,” “Evita,” and his personal favorite, “Sugar Babies” with Ann Miller and Mickey Rooney, who handed him a note each night from the stage.

While living in New York City, where he played horn with the American Symphony, Musica Sacra (under the direction of 1954 Lawrence graduate Richard Westenburg) and the Brooklyn Philharmonic, DeCorsey developed an itch…to teach.

“My wife and I had grown up in much smaller places than any of these large metropolitan areas we’d been living in the past 15 years,” said DeCorsey. “The idea occurred that I might like to teach, particularly at the college level.”

A colleague encouraged an audition, which led to DeCorsey’s acceptance as a non-traditional student to Yale University, where he eventually earned two master’s degrees and a doctorate of musical arts degree.

“I hadn’t been in school for over 15 years and certainly wondered how I would do,” he said, “but I found that I instantly felt at home in the academic setting.”

While most students start looking for performing opportunities upon earning their master’s degree, DeCorsey already had a substantial performance resume.

“I made it very clear I wanted to teach,” he recalled. “They said, ‘Great, go find yourself a job.’ There were three openings that year for college teaching jobs for horn specialists. Amazingly I got interviewed for all of them and of the three, Lawrence was obviously the right fit.”

He still considers his undergraduate degree in English — instead of music — something that worked to his advantage when he interviewed here.

“I grasped the concept of Freshman Studies and was lucky enough to teach it a few times over the years until the horn studio grew,” said DeCorsey, whose daughter works at 30 Rockefeller Center and whose son makes violins in northern Wisconsin.

DeCorsey’s time living in London before embarking on his teaching career left an indelible imprint on his life. He called the opportunity to return — twice — to England’s capital via Lawrence’s London Centre “the two undoubted highlights of my time at Lawrence.”

“Living overseas hugely effected my eventual path in life and so I wanted to help create similar life-changing, world-expanding experiences for the Lawrentians I worked with in London,” said DeCorsey, who served as the centre’s director in 2001-02 and co-taught there with Professor of English Tim Spurgin in 2009-10. “One of the things I assuredly will do in retirement is to return to London whenever possible to take advantage of my reader’s card at the British Library, which I should be able to renew in perpetuity due to emeritus faculty status.”

While he may have arrived a bit later to the teaching game than some of his colleagues, the impact of the students he’s worked with is much the same.

“The thing I’ll miss the most is the students. They are wonderful, keen, hard-working,” said DeCorsey, who spent 2015-17 honing his administrative skills as associate dean of the conservatory. “They often come in very bright, very talented, but rather unsophisticated. But to watch them grow over the next four or five years is the most gratifying experience.”

Coming to Lawrence to scratch his teaching itch did not extinguish his desire to still perform and his association with various ensembles remains a bright spot on his 28-year tenure.

“Playing chamber music with my colleagues certainly is one of the highlights for me over the years. I’m surrounded by this terrific faculty and the Lawrence Brass has been a very important part of my time here.”

“The thing I’ll miss the most is the students. They are wonderful, keen, hard-working.”
— James DeCorsey

DeCorsey plans to relocate to Vancouver, Wash., to rejoin his wife, Patricia, who is an international Montessori teacher there.

Nick Keelan, associate professor of music, trombone teacher

Nick Keelan
Nick Keelan

Anyone who has enjoyed the Tuesday night jazz at Frank’s Pizza Palace in downtown Appleton played by the Big Band Reunion, can thank Keelan. It was his idea to start the group, which he co-led for a decade and still performs with occasionally.

His arrival at Lawrence in 1985 came after 10 years of teaching music in high school in Texas and Colorado and with a word-of-mouth assist from Bob Levy, the former long-time director of bands at Lawrence, who was once one of Keelan’s undergraduate professors at Henderson State University.

Keelan’s initial teaching load included trombone, euphonium, tuba and running the instrumental music education program, including formulating a new system of education based on a new state law.

“I got real busy. At one point, I had 29 trombone students and there weren’t enough hours in the day,” said Keelan, who estimates he’s worked with some 500 trombonists in his 33 years at Lawrence.

At various times along the way, Keelan served as conductor of Lawrence’s Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Band and Jazz Workshop. He is a founding member of the Lawrence Brass, the faculty brass quintet, and the Faculty Jazz Group.

“The Lawrence Brass has been very active here as a resident performing brass quintet,” said Keelan. “As a group we’ve rehearsed twice a week for the last 25 years or so.”

Speaking of rehearsals, Keelan makes sure to find time to blow his own trombone every day, anywhere from 30 minutes to four hours.

“Some days, when I play with students, it could be an eight-hour day with a horn on the face. That’s just what it takes,” Keenlan said with a hint of a drawl from his time growing up in Arkansas and Texas. He attended and graduated from Little Rock Central High School, 10 years after the group of African-American students known as the “Little Rock Nine” enrolled in the then-all-white school. “I’m a night owl so my practice would often start at 10 at night and often go to two or three o’clock in the morning. Then I’d have to get up and go teach.”

“I’ve enjoyed a lot of cool things — concerts, clinics, performances off campus. It’s that regular schedule of getting together with people you like to work with that I’ll miss a lot.”
— Nick Keelan

When on that rare occasion he’s not in his office, the studio or rehearsal room, Keelan is likely at a clinic, mentoring an aspiring elementary or high school trombonist. Despite his busy schedule, he typically manages to shoehorn in about 25 clinics a year, some in Wisconsin, others out of state.

“I do a lot of clinics at the schools,” said Keelan, who was recognized with Lawrence’s Young Teacher Award in 1988, “But I have to be cautious with how much I leave campus. That’s why Jazz Celebration Weekend is nice. The students come to us.”

Music may be central to Keelan’s life, but he has other interests that provide an adrenaline rush that’s different than a standing ovation. He drives Formula Ford race cars. He flew his own airplanes for a decade, although he’s since given those up for a motorcycle and a dirt bike. He enjoys four-wheeling and remodeling projects.

Retirement will find him in Colorado at a home he’s owned for 16 years “in the boonies up on a cliff” overlooking Twin Lakes. He plans to continue playing and conducting with the local Summit County Band and the Colorado Brass Band.

“I’ve enjoyed a lot of cool things — concerts, clinics, performances off campus,” Keelan said of his three-plus decades at Lawrence. “It’s that regular schedule of getting together with people you like to work with that I’ll miss a lot. And the students, you see their progress, their successes and you stay in touch with them. I’ll miss those interactions I get once they leave. I’ll miss a lot of that stuff.”

Carol Lawton, Ottilia Buerger Professor of Classical Studies and professor of art history

Carol Lawton
Carol Lawton

The longest-serving of the six retirees, Lawton has called the Agora —the civic and commercial center of ancient Athens — her home every summer of her 38 years at Lawrence. It’s there she’s conducted much of her life’s work, studying sculpture from the 4th and 5th centuries B.C.

“I specialize not in the big names in Greek art, but in so-called anonymous sculpture, unsigned works like votive reliefs that give us important insight into the concerns of their dedicators,” said Lawton, who grew up in tiny Oakland, Md.

Much of Lawton’s more recent work concerns the sculpture from the excavations begun in 1931 by the American School of Classical Studies, which have uncovered more than 3,500 pieces, only a fraction of which has been published. In her 2006 book “Marbleworkers in the Athenian Agora,” Lawton presented the archaeological evidence for sculptors’ workshops in the area of the Agora.

Her most recent book, 2017’s “Agora XXXVIII: Votive Reliefs,detail how most of the reliefs weren’t dedicated to Olympian deities but rather to gods and heroes who were closer to the people and who were concerned with the daily aspects of the people’s lives such as healing, fertility and prosperity. Her research has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim, Kress and Loeb Foundations and the Archaeological Institute of America.

Her interest in art history was cultivated as an undergraduate at Vassar College, where she enrolled with political science major intentions.

“Vassar had a requirement that you had to take two languages – the one you took in high school and another foreign language,” said Lawton. “I thought why not take Greek?  Simultaneously, I took the intro to art history course, just as people do. The two kind of went together. So, I became an art history major and classics minor. It all just worked out that way.”

Beyond her yearly field research in Greece, Lawton also has been the caretaker of Lawrence’s stunning collection of ancient Greek and Roman coins, donated by alumna Ottilia Buerger ’38. Over the years Lawton has supervised 25 students who have contributed to the online publication of the coins, which has been viewed by more than four million readers.

“I’m very proud of the work that the students have done for this collection,” said Lawton, who earned a master’s degree in art history at the University of Pittsburgh and an M.F.A. and Ph.D. in art history at Princeton University. “Ottilia was very clear that the collection be used for teaching. This is not easy material to study. Most publications on ancient coins are simply lists with very abbreviated information that nobody could ever read. Our goal is to explain what the images are and who issued them so that an interested high school student who is taking Latin could look up our collection and understand what that coin is all about.

“I’d like to think I did a pretty good job of teaching them how to do research and how to write it up in a way that by publishing the catalog the collection was made accessible to the public,” she added.

“I’m very proud of the work that the students have done for this collection.”
— Carol Lawton on the Ottilia Buerger Collection of Ancient and Byzantine Coins

If recognition is any indication, Lawton did considerably better than “pretty good.” She is one of only four faculty members in the university’s history to receive Lawrence’s Young Teacher Award (1982), the Award for Excellence in Teaching (2004) and the Freshman Studies Teaching Award (1998).

Shortly after commencement, Lawton will leave for a full year in Athens, with her husband Jere Wickens, visiting assistant professor of anthropology, where she hopes to finish two more books about her research that are in progress.

“It’s going to be odd not being in the classroom,” said Lawton, who was the entire art history department when she started in 1980. “I do some teaching in Greece when people come through to see the Agora, but it’s not the same as introducing students who have never seen these things before to something new. I will miss that.”

Howard Niblock, professor of music and oboe teacher

Howard Niblock
Howard Niblock

It took eight years of teaching — five and Luther College and three at Ohio University —  before Niblock arrived at Lawrence in 1981, a place he described as “perfect.”

“It was a more professionally oriented music program, but it gave me the ability to exercise my interdisciplinary liberal arts roots,” said Niblock, whose undergraduate degree was in English and philosophy, although he did earn a master’s degree in oboe performance at Michigan State University and took additional music classes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In a performance career spanning 50 years, Niblock has served as principal oboe with the Blue Lake Festival Orchestra and Band for 17 years and has played with nearly two dozen symphonies and orchestras, including the Milwaukee Symphony, the Pamiro Opera and the Fox Valley Symphony.

He counts the simple, daily interactions with students among the things that he will miss the most in retirement.

“It’s not just the interaction of teaching them, but all of the other kinds of interactions, too,” said Niblock. “We’re fortunate at Lawrence in that we get a really special brand of young person. I’ve just been lucky enough to get to know so many of them so well.”

Weekend road trips to Björklunden — Lawrence’s northern campus in Door County —  with his oboe studio students red-line the needle on Niblock’s memory meter.

“The very first year that the new lodge opened, I took a bunch of woodwind quintets up there,” recalled Niblock, citing guest visits by some of his first oboe students, Katherine Hopkins ’85 and John Perkins ’83 among them, on some of his Björklunden trips as special highlights. “Every time I’ve gone up there, it’s been a wonderful memory.”

An avid Freshman Studies teacher — he’s taught Lawrence’s signature course some 30 times in his 37 years on the faculty and was recognized in 2003 with the university’s Freshman Studies Teaching Award — Niblock established a tradition in the late 1990s, reuniting graduating seniors each spring who were in his Freshman Studies section for group toast in the Viking Room. “That’s always been a blast to do,” he says.

“We’re fortunate at Lawrence in that we get a really special brand of young person. I’ve just been lucky enough to get to know so many of them so well.”
— Howard Niblock

One of the things Niblock is best known for is offering the opening words — usually an appropriate excerpt from a poem — at the start of commencement and the annual matriculation convocation. It came to him in the form of a request from then-President Richard Warch in the early 1990s.

“After I did it the first time, Rik came up to me and said, ‘I want you to do this again.’ And then he asked me every year,” said Niblock, a self-described poetry lover. “When Jill Beck came, she said, ‘We want to keep a number of things the same, have some continuity here. Would you do it?’ And when Mark Burstein came, he kept the same continuity. It’s turned into quite a long time.”

As a fitting ending to his career as a music teacher and “opening words” speaker, Niblock is considering reading a poem written by his son, a poet, at the 2018 commencement.

As he looks back, one thing that generates a proud smile is the fact his incoming successor for next year, Nora Lewis, is a former student of his.

“That really puts a nice glow on the whole thing,” said Niblock, who grew up in East Lansing, Mich. “It kind of closes the loop, but also continues it. It’s hard to top that.”

While he’s played the oboe since the age of 11, his crystal ball hints at more writing — music and otherwise — in his immediate future.

“I’m going to spend some times composing,” said Niblock, who plans to still call Appleton home for the near future. “I have some music in my head that I haven’t had time to write.”

Dirck Vorenkamp, associate professor of religious studies

Dirck Vorenkamp
Dirck Vorenkamp

Maybe his imposing stature has something to do with it. A former Tulsa, Okla., police officer, Vorenkamp casts a large shadow. He is known among the student body as being one of the toughest graders on the faculty.

“That’s my reputation,” laughs Vorenkamp at the suggestion. “The truth of the matter is, if you look at the grade distribution, I give pretty much as many As and Bs as my colleagues in the humanities. This ‘tough thing,’ a lot of it just has to do with personality.”

A specialist in East Asian Buddhism, Vorenkamp lived in Taiwan for a year while completing his Ph.D. He spent a combined five years teaching at UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee before joining the Lawrence faculty in 1997, when he learned quickly he was no longer at a public institution.

“I was teaching the Intro to East Asian Religions course and in the very first week, one of the upperclassmen came up to me and asked ‘Why aren’t we reading original sources in this class?,’” recalled Vorenkamp, who was born in Baton Rouge, La., but grew up in Tulsa. “If somebody had taken my picture right then, I’m pretty sure my jaw would have been on the floor. I taught at UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee and never had a student ask me something like that. In my first week here, students clued me in about some of the important differences between Lawrence and those schools.”

He credits bright and motivated students for keeping the classroom energized and counts them among the highlights of his Lawrence tenure.

“It’s really a joy to work with students like that, as well as so many colleagues who are doing interesting things in their classes. Just in our everyday interactions, getting to know and work with smart, talented folks, learn about some of the things they’ve succeeded in has been a real pleasure. And the freedom to pursue lines of intellectual inquiry that are personally interesting to me has all helped make this a wonderful way to spend the last 21 years.”

A major grant Lawrence received allowed for numerous trips to East Asia in the early 2000s. Vorenkamp was able to participate in eight of the trips.

“I was a part of the Freeman group that helped put things together and I got to guide a number of those trips,” he said. “That was just an amazing opportunity for all of us.”

“It’s really a joy to work with [bright, movitated] students, as well as so many colleagues who are doing interesting things in their classes.”
— Dirck Vorenkamp

Vorenkamp also guided Lawrence’s signature Freshman Studies program as its director from 2005-07 and was recognized with the university’s “Freshman Studies Teaching Award” for the 1999-2000 academic year.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in education, Vorenkamp spent four years as an officer with the Tulsa Police Department, earning two “Chief’s Commendations” for outstanding performance in the line of duty, before turning his career interests toward higher education. He earned a master’s degree in East Asian languages and cultures at the University of Kansas and completed his doctorate in Buddhist studies at the University of Wisconsin- Madison.

The siren call of two young grandchildren and the chance to be a full-time “Opa” is luring Vorenkamp to suburban Detroit this summer.

“As much as I enjoy working, I’ve never been one of those folks who felt that work was the primary thing in my life,” said Vorenkamp, who’s looking forward to more time for riding his motorcycle. “My wife and I are ready to move on to the next chapter of our lives, as much as we’ve enjoyed the years thus far.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

 

Lawrence Artist/New Music series concert features cellist Joshua Roman, JACK Quartet

Joshua Roman
Joshua Roman

Celebrated cellist Joshua Roman shares the Lawrence Memorial Chapel stage with the JACK Quartet Saturday, April 21 at 8 p.m. in a combined Lawrence University Artist Series and New Music Series concert.

Tickets for the performance, at $25-30 for adults, $20-25 for seniors, $18-20 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Internationally celebrated for his wide-ranging performances, Roman has earned critical acclaim for his ability to communicate the essence of music in visionary ways. In 2006 at the age of 22, he was named principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, becoming the youngest principal player in the symphony’s history. He also serves as artistic director of Town Music in Seattle, where he showcases his own eclectic music influences and promotes newly commissioned works.

Horacio Contreras, who teaches cello in the Lawrence conservatory of music, calls Roman “a world-class cellist and a socially engaged artist.”

“Joshua Roman is an excellent model of some of the directions a dynamic music career can take,” said Contreras, who also studied with one of Roman’s main cello mentors, Richard Aaron. “He is always collaborating with living composers and artists, having premiered and commissioned works by some of the most relevant composers of today.”

Jack Quartet
The JACK Quartet

Founded in 2005 and based in New York City, the JACK Quartet — violinists Christopher Otto and Austin Wulliman, violist John Pickford Richards and cellist Jay Campbell — was hailed as “superheroes of the new music world” by the Boston Globe. They have performed to critical acclaim domestically at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center as well as internationally at London’s Wigmore Hall and Switzerland’s Lucerne Festival.

The JACK Quartet has been recognized with the Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, New Music USA’s Trailblazer Award and the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Nine tenure-track appointments joining the faculty this fall

Nine tenure-track scholars are joining the Lawrence University faculty this fall for the 2017-18 academic year at the rank of assistant professor. Four of the new faculty members are in the conservatory of music.

The new tenure track appointments include: Ingrid Albrecht, philosophy; Horacio Contreras, conservatory of music (cello); Andrew Crooks, conservatory of music (vocal coach); Dylan Fitz, economics; Anne Haydock, film studies; John Holiday, conservatory of music (voice); Rebecca Perry, conservatory of music (music theory); Julie Rana, mathematics; and Jesus Smith, ethnic studies.

“It’s a great pleasure to welcome these gifted scholars and artists to Lawrence. As a new member of the community myself, I am repeatedly impressed by the records of professional achievement and teaching excellence of our faculty,” said Catherine Kodat, provost and dean of the faculty who joined the administration July 1. “Our newest colleagues continue our tradition of distinguished faculty accomplishment in the laboratory, in the studio, onstage and in the classroom.”

Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music, is excited to welcome “four exceptional faculty” each of whom brings “experiences that greatly enhance our conservatory offerings.”

“John Holiday, as a countertenor and rising star in the opera world, brings valuable insights from the professional stage into the classroom,” said Pertl. “Horacio Contreras, who is widely considered one of Venezuela’s greatest cellists, brings a passion for the vast and often unexplored repertoire of South American composers along with his passion for performing and teaching.

“Rebecca Perry joins our theory department as a passionate educator who seeks opportunities to holistically engage students in music theory,” Pertl added. “Andrew Crooks comes directly from Germany, where he worked for Die Kommische Oper Berlin, one of the most forward-thinking opera houses in the world. These experiences will expand the learning opportunities for all of our students. It will be exciting to see how these four professors expand our Lawrence community.”

Ingrid Albrecht
Ingrid Albrecht

• Ingrid Albrecht, philosophy
While new to the tenure track, Albrecht is no stranger to Lawrence. A specialist in ethics and moral psychology, Albrecht first joined the Lawrence faculty in 2013 as a postdoctoral fellow of philosophy and Uihlein Fellow of Ethics. The past two years she held a visiting assistant professor appointment in the philosophy department, where she taught the courses Existentialism, Advanced Studies in Biomedical Ethics, Women and Friendship, and Philosophy of Sex and Love, among others.

Prior to Lawrence, Albrecht spent a year on the faculty at Ball State University.

Originally from Winston-Salem, N.C., she earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Wake Forest University and a master’s and doctorate degree in philosophy at the University of Illinois, where she received the philosophy department’s Distinguished Graduate Student Teaching Award.

Horacio Contreras
Horacio Contreras

 • Horacio Contreras, conservatory of music (cello)
A native of Venezuela, Contreras comes to Lawrence from the University of Michigan String Preparatory Academy, where he has taught for the past three years. He also has seven years of teaching experience in his homeland at the University of Los Andes and El Sistema, a music education program.

Contreras also has taught masterclasses at the National University of Colombia in Bogota and the National University of Cordoba in Argentina as well as at The Julliard School and Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Earlier this year, Contreras was appointed to the cello faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago, where he teaches on the weekends.

He has performed as a soloist with numerous symphony orchestras, including Venezuela’s Simon Bolivar Symphony, Colombia’s EAFIT Symphony Orchestra  and the Camerata de Frace in France. As a chamber musician and recitalist, he has participated in chamber music festivals and concert series throughout the Americas.

He did his undergraduate studies in Europe at conservatories in Perpignan, France, and Barcelona, Spain. He earned both a master of music degree and a doctorate of musical arts degree in cello performance at the University of Michigan.

Andrew Crooks
Andrew Crooks

• Andrew Crooks, conservatory of music (vocal coach)
Crooks joins the conservatory of music from Berlin, Germany, where he has served as deputy chorus master of the Komische Oper Berlin since 2014. During his tenure there the chorus of the Komische Oper was awarded the title of Chorus of the Year in 2015 by the opera magazine Opernwelt. He also spent four years (2010-14) as an assistant to the chorus master at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

In 2012, Crooks founded the Metamorphos Ensemble Berlin, an artistic collective of more than 200 singers and instrumentalists, for which he serves as artistic director.

Originally from New Zealand, Crooks has worked on productions with Canterbury Opera and Opera Otago in his native country as well as nearly a dozen productions with Cincinnati Opera.

He earned a bachelor of music in piano and oboe as well as a bachelor of arts in German language and literature from the University of Otago (Dunedin, New Zealand). He also holds a master’s degree in conducting from Indiana University and an Artist Diploma in opera coaching from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Dylan Fitz
Dylan Fitz

• Dylan Fitz, economics
A specialist in development economics, Fitz joins the economics department from Davidson College, where he spent the past four years as an assistant professor. His current research evaluates the effectiveness of social programs, the causes of poverty, and the importance of risk and learning in technology adoption.  Fitz will teach courses on effective altruism, Latin American economic development and political economy and economic development, among others.

A native of State College, Pa., he earned a bachelor’s degree in politics at Princeton University, with certificates in Latin American studies and political economy. He earned both a master’s and doctorate degree in agricultural and applied economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

John Holiday
John Holiday

• John Holiday, conservatory of music (voice)
Holiday joins the voice department on the crest of a prestigious national award. Earlier this year, Holiday was named winner of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts 2017 Marian Anderson Vocal Award. The award recognizes “a young American singer who has achieved initial professional success in the vocal arts and who exhibits promise for a significant career.” As the Marian Anderson winner, he will sing a recital at the Kennedy Center next February 25.

Opera Wire has described Holiday as “one of the most promising countertenors of his generation” and said his “star is rising.” Broadway World included Holiday in its 2015 list of “New York Opera Gifts that Keep on Giving.”

This summer, Holiday sang the title role in the Glimmerglass Festival’s production of “Xerxes” in Cooperstown, N.Y. He is also slated to play John Blue in Opera Philadelphia’s world premiere of “We Shall Not Be Moved,” under the direction and choreography of award-winning Bill T. Jones. The show also will be performed at the Apollo Theater and London’s Hackney Empire Theater. Holiday has additional upcoming title roles as Orfeo in Florida Grand Opera’s “Orfeo ed Euridice” and as the refugee in “Flight” with the Des Moines Metro Opera.

His discography includes 2012’s “Messiah” with the Cincinnati Boychoir, and Philip Glass’ “Galileo Galilei” with the Portland Opera which came out in 2013. His recording of Ars Lyrica’s production of “La Sposa Dei Cantici” is scheduled for release this fall.

Beyond classical repertoire, Holiday performs gospel and jazz music. His debut jazz album, “The Holiday Guide,” was released in 2006.

Holiday, who grew up near Houston, earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Southern Methodist University, a master of music in vocal performance from the University of Cincinnati College – Conservatory of Music and the Artist Diploma in opera studies from The Juilliard School.

Rebecca Perry
Rebecca Perry

• Rebecca Perry, conservatory of music (music theory)
Perry joins the music theory department after four years as an instructor at Yale University, where she taught courses on tonal harmony, elementary musicianship, topics in world music and the history of Western music, among others.

Her scholarship interests focus on composer Sergei Prokofiev and the Russian sonata traditions.

A native of Rolla, Mo., Perry, who speaks Mandarin Chinese and Russian, earned bachelor’s degrees in piano performance and political science from Brigham Young University and master’s and doctorate degrees in music history from Yale University.

Julie Rana
Julie Rana

• Julie Rana, mathematics
A specialist in algebraic geometry, especially moduli spaces, singular spaces and deformation theory, Rana spent the past two years as an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota. She began her teaching career as a Math Fellow at Vermont’s Marlboro College.

She has taught nearly 30 different math courses, including differential calculus, computational algebraic geometry and linear algebra and delivered more than a dozen invited talks at seminars and symposiums around the country. Rana also has helped organize numerous math-focused outreach enrichment programs for elementary students and high school teachers.

Rana earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Marlboro College, and both a master’s and doctorate degree in mathematics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Jesus Smith
Jesus Smith

• Jesus Smith, ethnic studies
A sociologist, Smith comes to Lawrence from Texas A & M University, where he was a Diversity Fellow the past two years. Smith’s research interests include race and ethnic relations, sex and gender, computer and information technologies.

A native of El Paso, Texas, Smith has written published articles on the politics of Latinx identity and the intersections of race, gender and sexuality in cyber space, among other topics, has given scholarly presentations at a dozen academic conferences throughout the country and has served as a reviewer for several professional journals.

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in sociology at the University of Texas-El Paso. He earned his Ph.D. in sociology at the Texas A & M University.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

2017-18 Lawrence Performing Arts Series features renowned classical, jazz musicians

More than a dozen world-class artists will grace the stage of the Lawrence Memorial Chapel during Lawrence University’s 2017-18 Performing Arts Series.

Subscriptions for both the Artist and Jazz series are on sale now. Subscribers may choose from either series for a “Favorite 4” package, with discounts available to senior citizens and students. Single-concert tickets go on sale Sept. 18. For more information, contact the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749 or boxoffice@lawrence.edu.

The Artist Series     

• Jonathan Biss, piano, Friday, Oct. 6, 8 p.m.

A head shot of pianist Jonathan Biss
Pianist Jonathan Biss. Photo by Benjamin Ealovega.

Since making his New York City recital debut as a 20-year old in 2000, Biss has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and many other of the world’s leading orchestras.

He performs regularly as a guest soloist throughout Europe and in 2002 became first American to be named the BBC’s “New Generation Artist.”

Biss is currently in his second year of the “Beethoven/5” project, in which he will premiere five new piano concertos, each inspired by one of Beethoven’s. He opened the project in 2016 with “The Blind Banister” by Timo Andre, which was a finalist for Pulitzer Prize in Music. Later this year he will debut Sally Beamish’s concerto with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

• Sasha Cooke, mezzo soprano, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, 8 p.m.

A head shot of singer Sasha Cooke
Mezzo soprano Sasha Cooke

A 2011 Grammy Award-winner for her electrifying performance as Kitty Oppenhemier in the Metropolitan Opera premiere of “Doctor Atomic,” Cooke has been racking up acclaim and honors since graduating from Rice University and the Juilliard School, where she made her professional debut.

Hailed by the New York Times as “a luminous standout,” Cooke specializes in contemporary opera and is renowned for her work with the music of Gustav Mahler, which she has performed to robust praise on four continents.

A much-in-demand singer, Cooke has performed with nearly 30 orchestras around the world from New York to New Zealand and from San Francisco to Shanghai.

She released her debut solo album “If you love for beauty” with the Colburn Orchestra in 2012, one of six albums in her discography. Her latest, “Liszt: The Complete Songs, Vol 4” was released in 20

• Colin Currie, percussion, Friday, March 30, 2018, 8 p.m.

A photo of percussionist Colin Currie.
Percussionist Colin Currie

A champion of new music at the highest level, Currie has been called “the world’s finest and most daring percussionist” by British magazine The Spectator. A graduate of England’s Royal Academy of Music, Currie performs regularly with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors.

Known as an adventurous soloist with an unmatched commitment to creating new music, Currie was recognized by the Royal Philharmonic Society in 2000 with its Young Artist Award and in 2015 with its prestigious Instrumentalist Award.

Professor of Music Dane Richeson, who teaches percussion in the Lawrence conservatory, said Currie “ranks right there with the top contemporary percussionists in the world.”

“Colin has inspired many new compositions that have led the way in breaking new ground for the percussive arts, bringing whole new audiences and appreciation to the art form,” said Richeson. “We’re all grateful for his musical mastery.”

Currie’s 13-album discography includes 2016’s “Dawn to Dust” with the Utah Symphony.

• Joshua Roman, cello, with JACK Quartet, Saturday, April 21, 2018, 8 p.m.

A photo of cellist Joshua Roman.
Cellist Joshua Roman

The 33-year old Roman has earned an international reputation for his wide-ranging repertoire, artistic leadership and versatility. Beyond being a celebrated performer, he is recognized as an accomplished composer and curator.

As artistic director of Seattle’s TownMusic, Roman has showcased his own eclectic musical influences and chamber music favorites while also promoting newly commissioned works. His cultural leadership utilizes digital platforms to harness new audiences, including YouTube for his “Everyday Bach” project, in which he performs Bach’s cello suites in gorgeous settings around the world.

A photo of the musical quartet JACK Quartet
JACK Quartet

He’ll be joined by the JACK Quartet — violinists Christopher Otto and Ari Streisfeld, violinist John Pickford Richards and cellist Kevin McFarland. Founded in 2007 and based in New York City, the quartet was called “superheroes of the new music world” by the Boston Globe.

Their performances at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center were met with critical acclaim and their commitment to new music has earned them the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming and New Music USA’s Trailblazer Award.

The Jazz Series

• Lizz Wright, vocalist, Friday, November 3, 7:30 p.m.

A headshot of singer LIzz Wright
Singer Lizz Wright. Photo by Jesse Kitt.

The charismatic, honey-voiced Wright opens Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend. A native of Georgia who makes her home now in North Carolina, Wright’s musical baptism began in church. Her early gospel roots have since been fused with jazz, blues, folk and R&B, earning comparisons to Norah Jones.

She has drawn critical raves since her debut album, “Salt,” zoomed to the top of the contemporary jazz charts in 2003.  Through her three following discs, Wright has demonstrated her innovative interpretation skills and established herself as popular song stylist.

• Storms/Nocturnes with the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble, Saturday, Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m.

A photo of the trio Storms/Nocturnes
Storms/Nocturnes

Combine British saxophone legend Tim Garland, world-class vibraphone virtuoso Joe Locke and recent Grammy nominee pianist Geoffrey Keezer and you have a chamber jazz trio with few peers. The extraordinary combination serves as the bookend to Lizz Wright for Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend.

As Storms/Nocturnes, the three artists combine their distinctive talents and diverse backgrounds to create captivating music that can be spacious or immensely complex one moment and delicate the next. No less an authority than jazz legend Chick Corea has said “This trio truly sizzles with virtuosity and creativity.”

After collaborating on a pair of successful releases, “Storms/Nocturnes” in 2002 and “Rising Tide” in 2003, the trio members spent seven years working on individual projects and with other bands before reuniting in 2010 to release the 10-track disc “VIA” the following year. The reunion revived one of the most timeless intercontinental jazz collaborations in the world today.

• Joe Lovano Classic Quartet, Friday, February 2, 2018, 8 p.m.

A photo of saxophonist Joe Lovano
Saxophonist Joe Lavano

For more than 20 years, Lovano has enjoyed an international reputation as one of the world’s premiere tenor saxophonists. Allmusic critic Chris Kelsey has described him as “”the tenor titan for our times.”

A 2000 Grammy Award winner, Lovano more recently was recognized by DownBeat magazine and the Jazz Journalists Association as 2014’s tenor saxophonist of the year.

José Encarnación, director of jazz studies at Lawrence who met Lovano at the Heineken Jazz Festival in the late 1990s, calls him “one of my favorite saxophone players ever.

“Joe’s unique voice on the saxophone, or any other instrument he plays, is so full of expression and freedom,” said Encarnación. “He possesses that innate ability in his playing to convey the sense of fresh spontaneity that has always characterized the music’s greatest improvisers.”

• Vijay Iyer Sextet, Friday, May 11, 2018, 8 p.m.

A photo of pianist Vijay Iyer
Pianist Vijay Iyer

A three-time recipient (2012, ’15, ’16) of DownBeat magazine’s “Artist of the Year” honor, Iyer unprecedentedly added Pianist of the Year, Jazz Album of the Year, Jazz Group of the Year and Rising Star Composer honors in the 2012 Downbeat International Critics Poll.

It’s little wonder the The New York Times wrote “There’s probably no frame wide enough to encompass the creative output of the pianist Vijay Iyer.”

The recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 2013, Iyer has expanded his acclaimed piano trio to a sextet by adding renowned horn players Graham Haynes, Steve Lehman and Mark Shim.

In 2014, Iyer began a permanent appointment as the Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts in Harvard University’s music department.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

 

 

University convocation celebrates the international contributions of Lawrence cellist Janet Anthony

The third installment of Lawrence University’s 2016-17 convocation series will celebrate the musical and educational career of Professor of Music Janet Anthony in a rare evening presentation.

A Head shot of Lawrence University cello professor Janet Anthony.
Janet Anthony

Anthony presents “Adventures in Music Making: 20 Years of Cross-Cultural Exchange in Haiti” Friday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The event, free and open to the public, also will be available via a live webcast.

The program will feature performances of Haitian music, including two works composed by non-degree seeking students at Lawrence, by the Lawrence University Cello Ensemble and the Lawrence Symphony Chamber Orchestra as well as remarks by 2011 Lawrence graduate Carolyn Armstrong Desrosiers, Lawrence jazz studies program director Jose Encarnacion and Haitian journalist Fritz Valescot,

Anthony, the George and Marjorie Olsen Chandler Professor of Music, was chosen as the co-recipient of Lawrence’s annual Faculty Convocation Award, which honors a faculty member for distinguished professional work. She is the eighth faculty member so honored.

A cellist who joined the Lawrence conservatory of music faculty in 1984, Anthony has been making annual trips to Haiti since 1996 to conduct, perform and teach at music schools there.

Since making her first trip, more than 50 Lawrence students and faculty colleagues have accompanied her to teach in some of the many music programs with which she has been involved. Anthony also has assisted in bringing key Haitian music teachers and students to the United States for short-term professional development.

Following the devastating 2010 earthquake that devastated parts of the country, Anthony helped organized a benefit concert in Appleton for Haiti and collected needed supplies for the survivors, including gently used instruments. She has since performed numerous memorial concerts in Haiti, including one in 2011 on the one-year anniversary of the earthquake.

Anthony is the co-founder and current president of Building Leaders Using Music Education (BLUME)-Haiti, a Fox Cities-based nonprofit organization that works with Haitian and International partners to develop and support music education for youth and young adults in Haiti.

A photo of Lawrence University cello professor Janet Anthony playing her cello.Desrosiers, an Appleton native who has made multiple trips to Haiti with Anthony, co-produced and co-directed a documentary film — “Kenbe La” — which explores the transformational power of music programs in Haiti.

An active soloist, recitalist and chamber musician, Anthony has toured with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Austrian Radio Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of the Vienna Symphony. She also has performed or taught in Argentina, China, Curacao, Japan, Venezuela and Vietnam and, as a member of the Duo Kléber, she has performed in England, France, Italy and Bosnia Herzegovina.

A frequent performer on Wisconsin Public Radio, Anthony earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona and a master’s degree in music from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She also studied at Vienna’s famed Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

 

 

Senior John Kasper Wins Concerto Competition

John-Kasper_newsblog
John Kasper ’15

Lawrence University senior John Kasper  earned first-place honors in the recent Green Bay Civic Symphony Orchestra Miroslav Pansky Memorial Concerto Competition  Kasper is the third Lawrence student since 2009 to win the Pansky competition.

A senior cello performance major from Neenah, Kasper received a $500 prize for his winning performance of Prokofiev’s “Symphony Concertante.” He will be a guest performer with the orchestra at its concert Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015 at the Meyer Theater. He is a student in the studio of Janet Anthony, professor of music and George and Marjorie Olsen Chandler Professor Music and Teacher of Cello.

The competition, which honors the memory of Pansky, long-time conductor of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra and founder of its youth orchestras, is open to Northeast Wisconsin students through the age of 21.

Kasper began his musical career at the Lawrence Academy of Music, where he studied for six years (2004-2010). He performed with the Academy String Orchestra and the chamber music ensembles and also took lessons in the studio of Laura Kenney.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

 

 

Lawrence Cellist Miles Link Wins State Strings Competition

For the second time this year, Lawrence University cellist Miles Link has earned top honors in a state music competition.

Miles-Link_newsblog
Miles Link ’16

Miles was named grand prize winner of the Wisconsin chapter of the American String Teachers Association solo competition conducted via submitted audition tape. A sophomore from Wilmette, Ill., Link was awarded a $500 cash prize for his winning effort and will perform a series of recitals at several Wisconsin schools during the 2014-15 academic year.

A student in the cello studio of Professor of Music Janet Anthony, Link performed works by Tchaikovsky, Bach and Beethoven for the competition.

In January of this year, Link won the Young Artist division of the Wisconsin Cello Society’s competition.

Founded more than 60 years ago, the American String Teachers Association is dedicated to helping orchestra teachers and players develop and refine their careers.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.