Steven Jordheim

Tag: Steven Jordheim

Music Professor Steven Jordheim Named Director of New Retention, Graduation Initiative

Lawrence University Provost David Burrows has announced the appointment of Professor of Music Steven Jordheim as project director of a new initiative designed to substantially increase the college’s retention and graduation rates, especially among at-risk student groups.

Steven Jordheim

Jordheim will coordinate the implementation of an integrated network of academic support systems designed to help each student overcome obstacles and achieve their educational goals.

The program will be supported by a five-year, $2.1 million grant Lawrence has received from the U.S. Department of Education’s Title III Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP).

“I am thrilled that Professor Jordheim has agreed to serve as the director of this program,” said Burrows. “The work of helping all of our students successfully complete a Lawrence education is extremely important to us, and Steve will do a wonderful job with the program’s initiatives. He has a passion for helping students succeed, experience in retention programs and great organizational skills. We were fortunate to have several well-qualified applicants for this position; Steve’s combination of qualities made him a fine choice to lead these initiatives.”

A Broad Support Plan

Over the next five years, the SIP grant will support:

• Additional staff positions for the Center for Teaching & Learning and Student Academic Services that will substantially increase the hours of each term of one-on-one and small group academic skills development, as well as ESL services.

 A retention management system will be launched with new software to coordinate faster, more targeted connections to students who would benefit from supportive, individualized outreach by a network of faculty and staff.

 New bridge programs will develop core skills and better prepare incoming students for college.

  New and advanced training for faculty advisors to equip them with tools to provide better, more culturally competent academic advising and mentoring.

  The CORE peer mentoring program launched in the fall of 2013, will be expanded to serve all freshmen, matching each Freshman Studies section with two upper-division peer mentors. The CORE mentors will help first-year students make Connections, receive ongoing Orientation, identify and utilize campus Resources and develop realistic Expectations about academics and student life.

“This is an important moment for Lawrence. The Title III grant enables us to launch a comprehensive set of initiatives to foster success of our students throughout their years of study at Lawrence and through the completion of their degrees,” said Jordheim, who has taught saxophone and music pedagogy in the Lawrence Conservatory of Music since 1981.  “The many and complex issues affecting student retention figure prominently in my work as a studio teacher each year. The new programs and positions created and the enhancements to existing programs and services will ensure greater numbers of our students fulfill their potential in their undergraduate study.

“I welcome the opportunity to collaborate with faculty, staff and students in the effort to increase student success and degree completion at Lawrence,” Jordheim added.

Nancy Truesdell, vice president for student affairs and dean of students cited Jordheim’s service over the years on numerous committees and task forces focused on issues of retention, graduation rate and support for students both in and outside the classroom, lab and studio that make him a great fit to direct the SIP initiative.

“Steve is a passionate spokesperson for doing all we can to ensure that Lawrence students can set and reach their goals,” said Truesdell. “I feel certain he will do an excellent job working closely with faculty and staff to shed new light on an important set of issues that many colleges face. His leadership will allow us to take full advantage of the grant to assist students as they thrive at Lawrence.”

The DOE grant includes up to $427,000 in endowment funds for ongoing support of the program, contingent upon Lawrence matching those funds through gifts and grants from other sources. Lawrence is seeking $575,000 in matching funds from private donors to create a $1 million fund to sustain the program.

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.

Saxophonist Joe Connor ’15 Earns Second-Place Honors at State Competition

Lawrence University saxophonist Joe Connor will perform as guest artist with the Lakeshore Wind Ensemble March 10, 2012 after earning second-place honors in the 24th annual Lakeshore Wind Ensemble Young Artist Competition held Saturday, Nov. 12 in Manitowoc.

A freshman from Oregon, Wis., Connor received a second-place scholarship of $1,000. A student in the saxophone studio of Professor of Music Steven Jordheim, Connor performed Claude T. Smith’s “Fantasia for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble.”

The statewide competition is open to musicians 16-25 years of age on all brass and woodwind wind ensemble instruments as well as piano and mallet percussion. In addition to Lawrence, it featured students from St. Norbert College, UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay and UW-Madison.

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.

DownBeat Magazine Honors Lawrence Saxophone Quartet, Composer Garth Neustadter ’10

The short history of the current iteration of the Lawrence University Saxophone Quartet could be told in one word: successful.

When four Lawrence University saxophone students decided in the spring of 2010 to combine their talents to perform interesting music at a very high level, they had no idea just how rewarding that decision would prove to be.

The latest in a long line of successful ensembles in the conservatory’s saxophone studio, this quartet — seniors David Davis, Sussex, and Sumner Truax, Chicago, Ill., junior Will Obst, St. Paul, Minn., and sophomore Phillip Dobernig, Mukwonago — won the annual Lawrence Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition last fall.

LU Saxophone Quartet: David Davis, Sumner Truax, Will Obst and Phil Dobernig

In March, they shared first-place honors in the annual Wisconsin Public Radio-sponsored Neale-Silva Young Artists competition in Madison.

And the nec plus ultra came this month via DownBeat magazine, which named the quartet its 2011 undergraduate college winner in the classical group category of its 34th annual Student Music Awards.

The classical group award was one of two Lawrence musicians received. Garth Neustader, a 2010 graduate, earning outstanding performance honors in the magazine’s undergraduate college jazz arrangement category for his work on “Tenderly.”

The awards were announced April 26 in DownBeat’s June edition. Known as “DBs” and presented in 12 categories in four separate divisions (junior high, high school, performing high school and college) the DownBeat awards are considered among the highest music honors in the field of jazz education.

“With their dedication and initiative, David, Sumner, Phil and Will are truly deserving of their success,” said Steve Jordheim, Lawrence professor of music and an award-winning saxophonist himself. “Though they’ve played together only one year, they have presented three full recital programs and premiered several works by Lawrence student composers. Their commitment to, and high level performance of, the art of chamber music is inspiring.”

The quartet was recognized based on a live recording of a diverse program they performed last fall that included Greg Wannamaker’s “Speed Metal Organum Blues,” “Just a Minute, Chopin” by Adam Silverman and “Quatuor pour Saxophones” by Jun Nagao.

Members credited the quartet’s success to a combination of chemistry, technique and great mentoring.

“Our personalities really allow us to work well together,” said Truax, who plays alto sax in the quartet. “Our rehearsals are very efficient because we don’t have a problem telling each other what we think needs to be fixed.”

“The way we rehearse is very methodical,” said Obst, the group’s baritone saxophonist. “We’ve informally devised a step-by-step process to work on intonation, rhythm, balance or phrasing.”

“I attribute much of our success to having truly amazing teachers,” added Davis, soprano saxophonist. “If it was not for the dedication and intense care and knowledge of Mr. Jordheim and Ms. (Sara) Kind, I would not be half as good as I am now.”

While thrilled with their DownBeat recognition, Dobernig said it’s important to keep the honor in proper perspective.

“One thing that we’ve found from doing competitions is that different judges have contrasting musical preferences that influence their decisions,” said Dobernig, the group’s tenor saxophonist. “The reality is that we played very well, and there were, without a doubt, many other groups that played very well. It’s certainly exciting, though, because of its prestige and national recognition.”

Although Davis will graduate in June, that doesn’t mean the quartet was a one-year wonder.

“We have a couple different possibilities in mind for the future,” said Truax. “All of us will be in the area next year, so we will continue to perform together. The plan is to enter some major national and international chamber music competitions in the future and if things go well, we’re definitely open to the idea of making a career out of it.”

Garth Neustadter '10

Neustadter, a first-year graduate student pursuing music composition at Yale University, was honored for his arrangement of the 1946 Walter Gross ballad “Tenderly,” a jazz classic that has been recorded by more than 80 major artists. He wrote his five-minute arrangement for studio orchestra and vocalist near the end of his senior year at Lawrence last spring.

“I’ve written a lot of original music but wanted to try my hand at arranging a ‘classic,’” said Neustadter, who won four DB awards in composition, jazz performance and classical performance while a student at Manitowoc Lutheran High School. “‘Tenderly’ has been successful through the ages because it retains the sophisticated elegance of the great ballads without sounding ‘dated’ or ‘old-fashioned.’ With such a wealth and variety of previous recordings and arrangements, it was somewhat intimidating and difficult to bring a ‘fresh’ compositional voice to the arrangement.

“Winning the DB continues to be a huge honor,” Neustadter added, “and I’m indebted to the jazz program at Lawrence for fostering such an atmosphere of collaboration, as well as to [director of jazz and improvisational studies] Fred Sturm for his continued mentorship and guidance.”

The two awards push Lawrence’s total to 19 DBs — including eight in the past five years — since DownBeat launched its student music awards competition in 1978. This year’s competition drew a total of 964 ensemble and individual entries for all categories in all four divisions.

Three Lawrence University Musicians Win State Competition

Lawrence University students Alenka Donovan, Kelly Eshbaugh and David Keep earned first-place honors Saturday, Oct. 23 in the 2010 Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Wisconsin state competition conducted at Lawrence.

Donovan, a violin performance and history major from Washington, D.C., won the young artists (19-26 years of age) strings division. She is a student of Wen-Lei Gu.

Eshbaugh, a trombone performance and music education major from Greenfield, won the young artists brass division. She studies in the studio of Nick Keelan.

Keep, a piano performance major from Traverse City, Mich., won the young artists piano competition. Keep is the 11th Lawrence piano student in the past 13 years to win the Wisconsin MTNA piano competition. He is a student of Anthony Padilla.

Donovan, Eshbaugh and Keep advance to the MTNA’s five-state East Central Division competition January 7-9 at Ball State University. Winners at the division competition advance to the MTNA’s national competition March 26-30 in Milwaukee.

The Lawrence saxophone quartet — senior David Davis (soprano), Sussex, senior Sumner Truax (alto), Chicago, Ill., sophomore Phillip Dobernig (tenor), Mukwonago and junior Will Obst (baritone), St. Paul, Minn. — was the only entry in the chamber music division and also was selected to represent the state at the division competition. The quartet studies with Steven Jordheim.

Other Lawrence student recognized in the state competition included:
• Junior violinist Gina Bordini, De Pere, alternate in the young artists strings division.

• Freshman Anthony Capparelli, River Falls, alternate in the senior (15-18 years of age) piano Division.

• Junior clarinetist Kinsey Fournier, Conway, Ark., alternate in the young artist woodwinds division.

• Junior James Maverick, Baton Rouge, La., alternate in the young artists piano competition.

• Sophomores Andrew Kim, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Alex Hurlburt, Wausau, honorable mention honors in the young artists piano division.

Musicians selected as alternates will attend the January division competition if the winners are unable to. A total of 23 students from around the state participated in the competition.