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June 28, 2011

U of M School of Music Professor Alexander Braginsky's Minnesota International E-Piano Competition Begins

Alexander Braginsky.jpegUniversity of Minnesota piano professor Alexander Braginsky is the president/artistic director of the Minnesota International e-Piano Competition, which is about to begin. Catch the first round this Friday on July 1. Visit the Minnesota International E-Piano Competition for complete details.

June 25, 2011

U OF M SCHOOL OF MUSIC SUPER FAN OF THE WEEK: JOE HENRY

joe henry.jpgIt's SOM SUPER FAN Saturday! SOM Super fans are SOM alumni, students, faculty, and staff who are the fabric of our musical community. Follow the SOM on Facebook to find out how you can become a SOM Super Fan. Let's meet this week's SOM SUPER FAN, Bemidji native Joe Henry (M.M. organ performance, 2009; D.M.A. in progress; Dean Billmeyer, major teacher and advisor).

1. Where are you currently working (state, employer) or where is a favorite place where you have worked in the past?
Music director of Delano Catholic Community, adjunct Concordia University, St. Paul.

2. Where are you originally from (hometown)?
Bemidji, MN

3. What was the last live performance that blew you away?
University of Minnesota's performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony in Northrop Auditorium a couple years ago. I was surprised at how good it was.

4. Do you keep in touch with your U of M School of Music classmates and/or faculty mentor?
(Still a student, pursuing a D.M.A.) Yes, Dr. Billmeyer organ studio classmates all got together for lunch last week and we talked about Billmeyer!

5. What's your favorite thing about the U of M School of Music?
The quality of faculty members and students.

6. Where was your favorite place to eat/hang out on campus?
I never had time to eat.

7. What phrase do you still hear your mentor repeating over your shoulder?
Quit bobbing your head and relax- NOW!

8. What's most frequently on your playlist?
Western art-music (all of it)

9. What are the first three things that come to mind when someone mentions Minnesota?
1. Natural resources (water)
2. Friendly people
3. The arts

June 21, 2011

U of M School of Music Professor Adriana Zabala featured on TPT's 'MN Original'

Adriana Zabala.jpegSchool of Music associate professor Adriana Zabala is currently featured on the Twin Cities Public Television program MN Original, in a profile of the Resident Artists Program at the Minnesota Opera. The segment features an interview, live footage from the Minnesota Opera's production of Wuthering Heights, and production photos from Zabala's past roles with the company. Professor Zabala also discusses her role as a professor at the U of M School of Music. Watch the video.

June 17, 2011

U of M School of Music Super Fan of the Week: Vanessa (Northouse) Utell

vanessa.jpgIt's SOM SUPER FAN Friday! Welcome to the second edition of our new weekly U of M School of Music Super Fan feature on Facebook and beyond! SOM Super fans are SOM alumni, students, faculty, and staff who are the fabric of our musical community. Follow the SOM on Facebook to find out how you can become a SOM Super Fan. Let's meet this week's SOM SUPER FAN!

Vanessa (Northouse) Utell, B.M. (2003), music education - instrumental emphasis, French horn student of Herb Winslow

1. Where are you currently working (state, employer) or where is a favorite place where you have worked in the past?
I am finishing up my seventh year as an Elementary General Music Teacher for Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia. I also teach private French horn lessons.

2. Where are you originally from (hometown)?
My hometown is Bloomington, Minnesota.

3. What was the last live performance that blew you away?
It was a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra being conducted by Emil de Cou of The Planets by Gustav Holst. The performance was last summer at the outdoor stage at Wolf Trap. There were projections on large screens of pictures from NASA of the planets, in addition to other images related to the planets. As night fell, it was inspiring to be under the stars while listening to this music and taking in the pictures of the planets. In addition, I really enjoy Emil de Cou's conducting - he reminds me of Professor Luckhardt!

4. Do you keep in touch with your U of M School of Music classmates and/or faculty mentor?
I keep in touch with several of my classmates, especially via Facebook.

5. What's your favorite thing about the U of M School of Music?
My favorite thing was the feeling of community and the opportunities that were offered. As a horn player, I played in the wind ensembles, orchestra, marching band, pep band, brass quintets, woodwind quintets, brass choir, in addition with getting together with other horn players for duets, trios or quartets. I also sang in the gospel choir, played trumpet in jazz band, played percussion and flute in University Band, conducted small ensembles, and conducted the Women's Athletic Pep band. I don't know if I'll ever have another 4 years so full of music with people who supported and cared for me.

6. Name your favorite musical moment at the U of M School of Music?
I can't choose just one! I loved it when Fredrick Fennell visited. He was wonderful with the wind ensemble, but I my most vivid memory is when he conducted the Star Spangled Banner with the marching band. He jokingly asked something along the lines of, "Is it still in three?" The Bergen Woodwind Quintet provides my other favorite musical memory. I was a member of a woodwind quintet and we called ourselves the Starving Artists. We had the best times working with flautist Gro Sandvik - she was so inspiring! The second time the group visited, Gro brought us a breadstick because she remembered that we were starving!

7. Where was your favorite place to eat/hang out on campus?
I loved eating at the Village Wok!

8. What phrase do you still hear your mentor repeating over your shoulder?
I don't have something from Herb, and it's not a phrase, but I still have Professor Diem holding my head still while I conduct so I don't sway!

9. What's most frequently on your playlist?
Now that I have a 7 month old, it's a lot of nursery rhymes and music from the Rockabye Baby series of CDs. For myself though, Jason Mraz "I'm Yours" or Plain White Tee's "Rhythm of Love" are on the top of my pop music playlist and "October" by Eric Whitacre, "Escapades: Music from Catch Me If You Can" by John Williams, "Lincolnshire Posy" by Percy Grainger.

10. What are the first three things that come to mind when someone mentions Minnesota?
The outdoors (lakes, green, boating, biking), the Mall of America, and home.

June 10, 2011

U of M School of Music Super Fan of the Week: Sharon Johnson

Sharon Johnson.jpgIt's time for the first installment of our new weekly U of M School of Music Super Fan feature on Facebook and beyond! Who are SOM Super Fans? SOM alumni, students, faculty, and staff who are the fabric of our musical community. U of M Super Fan Friday will help us to get know each other and have a lot of fun in the process. Follow the SOM on Facebook to find out how you can become a SOM Super Fan. Without further ado, let's meet this week's SOM SUPER FAN!

Sharon Johnson, D.M.A. (2008), Collaborative Piano, student of Margo Garrett, Karl Paulnack, and Tim Lovelace

1. Where are you currently working (state, employer) or where is a favorite place where you have worked in the past?
I have just completed my 7th year as a faculty member (Assistant Professor of Piano and Coordinator of Collaborative Piano) of the Greatbatch School of Music at Houghton College in upstate New York. I teach piano, collaborative piano, practical keyboard, coach singers/instrumentalists, perform/travel with my colleagues, coach the chapel house band. As well, I have a professional two piano team with my best friend, Nancy Davis; collectively we are known as Music By Two.

2. Where are you originally from (hometown)?
Mt. Airy, North Carolina

3. What was the last live performance that blew you away?
The concert was given by one of my colleagues at Houghton College, William Newbrough (pianist). He performed a "Franz Liszt Bicentennial Concert" in April--I was particularly moved by his performance of one of the Petrarca Sonettos, and the "Benediction" from the Harmonies poetiques et religieuses.

4. Do you keep in touch with your U of M School of Music classmates and/or faculty mentor?
I keep in touch with a number of my classmates from the U--particularly through Facebook, as well as my mentor via email and phone.

5. What's your favorite thing about the U of M School of Music?
How can I choose just one? Honestly, there are so many things I love about my time at the U; that said, I found the collaborative nature of the faculty to be an incredible encouragement--their attitude was always that of "participate with me on an equal level in this musical adventure of performance and learning." I had the wonderful opportunity both to perform with faculty on their recitals, and to have them perform with me on my recitals. There's nothing like collaborative learning with those skilled in their art.

6. Name your favorite musical moment at the U of M School of Music?
Again, how can I choose just one? A true highlight for me was being asked by Glenda Maurice to accompany the Ted Mann Vocal Quartet. Of our many performances, my two favorites were for Minnesota Public Radio and the Schubert Club Courtroom Concert Series.

7. Where was your favorite place to eat/hang out on campus?
The Asian restaurant--the name eludes me now--across from Mapps Coffee and Tea (another favorite spot!).

8. What phrase do you still hear your mentor repeating over your shoulder?
Margo Garrett saying "more left hand!"

9. What's most frequently on your playlist?
Maurice Ravel, Libby Larsen, Frederic Chopin, Sarah Vaughan, Diana Krall, Astor Piazzolla--very eclectic☺

10. What are the first three things that come to mind when someone mentions Minnesota?
Lakes, the Weisman Museum, and Caribou Coffee.


June 6, 2011

Ostinato: Faculty Scribes, Alums Win Big & Summer at the SOM!

Read the current issue of Ostinato (June 6, 2011): Faculty Scribes, Alums Win Big & Summer at the SOM!