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December 8, 2014

School of Music NAfME chapter welcomes Minneapolis Public School music educators

NAfME.jpgThe National Association for Music Education (NAfME) - Collegiate chapter of the School of Music recently welcomed three music educators from the Minneapolis Public Schools. Adrian Davis, School of Music alumnus Jonathan Edington, and current music education graduate student Tim Buzza participated in a panel discussion on teaching music in urban schools.

October 27, 2014

Alumni News: Andrew Staupe (piano) performs with the Minnesota Orchestra

StaupeAndrew2.jpgAndrew Staupe's (MM, 2007, piano, student of Lydia Artymiw) performed with the Minnesota Orchestra on October 16 and 17, 2014 (Staupe performed Burlesque by Richard Strauss). The concerts were reviewed by the Star-Tribune's Michael Anthony in the article "For Strauss Suite, it was Vänskä on clarinet." Read the article. The Saint Paul Pioneer Press' Rob Hubbard also reviewed the concerts in the article "Minnesota Orchestra concert contrasts Strauss' youth and age." Read the article.

September 23, 2011

U of M School of Music Super Fan of the Week: Kyle Hutchins

This week we meet SOM Super Fan saxophonist Kyle Hutchins! Kyle is currently a master's student studying with Professor Eugene Rousseau. He recently moved to Minnesota from Texas and he's already figured out where to find some of the best vegan food in Minneapolis.

1. Where are you originally from (hometown)?
Stephenville, TX

2. What instrument(s) or do you play?
Saxophone mostly, as well as flute and clarinet. I can also play some pretty sweet four-chord songs on the guitar.

3. Name the last live performance that blew you away.
A few summers ago I saw Coldplay perform live in Dallas. I had the cheap tickets, sitting on the lawn, but they did a set on mini-stage set up in the back, so my "cheap seats" became front row. It was just after Michael Jackson died, so they played a few covers of his music and it was fantastic!

4. Which musicians have influenced you the most?
My high school band director was a saxophone player, so I was raised the right way, listening to the greats like Cannonball, Bird, and Trane. The biggest moment for me though was the first time I heard Michael Brecker play "Delta City Blues" It was basically that moment when I decided that saxophone was what I was going to do with my life. Although I don't play much jazz anymore, I'm not sure I would be doing music at all if it had not been for jazz band in high school and my exposure to all those great musicians.

5. What do you like most about the U of M School of Music?
The tunnels! I am from Texas, we have to leave one building to get inside of another.

6. Name your favorite musical moment at the SOM (if you have one yet).
Well, I just started my Masters here, so I haven't heard or taken part in any performances yet... but so far I would say getting to hear Dr. Rousseau play in lessons and studio class. People all over the world have to settle for recordings and we get it live every week!

7. Where is your favorite place to eat/hang out on campus and/or the Twin Cities?
Hard Times Cafe!

8. What's most frequently on your playlist?
The Garden State soundtrack. It has lived in my car for the last 4 years.

9. What are the first three things that come to mind when someone mentions Minnesota?
"Dont cha know," "You betcha", and "Howya doin."

10. We hear you're vegan. What's your favorite vegan treat?
Cilantro-Lime Hummus!

Continue reading "U of M School of Music Super Fan of the Week: Kyle Hutchins" »

September 16, 2011

U of M School of Music Super Fan of the Week: Jessica Grimm

jessica grimm.jpgSay hello to Jessica Grimm, Assistant Technical Coordinator at Ted Mann Concert Hall, this week's SOM Super Fan! When she's not working the lights and building sets for productions in Ted Mann Concert Hall, you'll find her tearing it up at a roller derby. Let's find out more about Jessica!

1. Where are you originally from (hometown)?
Georgetown, CO

2. What instrument(s) or do you play (if any, or what voice type are you)?
Flute and piano primarily though I did learn how to play the baritone bugle to march in drum corps in 2003. I've also been known to sing somewhere between a second soprano and alto.

3. What was the last live performance that blew you away?
Irish Fest 2010 with Great Big Sea. They got the entire audience to sing along with not only their music but other pop songs. It was kind of a Glee moment but it was so intense to be sharing that with people who all loved the music.

4. How long have you worked at the U of M School of Music?
Just over 4 years.

5. What do you like most about the U of M School of Music?
I love all the hidden gems, like the organ studio, that no one else seems to know about and then showing them to people.

6. Name your favorite musical moment at the SOM.
The 2007 Collage concert. It was my first Collage concert and I loved the fact that the trumpet group was on the canopy. I remember hearing some guests trying to figure out where the trumpets were playing.

7. Where is your favorite place to eat/hang out on campus and/or the Twin Cities?
Tough choice but I'd probably have to go with True Thai as my favorite place to eat in the Cities.

8. What's most frequently on your playlist?
Usually something by Great Big Sea and a dash of musical theatre.

9. What is something you know about Ted Mann Concert Hall that no one else does?
I doubt that there's anything that I'm truly the only one who knows about it but when we are in a theatrical setting for opera or other such concerts, we are only using one type of lamp for our lighting plot. A few years ago we were using three different types of lamps

10. What are the first three things that come to mind when someone mentions Minnesota?
Roller derby, the Renaissance festival and CONvergence. I'm a geek and proud of it.

September 9, 2011

U of M School of Music Super Fan of the Week: Brandon Miller

Brandon Miller.jpgThis week's SOM Super Fan is Brandon Miller (D.M.A. candidate, voice, student of Philip Zawisza). He's a familiar face in Ferguson Hall's Room 100 and his engagement work with homeless teens is currently featured in Tutti magazine. Let's meet Brandon!

1. Where are you originally from (hometown)?
Blacksburg, VA

2. What instrument(s) or do you play (or what voice type are you)?
Voice, baritone

3. What was the last live performance that blew you away?
The Minnesota Opera's production of Wuthering Heights.

4. How long have you worked at the U of M School of Music?
4 years.

5. What do you like most about the U of M School of Music?
I like how relaxed and at home I feel there. It's very welcoming.

6. Name your favorite musical moment at the SOM.
Maestra Marin Alsop at the SOM Fall 2009 Convocation...very moving.

7. Where is your favorite place to eat/hang out on campus and/or the Twin Cities?
In my cubicle: I'm there a lot.

8. What's most frequently on your playlist?
Feist: "I feel it all"

9. What is something you know about the voice program/music ed program that no one else does?
Some of the most talented singers are the ones who keep a low profile!

10. What are the first three things that come to mind when someone mentions Minnesota?
Outdoors, partying, biking.

September 2, 2011

U of M School of Music Super Fan of the Week: Anne Barnes

anne photo.jpgIt's Welcome Week at the University of Minnesota and we can't think of anyone more welcoming to students than the School of Music's Assistant Director Anne Barnes. Don't be fooled by her Halloween stint as Sleeping Beauty's Maleficent, she is a kind, wise, and helpful soul. She is also an expert on Steve Perry.

1. Where are you originally from (hometown)?
Stevens Point, Wisconsin

2. What instruments do you play or what voice type are you?
Mezzo-soprano and Percussion (and piano, but VERY poorly).

3. What was the last live performance that blew you away?
I went to the U2 concert at TCF Stadium and was blown away by the spectacle of it. I saw them live 24 years ago, and this was a totally different kind of experience. Still can't decided if it was better or worse, or just different.

4. How long have you worked at the U of M School of Music?
I am starting my 10th year with the SOM!

5. What do you like most about the U of M School of Music?
Our students! We have the BEST students around. I've worked at four different universities over the years, and our students are the best!

6. Name your favorite musical moment at the SOM.
Definitely the Beethoven Ninth concert at Norhrop in 2009. I felt incredibly proud of our students and what they accomplished. That was a great night.

7. Where is your favorite place to eat/hang out on campus and/or the Twin Cities?
I don't really hang out on campus much... I love that the TC area has so much to offer in terms of cool places to eat. Usually, you'll find me somewhere with my family, so anyplace my 9-year-old old can have a good time! I do love a good deli...

8. What's most frequently on your playlist?
I have pretty diverse taste in music, but I love rock music most of all. You'll find a lot of classic 70s rock on my iPod, along with lots of The Clash and Green Day. I am a big Eminem fan. I also like a lot of "bubble gum" 80s pop. And, of course, Journey!

9. What is something you know about Room 100 that no one else does?
I think I'm the only staff member remaining who experienced the "SOMmer Olympics" that used to take place in the building. The staff in room 100 would have chair races in all of the old, rickety chairs; or, we would race around the first-floor rooms to see who could figure out how to turn on and off all of the lights in the classrooms. It's actually more challenging than you think--it seems like every room is different!

10. What kind of necklace does Steve Perry wear for good luck?
Oh, you thought this would be a trick question! But, (sadly?) I know the answer! It's a gold music note, given to him by his mother. She encouraged him throughout his music career--she was a good Mom!

11. What are the first three things that come to mind when someone mentions Minnesota?
Snow, snow and snow. I guess that's pretty predictable, but it's the truth!

August 4, 2011

U of M School of Music Super Fan of the Week: Bill Pederson

bill pederson.jpgThis week we meet Bill Pederson, current Music Library Circulation Desk Supervisor & Reserve Coordinator and alumus (B.M., Voice Performance, student of Clif Ware, Glenda Maurice, Wendy Zaro). His playlist includes everything from Monteverdi to Joni Mitchell and knows the Secrets of the Music Library.

1. Where are you originally from (hometown)?
I am from Roseville, MN.

2. What voice type are you?
I am a tenor, in the Ensemble Singers of VocalEssence, Contracted Singer in the MN Chorale, church musician, and I sing where ever and whenever I can.

3. What was the last live performance that blew you away?
There are so many, yet, singing under Kathy Romey when she directed Mozart Liturgical Works with the Minnesota Orchestra last Spring. Watching her face while she shared her artistic vision with the orchestra gave me goosebumps.

4. Which singers have influenced you the most?
I love singers that don't have the cookie cutter voices. Mark Padmore and Elly Ameling have lovely voices that inspire not only with their clear tones, but their commitment to true musical expression through text, the true purpose of vocal music (in my opinion)...but what do I know?

5. What do you like most about the U of M School of Music?
I love walking in to Ferguson Hall and the fact that the smell of the building brings me back 10 years, but means something different now.

6. Name your favorite musical moment at the SOM.
This spring, I sang the role of the Evangelist in Bach's St. John Passion under Christina Chen-Byers. We both spent a lot of time haggling over the recitatives- what they meant emotionally, and how to portray that through performance.

7. Where is your favorite place to eat/hang out on campus and/or the Twin Cities?
I love that there is Dunn Bros Coffee in the Wilson Library Basement, but food and beverages are not allowed in the Music Library ;)

8. What's most frequently on your playlist?
French Baroque Cantatas by Clérambault, and Campra, Bach, Monteverdi, Britten and Joni Mitchell.

9. What is something you know about the Music Library that no one else does?
That it is the best Library on campus? That we have many first editions and old printings, and things that are fascinating in the rare book room? That we have over 24,000 different CDs that range from Monody to Baroque Cantatas, to Cajun and Rock and Roll and All are available to listen to?

10. What are the first three things that come to mind when someone mentions Minnesota?
Snow, State Parks and the "Lutheran Choral Tradition."

July 28, 2011

U of M School of Music Super Fan of the Week: Christa Saeger

christa saeger.jpgThis week we meet Maple Grove native Christa Saeger (D.M.A., cello performance, student of Tanya Remenikova) who knows a good cupcake when she sees (tastes) one.

1. Where are you originally from (hometown)?
Maple Grove, Minnesota

2. What instrument(s) do you play?
Cello! (Piano only when forced and I can hack through Twinkle on any stringed instrument)

3. What was the last live performance that blew you away?

I was visiting SOM alum Brett Lewis at Indiana University and saw the group Time For Three perform. The energy they can create from the stage is so entertaining and inspiring.

4. Which cellists have influenced you the most?
Honestly, my peers in my cello studio. They constantly amaze me both in their musical and technical abilities, not to mention great friends and a MUCH NEEDED support system.

5. What do you like most about the U of M School of Music?
We are located in one of the best arts communities in the country. Very few places have two world-class, professional orchestras to both enjoy and collaborate. I have received some truly unique opportunities at the SOM because of this.

6. Name your favorite musical moment at the SOM.
Easy. Last year, the University Symphony Orchestra did a workshop with Baltimore Symphony Music Director Marin Alsop at Orchestra Hall on Mahler 3. Besides creating a sense of musical energy and cohesion I have never felt before, she gave a wonderful talk about the importance of education and community engagement in the arts.

7. Where is your favorite place to eat/hang out on campus and/or the Twin Cities?
Shout out for Cupcake on University Avenue near the Prospect Park Neighborhood. With 150 different kinds of cupcakes, who could go wrong?

8. What's most frequently on your playlist?
Time for Three, Chris Thile, Beethoven, Usher, and recently getting reunited with Nelly.

9. What is something you know about the SOM ensembles that no one else does?
University Symphony Orchestra Music Director Mark Russell Smith is a complete genius, but he sweats... a lot (can I say that on the internet?).

10. What are the first three things that come to mind when someone mentions Minnesota?

Minnesota nice, the movie Fargo (yeah, yeah, I know it's in ND), and crazy weather (have ya BEEN here this summer?).

July 22, 2011

U of M School of Music Super Fan of the Week: Peter Mercer-Taylor

306693.jpgThis week's SOM Super Fan is musicology professor Peter Mercer-Taylor. Professor Mercer-Taylor teaches it all - from Nirvana to Schumann and his playlist reflects it. He even has a soft spot for Dolly Parton (don't we all?). He can also tell you where to find the best falafel in the Twin Cities. Let's meet Peter Mercer-Taylor!

1. Where are you originally from (hometown)?
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

2. Do you play any instruments?
I grew up playing the guitar and bass guitar, and can get around alright on the piano in most pop contexts. I once survived a read-through of Mozart's 29th Symphony as the sole member of the viola section, but it wasn't pretty. I've also tinkered around on mandolin, banjo, flute, and drums.

3. What was the last live performance that blew you away?
Mendelssohn's Elijah last year, in Ted Mann Concert Hall, with the U's own Matt Mehaffey running the baton. Dazzling!

4. How long have you worked at the U of M School of Music?
Ten years.

5. What do you like most about the U of M School of Music?
The community. After six years at a smaller school, I figured a place the size of the U could only feel cold and impersonal. Not so! Wonderfully committed professors and dedicated, engaged students.

6. Name your favorite musical moment at the SOM.

The 2009 production of Jenufa. Where has this opera been all my life?

7. Where is your favorite place to eat/hang out on campus and/or the Twin Cities?
Mim's, the Middle-Eastern place on Cleveland Avenue just off the St. Paul campus. Friendly folks, and the falafel has never let me down.

8. What's most frequently on your playlist?

Schumann string quartets just lately, but I'll never change the station on Cee Lo Green, Adele, or Nirvana.

9. What is something you know about the SOM faculty that no one else does?
Most of them won't laugh if you tell them you've got a soft spot for Dolly Parton (and who doesn't?).

10. What are the first three things that come to mind when someone mentions Minnesota?
Loons, cross-country skiing, and civic-minded people who are very proud of the place they live.

July 15, 2011

U of M School of Music Super Fan of the Week: Jennifer Schmitt

jennySchmitt.jpgIt's SOM Super Fan Friday and it's raining cats and dogs in the Twin Cities. This week's SOM Super Fan Jennifer (Jenny) Schmitt is sure to brighten up this dark and stormy day. Jenny is a SOM staff member and Graphic Designer/Communications Specialist and is the person who makes our SOM publications (Tutti, brochures, viewbooks, as well as the SOM website and beyond) look gorgeous. Read more to find out why she's our favorite buccaneer (hint: she looks great in an eye patch).

1. Where are you originally from (hometown)?
Plymouth, MN

2. Do you play any instruments?
I sing, but I pretend to know how to play the piano--I took a group keyboard class at the School of Music back in the day. I also played clarinet in my middle school band. Let's just say it's a good thing I stuck with Graphic Design and not the clarinet.

3. What was the last live performance that blew you away?
Let's be honest, with a new baby, I don't get out that much. But I loved the Collage Concert last year. It's always a fabulous concert.

4. How long have you worked at the U of M School of Music?
6+ years

5. What do you like most about the U of M School of Music?
The feeling that we are a small community within a large University.

6. Name your favorite musical moment at the SOM.
Shoot. I already answered the Collage Concert for question three. I can mention that twice?

7. Where is your favorite place to eat/hang out on campus and/or the Twin Cities?
Chai Thai on West Bank. They have the best Thai Iced Teas. Yum.

8. What's most frequently on your playlist?
I have my iTunes set to random. So whatever happens to come up next! But when hanging out with my kid, it's most often Ziggy Marley or Elizabeth Mitchell.

9. What is something you know about the Communications Department that no one else does?
We observe International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19). Yar.

10. What are the first three things that come to mind when someone mentions Minnesota?
The outdoors, mosquitoes, and home.

July 8, 2011

U of M School of Music Super Fan of the Week: Phillip O'Toole

Thumbnail image for phillip otoole.jpgThis SOM Super Fan Friday features SOM staff member and Technical Coordinator/Audio Engineer Phillip O'Toole. For years Phillip O'Toole has been working to get students high quality audio of their recitals as well as making everyone at the SOM sound good. It's time to get to know Phillip better. Without further ado, here's Phillip!

1. Where are you originally from (hometown)?
Minneapolis, MN

2. Do you play any instruments?
Guitar

3. What was the last live performance that blew you away?
"A Girl Named Vincent," Prudence Johnson teamed up with three other local female composers, Laura Caviani, Joan Griffith, and Michelle Kinney to set the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay to music.

4. How long have you worked at the U of M School of Music?
11 years.

5. What do you like most about the U of M School of Music?
Location, location, location.

6. Name your favorite musical moment at the SOM.
Opera on the Farm 2000.

7. Where is your favorite place to eat/hang out on campus and/or the Twin Cities?
Bun Mi Sandwiches on the East Bank.

8. What's most frequently on your playlist?
I don't own an iPod, I listen to a lot of 91.1.

9. What is something you know about Ted Mann Concert Hall that no one else does?
How the whole place is wired.

10. What are the first three things that come to mind when someone mentions Minnesota?
Home, Bicycles, Canoes.

July 1, 2011

U of M School of Music Super Fan of the Week: Jessica Narum

jessica narum.jpgThis SOM Super Fan Friday brings us current student and music theorist Jessica Narum. If you are interested in being a featured SOM Super Fan or would like to nominate a potential SOM Super Fan (SOM alumni, faculty, students, and staff), visit the SOM facebook page and leave a Super Fan comment.

Let's meet this week's SOM SUPER FAN!

Jessica Narum, currently pursuing a Ph.D. Music Theory, completed her M.A. in Music Theory (May 2011)

1. Where are you originally from (hometown)?
Fargo, ND

2. What instrument(s) do you play?
Piano and percussion, but recently I've taken up mandolin and ukulele, too!

3. What was the last live performance that blew you away?
Steve Schick visited the U last year and gave a really stellar performance of Psappha by Xenakis.

4. How do you view the role of classical music in today's culture?
I think there are important things that people can learn and experience through (and sometimes only through) classical music, and I feel really fortunate to live in Minnesota where the arts are highly valued. I would love to see increased focus on living composers and recent pieces because I also think we have a responsibility to support new music.

5. What do you like most about the U of M School of Music?
I am constantly impressed by my colleagues. They are thoughtful researchers, invested teachers, and just generally cool people.

6. Name your favorite musical moment at the SOM.
I love the everyday musical moments. For example, as an ear-training TA last semester I was the lone audience member for an ensemble of 32 students singing a three-part atonal warm-up that turned out to be really lovely.

7. Where is your favorite place to eat/hang out on campus and/or the Twin Cities?
Near campus I'd recommend Acadia or Town Hall, but when school's out it's hard to beat the riverside patio at Pracna.

8. What's most frequently on your playlist?
Andrew Bird, Inara George, John Vanderslice, and Regina Spektor.

9. How do you explain what a music theorist does to your family at Thanksgiving?
Music theorists try to figure out how music works. We try to figure out why a piece or even just a moment sounds right or weird or surprising or awesome.

10. What are the first three things that come to mind when someone mentions Minnesota?
I'd be lying if I didn't say "winters" first, but the other two are the Minnesota State Fair and "Minnesota nice."

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 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.