MENU
School of Music

News

Tones

 

Gabriel DiMartino has joined the ECU School of Music as assistant professor of trumpet.

DiMartino has performed as a member of The Wichita Symphony, The New Columbian Brass Band and the Doc Severinsen Big Band. He has been a featured recitalist, performing both jazz and classical music, at The International Trumpet Guild in Australia; Denver, Colorado; and Grand Rapids, Michigan. DiMartino has been an assisting artist in groups performing with Patti Austin, Allen Vizzutti, rock groups Chicago and Mannheim Steamroller, and other touring artists. He has recorded CDs as a soloist with The Syracuse University Wind Ensemble and with his father, well-known trumpet soloist Vince DiMartino.

DiMartino has also been a member of the summer faculty at Interlochen Center for the Arts and has presented master classes both there and at other institutions. He returns to his hometown of Danville, Kentucky, every summer to perform with The Advocate Brass Band at The Great American Brass Band Festival.

DiMartino was a frequent recitalist and member of orchestras, big bands and chamber ensembles in the central New York area where he lived. He also served as adjunct professor of trumpet at Syracuse University. He is a graduate of The Interlochen Arts Academy, DePaul University, and Wichita State University where he was a graduate teaching assistant and received a master’s degree in trumpet performance.

Two ECU voice student YouTube-round participants have been selected to advance to the onsite national semifinal round at the 2016 National Student Auditions in Chicago as part of the National Association of Teachers of Singing 54th national conference this July. ECU Freshmen voice majors Alexandra Fee and William Edwards will both compete as a result of the YouTube-round.

The semifinal round will be held offsite, Saturday, July 9, at Roosevelt University. The final round for the 2016 National Student Auditions will be held Sunday, July 10, at the Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile.

Fee and Edwards are students of Dr. Jami Rhodes.

Three ECU students were given top awards at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Auditions of the National Association of Teachers of Singing March 19-20. Freshman William Edwards was awarded third place in the Freshman Male Category. Freshmen Chloe Agostino and Alexandra Fee were both awarded first place in the Freshman Female Category. All three singers are students of Dr. Jami Rhodes.

The auditions were held at the College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C. Singers from Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina who earned qualifying scores in their respective state auditions participated. All three ECU singers have potential eligibility to compete in the National Auditions which will be held this summer in Chicago, following the submission of a recorded audition.

The ECU Horn Studio had a very successful appearance at the Southeast Horn Workshop this past week in Nashville, TN. Emma Johnson won the low horn orchestral excerpt competition. Caleb Harris was a finalist in the preliminary round of the solo competition and had the best performance of "Copia," a premier work for solo horn. This came with a $100 prize and a premier performance of the work on the final concert. And last, the ECU Horn Quartet placed second in the quartet competition.

Alexandra-Fee

A first prize for best overall undergraduate woman performer highlighted a strong showing for East Carolina University vocalists at the 2016 North Carolina National Association of Teachers of Singing auditions. The auditions were held on Feb. 19-20 at the University of North Carolina - Greensboro School of Music.

Freshman vocal studies student Alexandra Fee earned the overall award following a first place finish in the category for freshmen women vocalists. A native of East Moriches, New York, she attended Westhampton Beach High School before coming to ECU to study with instructor Dr. Jami Rhodes. Fee performed three pieces from composers Giuseppe Verdi, Aaron Copland, and Clara Shumann.

"I went in knowing that I just wanted to give my best performance and I didn't even think of the possible outcome," Fee said. "I was listening to them announce the two awards and then they called out my name. I was so in shock that my jaw just dropped."

"As a freshman singer, Alexandra was competing against upperclassmen winners of all of the other NATS divisions," said John Kramar, chair of ECU's Department of Vocal Studies. "The fact that she won the best overall female singer as a freshman is very impressive. She has a great voice, and she sings with much sophistication."

ECU's male vocalists also walked away with first place finishes in two categories. Timothy Messina won first place in the upper advanced college men category, and freshman William Edwards took first in the freshmen men category. Overall, East Carolina singers collected 13 awards at the auditions.

"I was very proud of every ECU student who participated in this year's NATS auditions," said Kramar. "They all sang beautifully - regardless of whether or not they were given an award."

The NC NATS auditions draw competition from universities and colleges throughout the state. ECU vocalists competed against students from the North Carolina School of the Arts, Campbell University, High Point University, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and other rivals. The auditions provide an opportunity for the colleges and universities to show off their programs, and for students to get feedback from voice teachers working at other institutions.

"Our students behaved like young, gracious professional artists in a competitive environment," Kramar said. "They are friendly, kind people who are happy for the success of others and enthusiastic about supporting the art form and tradition of beautiful singing."

"From this experience, I learned that success isn't just about doing well for yourself; it's really about giving a good performance for others," Fee said. "Performing is my passion but my end goal with singing is to bring others joy."

List of award winners
First Place, Overall Best Undergraduate Woman, 2016 NC NATS - Alexandra Fee
First Place - Freshmen Women - Alexandra Fee
First Place - Freshmen Men - William Edwards
Second Place - Freshmen Women - Chloe Agostino
Honorable Mention - Freshmen Men - Christopher Short
Honorable Mention - Freshmen Men - Cory Whaley
Third Place - Sophomore Men - Eli Cole
Second Place - Junior Women - Rebekah Shamberger
Honorable Mention - Junior Men - Nolawi Araya
Third Place - Senior Women - Elizabeth Stovall
Second Place - Lower Advanced College Men - James Taylor
First Place - Upper Advanced College Men - Timothy Messina
Second Place - Hal Johnson Spiritual Prize - Johnathon Spell

 gruber  East Carolina University faculty members Emanuel Gruber, cello, and Keiko Sekino, piano, have released a CD of Robert Schumann's music titled "Fantasy and Romance" on the Delos label.

Schumann wrote little original music for the cello–only his cello concerto and the Five Pieces in Folk-style, Op. 102, both on this CD. Cellists, eager to play his chamber compositions originally written for other instruments, have made successful transcriptions of those compositions, and six of those are offered on this CD.

This is Gruber's second CD on the Delos label, and his first recording collaboration with Sekino. His first CD with Delos, "Mendelssohn: Complete Music for Cello and Piano," with pianist Arnon Erez, was called "…in a word, beautiful..." by Allmusic.

The new CD is available on Amazon.com..

 

The East Carolina University Billy Taylor student jazz combo won first prize and $500 at the inaugural Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra Jazz&Wine Festival competition on October 2 in Fayetteville, NC. The competition featured student jazz combos from six North Carolina universities.

The winning combo includes Sean Reeser, tenor sax; Graeme Slonaker, piano; Cole Sipe, bass; and Zack Graybeal, drums.

Prize money is awarded to the winning jazz program's budget.

East Carolina University associate professor of music education Jay Juchniewicz had his research on best practices of highly-rated band directors featured in the August edition of "Teaching Music," a publication of the National Association for Music Education.

Juchniewicz and colleagues Steven N. Kelley of Florida State University and Amy I. Acklin from the University of Louisville examined almost 800 responses from 131 highly-rated and award-winning middle and high school band directors to determine that superior tone quality was their most consistent goal.

"Teaching Music" is published quarterly by the NAfME, the largest music education association in the country. It is a national publication designed to inform the practitioner, and reaches over 75,000 music educators. In each issue one research article is selected to be discussed in a manner to be easily understood by the practicing music teacher.

Spell CD   ECU alum guitarist Cynthia Spell, BM (2002), MM (2007), has released a classical guitar duo CD in conjunction with guitarist David Norton. Tilted Avenues, the CD includes recordings of 17 duo arrangements and eight solo pieces, four each by Spell and Norton respectively. Included are classical guitar duets and solos from Elizabethan England to the 21st century, including the first CD recordings of works by Andrew York, Benoit Albert, Laurent Meneret and Andrew Shiels.

Originally from the mountains of North Carolina, Spell now resides in Salt Lake City, where she serves as board member and development coordinator for the Utah Guitar Society.

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/davidnortoncindyspell

 

Grant Michel, MM/Composition (2003), will have two band compositions released by Carl Fischer Music in their 2016 catalog. The pieces will be distributed worldwide with guaranteed exposure at all state and national music educator conferences in the country.

The ECU Marching Pirates have been invited to perform at halftime of the Carolina Panthers home football game against the Washington Redskins this fall.

The Marching Pirates will take the field on Sunday, Nov. 22 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, said William Staub, director of the ECU Marching Pirates and associate director of bands. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

The Carolina Panthers recently contacted Staub, and the band is thrilled to perform, he said.

The last NFL game where the ECU Marching Pirates played also was at a Charlotte Panthers game in 1998, Staub said.

blog.ecu.edu/sites/poeight/blog/category/school-of-music/

An East Carolina University School of Music graduate student is one of nine winners in the 2015 Yamaha Young Performing Artists competition.

Zachary Grass of Greenville, who plays the tuba, is the only low brass instrumentalist selected as a YYPA winner for 2015. Other winners were from South Korea, Japan and the United States, and included flute, bassoon, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, drum set, cello and piano.

Grass is a student of ECU tuba and euphonium professor Tom McCaslin, a Yamaha Performing Artist.

“I am humbled by this opportunity,” Grass said. “Past winners of this competition include Carol Jantsch, the principal tubist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Stephen Dumaine, principal tubist of the National Symphony Orchestra, to name only two of many who have gone on to successful music careers."

The annual YYPA Program, which underscores Yamaha’s commitment to music education, recognizes exceptional emerging jazz, classical and contemporary music instrumentalists. Winners are chosen after submitting recordings and supporting materials, which are evaluated by a panel of Yamaha Performing Artists and other celebrity musicians.

“I am just happy to be able to represent my instrument and the hard work of my professors and influences at ECU and abroad who have gotten me to this point,” Grass said.

Grass joins the ranks of more than 200 competition winners since the program’s inception. This year’s honorees receive an all-expense paid trip to the YYPA celebration weekend, set for June 20-23, which includes rehearsals, master classes, social events and workshops focused on how to establish and maintain a career in music.

“The Yamaha Young Performing Artist Competition is one of the most prestigious competitions for young performing musicians in the United States,” said McCaslin. “For Zack to be included as one of the 2015 winners is a recognition of his talents, work ethic and dedication to improving himself as a performer. I am extremely proud of Zack and can’t wait to see what the future holds for this young man.”

Grass grew up in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.

www.ecu.edu/news/yamahaaward.cfm

Chamber Singer

The East Carolina University School of Music Chamber Singers took first place in the 13th International Maribor Choral Competition Gallus on April 10-12, 2015.

The Maribor Choral Competition Gallus is part of the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing, an annual contest between the winners of six European choral competitions of very high artistic quality. Despite its name, the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing is not limited to European choirs; invited ensembles from many countries participate.

The Chamber Singers are the first American choir to win in the history of the Maribor competition.

The ECU Chamber Singers were the only choral group from the United States invited to the Maribor competition. Other participants came from Latvia, Ireland, Sweden, Germany, Indonesia and Slovenia.

With the win at Maribor, the ECU Chamber Singers have qualified to participate in the finals of the Grand Prix Europe competition in Varna, Bulgaria, in 2016.

“It is a true honor to be invited to represent the United States in an international choral competition at this level,” said Andrew Crane, Chamber Singers director. “The other invited choirs had very impressive professional resumes, and I imagine they thought of us as underdogs. Our victory is a testament to the hard work, intense preparation, and dedication of this special group of ECU students.”

The ECU Chamber Singers were invited to the competition in Slovenia, a small country in south-central Europe near Italy, because of their outstanding performance at the Tolosa International Choral Contest in Spain last year. Owing to the high profile of the competition and the honor of being invited to compete, the competition funds the cost of all accommodation and food for the singers while in Maribor.

The ECU Chamber Singers consists of auditioned undergraduate and graduate students, and is the select choral ensemble at ECU. They maintain a rigorous rehearsal and performance schedule, and focus predominantly on unaccompanied choral literature suitable for advanced chamber choir.

East Carolina University School of Music receives a 2500 Euro cash prize to be used for choral activities, and the Chamber Singers receive a first place medal, the flag of the competition and a sculpture of Jacobus Gallus, the Slovenian Renaissance composer for whom the contest is named.

Army Sgt. Jonathan Scheibler (BM 2004) gads been selected to perform as a percussion soloist with the United States Army Band and Chorus on their 2015 tour through Eastern Europe. The selection was based on his outstanding musicianship and contribution to the unit. He will perform in concert halls in Poland, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic in cooperation with the United States Department of State.

Todd Barnhill (BM '12) won the grand prize at this year's Orpheus National Music Competition for Vocalists, held on March 6-8. Todd is currently finishing his MM at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he is singing the role of Tamino in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. This summer, Todd will return to Opera Theatre of St. Louis' Young Artist Program to cover the role of Almaviva in The Barber of Seville, and perform the role of Gobin in Puccini's La Rondine.

Allison Gross, currently a senior at ECU, advanced to the semi-final round of the competition. Over 100 singers competed in the preliminary round. The semi-final round included 33 singers.

East Carolina University School of Music students placed well at February's NC National Association of Teachers of Singing Auditions, held at the NC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. ECU ranked among the top percentile in terms of winners at this year’s auditions. These talented singers are students of John Kramar, Jami Rhodes and Rachel Copeland.

Senior Women
Julia Becker/Michelle Lerch — Second Place (tie)
Arlie Honeycutt — Third Place

Junior Women
Amanda Whitmore — Second Place

Junior Men
Trey Scarborough — Second Place

Sophomore Women
Rebekah Shamberger — Third Place

Sophomore Men
Graham Leonard — Third Place

Freshmen Men
Eli Cole/Joseph Morris — Third Place (Tie)

Graduate Women
Leary Davis — Honorable Mention
Lindsay Lehman — Honorable Mention
Hannah Riddle — Honorable Mention

Ipock   East Carolina University alums Michael Boswell (BM ’94) and Harris Ipock (MM 2010) sang on the CD “Sacred Spirit of Russia” which won the 2015 Grammy for Best Choral Performance, performed by the choral group “Conspirare" on the Harmonia Mundi label. Boswell is on faculty at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and Ipock teaches at Harvard University.

East Carolina University School of Music alum Pattie Hopkins ('06) was featured in the fall edition of Fiddler Magazine. Hopkins began playing the violin at age four and received her bachelor’s degree in violin performance and Suzuki pedagogy certification from East Carolina University, studying with Joanne Bath and Ara Gregorian. She has also studied with fiddling legends Bobby Hicks and Mark O’Connor.

Hopkins is an extremely versatile musician and has a tremendous talent for fiddling as well as classical violin. Fiddler Magazine article here.

Jacobs 

East Carolina University School of Music Professor Edward Jacobs has been named the Robert L. Jones Distinguished Professor in Music beginning in the 2014-2015 academic year.

The Jones Distinguished Professorship is one of the oldest endowed professorships at ECU. It is awarded for a three-year term and provides startup and/or continuing funding for important music performance initiatives that will significantly impact ECU, the School of Music and the region.


Jacobs is a professor of composition and music theory at ECU, and founder and director of the North Carolina NewMusic Initiative, (formerly the NewMusic@ECU Festival), begun in March 2001. He was also founder of the Young Composers Project, a collaboration between ECU and middle-school general music teachers to make the creation of music a fundamental part of public education.

Jacobs was awarded a Charles Ives Fellowship for music composition from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2005.

The Jones Professorship award will fund the North Carolina NewMusic Initiative’s projects to establish a unique commissioning program involving students and faculty in all phases of the creation of new works; bring guest artists to ECU including performers, composers and critics; and explore alternative means of public engagement and programming formats.

Steve Lewis (BM Theory/Composition 2010), has completed his third year as music director of the Midwest Chamber Ensemble. Robert Pherigo of KC Metropolis praised both Steve and the ensemble after a recent performance: "There was always careful and thoughtful shaping of phrases.... Lewis conducted with a clear beat and an obvious enthusiasm for the music which the players mirrored." The ensemble has recorded its first CD "Voices from the Middle: New Music from Kansas City" in conjunction with the William Jewell College Concert Choir lead by ECU school of Music alum Anthony Maglione which will be available late summer 2015.

Piano performance and pedagogy alumna Dr. Jessica Johnson (BM ’87) received the 2014 Article of the Year award for her August 2013 article, “Feeling the Sound: Reflections on Claiming One’s Own Musical Voice” in the American Music Teacher. Johnson heads the piano pedagogy program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Brenton O’Hara (BM ’13) is completing a master’s degree in Opera Theater at the University of S.C. He and partner Kate McKinney recently won a 2014 $20,000 Maxient Social Impact prize in USC Proving Ground’s entrepreneurial competition to support their non-profit organization Project Opera Camp.

Dr. Michael Silverman (BM ’00) was awarded the 2014 Outstanding Research Award by the American Music Therapy Association at their recent national conference. He serves as director of Music Therapy at the University of Minnesota.

Cheryl Stephenson (BM ’85) won the 2014 Outstanding Service Award from the American Music Therapy Association for her work and dedication to music therapy.

Tremayne Smith (2011), Director of Bands at Rocky Mount High School in Rocky Mount, NC, received the 2013 ENCORE award from the North Carolina Chapter of the American School Band Director’s Association. The award recognizes select bandmasters with fewer than seven full years in the profession who have demonstrated great future potential as music educators and a desire to serve their district and state organizations. 

James “Aaron” Hardwick, class of 2004, has been named a Yale Distinguished Music Educator. The award is presented biennially by the Yale School of Music to participants of the Symposium on Music in Schools. The award honors fifty music educators from across the country that are selected for their outstanding accomplishments teaching music in public schools. Mr. Hardwick was one of more than 300 nominees representing 45 states. He attended the four day symposium and award ceremony held at Yale University in June.

Hardwick is the director of orchestras at Frank W. Cox High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He oversees the Falcon Chamber Orchestra, Falcon Concert Orchestra, and the Cox High School Quartet. He has also been recently appointed as the new conductor of the Bay Youth Orchestra of Virginia; Virginia’s premier youth symphony orchestra. He holds of Bachelor of Music Degree from East Carolina and is a former viola student of faculty member Ara Gregorian, and conducting student of Dr. Scott Carter.

He currently resides in Chesapeake, VA with his wife Christina, also class of 2004. Feel free to contact him via email at director@coxorchestra.com.

Colleen Hussion has been selected to play the bassoon/contra bassoon for the 2011 National Intercollegiate Band at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs in July. Founded in 1947. the NIB will make its twenty-eighth appearance at the biennial national convention of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma honor fraternities.

Hussion was chosen from the more than 200 students who auditioned for chairs in 2011.

ECU guitar alumnus and Elliot Frank student Chris Adkins (BM 2006, MM 2008) won first prize at the Music Academy of North Carolina Guitar Competition on November 14. This is the third straight year that an ECU alumnus has won the competition. Previous winners were Armin Abdihodzic (MM 2009), November 2009 and Adam Kossler (BM 2006), November 2008. ECU guitar students and alumni have won a total of six prizes at this competition.

Travis Alford (’05, BM Theory-Composition – concentration in Composition) is a recipient of the ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award. Named in memory of eminent composer and conductor Morton Gould, who was ASCAP's President from 1986 to 1994, the award encourages developing music creators during the earliest stages of their careers.

"This recognition by ASCAP is quite a distinction; few are granted each year, and receiving an ASCAP award signifies a that a young composer has already established the elements of a unique, significant, and accomplished voice," said Ed Jacobs, ECU professor of theory and composition. “Travis is a very fine young composer with several distinguished experiences under his belt, from being a fellow at the Wellesley Composers Conference and June In Buffalo, to his recent hire on the faculty of the Boston-area Gordon College.”

RaSheeda Waddell, MM vocal performance, won 2010 Miss Black North Carolina USA contest.

Meredith Harris won the 2009 Shinichi Suzuki/American Suzuki Foundation Teacher Training Scholarship. She took the Viola Supplemental Course and Viola Practicum, taught by Betsy Stuen-Walker.

Armin Abdihodzic, who graduated April, 2009 with an MM in guitar and is currently pursuing doctoral studies at UNT, has won first prize in guitar competitions at the Mississippi Guitar Festival in Hattiesburg, and at the Music Academy of North Carolina in Greensboro. In Greensboro the other finalists were from Cleveland Institute of Music, Indiana University, and Columbus State University. This is the second year in a row that a recent ECU alum has won this competition, and the third year in a row that either current ECU students or alums have won prizes in the MANC competition. Abdihodzic was a student of Dr. Elliot Frank.

AMTA is proud to announce the 2009 Arthur Flagler Fultz Research Grant winner: Michael Silverman, PhD, MT-BC. Dr. Silverman will receive a $15,000 Grant to fund his research project titled: "The effect of family-based educational music therapy on depression, satisfaction with life, and service utilization: A randomized effectiveness study with three month follow-up." Congratulations Dr. Silverman!

School of Music Alumnus Dr. Roger McVey (B.M. ’94, Piano Performance) has just released his first CD, “American Journey." The new recording consists entirely of music for piano by living American composers, and provides a diverse sampling of contemporary American music. Included are pieces by John Adams, Emma Lou Diemer, Marc Mellits, Lori Laitman. Earl wild, Bonnie Kiksch, and Phillip Glass. Mc Vey was a student of Dr. Henry Doskey while at ECU, and is a winner of several NC-area competitions, including the NCMTA Young Artists Competition and the Raleigh Symphony Competition. He has also won several other prizes in European competitions. His Master’s degree is from Indiana University and his Doctorate was completed at the University of Kansas. He is on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin – River falls. Read more at www.rogermcvey.com.