Fall 2012

  • Lois Ferrari, professor of music, has been selected as first runner-up for the 2012 American Prize in Conducting - Community Orchestra Division for her work with the Austin Civic Orchestra. Read more here.

  • Eileen Meyer Russell, associate professor of music, presented master classes last week for low brass students who attend the Vidal M. Treviño School of Communication and Fine Arts in Laredo. She also presented a recital of music for organ and low brass Sept. 7 at Texas A&M International University in Laredo with organist with Don McManus.

  • Pianist Kiyoshi Tamagawa and several other members of the music faculty will be the featured performers in a Sept. 9 chamber music concert at the Cailloux Theater in Kerrville. The program will include a rarely performed version of Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D minor arranged for piano, flute, violin and cello by Mozart’s pupil and protégé, Johann Nepomuk Humel; the Quintet in F minor for piano and string quartet by Johannes Brahms; and the regional premiere of a brand new work for piano, violin and cello by Composer in Residence Jason Hoogerhyde. Read more here.  

  • Music Professor Lois Ferrari and the Austin Civic Orchestra have been named finalists for the 2012 American Prize in two categories: Orchestral Performance (Community Orchestra Division) and Conducting (Community Orchestra Division). Read more here.

Spring 2012

  • 2009 graduate Michelle Perrin Blair has received a full doctoral fellowship in orchestral conducting from the University of Houston and will begin her studies toward the Doctor of Music Arts degree next fall.    

  • Kiyoshi Tamagawa, professor of music, presented a session titled “Playing Together: The Chamber Music Experience for Beginning and Intermediate-level Pianists,” at the Music Teachers’ National Association (MTNA) convention in New York City March 28. His hour-long talk, illustrated with audio and video clips that included Southwestern students in rehearsal, affirmed the pedagogical benefits of introducing younger pianists to chamber music, and offered a possible sequence of repertoire, mostly centering on the piano trio, that could be used. The session was one of 30 selected for the conference out of more than 400 submitted proposals.

  • Eight Southwestern students performed at the Texas Music Educators Association conference in San Antonio Feb. 9. The students performed in the SU String Quartet directed by Eri Lee Lam, associate professor of music, and the SU Trombone Quartet directed by Eileen Meyer Russell, associate professor of music. The SU String Quartet members are Emilio Alvarez (cello), Katie De La Vega (viola), and Marie Smith and Erin Weber (violins). The SU Trombone Quartet members are Benjamin BracherAllison LingrenMichael Martinez and David Vaden. Each quartet performed a 30-minute concert at the conference.

  • Lois Ferrari, professor of music, conducted the Austin Civic Orchestra in its Winter Concert in the Alma Thomas Theater Feb. 4. Guest artist Thomas Burritt performed a movement of the Ewazen Concerto for Marimba. Also on the program was the rarely performed King Lear Variations by David Amram, Rimsky Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol, and the powerful Beethoven Symphony No. 7. The ACO’s next concert will feature winners of the Pearl Amster Youth Concerto Contest as well as Bernstein’s West Side Story Dances. Details may be found at

  • Hai Zheng-Olefsky, assistant professor of music, has been invited to perform with the Round Rock Symphony in a concert that will be presented in Georgetown on Sunday, Feb. 26. The program includes three piano quartets featuring the renowned Red Violin from the motion picture of the same name. Elizabeth Pitcairn will perform on the violin, along with Toby Blumkenthal on piano, Bruce Williams on viola and Zheng-Olefsky on cello. The concert begins at 4 p.m. at the Klett Center for the Performing Arts, Georgetown High School (2111 North Austin Ave.) Tickets are $5 for students and $25 for adults and may be purchased

  • Lois Ferrari, professor of music and music director of the Austin Civic Orchestra, performed a sold-out holiday concert Dec. 11 in Bates Recital Hall on The University of Texas at Austin campus. The event included the presentation of an art work commissioned by Ferrari and the ACO and created by Star Varner, professor of art. A set of engravings created by Varner was presented to two long-time ACO supporters who lost their home in the Bastrop fire last summer. The ACO’s next concert will be performed in the Alma Thomas Theater on Saturday, Feb. 4. For more information, go here.

Fall 2011

  • Kiyoshi Tamagawa, professor of music, will be the featured soloist at two upcoming performances by the Temple Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra is performing at Temple College Sept. 10 and at the Klett Center for the Performing Arts in Georgetown Sept. 11. Tamagawa will be performing Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 as part of a program of Russian symphonic music. For more information on the performance in Georgetown, visit here. Tamagawa also had an article titled “From AMB to WTC: Teaching the Basics of Contrapuntal Playing at the Keyboard,” published in the August/September 2011 issue of American Music Teacher, the journal of the Music Teachers’ National Association.

  • Lois Ferrari, professor of music, has been appointed music director of the Austin Civic Orchestra for the 10th straight year. Ferrari plans to celebrate her first decade with the orchestra with performances at the Long Center, Bates Hall at The University of Texas, and in the Alma Thomas Theater at Southwestern. Programming highlights for the season include Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, the Tchaikovsky 6th Symphony, and Bernstein’s “Dances from West Side Story.” Guest soloists will include Eri Lam, associate professor of violin at Southwestern; Thomas Burritt, professor of percussion at UT; jazz singer Suzi Stern; and Michelle Schumann, director of the Austin Chamber Music Center. For more information, visit

Spring 2011

  • David Asbury, assistant professor of music, recently went on a tour of the Ukraine, where he played six solo recitals in various cities, appeared as a soloist with the Dnipropetrovsk Philharmonic Orchestra, and gave master classes at the Kiev International Music School and Dnipropetrovsk Conservatory.

  • The Austin Civic Orchestra, conducted by Lois Ferrari, professor of music, presented the 25th anniversary concert of the Pearl Amster Youth Concerto Competition and Festival on March 26. Three Austin area young musicians were featured in this concert, two of whom are cello students of Hai Zheng, assistant professor of music. Every year, this contest attracts more than 100 applicants from the greater Austin area. Three or four winners are then chosen by audition from this talented pool.

  • Eileen Meyer Russell, associate professor of music, and Ann Alston, a senior majoring in economics with a minor in music, presented their research concerning the recruiting and retaining low brass players at the Texas Music Educators Association conference in San Antonio on Feb. 11. The research was funded by a Southwestern faculty-student research grant.

  • Lois Ferrari, professor of music and music director of the Austin Civic Orchestra, made history on Nov. 21, 2010, as the first woman to conduct in Dell Hall at the Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin. Ferrari and the ACO performed for a sold-out audience of 2,300 and hosted guest artists Peter Bay and Jessica Mathaes of the Austin Symphony.

Fall 2010

  • Michael Cooper, professor of music and holder of the Margarett Root Brown Chair in Fine Arts, published a critical edition of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s secular cantata “Die erste Walpurgisnacht” (the first Walpurgis night), Op. 60, with Baerenreiter-Verlag (Kassel). The work is based on a poem by Goethe and deals with Charlemagne’s forcible conversion to Christianity of the Saxon heathens in the 9th century C.E. – sympathizing with the pagans and portraying their Christian guards as superstitious cowards. Cooper’s edition restores the musical and verbal texts to what the composer intended.

  • Michael Cooper, professor of music and Margarett Root Brown Chair in Fine Arts, guest-edited a special double-issue of the Journal of Musicological Research and co-authored an article titled “‘With True Esteem and Friendship’: The Correspondence of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Louis Spohr” with R. Larry Todd (Duke University) in that issue. The 89-page annotated article is the first publication of 13 letters spanning the period 1834-46, and provides extensive documentation of some of the most hotly contested issues of mid-19th century musical life. It presents the letters in English translation and in the original German. Cooper and Todd were assisted in editing the latter by Southwestern students Stephanie Rizvi Stewart (’10) and Zach Zeman (’10), both music majors who also studied German at Southwestern.

Spring 2010

  • Mezzo-soprano Simone Kermes and the Nederlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, conducted by Frans Brüggen, recently gave two performances of an unpublished concert aria composed in 1834 by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and discovered by Michael Cooper, professor of music and holder of the Margarett Root Brown Chair in Fine Arts. The aria was long erroneously considered be a variant of another aria that Mendelssohn composed nearly a decade later, but Cooper’s research revealed that Mendelssohn and his contemporaries considered them as autonomous works, with different texts and mostly different music. Streaming video of the performance given on April 11 is available here. For a concise explanation of the piece, see Cooper’s article here

  • Portions of a concert conducted by Kenny Sheppard, professor of music, are included in a new DVD titled “Mendelssohn, The Nazis and Me.” The DVD, which was originally made for a BBC broadcast, includes the chorus and orchestra Sheppard directed for the 2009 Festival of the Arts in Georgetown performing a chorus from Mendelssohn’s “St. Paul” oratorio.

  • Lois Ferrari, associate professor of music, gave a lecture titled “Creating from the Void” on Feb. 24 at Grace Episcopal Church. Ferrari spoke about the relationship of conductor to composer and the process of how a new work is first imagined by a composer and then comes to life via a conductor.

  • Lois Ferrari, associate professor of music, conducted the Washington All-State Wind Ensemble at the Washington Music Educators Association Conference in Yakima, Wash., Feb. 12-15. The Wind Ensemble was comprised of the best wind and percussion students in the state of Washington and rehearsed for six hours a day before performing a culminating concert Feb. 15. The concert included the world premiere of a work titled “He With Reel” by Lewis Norfleet that was commissioned for the event.

  • Lois Ferrari, associate professor of music, led the Austin Civic Orchestra in two concerts for the entire Pflugerville ISD 5th grade at Connally High School on Monday, Jan. 25.  Ferrari led a question-and-answer session in order to bring students up on stage to sit within the orchestra as it performed symphonic arrangements of popular film music. 

  • David Asbury, assistant professor of music, performed a solo concert at the Kennedy Center Tuesday night (February 2).

  • David Asbury, assistant professor of music, performed a guest recital this week at The Baptist College of Florida.

  • Junior music major Andrea Plybon is one of 32 students selected to contribute blogs for IES Abroad this spring. Plybon will be blogging about her study abroad experience in Vienna, Austria. Follow Plybon’s blog here.

Fall 2009

  • Michael Cooper, professor of music, was interviewed this week for the show “Classical Variations,” which airs on radio station WXEL in West Palm Beach, Fla. The interview was done in conjunction of the Dec. 8 Florida premier of the new edition of Mendelssohn’s Fantasy and Variations on the “Gypsy March” from Carl Maria von Weber’s La Preziosa which Cooper wrote.  

  • Lois Ferrari, associate professor of music, conducted the Austin Civic Orchestra in concert at the Pflugerville Performing Arts Center Nov. 7th. The program featured clarinet soloist Kathleen Bohn and featured two pillars of the orchestral repertoire: “Scheherazade” by Rimsky-Korsakov and Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero.” 

  • Michael Cooper, professor of music, gave a presentation titled “Toward a Structured Series of Written Assignments in the Undergraduate Music-History Curriculum” at the Oct. 10 meeting of the Southwest Chapter of the American Musicological Association, which was held at the University of Texas at San Antonio. The presentation focused on a pedagogical initiative he developed for systematizing the development of music students as writers within their disciplines.

  • Lois Ferrari, associate professor of music, will conduct the Washington All-State Wind Ensemble at the Washington Music Educators Association conference in February 2010. This ensemble is the premier group in Washington state and WMEA is its premier music education organization.

  • Michael Cooper, professor of music, recently presented papers at two conferences held in the former East Germany. In May, he joined a panel of six scholars representing Germany, France and Italy to give a paper titled “Two Composers Divided by a Shared Identity: Portrayals of Mendelssohn in American and German Musicology in the Twentieth Century” at a conference on Mendelssohn Reception in the Twentieth Century that was held in Rostock. In August, he presented a paper titled “Mendelssohn and Berlioz: Obscure(d) Affinities)” at a conference held in Leipzig.

Spring 2009

  • Ellsworth Peterson, professor emeritus of music, has been named the recipient of the 2009 Community Arts Leadership Award given by Georgetown’s Performing Arts Alliance. Peterson is being recognized for his work in initiating the Festival of the Arts in Georgetown and for his contributions to the Georgetown Symphony Society. The award will be presented at a gala to be held this Saturday, April 18, at the Georgetown Public Library. Tickets for the event are $60 and may be purchased by contacting Charles Aguillon at 512-677-2916 or by email.

  • Lois Ferrari, associate professor of music, led the Austin Civic Orchestra in a sold-out performance in the Alma Thomas Theater Feb. 21. This concert featured the world premiere of Professor Michael Cooper’s edition of Mendelssohn’s Fantaisie und Variations uber den Zigeunermarsch aus Weber’s “Preziosa,” as well as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, “Eroica.” Listen to the Mendelssohn piece here.

  • Kiyoshi Tamagawa, professor of music, and Hai Zheng, assistant professor of music, recently returned from a week-long concert tour in Asia. They were invited by Xiamen University to give a master class and a recital at Gulangyu Concert Hall in China, and then went to Taiwan at the invitation of the Chinese Culture University in Taipei for another concert and master class there.

  • Michael Cooper, associate professor of music, received $16,600 (from a $150,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for collaborative faculty projects) to produce a performance of “Songs of Bilitis,” which features texts by Pierre Louys and music of Claude Debussy. The performance will be held in spring 2010 and will be recorded for national and international distribution. More than 20 faculty members will be involved with the project, as well as several students. The complete set of musical compositions, poems, and visual artworks associated with the original Louys/Debussy collaboration has not been performed since 1901.

  • Senior music major Natalie Moore was selected to receive the 2009 Fayez Sarofim Passion for the Arts Award from Southwestern. The award is presented annually to the graduating senior who, regardless of major, has demonstrated throughout his or her entire undergraduate career at Southwestern an unusual passion for the arts. It was established in 2008 in honor of Fayez Sarofim, a Houston investment advisor and philanthropist for whom the Sarofim School of Fine Arts at Southwestern is named. Recipients are selected by the dean of the Sarofim School of Fine Arts from nominations submitted by members of the fine arts faculty.

    As a student at Southwestern, Moore created the SU Arts Festival, a day-long festival designed to showcase the finest of the music, theatre and arts on campus. She also was involved with Delta Omicron, the music fraternity on campus, was a member of the Southwestern University Chorale, and former president of the Southwestern University Composers’ Collective. Last spring, she worked with Michael Cooper, associate professor of music, in planning “Voices of Musical Creation,” an event that brought the Colloquium of Musical Scholars and Composers’ Collective together in a series of student research presentations and performances of original compositions. This year, she is the first student intern for the Georgetown Festival of Arts, a yearly event in June that includes an art festival and the performance of works by a single composer. The 2009 festival will feature the music of Anton Dvorak. Moore plans to pursue a master’s degree in arts administration and develop programs to expose inner-city children to the arts.

  • Kiyoshi Tamagawa, professor of music, appeared at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City on Jan. 25 as a guest performer on the New York Philharmonic Ensembles concert series. He, Philharmonic cellist Evangeline Benedetti, and first clarinetist Stanley Drucker performed the Clarinet Trio by the French composer Vincent d’Indy. The legendary Drucker marks his 60th and final season with the Philharmonic this year.

  • Eileen Meyer Russell, associate professor of music, is presenting a master class at the 2009 Annual Tuba-Euphonium Conference to be held in Washington, D.C., Jan. 28-31. The conference is sponsored by the U.S. Army Band and features concerts, recitals, exhibits, master classes and lectures by leading low brass authorities from around the world. Russell’s presentation will be for those who double on trombone and euphonium. 

Fall 2008

  • Junior music major Magen Comley was accepted through competitive application into the 2009 Small College Intercollegiate Band. Only 90 students were chosen for this group from a national pool of applications from 48 states. The SCIB will perform under the baton of Virginia Allen of the Curtis Institute of Music and as part of the College Band Directors’ National Association conference, to be held in March 2009 at the University of Texas at Austin.

  • Seven faculty members have been named 2008 recipients of awards from the Sam Taylor Fellowship Fund. The fund provides monetary awards for the continuing education and development of full-time faculty members of United Methodist colleges and universities in Texas. Southwestern received a total of $13,620 in grant money from the fund this year. David Asbury, assistant professor of music, will use his funds to research the correspondence of 20th century Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s correspondence with other significant 20th century musical figures will present a unique portrait of the composer and also offer glimpses into the lives of other important musical figures, events, places and practices.

  • Michael Cooper, associate professor of music, contributed two chapters to a book titled Mendelssohn in Performance, edited by Siegwart Reichwald and published by Indiana University Press. The book is the first collection of scholarly essays concerning interpretation of the music of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy on stage. Cooper’s first essay, titled “From Notation to Edition to Performance,” concerns particularly thorny issues that arise in moving from Mendelssohn’s manuscripts to printed musical notation that will convey the same suggestions to modern performers that it did for his contemporaries. The second essay, “’For you see I am the eternal objector’ On Performing Mendelssohn’ music in translation,” addresses the problems and opportunities posed by his extraordinary variety of linguistic fluencies for modern performers. Cooper also published the premier edition of the first complete version of Mendelssohn’s secular cantata Die erste Walpurgisnacht (The first Walpurgis night) as part of the series “Recent Researches Concerning the Music of the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries” (Madison, Wisconsin; A-R Editions), based on a 1799 ballad by Goethe. The edition is based on manuscripts held in Cracow, Paris, Berlin and Oxford.

  • Thad Anderson, percussion instructor, is the artistic director of a new group called the Cage Percussion Players which is dedicated to the performance and research of historical percussion ensemble repertoire. The group will give its first performance Friday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m. at the Armstrong Community Music School, 901 Barton Springs Rd. in Austin. For more information on the group, visit .

  • Lois Ferrari, associate professor of music and music director of the Austin Civic Orchestra, conducted one of the ACO’s seven 07-08 season concerts in May 2008.  This program featured Stravinsky’s monumental “Firebird Suite,” Wagner’s “Rienzi Overture,” and an opera aria showcase that highlighted the talents of Southwestern’s own Bruce Cain and Carol Kreuscher, former faculty member Claire Vangelisti, and David Stevens of Austin. In June, Ferrari was recruited by Professor Emeritus F. Ellsworth Peterson to conduct Mendelssohn’s rarely performed opera, “Son and Stranger,” as part of the Georgetown Festival of the Arts. Several Southwestern students performed with Ferrari, along with Cain and Southwestern graduates Lynn Parr Mock and Virginia Dupuy.