Current Season

2023-2024 Season


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Thomas Cannon Thomas Cannon

Thomas Cannon, baritone


September 12, 2023
in the Alma Thomas Theater


Dr. Cannon in Concert with Andrew Packard will captivate the audience with a mesmerizing recital showcasing the masters of German lieder and American song traditions. Prepare to be enchanted by beloved songs by Schubert, the powerful Vier Ernste Gesänge by Brahms, soul-stirring baritone songs by Robert Owens, and the enchanting melodies of H.T. Burleigh. This extraordinary performance not only showcases Dr. Cannon’s remarkable talent as an opera singer and concert performer, but also pays tribute to the invaluable teachings he received as a singing student at both The Juilliard School and Baylor University.


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Mendelssohn Octet

Mendelssohn Octet and Schubert String Quartet

November 5, 2023
in the Alma Thomas Theater


The Department of Music presents a chamber music concert featuring the Mendelssohn Octet and Schubert String Quartet in a minor, “Rosamunde.”

Austin Symphony Concertmaster and Assistant Professor of Violin at Southwestern University Jessica Mathaes is joined by international colleagues in a chamber music concert featuring the Mendelssohn Octet and Schubert String Quartet in a minor, “Rosamunde.” For the first half of the concert, Ms. Mathaes is joined by Simon Smith (St. Martin in the Fields Octet, UK), Tomoko Iguchi (Kansas City Symphony), and Greg Clinton (Omaha Symphony, associate principal), playing Schubert’s beautiful String Quartet in a minor, “Rosamunde.” After intermission, the four musicians will be joined by top chamber music students of the Sarofim School of Fine Arts, Southwestern University, in a collaborative performance of Mendelssohn’s jubilant Octet. Coached by Ms. Mathaes, the Sarofim String Quartet is Seth Sagen ’26 and Chelsey Southwell ’24 on violin, Mack Nixon-Hoxie ’26 on viola, and Anna Martens ’24 on cello. Don’t miss this iconic party piece!

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January 30, 2024
7:30 pm


Guest artists James Barger, Evgeny Zvonnikov, and Sarah Rushing, known collectively as Triptych, are excited to present an engaging and varied program of repertoire for the unique instrumentation of saxophone, violin, and piano. The program consists of works by five living composers and offers something for everyone, from the highly accessible to the more philosophical. Even lovers of French romanticism will find something to enjoy in Algerian composer, Marc Eychenne’s Cantilène et Danse – which could be best described as, “… if Fauré wrote for saxophone, violin, and piano…”



Dr. Diana Loomer, Timpani


Diana Loomer,



February 3, 2024
2:00 Pm


Timpani can play melodies! The goal of the Melodic Timpani Project is to promote the use of the timpani as a melodic instrument by commissioning a collection of new pieces for timpani in this style. The mechanics of timpani pedals have improved greatly over the years, and we now have the opportunity to use the timpani voice in a much more active way. However, the repertoire for this style of timpani playing is currently relatively limited. In an effort to fill this void, I began asking composers to write for this medium. This could be in any context: solo timpani, solo with electronic or acoustic accompaniment, chamber ensembles, large ensembles, etc. The idea is to write or transcribe a wide variety of music that will be heard in the timpani voice, but to avoid the traditional practice of keeping the pitches relatively stationary. This performance will include a series of pieces that showcase timpani in its melodic role.



Althea Waites at the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, March 24, 2021. (Photo/Michael Owen Baker) Althea Waites at the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, March 24, 2021. (Photo/Michael Owen Baker)

Althea Waites, piano


February 24, 2024
2:00 Pm


Althea Waites is an internationally acclaimed pianist who has performed extensively in the United States, Europe, Asia, and South Africa. She has had a successful career as a soloist, chamber musician, and collaborative artist. She has been invited to numerous festivals, including Aspen, the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Idyllwild Arts Festival in Southern California, and the National Arts Festival at Makhanda in South Africa.

The Los Angeles Times has praised her for her “superb technique and profound musicality.” Althea Waites has a strong commitment to promoting new music by American composers and has received several honors and commendations for her work in this area. She holds degrees in piano performance from Xavier University of Louisiana and the Yale School of Music, where she studied under the late Donald Currier.

Althea Waites is highly sought after for recitals, masterclasses, and residencies. She has also dedicated her life to community service and believes in using music as a tool for peace and the elimination of racial and political division. It’s worth mentioning that she is a Yamaha artist.




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