Music

Notable Faculty & Student Achievements

October 2019

  • Part-Time Instructor of Applied Music Katherine Altobello ’99 was the guest mezzo-soprano for High Holy services at Congregation Beth Israel in Austin, TX, under the direction of Dr. Jeffery Jones-Ragona and Dr. Maimy Fong.





  • Part-time Instructor of Applied Music Katherine Altobello ’99 was the guest mezzo-soprano for High Holy services at Congregation Beth Israel in Austin, TX under the direction of Dr. Jeffery Jones-Ragona and Dr. Maimy Fong. 





  • Professor of Music and Margarett Root Brown Chair in Fine Arts Michael Cooper  published three source-critical editions of music by Florence Price with G. Schirmer, Inc./AMP, the single largest publisher of classical sheet music globally. The editions are Price’s setting of Georgia Douglas Johnson’s poem “The Heart of a Woman,” the Fantasie No. 1 in G Minor  for violin and piano, and the Cotton Dance  for piano solo. These editions are nos. 2–4 in Cooper’s series of 64 editions of previously unpublished music by Price with Schirmer. 





  • Professor of Music Kiyoshi Tamagawa’s book Echoes from the East: The Javanese Gamelan and Its Influence on the Music of Claude Debussy will be released in December 2019 by Lexington Books. In it, he recounts Debussy’s 1889 encounter with the gamelan, the traditional musical ensemble of what is now Indonesia, at the Paris Exposition Universelle and traces its echoes through his entire compositional career. The book adds a commentary on the modern-day issue of cultural appropriation and a survey of Debussy’s contemporaries and successors who have also attempted to merge the sounds of the gamelan with their own distinctive musical styles.





September 2019

  • Under the direction of Professor of Music Lois Ferrari,the Austin Civic Orchestra (ACO) has won second place for the nationally adjudicated American Prize in community orchestra performance of American music (Ernst Bacon Memorial Award). Ferrari and the ACO submitted a performance recording of a piece by local composer Dan Welcher, as well as the music of William Grant Still and Lee Actor. The ACO also garnered overall praise from the American Prize staff for the orchestra’s 2017–2018 season, titled Made in America, which featured music exclusively by American composers.





  • Professor of Music Lois Ferrari was awarded second place for the 2019 nationally adjudicated American Prize in community orchestra conducting. Ferrari’s work with the Austin Civic Orchestra (ACO) was also honored in the community orchestra performance category, with the ACO winning third place.





  • Part-Time Instructor of Applied Music Adrienne Inglis ’s composition Wren , for mixed chorus and flute, will enjoy its world premiere performance by Inversion Ensemble on September 28, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at the Wesleyan at Estrella in Georgetown and September 29, 2019, at 3:00 p.m. at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas. Inversion Ensemble will also perform Wren  at its Sarofim Music Series concert on October 22, and the Southwestern University Chorale will perform it during their fall concert on November 2. Commissioned by Inversion Ensemble, Wren  sets Robert Macfarlane’s acrostic poem of the same name for mixed chorus and flute. With quick harmonic changes, syncopations, and melodic gestures, the composition captures a sense of the charming poem as well as the actual Eurasian wren ( Troglodytes troglodytes ) found year-round throughout the U.K. Macfarlane’s poem “Wren” comes from his 2017 illustrated poetry book, The Lost Words , which conjures pictures of the wild things and untamed spaces that get shortchanged in modern urban life.





  • Part-Time Instructor of Applied Music  Adrienne Inglis ’s composition  Metamorphosis,  for solo flute, solo harp, and string orchestra, will enjoy its world premiere performance by Chaski and the Balcones Community Orchestra on September 22, 2019, at 4:00 p.m. at the Lakeway Activity Center in Lakeway, TX. Commissioned by the Balcones Community Orchestra,  Metamorphosis  honors the life and work of pioneering entomologist, naturalist, and artist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717). Merian carefully documented in illustrated detail the life cycle of so many insects; accordingly,  Metamorphosis  musically follows a butterfly from egg and larva to pupa and adult.





August 2019

  • Part-Time Instructor of Applied Music Adrienne Inglis’s composition “The Song of the Harp Seal” will enjoy its world premiere performance by Inversion Ensemble Coda August 10–11, 2019, in Georgetown and Austin, TX. Composed especially for Inversion Ensemble Coda, “The Song of the Harp Seal” sets to music Gillean McDougall’s poem of the same title and was commissioned by the composer for this project. For treble chorus and harp, this work tells the story of a mother harp seal and her pup forced south of their usual arctic range by the climate crisis. The pup ingests plastic pollution which contributes to her death near the shores of the Isle of Skye. Scottish legend mixes with modern tragedy as mermaids beckon in Gaelic to the harp pup and summon the audience to remember the harp seal. Inversion Ensemble’s project “Aether: Earth—Conservation/Nature” features guest conductor Cina Crisara and Chaski harpist Shana Norton.





  • An excerpt of Associate Professor of Music Jason Hoogerhyde ’s opera The Color of Dissonance  was included in the 10th edition of Nancy Rogers and Robert Ottman’s Music for Sight Singing  (Pearson, 2019).





July 2019

  • Part-Time Assistant Professor of Music Hai Zheng Olefsky was invited to give a cello master class and perform a solo and chamber music in concert with violin virtuoso Elizabeth Pitcairn at Luzerne Chamber Music Festival’s Legacy Concert on July 21, 2019. Luzerne Music Center (LMC) aims to provide world-class music instruction for passionate young people in a summer-camp environment regardless of their financial circumstances. Musicians ages nine to 18 come from all over the world to train at LMC’s campus, which is located in the foothills of New York City’s Adirondack Park.





June 2019

  • Part-Time Instructor of Applied Music Adrienne Inglis’s composition “The Rage and Reconciliation of King Lear” will enjoy its world première performance by Inversion Ensemble June 1–2, 2019, in Austin, TX. Commissioned by Jonathan Riemer in memory of his father, Rev. Dr. Milton H. Riemer, the work for mixed chorus, bassoon, and piano weaves passages from Shakespeare’s King Lear with the signature phrases of Rev. Dr. Riemer. Rev. Dr. Riemer’s words bring insight and reflection to the poignant narrative of a parent–child relationship and mental illness. Inversion Ensemble’s project “Heroes/Monsters: Songs of Legends and Beasts” features bassoonist Nathan Koch and pianist Austin Haller.





May 2019

  • Part-Time Instructor of Applied Music Adrienne Inglis’s work “Innocent Blood” was nominated by the Austin Critics Table for Best Original Composition/Score for 2018–19. Her work was part of the Inversion Ensemble’s concert I, Too, Sing America: Songs of Our Shared History, which was also nominated for Best Concert/Opera Performance.





  • Professor of Music Lois Ferrari conducted the Austin Civic Orchestra (ACO) on May 18, 2019, in its annual Paint to Music Spring Concert, which features artwork created by Austin ISD students in response to hearing and studying an iconic piece of classical music. This year’s selection was Pictures at an Exhibitionby Modest Moussorgsky (orchestrated by Maurice Ravel). Also featured on the program was “Festive Overture” by Dmitri Shostakovich, the “Sleeping Beauty Waltz” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (conducted by Gus Sterneman ’06), and the “Concerto for Horn and Orchestra in B-Flat Major, Op. 91” by Reinhold Glière (performed by ACO member Chris Simpson).





  • Associate Professor of Music Jason Hoogerhyde  has published a review of Prefab Sprout’s recording “I Trawl The Megahertz” in the College Music Symposium  (spring 2019, vol. 59, no.1).





April 2019

  • Part-Time Assistant Professor of Voice Julia Taylor  performed the role of Mimi in the all-female production of Puccini’s La Boheme (La Femme Boheme)  with Local Opera Local Artists (LOLA) at the Women’s Music, Diversity, and Leadership Conference at San Diego State University.





  • Part-Time Assistant Professor of Music and Concert Cellist Hai Zheng Olefsky has been invited to be an adjudicator for strings and to give two cello master classes April 11–12 at the 2019 Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS) Arts Festival in Austin, TX. This Festival has grown to be the nation’s premiere annual regional arts festival among independent schools. The festival is a collaborative enterprise with more than 40 participating schools. For more than 50 years, the ISAS Fine Arts Festival has been a celebration of the visual and performing arts, bringing together thousands of students who will share their talents and be inspired for their futures.





  • Margarett Root Brown Chair in Fine Arts and Professor of Music Michael Cooper gave a guest lecture titled “The Silence of Florence Price” at Trinity University on April 2. The talk featured recordings by award-winning pianists Lara Downes and Petronel Malan of five still-unpublished piano compositions by Florence Price (1887–1953). Cooper called for a more intersectional and sustained exploration of the composer’s life and works. Those interested may find the narcolepsy-inducing abstract here.





March 2019

  • Professor of Music Lois Ferrari conducted the Austin Civic Orchestra (ACO) on March 26, 2019, in its annual Texas Rising Stars (TRS) concert. The TRS performance is presented in collaboration with the Butler School of Music (BSOM) at the University of Texas at Austin and highlights winners of the BSOM string concerto competition. Also featured was the Amster String Quartet, an ensemble of high-school musicians nominated by their teachers and then auditioned by the ACO for the honor of being coached by a noted local music teacher (this year’s teacher was Dick Frazier at Anderson High School). Every year, a different ensemble is assembled and coached on a rotating basis (woodwind, brass, strings, percussion, etc.). The ACO was also honored to present the U.S. premiere of Roydon Tse’s Sinfonia Concertante, which won the ACO’s biannual composition contest.





  • Music Literature major Katiebeth Brandt ’19 prepared a critical edition and arranged for the posthumous premiere of Florence B. Price’s choral composition titled “Bluebell.” Based on a text by Mary Rolofson Gamble, the work was performed on March 3 at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Brandt prepared her edition under the supervision of  Professor of Music and Margarett Root Brown Chair in Fine Arts Michael Cooper. The autograph was obtained from the University of Arkansas Special Collections Library and has a professional recording and video made from the premiere. This piece was written by a woman, with a woman poet, edited by a woman, with a treble section of eight women voices, conducted by a woman with a woman accompanist.





  • Part-Time Instructor of Applied Music Adrienne Inglis’s composition “Asleep in a Blanket Spun of Energy” enjoyed its world premiere performance by Inversion Ensemble on March 2 and 3, 2019, in Austin, TX. Honoring Inglis’s Ojibwe ancestors, the work for mixed chorus and Trevor Shaw’s electronic track evokes the vivid imagery of Margaret Noodin’s poem “We Are Returning Always.” The piece sets all of the English text and a few key words of the Anishinaabemowin text from the bilingual poem, which beautifully captures a glimpse into the natural and celestial wonders of the Ojibwe world. The music reflects a taste of the syncopated embellished singing, pentatonic melodies, and steady drumbeat characteristic of Ojibwe music. The electronic track provides both a compelling rhythmic foundation and fantastical sonic representations of the moon, nebulae, supernovae, the aurora borealis, and the forests of the Ojibwe lands.





February 2019

  • Sphinx Organization Laureate Lara Downes gave the world premieres of two major compositions by Florence Price discovered and edited by Professor of Music and Margarett Root Brown Chair in Fine Arts Michael Cooperin a major concert on Feb. 23. The concert, part of the Washington (DC) Performing Arts series, previewed Downes’s new project,  Holes in the Sky (Sony Masterworks, March 1). The album, a genre-fluid collaboration with Judy Collins, Rhiannon Giddens, and others, is devoted exclusively to music by women, performed exclusively by women. Along with other pieces, Downes performed Price’s “Fantasie Nègre no. 2,” long believed lost before Cooper recovered it, as well as her more compact “Sketches in Sepia” and “Memory Mist.” All three compositions typify Price’s creative synthesis of African-American stylistic traits with the genres and techniques of concert music.





  • A concert aria by Felix Mendelssohn, discovered by Professor of Music and Margarett Root Brown Chair in Fine Arts Michael Cooper,received its Puerto Rican premiere in performances by the International Chamber Orchestra of Puerto Rico with soprano Sara Garcia under the direction of Emilio Colón on February 8–10 in Mayagüez and San Juan. The 14-minute aria, “Infelice! / Ah, ritorna, età dell’ oro, MWV H 4” (1834), was long assumed to be a draft for a different piece written nine years later, but Cooper’s research into the manuscripts, text, and music revealed it to be an autonomous composition—resulting in the addition of a major “new” composition to the catalog of Mendelssohn’s works and the repertoire of nineteenth-century vocal music.





  • Professor of Music and Margarett Root Brown Chair in Fine Arts Michael Cooper uncovered and edited a composition by Florence B. Price titled “Memory Mist,” which was performed on Feb. 1 by Grammy-nominated pianist and Sphinx Organization Laureate Lara Downes as part of Detroit Public Radio’s celebration of the first day of African-American history month. The piece is part of Cooper’s large-scale project exploring the hundreds of unknown compositions by Price, who, despite her sex and race, was acclaimed as the mid-20th century’s leading African-American composer of concert music. The performance will be rebroadcast by Detroit Public Radio after Feb. 23 and will be one of the featured tracks on Downes’s new genre-fluid CD Holes in the Sky, devoted exclusively to music by women composers and performers (due for release on March 1).





January 2019

  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Beth Everett presented a session at the National Opera Association national conference titled “Female Conductors and Directors and Their Paths to Careers in Opera.” The conference took place on Jan. 3–5, 2019, in Salt Lake City, UT.





  • Professor of Music Lois Ferrari conducted the Austin Civic Orchestra on Dec. 2, 2018, in a concert titled Bohemian Rhapsodies. The concert featured guest violist Roger Myers and music by Czech composers Dvorak, Stamitz, Husa, and Smetana.





  • Part-Time Instructor of Applied Music Adrienne Inglis’s composition “Innocent Blood” was part of the Inversion Ensemble’s “I, Too, Sing America” performance, which was just selected by The Austin Chronicle as one of  Robert Faires’s Top 10 Dance and Classical Joys of 2018. Faires  describes the performance as “a history lesson through choral music, speaking to struggles present and past (e.g., witch trials in Adrienne Inglis’s forceful “Innocent Blood”), with the choir’s united voices ever a symbol of e pluribus unum.”





December 2018

  • Six music majors have prepared source-critical editions of unknown, unpublished, or little-known works by African American composer Florence B. Price (1887–1953) for the Music in the United States course offered by Professor of Music and Margarett Root Brown Chair in Fine Arts Michael Cooper. The editions were prepared from autographs held at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and include a scholarly preface, a source-critical score of the work, and a critical report. The students have gone through the entire process of preparing scholarly editions, including finding the sources, requesting reproductions and agreeing to the holding library’s terms, researching the poets and texts (where applicable), inputting the music using professional music-editing software, and assembling the final product. They hold the copyright on their editions. The students, works, and work-statuses are

    • Emily Barham ’20, Fantasy in Purple (new edition; text by Langston Hughes)
    • Katie Beth Brandt ’19, Bluebell (premiere edition; text by Mary Rolofson Gamble; recorded by the University of Texas at San Antonio choir and set for posthumous premiere in spring 2019)
    • Myles Kellerman ’20, Monologue for the Working Class (premiere edition; text by Langston Hughes)
    • Alex Slaid ’20, The Retort (new edition; text by Paul Dunbar)
    • Tabitha Thiemens ’19, God Gives Me You (new edition; text by unidentified author)
    • Ti Xin ’20, Presto (premiere edition; for piano solo)




November 2018

  • Part-Time Instructor of Applied Music Katherine Altobello was the guest mezzo-soprano soloist in Austin Chamber Ensemble’s production A Haunted Evening,featuring works by Brahms, Strauss, Verdi, Britten, Wildhorn, Schwartz, and Sondheim. Altobello performed alongside soprano June Julian, tenor Dr. Jeffrey Jones-Ragona, and pianists Dr. Stephen Burnaman and Martha Mortensen Ahern. Performances were on Oct. 19 at Huston–Tillotson University’s King Seabrook Chapel (celebrating their second season as an “all-Steinway” music school) and on Oct. 20 at the First Presbyterian Church in Austin. Performances included solos, duets, trios, and piano movements that fit the Halloween spirit.





  • Professor of Music and Margarett Root Brown Chair in Fine Arts Michael Cooper  uncovered, edited, and arranged for the posthumous premiere of two unpublished songs by African-American composer and civil-rights activist Margaret A. Bonds (1913–1972). The songs are based on Edna St. Vincent Millay’s (1892–1950) sonnets “What Lips My Lips Have Kissed” and “I Know My Mind and I Have Made My Choice.” Millay’s poems, considered among the finest sonnets of the 20th century, are important for their use of feminist themes, which Bonds in turn engages in the works’ musical style. The works received their modern premiere at a recital by former Southwestwestern Instructor of Music Dana Long Zenobi at Butler University, Nov. 6, 2018.





  • Professor of Music and Margarett Root Brown Chair in Fine Arts Michael Cooper discovered and edited an unpublished choral work by Florence B. Price (1887–1953) that will be performed by Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Beth Everett and the Southwestern University Chorale at their concert on Nov. 3, 2018. The composition, titled “Night,” is based on a poem first published in 1930 in the NAACP journal The Crisis by Harlem Renaissance author Bessie Mayle. Price, generally acclaimed as the doyenne of African-American concert music of the mid-20th century, set Mayle’s poem to music in 1945. After her setting was premiered in Chicago, the autograph was filed among Price’s other manuscripts. Cooper discovered it during his research in the summer of 2018.