Music

Notable Faculty & Student Achievements

October 2021

  • Professor of Music Michael Cooper is serving as musicological consultant for season two of the ONEcomposer initiative, focusing on Margaret Bonds (with cameos from Florence Price). The official launch features a series of scholarly commentary videos by Cooper, together with stunning performances of works by Bonds and Price given by award-winning soprano Karen Slack and pianist Michelle Cann, as well as bass-baritone Justin Hopkins and pianist Jeanne-Minette Cilliers. Cooper’s recently published and soon-to-be-published editions of these works by Bonds and Price are the source of most of the performances. Cooper’s narcolepsy-inducing commentaries can be viewed along with those beautiful performances at the ONEcomposer website.





September 2021

  • Professor of Music Lois Ferrari led the Austin Civic Orchestra (ACO) in its first live concert since February 2020 on September 26, 2021. The ACO presented its program, titled “Come for the Music, Stay for the Flowers,” in a performance at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The concert featured the different, separate sections of the orchestra and included the music of Piazzolla, Newbold, Vivaldi, Balmages, Reich, R. Strauss, and Di Lorenzo.





  • Professor of Music Michael Cooperwrote the program note for the Philadelphia Orchestra’s performance of Florence B. Price’s Symphony No. 4 in D minor, to be released on the orchestra’s Digital Stage on October 13. The symphony was composed in 1945 but only recently discovered and published; it represents a substantially different approach to the genre of the symphony compared to Price’s previous symphonies and tenders perhaps her most overt musical commentary on the war. 





  • Professor of Music Michael Cooper  made his first (and probably last) foray into phrenological musicology, or perhaps musicological phrenology, with a virtual guest lecture for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro music program. Titled “Disorderly Inspiration: Hector Berlioz’s Idée Fixe, the Clash of Tradition and Modernity, and the Episode in the Life of an Artist,” the lecture showed how Berlioz, who studied medicine before his descent into music, appropriated the technique of using a specific musical theme to represent an extramusical fixation or monomania from the pseudoscientific phrenological research of F. J. Gall and J. G. Spuzheim, specifically the first two volumes of their Anatomie et Physiologie Système Nerveux en Général, et du Cerveau en Particulier.  Of this pseudopsychiatry was born great art: Berlioz used Gall’s and Spurzheim’s concept to invent the technique of the (musical) idée fixe in his Symphonie Fantastique  and other works, a technique that became foundational to later Romantic music. 





August 2021

  • Professor of Music Lois Ferrari  conducted and presided over the Austin Civic Orchestra’s (ACO’s) three-part summer concert series, the final installment of its The Beat Goes On  virtual season. These concert programs were designed to provide the orchestra’s musicians with a safe environment in which to rehearse and perform during the current pandemic. ACO members were assigned to small chamber groups or chose to form their own groups, all with social distancing and aerosol management at the forefront of consideration. The members rehearsed for four to five weeks and then recorded their performances as virtual compilations or in person at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. The streamed events drew large appreciative virtual audiences on both the ACO Facebook page and YouTube channel. Ferrari and the ACO plan to return to the live stage for their 2021–2022 season, titled Reunited .





April 2021

  • Part-Time Instructor of Applied Music and flute instructor Adrienne Inglis’s composition “Santo” for treble chorus and folk percussion from her Latin American folk mass “Misa Trinitaria” was featured in Chorus Austin’s Southwest Voices: She Sings concert on April 24, 2021 (the recording is streaming until May 8, 2021). The world premiere of a commission by Inglis, “Shelter in Place” with poetry by Kim Stafford and a nature soundtrack, will be featured during the Lewis & Clark College Choirs spring concert on April 28, 2021. The Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College of the City University of New York will present Inglis’s “How Dare You” for mixed chorus, flute, and nature soundtrack with text by Greta Thunberg as part of its concert on May 13, 2021;  Inglis will perform with the QC Vocal Ensemble during the livestreamed event.





  • Professor of Music Michael Cooper participated in a virtual panel discussion titled “The Mastery of Florence Price.” Hosted by the Heritage Signature Chorale (Washington, DC) founder and director Stanley Thurston, the panel also featured pianist Karen Walwyn (Howard University), who made the world-premiere recording of Price’s First Piano Concerto  in 2011 and is known as a foremost interpreter of Price’s music.





  • Professor of Music Michael Cooper presented a virtual lecture for the Royal Irish Academy of Music (Dublin) titled “Black Feminism, Margaret Bonds, and the Credo of W. E. B. Du Bois.” The lecture included the first performances (via Zoom) since 1972 of three excerpts from the “Credo,” featuring Washington National Opera Cafritz fellow soprano Katerina Burton and the Grand Chorus of Georgetown University, conducted by Frederick Binkholder. Cooper published the piano/vocal and orchestral/choral versions of the “Credo” with Hildegard Publishing Company in 2020. Music-loving readers of this notable can hear Burton’s stunning rendition of “Especially Do I Believe in the Negro Race” (No. 2 of the “Credo”) here and the opening and closing choruses here.





March 2021

  • Professor of Music Lois Ferrari  appeared as a special guest on KMFA’s Classical Austin  show, an hour-long broadcast which aired on March 7 and March 10, 2021. Hosted by Dianne Donovan, the show “takes you behind the curtain of greater Austin’s dynamic classical music stage [and features] in-depth interviews with conductors, composers, choreographers, instrumentalists, and more.” The interview is archived on KMFA’s website.





  • Professor of Music Michael Cooper , whose regular blog Journeys   has almost 600 “regular, unique readers,” contributed a guest post to the blog of the Women’s Song Forum titled “Kindred Spirits: Margaret Bonds and Edna St. Vincent Millay (Part I).” The post is available here . Cooper argues that despite the color line that separated them in their lives and contemporary and posthumous receptions, Millay and Bonds were kindred spirits—and that their staunchly feminist affinities manifested themselves in these songs, which Cooper recently published. The post includes world-premiere recordings of two of Bonds’s Millay settings.





  • Professor of Music Michael Cooper  published the preantepenultimate and antepenultimate editions in his series of 64 world-premiere source-critical editions of music by Florence B. Price with G. Schirmer (New York). The first edition, submitted with deliberate irony during Snowcalypse 2021, is a brilliant lyrical waltz for piano solo titled “Waltz of the Spring Maid” (because when better than during housebound Snowcalypse …?). The second, a major contribution by any measure, is Price’s only known song cycle—a set of four songs all taken from Langston Hughes’s iconic collection of poems that articulated the vision of the Harlem Renaissance, The Weary Blues . Price chose four poems centered on the subject of dreams in the sense of longings, desires, and aspirations. The four songs have been known individually before, but Cooper’s research into the manuscripts reveals their identity as a cycle; characteristically for cycles, the cycle as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. (Another “notable”:  Cooper has never written the word preantepenultimate  in a Notable before.)





February 2021

  • Professor of Music Lois Ferrari  conducted and presided over the Austin Civic Orchestra’s (ACO’s) third and fourth virtual concerts of their The Beat Goes On!  season on December 12, 2020, and February 13, 2021. These concert programs were designed to provide the orchestra’s musicians with a safe environment in which to rehearse and perform during the current pandemic. ACO members were assigned to small chamber groups or chose to form their own groups, all with social distancing and aerosol management at the forefront of consideration. The members rehearsed for four to five weeks and then recorded their performances as virtual compilations or in person at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. The streamed events drew large appreciative virtual audiences on both the ACO Facebook page and YouTube channel . Ferrari and the ACO plan to present the next virtual concert on April 17, 2021.





  • Professor of Music Michael Cooper  published the premiere edition of Florence B. Price’s Six Pieces for Piano Solo  (1947) with G. Schirmer/Associated Music Publishers (New York), his 59th world-premiere edition of Price’s music since September 2019. This edition was  particularly challenging because the autograph is notated in pencil and severely water damaged, resembling some of the papers found at the bottom of the stacks on Cooper’s home-office desk, some of which may well date from the Carter administration. Price’s music, though, is deliciously spontaneous and veritably glistens with the wit, charm, and inventiveness for which she is rightly celebrated.





  • Part-Time Instructor of Applied Music Adrienne Inglis’s mixed chorus version of her composition “La Ciudad Sumergida” was performed by C4 and Inversion Ensembles February 4, 2021, under the direction of Perry Townsend. The nature soundtrack combines with an excerpt of the poem “Río de La Plata en lluvia” (1938) by Alfonsina Storni. The “Where Water Meets Sky” live-streamed concert may be viewed here.





January 2021

  • Professor of Music Michael Cooper  published the world-premiere edition of Margaret Bonds’s Six Songs on Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay  as the inaugural issue of Hildegard Publishing Company’s Margaret Bonds Signature Series . Bonds, who stands as the only African-American woman ever to have had an entire day dedicated to her in a major U.S. metropolis (legendary Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley declared January 31, 1967, as that city’s official Margaret Bonds Day), was one of the 20th century’s most outspoken social-justice activists in the world of classical music. The series is currently slated to present world-premiere editions of 37 works by Bonds over the next two years; all works have been discovered and edited by Cooper over the last two years. The last two of these six songs were premiered by former SU voice instructor Dana Zenobi at Butler University in November 2018.





December 2020

  • Part-Time Instructor of Applied Music Adrienne Inglis received an American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers Plus Award for concert performances in 2020. In addition, her composition “La Ciudad Sumergida” premiered on November 2, 2020, performed by the commissioning choir, Ramona M. Wis and the North Central College Women’s Chorale of Naperville, Illinois. Under the direction of Adrienne Pedrotti Bingamon, Inversion Da Capo recorded “La Ciudad Sumergida” for a December 19, 2020, release on Inversion’s YouTube channel.





November 2020

  • Part-Time Instructor of Applied Music Adrienne Inglis virtually rehearsed two of her recent compositions, “La ciudad sumergida” (The Submerged City; 2020) and  “Oure Light in Oure Night” (2020), which were both composed for remote online choir performance, with North Central College’s Concert Choir and Women’s Chorale. Commissioned by Ramona M. Wis and the North Central College Women’s Chorale of NapervilleIllinois, “La ciudad sumergida” for four-part treble chorus with nature soundtrack captures the mood of a river, a city, the cloudy sky, and the poet’s own profound melancholy. The text is an excerpt of “Río de La Plata en lluvia” (1938) by Alfonsina Storni. The sound of rain creates the ambiance of a misty day on the river and the sensation of cathartic crying from great sadness and pain. The city’s reflection on the river’s surface gives the illusion that the city is submerged in the water, and the reflection of the clouds hovering low over Río de La Plata looks like gray heliotrope flowers. The apocalyptic images of a submerged city and of tears overflowing from the chalice-sky eerily foreshadow rising sea levels due to anthropogenic global warming.





  • Professor of Music Michael Cooper published the first-ever edition of what is arguably the most important of many collaborations between Florence B. Price and Langston Hughes: “Monologue for the Working Class” (New York: G. Schirmer). Hughes wrote this poem in October 1941 or earlier to boost the morale of the “poor and unemployed” in the face of the apathy of the rich in Depression-era America, and in that guise, the poem inspired Price to write an extraordinary song, which was recently given its world premiere (in Cooper’s edition) in a music video produced by the Antwerp-based #SongsofComfort team, featuring bass-baritone Justin Hopkins and pianist Jeanne-Minette Cilliers. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the U.S.’s entry into World War II in December 1941, Hughes recast the poem as a morale booster in wartime, replacing the words “show ’em what the working class can do” with “show ’em what free men can really do” and making other similar changes. Hughes never published the “working-class” version of his poem, and Price never published her setting thereof—but now both are out. Because the full story is much richer than space permitted in the Schirmer edition, Cooper also blogged about it here to help brave and sleep-deprived readers learn more about the poem and music while also nodding off for a good night’s rest. 





  • Professor of Music Michael Cooper gave a virtual masterclass for the University of Memphis titled “Paying the Price: Race and Gender, Imperatives and Opportunities for the Great White Spaces of Classical Music in the Year 2020.” The presentation integrated Cooper’s work in reviving the previously unheard music of Florence B. Price into larger issues of antiracist and inclusive pedagogies in the “last water fountain” of Western classical music, as developed in his current course on Freedom, Movement, and Migration in Music.





  • Part-Time Instructor of Applied Music Katherine Altobello 99 was the mezzo-soprano soloist in Howard Goodall’s Eternal Light: A Requiem  on November 1, 2020, at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas. Featured musicians included Part-Time Instructor of Applied Music Jameson James  (tenor), Jeffery Jones-Ragona (tenor), Maimy Fong (piano), Elaine Martin Barber (Austin Symphony Orchestra’s principal harpist), as well as Grammy-winning musicians Austin Haller (organ), Shari Wilson (soprano), and John Proft (baritone). Tim O’Brien conducted. The service was prerecorded and is available on YouTube.