Iowa School of Music 2021-22 Magazine


COMING TOGETHER IN HARMONY We strive to turn our differences into assets that can be embraced and celebrated. Faculty, alumni, and students share their equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) journeys.

From the Director



EDITOR Tammie Walker CONTRIBUTING WRITER Leah Grout Garris DESIGN Creative Mellen PHOTOGRAPHERS Miranda Meyer Jill Tobin

Hello from the School of Music!

Tim Schoon Justin Torner

I hope your last two years have been filled with rich harmonies. Here at the School of Music, so many exciting things have happened since our last update in 2020. In this combined 2021-2022 issue, we’re sharing the highlights of the past several months. As we compose excellence, it’s also our goal to compose community. Through everything we do, our students, faculty, staff, and alumni are dedicated to nurturing equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB). With help from wonderful supporters, we’ve been able to make our music more accessible to all types of audiences around the world. Through a truly inspiring collaboration, we received the opportunity to support an 82-year-old Black female composer living in California who dreamed about creating a new edition of her orchestral work Five Movements of Color. We’ve made time to reflect on our stories, experiences, and ideas about how to weave EDIB into what we do today—and what we do tomorrow. Our students, faculty, staff, and alumni have been recognized for their visionary work, research, performances, publications, and so much more. As Director of Jazz Studies and Associate Professor of African American Studies Dr. Damani Phillips says on page 5, “Though we still have much work to do, we’re inching closer to a more thoughtful School of Music that reflects the people, sounds, and cultural reality of our world—musical or otherwise.” We know that the difficult work of bringing our vision of an equitable, diverse, inclusive environment to life is a long journey—but one we’re dedicated to completing.

FRONT COVER Voxman Concert Hall mosaic is made up of 567 images of School of Music faculty, students, and community members.


93 E. Burlington Street Iowa City, Iowa 52242 319-335-1603

The University of Iowa is a charter member of NASM (National Association of Schools of Music), accredited since 1928. National Association of Schools of Music 11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21 Reston, VA 20190-5248 (703) 437-0700 The University of Iowa prohibits discrimination in employment, educational programs, and activities on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, veteran, service in the U.S. military, sexual orientation, gender identity, associational preferences, or any other classification that deprives the person of consideration as an individual. The university pregnancy, disability, genetic information, status as a U.S. also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to university facilities. For additional information on nondiscrimination policies, contact the Director, Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, The University of Iowa, 202 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, IA, 52242-1316, 319-335- 0705 (voice), 319-335-0697 (TDD),

Stay well and stay in touch,

Tammie Walker, D.M.A. Director, School of Music

University of Iowa School of Music

COVER STORY 2 Coming Together in Harmony We asked a group of our faculty, alumni, and students to share their thoughts on equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB). FEATURES A Collaboration that Helps 8 Unexplored Music Shine A partnership with composer Mary D. Watkins allowed the School of Music to re-engrave her full score and orchestral parts to create a new edition of Five Movements in Color .


Student Profiles 12

Meet one student at each stage of study as they share their goals, words of wisdom, and future plans.

Connecting People Around the 18 World to Music at Iowa Nile and Lois Dusdieker, longtime School of Music supporters, made live-stream concerts possible during the pandemic and beyond.


Faculty Profiles 22

The School of Music is excited to continue to grow its distinguished faculty with the addition of new members.

NEWS OF NOTE Student, Faculty, Staff, 26 & Alumni News


Cover Story

COMING TOGETHER IN HARMONY We’re living in a historical moment—one where we can turn our differences into assets that can be embraced and celebrated. The School of Music is building a new wave of awareness when it comes to equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB). While we’ve made strides, we know we have more work to do . To respect and be respected. To listen and be heard. To recognize and embrace differences. To be open, kind, empathetic, and caring. To feel valued, worthy, and significant. That’s what EDIB means to us. The School of Music asked a group of our faculty, alumni, and students to share their thoughts on EDIB. Some wrote short essays about their experiences while others offered advice, but they all believe that equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging will impact the future of music at every level.


University of Iowa School of Music 2021-2022 Magazine


MA in Flute Performance, MA in Music Education K-12 Instrumental

A s a queer Black Mexican German American, the qualities of equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) are a recurring theme throughout my life. And as an educator, I consider it my duty to promote mutual understanding and acceptance between social groups to foster global citizenship. There’s been an alarming history of oppression of social groups in Western Classical music, but more of these marginalized musicians are finally entering the rooms where decisions are made. Today, we need to consider the extent to which our traditional practices foster the idea of belonging. For example, how does a student who identifies as non-binary feel about binary clothing requirements for concert dress in a high school music program? Do current ensemble practices cater to the belonging and inclusion of this student? Our society is on the precipice of seeing these concepts change everything we’ve previously associated with music. As musicians, we need to be curious about change, be ready to embrace the unknown, and invite societal challenges to test our levels of creativity and commitment to our passion.

I’m fortunate to teach at South Carolina State University, which is a historically Black university (HBCU). I mentor young Black musicians, and we spend time discussing the challenges of what we call “arenas” of predominately white environments. I make every effort to help these students establish communication skills that allow them to operate in environments lacking diversity in a professional manner. Understanding the white perspective and how they must navigate the waters of non-diverse career environments is integral to how we promote Black excellence. Any conversation regarding EDIB will and should have a significant level of discomfort for many (if not all) people participating in it. In order to move forward in society, however, these discussions must happen. I’ve found that many people who try to discuss EDIB don’t consult their own unconscious bias before they try to rectify social justice issues. Regardless of our race or gender, the act of “self-work” or confronting the ways our upbringings affect our perspectives on all aspects of life is an integral step.

I’m happy to see the appearance of more DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) officers in institutional settings who can provide a common ground for diverse students and faculty. To establish change, creating belonging for students requires all hands on deck.

– Christian Lampkin


Cover Story


DMA in Bassoon Performance and Pedagogy

I had just finished the first lesson of my master’s degree at Boston University (BU) when my teacher, Matthew Ruggiero, a retired member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, asked me about my hobbies. I launched into a litany of music-related topics: reed making, score study, and practice, practice, practice—and then

Reflecting on the change I wanted to see within myself also caused me to give serious consideration to how I approach being a Classical musician. I identified areas of accountability I wanted to address within our field. Specifically, I want our art to reflect and be relevant to the world in which we exist. I want to create greater access and remove financial barriers to exemplary music education. I want to redefine our art as a field of abundance in which we are so convinced of the worth of our inherent uniqueness that we feel comfortable making room for everyone. I often wish the person I am now had the opportunity to answer Dr. Ruggiero’s question again and share with him the things that have become important to me. Music has taught me that there’s a time to follow and a time to lead. My culture teaches me that the path forward is made clear by honoring and learning from our past. In my career, I strive to find a delicate balance between all of these and plant my seeds of purpose where I can along the way.

This was not always the case, however. During my time as a student, I remember having a single-minded focus on embarking on my career as a bassoonist. I spent countless hours practicing the so-called “standard repertoire” because I believed that’s what I needed to do to be successful. This began to change upon graduation. I was thrust into the “real world” of professional life as a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UWEC). In addition to an excellent School of Music, UWEC also had a thriving American Indian Studies (AIS) program, and I was encouraged by the university and my colleagues to be involved in both departments. As I made connections in AIS, I was introduced to new approaches to professional activity. As I collaborated with and was influenced by these colleagues, I was struck by how profoundly their work contrasted with my own. Their professions embraced their whole personhood, and their work was in service to someone other than themselves. This experience inspired me to make significant changes in my life, career, and mindset.

waited for inevitable praise. I was surprised when he replied, visibly

disappointed, “Jacqueline, there’s a lot more to life than the bassoon.” I would not learn this lesson in my time at BU nor during Dr. Ruggiero’s few remaining years on Earth, but this seed of thought eventually germinated and became a defining mantra in my life. As a Yakama musician, equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) are innately connected to my purpose. The vast majority of my creative activity focuses on Indigenous artistic sovereignty: commissioning, premiering, performing, and recording the works of Native American composers to promote self-representation and decolonization.


University of Iowa School of Music 2021-2022 Magazine

FACULTY PERSPECTIVE DR. DAMANI PHILLIPS Director of Jazz Studies and Associate Professor of African American Studies

C ollege music programs justifiably receive criticism for their heavy European focus of curricula, performance focus, and demonstrated cultural priorities. Under the leadership of Dr. Tammie Walker, director of the School of Music and professor of piano, we are finding our stride in reversing these problematic trends. As institutions nationwide grapple with issues related to equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB), I’m truly encouraged by the initial progress made here. While many find contentment in the mere act of discussing these pressing issues, we’re demonstrating a willingness to address them. The last three years allowed the hire of three new (and exceptional) colleagues of color: • Dr. William Menefield (piano)

Our world, and the reality of being a musician within it, is evolving rapidly. The Jazz Studies program is actively working to reflect this changing reality in what we do, what and how we teach, and how we prepare our students for life as a modern musician. The possibility of these new ideas represents a growing spirit of open- mindedness and, more importantly, the School of Music’s willingness to invest in the atypical. Though we still have much work to do, we’re inching closer to a more thoughtful School of Music that reflects the people, sounds, and cultural reality of our world—musical or otherwise. We’re currently at the most difficult of junctures: Our talk must now become tangible action. It’s quite easy to point to conversations, documents, committees, and hires as tokenistic symbols of “mission accomplished,” but the truly difficult work of bringing our vision of a diverse, equitable, and inclusive music school to fruition is still ahead of us. We know there’s a real danger in stopping short of seeing legitimate and meaningful change, but I’m optimistic that we’re up to the challenge and anxiously await our community’s next steps as we convert talk into action.

With the support of the School of Music, the Jazz Studies program proudly contributes to EDIB efforts in a variety of ways.

– Dr. Damani Phillips

• Curtis Taylor (trumpet) • Angelo Stokes (drums)

These hires not only help the School of Music diversify its faculty, but also position the Jazz Studies program as a national leader in the hire of URM (underrepresented minority) faculty. We’re also working hard to diversify the curriculum taught and music regularly performed within our walls. Our updated philosophy fully embraces the connectivity between jazz musicianship and a variety of relevant popular music styles.


Cover Story


Associate Professor of Instruction in Ethnomusicology

W hen we returned to in- person instruction amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in Fall 2021, two large, multi-story outdoor murals had been painted across from the Voxman Music Building. Called the Oracles of Iowa City and developed by the Center for Afrofuturist Studies at Public Space One in partnership with artists Antoine Williams and Donté K. Hayes, one of these murals—the one closest to the main entrance of Voxman and visible through the large windows on all floors—includes the words, “Weaponize

As I see it, the invitation is to actively engage in using the incredible resources we have within the School of Music to broaden our engagement with diverse musical bodies—including performers, audiences, musical works, and traditions—thereby creating a School of Music that’s more equitable, diverse, and inclusive. A place where all may belong. If curiosity and creativity are core components of a quality education, then diversity might be a barometer by which we can measure the quality of our

educational endeavors.

your privilege to save Black bodies.”

Just as diversity is crucial to the sustainability and long-term health of a variety of systems, from economic investment to ecology to political democracies, we need to invest in musical futures by embracing, encouraging, and supporting diverse ways of being musical. As we seek, embrace, and celebrate musical diversity, we will find ourselves much more successful in our ability to be inclusive, create spaces for belonging, and engage more equitably with all types of musicians and forms of musicking.

As I’ve looked at and pondered that mural over the past two semesters, I’ve seen it as both an indictment of and an invitation

If curiosity and creativity are core components of a quality education, then diversity might be a barometer by which we can measure the quality of our educational endeavors. – Trevor Harvey

to all of us—faculty, students, staff,

and visitors.

I feel an incredible amount of privilege to work with, study, teach, and listen to the incredible music and scholarship explored and developed within the Voxman Music Building. Yet few (if any) UI departments are more narrowly focused on white European traditions to the exclusion of the exploration and study of the tremendous diversity available within a given field.


University of Iowa School of Music 2021-2022 Magazine


DMA in Orchestral Conducting

I started learning about equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) concepts through the BUILD program offered by the University of Iowa’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion. It has made me more aware of my prejudices (implicit bias), and I try to apply these concepts in my career and daily life. I embrace the fact that my point of view is colored by my own experiences. Without awareness, our actions can easily negatively impact our communities. I’ve discovered that “international experience” does not mean “cultural intelligence.” I have international experiences, I am a minority in the United States, and I am a woman in a male-

conductor. This means the issue, then, is in our environment. There are restrictions through biases, assumptions, and the consequent perpetuation of the same model. In the last few years, we’ve moved toward a more equal environment, but a lot remains to be done to create more opportunities for conductors of underrepresented gender, background, and ethnicity. We have a unique opportunity: We can rewrite the narrative and enrich our story. If we really want change, we cannot wait for the “music industry” to do so. We must contribute to this process because we’re all the “music industry.” great music. This, of course, is not true and, even today, there are great works being discovered and brought to light by composers of color. It’s important to diversify in aspects of education as well. We should be mindful not only of equity toward people in daily interactions, but also of the resources used for teaching and research. I believe that a re-evaluation of educational and historical materials will encourage a more diverse range of people to achieve great things.

dominated field, but that doesn’t mean I inherently know about EDIB practices. Cultural intelligence makes it possible for us to create a more inclusive environment and relationships with others. Being a woman conductor isn’t easy— especially when I started my career many years ago. Today, things are comparatively better, but there is still a long way to go. And while being a woman conductor isn’t easy, it’s also not difficult—just like it isn’t difficult to be a human being. In other words, we are not the problem. I’ve never thought it was difficult to love music and give it honor as a woman T he concepts of equity, diversity, of great composers simply because of their race or background, then we create a false narrative. A perfect example of this lies in modern music education. We learn about Mozart, Bach, Brahms, and Beethoven. Their faces inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) are significantly important to the world of music. If we suppress the music and names became pillars of Western music. Meanwhile, the amount of music taught of composers of color is only a small fraction. This creates perceptions that composers of color may not be as talented or important enough to have

Photo Credit: Michael Spooneybarger/CREO


DMA in Strings


Feature Story



A special celebratory project in the 100th anniversary season of the UI Symphony Orchestra When Assistant Professor and Director of Orchestral Studies Mélisse Brunet first discovered composer Mary D. Watkins’ Five Movements of Color, she knew she uncovered something special. In her mission to bring rarely performed music to audiences, she had spent hours searching online for lists of under-recognized composers on her own. Watkins—an 82-year-old Black woman living in California—composes not only orchestral scores, but also vocal pieces, operas, jazz, and chamber music. As a commissioned piece for the Camellia Symphony Orchestra written in 1994, she describes Five Movements of Color as an epic statement about the African American experience. It brings together elements of jazz, classical, and contemporary techniques to tell a centuries-long story of Africans being kidnapped from their homeland in the 1600s, enslaved on American soil, and their struggle for freedom, equality, and human and civil rights, which continue to a lesser degree into the present. “When I decided to perform it here, I knew it would benefit students and others to discover her music,” Brunet explains. She rented the piece from Watkins and introduced it to the University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra for the first time. “The first rehearsal was a little scary,” describes Brunet. “It was my third month on the job, and I was bringing in a piece that no one knew. I wasn’t sure how people were going to take it, and I knew it was going to be a challenge because it’s new.” But as the orchestra sight read the music, she felt the atmosphere of the room begin to change. The students quickly recognized the power of Watkins’ piece. During the rehearsal process, however, Brunet began to uncover some mistakes in the conductor and orchestral parts—not uncommon with music written in the early days of computer engraving by composers who manage their own careers.

Photo credit: Cecilia Shearon

When I decided to perform it here, I knew it would benefit students and others to discover her music.

– Mélisse Brunet


University of Iowa School of Music 2021-2022 Magazine

The School of Music worked with composer Mary D. Watkins to re-engrave her full score and orchestral parts and create a new edition of the orchestral work Five Movements in Color


Feature Story

We wanted to provide an infrastructure she might have gotten from a publisher but provide that without causing her to lose agency over her work like she could by working with a publisher. We want to make sure she retains her copyright so that, when her music is used, it stays with her. She gets to decide how and when it’s used. – Katie Buehner, Director of the Rita Benton Music Library

“My immediate thought was, ‘We need to help her,’ ” explains Brunet. “There were disagreements between the parts and the conductor’s score, and some things that needed to be cleaned up. As a professional conductor, I couldn’t perform it that way, but I wanted to get the piece to a point where we could perform it—and other professional orchestras could, too.”

When Watkins answered the call, she received news she had been waiting to hear for decades: She would finally be able to create a new edition that makes the music easier to read and more accessible for orchestras and conductors. After authoring the piece in 1994, Watkins proofread it several times, looking for and correcting the errors she could find—but she knew there were things that still needed to be addressed. “To receive this call from the School of Music was a total surprise,” she says. “Musical scores are endless and full of tiny details. Other composers tell me they can’t see their own mistakes—that you must have somebody else look at what you’ve done. That’s really true. I’ve gone through things over and over, but I can’t see it all on my own.” Together, Brunet, Buehner, and Watkins navigated the ins and outs of the process and drew up a contract. Once it was signed, the engraving officially began.

They envisioned the University of Iowa Libraries’ Rita Benton Music Library archiving the full score and parts, including digital files and hard copy. The School of Music would also retain a print copy for the Orchestral Library. Watkins would maintain sole copyright and receive the full score and parts of the new edition as well. Once they had a solid plan, Brunet and Buehner were ready to share it with Watkins in hopes that she would be open to the partnership. “No matter what, we wanted Mary to know she was in the driver’s seat,” explains Buehner. “The decisions were hers. We weren’t going to ask her to do anything she was uncomfortable with.”

Brunet wasn’t sure what the next step should be, so she called on Katie Buehner, director of the Rita Benton Music Library, for support. Together, they brainstormed ways to help Watkins’ music shine on the page. What if the School of Music could collaborate with Watkins to re-engrave the full score and orchestral parts and create a new edition of Five Movements in Color using professional software? Brunet and Buehner outlined the project’s major tenets, the type of work and steps involved, and the rights that both parties would maintain throughout the journey. “This project could not have happened without Katie,” says Brunet. “On my own, I couldn’t have made it happen. It took teamwork and so many resources.”


University of Iowa School of Music 2021-2022 Magazine

“No college orchestra has ever performed the entire five movements of this piece before, and the orchestra did a beautiful job,” says Brunet. Although the engraving process has taken longer than expected, everyone agrees that the quality work is worth the wait. The result is a score and parts that Watkins will be able to rent to other orchestras with confidence. “To have the School of Music offer this help to me is priceless,” she describes. “Their work legitimizes my process. It creates consistency, and it’s very professionally done. Music is prayer for me. I write it to bless those who allow it to come into their lives. I’ve had a place I wanted to be in with my music and my career, and, somehow, little by little, it has happened.”

Alex Arellano, a Master of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting student, signed on to assist with the engraving work. The goal was not only to create a clear, precise performing edition, but also give students valuable and paid professional experience along the way. Dr. Nathan Platte, a musicology faculty member, reviewed the work, along with Mark Rheaume, a PhD in Music Composition student, who joined the project as a second editor to bring a different perspective to the process. As Buehner describes, the process of music engraving is much more involved than simply typing a traditional text document. It involves bringing together several layers of information, standardizing notation, and eliminating uncertainties. The goal is to create a formatted score and parts that are easy to read and perform.

“We wanted to provide an infrastructure she might have gotten from a publisher,” explains Buehner, “but provide that without causing her to lose agency over her work like she could by working with a publisher. We want to make sure she retains her copyright so that, when her music is used, it stays with her. She gets to decide how and when it’s used.” Not only did Watkins approve every correction to the score and parts, but she also got to interact with the Symphony Orchestra during rehearsals for Five Movements of Color. Students had the opportunity to ask questions about the music, and she could listen to the piece as it was performed to provide feedback. The University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Five Movements of Color took place on Oct. 20, 2021, at the Voxman Music Building.


Student Profiles

Will Adams ’22

Voice Clive, IA

Our students at all levels are making their mark in the world of music. Meet one student at each stage of study as they share their goals, words of wisdom, and future plans.

Q: Why did you choose to study voice at Iowa? A: I wasn’t involved in music until my junior year of high school, but my first experience was enough to tell me that music was what I wanted to do for the rest of my career. I fell in love with the art of music and theater, and their ability to provide perspectives. The University of Iowa had faculty members who saw me as an individual. They also believed in my success as a performer. Q: What’s a favorite Iowa Music memory? A: A specific lesson with Professor Elise DesChamps. She made a beautiful comparison and analogy about me as a performer and an instrument: the cello. Though there are many individual pieces that make up the anatomy of an individual instrument, it takes all pieces of the instrument to create one unit of art; nothing is a masterpiece without all parts working together, be it collaborative or individual. Even as an individual, all parts must work together synchronously. Q: What has surprised you about your time at Iowa? A: How opportunistic the Corridor community is between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids! This area is filled with magnificent art and creativity. Throughout my time at the University of Iowa, I was thrilled to see how many shows were being put on year-round. The performance opportunities are endless. Q: What advice do you have for new Iowa Music students? A: Take advantage of the opportunities available in this area to perform. There is an opening night every month in the Corridor. Q: What are your future plans? A: I plan to be a professional performer. I will be on a national tour this fall and based in New York City by January.


University of Iowa School of Music 2021-2022 Magazine

Ariya Davis ’23

Trumpet Moline, IL

understand your craft and care about your goals. This concept is present outside the School of Music, too. I’m also a psychology major, and it’s refreshing to collaborate with others and encourage them to thrive in their own work. Q: What advice do you have for new Iowa Music students? A: Do what makes you happy! I was caught up in getting as many degree requirements done as quickly as possible, and I was playing all the trumpet standards that didn’t really interest me. A lot of music majors get into the mindset of taking 20-ish credit hours per semester and working themselves too hard. I discovered that I don’t like playing typical music on trumpet, so I started playing more diverse pieces from different composers. Focusing on whatever makes you happy to pick up your instrument or sing is one of the most beneficial things you could do. Q: What are your future plans? A: I have plans to go to graduate school and earn a PhD in Psychology. I see myself doing research in an academic setting. I would love to be able to do research, play gigs, and participate in ensembles. I’m currently enjoying myself in my undergraduate brass quintet, so it would be fun to create a professional group and perform for communities while I continue my research in psychology.

Q: Why did you choose to study trumpet at Iowa? A: My high school band director is an alumnus and encouraged me to consider it. Dr. Amy Schendel clicked for me. I loved her approach to teaching trumpet, and I appreciated how comfortable she made me feel. I knew she was someone I would be able to learn a lot from. They say your decision shouldn’t be led by a single person, but I definitely came to the University of Iowa for her—at least at first! Q: What’s a favorite Iowa Music memory so far? A: Playing in Nexus Brass, an all-women, undergrad brass quintet that started in Fall 2021. I wasn’t very close with most of the other members before we started, but we all had an interest in promoting women in brass, so we got to know each other. I’ve made friends in four awesome women, and I’ve learned a lot about myself and my trumpet. We recently started to do some cool performances outside the School of Music, and we’re set to continue our quintet for the next academic year. It makes me happy knowing that I’m able to play great music with a group of wonderful people. Q: What has surprised you about your time at Iowa? A: How supportive people are. Lots of other schools of music across the country are based on being competitive with your peers. Here, the majority of people genuinely want others to succeed. It’s nice to have that community of people who


Student Profiles

Work with love and be humble and open. We’re lucky to be at a school where we’re surrounded by wonderful people and musicians.

Renee Santos ’24

Violin Sioux City, IA

Q: Why did you choose to study violin at Iowa? A: My four siblings and I were homeschooled, and music was a required subject. My mom bundled us off to weekly piano and violin lessons, and school wasn’t complete unless we finished our practice. I knew I wanted to get serious about music when I was 13. I began participating in competitions and summer music festivals. I loved the increased opportunities I received for solo performances, chamber music, and orchestra, and I knew I wanted to keep doing it as much as possible. I decided to come to Iowa to study with Dr. Scott Conklin and Dr. Réne Lecuona. I met them when I was still in high school: Dr. Conklin at a summer festival and Dr. Lecuona at a piano competition. The Chamber Music Residency Program (shoutout to Professor Beth Oakes!) was also a big draw, and I absolutely love being part of it. Q: What’s a favorite Iowa Music memory? A: Performing Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade as concertmaster with the UI Symphony Orchestra. Scheherazade has been on my bucket list since I was little. Being given the opportunity to perform it with my friends was completely and perfectly lovely. It’s one of those things I won’t forget.

Q: What has surprised you about your time at Iowa? A: The absolute wealth of experiences available to students despite the pandemic: playing a holiday pops concert, going on tour with the Chamber Music Residency Program, publishing short stories, working in masterclasses, and lessons with professional musicians on Zoom and in person. Faculty are willing to offer as many opportunities as we’re willing to take on. Q: What advice do you have for new Iowa Music students? A: Your mindset is everything. It may sound trite and cliché, but it’s very true. Work with love and be humble and open. We’re lucky to be at a school where we’re surrounded by wonderful people and musicians. And never be afraid to ask your professors (or your friends) for help. Sometimes you just need someone to show you how the scanner works in the music library! Q: What are your future plans? A: I’ve recently considered pursuing my master’s degree in violin performance. I also plan to get my Suzuki certification and teach privately.


University of Iowa School of Music 2021-2022 Magazine

Q: Why did you choose to study oboe at Iowa? A: I started playing piano in first grade when my parents made me and my siblings take lessons. I loved playing piano and making music, and I continued in band and choir through grade school and high school. In high school, I loved performing with my high school band, the Naperville Municipal Band, and as a paid cantor at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Naperville, IL. I was involved in band, choir, jazz band, and jazz combo, and I taught oboe and voice lessons to underclassmen. There are so many intricacies and complexities to the oboe. I’m always learning new ways to improve my skills with playing and making reeds. Q: What’s a favorite Iowa Music memory? A: All the performances I have been in. There are so many opportunities to perform, and I’ve had the privilege to play oboe and sing. I was able to be in the production of HMS Pinafore this past semester, which was a truly wonderful experience. I also love performing and listening in oboe seminar to learn from my peers. Q: What has surprised you about your time at Iowa? A: One thing that has pleasantly surprised me is how kind and generous everyone is. It has been great getting to know everyone in the School of Music. Q: What advice do you have for new Iowa Music students? A: Say yes to an opportunity to meet people! Join an ensemble or group that may be out of your comfort zone. See where it takes you. It’s never too late to try new things. Q: What are your future plans? A: To teach music in a school setting. I find teaching really rewarding. I would also love to continue my studies with a higher music degree.

Sam Hoying ’25

Oboe Geneva, IL

There are so many opportunities to perform, and I’ve had the privilege to play oboe and sing. I was able to be in the production of HMS Pinafore this past semester, which was a truly wonderful experience.


Student Profiles

One of the reasons I applied to the University of Iowa was the Rita Benton Music Library. It is such a good library!

Christos Sidiropoulos

Master’s Program, Musicology Greece

Q: Why did you choose to study musicology at Iowa? A: One of the reasons I applied to the University of Iowa was the Rita Benton Music Library. It is such a good library! It includes almost everything related to music, and it really had an impact on my research as a musicologist. Another reason is the musicology faculty. Everyone is very well grounded in their fields with continuous publications and conference participation. On top of that, they are very cooperative and friendly. Even though I was not able to visit the campus before applying, I was invited to participate in some online classes, and I really liked the setting, which further convinced me. Q: What’s a favorite Iowa Music memory so far? A: One thing I cannot forget about my first year is how much support I received from faculty and staff. Whenever I was struggling, everyone explained things thoroughly for me. As an international student, it made my transition very smooth. When I came to Iowa, it was also my first time in the United States. Things were a mess. Now I feel very comfortable as a student here. Q: What has surprised you about your time at Iowa? A: The number and variety of activities and programs the University of Iowa offers. Especially with music, it’s hard sometimes to get involved. Here, it came almost naturally for me to explore a variety of these things.

Q: What advice do you have for new Iowa Music students? A: Try out everything! The School of Music provides a great variety of courses and many performance opportunities for anyone to take advantage of. I know most students have their set goals—but participate everywhere you can. A good example is Turning Your Research into Teaching. This particular program was about creating a course based on your own personal interests, and I really liked the fact that it was surrounded by details and the opportunity to discuss teaching with people outside the School of Music. Another good example is the variety of talks that happen throughout the campus. I observed some talks about Anne Frank and the Holocaust, and it was really interesting to hear and see some in-depth analyses. Q: What are your future plans? A: To apply for the PhD in Musicology program and publish an article. The article I’m currently working on is about the film Zorba the Greek. I am analyzing the ways the score’s composer, Mikis Theodorakis, managed to combine Eastern and Western elements that transcend the content of the movie itself—especially in the last scene. In a sense, the movie and music promote friendship and embrace all aspects of human nature, no matter its origins.


University of Iowa School of Music 2021-2022 Magazine

Ghadeer Abaido

Doctoral Program, Piano Jordan

(From Left) William Brown & Ghadeer Abaido

Q: Why did you choose to study piano at Iowa? A: I started my music education in Carleton University in Ottawa. I moved back to Jordan in the height of the Arab Spring due to uncertainty about my status in Canada and my family’s status in the UAE. When I moved to Jordan, I was completing my undergraduate studies in piano performance while looking for opportunities to study in Europe or the United States. I happened to meet a musician who studied at the University of South Florida. She connected me with University of South Florida Piano Professor Svetozar Ivanov, with whom I did my master’s. Dr. Ivanov was in contact with Dr. Réne Lecuona at the University of Iowa. He was a huge fan of her playing and teaching, and he recommended that I study with her. After visiting and having a sample lesson with Dr. Lecuona, I knew this is where I needed to be. Q: What’s a favorite Iowa Music memory so far? A: My final recital, Scenes from Childhood, in which I played a program of piano music inspired by childhood themes. I prepared a slideshow to accompany my performance of Robert Schumann’s Kinderszenen. Each movement of the Kinderszenen has a descriptive title, and I had the idea to collaborate with my friends and faculty at the University of Iowa to create scenes from our childhood. I collected pictures of my teachers, my colleagues, and my friends when they were children to use in the slideshow. It was a true collaborative effort, and I felt so connected to the many people I learned from in my time here. It was also great to perform a classical music piece on stage and hear people laugh during the performance.

Q: What has surprised you about your time at Iowa? A: The high level of integrity, professionalism, and work ethic. The faculty at the School of Music have such a high standard for themselves in their teaching, and it carries on to the students. I regularly meet and interact with incredible graduate and undergraduate students who hold themselves to the highest standards. Q: What advice do you have for new Iowa Music students? A: Take advantage of the University of Iowa resources within and outside of the School of Music. This is a time for growth, so don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. It’s also important to offer help when you can. I’ve learned that pursuing excellence doesn’t always have to be in the practice room, and it doesn’t always have to be an individual effort. Q. What are your future plans? A: I did a musical residency at Avaloch Farm this summer with percussionist William Brown. We are a marimba and piano duo, and we specialize in orchestral transcriptions. After graduating, I hope to find a job teaching or accompanying; I enjoy working in an academic environment, and I especially enjoy the opportunity to work with and learn from fellow musicians.


Donor Feature

University of Iowa School of Music 2021-2022 Magazine


Nile and Lois Dusdieker, longtime School of Music supporters, made live-stream concerts possible during the pandemic and beyond

The Dusdiekers’ love for music continues to be passed down the family tree as Nile and Lois now watch their grandchildren get involved, too. “Our grandson just gave his first piano recital,” says Nile. “When they come over to grandpa’s, of course I have to play piano with them.” Now, with their most recent donation to the School of Music, the Dusdiekers have made it possible for on-campus performances to reach an even wider audience—one that spans the entire globe. “Whether you go on to have a career in music or use your musical skills for enjoyment, which is largely what Lois and I have done, giving back even a little bit to something that helped shape your life will be appreciated and also makes you feel good,” describes Nile.

MUSIC RUNS DEEP IN THE DUSDIEKER FAMILY. Now retired physicians, both Nile and Lois Dusdieker made music part of their journey while they attended the University of Iowa in the 1970s to study medicine. Lois, a bassoonist, served as a pediatrician and associate professor of pediatrics at the Carver College of Medicine; Nile, a piano and composition double major and member of the Hawkeye Marching Band, was a gastroenterologist at a private practice in Cedar Rapids. The two passed their appreciation for music on to their children as well. Their oldest daughter, Annie, is a physician and saxophone player; the second-oldest, Carol, is the director of music and theater at Heidelberg University and a trained opera singer; their youngest, Nile Thomas, is a music teacher, leads a student jazz band, and plays percussion.


Donor Feature

“We watched a number of School of Music productions and concerts during the pandemic, and we still do today,” explains Nile. “It’s easier for us to join that way, relax, and even have a little popcorn at home. The concerts we’ve attended have been amazing. They’re really impressive and very professional.”

Amid the pandemic, Director of the School of Music and Professor of Piano Tammie Walker explained to Nile and Lois that people could no longer attend concerts in person on campus—so she wanted to find a way to bring the concerts to the people. “Before we give, we always like to ask what the School of Music needs,” explains Lois. “It’s nice to have the money earmarked for something special. They know what their students and faculty need most, so we aim to cover the needs that have been unmet so far. It’s nice to help them meet those important goals.” The Dusdiekers’ generosity allowed the School of Music to invest in technology and equipment to live-stream concerts. It started with a few cameras and grew to include switchers, an encoder, a mixer, and the ability to live stream from Voxman Music Building’s Recital Hall and Concert Hall. As a result, anyone from anywhere can watch and listen to the School of Music performances—from guest artist recitals to faculty and student concerts. Even though concerts are being held in person once again, the live streams have continued, adding an exciting outreach angle to the School of Music’s work.

The Dusdiekers are long-time supporters of the School of Music. Several years ago, after the Flood of 2008 destroyed the existing student lounge they helped create, Nile and Lois donated funds for the Dusdieker Student Commons, a new lounge area in the Voxman Music Building where students can study, compose music, or meet a professor over coffee. Nile and Lois say they appreciate the School of Music’s dedication to improvement and progress, including the expansion of the Jazz Studies program, the dedication to curriculum that broadens career options beyond performance, and bringing the first female conductor to the University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra. “The School of Music is moving ahead, and any help people can give is very much appreciated,” says Lois. “Even small gifts can make a big difference.” In the future, the Dusdiekers hope to help the School of Music expand its ability to record and archive live-stream performances once licensing challenges are addressed.


University of Iowa School of Music


November is a great time to enjoy a live-streaming School of Music event!

Iowa Trombone Choir NOV. 2, 7:30PM

Kantorei and Voxman Chorale NOV. 4, 7:30PM

University Choir and Camerata NOV. 5, 7:30PM

JACK Quartet NOV. 9, 7:30PM

DMA Qualifying Recital: Xiaoyu Liu, Trombone NOV. 11, 5:30PM Student Recital: Schubert’s Schwanengesang with Ethan Elsbernd, Baritone; Nathan Carterette, Piano NOV. 12, 7:30PM Key Change: Piano Revolutionaries Series, Concert #3 NOV. 13, 3PM

DMA III Recital: Fatima S. Gassama, Viola NOV. 13, 3:30PM

Guest Lecture Series: Music Momentum Mondays NOV. 14, 5:30PM

Masters Recital: Kimberly Hanks, Cello NOV. 17, 7:30PM

DMA Qualifying Recital: R. Nathan Brown, Tenor NOV. 18, 3:30PM

Optional Recital: Delaney Hajek, Horn NOV. 20, 1:30PM

DMA II Recital: Charlotte Leung, Saxophone NOV. 28, 7:30PM

VISIT THE FULL SCHEDULE AT: /about/live-stream-concert-schedule /events/music


Faculty Profiles

The School of Music is excited to continue to grow its distinguished faculty with the addition of new members who bring fresh energy, ideas, and insight. Meet them here!

In 2021, the University of Iowa School of Music also welcomed

five visiting professors: Katy Ambrose, Visiting

Assistant Professor, Horn Royce Blackburn, Visiting Assistant Professor, Voice Kelly Carlson, Visiting Assistant Professor, Music Therapy Josh Henderson, 2021-22 Grant Wood Fellow, Cross- Genre Violin/Viola Sam Young, Visiting Assistant Professor, Music Theory


School of Music 2021-2022 Magazine

Kirsten Nelson

Lecturer, Music Therapy

Q: What did you enjoy most about teaching over the past year? A: I’ve enjoyed building relationships with faculty and students, trying different teaching techniques, and, most importantly, seeing growth in students’ understanding and skills. Q: What’s a favorite memory of your time at the School of Music so far? A: The Gold Folder Day celebration where students are awarded their gold folders after completing clinical practicum placements. The senior cohort prepares and performs a musical arrangement to perform at the event. It’s truly a celebration of everything that makes music therapy unique: the music, the people, and the relationships. Q: What has surprised you most about your time at Iowa so far? A: The amount of email I get!

our profession. The opportunity to work in this beautiful new building with incredible faculty was certainly a draw! Q: What types of courses did you teach this past year? A: I’m the coordinator of clinical activities for music therapy students, so I served as a clinical supervisor to students in community practicum placements. I taught graduate practicum and will take over teaching the full practicum course sequence next year. I coordinated internship placements for our students. Once they complete their coursework, they work for six months in an approved clinical site to learn the day-to-day duties of a music therapist. This year, I also taught Music Foundations in Therapy, which focuses on necessary clinical music skills like playing guitar and ukulele, song leading, adaptive instrument arranging, and songwriting. Finally, in the fall, I taught Music Therapy with Children, a core course focused on theory and techniques of working with children in music therapy.

Q: What and where did you study before coming to the University of Iowa? A: I began college in a pre-med program at Northwestern University, but I transferred to Iowa my junior year to pursue a career in music therapy. I missed my music too much to leave it behind. I also believed that, like medicine, music would be an important way to help people. I got my Bachelor of Music from Iowa in Spring 1988! I completed my Master of Arts in Music Therapy from Iowa almost 30 years later in 2016. For the last 19 years, I worked as a music therapist at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, so I’ve technically been at Iowa for the last 20 years. Prior to that, I worked as the director of music therapy services at West Music Company in Coralville. Q: What brought you to the School of Music? A: I’m passionate about the field of music therapy and wanted to have the opportunity to share my experience with the students who are the future of


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