Fall 2020

Recent Orchestral, Academic and Professional Appointments 

  • Sarah Vautour (MM '18) – Current member of LA Opera Young Artist Program
  • Ryan Gardner (MM ‘05) - Associate Professor of Trumpet, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Melissa Givens (MM ‘92) - Assistant Professor of Music and Head of Voice Studies, Pomona College
  • Grant Wareham (BM '18) - Director of Music Ministries and Organist, Derry Presbyterian Church in Hershey, PA
  • Michael Marks (MM ‘18) - Double Bass, National Symphony Orchestra
  • Dana Dominguez (current graduate student) - Principal Percussion, Bozeman Symphony.
  • Alex Garde (current graduate student) - Young Artist, Da Camera of Houston.
  • Geoff Herd (DMA '20) - Assistant Professor starting in Fall 2021, University of Louisville School of Music 

Competitions, Awards, Performances and Premieres 

Shepherd School alumnus Stephen Bachicha (DMA ’13) composed a piece for the Houston Brass Quintet’s series called “The DiverCity Project” with the Houston Downtown District.

Shepherd School freshman studying piano performance Riley Barker is the recipient of the 2020 ASCAP Foundation Boosey & Hawkes Scholarship.

Shepherd School current doctoral candidate Theophilius Chandler is the graduate-level winner of the 2020 SCI/ASCAP Student Composition Commission competition for his piece "Oboe Concerto for oboe, 3 percussionists, piano and strings.""The graduate award carries with it a $1,500 commission fee, premiere at an SCI conference, recording in the SCI CD Series, and the score will be published in the SCI Journal of Music Scores." Theo composed his winning piece for his Presser Graduate Music Award project; it was written for Shepherd School graduate student Virginia McDowell.

Ben Edquist, baritone (MM '15) was a Idaho/Montana and North Dakota-Manitoba District winner in the 2020-2021 Met Opera National Council Auditions. Shannon Keegan, mezzo-soprano (current graduate student) was a Georgia District winner and Emily Treigle Sheets, mezzo-soprano (BM '20, current graduate student) was a New Orleans & Puerto Rico District winner.

Michael Esch (MM ’01, DMA ’08) received a 2020 ‘Teacher of Distinction’ Award from the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Shepherd School alumna Germaine Franco (BM '84, MM '87) was the first to win the Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement for Music in an animated feature. She was among the composers who scored Disney-Pixar’s film “Coco”.

Shepherd School alumna Gabriela Lena Frank (BM ’94, MM ‘96) won the 2020 HeinzAward for Arts and Humanities.

Alumnus Ben Krause (DMA '15) won the Atlanta Chamber players competition. Nicky Sohn (current DMA candidate) was a finalist and alumnus Justin Bruns (MM '04) performed. 

Robert McCauley's (MM '89) work "A Seven of Sonnets – Poems of Mike Alexander" was premiered in Munich, Germany and performed by tenor Gregory Wiest and pianist Akane Kubo.

Shepherd alumnus Steven Parker (MM ’04) won the 2020 Rome Prize. In Rome, he designed a series of novel instruments and sound suits to be used in a new form of participatory opera. Merging influence from the Italian Futurists, World War II surveillance tools, commedia dell’arte, and Marconi’s early radar experiments, he created wearable listening devices, sonic headdresses, and intuitive graphic scores. These items were used to create a ritual performance that employs audience members as operatic performers to examine the history of listening in conflict.

Hilary Purrington (BM '13) was awarded by The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation and the League of American Orchestras to commission a work for the Philadelphia Orchestra and Westminster Symphonic Choir.

Current graduate student Clara Saitkoulov won 1st Prize in the Kosciuszko Wieniawski Violin Competition. The prize includes $5,000 and a special performance with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Music Director, Maestro Matthew Aubin.

Arin Sarkissian (current undergraduate student) won 3rd Prize in the 2020 National Flute Association's Young Artist Competition. He also won 1st Prize in the 2020 Young Texas Artists Music Competition, W.B.P.H.G. Category for Winds, Brass, Percussion, Harp, Guitar.

Samuel Thompson (MM ‘98) was a recipient of the 2020 Sphinx MPower Artist Award. He will conduct research on the life and work of Florence Beatrice Smith Price.

Max Vinetz’s (MM '20) Piano Concerto won a 2020 ASCAP Morton Gould Award.

Max Vinetz (MM '20), Ross S. Griffey (BM '12) and Zev Malina (current undergraduate student) received awards from the 2020 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards Competition. Paul Novak (BM '20) and Nicky Sohn (current DMA candidate) received honorary mentions.