Spring 2020

Recent Orchestral, Academic and Professional Appointments 

  • Monica Czausz (BM, MM ’17) – Director of Music and Artistic Ministries, King of Glory Lutheran Church
  • Erica Schwartz (MM ’20)– Viola section, The United States Army Band
  • Keith Hammer (MM ’20) – Timpanist, The Orchestra Now
  • Nathan Walhout (current graduate student) – Cello section, San Diego Symphony
  • Robin Webb (BM, MM ’81) – Adjunct teacher & Jazz and Classical pianist, Delta State University
  • Isaac Schultz (BM ’17, MM ’19) – Associate Principal Bassoon, Houston Symphony
  • Evan Bish (current graduate student) – Double Bass, Nashville Symphony
  • Judson Baines (current graduate student) – Assistant Principal Double Bass, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra

Competitions, Awards, Performances and Premieres 

Houston Grand Opera’s 2020 – 2021 Studio Artists include Lindsay Kate Brown (AD ’18), mezzo-soprano; Blake Denson (MM ’20), baritone; Nicholas Newton (MM ’19), bass-baritone and Cory McGee (MM ’20), bass

Shepherd School alumnus Kyle Bruckmann (BM ’94) will release her album Triptych on Carrier Records on Monday, June 1, 2020. The release features three extended solo works (one presented in two distinct versions): A Spurious Autobiography for John Barth (2015), An Extruded Introversion for Blixa Bargeld (2016), and A Fuzzy Monolith for James Turrell (2015). Bruckmann is the sole composer/performer, playing oboe, English horn, and live electronics.

Shepherd School students Justin DeFilippis and Angela Jiye Bae, violins; Ben Zannoni, viola; and Russell Houston, cello, also known as the Balourdet String Quartet, won the Gold Medal in this year’s Fischoff Competition in the Senior String Division.

Current Shepherd School student Blake Denson (MM ’20) was one of five winners of The 2020 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Lindsay Kate Brown (AD ’18) was a Grand Finalist. Lindsay is also one of five singers who won the 2020 George London Award with each receiving a prize of $10,000.

Shepherd School student in orchestral conducting Joshua Hong (MM ’20) was recently selected as one of the 2020 recipients of The Sir Georg Solti Career Assistance Award.

Pianist Zhengyi (Frank) Huang won the International Music Competition’s Piano division. He competed against 299 performers, selected from over thousands of initial applicants. Frank also won first prize in the piano division of the Energy Young Texas Artist Competition. The 2nd piano prize was won by current Doctoral candidate Chelsea DeSouza.

Shepherd School Artist Diploma candidate Artem Kuznetsov won the $2,500 Junior Jury Award at The Gurwitz 2020 International Piano Competition by Musical Bridges Around the World.

Shepherd School’s Artist-in-Residence Ana Maria Martinez was named as one of five recipients of the 15th Annual OperaNews awards. OperaNews editor-in-chief says this award is dedicated to “honoring outstanding men and women who have had a transformative effect on the world of opera.”

Paul Novak was one of two composers awarded commissions from the 2020 Underwood Readings, one of the most coveted opportunities for emerging composers in the United States.

Tenor Angel Vargas (MM ’19) will be joining the Masquerade Opera Studio roster in Florence, Italy this coming fall.

Bassoonist Ben Roidl-Ward (MM ’17) was one of five finalists for the International Double Reed Society’s Gillet-Fox Competition. Finals will not be taking place due to the pandemic, but all finalists are receiving a cash prize and an invitation to perform at next year’s conference.