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Juan Álamo was invited this past October to participate at the virtual edition of the International Percussion Festival UIS– a prestigious percussion festival celebrated annually in Santander, Colombia. In November, Álamo presented a marimba masterclass-performance at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Indianapolis, IN. Juan was awarded the William Wilson Brown, Jr. Distinguished Term Associate Professor in Latin American Studies. His salsa recording project “Cuando Llegaste Tu” is scheduled to be published by Truth Revolution Records in the spring of 2022.

Allen Anderson composed three wind trios, Scratch That for flute, clarinet and bassoon, Estimates in Question for clarinet, alto saxophone and bass clarinet, and Shallow Breathing for clarinet, tenor saxophone and bass clarinet. Scratch That was used the score for an online promotional/installation video for an exhibit at the Horace Williams House Gallery in Chapel Hill. He wrote four electronic scores, Uncut Lawns, Cursive Longitudes, Swerve + Fissure, and We Were About Here that were also used in installation videos from the same gallery. In the spring, the UNC Cello Choir under the direction of Professor Brent Wissick will premiere Memento after Fernando Franco, based on a short Memento Mei Deus from the 16th century Mexican polyphonic repertory.

Andrea Bohlman is spending the 2021-22 on leave as Edward T. Cone Member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. There she is drafting a book manuscript on the history of tape recording as a creative practice, a means of academic research, and a mode of tuning one’s ears to one’s surroundings. She currently serves as the executive editor for Musicology Now, the online publication of the American Musicological Society. She contributed articles to three publications last year: Performing Commemoration (eds. Annegret Fauser and Michael Figueroa), the chapter on “Europe” in Excursions in World Music (eds. Timothy Rommen and Bruno Nettl), and Nadia Boulanger and Her World (ed. Jeanice Brooks). She also published an article on sampling and tape in Contemporary Music Review.

Lena and Tarish test out the puppets for ATLAS.
Student Lena Kantz and Tarish Pipkins (puppeteer) test out the unfinished puppets in a Spring 2020 rehearsal in Hill Hall. (Photo courtesy of Marc Callahan)

Marc Callahan, even amidst the pandemic, has been busy working as a director and songwriter. With his ensemble UNC Opera, he has connected with audiences in new ways, creating a virtual “Tiktopera” using the media of TikTok, YoucamFun, and Snapchat to create a filmed version of Ravel’s opera L’Enfant et les sortilèges. He also completed a more extensive project with his ensemble interrupted by the pandemic—Meredith Monk’s opera Atlas. To this end, he has worked with his students, UndocuCarolina, the UNC Latinx Center, artist Susan Harbage Page, and puppeteer Jeghetto to tell a story about one family’s journey from El Salvador to the U.S. border as asylum seekers. The students had the opportunity to workshop with Meredith Monk’s ensemble members during a campus visit in March and performed a series of “vocal rooms” as a pre-show exhibit for Monk’s Cellular Songs with Carolina Performing Arts. ATLAS was supported by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Recently, Callahan was awarded a Charles Nelson Reilly Award for Direction by the American Prize for his 2019 production of W. A. Mozart’s Il sogno di Scipione. Continuing his work as a resident director at the Miami Classical Music Festival, he directed a production of Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring to glowing reviews this past summer. As a songwriter, he participated in a summer reading of his new music-theater piece entitled A GOOD BOY by author Lynden Harris. Their work made the finalist round of submissions for the O’Neill National Musical Theater Conference and was awarded a grant from the Humanities for the Public Good.

Elizabeth G. Elmi was awarded the 2020 International Musicological Society Outstanding Dissertation Award for her 2019 Ph.D. dissertation entitled “Singing Lyric Among Local Aristocratic Networks in the Aragonese-Ruled Kingdom of Naples: Aesthetic and Political Meaning in the Written Records of an Oral Practice.” In the 2020–2021 academic year, she presented her work on fifteenth-century Neapolitan lyric song at meetings of the American Musicological Society, the Renaissance Society of America, and the Sewanee Medieval Colloquium. At the Sewanee Medieval Colloquium, she was awarded the Susan J. Ridyard Prize for her paper “L’arboro captivo fa captivo fructo: Pastoral Politics in the Lyric Song of Late-Fifteenth-Century Southern Italy.” In addition, in Spring 2021, she gave a number of invited lectures in both English and Italian on research topics drawn from her book project Inscribing the Self in Occupied Southern Italy at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, the Universidad Nacional de Colombia Bogotá, the University of Florida, Indiana University, and an international meeting of the Centro Europeo di Studi su Umanesimo e Rinascimento Aragonese. On issues related to teaching and professional development, she also gave invited talks at Iowa State University, Indiana University, and the University of Florida. Originally slated to take place in Spring 2021, her Fulbright grant to the Università della Basilicata in Italy (awarded in May 2020 and postponed due to the pandemic) will take place beginning this April 2022. She was appointed Visiting Assistant Professor of Musicology in UNC’s Department of Music in July 2021.

Annegret Fauser has published, together with Michael A. Figueroa, the edited volume, Performing Commemoration: Musical Reenactment and the Politics of Trauma. In addition, she has published seven book chapters, both in France and in the United States, on music and war, as well as on opera and eroticism. She presented a keynote address and three conference papers at (virtual) meetings in Berlin, Denver, Princeton, and Vienna, including on topics related to the 2020 Beethoven centenary. A particularly positive outcome of this year’s teaching is the public-facing website that the graduate students of her seminar, “Alterity in Western Music” created as part of their course work; see: https://music.unc.edu/alterity-in-western-classical-music.

Evan Feldman In July 2020 the third edition of Professor Feldman’s textbook, Instrumental Music Education, was released by Routledge Publishing (an imprint of Taylor and Francis). It includes new materials and chapters on beginning band, sound-to-symbol pedagogy, teaching children with exceptionalities, and string education. The text continues to be one of the most-adopted texts for music education programs.

Like most performers, Professor Feldman spent much of 2020 and 2021 adapting to the realities of performing during a pandemic. In his role as the director of the Greensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra, he led outdoor rehearsals, and concerts were live streamed (sans live audience) from the brand new Tanger Center for Performing Arts (the first performance ever in that facility).

In January the Greensboro Symphony began to emerge, too, as Professor Feldman recorded an hour-long educational show with them that was distributed to all elementary and middle schools in Guilford, Alamance, and Burlington counties. The program included a new piece by Professor Lee Weisert, Gol Gumbaz, for orchestra and electronics.

Michael Figueroa was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. Over the summer, he reprised his role as a Faculty Mentor for UNC’s Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (MURAP), where he worked with two undergraduate students to carry out individual research projects: one focused on Soviet-Jewish composer Vladimir Shainsky (by Isabelle Krieger of Vanderbilt University) and the other focused on representations of Muslim women in contemporary film and TV (by Sadia Tasnim of the City College of New York). He also completed several of his own writing projects, including two recently published essays: an article in the Journal of Musicology, entitled “’Behind the Sounds’: Matti Caspi, Shlomo Gronich, and the Politics of Genre in Israel,” and a chapter in the edited volume Music and Encounter at the Mediterranean Crossroads: A Sea of Voices, entitled “Ensounding Exile: Yehuda Halevi and Israeli Musical Mediterraneanism.” Both essays appeared in print this fall.

Tonu Kalam The UNC Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Professor Tonu Kalam, was able to reconstitute itself as a string orchestra of 30 musicians during the spring semester of 2021. In this configuration it livestreamed performances via YouTube in March and in April, both of which included student soloists who had been chosen as winners of the annual concerto competition. The April program featured the very successful world premiere of Dark Testament by local composer/conductor William Henry Curry, a work specially commissioned for the orchestra by Professor Kalam, with support from UNC’s Arts Everywhere. The two concerts are available for viewing at https://youtu.be/aERFW-e5aL8 and https://youtu.be/Dm4tmLj1mDY.

Mark Katz spent a great deal of time in the past year on Zoom giving lectures to audiences in the United States and abroad, participating on panel discussions, and virtually visiting courses at other universities from the relative comfort of his home office, often while wearing slippers.

Michael Kris During the 2020/21 academic year, Michael Kris was busy with several projects. In October and November, Kris led a Collaborative Online International Learning module with his colleague from Kings College, London, Dr. Joseph Fort. The class focused on cultural, political, and artistic movements that have shaped and influenced the modern world and built cross-cultural communication skills. The module concluded with the premiere of “Protest” in Seven Intervals by KCL composer Kristina Arakelyan. In March, he performed an online premiere of a new composition for trombone and interactive electronics titled Embers by Duke composer Brittany Green. In June, he joined teachers and students from Europe, Canada, and the United States for a week of masterclasses and performances at the first International Trombone Summit. During July, he taught and performed at the 60th season of the Eastern Music Festival.

LaToya Lain
LaToya Lain at the Opening Night Gala for the Met Opera’s new production of “Porgy and Bess.” (Photo courtesy of LaToya Lain)

LaToya Lain, soprano and Assistant Professor of Vocal Music, maintained a very active teaching and performing schedule during the 2020 – 2021 school year. While even on maternity leave after giving birth to her twins, she remained engaged in her field through several recordings, virtual masterclasses, and vocal competition adjudications. LaToya has been a champion of contemporary composers and has premiered and recorded several new compositions. She recorded Ramadan 20 vs. COVID 19 for the Sparks and Wiry Cries Song Festival. It was released in December 2020 and the world premiere performance will be January 2022 in New York City. She also recorded operatic arias for North Carolina Opera as a part of their new virtual series, Opera about Town Online. She presented virtual masterclasses at Miami University of Ohio, where she also served as an Artist-in-Residence, University of Colorado Boulder, where she also presented a virtual lecture recital, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland. LaToya had the extreme honor of presenting a collaborative lecture with UNC Professor Emeritus Dr. Tim Carter and UNC Professor Dr. Annegret Fauser on The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess as a part of the lecture series sponsored by Carolina Meadows University. In honor of Juneteenth, she presented a lecture, “Celebrating Juneteenth and The History of the Negro Spiritual” at the Mordecai Park (site of a former slave plantation) in Raleigh, North Carolina. She adjudicated vocal competitions sponsored by the George Shirley Vocal Scholarship Competition, The Schmidt Vocal Competition, hosted by The University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and the National Association of Teachers of Singing Regional Competition. She recorded her solo project Narrative of a Slave Woman: Songs of Hope, Justice, and Freedom, to be released on Albany Records February 2022 and her performance with The Metropolitan Opera Chorus was honored with a GRAMMY Award for Best Opera Recording for its production of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.

Stefan Litwin continued to maintain an active schedule last season with concerts, lecture-recitals and masterclasses (live and digitally streamed.) Highlights include a performance of Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto op. 42 in Berlin, solo recitals in Switzerland and Italy, as well as performances in Germany with tenor Christoph Prégardien, featuring Lieder by Eisler, Mahler, Schubert, Schumann and Ives.

Litwin’s 3-hour monodrama Flegeljahre, based on the 19th century novel by Jean Paul and composed for renowned German actor Ulrich Noethen and the GrauSchumacher Piano Duo, was finally presented to great acclaim at the Musikfestspiele Saar, Germany, in September 2021 after having been postponed several times due to the pandemic.

In November 2021, Stefan Litwin completed his second music-theatre based on a play by Peter Weiss — Wie dem Herrn Mockinpott das Leiden ausgetrieben wird — a Chaplinesque opera commissioned by the Staatstheater Braunschweig, Germany, where it will be premiered on March 5, 2022 and regularly performed throughout the rest of the season.

Stefan Litwin’s recording of two piano cycles by Robert Schumann (Fantasiestücke op. 12 and Kinderszenen op. 15), combined with a performance by the ensemble ascolta of Litwin’s own composition Kinderszenen for 8 players and sampler (2018), was recently released on CD by telos music recordings.

Jocelyn Neal presented research papers at the national meetings of the Society for American Music, the International Bluegrass Music Association, and the International Country Music Conference. She also co-organized a session and presented research at the joint Society for Music Theory and American Musicological Society conference. She continues to lead pedagogy workshops for high school music theory teachers across the country, and to serve as an executive officer in the Society for Music Theory.
Donald L. Oehler As with his professional and academic colleagues, Donald L. Oehler, Professor of Music and clarinetist, has thoroughly enjoyed getting back into the studio for in-person music making after a year of learning the intricacies of ‘zooming.’ The year in front of the screen was not completely void of forward motion, though, as it offered him an opportunity to hone in on a long-term and on-going research project around music for string quartet with clarinet. In January of ’22 he will travel to the University of Oregon as a Visiting Distinguished Professor, presenting concerts, lectures and master classes all based on his research. Renewed live performing allowed a live concert in September with his Department of Music string colleagues plus starting rehearsals, as conductor, with the Chapel Hill Phiharmonia. Professor Oehler had returned from a semester abroad as resident director of the UNC Honor’s Burch program in music just in time for the arrival of the pandemic. Undeterred, he will return in the fall of ’22 to lead the program anew, with two-month residencies in both London and Florence, Italy. His clarinet studio is healthy and active, with the students presenting an end-of-term studio recital shaking off those pandemic-zooming blues.

Brent Wissick, like so many others, learned to teach lessons, classes and even ensembles on Zoom during the Pandemic months. But there were a few live concerts with masks and distance, including one outdoors with the Raleigh Camerata in Fall 2020, and several live streams, including a Buxtehude concert in Columbia, SC in March 2021. During these months, he presented numerous online master classes for the Cello Camerata, Amherst Early Music, Cascadia Viols (Oregon) and the Viola da Gamba Society of America National Conclave. The UNC Baroque Ensemble, Viol Consort and String Ensemble all recorded online video concerts during Spring 2021 that were released on the Music Department YouTube channel.

Fall 2021 saw the publication of an article about Coprario in the Journal of the Viola da Gamba Society of America, that will also release a recording of sound examples on its website that he recorded with the NYC viol consort Parthenia. They also performed that music here on campus in October 2021 joined by several UNC voice faculty; and in Tuscon, Arizona. Wissick was in Washington,DC for several days this fall to record a program of 17th-century English music with the Folger Consort, and was joined by his UNC cello students at the Smithsonian for a Bach master class and a chance to play the Stradivarius cellos in the collection there.

During the Fall 2021, Wissick was part of a faculty concert of clarinet quintets with Don Oehler and strings; and in November collaborated with UNC opera director Marc Callahan in Monteverdi’s Coronation of Poppea.

Brent Wissick
Brent Wissick plays the Stradivarius cello at the Smithsonian. (Photo credit Jack Hall)