Laurie Merriman

Dance Chair

Professor of Dance and Assistant Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Illinois State University, earned her B.F.A. (double... read more

Laurie Merriman

Dance Chair

Professor of Dance and Assistant Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Illinois State University, earned her B.F.A. (double major) in Ballet & Modern Dance from Texas Christian University and her M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She began her professional training at The National Academy of Dance in Champaign as a young ballet dancer and eventually became a scholarship student with the Joffery Ballet School and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. Laurie’s dual respect and love for both ballet and contemporary dance has afforded her the opportunity to perform and learn the works of many great artists in the field such as Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, Bebe Miller, Dwight Rhoden, Stephen Koester, Jose Limon, Doris Humphrey, Vaslav Nijinsky, Michel Fokine, Marius Petipa, Robert North, and Frederick Ashton (among many others).

Laurie has been the recipient of various grants and fellowships for her work in choreography, teaching, and research. Her choreographic work has been performed by the Columbus Dance Theatre, Interlochen Center for the Arts, the Shelter Repertory Dance Theatre, the University of Minnesota at Duluth, and presented at the Southwest Regional Ballet Festival, the Harold Washington Library Theatre in Chicago, Illinois State University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Winona State University, the University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse, several American College Dance Festivals, and beyond. Since 1988, Laurie”s teaching focus at Illinois State University has been in the areas of ballet and modern dance technique, Improvisation, dance composition, and dance pedagogy. Laurie has also served as Artistic Director for Illinois State Dance Theatre for the past 20 years and remains teaching at the high school level for University High School in the area of dance.

She has served on the National Board of the American College Dance Festival, Illinois State Board of Education Dance Content Advisory Committee, adjudicator for the Springfield Area Arts Council, panelist for a variety of learning symposiums in the arts and in general education, ballet mistress for Twin Cities Ballet, Executive Director of Illinois Summer School for the Arts, Chair of the Illinois Dance Association, adjudicator for Beloit College, panelist for the Illinois Arts Council Artist-In-Residency program, and the Dance Chair for Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts.

Keith Fitzpatrick

Dance - Guest Faculty

Keith Fitzpatrick was born in Nashville, TN. A self taught dancer, he has choreographed for the Dove Awards, and the... read more

Keith Fitzpatrick

Dance - Guest Faculty

Keith Fitzpatrick was born in Nashville, TN. A self taught dancer, he has choreographed for the Dove Awards, and the CMT awards. He has also been featured in several TV spots for Toyota, WSIX, and a pilot episode of a television show. He has also taught several workshops across the country, including Dancers Rock, TAD, and Dancemasters, and is currently teaching Hip-Hop for Vanderbilt University, Austin Peay University, and several Top dance studios in the Nashville, TN area.

Keith is also a talented music producer, working with hip-hop and R&B acts in a joint venture with Skyline Music Group in Nashville, TN. With a dance style that has an urban edge, with a lyrical twist, Keith is fast becoming a very sought after and respected choreographer and dancer.

Jon Upleger

Dance - Guest Faculty

Jon Upleger began training seriously in 1997 under the direction of Petrus Bosman and David Keener at the Virginia School... read more

Jon Upleger

Dance - Guest Faculty

Jon Upleger began training seriously in 1997 under the direction of Petrus Bosman and David Keener at the Virginia School of the Arts. Upon graduation, he received the school’s prestigious Dean’s Award and then joined Nashville Ballet as an Apprentice in 2000. During his time at Nashville Ballet, Jon has performed roles from such varied repertoire as Romeo in Paul Vasterling’s Romeo & Juliet, the Sugar Plum Cavalier in Nashville’s Nutcracker, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake and Albrecht in Giselle.

Other leading roles include Salvatore Aiello’s Satto, Sarah Slipper’s Ploughing the Dark, Vasterling’s Awaiting Redemption, the Protagonist in Vasterling’s Firebird, Twyla Tharp’s Sinatra Suite, Vasterling’s Cinderella, Carmina Burana, Peter Pan, and The Ben Folds Project. In addition to performing with Nashville Ballet’s company, Jon also performs with Configurations Dance Theater in New York, Missouri Ballet Theater and Terpsicorps Theater of Dance in Asheville, N.C. He also recently taught men’s class and pas de deux to students from across the country at Nashville Ballet’s Summer Intensive.    

Lindsay McNeal Ison

Dance - Guest Faculty

Lindsay McNeal Ison, PT, MS, OCS, is a physical therapist at Susan Underwood Physical Therapy in Nashville, TN, the official... read more

Lindsay McNeal Ison

Dance - Guest Faculty

Lindsay McNeal Ison, PT, MS, OCS, is a physical therapist at Susan Underwood Physical Therapy in Nashville, TN, the official physical therapy provider to Nashville Ballet. She is a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedics. Ms. Ison is an adjunct faculty member at Belmont University School of Physical Therapy. She also collaborates with numerous dance schools and programs in Middle Tennessee to provide injury prevention seminars and health education.    

Rebekah Hampton Barger

Dance - Guest Faculty

Rebekah Hampton Barger relocated to Nashville after spending time in Oklahoma City, OK as a company member and choreographer with modern... read more

Rebekah Hampton Barger

Dance - Guest Faculty

Rebekah Hampton Barger relocated to Nashville after spending time in Oklahoma City, OK as a company member and choreographer with modern and aerial dance company Perpetual Motion Dance, and a guest performer and faculty instructor with the Oklahoma City Ballet. Upon arriving in Nashville, Rebekah founded FALL, Nashville’s first aerial and contemporary dance company. Drawing on her multi-disciplinary background Rebekah’s work blends classical and contemporary dance with a mix of aerial fabric and invented structures, examining how the use of various apparatus’ can provide a broader range of movement possibilities, create opportunities to explore more dimensions in space, and challenge dancers to experience gravity and their own physicality in new ways.

In addition to directing FALL, Rebekah is the ballet program director at Ann Carroll School of Dance, a guest instructor for New Dialect’s Contemporary Cross-Training Series, and a resident artist with abrasiveMedia.  

Jennifer Ross-Craze

Dance - Guest Faculty

Jennifer’s yoga path began in 2000 with her mentor Johnny Johns at Murfreesboro’s first yoga studio.  She completed a 13... read more

Jennifer Ross-Craze

Dance - Guest Faculty

Jennifer’s yoga path began in 2000 with her mentor Johnny Johns at Murfreesboro’s first yoga studio.  She completed a 13 month 1,000 hours yoga teacher training program at the Southern Institute for Yoga Instructors with Betty Larsen and John Charping.  She is registered with Yoga Alliance at the highest level as an E-RYT® 500 (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500 level) and maintains registry through continuing education by attending teacher trainings and workshops.  This is the highest level recognized in the discipline of yoga.  She has over 2,000 hours of yoga training (2001 to present), including a 300-hour Foundations of Yoga Therapy Program and 25 hours of Ayurveda training.

Jennifer has been teaching yoga full-time at MTSU for 15 years, instructing almost 6,000 hours and over 5,000 students.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, a Master’s Degree in Health and Physical Education, a Specialist in Education Degree and has completed all her coursework towards a Doctorate Degree in Administration and Supervision in Higher Education (currently working on her dissertation). She was acknowledged as a person at MTSU who makes a real difference in students’ lives and contributes to their success for years 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2015.   She has consistently impressive student evaluations ranging from 4.6 to 4.9 (out of 5.0) for 15 years.  Jennifer created and implemented the curriculum for Beginning Yoga, Intermediate Yoga, and Advanced Yoga at MTSU.  She also co-created the Somatic Movement Education minor in the Health and Human Performance Department along with the Somatic Movement class.  In addition, she has taught in Murfreesboro’s local community for 16 years at various studios and venues.

Her teaching is a fusion of yoga styles, incorporating the alignment principles from the Iyengar tradition to the fluidity of Vinyasa with sprinklings of a modified Ashtanga method.  Jennifer’s intentions for teaching are to cultivate an atmosphere for exploration and many opportunities for growth; empowering students to become the best version of themselves on and off the yoga mat.  Her goal is to share the gift of yoga and make it accessible to everyone!

Lindsey N. Siders

Dance - Guest Faculty

Lindsey N. Siders is a Stage Manager, Lighting Designer, and Production Manager for theatre and dance. Born in Springfield, Illinois,... read more

Lindsey N. Siders

Dance - Guest Faculty

Lindsey N. Siders is a Stage Manager, Lighting Designer, and Production Manager for theatre and dance. Born in Springfield, Illinois, she is a 2015 graduate of Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Theatre Design/Production and a minor in Dance Performance. For two seasons she has worked as the Production Stage Manager for the Peoria Ballet, and has spent the last two summers working as a Production Intern at the American Dance Festival in Durham, North Carolina. 

R. Aaron Walters

Dance - Guest Faculty

R. Aaron Walters is a Nashville based composer, producer, and performer hailing from the town of Baldwinsville, NY, just outside... read more

R. Aaron Walters

Dance - Guest Faculty

R. Aaron Walters is a Nashville based composer, producer, and performer hailing from the town of Baldwinsville, NY, just outside of Syracuse. From early childhood his artistic family encouraged musical endeavors such as piano lessons, playing drums and guitar in bands, drumming in jazz groups and musical pit-orchestras, performing as a percussionist in the high school band and marching band, and improvising and composing on a daily basis.

After graduating high school with the prestigious John Phillip Sousa and Outstanding Excellence in Music awards, Aaron went on to earn his Bachelors of Music from Ithaca college in Upstate New York, with a dual-major in Music Composition and Percussion Performance. There, he studied with the likes of Gordon Stout, Greg Evans, and Dana Wilson. One of his more notable projects was writing the film score to Townline by JD Best. He also co-founded the IC Jazz Club, and became the first student at Ithaca College to ever have an original composition win the yearly Ithaca College Concerto Competition and be performed by the Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra.

Following his graduation from Ithaca College, Aaron worked through SubCat Studios LLC, where he had the opportunity to demonstrate his unique collection of abilities. There, he produced and assistant engineered the full-length album Sea of Gold for his band, Early Bird Trio. On this album, he played guitar, bass, banjo, ukulele, organ, piano, and drum set. He also contributed vocals, and even took on the responsibility of composing and conducting the orchestral accompaniments for strings, brass, and woodwinds.

Not long after, Aaron became a musician for the Department of Dance at SUNY College at Brockport in Brockport, NY where he worked with Maria Maloney (a former member of the Trisha Brown Dance Company), dance historian and Jacob’s Pillow scholar-in-residence Maura Keefe, and world-renown choreographer and dancer David Dorfman.

Currently, Aaron is pursuing a Masters of Music in Commercial Music Composition and Arranging at Belmont University. He continues his career as a drummer, pianist, guitarist, bassist, singer, band leader, producer/engineer, and composer/arranger in recording sessions and on live stages with numerous professionals. Aaron has sold his compositions to musicians all over the world and remains a regularly gigging musician for dance, playing for several classes, professional companies, and dance conventions across the country. He is a strong advocate for a greater understanding of the connection between music and dance.

Todd London

Dance - Guest Faculty

Todd London.  As a faculty member at Belmont University School of Music, Todd London teaches applied percussion, ethnic percussion, commercial... read more

Todd London

Dance - Guest Faculty

Todd London.  As a faculty member at Belmont University School of Music, Todd London teaches applied percussion, ethnic percussion, commercial percussion seminars, and directs the Belmont World Percussion Ensemble. Todd holds the Master of Music degree from the University of Georgia with a major in Percussion Performance, and a Bachelor of Music degree from Belmont University with a major in Commercial Music Performance. As a performer, Mr. London maintains a busy schedule and has most recently been performing with the Todd London Trio, Belmont Faculty Jazz Group, Coral Bay Steel Drum Band, Deep Grooves Steel Drum Band, The Time Raiders, Matrix Percussion Trio, Nashville Praise Symphony, and Alabama Symphony.

As a composer, Todd has written music for such shows as Guiding Light and As The World Turns and has received recognition for contributions to the Guiding Light’s Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition for a Drama Series on numerous occasions. He has also composed the music for two children’s ballets commissioned by the Nashville Ballet, The Singing Tortoise and The Emperor and The Nightingale.  Mr. London currently resides in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with his wife and four beautiful daughters.

Micah Snow

Dance - Guest Faculty

Micah Snow is an accomplished pianist in Nashville and the greater-middle Tennessee area. He holds a Master’s Degree in Collaborative... read more

Micah Snow

Dance - Guest Faculty

Micah Snow is an accomplished pianist in Nashville and the greater-middle Tennessee area. He holds a Master’s Degree in Collaborative Piano from Middle Tennessee State University (’13). Known for his skilled and versatile playing, Snow serves as a freelance pianist and staff musician for the MTSU School of Music and Department of Theatre and Dance, respectively, as well as the Belmont University School of Music.

He performs frequently in Nashville and throughout the southeast with Music City’s hottest wedding and event band, For A Good Time, Call, and also holds the title of pianist and organist at Vine Street Christian Church. His most recent credits include musical director for productions of The Last Five Years and assistant musical director for La Cage Aux Folles and The Drowsy Chaperone, as well as work with country entertainer Steve Azar and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Little Anthony and the Imperials.

Billy Ditty

Dance - Guest Faculty

Billy Ditty – Costume Design.  Hailing from the coal country of eastern Kentucky , Billy studied Costume Design and Theatre at Morehead... read more

Billy Ditty

Dance - Guest Faculty

Billy Ditty – Costume Design.  Hailing from the coal country of eastern Kentucky , Billy studied Costume Design and Theatre at Morehead State University. Since then he has sewn and performed his way across the south and the country. Here in Nashville  he has had the pleasure of working on many different  types of projects from film to musical theatre to the Nashville Ballet where he is in his 4th. Season  as the draper and a designer.

Martin O’Connor

Fine Art Photographer

Dance and Fine Art Photographer. 

Martin O’Connor is a native Nashvillian whose photography began as a special interest then evolved into... read more

Martin O’Connor

Fine Art Photographer

Dance and Fine Art Photographer. 

Martin O’Connor is a native Nashvillian whose photography began as a special interest then evolved into a full-time profession. Many of his photos grace the pages of state dance organization’s brochures, and the publicity materials of Nashville Ballet, Chinese Arts Alliance of Nashville, Franklin School of Performing Arts, University School of Nashville, Vanderbilt University Dance, Middle Tennessee State University dance and theatre, Governor’s School of the Arts, and Tennessee Dance Theatre. Additional organizations displaying his work include Baptist Hospital, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Tennessee Oncology, and The Renaissance Center. Martin has been a fervent advocate of the art of dance for many years.

In 2008, he received the Dance Advocate Award from the Tennessee Association of Dance. When presenting this award, they noted that “… his stunning images illustrate both his passion for the art form and the beauty of the art. His eye for detail and compassionate spirit make him a popular photographer for dancers to work with.” Beginning in 2012, Martin was invited to work with the Dance Division of the Governor’s School of the Arts. He is delighted to return to MTSU this summer to photograph a new group of talented young artists. Each photo opportunity that presents itself allows him to continue his search to capture the peak of motion and the essence of line and form. www.martinoconnorphoto.com  

Fiona Scruggs

Dance Counselor

Fiona Scruggs is from Talbott, TN and is an alumna of the 2013 Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts- Dance... read more

Fiona Scruggs

Dance Counselor

Fiona Scruggs is from Talbott, TN and is an alumna of the 2013 Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts- Dance Division. Currently, she is a Dance Major and Honors Academy member at Radford University in Radford, VA. At Radford University, Fiona has performed in numerous pieces and shows including Dancing on the Edge, Anything Goes (the musical), Informance: Student Choreography Showcase, Evening of Ballet, Elegy, and Fall Dance Fest.

Some of her most influential mentors include Ms. Donna Carver, Ms. Lori Ann Sparks, Ms. Inessa Plekhanova, and Mr. Aleksey Plekhanov. While in high school, Fiona danced lead roles of “Rapunzel” in Rapunzel: A Tangled Tale and “Snow Queen” in The Nutcracker. Fiona also attended summer programs at Radford University Ballet Youth and Louisville Ballet. She is thrilled to be a counselor this year at GSFTA and is beyond excited to help this year’s students have as wonderful and en pointe of an experience as she did.

Sam Dalton

Filmmaking Faculty

Sam Dalton is an accomplished Rocky Mountain Regional Emmy, a two-time national Telly, and a Parent’s Choice award-winning television and... read more

Sam Dalton

Filmmaking Faculty

Sam Dalton is an accomplished Rocky Mountain Regional Emmy, a two-time national Telly, and a Parent’s Choice award-winning television and motion picture actor, writer, director, producer and television and print journalist with over 35-years of hands-on experience in all phases of the entertainment and communications media, on both sides of a camera.

His motion picture and television acting credits include the original Paramount motion picture “Footloose”, the NBC Daytime Series Santa Barbara, a costarring role on the NBC Prime-Time Series Mancuso FBI and numerous other appearances.

For the past three years, Sam has served as an instructor and as a Visiting Assistant Professor-Film at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film in Nashville where he teaches a rotating series of required and special topics college curriculum courses including “The Fundamentals of Production”, “Production II Filmmaking”, “The Business of the Biz”, “Documentary Production”, “Mastering The Art of Pitching”, and “Mastering The Art of Movie Trailers”. He also teaches the Watkins summer three-week Pre-College High School Film Track Program.

Spenser Fritz

Filmmaking Faculty

Spenser Fritz graduated with his B.F.A. in Screenwriting and Directing from Watkins College of Art, Design and Film. Shortly after... read more

Spenser Fritz

Filmmaking Faculty

Spenser Fritz graduated with his B.F.A. in Screenwriting and Directing from Watkins College of Art, Design and Film. Shortly after he started his own production company, Boun Pane Pictures. He has written, directed and edited many award winning short films such as “Weight,” “Murderererer,” and most recently “Rock Hunter in 3D.” Spenser has also won awards in time-based festivals like the 48 Hour Film Project in Nashville and the 24 Hour Film Festival in Knoxville.

While Spenser’s main focus is narrative film making, he has also directed, shot and edited a variety of music videos, documentaries, and promotional videos. Throughout his career he has been involved with nearly every aspect of film making. In 2010 he was the sound recordist for the award winning film “Nickel Children” and most recently was the script supervisor for the upcoming film “10 Seconds.” He is currently in pre-production on Boun Pane Pictures’ next project, a comedy TV pilot set to debut in late 2011.    

Amanda Dillingham

Film Production Teacher

Nashville based artist Amanda Dillingham graduated with a BFA in Fine Arts from Watkins College of Art & Design in... read more

Amanda Dillingham

Film Production Teacher

Nashville based artist Amanda Dillingham graduated with a BFA in Fine Arts from Watkins College of Art & Design in 2005 and with an MFA in Studio Art from Vermont College of Fine Art in Montpelier, Vermont in 2008. Amanda works in a variety of media including drawing, video, sculpture, and installation with issues linked to feminine identity, rituals, body image and the Skin Ego. She recognizes the importance of a research-based studio process, making writing and reading integral the process of creating.

Amanda’s growth as an artist has benefitted from mentorships with established artists such as Faith Wilding, Judy Chicago, Jeanne Dunning and William Pope L. Amanda has exhibited and curated shows across Tennessee, as well as exhibiting nationally in cities such as Detroit, Philadelphia and New York City. Most recently, Amanda was the gallery curator at the Renaissance Center in Dickson, TN and currently is an adjunct professor at Austin Peay State University, Middle Tennessee State University and David Lipscomb University.

Michelle Corvette

Painting

Dr. Michelle Corvette has been teaching with the Governor’s School for the Arts program for over ten years.... read more

Michelle Corvette

Painting

Dr. Michelle Corvette has been teaching with the Governor’s School for the Arts program for over ten years. She is a prolific artist dividing her time between Nashville, Paris, and London. Her second Ph.D. from the University of London, Goldsmiths College in Visual Arts Research focused on the utilization and legality of colour in public spaces, whilst her first Ph.D. from University of Tennessee, Knoxville in Educational Psychology centered on empirical creativity research in higher education. Her MFA degree from New York University (NYU) was an Interdisciplinary Studio Art major and an Art Theory and Criticism minor.

She received her BFA, Summa Cum Laude, with double majors in Painting and Drawing and double minors in Art History and Cinematography from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She creates experiences that engage with social and political issues through painting, interventions, installations, and performances. Her artwork has been exhibited both nationally and internationally in group and solo shows including the Frist Center for the Arts, Swan Coach House Gallery, Zeitgeist Gallery, and Vanderbilt University Club Gallery.

She has won numerous awards including an Individual Artists Fellowship Grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Outstanding Professional Promise Award from the University of Tennessee, as well as being selected for the Hambidge Center Creative Residency Program. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor at Belmont University where she is teaches all levels of Painting and Principles of Color.

Meghan O’Connor

Printmaking

Meghan O’Connor received her BFA in printmaking from East Tennessee State University in 2003, and her MFA from Clemson University... read more

Meghan O’Connor

Printmaking

Meghan O’Connor received her BFA in printmaking from East Tennessee State University in 2003, and her MFA from Clemson University in 2007. Since 2005, Meghan has been an active member of Southern Graphics Council, where she has organized and participated in international exhibitions and portfolio exchanges. She has assisted over 30 artists at Frogman’s Print & Paper Workshop in Vermillion, SD. Meghan enjoys spending long hours in the printmaking studio getting her hands dirty, listening to loud, fast music, and collaborating with others. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor at Middle Tennessee State University, just outside Nashville, TN, where she teaches foundations and printmaking courses.  

 

Thomas Sturgill

Sculpture

Thomas Sturgill was born is Pound, Virginia a small coal town far past its prime. He received a BFA in... read more

Thomas Sturgill

Sculpture

Thomas Sturgill was born is Pound, Virginia a small coal town far past its prime. He received a BFA in Sculpture from the University of Tennessee and an interdisciplinary MFA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He has exhibited nationally and internationally. Most of Sturgill’s work is part of a two-person art collaborative named Pulled Resources, which focuses on the creation of large-scale projects with limited budgets and short timescales. He is an Assistant Professor at MTSU, teaching Foundations and Sculpture classes.    

Armon Means

Photography

Armon A. Means is an Assistant Professor and Area Coordinator of Photography at Kansas State University. He received his BFA... read more

Armon Means

Photography

Armon A. Means is an Assistant Professor and Area Coordinator of Photography at Kansas State University. He received his BFA in Photography from The Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland, Ohio and an MFA in Photography from Cranbrook Art Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He has also studied at Lacoste School of the Arts located in Lacoste, France, and The School of the Arts in Budapest, Hungary. In the fall of 2011 he will be taking a teaching position as Assistant Professor of Photography at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina. Means has been an exhibiting fine art photographer and educator since 2003.

He has taught at The Cleveland Institute of Art, Watkins College of Art, Nashville State Community College, Volunteer State Community College and Belmont University. Areas of instruction include all levels of photography, alternative process techniques, history of photography and art survey / appreciation. He has also exhibited widely in group exhibitions in France, Hungary and numerous Eastern and Midwestern states, where he has also been active as a visiting artist at multiple venues. His work centers on ideas of cultural concerns, minority identity and environmental influences and is represented in multiple collections across the United States and Germany.

Charles Clary

Painting

Charles Clary was born in 1980 in Morristown, Tennessee. He received his BFA in painting with honors from Middle Tennessee... read more

Charles Clary

Painting

Charles Clary was born in 1980 in Morristown, Tennessee. He received his BFA in painting with honors from Middle Tennessee State University and his MFA in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design. He has had solo exhibitions at Nancy Margolis Gallery in NYC, The Rymer Gallery in Nashville, TN, and Galerie EVOLUTION-Pierre Cardin in Paris, France. He completed a three week residency in Lacoste France, completed a painting assistantship with Joe Amrhein of Pierogi Gallery in Brooklyn NYC, and had work acquired by fashion designer Pierre Cardin and gallery owner James Cohan. As of 2013 Charles had been featured in numerous print and Internet interviews including, WIRED magazine (US and UK), Hifructose.com, Beautifuldecay.com and Bluecanavs Magazine.

He has also been featured in publications including “Papercraft 2” published by Gestalten and “PUSH Paper” published by Lark Books, “Paper Art” published by ArtPower International Publishing, and “Paper Works” published by Sandu Publishing as well as 500 Paper Objects published by Lark Books. Charles has lectured nationally and exhibited regionally, nationally, and internationally in numerous solo and group shows, is represented by The Rymer Galery in Nashville, TN, the Diana Lowenstein Gallery in Miami, FL, the Kenise Barnes Gallery in Larchmont, NY and currently lives and works in Murfreesboro, TN.

Jacob Muldowney

Orientation to Art

Jacob Muldowney is an Assistant Professor of Art at Chowan University in Murfreesboro, North Carolina where he teaches classes in... read more

Jacob Muldowney

Orientation to Art

Jacob Muldowney is an Assistant Professor of Art at Chowan University in Murfreesboro, North Carolina where he teaches classes in painting, drawing, and printmaking. Mr. Muldowney received his BFA in painting from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, in Philadelphia, and his MFA in visual art from Washington University in St. Louis, in St. Louis. Mr. Muldowney has an extensive exhibition record, both domestically and internationally, and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Robert A. Ricker Memorial Landscape Prize, the James P. Bonneli Jr. Prize, the Lois and Charles X. Carlson Landscape Painting Residency, and the Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Arts Award.

Dawn Martin Dickins

Drawing

Dawn Martin Dickins is a drawing/installation artist originally from a small farming community in Georgia. Dawn loves the performative nature... read more

Dawn Martin Dickins

Drawing

Dawn Martin Dickins is a drawing/installation artist originally from a small farming community in Georgia. Dawn loves the performative nature of drawing large scale in public spaces, which allows the viewer to experience the evolution of the drawing. Her goal is not to create permanent art works, but to create experiences. Dawn earned a BFA from Georgia Southern University and an MFA at the University of South Carolina. She currently lives in Clarksville and teaches as a full-time instructor at Middle Tennessee State University in the Foundations Department.

www.dawnmartindickins.com

Rocky Horton

multi-disciplinary artist

Rocky Horton received his undergraduate education at Harding University in Searcy Arkansas. He received an M.F.A. in studio art from... read more

Rocky Horton

multi-disciplinary artist

Rocky Horton received his undergraduate education at Harding University in Searcy Arkansas. He received an M.F.A. in studio art from West Virginia University in December of 2003.  Since that time he has served as a Professor of Art at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee.  Rocky Horton is a conceptually based multi-disciplinary artist whose spans painting, sculpture, video, and performance. He has taught a variety of courses from foundations to upper-level studio courses, art theory, and art history.  He was the recipient of the SECAC juror’s award in 2013, Greensboro, NC.  He has published in the SECAC review, presented and chaired sessions, and acted as a mentor at SECAC and FATE conferences.  He is an active founding member of COOP, a curatorial collective in Nashville, established in 2010.   http://www.rockyhorton.com

Patrick DeGuira

Design as Art/Art as Design

Patrick DeGuira (born 1972) lives and works in Nashville, TN. He has exhibited his work at the Frist Center for... read more

Patrick DeGuira

Design as Art/Art as Design

Patrick DeGuira (born 1972) lives and works in Nashville, TN. He has exhibited his work at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Brooks Museum of Art, Hunter Museum of Art, Cheekwood Museum of Art, as well as numerous commercial, non profit, University galleries, and is represented by Zeitgeist Gallery. In addition to his exhibition career, he has worked as a Museum Exhibit Designer, educator, and curator. He has co-curated video exhibitions through Fugitive Projects, which has held exhibitions worldwide; including such venues as La Maison Laurentine (France), MVMA Fest 2010 (Marfa), Emmedia (Calgary),Version 10 Festival Screening (Chicago), Banff Center, and the Dublin Electronic Arts Festival (Ireland).

His work has been reviewed and featured in numerous publications, including The Oxford American, New American Paintings, Art Papers, Number, and Art Daily, and he is a recipient of a Tennessee Independent Artist Fellowship Grant and multiple Tennessee Professional Development Support Grants. DeGuira received a BFA from Memphis College of Art (1994) and is currently completing his Master of Fine Arts at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Matthew Hopson-Walker

Printmaking

Born and raised in Fresno California, Matthew Hopson-Walker (proud owner of a very large rabbit) grew up reading comic books... read more

Matthew Hopson-Walker

Printmaking

Born and raised in Fresno California, Matthew Hopson-Walker (proud owner of a very large rabbit) grew up reading comic books and dystopian science fiction novels. During a formative age he was exposed to movies such as Mad Max, Total Recall, Escape From New York, Blade Runner, and The Omega Man and many themes with in them show up in his work. After working as a janitor for several years matriculated to the Kansas City Art Institute and received his BFA in Printmaking in1998.

After several years of playing in a heavy metal band and working at various liquor stores and bars he then received his MA in 2002 followed by his MFA in 2003 both from the University of Iowa. In 2006 He was recipient of the James Phelan Award in Printmaking for given through the KALA Institute. Matthew Hopson-Walker is currently teaching printmaking and drawing at University of South Alabama. He has been included in over 100 juried and group exhibitions since 2006.

His work is in the collections of the Franklin Furnace Artist Book Collection at the Museum Of Modern Art in New York, the University of North Dakota Art Collections in Grand Forks North Dakota, the Amity Art Foundation in Woodbridge Connecticut, the Stonehouse Residency for the Contemporary Arts in Miramonte California, the Drawing and Print Collection at The University of Iowa Museum Of Art, and the Tama Art University Museum in Tokyo Japan. 

General McArthur Hambrick

Dance Faculty

General McArthur Hambrick is a native of Fort Worth, Texas. He is a graduate of Texas Christian University, with a... read more

General McArthur Hambrick

Dance Faculty

General McArthur Hambrick is a native of Fort Worth, Texas. He is a graduate of Texas Christian University, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance. General also studied dance at American Ballet Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre. School. He was a soloist with the Fort Worth Ballet, and Hartford Ballet Companies, Dancers Unlimited in Dallas Texas and Minnesota Dance Theatre in Minneapolis, under the artistic direction of Lise Houlton, where he was awarded the 1999 McKnight Fellowship for his achievements in the dance community. He was also the recipient of the 2001 Natalie Skelton Achievement Award and the 2001 Wyoming Arts Council Performing Arts Fellowship.  

His musical theatre credits include both the Broadway and National touring companies of Cats, Miss Saigon, and Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Phantom of the Opera. Off-Broadway he appeared in the revival of Martha Clarke’s critically acclaimed, Garden of Earthly Delights. General also toured with 25th Anniversary Tour of A Chorus Line. Regional credits include Swing, Once On This Island, Jesus Christ Superstar, The King and I and many others. He appeared as guest vocalist along with Della Reese on the PBS special; With Ozzie and Ruby: Life Is. Professor Hambrick served as director and choreographer of the former Centennial Singers, a musical theatre touring group, from the University of Wyoming. General is also the founder and director of the Joyful Noise Choral Ensemble of Fort Worth, Texas. Most recently he received his Master of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Washington. He is currently Assistant Professor of Dance at West Virginia University.

Gregory T. Merriman

Dance Faculty

Gregory T. Merriman is a 1983 graduate of Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Classical... read more

Gregory T. Merriman

Dance Faculty

Gregory T. Merriman is a 1983 graduate of Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Classical Ballet performance.Of the many he has studied with, Fernando Shaffenburg, Claire Duncan, Clara Cravey, Bill Martin-Viscount and Maria Grandy have been the most influential. Gregory began his early dancing career in 1977 with the Houston Allegro Ballet under the direction of Emma Mae Horn and Glenda Brown.

He was a scholarship student under the direction of Ben Stevenson at the Houston Ballet Academy and later became an apprentice to the Houston Ballet Company.Offered the Brown and Nordan Scholarships at TCU, Gregory joined the Fort Worth Ballet, dancing many of the classics as a frequent partner to Karen Schaffenburg. He was also a principle dancer with the Fort Worth Opera Ballet, under the direction of Marina Svetlova and a regular guest artist with regional companies throughout the Southwest.

Matt Pardo

Dance Faculty

Matt Pardo, is a 2007 graduate of the University at Buffalo with an advanced honors B.F.A. in dance. He has... read more

Matt Pardo

Dance Faculty

Matt Pardo, is a 2007 graduate of the University at Buffalo with an advanced honors B.F.A. in dance. He has danced for the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, Groundworks Dance Theater, RG Dance Projects, and the River North Chicago Dance Company (apprentice). He was recognized as one of the “Top 100 Dancers in the World for 2010-2011” by Dance Europe Magazine. Teaching and choreographic credits include Skidmore College (Guest Choreographer 2014/2015; Guest Faculty, 2013/2014), Montclair State University, Universidad de Las Americas Puebla, the University at Buffalo, and Point Park University (Guest Choreographer 2015; Adjunct Professor 2015/2016), to name a few.

In 2011, Matt joined the Lucinda Childs Dance Company and now teaches company class for LCDC while on tour. His opera credits include the world tour of the Olivier award-winning Philip Glass opera Einstein on the Beach and performances with the Pittsburgh Opera in the Daughter of the Regiment, directed and choreographed by Séan Curran. Pardo is a co-founder of the Pittsburgh-based organization called The Blanket, a project which aims to expand the dance community in Pittsburgh. He is a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Union and is an M.F.A. candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with an expected graduation in May of 2016.

Dr. Raphael Bundage

Director - TN GSFTA

Director, Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts

Raphael Bundage is Director of Choral Activities and Opera at Middle Tennessee State University.... read more

Dr. Raphael Bundage

Director - TN GSFTA

Director, Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts

Raphael Bundage is Director of Choral Activities and Opera at Middle Tennessee State University. Bundage has served as the Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master of the Nashville Opera and the Nashville Symphony. He also presently serves as the Director of the Sanctuary Choir at the First Presbyterian Church of Nashville. He holds Bachelor degrees from Texas Christian University and Graduate degrees from the Eastman School of Music. Prior to his Graduate study, he was the Supervisor of Choral music in the Edinburgh, Texas Public School System. While at Eastman, he was director of the Eastman Chamber Chorus and the Assistant Director of the Eastman-Rochester Symphony Chorus. Bundage serves as frequent adjudicator and clinician in the choral field throughout the country and has led numerous International Concert tours. He is himself the product of an extraordinary host of master teachers including Alfred Mann, Roberta Bailey, Julius Herford, and Robert Shaw.

rbundage@mtsu.edu

Dr. Jerome Reed

Music Chair

Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Piano Lipscomb University DMA, The Catholic University of America

Jerome Reed has been on the... read more

Dr. Jerome Reed

Music Chair

Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Piano Lipscomb University DMA, The Catholic University of America

Jerome Reed has been on the faculty of the Governor’s School for the Arts for 26 years. He keeps an active performance schedule in the U.S. and Europe, giving recitals and lectures and adjudicating competitions. Recent performances include recitals in Japan,Taiwan, Italy, Hungary, Germany, Belgium, Austria, France, England and Uruguay. He has appeared as both soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States. His recording for the Capstone label have been broadcast over MDR in Germany, Australian National Public Radio, and NPR. He has written numerous reviews for The American Music Teacher.

He is Past-President of both the Tennessee Music Teachers Association and the Southern Division of Music Teachers National Association. He holds the B.M. degree in Piano Performance from MTSU, and M.M. and D.M.A. degrees in Piano Performance from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Reed is The Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Piano at Lipscomb University, where he teaches private piano, piano literature, chamber music and collaborative piano. He is the recipient of Lipscomb University’s Avalon Award for Creative Excellence and Tennessee Music Teacher’s Association Teacher-of-the-Year Award.  

Raphael Bundage

Chorale Conductor

Professor, MTSU DMA, Eastman School of Music

Dr. Raphael Bundage is the Director of Choral activities at Middle Tennessee State University... read more

Raphael Bundage

Chorale Conductor

Professor, MTSU DMA, Eastman School of Music

Dr. Raphael Bundage is the Director of Choral activities at Middle Tennessee State University and is the Director of the Governor’s School for the Arts. He has served as Assistant conductor and Chorus Master of the Nashville Opera Association and the conductor of the Nashville Symphony Chorus. In addition, he is the Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church of Nashville.

He holds Bachelor Degrees in Music Education and Music History from Texas Christian University and Graduate Degrees in Conducting from the Eastman Conservatory of Music. Prior to his graduate study, he was a supervisor of choral music in the Texas Public School System and while at Eastman, he directed the Eastman Chamber Chorus and was the assistant director of the Eastman-Rochester Symphony Chorus.

He is a frequent adjudicator and clinician in the choral field and his choirs have toured extensively in Europe and throughout the United States. He is the product of an extraordinary host of master teachers including Alfred Mann, Julius Herford, Donald Neuen, Bev Hensen and Robert Shaw.  

Kayla Motley

Dance Counselor

Kayla Motley was born and raised in Nashville. She began her training at The Dancer's School, under the direction of... read more

Kayla Motley

Dance Counselor

Kayla Motley was born and raised in Nashville. She began her training at The Dancer's School, under the direction of Jimmi Lou Tate, at the age of four until she graduated in 2015. As a Governor's School for the Arts Dance alumni, she now attends Illinois State University as a Dance Performance Major. At school, she is involved in the student company, Illinois State Dance Theatrre. She has also had the chance to experience many summer intensives and performance opportunities with Nashville Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and the Middle Tennessee State University Opera.

Blake Sanders

art and printmaking

     Blake Sanders earned his BFA from the University of Northern Iowa and an MFA from Tulane University. He... read more

Blake Sanders

art and printmaking

     Blake Sanders earned his BFA from the University of Northern Iowa and an MFA from Tulane University. He has taught art and printmaking at universities, as well as workshops at colleges and community-based art organizations around the country. Blake is currently an instructor at Southeast Missouri State University. Sanders’ work has been part of over eighty national and international shows. Recent exhibitions include the 35th Bradley International Print and Drawing Exhibition, Printwork 2014 at Artist Image Resource in Pittsburgh, and The Bowery Gallery Annual Juried Competition in New York. Blake is one half of Orange Barrel Industries, a printmaking and curatorial partnership, along with his wife Hannah. His work supports stewardship by illustrating a bond between people and the natural world. 

Hannah March Sanders

Printmaking

Hannah March Sanders received her BFA at Tulane University and an MFA in printmaking from Louisiana State University. Along with... read more

Hannah March Sanders

Printmaking

Hannah March Sanders received her BFA at Tulane University and an MFA in printmaking from Louisiana State University. Along with her husband, Blake, Hannah operates http://orangebarrelindustries.com/, an artist collaborative that organizes portfolio exchanges, exhibitions and other art events. In recent years, Hannah has exhibited work across the globe at the Printmaking in Graafika Festival in Estonia; The Shed in Galway, Ireland; Global Vision at Kyoto Seika University in Japan; New Narratives at the International Print Center New York; and 30 Years of LSU Printmaking at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans.

She is currently an Assistant Professor of art at Southeast Missouri State Univeristy in Cape Girardeau, where she teaches printmaking and drawing.

Rodger Murray

Visual Art Production Coordinator

Rodger Murray retired in 2006 from teaching visual art in Tennessee public schools for 33 years. He taught at Franklin County... read more

Rodger Murray

Visual Art Production Coordinator

Rodger Murray retired in 2006 from teaching visual art in Tennessee public schools for 33 years. He taught at Franklin County High School, Winchester, Tennessee, for 12 years and at Tullahoma High School, Tullahoma, Tennessee, for 21 years. During his high school teaching career Mr. Murray was chosen by his peers as ‘Teacher of the Year’ five times. He is an adjunct ‘Art Education’ teacher at Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, and Cumberland University in Lebanon.

Ever since the Governor School curriculum added visual art in 1986, he has been part of the faculty, either as a teacher or on staff. In his free time, Mr. Murray sings with a community chorus in Nashville and works at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center as an usher. He holds a B.S. degree from Middle Tennessee State University and a M.Ed. degree from Tennessee State University.

Donna Carver

Dance Faculty

Donna Carver began her first stage appearance at the age of 4 performing in a stage production of “Pinocchio” in... read more

Donna Carver

Dance Faculty

Donna Carver began her first stage appearance at the age of 4 performing in a stage production of “Pinocchio” in her hometown of Tampa, Florida. Her formal dance training began at the age of 7 and she proceeded to dance with two civic ballet companies during her student years training under Alpheus Koon of American Ballet Theater and Gerald Pascual of the Chicago Lyric Opera. She went to New York City to train under such ballet luminaries as Vladimir Dokoudovsky at the Ballet Arts School, Maria Nevelska and Vladimir Konstantinov at Carnegie Hall Studios, Anatole Vilzak at the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and David Howard at the David Howard School of Ballet. She also trained in Toronto at the National Ballet School (now School of the National Ballet of Canada) with school Principal Betty Oliphant (who was also a guest teacher at the Bolshoi Ballet) and Margaret Saul.

While performing professionally with the Florida Ballet Company, she trained with Jean Spear and the great Frederic Franklin. She passed examinations of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, London, England – Cecchetti Method. In Nashville, Ms. Carver founded Tennessee Dance Theater and was its Artistic Director and resident choreographer before it became the famous modern company. Tennessee Dance Theater presented the first full-length ballet ever presented in the city when it premiered its production of “Giselle” in 1989, and sponsored the first ever showcase of local choreographers during its annual Choreographer’s Showcases. Tennessee Dance Theater paved the way for other professional dance companies in the city including Nashville City Ballet, which is now known as Nashville Ballet. She also served as the Secretary and Teacher Representative to the Board of Directors for Tennessee Association of Dance as well as a judge for several talent and dance competitions in and around the city. She taught ballet technique classes in several local dance studios including Vanderbilt University, Tennessee Fine Arts Center at Cheekwood, Nashville Ballet and The Dance Center a school she owned and operated. She also worked as a Musical Theater Director for Circle Players (the oldest community-based theatre company in Middle Tennessee) for such musicals presented at TPAC as “Brigadoon”, “Camelot” and “Hello, Dolly”.

Perhaps her biggest contribution to the dance community was the creation of The Ballet Book Student Workbooks, a student workbook series that Ms. Carver spent over ten years researching, compiling and writing. The series is designed for a program of written study for the ballet student. These workbooks have been used as textbooks in public, Magnet, and Performing Arts High Schools, private schools, boarding schools, community colleges, universities and ballet schools around the country. She continues to share her knowledge with dance students and is very excited to be joining the faculty for Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, 2013.

Glenna Robinson

School Coordinator

Glenna Robinson comes to the Governor’s School from Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan, where she worked for the Office... read more

Glenna Robinson

School Coordinator

Glenna Robinson comes to the Governor’s School from Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan, where she worked for the Office of Admissions from 1993-2008.Ms. Robinson moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee in 2008 and became the School Coordinator for the Governor’s School for the Arts.

Ms. Robinson has a B.A. in Multi-disciplinary studies and an M.A. in Professional Studies. She has two children and one grandchild.

John McDonald

Music Production Coordinator

John McDonald is currently a doctoral candidate in choral conducting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and... read more

John McDonald

Music Production Coordinator

John McDonald is currently a doctoral candidate in choral conducting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. At UMKC, John studies with Dr. Robert Bode and Dr. Charles Robinson, and serves as conductor for an undergraduate select chamber choir, Canticum Novum, and co-conductor of the large ensemble University Singers. Previously, John received a masters of music in choral conducting from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. At ECU, John studied conducting with Dr. Andrew Crane, and voice with Mr. John Kramar. While in Greenville, John was involved in the East Carolina University Opera Theatre program, where he served as Conductor, Assistant Director, Assistant Conductor, Chorusmaster, and Stage Manager. John also had the opportunity to conduct the Collegiate Choir and the award-winning East Carolina University Chamber Singers.

John holds a bachelor of music degree in Vocal and General Music Education from Middle Tennessee State University and taught high school choral music in Murfreesboro, TN. He currently holds the position of Music Production Coordinator for the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, and Music Director at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kansas City. John and his wife, Alyssa, live in Overland Park, Kansas with their son John Tyler, Jr.

Justin Reed

Theatre Prouction Coordinator

Justin Reed is from Cleveland, TN, where he first began working in theatre at his local high school.  After graduating from... read more

Justin Reed

Theatre Prouction Coordinator

Justin Reed is from Cleveland, TN, where he first began working in theatre at his local high school.  After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a B.S. degree in Theatre, he began his current job as Manager of Tucker Theatre and the Boutwell Dramatic Arts facility at MTSU. He is involved in many facets of the Theatre and Dance program including events, ticketing, marketing, construction, and technology management. Justin is very excited to be working with the Governor’s School again this year.    

Amy Tate-Williams

Opera Director / Conductor

Chorus Master/Repetiteur, Nashville Opera MM, Florida State University Amy Tate Williams serves as Chorus Master and Accompanist for Nashville Opera,... read more

Amy Tate-Williams

Opera Director / Conductor

Chorus Master/Repetiteur, Nashville Opera MM, Florida State University Amy Tate Williams serves as Chorus Master and Accompanist for Nashville Opera, accompanying all productions and promotional events, casting and preparing the opera choruses and coaching principal and apprentice artists (1998-present).  She serves as Opera Director for the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts (2003-present).  A native of Bowling Green, Kentucky, Amy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance from Western Kentucky University and Masters Degrees in Piano Performance and Piano Accompanying from Florida State University. 

She has been a free-lance coach accompanist at Glimmerglass Opera, Nevada Opera, Augusta Opera, and Des Moines Metro Opera, served two years as Music Director for OPERA Iowa, and trained for two years in the Houston Opera Studio at Houston Grand Opera.  She has also taught vocal music, led an acappella ensemble on a European tour, and is a published composer of choral and vocal music.  In August 2010, she launched RANDAMWILLMusic.com, the online source for the music of Amy Tate Williams.  She has composed 2 children’s operas, both of which have been produced at regional opera companies, RUMPELSTILTSKIN and THE LOOKING GLASS.  Amy lives in Nolensville with her husband Randy, and their 10 yr. old son, Tate Williams.

Rubén Graciani

Dance Faculty

Rubén Graciani began his artistic career as a scholarship student at the North Carolina School of the Arts, where he... read more

Rubén Graciani

Dance Faculty

Rubén Graciani began his artistic career as a scholarship student at the North Carolina School of the Arts, where he majored in Modern Dance. After receiving his high school degree, Mr. Graciani was awarded a scholarship to attend The Juilliard School in New York City. In addition to the Juilliard program, Mr. Graciani studied on scholarship with several major New York dance companies, including the Martha Graham Dance Company and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Mr. Graciani completed his studies at the State University of New York – Purchase College, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. While attending Purchase, Mr. Graciani was invited to perform in three International Festivals of Dance staged in Taiwan and China. Mr. Graciani was also invited to join the Kevin Wynn Collection, a New York based Modern Dance Company. After graduation, Rubén joined the Mark Morris Dance Group as a contract performer.

Mr. Graciani’s five-year affiliation with the company resulted in national and international tours. He also performed as a founding member of bopi’s black sheep/dances by kraig patterson. After ten years as a member of the New York City dance community, Rubén began graduate school at the University of Maryland – College Park. While there he presented nine works of choreography for the Maryland Dance Ensemble, and premiered two works at a self-produced concert with Connie Fink and Jennifer Dorsey. His M.F.A. thesis concert, Search for my Familiar, was performed to critical acclaim. Mr. Graciani also was a guest artist with the CityDance Ensemble at the Kennedy Center. In September of 2005 Mr. Graciani joined the faculty at Ohio University as an Assistant Professor. While there he received two Arts for Ohio Choreographic Grants, one of which resulted in the collaboration, Oyster, with composer John Orfe and the Grammy Award winning new music ensemble, Alarm Will Sound. In addition to his work at Ohio University, Rubén was a member of the Joe Goode Performance Group for two seasons, 2005-2007. Mr. Graciani’s work with the company has included contributing to the creation and premiere of new work at the company’s home season in San Francisco, two national tours of new work and repertory, a site specific performance at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, and teaching master classes all over the country. In the summer of 2007, he appeared as a guest artist with the Brian Brooks Moving Company at the Gwang Ju International Performing Arts Festival in Gwang Ju, South Korea. In the Spring of 2008 his first solo show was presented at the SAS Performing Arts Center in Shanghai, China.

Mr. Graciani was a company member and rehearsal director for Company Stefanie Batten Bland, from 2008-2010. Currently an Associate Professor, Rubén joined the faculty of Skidmore College in September of 2008. While at Skidmore Mr. Graciani has collaborated with renowned composer Richard Danielpour and pianist, Xiayin Wang on the work Swing and a Miss, which premiered at Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center; worked in collaboration with the Academy ACJW for a performance of L’Histoire du Soldat, and premiered two works for Saratoga ArtsFest. Rubén’s work on dance films with his Skidmore students was recently profiled in the November 2012 edition of Dance Magazine. He has created 11 choreographic works for the Skidmore Dance Department, and he teaches Advanced Modern Technique, Contemporary Ballet, Modern Dance Partnering, Choreography, and Senior Capstone among others. In the fall of 2012 he began teaching in the Skidmore Inter-Group relations program. His recently formed dance company, RG Dance Projects, has already had two successful engagements in NYC. RG Dance Projects premiered a new work at the DanceNow Raw Materials show, and the DanceNow Joe’s Pub festival in September of 2012. RGDP won the Audience Favorite Award for the night while performing at the DanceNow Joe’s Pub Festival and was invited to perform again in the encore presentation of the best of the festival. RG Dance Projects has been awarded a residency at SILO Arts in Pennsylvania in the spring of 2013 to prepare for their inaugural full season in NYC. He currently serves on the Dance Panel of the New York State Council of the Arts.

Terry Jolley

Dean of Students

Terry Jolley is currently serving as Co-Director of the Stewarts Creek High School Band in Smyrna, Tennessee.  Prior to this... read more

Terry Jolley

Dean of Students

Terry Jolley is currently serving as Co-Director of the Stewarts Creek High School Band in Smyrna, Tennessee.  Prior to this position, he served the Director of Development at The Band Hall and served as the Director of Education and Brass Supervisor/Arranger for The Music City Drum and Bugle Corps.

Mr. Jolley was recruited as the Supervisor of the Extended School Program for Murfreesboro City Schools which involved over 3,000 students from K-6.  He has over twenty years in the music education profession at multiple levels of instruction including Siegel Middle School, Stewarts Creek Middle School, and Blackman High School in Murfreesboro.  He also enjoyed serving as the Associate Director of Bands at Middle Tennessee State University.

Before taking the position at MTSU, he was co-director of bands at John Overton High School in Nashville, Tn, and served as Director of Bands at Warren County High School in McMinnville, TN.  He has held several positions over a seventeen year span with The Governor’s School for the Arts including Director and production coordinator.

He has enjoyed 16 years of marriage to Alison, who is a registered nurse at Middle Tennessee Medical Center.  Terry and Alison are blessed with a beautiful daughter, Ava who is currently in fourth grade at Redeemer Christian Academy in Murfreesboro.

Steven Ward

Orchestra Conductor

Professor of Music, Abilene Christian University DMA, Michigan State University
Dr. Steven Ward is Professor of Music at Abilene... read more

Steven Ward

Orchestra Conductor

Professor of Music, Abilene Christian University DMA, Michigan State University
Dr. Steven Ward is Professor of Music at Abilene Christian University, serving as Director of Bands and Orchestra and teaching courses in conducting. Previous to his appointment at ACU, he was Director of Bands at Hope College in Holland, MI, and the Music Director/Conductor of the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra in Kalamazoo, MI. Dr. Ward holds a D.M.A. in Conducting from Michigan State University, a M.A. in Conducting from Stephen F. Austin State University, and a B.M. in Music Education from Abilene Christian University. Prior to his appointment at Hope College, Dr. Ward was the Music Director/Conductor of the Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestra in La Grande, OR, and was Instructor of Music at Eastern Oregon University.

He has conducted extensively in many different areas including orchestra, band, musical theater, opera, and contemporary music, and is a recipient of the ASCAP award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music. He spent 9 summers at the Interlochen Arts Camp, conducting the Interlochen Philharmonic, as well as middle school and high school bands and orchestras, and faculty ensembles. He has conducted many all-region and similar ensembles, including the Symphony Orchestra at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival, region orchestras and bands throughout Texas, Michigan, Tennessee, and others.

He has served as a conductor for the Orchestra at the Tennessee Governor’s School in summers since 2006. Dr. Ward is a member of the College Orchestra Directors Association, the College Band Directors National Association, the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Orchestra Directors Association, the Texas Bandmasters Association, the Michigan State Band and Orchestra Directors Association, and the American String Teachers Association.

Halena Kays

Director

Halena Kays is an assistant professor of theatre at MTSU.  A professional director and performer from Chicago, Halena served as... read more

Halena Kays

Director

Halena Kays is an assistant professor of theatre at MTSU.  A professional director and performer from Chicago, Halena served as artistic director of The Hypocrites theater company and co-founder and former artistic director of Barrel of Monkeys.  Chicago directing credits include:Endgame, Ivywild, Six Characters in Search of an Author at The Hypocrites; The Magic Play at The Goodman, Lord of the Flies at Steppenwolf theatre company; Burning Bluebeard, Pop/Waits, 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, Daredevils, Daredevils Hamlet and Fake Lake at The Neo-Futurists (artistic associate); Roustabout at Concordia College; Buried in Bughouse Square at The University of Chicago.

Kays is a founding member of the artistic collaborative, The Ruffians, a UT-Austin and Northwestern grad and former member of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care unit. Halena has been nominated for a Jefferson Citation for Best Supporting Actress and Best Direction, was the recipient of the prestigious 3Arts Award and was named one of the top 50 “players” in Chicago theater by NewCity.   

John Kramar

Voice Faculty

Professor, East Carolina State University MM, Curtis Institute of Music

M.M., Curtis Institute of Music. Performer’s Certificates in Voice and Opera,... read more

John Kramar

Voice Faculty

Professor, East Carolina State University MM, Curtis Institute of Music

M.M., Curtis Institute of Music. Performer’s Certificates in Voice and Opera, B.M., Eastman School of Music. Formerly at Middle Tennessee State University. Private Studio Teaching in NYC. Has won the Helen Jepson Deller Award. Performances with the Sarasota Opera. Apprentice Achievement Award, Santa Fe Opera; Kneisel Lieder Competition (2nd place), Eastman School.

Performances with the North Carolina Symphony, Jupiter Symphony, Nashville Opera, Elysian Opera Group, New York Vocal Arts Ensemble, Middle Tennessee Choral Society, Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, Erie Philharmonic, Springfield Symphony, National Chorale, Aspen Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, Tanglewood Festival, Sarasota Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Washington Summer Opera, Opera Delaware, Choral Society of Durham, and City Center Encores Series.

Thomas Chesnut

Assistant Dean of Students – Men

Thomas Chesnut is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in instrumental music education.... read more

Thomas Chesnut

Assistant Dean of Students – Men

Thomas Chesnut is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in instrumental music education. Upon graduating,  Thomas worked as an education assistant and assistant band director at Cascade High School. He currently teaches in Bedford County and serves as the band director at Liberty School and Harris Middle School and is the assistant band director at Shelbyville Central High School.

In addition to teaching band, he also serves as the choir teacher at Harris Middle School. Each year, he maintains several private lesson students throughout the middle Tennessee region. As an active performer, Thomas is a member of the Southern Stars Symphonic Brass, South Jackson Street Band, and Tennessee Valley Winds.

Brandon Houghtalen

Conducting

Associate Director of Bands and an Assistant Professor of Music at Abilene Christian University Maryville native and Governors School for... read more

Brandon Houghtalen

Conducting

Associate Director of Bands and an Assistant Professor of Music at Abilene Christian University Maryville native and Governors School for the Arts alumnus Brandon Houghtalen joins the conducting faculty in 2015. Dr. Houghtalen is the Associate Director of Bands and an Assistant Professor of Music at Abilene Christian University. His responsibilities include directing the Big Purple Marching Band, conducting the Concert Band, supervising the instrumental music education program and studio horn. He previously held orchestral and band positions at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of New Mexico and in the public schools of Fayette County, Georgia. Dr. Houghtalen frequently collaborates with emerging and established composers, and has premiered and commissioned works by Doug Farrell, Paul Hembree, Daniel Kellogg, Carter Pann, Greg Simon, Steven Snowden, and Joseph Turrin. His editions of the music of James Reese Europe and the 369th Infantry Regiment Band were premiered at Arizona State University in January 2012.

Together with Emmett O’Leary, Dr. Houghtalen is Editor and Host of Music Ed Resource (MER), a website and podcast that explores topics relevant to pre-service and in-service music teachers. MER is available through the iTunes Store and at MusicEdResource.com. As a hornist, Dr. Houghtalen has performed with professional ensembles throughout the United States, including the Traverse (MI) Symphony, Oak Ridge (TN) Symphony, Waltham (MA) Symphony, the U.S. Army Ground Forces Band (GA) and the Salt River Brass (AZ). His brass mentors include John Ericson, Sam Pilafian, Pat Sheridan, and the late Calvin Smith.

He is a frequent presenter at state and national conferences on the topics of music education, horn pedagogy, and music technology. Dr. Houghtalen holds degrees in music education and conducting from the University of Tennessee, University of Colorado, and Arizona State University. His primary conducting teachers include Gary W. Hill and Allan R. McMurray. He is an active member of the Texas Bandmasters Association, Texas Music Educators Association, National Band Association and the College Band Directors National Association, for which he serves as a member of the Committee on Technology.

Jim Armstrong

Stage Manager

Jim Armstrong is a freelance stage manager in New York City. He just finished his engagement with Lively Productions in... read more

Jim Armstrong

Stage Manager

Jim Armstrong is a freelance stage manager in New York City. He just finished his engagement with Lively Productions in their series of productions, Blogologues, and is now working as an administrative intern for Hello Entertainment. His most recent work in stage management has been his involvement with Carol Lempert’s one-woman show, After Anne Frank, which participated in the NY Fringe Festival last year and has been rippling since.        

Hope Koehler

Voice Faculty

Assistant Professor, University of West Virginia DMA, University of Kentucky Hope Koehler has appeared with many opera companies and orchestras,... read more

Hope Koehler

Voice Faculty

Assistant Professor, University of West Virginia DMA, University of Kentucky Hope Koehler has appeared with many opera companies and orchestras, such as Nashville Opera, Tennessee Opera Theatre, Blair Opera Theatre, MTSU Opera Theatre, University Opera Theatre in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Northland Opera Theatre Experience, Lyric Opera of the North, Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra, Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, Lexington Symphony Orchestra, and Itasca Symphony Orchestra. With these companies she has appeared in such productions as Carmen, Il Trovatore, Lucia di Lammermoor, Rigoletto, The Impressario, The Old Maid and the Thief, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Gianni Schicchi and many others.

At the Northland Opera Theatre in Duluth, Minnesota, she has appeared in the title roles of Tosca, Carmen, Fidelio, and Madama Butterfly. In addition, she has appeared in La Boheme (Musetta), Der Freischutz (Agathe), The Tales of Hoffmann (Giulietta), and others. Koehler’s other stage credits include operetta and musical theatre. She has appeared in such productions as The Mikado, The Sound of Music, The Pajama Game, Oklahoma, Fiddler on the Roof, and West Side Story. Koehler has performed as a soloist in oratorio and other choral orchestral works, such as Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Verdi’s Requiem, Mozart’s Vesperae solennes di confessore, Rossini’s Stabat Mater,Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection) and many others.

Koehler is a regular performer and featured soloist with the American Spiritual Ensemble, a group that performs all over the world, and whose mission is to keep the American Negro Spiritual alive and vibrant. She has also been on the faculty of the prestigious Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts for seven years and in 2006 served as chair of the vocal music department. In addition, in July and August of 2006 she was a member of the voice faculty at the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria. In June of 2008 Albany Records released Koehler’s recording of John Jacob Niles songs titled The Lass from the Low Countree, performed with James Douglass at the piano. Koehler received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Vocal Performance and Music Education at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, and her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Alabama. Her Doctor of Musical Arts degree was completed at the University of Kentucky in Lexington where she studied with tenor Everett McCorvey and soprano Gail Robinson. She is currently on the voice faculty at West Virginia University

Wendy Bledsoe-Payne

Assistant Dean of Students – Women

Wendy Bledsoe-Payne is a Nashville native and graduated from McGavock High School in 1992.  At McGavock Ms. Payne... read more

Wendy Bledsoe-Payne

Assistant Dean of Students – Women

Wendy Bledsoe-Payne is a Nashville native and graduated from McGavock High School in 1992.  At McGavock Ms. Payne and was a member of the McGavock Madrigal Singers under the direction of Mr. Bob Binkley.  While in high school Ms. Payne had the extraordinary opportunity to sing with the Nashville Symphony Chorus for the performances of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Carmina Burana under the direction of Kenneth Schermerhorn and Dr. Raphael Bundage.  

Ms. Payne is a graduate of MTSU with degrees in Vocal Performance, 2005 and Music Education.  While at MTSU, Ms. Payne was a member of the Chamber Chorus, Schola Cantorum and the Nashville Opera Chorus for the performances of Die Fledermaus, La Traviata, and The Magic Flute, all under the direction of Dr. Raphael Bundage.  For the MTSU Opera, Ms. Payne sang the roles of La Ciesca in Gianni Schicci, Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Elizabeth in The Crucible. In 1997 Ms. Payne Earned 2nd place at the Beethoven Competition in Memphis, TN and earned the Encouragement Award at the Metropolitan Opera Regional Competition.  

Ms. Payne has studied voice with Dr. Vigil Hale, Dr. Gerald Pope, Dr. Christine Isley-Farmer, and Margy Bredeman.  Ms. Payne served as a Music Counselor for Governor’s School for the Arts from 1995-1998.  Ms. Payne has been a soloist/section leader for Vine St. Christian Church, West End Methodist Church, and First Presbyterian Church in Nashville.  Ms. Payne is currently the Music Director at Trinity United Methodist Church.  Ms. Payne has been the Assistant-Choir Director and General Music teacher at Siegel High School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee for the past 4 years and is an active member of NAfMe, MTVA, TMEA, and ACDA.

Deanna Little

Flute Faculty

Associate Professor, MTSU DM, Indiana University Deanna R. Little, associate professor of flute at Middle Tennessee State University, holds a... read more

Deanna Little

Flute Faculty

Associate Professor, MTSU DM, Indiana University Deanna R. Little, associate professor of flute at Middle Tennessee State University, holds a Bachelor of Music degree in education from the University of Northern Iowa, a Master of Music degree in flute performance and the Doctor of Music degree from Indiana University. Her primary instructors include James Scott, Kate Lukas, Peter Lloyd, Trevor Wye, and Angeleita Floyd.

As a professor at MTSU, Little currently teaches applied flute, classes in woodwind methods, literature and pedagogy and directs the MTSU Flute Choir. As a writer/arranger she is the author of Daily Flutin’, a daily warm-up and exercise book for flutists, and has arranged several works for flute ensemble. As an active performer, Little is a member of the Stones River Chamber Players and a frequent guest on Nashville’s WPLN “Live from Studio C” radio broadcasts. She has performed with the Nashville Symphony, the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Huntsville Symphony ( AL), and Evansville Philharmonic (IN).

Little has won numerous awards for her flute playing. She was a two time winner in the National Flute Association’s Young Artist Competition (1998, 1996) as well as the recipient of an award for best performance of a newly commissioned work at the 1996 convention. She was a winner in the 2007 Myrna Brown Competition in Texas and a 1998 semi-finalist in the New York Concert Artists Guild Competition. She has performed as a soloist, master class clinician, and flute ensemble director throughout the mid-west and mid-south. She was also the 2004 local arrangements coordinator for the NFA Convention in Nashville, TN and is the past-president of the Mid-South Flute Society.

Trish Clark

Costume Design & Technology

Trish is a costume designer from Nashville, Tennessee.  Some of her favorite design projects include Metamorphoses and The Dining Room... read more

Trish Clark

Costume Design & Technology

Trish is a costume designer from Nashville, Tennessee.  Some of her favorite design projects include Metamorphoses and The Dining Room for Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, The Medium for Belmont Opera, A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Tennessee Shakespeare, and The Crucible, The Underpants and Sweeney Todd, and Big River – all for Nashville Repertory Theatre, where she is the resident designer.  

She also creates costumes for movies, including Billy, The Early Years and The Hanna Montana Movie, as well as for musical artists and groups including Naomi Judd, Taylor Swift and Def Leppard.   Trish worked for Gaylord Entertainment, (Opryland U.S.A., Fiesta Texas, Opryland Talent, and T.N.N.) for ten years as a draper and pattern room supervisor and she still loves draping and was a guest draper/tailor on Nashville Ballet’s The Nutcracker. She has also worked as patternmaker for Les Miserables and as costume designer for A Raisin in the Sun, Frost/Nixon, Crowns, Doubt, and The Foreigner at Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

Christine Isley-Farmer

Voice Faculty

Professor, MTSU DMA, University of Illinois–Champaign-Urbana

Christine Isley-Farmer, soprano, teaches voice and the Alexander Technique at MTSU. She has had extensive... read more

Christine Isley-Farmer

Voice Faculty

Professor, MTSU DMA, University of Illinois–Champaign-Urbana

Christine Isley-Farmer, soprano, teaches voice and the Alexander Technique at MTSU. She has had extensive singing experience in both opera and concert. For five and a half years, she performed in European opera houses and in concert in Austria, Italy, Switzerland, England, and Ireland. Operatic experience in the United States includes the Des Moines Opera Festival, Chautauqua Opera, Central City Opera, and the Colorado Lyric Theater, to name a few. Before traveling to Europe to fulfill her European contracts, Isley-Farmer sang with the New York City Opera at Lincoln Center for a year. Roles that she has sung include Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, Liu in Turandot, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, as well as numerous operetta roles. Concert experience consists of recitals in Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, Ohio, New York and Colorado. Since 1997, Isley-Farmer has been a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique.

She trained for four years at the Alexander Alliance in Philadelphia, PA and then earned her certification with Alexander Technique International. She has conducted Alexander Technique workshops throughout the Southeastern region of the United States. In addition, she has taught the Alexander Technique for the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts. In 2003, her article on Alexander Technique and singing was published in the widely distributed Journal of Singing, the publication of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Students of Isley-Farmer have won and placed in the finals of both regional and national competitions: the Metropolitan Regional Auditions, the National Opera Association Vocal Competition, the Orpheus National Vocal Competition, and the Grace Moore Vocal Competition, to name a few.

Her students have entered prestigious programs at the graduate level both in the United States and abroad. Former students have gone on to earn doctoral degrees and to teach at the university level, as well as to pursue professional singing careers. Isley-Farmer also taught the first MTSU student to be awarded the coveted Fulbright Scholarship for study in Europe. She holds the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the DMA in Performance and Literature from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She holds the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the DMA in Performance and Literature from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

Amy Collins

Oboe Faculty

Oboist Amy Collins is on the artist faculty of the University of South Florida and has been the principal oboist... read more

Amy Collins

Oboe Faculty

Oboist Amy Collins is on the artist faculty of the University of South Florida and has been the principal oboist with Opera Tampa for twenty years with the now music director Maestro Daniel Lipton and the former music director, Maestro Anton Copolla. Ms. Collins spends her summers on the faculty of the InterHarmony Music Festival in Italy and Germany, where this past summer she was the featured soloist in Germany and performed the Bach Double Concerto in c minor for Violin, Oboe and orchestra as well as Copeland’s Quiet City for Trumpet, English Horn and orchestra. Ms. Collins has also performed with the Hayden Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria in the years past. In 2007 she was honored to perform for Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican, and was the first instrumentalist to do so since Pope John Paul I. Ms. Collins has played for many nationally recognized groups including, New York City Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and Moisiev Ballet. She has also performed with such well- known artists as the Mannheim Steamroller, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Tony Bennett, Diana Ross, and Josh Groban, to name a few. A dedicated educator, Ms. Collins has given numerous clinics in Florida and she has received two grants from the Pinellas Arts Council.

Ms. Collins is president of her own corporation; The Stellar Corporation, Inc. This corporation houses two dba’s: Stellar Oboe Products and Web Marketing Xperts. Stellar Oboe Products began as K&A Musical Supplies back in 1987 and was a full line of musical accessories including woodwinds, brass and strings. About two years later K&A Musical Supplies became K&A Double Reeds in order to refine the product line. In 1992, after receiving a very large oboe reed order from a music store, Ms. Collins decided to focus on oboe products only and changed the name to Stellar Oboe Products. In 1997 Stellar Oboe Products incorporated and became an s-corporation called The Stellar Corporation, Inc. dba Stellar Oboe Products. As the world wide web became popular, Stellar Oboe Products secured www.oboe.net. Approximately two years ago, Web Marketing Xperts (WMX) changed its name from Stellar Consulting and became another dba of The Stellar Corporation, Inc.

Richard K. Davis, LC, IESNA

Lighting Designer

Richard is a Senior Partner with ARDEE DESIGN GROUP, LLC, which specializes in Entertainment and Architectural lighting. He has completed... read more

Richard K. Davis, LC, IESNA

Lighting Designer

Richard is a Senior Partner with ARDEE DESIGN GROUP, LLC, which specializes in Entertainment and Architectural lighting. He has completed projects across the spectrum for such organizations as Gaylord Entertainment, Celebrity Cruise Lines, Belmont University, HGTV, Dance Theatre of Tennessee, Shop at Home Networks, Nashville Ballet, and CNN Washington. Prior to joining ADG, Richard developed a diverse portfolio while working in NYC, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Japan.

While he has worked on various Film, Television, and concert touring projects, his specialty resides firmly in lighting for Theatrical and Dance productions. Such varied projects include “And so we Dance” and “Eurydice” (Belmont University); “The Holberg Suite” and “Coppélia” (Nashville Ballet); “The Piper”, “The Laramie Project”, and “Atlanta” (Actors Bridge); “Latin Heat” and “Carmen” (DTT); and “Dracula” and “Regarding Henry” (Film). He has developed a unique approach to lighting design – combining a cinematic style with real-world and architectural lighting to create not just illumination, but an illuminated environment for live production.

He encourages others to master the art of observation as a critical tool toward understanding the magic and emotion of Light. Richard has earned his Lighting Certification from the NCQLP, is on the Board of Directors for Dance Theatre of Tennessee, and is President Elect for the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America – Middle Tennessee Chapter.

Todd Waldecker

Clarinet Faculty

Associate Professor, MTSU DM, Indiana University Todd Waldecker serves as Associate Professor of Clarinet in the School of Music at... read more

Todd Waldecker

Clarinet Faculty

Associate Professor, MTSU DM, Indiana University Todd Waldecker serves as Associate Professor of Clarinet in the School of Music at Middle Tennessee State University where he was a recipient of the 2006 MTSU Foundation Outstanding Teacher Award.  Waldecker is also a faculty member of the summer Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts where he teaches a selective group of high school clarinetists. His degrees include the Doctor of Music from Indiana University, Master of Music from Yale University, and a music education degree from the University of Missouri.

His primary teachers include Howard Klug, David Shifrin, Eli Eban, James Campbell, Alfred Prinz and Paul Garritson. Prior to his appointment at Middle Tennessee State University, Waldecker held teaching positions at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Purdue University, and the University of Northern Iowa. Waldecker has performed by invitation as a featured soloist at the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFest 2008 and the 2007 University of Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium.

As a member of MTSU’s Stones River Chamber Players, he has performed throughout the southern United States, Germany, Switzerland, and France; and has appeared at conventions of the National Flute Association and the Guitar Federation of America. In 2006, Waldecker traveled to South Korea with the MTSU Wind Ensemble where his performance of Artie Shaw’s “Clarinet Concerto” was broadcast on Korean television. Waldecker is a frequent performer with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and has recorded with the ensemble for Decca, NAXOS, and National Public Television. Since 1999, he has also served as principal clarinetist with Orchestra Nashville and has recorded and toured nationally with the ensemble.

David Ian Lee

Acting Instructor

David has worked as an actor and director internationally, off-Broadway, and with regional theatres including Utah Shakespeare, New York Classical,... read more

David Ian Lee

Acting Instructor

David has worked as an actor and director internationally, off-Broadway, and with regional theatres including Utah Shakespeare, New York Classical, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Milwaukee Rep., and Nashville Repertory Theatre. David is an internationally produced playwright, with his play The Curing Room having received multiple UK productions and confirmed for Canada and South Africa. An alumnus of the William Esper Studio, he received his MFA in Directing from Illinois State University. www.davidianlee.com for more information. 

DON ALIQUO

Saxophone Faculty

Professor of Saxophone and the Director of Jazz Studies at Middle Tennessee State University

Saxophonist Don Aliquo has been described as... read more

DON ALIQUO

Saxophone Faculty

Professor of Saxophone and the Director of Jazz Studies at Middle Tennessee State University

Saxophonist Don Aliquo has been described as a player “with an articulate flow of always surprising ideas, sophisticated with a dexterous technique and an incredibly smooth tenor sound that seduces rather than shouts.” An active recording artist, new recordings include NEW TIES AND BINDS a collaborative effort with the brilliant trumpeter Clay Jenkins. The record also features the incredible Rufus Reid, Harold Danko and Jim White. Another collaborative recording is Aliquo’ s September 2015 release with pianist Beegie Adair. (TOO MARVELOUS FOR WORDS) Recorded with her working trio, Aliquo and Adair sail through some of the American Popular Songbook’s most interesting and revered tunes.

Both discs were favorably reviewed in Down beat magazine. Previous releases include SUN & SHIELD featuring veteran jazz masters Reid again on bass, Jim McNeely, piano and drummer Obed Calvaire. The album also introduces Aliquo’s work as a jazz clarinetist. Other collaborations include CHICKEN ON THE HILL WITH WILL featuring iconic Pittsburgh artists Roger Humphries, Dwayne Dolphin and David Budway. Don’s formative years were spent in his hometown of Pittsburgh where he studied with his father, an active and well-respected jazz artist and he went on to play with many of the city’s jazz legends.

Since his arrival in Nashville, he has had the opportunity to perform and record with Gary Burton, Donald Brown, Scott Robinson, Roger Humphries, Marvin Stamm, Dana Landry and Michael Jefry Stevens. Don is currently Professor of Saxophone and Jazz Studies at Middle Tennessee State University where he also served as the Director of Jazz Studies from 2002-2012. Don is an in-demand clinician, presenting concerts and clinics throughout the United States and is honored to represent Vandoren reeds and mouthpieces and Selmer saxophones.

Staci Spring

Bassoon Faculty

Lecturer of Bassoon & Musicology, Stephen F. Austin State University

ABD: University of North Texas, M.M.: Florida State University

Staci A. Spring... read more

Staci Spring

Bassoon Faculty

Lecturer of Bassoon & Musicology, Stephen F. Austin State University

ABD: University of North Texas, M.M.: Florida State University

Staci A. Spring joined the music faculty of Stephen F. Austin State University in 2013. She held previous appointments in Abilene, TX at the McMurry, Hardin-Simmons and Abilene Christian Universities, where she taught courses in applied bassoon, music history, woodwind methods, and chamber music.

A versatile musician, Spring has performed with several professional orchestras throughout Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia and Florida, and was a co-founder of the chamber ensemble Key City Winds. Passionate about creative programming and collaboration, she has performed numerous solo and chamber recitals, and has performed at the International Double Reed Society, National Flute Association, and Texas Music Educators Association conferences. She was a co-founder and pianist for the jazz combo MCMJ, and now performs with the Stone Fort Wind Quintet.

Spring is a doctoral candidate at the University of North Texas, where she studied bassoon with Kathleen Reynolds and also completed a Graduate Academic Certificate in Arts Leadership as a Priddy Scholarship recipient. She earned dual Master of Music degrees in Historical Musicology and Bassoon Performance from The Florida State University, studying with scholar Denise Von Glahn and bassoonist Jeffrey Keesecker. She completed her undergraduate studies at Brevard College in North Carolina. Throughout her education and career, Spring has attended numerous master classes, festivals, conferences and camps, and been an active member of several arts organizations. Recent highlights include interning with the City of Chattanooga’s Department of Education, Arts and Culture, being selected for the 2009/2011 Banff Master Classes, and serving as the Competition Committee Chair for the Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition.

Spring is a native of Chattanooga, TN and attended the Governor’s School for the Arts while in high school.

Joseph Walker

Musical Theatre Instructor

Joseph Walker is a Staff Pianist and Vocal Coach at Middle Tennessee State University, where he received his M.A in... read more

Joseph Walker

Musical Theatre Instructor

Joseph Walker is a Staff Pianist and Vocal Coach at Middle Tennessee State University, where he received his M.A in Collaborative piano in 2008.  He obtained a B.A. in Music from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia in 2000.  His primary piano teachers were Dr. Kevin Vogelsang, Dr. Kevin Hampton, Dr. Caleb Harris, and Dr. Leopoldo Erice.  Mr. Walker has an active career as a collaborative pianist and a vocal coach to the vocal performance majors at MTSU.  He has also played for numerous faculty and student recitals.  Mr. Walker has also worked in the Theater Department at Mtsu as the musical Director in several productions.

Mark Clodfelter

Trumpet Faculty

Mark Clodfelter is a versatile performer of international acclaim and a Grammy nominated recording artist. He was recently described by... read more

Mark Clodfelter

Trumpet Faculty

Mark Clodfelter is a versatile performer of international acclaim and a Grammy nominated recording artist. He was recently described by Classical Voice North Carolina as “…a stellar world-class trumpeter who’s dazzling playing wowed the audience”, as “warm toned” by the Lexington Herald Leader (KY) and “an exceptionally strong performer” by the International Trumpet Guild Journal. As a soloist, Mark has appeared in many of the world’s finest performing venues throughout the United States, Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland, Italy, Ireland, Russia, Thailand, Greece, Australia, Brazil, Croatia, the Czech Republic and the Peoples Republic of China.

Mark can be heard as Principal Trumpet of the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, the Trade Winds (Tamp Fl.) and with the Palladium Brass. At home in a great array of styles, his commercial affiliations have recently included split lead with the DiMartino/Osland Jazz Orchestra and the Kentucky Jazz Repertory Orchestra. Mark is member of Covalence, a chamber duo, with Rebecca Wilt, his wife and renowned collaborative pianist. Additionally, he spends summers as a member of the faculty of the InterHarmony International Music Festival in Arcidosso, Italy.

Mr. Clodfelter has recorded extensively in styles ranging from classical to rock. He has also appeared with such headliners as Josh Groban, The O' Jays, Gladys Knight, Mannheim Steam Roller, the Moody Blues, the Lettermen, Doc Severinson, Bob Mintzer, Frank Mantooth, Lou Rawls, Glen Campbell and Ray Charles.

Mark is the Professor of Trumpet at the University of North Carolina - Greensboro. During the decade prior to this appointment, he was Professor of Trumpet at the University of Kentucky. In both cases, his students garner national and international recognition; winning coveted awards and professional placement. Additionally, he was Co-Conductor of the Blue Grass Area Jazz Ambassadors and the Central Kentucky Youth Jazz Orchestra. Mark entered collegiate teaching as Instructor of Trumpet and Director of Jazz Band at Mars Hill College. He has served on the faculty of the prestigious Eastern Music Festival and has taught the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps. Mark was a founding member of the Giannini Brass and has held positions with the Greensboro Symphony, Orchestra Kentucky, the North Charleston Pops,the Western Piedmont Symphony, the Salisbury Symphony, the Greenville (SC) Symphony and the Eastern Philharmonic Orchestra.

Mr. Clodfelter holds a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Lenoir-Rhyne University and a Master of Music Degree from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Mark Clodfelter is an S.E. Shires Performing Artist and plays Pickett Brass custom mouthpieces.

Nicholas Ryan

Scenic Design & Technology

Nicholas Ryan is an Assistant Professor of Technical Theatre at Middle Tennessee State University.  Recently Nicholas was an Instructor of... read more

Nicholas Ryan

Scenic Design & Technology

Nicholas Ryan is an Assistant Professor of Technical Theatre at Middle Tennessee State University.  Recently Nicholas was an Instructor of Theatre for Tennessee Tech University.  He served as the Production Manager for all of Tech Players’ productions as well as providing the design for several productions.  Nicholas received his Master of Fine Arts in Theatre with an emphasis in Technical Production from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  

While at Chapel Hill he worked for PlayMakers Repertory Company a LORT D regional theatre.  Nicholas was the Production Technical Director for Noël Coward’s Private Lives at PlayMakers Repertory Company.  He has also worked as the Technical Director for Cortland Repertory Theatre.  Some notable productions from Cortland include Buddy! The Buddy Holly Story, The Full Monty, and I’ll Be Back Before Midnight.  Nicholas also served as a carpenter for the Tony Award Winning Regional Theatre Utah Shakespeare Festival where he worked on the sets for Scapin, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Les Misérables for the Randall L. Jones Theatre. 

Angela DeBoer

Horn Faculty

Associate Professor of Horn & Music Theory Middle Tennessee State University

Angela DeBoer is the Associate Professor of horn at... read more

Angela DeBoer

Horn Faculty

Associate Professor of Horn & Music Theory Middle Tennessee State University

Angela DeBoer is the Associate Professor of horn at Middle Tennessee State University where she also teaches music theory, brass literature and pedagogy.   She is an active performer, playing second horn with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera and assistant principal horn with the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra.  Ms. DeBoer appears regularly with the nationally acclaimed Nashville Symphony as well as performing with the Nashville Opera, Nashville Ballet and maintaining a presence in the recording studios of Nashville.  Additional creative activity will find her performing on the Baroque and Classical natural horns; instruments on which she presents lectures and masterclasses at workshops and schools around the country.  Ms. DeBoer is also the co-coordinator of the MTSU music faculty concert series, the Stones River Chamber Players, and since 2011 has been on the faculty of the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts.

Prior to her work in Tennessee, DeBoer was a member of the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra and worked with the Tulsa Ballet and Tulsa Opera.  She was also active in the freelance community in and around Chicago for many years, performing with the Milwaukee, Grant Park, Elgin, South Bend, Northwest Indiana, Duluth-Superior and Illinois Symphonies as well as with Symphony II, Chicago Sinfonietta, Millar Brass Ensemble, Chicago Opera Theatre and the Illinois and Fort Wayne Philharmonics.  She also spent several seasons as a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the training orchestra for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a group with which she also appeared as soloist.  She has attended several competitive music festivals including Tanglewood, National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, Sarasota Chamber Music Festival and the Music Academy of the West.  Angela was also a semi-finalist at the 2007 International Horn Competition of America.

Ms. DeBoer received her Bachelor of Music degree from DePaul University in Chicago, studied in the Orchestral Performance Program at the Manhattan School of Music and received her Master of Music from Northwestern University.  Her primary teachers include Gail Williams, David Krehbiel, Jerome Ashby and Jonathan Boen.

In addition to her work at MTSU and in the music profession, Angela competes nationally in Three Day Eventing (horse triathlons) with her horse Christopher.

Richard Browder

Choreographer

Richard is excited to be returning this year as a teacher for the school. Since his summer of 1986 when... read more

Richard Browder

Choreographer

Richard is excited to be returning this year as a teacher for the school. Since his summer of 1986 when he was one of the first Governor’s School Theatre students, Richard has received his undergraduate degree in theatre at Middle Tennessee State University, received graduate work in acting at the University of Southern Mississippi, and his Masters in Education at Middle Tennessee State University. He has also worked across the region as a professional actor in such theatres as Tennessee Repertory Theatre were he was seen in such productions as Twelve Angry Men, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and 1776 directed by Rene Copland.

He has also worked in Nashville Children’s Theatre production of Aladdin, Seusical and School House Rock Live. Richard choreographed productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, Urintown, and Rent for Middle Tennessee State University. Richard also works as a choreographer for Siegel High School’s Chamber choir where he choreographed productions such as Once on This Island, Tommy, Aida, Evita, and Children of Eden, and Phantom of the Opera.  

David Loucky

Trombone Faculty

Professor, MTSU DMA, State University of New York—Stony Brook

Dr. David Loucky, trombonist and low brass specialist, performs on all low... read more

David Loucky

Trombone Faculty

Professor, MTSU DMA, State University of New York—Stony Brook

Dr. David Loucky, trombonist and low brass specialist, performs on all low brass instruments.

A faculty member at Middle Tennessee State University since 1989, he also performed for two seasons as Assistant Principal Trombonist with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. He has performed and lectured at several International Trombone Festivals, and International Tuba-Euphonium Conferences and served on the faculty of the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts.

He is an active performer with the Nashville Symphony, the New Hampshire Music Festival, the Huntsville Symphony, the Stones River Chamber Players, the MTSU Faculty Jazz Combo, the Middle Tennessee Jazz Orchestra. the MTSU Faculty Brass Quintet, and the Nashville Chamber Brass. With the St. Louis Symphony, Loucky toured 6 European countries and four states, performed six times in Carnegie Hall, and played in all the low brass chairs except tuba (Principal, Assistant, Second and Bass Trombone, Euphonium and Bass Trumpet).

He was also very active in the Symphony’s educational arm, the Community Partnership Program. With the Nashville Symphony he has played in every low brass chair including tuba, and also performed in that orchestra’s Carnegie Hall debut in 2000. Loucky earned a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University, a Master of Music from Yale School of Music, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He had additional studies in Cologne, Germany and Vienna, Austria in both classical and jazz traditions. His principal teachers include John Swallow (New York Brass Quintet and NYC Ballet), Ronald Borror (American Brass Quintet and NYC Ballet), Bill Harris (Syracuse Symphony), Jiggs Whigam (West German Radio Big Band), Horst Kublbock (Vienna Symphony) and Eric Kleinschuster (Austrian Radio Big Band). Loucky performs on a period 19th century ophicleide, the predecessor of the tuba and euphonium. He engages in the research of repertoire for this instrument and collaborates with composers who are interested in writing new works for it.

Matthew Crossley

Tuba Faculty

Masters University of Missouri – Kansas City

Recently completing graduate studies in Kansas City, Matthew earned a Masters degree in tuba... read more

Matthew Crossley

Tuba Faculty

Masters University of Missouri – Kansas City

Recently completing graduate studies in Kansas City, Matthew earned a Masters degree in tuba performance at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. While attending the Conservatory, Matthew held the tuba Fellowship position in the UMKC Graduate Fellowship Brass Quintet, an ensemble devoted to performing a diverse selection of literature, and performing educational outreach performances. The quintet competed in a number of national and international competitions, which included an appearance as an international finalist in the 2010 Coleman Chamber Music Competition in Pasadena, CA, and semi-finalist in the 2010 Music Teachers National Association Chamber Music Competition held in Boulder, CO. Matthew performed at the 2010 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic as a member of the Conservatory Wind Symphony under the direction of Steven D. Davis

Matthew earned a Bachelors of Music degree in Instrumental Music Education from the School of Music at Middle Tennessee State University. Matthew served as principal tuba in the MTSU Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, and was a four-year member of the Band of Blue. In 2005, Matthew performed throughout South Korea with the MTSU Wind Ensemble.

Currently serving as a band director at Riverdale High School (TN), Crossley provides extensive instruction for concert, marching, and chamber ensembles. Matthew served as Director of Bands at Sunset Middle School in Brentwood, TN from 2007-2009. At Sunset Middle School, Crossley implemented an active jazz band and private lesson program, along with receiving consistent superior and excellent ratings at concert festivals.

Being an active performer in the Middle Tennessee and Kansas City area for several years, Matthew served as Principal tuba/Production Manager for the Murfreesboro Symphony Orchestra for two seasons, and has also performed with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Heritage Philharmonic (MO), Missouri Brass Quintet, First Class Brass, and the Nashville Philharmonic. Crossley was also a performing member of The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps ( Rosemont, IL). Matthew’s teachers include Thomas Stein, Gilbert Long, David Loucky, Michael Arndt, Joseph Stegemann, and Prentiss Hobbs.

Matthew is a member of the Middle Tennessee State Band and Orchestra Association, Professional Teachers of Tennessee, and the International Tuba Euphonium Association.

Josh Holritz

Violin Faculty

Josh Holritz joined the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera as Associate Concertmaster in 2014. He has performed as soloist, orchestral, and... read more

Josh Holritz

Violin Faculty

Josh Holritz joined the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera as Associate Concertmaster in 2014. He has performed as soloist, orchestral, and chamber musician in Austria, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, England, Japan, South Africa, and in more than 20 states around the continental United States.

Josh has been a member of the Glens Falls Symphony, Greensboro Symphony, and served as concertmaster for the Buffalo Community Orchestra (MN). He has performed with the Vienna Radio Orchestra and New World Symphony and currently substitutes with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

An avid chamber musician, Josh was a founding member of the Emmaus Quartet which gave over 100 performances in the Southeast between 2004-2006. Josh currently maintains a busy performance schedule with Schaafritz, a duo with his wife, CSO principal flutist Kristen Holritz. Additionally, Josh performs weekly with the CSO String Quintet in their effort to bring classical music to local schools and the greater Chattanooga community.

Josh is an advocate for newly composed music and improvisation. His doctoral dissertation, entitled “A Player’s Guide: Lera Auerbach’s 24 Preludes for Violin and Piano, Op. 46”, includes a complete recording of Auerbach’s Op. 46 preludes. Josh’s free improvisation work can be heard on Spotify under the album title Blow- Fi.
Josh is also an active studio musician in Nashville and has played on multiple soundtracks for many of today’s popular film, television shows, and video games. Recent titles include The Shack, Rebel in the Rye, Animal Crackers, Tokyo Ghost, Outlander, and Destiny 2.

Josh currently serves as on the faculty of Covenant College as Adjunct Professor of violin, viola, and chamber music.
Josh holds a B.M. from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, a M.M. from the University of Minnesota, and a D.M.A. from the University of Georgia.

Mark Reneau

Violin Faculty

Adjunct Professor, Southern Adventist College and Cadek Conservatory Concertmaster, Huntsville Symphony

Violinist Mark Reneau’s career encompasses solo, recital and concerto appearances,... read more

Mark Reneau

Violin Faculty

Adjunct Professor, Southern Adventist College and Cadek Conservatory Concertmaster, Huntsville Symphony

Violinist Mark Reneau’s career encompasses solo, recital and concerto appearances, as well as orchestral, opera, chamber music and baroque performance. Concertmaster since 1998, Mr. Reneau has performed with the HSO since 1977. He plays frequently in the violin section of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, performing with such conductors as Stefan Sanderling, Carlos Kalmar and Leonard Slatkin. Since 2000, he has performed regularly in the violin section of Orchestra Nashville. In 2003 and 2004, he toured with Amy Grant and Vince Gill. Since 2005, he has been Associate Concertmaster of the Bellingham Festival of Music in Washington state. Several of his performances with the Bellingham Festival have been broadcast on National Public Radio’s Performance Today.

Prior to his appointment in Huntsville, he served as associate concertmaster of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera from 1983 to 1998. In 2006, he was concertmaster of the first Vakhtang Jordania International Conducting Competition held in the United States. Mr. Reneau has made several recordings with Orchestra Nashville, including the first stereo recording of Virgil Thomson’s cello concerto and a critically acclaimed Naxos disc of works by Aaron Copland. He has also made studio recordings with diverse artists such as Trey Anastasio, James Brickman and Rebecca Lynn Howard. Mr. Reneau is gifted and dedicated teacher, serving over twenty years on the faculty of Southern Adventist University. Since 2000, he has taught at the Tennessee’s Governor’s School for the Arts.

From 1978-2005, he was on the faculty of Cadek Conservatory of Music. His students are regularly accepted to music conservatories and major festivals, and are performing with distinguished ensembles such as the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Mr. Reneau’s sons are also accomplished musicians. Charles is bass trombonist with the Oregon Symphony, and has performed with the orchestras of Honolulu, Huntsville, Atlanta, Alabama, the Metropolitan Opera and the Israel Philharmonic. Douglas is a graduate trumpet student at the Indiana University. Winner of several national competitions, he toured Europe in 2005 performing the Arutunian Trumpet Concerto. In the summer of 2008, Douglas with the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, Colorado. Mr. Reneau’s hobbies include the study of old stringed instruments and bows, cooking, and the study of theology and social history..

Ayn Balija

Viola Faculty

DMA, James Madison University Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music

Violist Ayn Balija, enjoys a varied career... read more

Ayn Balija

Viola Faculty

DMA, James Madison University Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music

Violist Ayn Balija, enjoys a varied career as both a teacher and performer. As the Lecturer of Viola at the University of Virginia, Ms. Balija is a member of the Rivanna String Quartet, co-directs the Chamber Music Seminar, and serves as principal violist of the Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra. In the 2009-10 Season she was asked to perform, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with guest violinist Max Rabinowitz.

She frequently collaborates with the composition faculty on new works and volunteers for the UVA Baroque Orchestra. Dedicated to teaching, Ms. Balija seeks to develop a well-rounded musician. Students who go on in music are accepted into some of the top music schools around the nation. She was invited to present a paper at the 2014 American String Teachers National Convention entitled “Roles, Rules, and Running” highlighting the development of non-major talent and future roles they will take in society.

Immersing herself in the Charlottesville, VA and Columbus, OH communities, Ayn provides private lessons as a Boyd Tinsley Tutor in the Charlottesville Public Schools, performs outreach concerts, and maintains a private viola studio. Outside of the University, Ms. Balija performs with the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus, OH, gives masterclasses and recitals around the region, and collaborates regularly with her colleagues. She is often asked to substitute for the Richmond Symphony and has gone on tour with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

During summers, she has attended numerous festivals including the Aspen Music Festival and School, Banff Center, Credo, and the Colorado College Summer Music Festival. She participated as an orchestral musician, chamber coach, mentor, and quartet fellow. Starting the summer of 2006, Ms. Balija was awarded the Aspen Mentor Fellowship to aid in the instruction of aspiring orchestral musicians. This summer she will return to Yachats Summer Music Festival in Yachats, OR and be on faculty at the Tennessee Governors School of the Arts. Ms. Balija has degrees from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music. Her principal mentors are Jeffrey Irvine and Peter Slowik. She is currently finishing her doctoral studies at James Madison University with Amadi Azikiwe.

 

Jeffrey Noel Lastrapes

Cello Faculty

Associate Professor of Cello and Chair of Strings at Texas Tech University Cofounder of Caerus Ensemble Jeffrey Noel Lastrapes is... read more

Jeffrey Noel Lastrapes

Cello Faculty

Associate Professor of Cello and Chair of Strings at Texas Tech University Cofounder of Caerus Ensemble Jeffrey Noel Lastrapes is an active soloist, chamber musician and teacher having performed and taught in Europe, South America and in every region of the US. He holds degrees from the Curtis Institute Music and the Juilliard School where he studied with Orlando Cole and Harvey Shapiro respectively.  He has recorded for New World Records and Centaur Records.

In 2009, Mr. Lastrapes gave his New York Debut at Merkin Hall to critical acclaim. “An excellent cellist with consummate technical mastery, Lastrapes is a seasoned performer whose strong, outgoing personality lets him shape the music on a big canvas with bold colors and contours.”  Edith Eisler New York Concert Review. Mr. Lastrapes has participated in major summer festivals around the world including the Evian Festival, Interlochen, Hot Springs, Peninsula, Bay View, Bellingham, and the Piatigorsky Seminar, and is a frequent performer and pedagogue in South and Central America.

He is currently Associate Professor of Cello and Chair of Strings at Texas Tech University, is the cofounder of Caerus Ensemble, is on the faculty of the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, and has been on the faculty of the Interlochen Center for the Arts since 1996. Mr. Lastrapes performs on a Francesco Ruggieri cello dated 1684 and a Paul Schuback cello dated 1987.

Taylor Brown

Double Bass Faculty

Master’s degree from Duquesne University Bachelor’s degree from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University

Double bassist, Taylor Brown, joined... read more

Taylor Brown

Double Bass Faculty

Master’s degree from Duquesne University Bachelor’s degree from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University

Double bassist, Taylor Brown, joined the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera as principal in 2012. Prior to his appointment, Taylor performed regularly with the symphony orchestras of Youngstown, OH, Canton, OH, and West Virginia. In addition to his work with the CSO, Taylor has performed as a substitute musician with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Huntsville Symphony, toured internationally with Barry Manilow, and has performed with Earth, Wind, and Fire.

He maintains a private teaching studio in the Chattanooga area comprised of students of all ages and is a faculty member of Tennessee’s Governor’s School for the Arts. Taylor has earned a Bachelor’s degree from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University and a Master’s degree from Duquesne University. His primary teachers were Jeffery Turner and Micah Howard of the Pittsburgh Symphony and John Hood of the Philadelphia Orchestra. As an advocate for the arts, Taylor has served as a musician’s representative on the board of directors of the CSO and is a founding board member of Chattanooga Young Artistic Network (CYAN). When not performing, Taylor enjoys riding bikes on the roads and trails of the Chattanooga area.

Andy Smith

Percussion Faculty

DM, Indiana University Musician, Educator, and Composer, Andy Smith is recognized internationally, having enjoyed a diverse career for over two... read more

Andy Smith

Percussion Faculty

DM, Indiana University Musician, Educator, and Composer, Andy Smith is recognized internationally, having enjoyed a diverse career for over two decades. His most recent projects include CD recordings, Finally Here with Angel Roman and Mambo Blue, and Transparency featuring Latin Jazz group Batuquê Trio (batuquetrio.com). Andy’s recent compositions include: Vento no Ritmo (Wind in Rhythm) for flute trio with leg rattles commissioned by Deanna Hahn-Little; Fora da Caixa, an experimental graphic score for percussion trio; Two Maracatu for Drum-set Duo (a popular youtube video features Andy with drummer Marcus Finnie); and Brazilian Suite for Tambourines, premiered at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

2015 will include new works for 10-Can Percussion and Caixa Trio. The recently formed B-line Trio is an innovative jazz percussion trio featuring Andy with colleagues Brian Mueller and Brian McNulty. The trio performs clever arrangements of jazz, choro and popular music and specializes in residencies and percussion festivals where they present master classes together and separately in diverse “break-out” sessions. Andy currently lives in Bloomington, IN with his wife Amy Smith (Caixa Trio) and their children.

Andy earned a Doctor of Music degree there at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and continues to serve as assistant director to Michael Spiro’s Indiana University Bateria, performing at carnaval (carnival) festivals in Bloomington and Indianapolis. Andy taught as Adjunct Percussion Instructor at Middle Tennessee State University from 1999-2008 and serves as the Percussion Instructor for the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, a state sponsored program for elite college-bound musicians.

His career has taken him from the recording studios of Nashville, TN to Tanglewood, Ravinia and the Hollywood Bowl. He has traveled to Ghana West Africa and the Caribbean to be immersed in African diasporic rhythm. In 2012, Andy was awarded a Tinker Foundation grant to study contemporary Brazilian Jazz drumming in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Other recent performances include the Jazz Education Network Convention, the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, the Lotus Music Festival, and grant sponsored workshops with Bernard Woma, Musical Ambassador to Ghana. Andy is published by Row-Loff Publications. Additionally, Andy self-publishes his works for solo percussion with electronics, percussion and other chamber ensembles and Latin-Jazz combo (asmithdrum.com). He is endorsed by Pearl/Adams, Evans drumheads and Innovative Percussion.

Amy Dorfman

Piano Faculty

Associate Professor, Blair School of Music—Vanderbilt University MM, Indiana UniversityStudent of James Tocco and Alfonso Montecino. Additional studies with Rosalyn... read more

Amy Dorfman

Piano Faculty

Associate Professor, Blair School of Music—Vanderbilt University MM, Indiana UniversityStudent of James Tocco and Alfonso Montecino. Additional studies with Rosalyn Tureck at the Banff Centre and Edith Oppens at the Aspen Music Festival. Chamber music coaching with Josef Gingold, Janos Starker, Pierre Fournier, Menachem Pressler, and Walter Roberts. Concerto appearances with Nashville Symphony Orchestra. National Public Radio and TV appearances with bassist Edgar Meyer including Lonesome Pine Special and St. Paul Sunday Morning as well as recitals at Tully Hall and Town Hall in NY and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

Guest artist at summer festivals including Sedona Music Festival and Music Mountain in Connecticut with the Blair String Quartet and Mozart Festival in California and Northwest Chamber Music Festival in Oregon with Mr. Meyer. Member of Dorfman/Katahn Duo with pianist Enid Katahn since 1991. Member of Blakemore Trio with violinist Carolyn Huebl and cellist Felix Wang since 2002. Students have attended undergraduate and graduate programs at Indiana University, North Texas State University, Oxford University, University of Oklahoma, and Gnessin Academy in Moscow as well as Aspen, Eastern, Sewanee, IU Piano Academy, and Interlochen.

Students have been winners of state division competitions(TMTA), Vanderbilt Concerto Competition, Curb Records(soloist with Nashville Symphony Orchestra). Individual Artist Fellowship Award, TN Arts Commission, 1990. Additional faculty positions at University of the South(1983/84) and Fisk University(1985/86). Blair School since 1984.

David Northington

Piano Faculty

Professor, UT-Knoxville DMA, Yale University At his New York debut recital at Carnegie Recital Hall, the New York Times called... read more

David Northington

Piano Faculty

Professor, UT-Knoxville DMA, Yale University At his New York debut recital at Carnegie Recital Hall, the New York Times called David Northington “an immensely gifted musician…who combines the technical mastery of a virtuoso with the musical sensitivity of a poet.” Such critical accolades have followed Northington throughout the world in concerts and concerto engagements. 

His tours have included the United States, eastern and western Europe, Canada, China, and Russia.  In addition to recitals and concerto engagements, he has given master classes at many of the leading conservatories in these countries.  David Northington’s masterful pianism has won him first prizes in the Concert Artists Guild Competition, the East/West Artists Competition, the American Music Scholarship Association’s International Competition, the unanimous Judges Prize at the Fourth Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, and selection to the Artistic Ambassador Program sponsored by the United States Information Agency. 

As an Artistic Ambassador for the United States, Northington has toured extensively in France, Spain and Portugal.  In addition to broadcasts throughout Europe on the Voice of America, he has filmed recitals in the historic Tallyrand Theatre in Paris for telecast on French National Television. Recently, Northington celebrated the international release of a compact disc featuring of the waltzes of Chopin on the Centaur Records label.

After this release, Dr. Northington was invited to perform solo recitals in the United States, Italy and Poland.  Since receiving his degrees at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the Yale University School of Music, David Northington has taught on the faculties of several universities.  His many teaching awards include the Tennessee Music Teachers Association’s Teacher of the Year Award and the Tennessee Governor’s School of the Arts “Outstanding Teacher Award’.  Dr. Northington has also been the recipient of the Tennesssee Arts Commission’s Artist of the Year Award.