Instrumental Performance Alumni

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Frost School of Music boasts some of the best and brightest alums in the industry. Frost graduates are changing the landscape in classical, jazz, contemporary, opera, musical theatre, as well as music business, therapy, production, and engineering.

Brass Alumni

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  • Matthew White, MM '06, D.M.A. '11

    Matthew White, MM ‘06, D.M.A. ‘11, trumpeter and composer, is a freelance musician and educator.

    As a trumpeter, White has been the featured soloist with the Nashville Jazz Orchestra, Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, The Ed Calle Big Band, South Florida Jazz Orchestra, Gene Krupa Big Band and musical artists Wycliffe Gordon, Ira Sullivan, Kevin Mahogany, Lou Marini, Rihanna, Melinda Dolittle, Sam Rivers and Russ Taff in addition to leading his own ensemble, the Super Villain Jazz Band.

    His compositions have been featured on National Public Radio’s “All Thing Considered” as part of the prestigious Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead residency and have received Downbeat Magazine’s student music awards in arranging and original songwriting. The Washington Post described his compositional and playing style as “rhythmically brash and invigorating.”

    In the summer 2012, he began touring with the country band, The Mavericks, as part of their Reunion Tour and new record. In August 2012, he began a new job as Assistant Professor of Trumpet and Coordinator of Jazz Ensembles at Coastal Carolina University. White majored in studio music and jazz at the Frost School of Music.

     

  • Rodney Lancaster, D.M.A. '09

    Rodney Lancaster, D.M.A. ‘09, is the jazz trombone soloist in the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra in New York City. He is instructor of music at La Salle Academy, New York City.

    During his career he has played with numerous artists, including backing Ella Fitzgerald at the very start of his career. Lancaster has performed with the Illinois Jacquet Orchestra, Maynard Ferguson & Big Bop Nouveau, the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, Betty Carter, the Manhattan Symphony Jazz Orchestra, David Berger and the Sultans of Swing, the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and The New Jersey Pops, to name a few.

  • John Holt, B.M ’81, M.M. ’85

    John Holt, B.M ’81, M.M. ’85, John Holt is associate professor of trumpet and chair of the Division of Instrumental Studies at the University of North Texas. Holt is also principal trumpet with the Dallas Opera Orchestra, a position he has held since 1989.

    Holt has appeared as a soloist with orchestras throughout the United States and has commissioned, premiered and recorded numerous works since 2003. Trumpet Panoply, released in April 2011, is Holt’s seventh solo album recording with Crystal Records. His six previous solo recordings have received unanimous critical acclaim by industry publications Fanfare, American Record Guide, The Instrumentalist, Gramophone and the International Trumpet Guild.

    At age 24, Holt became principal trumpet of the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, Italy. While in Italy, Holt had the great privilege of playing under some of the worlds most renowned conductors including, Luciano Berio, Georges Prétre, James Conlon, Gerd Albrecht, Carlos Kleiber, Krzysztof Penderecki, Riccordo Chailly and Carlo Maria Giulini.

  • Samuel Pilafian, B.M. ‘72

    University of Miami Frost School of Music 1996 Distinguished Alumnus Sam Pilafian, B.M. ’72 is a renowned tuba artist versatile in both classical and jazz realms. He has recorded and performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Duke Ellington Orchestra, Lionel Hampton, and Pink Floyd. As a solo jazz artist, Pilafian has recorded fifteen CDs. A member of the large brass ensemble Summit Brass, Pilafian is perhaps best known as a founding member of the internationally recognized classical ensemble Empire Brass Quintet. Solo recital and concerto performances during recent seasons have taken him to Canada, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, Italy, Austria, Germany and England.

    Pilafian is an arranger, composer, recording producer, and co-author with Patrick Sheridan of the best selling pedagogy texts Breathing Gym and Brass Gym. The duo won an Emmy Award in 2009 for an instructional video on their research-based breathing method.

    In addition to his private teaching, Pilafian is the faculty mentor to the Stamps Brass Quintet. He has served on the faculties of The Frost School of Music, ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Boston University, and their summer Tanglewood Institute. He was also a consultant at the Royal Academy of Music in London. A past president and chairman of the board of the International Tuba Euphonium Association, Pilafian now serves on its honorary advisory board of directors.

  • Larry Leiby, B.M. '65

    Larry Leiby, B.M. ’65, has been a construction lawyer, author, mediator, arbitrator and law professor at Florida International University College of Law. His current concentration is in construction mediation and arbitration. He founded the Florida Bar Construction Law Committee in 1976, was awarded the lifetime achievement award from the Florida Bar Construction Law Committee in 2009, and was elected a Fellow in the College of Commercial Arbitrators in 2010. In addition, he authored the annually published Florida Construction Law Manual. He continues to play tuba in a polka group as an enjoyable part of his life.

  • Constance J. Weldon, B.M. ’53

    Florida native Connie Weldon, B.M. ’53, named University of Miami Frost School of Music 1991 Distinguished Alumna, is known as the first professional female tubist in the United States. A former professor and Dean of The University of Miami Frost School of Music, Weldon performed six years with the North Carolina Symphony and two years with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. She later became first chair tuba with the Greater Miami Philharmonic.

    While a student at the University of Miami, Weldon was accepted to the Tanglewood Music Festival, playing under the baton of a young Leonard Bernstein. In 1957, she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship Award to study in Amsterdam with the Concertgebouw tubist, Adrian Boorsma. She joined the Netherlands Ballet Orkest and was acting principal tuba of the great Concertgebouw Orchestra. Upon returning to the U.S., Weldon joined the Kansas City Philharmonic for two seasons, after which she returned to Florida to join the Miami Philharmonic and teach at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. She quickly established a reputation as an expert brass teacher and coach. As a result of her successful studio building, Weldon formed the University of Miami Tuba Ensemble, the first credited group of its type at any university. This led to her becoming conductor of the University of Miami Brass Choir.

    From 1972 until her retirement in 1991, Weldon was the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. She is highly celebrated as a performer and pedagogue, has a music and academic scholarship named for her, and is recipient of numerous honors and awards.

Conducting Alumni

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  • Lauren Denney Wright, D.M.A. '10

    Lauren Denney Wright, D.M.A. ‘10, is the Director of Wind Ensemble Activities at Berry College in Georgia.

    While teaching in the metro Atlanta, Ga., area, Denney Wright taught an active private studio consisting of more than 45 students. She also taught master classes throughout the metro Atlanta area. From 1999-2000, she performed studio work in Nashville, Tenn., for the movie “Ancient Evil” and background music for a live radio reading of “The Secret Garden.”

    Denney Wright served as guest conductor for Kennesaw State University’s Wind Ensemble, and arranged a conducting recital at Vanderbilt University. She performed as the principal clarinet for the Seven Hills Sinfonietta in Cincinnati, Ohio, and with the Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra. She also has played with the Atlanta Wind Symphony.

    While at the Frost School of Music she served as a teaching assistant in instrumental conducting, instructor of undergraduate conductor techniques and commencement band conductor. She majored in instrumental conducting at the Frost School.

  • Chung Park, D.M.A. '08

    Chung Park, D.M.A. ‘08, is the new Director of Orchestral Activities at Appalachian State University where he is the administrative head and conductor of four orchestras. This past year Park worked with many fine soloists including the Marcus Roberts Trio, violinist Yosuke Kawasaki and the Waitiki 7. Educational outreach activities coordinated by Park include a Dalcroze-Eurhythmics residency led by Stephen Neely, an all-day high school jazz invitational with the Marcus Roberts Trio and several school visits, improvisation and entrepreneurship workshops led by the Waitiki 7. Park also conducted the Hillsborough County, Tampa FL, All-County Orchestra and the 9/10 Florida All-State Orchestra. He majored in Instrumental Conducting at the Frost School of Music.

  • Bruce Kiesling, D.M.A. '06

    Bruce Kiesling, D.M.A. ‘06, recently conducted the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles for 14,000 at the Hollywood Bowl, as they accompanied international Latin superstar, Juanes featuring his own arrangements for Juanes' hit songs. Kiesling also prepared the top YOLA orchestra for a joint performance and open rehearsal with Simon Rattle. He continues his side career as a film composer including the recently completed feature film "Desperate Acts of Magic" and the upcoming "Desires of the Heart," now shooting in India. Kiesling is Music Director of the Tulare County Symphony in California's central Valley, which has twice featured Frost School of Music faculty member, Richard Todd. Kiesling majored in instrumental conducting at the Frost School of Music.

  • Cristian Măcelaru, B.M. '03


    Romanian-born conductor Cristian Măcelaru, B.M. ’03, is the 2016 Frost School of Music Distinguished Alumnus. Last night he returned to the University of Miami campus to accept the Distinguished Alumnus Award at a Frost Symphony Orchestra performance.
     
    In his first season as Chief Conductor of the WDR Sinfonieorchester, Cristian Măcelaru is one of the fast-rising stars of the conducting world. Since 2016, Măcelaru has been Music Director and Conductor of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, the world’s leading festival dedicated to contemporary symphonic repertoire. Recently appointed as Music Director as the Orchestra National de France in Paris, he will begin this position in September 2021.
     
    In January 2020, Măcelaru received his first-ever Grammy award for conducting the Decca Classics recording of Wynton Marsalis’ Violin Concerto with Nicola Benedetti and the Philadelphia Orchestra. 
     
    Măcelaru has performed with leading orchestras in Europe and America, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has been a guest conductor with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Danish National Symphony Orchestra, among others.
     
    During the 2020/21 season, Măcelaru collaborates internationally with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Barcelona Symphony, Singapore Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, St. Louis Symphony and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, among others.

  • Lucy Arner, B.M. '86

    Cuban born conductor, and Frost School of Music 2008 Distinguished Alumna Lucy Arner, B.M. ’86, has an extraordinary list of musical accomplishments. She brings to the podium a special affinity for Italian and French opera, having worked in some of the world’s greatest opera houses including the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona and the Metropolitan Opera. She made her professional debut in 1996 conducting Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Menotti’s The Telephone at the Teatro Mancinelli in Orvieto, Italy.

    Arner was the first woman to conduct opera in Mexico City’s historic Palacio de Bellas Artes. She was appointed Artistic Director of the New York Chamber Opera in 2000, making her debut with the company by conducting an exciting and controversial production of Britten’s Rape of Lucretia. She made her South American debut in Lima, Perú in 2001with a new production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, followed by Verdi’s Il Trovatore and Puccini’s Tosca. In 2010, she conducted the Verdi Requiem in Santo Domingo for a nationally televised concert.

    Arner received the Henry C. Clark Conductor Award during her 2011 Florida Grand Opera debut of The Tales of Hoffmann. She conducted scenes from Richard Danielpour’s new opera Margaret Garner with New York City Opera, and led Mozart’s Magic Flute for Mexico’s Festival Internacional Tamaulipas. Other engagements include Teatro de Bellas Artes (Mexico City), Canterbury Opera (New Zealand), Opera Ischia (Italy), and many more.

    An accomplished pianist, Ms. Arner is in great demand as a recital accompanist in the U.S. and Europe. She was a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s music staff, specializing in Italian repertory, and is on the faculty of Mannes College of Music. She also coaches privately in New York City. 

  • André Raphel, B.M. ‘84

    André Raphel, B.M. ‘84, named Frost School of Music 2012 Distinguished Alumnus, has established a reputation as an exciting and versatile conductor through innovative programming, a commitment to new music, and fresh interpretations of the standard repertoire. Raphel is Music Director of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra. He also enjoys an active career as a guest conductor with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, and Oregon Symphony. Additionally, he has served as Assistant Conductor at the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Saint Louis Symphony.

    Raphel has appeared with many of the major American orchestras including Atlanta, Baltimore, Houston, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Saint Louis, Seattle, the National Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic. He made his Carnegie Hall debut leading Robert Shaw and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in a concert celebrating the centennial of legendary mezzo-soprano Marian Anderson. He made his European debut with the Neubrandenburger Philharmonie, and has also led the Moravska Philharmonie. Other international engagements include appearances with the Auckland Philharmonia, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Columbia and the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Costa Rica.

    Born André Raphel Smith in Durham, North Carolina, he majored in trombone at The University of Miami. At Yale University, he received his master’s degree and began conducting studies, continuing at the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School. Raphel’s commitment to education is reflected in his work at leading conservatories and training programs, having led the Juilliard Orchestra, New World Symphony, Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, and Temple University Orchestra.

  • Willie Anthony Waters, B.M. '73

    Conductor Willie Anthony Waters, B.M. ‘73, named University of Miami Frost School of Music 1985 Distinguished Alumnus, is a regular guest of opera companies and symphony orchestras in North America, Europe, and Africa. Waters served as General and Artistic Director of the Connecticut Opera for twelve years, conducting more than thirty productions, and as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Greater Miami Opera for seven seasons. During his tenure, Waters led a number of noteworthy productions, including Salome, Manon Lescaut, Die Walküre, Macbeth, Aida, Of Mice and Men, Falsfaff, Bianca e Falliero, Cristoforo Colombo, La Gioconda, Turandot, Tosca, Carmen, Trouble in Tahiti, and Lucia di Lammermoor.

    Waters debuted at New York City Opera in 2002 conducting Rigoletto, returning the following season for Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men. Other notable appearances in North America and abroad include Australian Opera, Arizona Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Cologne Opera (Germany), Opera de Quebec, Edmonton Opera, Kentucky Opera, Michigan Opera, Montreal Opera, Opera Memphis, San Francisco Opera, and Vancouver Opera, among many others.

    On the concert stage, Waters has led the Brucknerhaus Orchestra (Austria), Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Essen Philharmonic (Germany), Florida Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, and Tallahassee Symphony. He has also conducted recordings and concerts for many of opera’s notable artists.

    In 2005, Waters celebrated the 25th anniversary of his conducting debut with Connecticut Opera and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Hartford. He serves as Artistic Director/Opera for the Houston Ebony Opera Guild.

    Water’s is visiting associate professor of music at Binghamton University, New York; a guest lecturer of opera at the President’s College, University of Hartford; and guest conductor, coach, and lecturer at Austin Peay State University. Waters also serves as music director for the Martina Arroyo Foundation’s Prelude to Performance Summer Opera Training Institute, and was a featured guest expert during the intermission quiz and discussion of the Metropolitan Opera’s live radio broadcast of Puccini’s La bohème in January 2015.

     

  • Bruce Ferden, B.M. ’71

    University of Miami School of Music 1993 Distinguished Alumnus Bruce Ferden, B.M. ’71 gained international recognition as a conductor and musical director, leading orchestras throughout the United States, Europe and Africa.

    At the age of 25, after working with Peter Herman Adler at the American Opera Center, Ferden was appointed assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic. He later became music director of the Spokane Symphony for six seasons, the Nebraska Chamber Orchestra for nine years, and general music director of symphony and opera for the city of Aachen in Germany. Ferden’s conducting engagements took him from the Metropolitan Opera, where he led the 1992 world premiere of Philip Glass’ The Voyage, to the Dallas Opera, Pittsburgh Symphony and Kiel (Germany) Symphony. In 1980, Ferden conducted the world premiere of Glass’ Satyagraha at the Netherlands Opera and later the European premiere of the composer’s The Making of the Representative for Planet 8.

    Ferden made his Seattle Opera debut in 1988 with Rigoletto, followed by Satyagraha, The Tales of Hoffmann, Rusalka, Lucia di Lammermoor, and Aida. He conducted Lucia di Lammermoor for the Dallas Opera, as well as a triple bill of Manuel de Falla operas. He also recorded “The Music of Elinor Remick Warren” with baritone Thomas Hampson, and the Polish Radio and Television Orchestra in Krakow, Poland.

    A popular guest conductor, Ferden led many world premieres as well as works of the standard repertoire with such noted artists as Montserrat Caballé and Marilyn Horne.

    Ferden died of AIDS in 1993 at the age of 44.

  • Thomas Hilbish, B.M. ’41

    In a career spanning 40 years, University of Miami School of Music 1992 Distinguished Alumnus Thomas Hilbish, B.M. ’41 has established himself as one of America’s leading conductors of choral music, widely recognized for fostering and interpreting 20th century choral repertoire.

    Hilbish attended the University of Miami on music and basketball scholarships, where he was captain of the basketball team, president of the Student Body, and president of Florida Student Government. After graduating, Hilbish served his country during WWII as a naval aviation pilot trainer stationed in Pensacola, Florida. 

    Hilbish’s legacy is among the world’s leading conductors of choral music. He earned his M.M. degree from Westminster Choir College and early in his career, Hilbish served a sixteen-year tenure as supervisor of music for the Princeton Public Schools, where he built the program into a nationally-recognized ensemble, subjects of an article in Time Magazine.. He joined the faculty of The University of Michigan in 1965, serving as Chairman of the Conducting Department for nine years, and Director of Choirs until his retirement in 1987. He founded the University of Michigan Chamber Choir, whose notable accomplishments include performances at Menotti’s Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy; State Department Cultural Exchange tours to the Soviet Union and Poland; the Canary Islands International Opera Festival in Las Palmas, Spain; a U.S. performance (chorus and orchestra) of Schonberg’s oratorio Die Jakobsleiter at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; and participation as Associate Music Director in the 1982 Fifth International Choral Festival in Philadelphia in collaboration with Robert Shaw. Additionally, Hilbish made several recordings with the Chamber Choir including The Manticore, which received a 1981 Grammy nomination.

    Hilbish is also an accomplished orchestral conductor. He conducted the Warsaw Symphony and the Szczecin Philharmonic in Poland, as well as the the Harvard Philharmonic, the Princeton University Orchestra, and the University of Michigan’s Symphony, Philharmonic, and Faculty Orchestras. Hilbish currently serves as visiting professor at several universities including the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China, where he conducted the first performance of Bach’s Mass in B Minor.

    Hilbish retired from the University of Michigan as professor emeritus of conducting in 1988, continuing to hold guest conductorships and visiting professorships at universities across the globe including New York University, Florida State University, UCLA, and the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. 

    Hilbish passed away peacefully in February 2015, at the age of 96.

Guitar Alumni

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  • Federico Bonacossa, D.M.A. '10

    Federico Bonacossa holds degrees from the Conservatorio Statale Pierluigi da Palestrina in Cagliari, Italy, the Peabody Conservatory and recently earned his D.M.A. in Guitar Performance at the Frost School of Music where he also studied composition. He has played at the EMMAS World Music Festival, as a soloist with the “International Orchestra of Sardinia” during the first international competition for composers in Q.S. Elena, Italy, and at the Miami International Guitar Festival.

    Performances include many chamber music concerts featuring his duo with flutist Tony Watson and his voice and guitar duo with his wife Carol. He is also an active composer and arranger and a member of the Miami Guitar Trio.

  • Alan Nguyen, M.M. ‘10

    Alan Nguyen attended the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami where he completed his Masters in guitar performance.  Alan was the first prize recipient of the 2007 FCCAA Student Artist Competition at Stetson University, and 2007 SCF Concerto Competition.  He has been featured as a solo artist for the Sarasota Guitar Society’s Mini Recital Series and the Miami International Guitar Festival Showcase Concert Series.  He’s had the privilege of performing in master classes with world-renowned guitarist Manuel Barrueco as well as other artists such as Berta Rojas, Ana Vidovic, Thomas Muller-Pering, and Dr. Stephen Robinson. Alan is a guitar instructor in the South Florida area.

  • Rattanai Bampenyou, M.M. '08, D.M.A. '13

    Rattanai Bampenyuo, a native of Thailand, completed both his Masters and Doctoral Degrees at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. He is currently on faculty at the College of Music, Mahidol University, in Thailand.

  • Barmey Ung, B.M. '08

    Barmey Ung is a Cambodian-American composer, guitarist, and mixed-media artist, currently on faculty at the New Music School in Chicago. He has traveled the world to explore genres, mediums, cultures, and philosophies of music. His collected influences have molded his creative work into a “truly unique,” (Jordan Brandes, Lumino Magazine) and constantly evolving expression. His experiences have been integral in the development of his work, for which he received the 2012 Illinois Arts Council Grant and the 2012 Chicago Community Arts Program grant. Barmey received his Bachelor’s degree in Music from the University of Miami, FL where he focused on classical guitar performance and music composition.

  • Federico Musgrove, B.M. ‘07

    Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Federico started playing guitar at the age of twelve. In 2001, he moved to Miami, Florida to pursue a career in music. He graduated from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music where he completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Music performance in 2007. In 2011, Federico became the first student to earn a Master’s Degree in classical guitar performance from Florida International University, where he studied with Rafael Padrón. His most recent performances include solo recitals, appearances with the Miami Guitar Trio, the FIU Symphony Orchestra, and the New World Symphony. He continues his studies at the Frost School of Music in fall 2014 pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree.Federico is currently the head guitar instructor at Music Instruction Specialists, in Miami, and also founding President and Executive Director of the Florida Guitar Foundation.

  • Douglas Lora, M.M. ’06

    Douglas Lora, M.M. ’06, was born in Washington D.C. and grew up in Brazil where he studied guitar from an early age. He completed his Masters of Music in 2006 at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. Lora is a member of the Brasil Guitar Duo, a 2006 winner of the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, hailed by Classical Guitar magazine for their “maturity of musicianship and technical virtuosity.”

Percussion Alumni

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  • Laurence Kaptain, M.M. '75

    Laurence Kaptain, M.M. ‘75 was named Dean of the LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts in August 2014. He most recently served as the founding director of creative initiatives in the Office of Research and Economic Development at Louisiana State University, and prior to that was Dean of the College of Music and Dramatic Arts. Prior to joining LSU, Kaptain was the dean of the Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University in Kentucky. Prior to his appointment at Shenandoah, he was director of the Schwob School of Music in Georgia and vice-provost at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

    A highly accomplished percussionist and symphonic cimbalom artist, Kaptain is a founding partner of the Alliance for the Arts at Research Universities (a2ru), a partnership of 30 institutions committed to transforming research universities to ensure the greatest possible institutional support for interdisciplinary research, curricula, programs and creative practice between the arts, sciences and other disciplines. He currently serves on a2ru’s strategic communications committee and plans to continue his involvement with the organization, hoping to bring in CU Denver as a partner institution.

    Kaptain recently served as President of the Association for General and Liberal Studies, and is currently the Treasurer of the College Music Society. In 2014 he was named a Fellow in the Royal Society of the Arts. Prior to assuming this post at LSU, he was dean of Shenandoah Conservatory near Washington, DC, Director of the heralded Schwob School of Music in Georgia, and Vice-Provost for Faculty Programs and Academic Quality at UMKC.

    He received the first doctorate in percussion instruments at the University of Michigan, where he was a Fulbright Scholar in Mexico and received the prestigious Rackham Graduate School Pre-Doctoral Fellowship. Kaptain appears regularly with orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, and has recorded with the Chicago Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Orpheus, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Czech National Symphony. He has also appeared, collaborated or recorded with artists such as Elvis Costello, Yo-Yo Ma, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Robert Altman, Rudolf Nureyev, Suzanne Farrell and others. Kaptain majored in performance at the Frost School of Music.

  • Dean W. Anderson, B.M. '72

    Dean W. Anderson, B.M. ‘72 is a percussionist with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, Boston Pops Orchestra, Cantata Singers Orchestra, Boston Music Viva, and the Boston Lyric Opera. He is also a professor at Berklee College of Music. Anderson majored in instrumental performance at the Frost School of Music.

Woodwinds Alumni

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  • Carey Kleiman, B.M. '73, M.M. '75

    Carey Kleiman, B.M. ‘73, M.M. ‘75, is currently an adjunct professor of music business and clarinet at Broward College. He previously taught at Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University, and the University of Hawaii, and has performed with the Miami Philharmonic, the Honolulu Symphony, and the Ft. Lauderdale Symphony and on many recording dates in South Florida and Hawaii. In earlier years he performed with, and produced for numerous artists including Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Boyz to Men, Tony Bennett, Woody Herman, and The Bee Gees, to name a few. He also served as a music supervisor and contractor for syndicated television shows. In the 1980s he formed his own music production company and served as the music and entertainment director for the Diplomat Hotel. He later formed CK Entertainment, specializing in corporate & meeting entertainment. He was a performance major at the Frost School of Music.

  • Mark Colby, B.M. '72, M.M. '75

    Mark Colby, B.M. ‘72, M.M. ‘75 formerly with Maynard Ferguson, Bob James, Frank Sinatra, and Jaco Pastorius, has solo recordings on Columbia, Hallway, and Origin Records. He has toured Europe, Japan, Canada, Central America, China, and all 50 U.S. states. He has been associate professor of jazz saxophone at DePaul University since 1983 and Elmhurst College since 1998, a Selmer saxophone clinician since 1987, and a Vandoren Reeds clinician since 2000. Colby received his B.M. in instrumental performance and his M.M. in studio music and jazz.

  • T. Geoffrey Hale, B.M. '69, M.M. '70

    T. Geoffrey Hale, B.M. ‘69, M.M. ‘70 is presently principal bassoon of the Miami Symphony Orchestra (MISO) and the Miami City Ballet Orchestra. As an educator, he has been Bassoon instructor at the New World School of the Arts in Miami for the past 11 years. He has taught privately for the past 43 years aiding his students to achieve scholarships at UM Frost School of Music, Cincinnati Conservatory, Julliard School of Music, New England Conservatory, and Florida State University. For the past 30 years, Hale has also been a member of, among others, the South Florida Symphony, Florida Chamber Orchestra, Miami Philharmonic, Miami Beach Symphony, and the Miami Chamber Orchestra. He was a performance major at the Frost School of Music.

  • Paul Martin Zonn, B.M. ‘59

    Composer, conductor and clarinetist Paul Martin Zonn, B.M. ’59 is recipient of many professional awards, yet he was reportedly most pleased to have been named University of Miami School of Music Distinguished Alumnus in 1998. Heralded as an innovator both in composition and clarinet performance, Zonn attended the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami on scholarship and later studied clarinet in Baltimore and New York, earning advanced degrees from the University of Iowa. He appeared on stage as clarinet soloist at Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood and Ravinia, and with many different styles of musical artists that include the Lenox String Quartet, country music great Vince Gill, the Miami Philharmonic, the Nashville Jug Band, and the New Orleans Eagle Band.

    Zonn played mandolin at Lincoln Center and at the Library of Congress with Juilliard Quartet cellist Joel Krosnick. He played saxophone and slide saxophone in performances and recordings of avant-garde jazz with Anthony Braxton, and appeared on stage with the Tennessee Dance Theatre and at Opryland playing traditional jazz. He also toured and recorded with fiddle legend Vassar Clements.

    Zonn received honors and awards from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, New York Composers Forum, the Berkshire Music Center, and the Fromm Foundation. His music is published by Media Press, Sonic Arts Editions, and the American Composers Alliance. His compositions are recorded on CRI, UBRES, and Mark, and he can be heard as clarinetist and/or conductor on Advance, Crystal, Orion, CRI and UBRES Records.
    Paul Martin Zonn passed away in 2000 after a long illness.

Strings Alumni

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  • Victor Colmenares, B.M. '14

    Victor Colmenares, violin, majored in Instrumental Performance at the University of Miami Frost School of Music where was a Stamps Distinguished Ensemble Scholar and a member of the Stamps String Quintet, Class of 2014. He studied privately with Glenn Basham. He participated in coaching sessions with musicians from The Cleveland Orchestra and Frost artist-in-residence Mark O’Connor and performed in the Frost Symphony Orchestra and the Frost School’s Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra.

    As a member of the Stamps Strings Quartet, Colmenares performed in the Texas Music Educators Clinic in San Antonio, the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar in New York City, and twice at the Orfeo Music Festival in Italy.  He also performed regularly in chamber music concerts throughout South Florida.

    Victor Colmenares was born in Columbia and began playing the violin at age 6. He is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy. Upon graduation from the University of Miami Frost School of Music, Victor Colmenares was offered a teaching assistant position by University of Oklahoma, where he is pursuing a Master’s of Music degree and is studying with Hal Grossman.

  • Amanda Diaz, B.M. '14

    Amanda Diaz, viola, majored in Instrumental Performance at the Frost School of Music where she was a Stamps Distinguished Ensemble Scholar and a member of the Stamps String Quintet, Class of 2014. She studied privately with Pamela A. McConnell.

    As a member of the Stamps Strings Quartet, Diaz performed in the Texas Music Educators Clinic in San Antonio, the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar in New York City, and twice at the Orfeo Music Festival in Italy.  She also performed regularly in chamber music concerts throughout South Florida.  Diaz participated in multiple coaching sessions with musicians from The Cleveland Orchestra and performed with the Frost Symphony Orchestra, Frost Opera Theater, Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, and other major Frost School ensembles.  She performs frequently in chamber music concerts at churches and venues throughout South Florida.

    A pianist since the age of five, violinist since age seven, and violist since the age of nine, Diaz was born in Miami and is a graduate of New World School of the Arts (NWSA). Upon graduation from the University of Miami Frost School of Music, Amanda Diaz accepted a scholarship to pursue a Master of Music degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying with Mark Jackobs.

  • Arianne Urban, B.M. '14

    Arianne Urban, violin, majored in Instrumental Performance at the Frost School of Music where she was a Stamps Distinguished Ensemble Scholar and a member of the Stamps String Quintet, Class of 2014. She studied privately with Scott Flavin and Glenn Basham and also performed in the Frost Symphony Orchestra, Frost Opera Theater, Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, and other major Frost School ensembles. The Stamps String Quartet Class of 2014 performed classic and contemporary string quartet repertoire, tangos, jazz-inspired works, and more, while also collaborating on new chamber music with the Stamps Jazz Quintet.

    Arianne Urban has participated in coaching sessions with string musicians from The Cleveland Orchestra and violinist and composer Mark O’Connor. Her summer festival experiences include Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute, the Aspen Music Festival, Orfeo International Music Festival and the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar in New York City. 

    Urban was born in Miami and graduated from New World School of the Arts (NWSA) in 2010. Upon graduation from the University of Miami Frost School of Music in May 2014, Arianne Urban continued her musical studies as a M.M. scholarship student at DePaul University in Chicago, studying with Janet Sung.

  • Christopher Young, B.M. '14

    Christopher Young, cello, majored in Instrumental Performance at the Frost School of Music where he was a Stamps Distinguished Ensemble Scholar and a member of the Stamps String Quintet, Class of 2014. The Stamps String Quartet performed classic and contemporary string quartet repertoire, tangos, jazz-inspired works, and more. Chris Young also performed in the Frost Symphony Orchestra, Frost Opera Theater and the Frost School’s Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, as well as chamber groups throughout the South Florida region. He studied privately with Ross Harbaugh.

    As a member of the Stamps Strings Quartet, Young performed at the Texas Music Educators Clinic, and with the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar in New York City, and the Orfeo Music Festival in Italy. He has collaborated with artists Alexander Markov, Mark O’Connor, Pavel Vernikov, Eli Matthews of the Cleveland Orchestra, and hip-hop producer Chip Williams.

    Chris Young was born in Santa Maria, California and grew up in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy. Upon graduating from the University of Miami Frost School of Music, Christopher Young was awarded a scholarship to pursue a Master of Music degree at the University of Michigan, studying with Richard Aaron.

  • Tomas Cotik, D.M.A. ’13

    After receiving his D.M.A. degree from the Frost School of Music, Tomas Cotik, violin, became involved in six commercial CD recording projects, including Mendelssohn Viola Quintets with James Dunham, and the first volume of the complete works of Franz Schubert for violin and piano. His latest Schubert duo album with pianist Tao Lin was nominated as “Recording of the Year 2013” by MusicWeb International’s Albert Lam. Cotik’s newest recording, Piazzolla: Tango Nuevo, was released internationally in November by Naxos to excellent reviews. He tours in the U.S. and Canada as a concerto soloist, and is Principal Second Violin of the Florida Grand Opera, and violinist of the Delray String Quartet.

  • Aaron Ludwig, D.M.A '11

    Aaron Ludwig, D.M.A ‘11, cellist, is a member of the New World Symphony. He has performed solo, chamber and orchestral music throughout the United States and Europe.

    As a chamber musician, Aaron was a founding member of Trio Lunaire, which competed in major competitions including the Coleman Chamber Music Competition in Los Angeles and Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.  His piano trio was also one of only two American groups invited to the ARD Munich Music Competition in Germany and was a prizewinner at the Music Teacher National Association chamber music competition in Toronto.

    Ludwig majored in instrumental performance at the Frost School of Music.

  • Daniel Andai, D.M.A. '11

    Award-winning violinist Daniel Andai has been named the new dean of music at Miami’s New World School of the Arts. After earning his high school diploma at New World School of the Arts, Andai received a bachelor of music degree from the Lynn University Conservatory of Music, a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music and a doctorate from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music.  As a violinist, Andai has been a soloist, chamber musician, concertmaster, conductor and recording artist, frequently with the Miami Symphony Orchestra. He is also artistic director of Vermont’s Killington Music Festival. At new world, he’ll oversee both the high school and college programs in music.

  • Ashley Garritston, D.M.A. '10

    Ashley Garritson, D.M.A. ‘10, has a distinguished career as an international soloist, chamber and orchestral musician. She has collaborated with the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Del Sol Quartet, members of the Juilliard String Quartet, ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble) of Chicago, and the Vols Quartet as well. Recent solo engagements include appearances with the Miami Symphony, where she performed the South Florida premiere of the Marc O’Connor Double Concerto with another Frost School graduate Daniel Andai, as well as with the University of Miami’s Frost Symphony Wind Ensemble, the Kammergild Chamber Orchestra, the Jefferson Symphony, the St. Joseph Symphony Orchestra, and the Northwestern Symphony Orchestra. Additional activities include attending Tanglewood Music Center, the Kneisel Hall Chamber Festival and the Yellow Barn Music Festival, where she performed and worked with artists such as Mstislav Rostropovich, Janos Starker, Lynn Harrell, the Paris Trio, the Vermeer and Ying Quartets. Ashley has served as principal cellist of the Chicago Civic Orchestra and is currently Principal Cello of the Miami Symphony. She performs worldwide as a founding member of both the Agam String Quartet and Sapphire Piano Trio. Ashley has also performed with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Charles Dutoit, Lorin Maazel, Seiji Ozawa, Pierre Boulez, Daniel Barenboim, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, Alan Gilbert, and others. Garritson majored in instrumental performance at the Frost School of Music.

    Ashley currently serves as artistic director of the Monteverdi Festival of the Arts in Tuscany, Italy. She is also adjunct professor of cello at Broward College in Davie, Florida. In May, 2010, she was granted the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Cello Performance by the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, where she recently performed the world premiere of Aaron Travers’ Cello Concerto, which was commissioned by the University for her and the Frost Wind Ensemble. She was also the solo cellist in the world premiere of the Maslanka Trombone Concerto with wind ensemble. “Garritson plays with burnished tone and deep sensitivity.” -The Miami Herald

  • Andres Vera, B.M. '10

    Andres Vera, B.M. ‘10, cellist, is a member of Cello Street Quartet, a group of all classically trained musicians who blend a classical music tradition with modern pop tunes. Veras is also a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory. He has been a member of the Miami Symphony Orchestra for six years.

    In 2011, he performed in several concerts in Haiti to raise money for earthquake relief and general education. Vera majored in instrumental performance at the Frost School of Music.

  • David Bebe, D.M.A. '09

    David Bebe, D.M.A.  ‘09, cellist, is a faculty member at the College of Saint Rose where he serves as the director of the Saint Rose String Program, conductor of the Saint Rose Orchestra, and cello Instructor. He recently received his D.M.A in Instrumental Performance from the University of Miami where he studied with Ross Harbaugh and performed with members of the Bergonzi Quartet. While in Miami, Mr. Bebe performed as a soloist with the Miami Bach Society Orchestra and gave the Florida premiere of Steve Reich’s “Cello Counterpoint” with the composer present. He performed with the chamber ensemble Project Copernicus, and formed the Copernicus Duo with violinist Jamecyn Morey. This duo was a featured ensemble as part of Festival Miami and the National Foundation for the Advancement of Arts, premiering new and commissioned works.  He received his B.M. and M.M. at Indiana University where he studied with Helga Winold and Tsyoshi Tsutsumi, and studied chamber music with Rostislav Dubinsky and members of the Cleveland Quartet.

    A dedicated pedagogue, Mr. Bebe has been on the faculties of the Indiana University String Academy, the String Academy of Wisconsin, Young Musicians and Artists (OR), and the Gem State String Boot Camp (ID). His Doctoral Essay, “A Logical and Comprehensive Sequence of Skills for Teaching Young Children the Cello” includes a cello method and website.

    As a conductor, he has served as associate conductor for the Frost Symphony Orchestra, Clarke Chamber Players, and was appointed the Broward Symphony Orchestra’s guest conductor in the spring of 2009. He majored in instrumental performance at the Frost School of music.

     

  • April M. Liberty, B.M. '09

    April M. Liberty, B.M. ‘09, is the conductor of the Young Musicians’ Junior and Intermediate Orchestras within the Coral Gables Congregational United Church of Christ Community Arts Program where she is a violin and viola instructor.

    Liberty teaches violin to children in grades 3-5 at Florida Youth Orchestra’s S.T.E.P.S group at Hialeah Gardens Elementary School and gives private after-school violin classes at Carrollton. She also instructs a group of students at West Lab Elementary School.

    When not teaching in schools, Liberty runs a private studio where she teached more than 30 violin and viola students throughout South Florida.

    She is Chair of Indego Africa’s Miami Regional Board and President of the Liberty Family Foundation. Liberty majored in instrumental performance at the Frost School of Music.

  • Susan Moyer Bergeron D.M.A. '09

    Susan Moyer Bergeron D.M.A. ’09 , cellist, has been a member of the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra since 2006. She performed as a member of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra for 10 years.

    An active chamber musician, Bergeron has performed extensively in South Florida. She is a founding member of the Dalbergi Trio and has played for 12 summers with Chamber Music Palm Beach.

    Following the completion of her bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory, Bergeron was a member and principal cellist of the New World Symphony for two seasons, during which time the orchestra toured Japan and England and collaborated in two special chamber concert performances with Sir Georg Solti in London. She majored in instrumental performance at the Frost School of Music.

  • Claire Courchene, B.M. '07

    Claire Courchene, B.M. ’07, multi-instrumentalist, recently played on three seasons of American Idol (cello and trombone), and appeared with P. Diddy on the Jimmy Kimmel Show.

    Courchene recorded the solo cello song “Eclipse” for the Twilight Breaking Dawn movie.  She has written and performed (cello and trombone) on several tracks for Macy Gray, participated in Duran Duran’s Unstaged concert, directed by David Lynch, and performed with them at Coachella. She has performed on the PBS Special “Listen to Me: Buddy Holly,” and toured the world with Josh Groban.

    In 2008, her original electro-jazz group, Jazztronic Groove, opened the first Jazz on Edge Festival. In 2005 she joined Kanye West’s “Touch the Sky” tour, playing cello. Courchene majored in instrumental performance at the Frost School of Music.

  • Mei Mei Luo, M.M. ’07

    Before enrolling at the Frost School, Mei Mei Luo, M.M. ’07, held positions in the Philadelphia Concerto soloists and the Philadelphia Orchestra under Ricardo Muti. She served as assistant concertmaster and concertmaster of the Florida Philharmonic. After receiving her M.M. degree from Frost, she won positions with the Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival, the concertmaster post of the Miami Chamber Symphony, and has performed as associate concertmaster of the Florida Grand Opera. She is currently first violinist of the Delray String Quartet.

  • Marie-Elaine Gagnon, D.M.A. '06

    Marie-Elaine Gagnon, D.M.A. ‘06, cellist, is an assistant professor of cello at the University of South Dakota, where she has played in the Rawlins Piano Trio since 2009. The Rawlins Piano Trio has distinguished itself as a leading American chamber music ensemble. Since its founding in 1987, it has given performances throughout the United States and abroad. Gagnon’s most recent international tours have included Taiwan and Panama. In January 2011, the trio traveled to New York City to perform on the prestigious Chamber Music America artist showcase.

    Gagnon has won numerous music competitions in Canada and the United States, and as a member of the Ibis Camerata he performed in Russia, at the White Nights Festival, in Serbia and Switzerland. In 2006, their first recording, Glisten, was released by Albany Records. She majored in instrumental performance at the Frost School of Music.

  • Huifang Chen, M.M. ’05

    Huifang Chen, M.M. ’05, violin, enjoys a dual career as a performer and educator. After receiving her B.M. from Curtis Institute and her M.M. degree from the Frost School of Music, she was named Director of Orchestra at Florida International University. She is currently serving on the violin faculty of the new World School of the Arts and, conductor of the Greater Miami Youth Symphony which performed in Carnegie Hall under her baton.  She is also Concertmaster of the Ars Flores Symphony and a member of the Florida Grand Opera Orchestra.

  • Tara Hanish, M.M. '04

    Tara Hanish, M.M. ’04, cellist, is currently on faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music Preparatory School and the Fairmount Center for the Arts. Hanish has been a member of the Akron Symphony Orchestra since she moved to Cleveland in 2004.  She performs often with the Canton Symphony Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic and Suburban Symphony.

    Hanish currently plays cello for Seafair, an indie/folk-pop band based in Cleveland, and is a founding member of the Azalea String Quartet, which was a finalist in the Hugo Kauder International String Competition and the J.C. Arriaga Chamber Music Competition.

    She has performed with many notable artists on tours and concerts, including Kanye West, the Foo Fighters, Josh Groban, Barry Manilow, the Trans Siberian Orchestra, Patrizio Buanne, Smokey Robinson, Diana Krall and Randy Newman. She has performed at the Grammy Awards with the Foo Fighters and John Paul Jones as a winner of the 2008 “My Grammy Moment” competition on YouTube.

    Hanish has taught on the faculties of the Beck Center for the Arts and the Avon School of Music. She has been a chamber music coach for the CIM Summer Chamber Music Camp, as well as the Michigan ASTA Jr. High String Camp. Hanish majored in instrumental performance at the Frost School of Music.

  • Nicolas Repetto, B.M. ’03

    After earning his Bachelor of Music degree at the Frost School, Nicolas Repetto, B.M.‘03, performed throughout the world, including the Luzerne Music Festival, Les Rasse, Switzerland, the Dante Alighieri Society, Rome, Italy, and in the Caribbean and South America. He moved to Los Angeles where he is pursuing his dream of scoring television shows, films, video games, and other multimedia.

  • Aurora Wells, M.M. '99

    Aurora Wells, M.M. ‘99, bass, has performed with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, the Palm Beach Pops, Ellington’s Jazz Club, Southwest Florida Symphony and The Naples Players. Wells has enjoyed numerous engagements as musical director and conductor with theatre organizations in the Caribbean and Southwest Florida, where she calls home.

    Wells majored in instrumental performance at the Frost School of Music.

  • Tomasz Liebig, M.M. ’95, D.M.A. ’98

    Tomasz Liebig, M.M. ’95, D.M.A. ’98, is concertmaster of the Bruckner Orchestra in Linz, Austria, and concertizes extensively in Europe as a soloist and chamber musician. He was second violinist of the Bergonzi String Quartet after receiving his DMA from the Frost School of Music.

  • Wells Cunningham, B.M. '96

    Wells Cunningham, B.M. ‘96, cellist, is the first cellist to win the University Miami’s concerto competition.  Currently he serves as faculty at the Frost School of Music Young Musicans’ Camp. Upon graduation from Frost in 1996, he was invited to tour Europe as principal cellist and soloist with a nationally assembled orchestra. While in France, he performed the Elgar Cello Concerto.

    In 1998, he received his master’s degree in cello performance from Eastman School of Music and returned to Miami to play with the New World Symphony for the next two years as both principal and section cellist.

    Wells published The Art of Scales in 2009, a guide to a new approach to learning scales. He is well-known online for his YouTube video, The Impossible Duet: Handel-Halvorsen Passacaglia for Cello and Violin, which has more than 1.6 million views. He majored in instrumental performance at the Frost School of Music.

    His playing has recently been featured in recordings by Nelly Furtado, Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez.

  • Elena Alamilla, B.M. '73

    Elena Alamilla, B.M. ’73, cellist, was appointed Assistant Principal of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic after graduation.  Since returning to the United States Alamilla has performed with many local orchestras, including Naples Philharmonic, Miami Symphony and Symphony of the Americas.

    She has toured the Far East with the Hollywood Festival and Mantovani Orchestras.  At present she is a member of the Palm Beach Pops and the Encore Chamber Players.  She teaches cello and violin at Donna Klein Jewish Academy in Boca Raton and plays with the Camerata de Re, based in Delray Beach.

    Alamilla majored in instrumental performance at the Frost School of Music.