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Faculty News

submitted April, 2015

Gaelen McCormick, double bass instructor, has just been appointed to the Board of the International Society of Bassists.  She is currently a bassist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and an author of bass literature.

Dr. Keith Koster and members of the Wilmot Woodwind Quintet has given presentations at the 54th NAfME Eastern Division Biennial In-Service Conference  in Providence, Rhode Island. The sessions include "When Your “Dream Job” isn’t Available" and "Navigating the Double Reed Maze" by Dr. Keith Koster; "Enhancing Large Ensemble Success Through Chamber Music" by the Wilmot Wind Quintet and Dr. Bryan Hunter on "Music Therapy: A Career for You? A Career for Your Students?"

submitted February, 2015

On February 11, The Nazareth College Wind Symphony performedin a side by side concert with the Churchville-Chili High School Wind Ensemble at the new Churchville-Chili Performing Arts Center.  This is a great opportunity for our students to perform in a beautiful venue with excellent acoustics along side high school students in the area.  The concert will be conducted by Dr. Jared Chase with faculty soloist, Jeremy Stoner.submitted February, 2015

On February 11, The Nazareth College Wind Symphony performed in a side by side concert with the Churchville-Chili High School Wind Ensemble at the new Churchville-Chili Performing Arts Center.  This is a great opportunity for our students to perform in a beautiful venue with excellent acoustics along side high school students in the area.  The concert will be conducted by Dr. Jared Chase with faculty soloist, Jeremy Stoner.

Dr. Octavio Vazquez, was in Madrid for a performance of his composition Eleusis; in Galicia (Spain) for a performance of his composition,  Sinfonica de Galicia by the Memento Sinfonia Orchestra, conducted by conducted by Dima Slobodeniouk.  The Detroit Symphony Orchestra premiered “Elas”, the third and last movement of a recently composed concerto for Gaita (Galician bagpipe) and orchestra this February. Elas will also be premiered by Grammy-award winner Cristina Pato and the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Grams, during the 2015 SphinxCon, one of the nation’s leading arts diversity conferences. More recent news can be found at

Dr. Marjorie Roth was the recipient of the Center for International Education's Outstanding Faculty Award "for promoting unique and exceptional opportunities for study abroad" at Nazareth College.  She will be reading a plenary session paper at the New York Open Center's 2015 conference," An Esoteric Quest in the South of France:  Troubadours, Cathars, Templars, and The Grail in Medieval Languedoc".  It will take place in Carcassonne, France.  The title of her paper is "The Language of Love and Longing:  Troubadour Poetry and Song in Medieval Languedoc".  

Marjorie has also been invited to participate in a symposium in Athens, Greece, from June 18 - 21, 2015.  The symposium, entitled "The Experience of the Transcendent, the Humanities, and the Future of Higher Education," will explore the past, present, and future of the humanities, and what the humanities and the world of learning contributes to the world today.  Her presentation, entitled "Living Life Harmonically", will focus on Boethius's tripartite structure of Universal Harmony as a viable model for neutralizing tensions between liberal and vocational learning on modern campuses today.

She has been invited to do a short stint as visiting lecturer/expert at Bowling Green State University this semester.  From February 6 through 10, she will be working with graduate and upper level undergraduate music history students who are taking a seminar topics on Music and Magic.  She will give formal lectures while at Bowling Green, along with a day-long workshop/open house in which she will work with students and faculty on topics of their individual interest.

submitted December, 2014

Mimi Hwang, cello has been appointed to the board of  Chamber Music America.  Mimi is widely known as a soloist and consummate chamber music player.  This significant position acknowledges her musical achievements and status among chamber music players and coaches throughout the country.

Nancy Strelau, director of the Nazareth College Symphony Orchestra led the Nazareth College String Orchestra in Bahamas and performed with the National Youth Choir of the Bahamas. The performance was taped and recorded for National TV in the Bahamas. Nancy will also be leading the The Hochstein Alumni Orchestra to perform a  concert on January 3, 2015 at 7:30 PM at the Hochstein’s Performance Hall. The orchestra, founded in 2011, has been organized and conducted by Nazareth alumni, Evan Meccarello, a former member of the Hochstein Youth Symphony Orchestra, since its inception.

Dr. Marjorie Roth was the recipient of the CIE Outstanding Faculty Award "for promoting unique and exceptional opportunities for study abroad" at Nazareth College. 

submitted November, 2014

The voice area headed by Dr. Mario Martinez and the Rochester Lyric Opera hosted an exciting day of National Opera Week event on November 1st.  The morning section began with a panel discussion of the State of the Vocal Arts, followed by an afternoon session of vocal master class with guest master teacher, Jan Opalach, bass-baritone. The evening event concluded with a concert that included faculty member Dr. Kimberly Upcraft, Dr. Mario Martinez and accompanied by Dr. Kevin Nitsch.  

Celestial Welcome (published by Alfred), a piece written by Kristen Shiner McGuire  for Daan Braveman's inauguration ceremony in 2005, and our Percussion Ensemble has performed it. It was performed by the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in November.

submitted October, 2014

Kristen Shiner McGuire, Coordinator of Percussion Studies presented a session on Mallet Percussion Workout at the NAfME In Service Conference in Nashville in October. Attendees were very receptive and participated in hands-on instruction on the marimba. 

Jen Ryckaert, Music Therapy and Josh Massicot, piano presented a workshop to the Rochester Piano Teachers Guild on November 2. The lecture focused on learning differences, current pedagogical practices and teaching materials that support vibrant and diverse learning.

The Nazareth College Wind Symphony under the direction of Dr. Jared Chase, has been selected to perform at the 33rd Annual New York State Band Directors Association conference on March 7, 2015. The performance will be a "feature concert," taking place at 8:00 p.m. in Liverpool, New York.

Roy Stein has brought in talk show host and radio personality Brother Wease. He is quite simply a legend in Rochester, New York and is probably the city’s most well know media figure for the past twenty five years. He shared his impressions about the radio industry and music business in general.

The American Music Therapy Association has selected Dr. Bryan Hunter to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at its annual meeting in November. This Award is the most prestigious honor conferred by the Association and is given in recognition of a "legacy of distinguished service to the music therapy profession." 

Gaelen McCormick, double bass was the Coordinator of the 2014 Rochester Bass Retreat at Nazareth College, more than fifty double bass players participated in a full day of masterclass, concerts and ensembles.

submitted June, 2014

Jazz critic Tom Hull’s in the 2014 Downbeat Critics’ Poll rated Paul Smoker's CDs, It Might Be Spring and Landings A- (or better).

Brian Preston, pianist was invited to give a recital and masterclass at Ithaca College in April, 2014.

Kristen Shiner McGuire performed the second movement of  Nebojsa Zivkovic's multiple percussion solo concerto with the Nazareth College Wind Symphony in November, 2013.

Beverly Smoker and Bonnie Choi have received funding for the SIS summer grant to enlarge our piano pedagogy library of piano teaching videos at Nazareth College. Beverly also performed as soloist in a concert in June with the Greater Rochester Women's Philharmonic in Rochester.

Several students of Bonnie Choi have won piano competitions in New York State. Mia Gorczyca was 1st runner-up at the Hochstein Competition and 1st prize at the Virtuosi Competition in 2014. Lauren Kim received Honorable Mentions at the Empire State Competition and Virtuosi Competition in 2014.

submitted April, 2013

Paul Smoker, trumpet performed with a quartet at the Bop Shop Record Store, 1460 Monroe Ave, on  April 8. He was joined by Vinny Golia from L.A. on woodwinds, Adam Lane from New York City on bass, and Phil Haynes, Bucknell University faculty, on drums. Vinny Golia is one of the leading voices in the “new jazz/new music” scene on the West Coast. He and Paul had a quartet in the ‘90’s that toured and had made several recordings.  This concert was also repeated again in Buffalo on April 6 at Hallwalls: 341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, New York.

Josh Massicot, lecturer has written a book, Functional Piano for Music Therapists and Music Educatiors, being published by Barcelona Publishers. This book is an ideal resource for students, professionals, and anyone looking to develop their functional piano skills —from basic harmonic accompaniments to engaging stylistic renditions and improvisations. 

submitted August, 2012

Academic year 2011-2012 began for Dr. Marjorie Roth with submission of a chapter on teaching music as a Liberal Art to editor James Davis (SUNY Fredonia) for his new book,The Music History Classroom (Ashgate; due out by the end of 2012). Also in August came collaboration with Dr. Scott Campbell, chair of Nazareth’s Philosophy department, which led to a National Endowment for the Humanities “Enduring Questions” grant for the creation of a new Liberal Arts core course devoted to the exploring the history of the Liberal Arts and the value of a Liberal Arts education in today’s world. Another pedagogical high point came last spring, when Dr. Roth offered her first course grounded in the discipline of esoteric studies at Nazareth (“Music, Art, & Magic in Western Culture”). It was team-taught with Dr. Doot Bokelman ( Art History) and cross-listed as an upper level art history course, an upper level music history course, an Honors Program seminar, and a graduate level seminar in Liberal Studies.  The varied population of students was challenging, but the class was a success and will be offered again, refocused as an upper level music history class, in the spring of 2013.

In April Dr. Roth was promoted to Full Professor. Her interdisciplinary work as Honors Program Director continues and she looks forward to adapting the Honors curriculum to fit the new Liberal arts core in the coming year. In May Dr. Roth offered an upper level music history class for music majors in Europe with her Austrian friend and colleague, Dr. Michael Malkiewicz (Mozarteum, Salzburg). Following the closing banquet of the class in Venice, Dr. Roth and her husband (Dr. Leonard George, Capilano University, British Columbia) flew to Cairo for a few days of touring and then traveled to Alexandria to present scholarly papers at a conference held at the Library of Alexandria. Ultra-modern in architectural style and equipped with 22 museums and all the technological bells-and-whistles imaginable, the new facility nonetheless still embodies the spirit of learning that characterized the ancient, lost Library. It was positively thrilling to be there as a resident scholar, even if only for a short time. Other conference high points include Dr. Roth’s being asked to read “The God Abandons Antony” (one of her favorite poems) during an evening poetry-reading at poet Constantine Cavafy’s Alexandrian apartment; observing an all-night Sufi prayer service in the Rue Nabi Daniel (heavily veiled and sitting in a side-room); visiting a Coptic monastery, staying at E.M. Forster’s beloved Cecil Hotel on the Corniche in Alexandria; and of course just being in Egypt and talking with Egyptians during the exciting days leading up to the election.

The conference concluded with several days on Cyprus (legendary birthplace of Aphrodite), where the conference faculty toured Orthodox monasteries high up in the mountains, attended lectures, and participated in discussions on the spiritual and political history of the Island led by sociologist and author Kyriakos Markides. Upon returning home Dr. Roth and her husband bought a house, in happy anticipation of his eventual retirement and re-location to Rochester. Perched high up on a cliff overlooking Irondequoit Bay, it’s full of light and air and is visited regularly by deer, foxes, rabbits, coyotes, turkeys, skunks, hawks, dragonflies, and countless songbirds. It’s also the perfect place for Mali, their new rescue kitty, who spends her days at the picture window watching squirrels run up and down a walnut tree.

In September Dr. Roth is off to Leuven, Belgium, to present a paper on musical Sibylline prophecy at a conference devoted to the various spiritual reformations occurring in Renaissance Europe. In November she will speak before the AMS music history pedagogy study group at the national joint meeting of the American Musicological Society, the Society for Music Theory, and the Society for Ethnomusicology held in New Orleans. In June 2013 she will present a paper at an esoteric studies conference in Sicily, after which she hopes to spend a peaceful week with her husband at a writer’s retreat in Southern Italy, where they will both devote their days to converting their papers from the 2012 conference in Egypt into publishable essay form.

submitted February, 2012

Mario Martinez, coordinator of Vocal Studies at Nazareth College, will sing the role of “Slook” in Gaetano Rossini’s “La Camibiale di Matrimonio,” the premiere event of Empire State Lyric Theatre’s (ESLT) first annual Chamber Opera Festival, sponsored by Genesee Regional Bank, on Friday, March 2 at The German House in Rochester.
La Cambiale di Matrimonio” kicks off three days of opera performances in three different venues. On Saturday, March 3, ESLT presents Vittorio Giannini’s “Beauty and the Beast” at the Strong’s National Museum of Play, and as well as an evening performance of “The Medium” and selected opera and operetta scenes at RAPA. The latter repeats on Sunday at 2 p.m. For the performance, Martinez, who teaches applied voice, vocal pedagogy, song literature and performance technique courses at Nazareth, joins a cast made up of professionals from the greater Rochester region. Tickets to “La Cambiale di Matrimonio” are $25 for the performance alone or $50 for the performance and both pre- and post-performance receptions, and are available from and from Genesee Regional Bank branches.
This performance marks Martinez’s performance debut with the Empire State Lyric Theater, but is a part of an on-going relationship with the opera company. In 2010, Martinez and Nazareth College’s Department of Music invited Empire State Lyric Theatre to co-sponsor the Summer Institute of Vocal Arts and Musical Theatre, an intensive 2-week summer program for high school voice students.

Kristen Shiner McGuire, Coordinator of Percussion Studies, has released her own jazz standards album, Kristen Sings and Plays and Rings. Professor Shiner McGuire is the drummer, vocalist, and mallet percussionist on this mostly live album. Paul Smoker, Jazz Studies Director, is featured on trumpet. Available in the Nazareth College Bookstore and online at the Apple iTunes store. For more information about the album.

submitted September, 2011

Chisato Eda Marling was featured at the Nazareth Concert Series at 3:00 pm on November 20, 2012.

submitted July, 2010

Euridice Alvarez was invited by the University of Costa Rica to give an oboe recital, master classes and reed class the week of June 14-18. She performed a recital on June 17th in San José, Costa Rica.

Chisato Eda Marling will be featured as a soloist in the Nazareth Concert Band concert at 4:00 pm on October 30, 2010.

Marjorie Roth gave a mid-concert talk on the love affair of Robert and Clara Schumann at the Feb. 14 concert that opened the department's series of "birth year" concerts dedicated to Schumann 3. In May, she read a paper in Rome, Italy at a conference sponsored by the American Association of College and University Programs in Italy. The subject of the conference is Early Modern Rome, and the title of her paper was "Opportunity Lost: Christian Prophecy, Musical Magic, and the Road Not Taken in Counter-Reformation Rome". In May and June Dr. Roth team taught an upper level music history class for NAZ music majors (13 students) in Salzburg and Vienna, with my Austrian colleague Dr. Michael Malkiewicz. The title of the course is "MUS 416: Music & Culture in Austria", and it ran from May 16 till June 7th. In November Dr. Roth will read a paper "The Song of the Prophets: A Musical Model for Lasso's 'Carmina Chromatico" at the annual national meeting of the American Musicological Society, held in Indianapolis, Indiana this year. She has also been asked by the AMS Committee On Career-related Issues to be their guest "Master teacher" speaker this year (other Master Teacher speakers have included Peter Burkholder, Susan McClary, and Mary Natvig). She will present a 40-minute talk on a music-history pedagogy topic of my choice, which will be followed by discussion with the audience. Dr. Roth have been invited to read a paper at a conference being held at the Library in Alexandria Egypt, in June of 2011.  The paper will focus on the women important to Alexandria's long history.

submitted March, 2010

Mary C. Carlson, Associate Professor of Music Education has been appointed the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Music Educators Award Committee. The purpose of this committee is to select outstanding music educators in public and parochial schools from the city of Rochester and the nine-county surrounding area.

Bonnie Choi, Lecturer of piano has given several concerts with her Baroque Ensemble Group, Air de Cour. This includes the Arts Center Re-opening Gala Prism Concert, Brockport College Concert Series, Rochester Early Music Festival and the annual Messiah Concert with the Rochester Chamber Orchestra. She has been invited to give another recital in Iowa City after her concert last April.
Mitzie Collins, Lecturer of world music was awarded the 2007 Artist Awards from the Arts and Cultural Council of Greater Rochester. Mitzie is known as a recording artist, a performer of Celtic and traditional American folk music, a historian of the American hammered dulcimer, and an Arts- in- Education specialist in the public schools. With her husband, she founded Sampler Records Ltd., a recording company specializing in the production of traditional music.

Liisa Ambegaokar Grigorov, Lecturer of flute performed in the William Walton "Facade," with members of the Ithaca College Chamber Orchestra, on the "Music at St. Luke series on September 23, 2008 in Ithaca, New York.
Betsey King, Assistant Professor of Music Therapy and her student Bree Gordon (senior, music therapy) were both featured in the latest issue of Connections Magazine, in an article about the Nazareth Interdisciplinary clinics.

On March 26, pianist Kevin Nitsch and mixed media artist Kathleen Nicastro will present a concert at 3:30 p.m. in the Miller Center Atrium as part of their interactive “Labyrinth of Sound and Light” series. Titled “Water’s Edge: 200 Years of Women Composers,” the event also features soprano Amy Cochrane and pianist Beverley Smoker, Professor of Music. Individuals will be able to wander into the Atrium to listen, watch, and move around the artists to enhance the participatory experience; writing and drawing materials will be available so that audience members can express their own thoughts or impressions.
Kristen Shiner McGuire, Coordinator of Percussion Studies, performed an arrangement of the Rodrigo Guitar Concerto, Movement III. on marimba with the Greater Rochester Music Educators Wind Band; Al "Corky" Fabrizio, Conductor and arranger. Also playing, Nazareth alumni Keven Webber and Christine Voldan, Katherine Rudman '13 and Professor and Chair of the Chemistry Department, Timm A. Knoerzer.

Kristne spent the summer of 2008 travelling, performing, and teaching. In June, she and her husband travelled to Berlin to visit her co teacher, Mark Maynor, and his wife Jen; the latter of whom is studying for her doctorate in Musicology. Kristen and Mark played marimba on the streets for tips; and all attended concerts, art exhibits, and one of the world’s largest musical instrument museums.

Upon her return home, Kristen played percussion for the Merry Go Round Playhouse production of Les Miserables. The last week of July was spent teaching at Tritone Fantasy Jazz Camp held in our own Music Department. As Percussion Ensemble Editor for NYSSMA, Kristen reviewed and edited submissions to the manual for NYS teachers and students. Throughout the summer, Kristen can be heard performing with the RPO Marimba Band, Elle Jazz Trio, and Kind of Blue jazz and blues group.

Eric Rieger, Lecturer of voice will sing Count Almaviva in a new production of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Zomeropera Alden Biesen in Belgium this spring and summer. He reprises this role which he has performed throughout Europe, including the Teatro Coccia in Novara, Italy and several others in Germany. 

Robert Strauss, Lecturer of voice, has had a busy year in addition to his duties at Nazareth College. Last year, he premiered the programme Finding a Way Back, a telling of the story of two people who meet, fall in love, fall out of love, and back again through the songs of the contemporary music theatre repertoire. He reprised his role as King Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors for Mercury Opera Rochester last December, which also featured his voice student, Zach Ligas, as the page. In January, he appeared with Mercury Opera Rochester and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra as Spoletta in a production of Tosca. That same month, he was appointed the Interim Artistic Director of the Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus, for which he prepared and conducted their March concert, Women of Song, which also featured the local all-woman ensemble Women of Note. In February, he was appointed the permanent Artistic Director of the Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus, and has since appeared with local artist Thomas Warfield, gay duo and contemporary Christian singers Jason and deMarco, helped to found the Ithaca Gay Men’s Chorus, and led the June concert, Play It Cool, which also featured comic/movie star/jazz singer Lea DeLaria.

This academic year proves to be just as busy and fulfilling for the part-time professor, as he will present a recital of the chamber works of Benjamin Britten in October, featuring also countertenor Lyndon England, horn player Jennifer Presar, and pianist Benton Hess. In November, he will present a benefit concert for the RGMC, which will be an evening of music theatre selections from the gay perspective, featuring local artists Chandra Downs, Matt Tappon, and Mark Brennan on piano. In November as well, he will appear with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in a Symphony 101 concert about Baroque Opera. In January, he will appear with Mercury Opera Rochester as Gastone in their production of La Traviata. Before jetting off to Illinois for another performance of Britten’s Seranade, opus 31, he will stage Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte for the Nazareth College Opera Workshop. He is also excited about the RGMC concerts this year, which will culminate in June with a performance of USS METAPHOR: A Lad Loved A Sailor, a retelling of the Gilbert & Sullivan classic.

Nancy Strelau, conductor of the Nazareth College Symphony Orchestra and Department of Music Instrumental Activities Coordinator, was presented in March with the Monroe County School Music Association 2008 Richard H. Snook Memorial Award for her work with the student musicians in Monroe County. She received her honor at the High School Area All-County concert, held in the Eastman Theatre. Recent Rochester-area conducting appearances for Nancy included one as guest conductor for the Greece Athena High School Orchestra in March, in their preparation for their upcoming music competition in Boston, Massachusetts in April. Nancy also conducted the Oswego County High School Area All-County Orchestra on March 28 & 29th.

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