|Jon Robert Cart
Dr. Jon Robert Cart is Director of the Cali School of Music. He was formerly the Dean of the College of Fine and Performing Arts at Rowan University. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Maryland, a Master of Music from Indiana University, a Bachelor of Music from DePauw University, and has attended the esteemed Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies in Aldeburgh, England. Dr. Cart has sung leading tenor roles with the Baltimore Opera, the Harrisburg Opera, Opera Roanoke, Wolf Trap Opera, the Amalfi Coast Festival and the Shaker Mountain Music Festival, and has performed as soloist at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Mexican Cultural Institute, the Phillip's Collection and the White House. His solo orchestral appearances include the Indianapolis Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Albany Symphony, and the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic, under such eminent conductors as Leonard Bernstein and Raymond Leppard. His discography includes Serenata Mexicana (Centaur Records) and Träume: the Songs of Wagner and Strauss (to be released) - recordings that have been heard on WPRB 103.3 FM, Princeton, New Jersey, and on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio. Dr. Cart has published and presented at the international, national and regional levels on the topics of Latin American music, the music of Richard Wagner, and transdisciplinarity. Professional memberships include the International Council of Fine Arts Deans (ICFAD) where he serves on the Global Task Force, the European League of Institutes of the Arts (ELIA), and the College Music Society (CMS). He has been honored by Who's Who Among America's Teachers (2004-2006), Who's Who in America (2006), and Who's Who in American Education (2007).
Associate Director of Administration
Michael Albaugh recently served as the Director of Music at Interlochen Center for the Arts. From 2001 to 2008, he oversaw all musical and educational programming for the Interlochen Arts Academy and the Interlochen Arts Camp, as well as teaching composition and music theory. He received the National Teacher Recognition Award in 2005 from the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts on behalf of the United States Department of Education. His composition students are currently studying in the top music programs in the country and include two Presidential Scholars in the Arts in the last four years. A ProMusica International Grant recipient, he has also conducted field research in West Africa, studying Ewe music and culture in Kopeyia, Ghana. He holds a B.A. from West Liberty State College in music education and guitar performance, studying with Nels Leonard. He holds an M.M. in composition from Bowling Green State University with an emphasis in music technology, studying with Marylin Shrude, Burton Beerman and Samuel Adler. He holds a D.M.A. in composition from West Virginia University, with an emphasis in music theory, studying with John Beall and Andrew Kohn.
Associate Director for Faculty
MSU Jazz Ensembles/Jazz Piano
Jeffrey Kunkel (D.Ed., Music Education, Penn State University; M.M., Jazz Studies, New England Conservatory; B.S., Music Education, Penn State University) is Coordinator of the Cali School’s new major in Jazz Studies. Previously, Kunkel served as the Coordinator of Undergraduate Music Education. In 2008 he was presented with the New Jersey Jazz Education Achievement Award, given annually to an educator who has excelled in the field of jazz education. Kunkel spent spring 2007 on sabbatical in Brazil, concentrating his studies on Brazilian jazz and bossa. While there, he presented a workshop at the Federal University of Parana and performed a jazz trio masterclass at UNIRIO in Rio de Janeiro with Haroldo Mauro. He recently returned to Rio for his first featured jazz performance at TribOz in the Lapa district. In the Cali School he teaches courses in jazz history, theory, improvisation, and pedagogy. He directs of the MSU Jazz Band and formerly directed the Vocal Jazz. These ensembles have performed at festivals throughout the trip-state area, and were featured with the Grammy–Award-winning New York Voices in MSU’s annual Crawford Concert in 2006. He was previously on the faculties of James Madison University and Otterbein College, and prior to that taught on the secondary level in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
Gina Balestracci has been at MSU since 1988. She came to Montclair from Stanford University, where she had been director of publicity and public information in the music department, and before that from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she worked in the library system. At the Cali School, Balestracci oversees all of the school of music’s academic administrative needs. She also teaches Freshman Seminar for Music Majors, sings with the Collegium Musicum, and teaches in the University’s Honors Program.
Martha Learner has worked as an administrator, editor, webmaster, musician and visual artist. This experience contributes to her work in the Cali School, where she handles multiple jobs including scheduling and oversight of academic concerts, publications and communications.
Bassoonist Andrew Pecota serves as the Cali secretary. He performs with many orchestras in New Jersey and is studying for a graduate degree in music theory.