Thomas McCauley
Associate Professor of Music
Director of University Bands

Thomas McCauley conducts the MSU Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band. He came to the Cali School from the University of Indianapolis, where he was Director of Instrumental Music Activities and the founder of the University of Indianapolis Chamber (later Symphony) Orchestra. He holds a DMA degree in conducting from Northwestern University, and Master and Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has been mentored by such notable conductors as Mallory Thompson, Larry Rachleff and Stanley DeRusha. In addition to directing the bands, Dr. McCauley directs a Weekend Wind Conducting Symposium each November with special guest clinicians from around the world, building on his past work with such notable clinicians as Eugene Corporon, Jerry Junkin, Craig Kirchhoff, and Felix Hauswirth. He has appeared with the Northshore Concert Band, the Indianapolis Brass Choir (in Italy), and led the University of Indianapolis Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra on a tour of the major cities of Austria. Dr. McCauley was the creator and host of Music Education Matters, a 30-minute radio talk show heard weekly on WICR in Indianapolis. The Nevada Music Educator’s Association named him Music Educator of the Year in 1995, and the Indiana Music Educators Association honored him with an Outstanding University Music Educator Award in 2006.

Shelley Axelson McCauley   Shelley Axelson McCauley
Assistant Professor
Music Education
Director of Campus-Community Band
Pep Band
Main Office: 973-655-7212

Before coming to the Cali School, Shelley Axelson held a similar position at the University of Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Indiana, where her responsibilities included teaching conducting, clarinet, and a variety of instrumental music education classes. Prior to her appointment at Indianapolis, Prof. Axelson was the Director of Bands at Central College in Pella, Iowa, Pasco Middle School in Dade City, Florida (co-author of Secondary Music Curriculum), and Richardson Junior High School in Richardson, Texas. Prof. Axelson received an undergraduate degree in Music Education from the University of South Florida, a Master's Degree in Conducting from the University of Michigan, and the Doctor of Music degree in Conducting from Northwestern University. Her principal conducting teachers were Mallory Thompson and H. Robert Reynolds.



Heather Buchanan
Professor of Music
Director of Choral Activities
Music Education
Heather Buchanan - Website

Heather J. Buchanan, PhD, conducts the 170-voice Chorale, 60-voice University Singers, and 24-voice Vocal Accord. Choirs under her direction have won critical acclaim for their “vibrant sound,” “eloquence”, and for singing with the “crispness and dexterity of a professional choir.” Her choirs have collaborated with many international artists including Meredith Monk, Mícheál ÓSúílleabháin, Tarik O’Regan, Joseph Flummerfelt, Sarah Hopkins, Chen Yi, members of the Vienna Philharmonic strings, Richard Alston Dance Company, and conductors Neeme Järvi, Jacques LaCombe, John Maucceri, and Susie Benchail Seiter with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Buchanan holds degrees from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music (Australia), Westminster Choir College of Rider University (USA), and the University of New England (Australia). A licensed Andover Educator, she teaches Body Mapping and somatic pedagogy for musicians. Her publications include co-editing and compiling Teaching Music through Performance in Choir (GIA), a chapter in Teaching Singing in the 21st Century (Springer), a DVD Evoking Sound: Body Mapping & Gesture Fundamentals (GIA), and choral octavos in the Evoking Sound Choral Series (GIA). A vibrant teacher, dynamic performer, and passionate musicians’ health advocate, Dr. Buchanan is in demand as a guest conductor, somatic educator, and choral clinician in the US and abroad.



Markand Thakar
Visiting Professor of Music
Director of Orchestral Studies

Main office: 973-655-7212
Markand Thakar - Website

Markand Thakar comes to the John J. Cali School of Music after a 21-year tenure as Co-Director of Graduate Conducting at the Peabody Conservatory. Currently Music Director of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Maestro Thakar has been Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic, Associate Conductor of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and for twelve years Music Director of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra. He has conducted orchestras across the United States and Canada, as well as in China and South Korea. His BCO recordings for Naxos include a disk of music by American composer Jonathan Leshnoff, named one of Naxos’ Best of the Best, a disk of concertos by Ignaz Pleyel, and a disk of viola concertos by Carl Stamitz and Franz Anton Hoffmeister. Maestro Thakar, a protégé of the legendary Sergiu Celibidache, is the author of Counterpoint: Fundamentals of Music Making (Yale University Press), Looking for the Harp Quartet: An Investigation into Musical Beauty (University of Rochester Press), and On the Principles and Practice of Conducting (University of Rochester Press). Noted internationally as a conducting pedagogue, his students hold significant positions around the world as music directors, staff conductors, and college-level conductors.

Ken Lam
Visiting Artist
Orchestral Studies

Main office: 973-655-7212
Ken Lam - Website

Ken Lam is the conductor of the Montclair State University Symphony Orchestra and the Cali School opera orchestra. He is the winner of the 2011 Memphis Symphony Orchestra Conducting Competition and was Assistant Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for three seasons. He is Resident Conductor at the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina, Artistic Director of the Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestras and Artistic Director of Hong Kong Voices in China. Ken was a featured conductor at the League of American Orchestras' 2009 Bruno Walter National Conductors Preview and made his professional debut in 2008 with the National Symphony Orchestra. He was a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival (with David Zinman and Murry Sidlin), the National Conducting Institute (with Leonard Slatikin) and assistant conductor at the Castleton Festival (under Lorin Maazel) He read economics at Cambridge University and studied orchestra conducting at Peabody Conservatory with Gustav Meier and Markand Thakar.

Gregory Dlugos
Adjunct Professor
Director of Pit Orchestra
Main Office: 973-655-7212

Greg Dlugos, a graduate of Hartt Conservatory of Music, has worked extensively on Broadway and has served as conductor, associate conductor, musical director, pianist and keyboardist for numerous shows. Within the last five years he has been engaged by the Broadway productions of Young Frankenstein, Fosse, Thou Shalt Not, Chicago, Nine, The Blonde in the Thunderbird and In My Life. Between steady engagements, he has performed as Conductor or Keyboardist for Beauty and the Beast, The Phantom of the Opera, The Drowsy Chaperone, The Producers and The Wedding Singer among others. As a composer he has written industrial music forIBM, American Airlines and McNeil Labs. As an arranger, orchestrator and dance arranger he has worked with personalities such as Betty Buckley, Antonio Banderas, Elaine Paige and Chita Rivera. He also serves as an organist for Sunday services in New Jersey.