John J. Cali School of Music - Spring 2014


Director’s Corner...

Hello and welcome to the John J. Cali School of Music's Spring 2014 newsletter. As always, this semester, the Cali School of Music continues to celebrate the rich tradition of musical training. However, before I proceed, I am sorry to have to start my message on a sad note. The Cali School recently lost a dear friend and supporter, its namesake actually, with the passing of John J. Cali in February (read more here.). In 2008, Mr. Cali and his family made a $5 million gift to Montclair State that helped the University to establish a music school that bears his name. Since then, the Cali School has been helping empower others to realize their dreams of becoming professional musicians and music educators. Although Mr. Cali has passed, the School continues to be a testament to his lifelong passion for music as you will see upon reading further.

This season, our students, faculty, staff and alumni joined forces for an exciting series of nearly 250 performances. Whether it’s a Tchaikowsky symphony, chamber music at the Van Vleck House, performances at the Montclair Art Museum, a concert at Carnegie Hall, Puccini’s opera Gianni Schicchi, or a concert by the wind symphony and the jazz ensemble, you’ll see students, faculty and alumni side-by-side celebrating the art of music making. December 6-8, the School presented its large ensembles in the Peak Performances series at the Kasser Theater (read more here). That series included a December 8 concert featuring the music of the East and the West when the Montclair State University Symphony Orchestra was joined by musicians from the East China Normal University (ECNU) Symphony Orchestra, as they presented the annual Beatrice Crawford Memorial Concert (more about this below)

In addition to a March 8 performance at Carnegie Hall, the John J. Cali School of Music chorale performed Verdi's Messa di Requiem with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in early April (read more here), and the Symphony Orchestra has been invited to record the soundtrack for an upcoming PBS special.

The Cali School is also hosting a conference, "Giving Voice To Democracy in Music Education," from June 20-22. This conference will present ideas and forward thinking teaching practice about developing young musicians in a democratic society. Featured speakers will include Dr. David Elliott, celebrated author of Music Matters, Dr. Nicholas Michelli, international spokesperson and author for education as democratic practice, and Dr. Paul G. Woodford, distinguished author of Democracy and Music Education.

Whatever you musical interest, it’s all here in the John J. Cali School of Music. I hope to see you at one of our events.

Dr. Robert Cart

News Highlights . . .

June 20-22 Conference - "Giving Voice To Democracy in Music Education" 



MSU Chorale & New Jersey Symphony Perform Verdi Requiem: April 3-6

The 170-voice MSU Chorale joins the New jersey Symphony Orchestra in three performances of Verdi's Requiem. Read more...



Theater and Music from Mediterranean Italy

Two renowned, Italian artistic groups – the award-winning Teatro delle Albe and the acclaimed musical duo, the Mancuso brothers – brought their artistry to campus in February. Read more...



Musical Theatre and Music Students Perform "City of Angels" February 6-9

A cast featuring actors from the Musical Theatre program in the Department of Theatre and Dance, joined by musicians from the John J. Cali School of Music, presented the award-winning City of Angels from February 6-9 at Leshowitz Recital Hall. Read more...


Winter Concerts in Kasser Theater




Curtains Up!

Students took to the stage for exciting music, theatre and dance performances. Read more...


East and West Join through Music at Crawford Memorial Concert

The music of the East and the West filled the Alexander Kasser Theater on December 8 as the Montclair State University Symphony Orchestra, joined by musicians from the East China Normal University (ECNU) Symphony Orchestra, presented the annual Beatrice Crawford Memorial Concert. Read more...

People Spotlights . . .Faculty, Students, Alumni


DON BATCHELDER (Adjunct Faculty, trumpet; brass studies coordinator) gave several high-profile solo performances in Fall 2013, including a featured solo appearance with the Ridgewood Concert Band; a full recital with Cali Organ faculty member RENEE LOUPRETTE; the Shostakovich Piano Concerto with the Stamford Symphony; and Bach's Second Brandenburg Concerto with the Sherman Chamber Ensemble.

NANCY BILLMANN (Adjunct Faculty, French horn) was the hornist for a performance of the Beethoven Piano and Wind Quintet in a Westchester Philharmonic concert in November with guest pianist and recent MacArthur Award-winner Jeremy Denk, Melanie Feld, Frank Morelli, and John Moses.

ROBERT BUTTS (Adjunct Faculty, Introduction to Music) conducted: "Romance & Revolution," a concert with the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey in November;  a fully staged production of Die Fledermaus with Eastern Opera Company of New Jersey, Brook Arts Center (Bound Brook, NJ) in November; and a semi-staged production of The Magic Flute with Opera Theatre of Montclair in Montclair in December.
STEVE COLSON (Adjunct Faculty, Introduction to Jazz) was mentioned in the Village Voice “The Best Jazz Shows in NYC This Month” listing in August. In December, he was a  panelist for the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience (Rutgers University), NJPAC and Newark Museum regarding the 50th anniversary of Blues People by Amiri Baraka (NJ Poet Laureate) – first book on Blues/Jazz by an African American.

SARAH BRETT ENGLAND (Collaborative Pianist) music-directed the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at SUNY New Paltz; Sweet & Hot at Trinity School; and accompanied a reading of a new musical, The Witching Hour.
ALAN FERBER (Adjunct Faculty, jazz trombone) released a big band recording: Alan Ferber, "March Sublime" (Sunnyside Records), which has been nominated for a 2014 Grammy award in the "Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album" category. He was the recipient of a 2013 Chamber Music America "New Jazz Works" grant, funded by the Doris Duke Foundation. He is writing new music for his group, Nonet. He also toured extensively with Esperanza Spalding's Radio Music Society throughout 2013.  The touring culminated in a wonderful performance at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Curacao. 

KAREN GOODMAN (Professor, Music Therapy) presented her work on 'Culture-centered music therapy:Education and Training' at the European Music Therapy Conference, ' Setting the Tone: Cultures of Relating and Reflecting in Music Therapy', Oslo, Norway. Her work has been published in Kirkland, K. (Ed.)  (2013) International  Dictionary of Music Therapy. London, U.K.: Routledge. Pp. 29, 34, 35, 82, 84, 118

MARSHA HELLER (Adjunct Faculty, oboe) has been involved with a new group, called "Double Entendre Music Ensemble," which is dedicated to commissioning and performing music for double reed ensembles. They gave a concert in October at The Old Stone House in Brooklyn, and were able to include a piece for two oboes, two English horns and two bassoons written for them by alumnus and oboe student OWEN DAVITT (BMus - Music Education '15).

TING HO (Professor, Theory/Composition) was appointed to the Academic Council for Thomas Edison State College, one of New Jersey's 12 senior public institutions of higher education and one of the oldest accredited schools in the country designed exclusively to address the unique needs of adult learners specifically through online degree and professional programs.  The College serves more than 20,000 students from 50 states and approximately 70 countries around the world.

ERIC MILLER (Adjunct Faculty, Music Therapy) presented a bio-guided Music Therapy seminar at the Berklee School of Music in Boston in September for an enthusiastic group of students. Dr. Miller coordinates Montclair State University’s David Ott lab for Music and Health where students in the Fall course for Music, Physiology and Technology conducted the lab’s first 19-channel EEG brain-maps. David Ott scholar DAWN CHIK volunteered her brain and was monitored while listening to silence, Stevie Wonder, and Tibetan bowls.

DARREN O'NEILL (Assistant Professor; Coordinator of Guitar Studies) hosted and performed in a memorial concert for DENNIS CINELLI (1953-2012) in Leshowitz Hall on November 11. From 1989-2011, Mr. Cinelli served as Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Guitar Studies in the music department at Montclair State University. Guest artists included Mary Cherney, John LaBarbera, Mark Wade, and Rex Benincasa. The concert featured original works and arrangements by Mr. Cinelli.

GEORGIA SMITH (Adjunct Faculty, Music Therapy) presented at the Healing Arts Conference at the Montclair Art Museum, sponsored by Atlantic Health. She also ran the Music Therapy portion of the Creative Arts Sampler conducted at Sage Eldercare in Summit, NJ. This program is offered to local seniors in the beginning to moderate stages of dementia and Alzheimer's from the community.

GREGG WRAMAGE (Adjunct Faculty, Theory/Composition) and conductor Renee Baker, Chicago Modern Orchestra Project, received a Music Alive: New Partnerships composer residency grant from New Music USA and League of American Orchestras for the Chicago premiere of Wramage's chamber orchestra work, “in shadows, in silence.” The original sextet version of “in shadows, in silence” was composed at The Macdowell Colony, New Hampshire, in 2002 and premiered that summer by eighth blackbird at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. The chamber orchestra version was premiered in 2003 at Marin Alsop’s Cabrillo Festival. Prof. Wramage is documenting his residency on his website.


JAMES SMITH (BMus. Performance  '14) won the Inaugural Cali Choral Composition Competition in December with his Reflections, which will receive its Carnegie Hall premier by Cali's Vocal Accord in March.


LYNN CHAO (BMus. Performance '13) is pursuing a master's in Trumpet Performance at the Manhattan School of Music, where she studies with Vincent Penzarella. Based on her strong audition, she was invited to join the elite Orchestral Repertory class under Tom Smith. She studied at the Cali School with Prof. DON BATCHELDER.

JOSHUA DELA CRUZ (BFA - Music Theater '11) joined the cast of Disney's Broadway-bound Aladdin at Toronto's Mirvish Theatre. He studied with Prof. PETER GILLIS at the Cali School.

Soprano MIA PAFUMI (BMus. Performance '13) was engaged by the Sarasota Opera in its apprentice program in November. She will perform as a soprano in ensemble roles throughout its mainstage season. She studied with  Prof. PETER GILLIS at the Cali School.