John J. Cali School of Music - Spring 2015


News Highlights...

Welcome to the John J. Cali School of Music's Spring 2015 newsletter. This season, our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and esteemed visiting artists join forces for an exciting series of more than 300 performances at on- and off-campus venues, including the Leshowitz Recital Hall, the Alexander Kasser Theater, the Van Vleck House, and Carnegie Hall. You’ll hear an opera by Johann Strauss, the Chant d’Auvergne with Prof. Lori McCann and the MSU symphony, and great wind symphony and jazz ensemble standards.

This April, the MSU Chorale performs the chamber accompaniment version of Annelies by James Whitbourn, the first major choral setting for Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.  The MSU Symphony highlights Prof. and soprano Lori McCann in a performance of Joseph Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne, a hauntingly beautiful arrangement of folk songs from the Auvergne region of France.

This spring, John J. Cali School of Music continues our Chamber Music Series at the historic Van Vleck House, and two very special performances at Carnegie Hall: the MSU Singers in the New York Choral Festival on March 17, and the inaugural MSU Graduate string quartet in their Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Concert Hall on March 14.  On February 25, students and faculty members of the Cali School of Music, under the direction of Ken Lam, performed Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with world-renowned mezzo soprano Barbara Dever and me at Leshowitz Recital Hall.

This summer, the Cali School will host several camps, including Jazz House Kids and Grammercy Brass.  Continuing our commitment to democracy in music, the Music Education program is planning Music Bridge 2015 – a summer music camp focused on providing access to excellent musical training for students of color.

Our first semester of two new world music ensembles – African drumming and Balkan Music Ensembles – was a great success with enrollments and performances growing steadily.  In fact, Balkan Music Ensemble adjunct instructors Raif Hyseni and Merita Halili were featured in an American Voices documentary that aired on Albanian television last fall.  

So, whether your musical interests are in band, chorus, jazz, opera, orchestra, or non-western forms, it’s all here in the John J. Cali School of Music. I look forward to seeing you at of our events.

Dr. Robert Cart


People Spotlights . . .Faculty, Students, Alumni


Patrick Burns (Adjunct Professor, Theory/Composition) conducted the 2014 New Jersey All-State Orchestra in November 2014 in two performances, in Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, and at the NJPAC in Newark. The program consisted of works by Sibelius, Walton, Leo Weiner and Nancy Galbraith.

In January, 2015, Robert Butts (Adjunct Professor, Introduction to Music) conducted performances of his two chamber operas at the National Opera Center, Opera America (New York). He wrote the libretto and music for The Cask of Amontillado. He composed the music to a libretto by Jewel Seehaus-Fisher for Mark Twain and the General.

Lorraine Ernest (Adjunct Professor, Voice) performed the role of Violetta in La Traviata with La Boheme Opera. Lorraine is recording an album based on the famous Le Six.

Since September 2014, Marsha Heller (Adjunct Professor, Oboe) has performed with the Queens Symphony, Bronx Arts Ensemble, New York Pops, and Double Entendre, a double-reed ensemble that performed a Christmas program at Grand Central Station.  Double Entendre also released its new CD entitled Double Take.

Mike Lee (Adjunct Professor, Jazz) performed and toured with Oliver Lake's Big Band and Octet; with Josh Evan's Big Band at Smalls Jazz Club and Dizzy's Club Coca Cola; performed frequently with Loston Harris Trio at Bemelman's Bar at the Carlyle Hotel; played with the "Giants of Jazz" with Wallace Roney, Renee Rosnes, and Lenny White, in tribute to McCoy Tyner; and performed and recorded the Music of Stanley Turrentine with MSU Guitar Faculty-member Prof. Dave Stryker for Prof. Stryker's upcoming CD release. Prof. Lee continued his weekly residency at Hat City Kitchen, in Orange as host of the weekly jazz jam. 

Anthony Mazzocchi (Cali School Associate Director, Trombone professor) premiered a concerto with the Peabody Wind Ensemble under the direction on Harlan Parker in December. He performed Frank Gulino's Capriccio for Trombone and Wind Ensemble with the composer in attendance.

Thomas McCauley's (Associate Professor, Director of Bands) book, Adventures in Band Building, was accepted for publication by G.I.A. He appeared as a guest conductor with the Westchester Symphonic Winds in Tarrytown, N.Y.  He directed the MSU Wind Symphony in performances at Carnegie Hall (for annual November "Season of Giving" concert) and with the Ridgewood Concert Band (Ridgewood, N.J.). He directed the Wind Symphony in recording music for a PBS television special on renowned entertainer Dick Van Dyke.

Peter Stewart  (Adjunct Professor, Voice) sang with the vocal chamber group Pomerium, presenting concerts of early music at Yale University, Vassar College, and at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles (a musical context for their exhibition of Rubens tapestries from the royal palace in Madrid). He also developed a music theater piece - titled Edwin - about the Booth family (including John Wilkes) by Anna Rozett in New York. He also sang the Waverly Consort's Christmas Story in December at the Cloisters Museum in New York.

Sondra Tammam (Adjunct Professor, Piano) performed on the Leschetizky Association Concert Series at the Tenri Cultural Institute (N.Y., October 2014). She performed a concert of piano trios with Ariel Shamai and Alex Bacelar. She was also an adjudicator of the Connecticut  MTNA Festival Competition at Steinway of Westport, Conn.


Students performed on-campus, off-campus and internationally: Vocal Accord performed with the Richard Alston Dance Company in Kasser Theater for the 10th Anniversary of Peak Performances (Oct. 30-Nov. 2, 2014); University Singers performed Handel's Messiah with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Jacques LaCombe, conductor (Dec. 19 - 21, 2014); and Vocal Accord performed in London, England, with the Richard Alston Dance Company for its 20th Anniversary performances at Sadler's Wells Theatre (Jan. 26 & 27, 2015). Read more here...

MSU Wind Symphony members have auditioned for major positions around the United States. Bass trombonist Benjamin Clymer (MA'16, Performance) auditioned for the Boston Lyric Opera Orchestra in November and will soon audition for the United States Air Force Band Ceremonial Brass in March, 2015. Trumpeter Joseph Christianson (MA'15, Performance) auditioned for both the United States Navy Band and the United States Military Academy Band at West Point, and will soon audition for the St. Louis Symphony. Clarinetist Megan Alston (MAT '16) auditioned in December for the "President's Own" United States Marine Band. 

Cali School students in the MSU African Drum and Dance Ensemble, led by Robert Levin (Adjunct Professor, Music Education), gave a workshop and performances for students at Memorial Middle School in Cedar Grove. Eight middle school student-musicians attended an hour-long workshop in African drumming, singing and dancing with the MSU ensemble. Those boys and girls (grades 5 through 8) then joined the MSU group to perform in both assemblies that ended with a gym full of students and teachers singing and dancing along.


Bassist Niccholas Lenchner (BMus '09, Performance), composed a new work for bass and orchestra that was premiered by the Chelsea Symphony in January 2015. He studied with Linda McKnight (Adjunct Professor, Double Bass).

Mezzo-soprano Kimberly Prins-Moeller (MA '10, Voice) completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree (DMA) from the University of Arizona, Tuscon in fall 2014. She studied with Lori McCann (Assistant Professor, Voice).