John J. Cali School of Music - Fall 2011

Director’s Corner...
Welcome from New Director Robert Cart

Hello and welcome to the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University’s College of the Arts. I’ve just joined the school as director, taking over the reins from Professor Ruth Rendleman, who did a great job as interim director. 

Each year, the School of Music presents nearly 200 performances, including student and faculty recitals, large and small ensemble performances, and a fully staged opera. Our October performance of Kaleidoscope, an event featuring students and faculty from each of the disciplines within the School of Music, was a fantastic opening to an exciting season.  Highlights of our upcoming season include Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 by the Montclair State University Symphony Orchestra, the East Coast premier of Robert Aldridge’s Parables (an oratorio with libretto by Herschel Garfein) and a rare performance of the complete Bartók String Quartets by our resident ensemble, the Shanghai Quartet. 

In addition to being the home of the Shanghai Quartet, the Cali School of Music also houses the Harry Partch Instrumentarium, the world's most extensive collection of instruments created by this pioneering 20th-century composer. 

Whether you’re interested in joining us for a concert, or becoming a student of the John J. Cali School of Music, we look forward to meeting you.

Dr. Robert Cart,


News Highlights...


New CDs Show Range of Faculty Musical Talent

Three faculty members from Montclair State University’s John J. Cali School of Music--Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music Heather Buchanan, Professor of Music David Witten and Professor of Composition and Theory Robert Aldridge--are featured on a trio of new music CDs being released in 2011.  Read the full article.


Alumnus Christopher Mattaliano Delivers Sacher Lecture

Speaking recently to a large, attentive audience of Montclair State University students, faculty, and staff, noted opera stage director, educator, and current general director of the Portland Opera, Christopher Mattaliano ’79, spoke about his career, and shared stories and advice at the Jack Sacher Memorial Alumni Lecture held in the Jed Leshowitz Recital Hall. Read the full article.


Music-therapy Students Hold Inaugural Night of Advocacy, Entertainment

This past spring, the Music Therapy Student Organization presented its first annual Night of Advocacy and Entertainment at the Montclair Station in Upper Montclair.
Hosted by the students in the Music Therapy program, the evening consisted of speeches by current and former students, live musical performances by current students and a video answering the burning question "What is music therapy?" Read the full article.



More People Spotlights . . .


BRIAN ABRAMS (Music therapy coordinator/faculty) had two notable peer-reviewed publications during the past year, including "Evidence-based music therapy practice: An integral understanding" (Journal of Music Therapy, 2010); and "Exploring a perspective on the nature of music and health as they relate to the Bonny Method: A response to Summer’s (1992) 'Music: The Aesthetic Elixir'" (Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 2010). He also presented scholarly papers at professional conferences on various interdisciplinary topics, across the country as well as in the United Kingdom at the First International Health Humanities Conference. He served as guest lecturer at Molloy College (Long Island, N.Y.) and at Maryville University (St. Louis, Mo.). In addition, he became a North American co-editor of Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy.

MICHAEL ALBAUGH (Associate director for administration) signed a contract with Kendall Hunt Publishing to write These Distorted Times, a textbook and an online learning component. He was also recently elected to second vice president of the Arts Council of the Morris area.

ROBERT ALDRIDGE (Theory/Composition) was composer in residence at the Brevard Music Festival this past summer for the sixth consecutive year. His chamber work, Quartet for an Outdoor Festival, opened the chamber music series at the festival on June 27.  His work Three Waltzes, commissioned by the California Music Teachers Association for their annual convention, premiered in San Francisco in July. He was a speaker and give master classes to teachers and students. CF Peters published the solo piano pieces on June 1. A two-CD set of Elmer Gantry was given its world-wide commercial release by Naxos International on July 1.  His Lovesongs, a song cycle for voice and piano, was published by CF Peters on July 1. The cycle was written in 2004 and was premiered by Montclair State faculty member STEPHEN OOSTING.

MAGDALENA BACZEWSKA (Adjunct Professor—Piano) made her Icelandic debut in September 2010 with a lecture-recital in Reykjavik. To commemorate the Chopin bicentennial, she gave Chopin recitals in the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland and the Polish Mission to the UN in New York. She is also the music director of Bluesleep ( where, together with a medical team researching and treating sleep disorders, she studies the connection of music and sleep. Her CD, Music for Dreams, is currently undergoing clinical tests.

GINA BALESTRACCI (Academic Administrator) was awarded Montclair State's Academic Advising Award (Primary Role) by the Center for Academic Advising and Adult Learning. She is also an Outstanding Advising Certificate of Merit recipient in the same category from the National Academic Advising Association as part of its 2011 Annual Awards Program for Academic Advising.

VALERIE BERNHARDT’s (Adjunct Professor – Voice) recent performances included: soprano soloist with The St. Cecilia Chorus and Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on April 9 - David Randolph Memorial Concert; Title role of Tosca with Boheme Opera NJ in Trenton in May; Title role of Turandot with Coro Lirico in Basking Ridge in May.

HEATHER J. BUCHANAN (Director of Choral Studies) had her CD of Montclair State Chorale's November 2008 Carmina Burana with NJSO conducted by Jacques LaCombe released by NJSO (September 2010).  She also conducted NJ All-State Mixed Chorus (369 students) in November 2010 in two performances in Atlantic City and NJPAC. Submitted her PhD dissertation, “Body Mapping: Self-reflective Views of Student Musicians,” to the University of New England, Australia (December 21, 2010). Published Volume 3 of Teaching Music through Performance in Choir (GIA Publications) with accompanying CDs in March 2011. Conducted the Montclair State University Singers in Meredith Monk's CD Songs of Ascension released May 17 on ECM Records label. Served as chair and host of the fifth International Biennial Body Mapping Conference, June 18-22, that featured 100 participants from the U.S., Canada, Japan, Korea, South African, Australia and England.
NANCY BILLMANN (Adjunct faculty – French horn) performed with Seiji Ozawa and the Saito-Kinen Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in December and played principal horn with Amici New York at the OK Mozart Festival in June.

JEFFREY GALL (Voice faculty) received a Fulbright Traditional Scholar Award from the Fulbright Commission to support his Fall 2010 semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he taught vocal ornamentation and stage gesture techniques for Baroque opera at the Instituto Superior de Arte del Teatro Colón.

KAREN GOODMAN (Music/Music Therapy faculty; Visiting Specialist: Psychology, Summer/Winter) had her Education and Training in Music Therapy: Theory to Practice (Charles C Thomas Publishers) published recently. A related address, “International Concerns in Music Therapy Education and Training” was given at the 13th World Congress, in Seoul, Korea. Further publication included her chapter, "Cracking up and back again: Transformation through music and poetry," in The Meaning Management Challenge: Making Sense of Health, Illness and Disease ( Li&Long, 2010), Oxford, U.K., and invited contribution to Bioguided Music Therapy (Miller, 2011). She is also serving as a reviewer for the Arts and Humanities Journal at the Penn State School of Medicine, and is a visiting artist at the Berklee College of Music,  and music therapist at  Lake Drive School for the Hearing Impaired.

TING HO (Theory/Composition) premiered his composition “I’m Away From My Desk…” at Kean University’s Ars Vitalis new music forum with clarinetist Romie de Guise-Langois and pianist Gabriela Martinez. He is also presenting on “Using the Internet to Enhance Teaching in the Arts” at the second annual Emerging Learning Design conference at Montclair State.

JEFFREY KUNKEL (Assoc. Professor- Director of Jazz Studies) once again assumed the presidency of this organization in July, already having served three prior terms as president from 2001-2007.

ANTHONY MAZZOCCHI (Adjunct Professor-Trombone) was appointed Executive Director of the Kinhaven Summer Music School in Weston, Vt. Alumni include Montclair State faculty member JESSE MILLS, as well as other major symphony orchestra musicians around the world.

DR. THOMAS MCCAULEY (Director of Bands) presented a clinic titled "This Rehearsal is Available to You in High Definition" at the 2010 Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Ill., the largest yearly gathering of school band and orchestra conductors in the world. He was appointed Principal Conductor of the Imperial Brass and was elected Executive Board Chair of the New Jersey Band Association. He also appeared for a two-week engagement as a guest conductor at the New York Summer Music Festival in July; as a guest clinician and conductor at the 2011 Canadian Rocky Mountain Music Festival in April; and as a guest conductor with the Westchester Symphonic Winds based in Tarrytown, N.Y. He hosted and team-taught the annual Montclair State Weekend Wind Conducting Symposium with special guest Craig Kirchhoff from the University of Minnesota.

MARY ANN MUMM (Violin faculty) travelled to Lima, Peru, in December as an independent international music educator to observe and write an evaluation report for continued grant funds from World Bank  for the  Orquesta Juvenil del Rimac, a fledgling string education program in an economically compromised area of Lima. In January, she performed at Carnegie Hall in "Beethoven for the Indus Valley," a gala benefit performance with principal musicians of the MET, NY Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestras. She also made a recording of the chamber music of Franco Alfano on the Naxos label that was released in August. She was named Director of Strings for the Filarmonica Joven de Colombia, a Colombian national orchestra for musicians ages 18-26 and participated March 13-20 in a residency and concert in Bogota. In April, she served as adjudicator for national string certificate examinations for the American String Teachers Association featuring several music schools, including  Montclair State Prep, and was Guest Artist and masterclass clinician in Panama for the Alfredo St. Malo Festival in May.

SCOTT DAVENPORT RICHARDS (Theory/Composition faculty) saw the Cali School's Musical Theatre and Vocal performance students perform the first act of The Break, his new musical with playwright, Michele Lowe, in February. This work was commissioned by Arlington's TONY Award-winning Signature Theatre with funding from Shen Family Foundation's American Musical Voices Project. As a part of the Public Theater's musical theater initiative, he and playwright Marcus Gardley have been commissioned to write The Rumble of Myth, a new musical set during the famous 1974 title bout between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire. In February, he was named one of three recipients of the 2011 NJ Arts Council fellowships in composition.

STEVEN RYAN (Collaborative pianist) accompanied the NJ All-State Mixed Chorus in both Atlantic City and at NJPAC in November. He played Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with the Greater Trenton Symphony on New Year's Eve at Trenton's War Memorial Auditorium. In the fall, he performed a recital with violinist and faculty member Boris Kucharsky at Hamilton College in New York.

MARISSA SILVERMAN (Music Education faculty) had “Aims in the age of assessment: A special case” published in Timothy Brophy’s (Ed.) Assessment in music education (GIA), pp. 381-389. She also presented the following conference papers: “After Postmodernism: A Musical Perspective," The End(s) of Music Education? A Call for Re-Visioning, MayDay Group Conference, University of Utah, June 16-19; “A Conception of Meaningfulness in Life: The Role of Music Education," Leadership in Music Education: International Conference, at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, May 30-June 1; and “Urban Music Education: The General Music Classroom as Democracy,” at the 11th Biennial Mountain Lake (VA) Colloquium: Changing Perspectives, Evolving Practices, May 15-18. She gave talks/presentations at the following: “20th-21st Century Music in the Classroom” at the New Jersey Music Educators Association State Conference, East Brunswick, Feb. 24-26; “Teaching Musical Interpretation,” at Cedros-Panamerican University’s Department of Art and Culture, Mexico City, Mexico, Oct. 21-24;

DAVID SINGER'S (Clarinet and chamber music faculty) recording of the Aldridge and Copland Concerti was released in July by Naxos and received international acclaim.

JOSEPH SMITH’S (General education faculty) article "Three Piano Misereres" appeared in the Journal of the American Liszt Society. His latest piano anthology, Mano Sinistra, of etudes for the left hand, is being released by International Music Company.

GEORGE SPITZER (Voice faculty) performed a set of Stephen Foster songs and New Orleans Creole songs with Yamaha Concert Artist, pianist, Artis Wodehouse at the Kaufman Center of the Arts in New York in February.

TANYA WITEK (Flute faculy) won a position in the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra at Lincoln Center, beginning July. She appeared as a soloist with the ensemble Toomai at the New York Flute Fair in a work for solo flute and strings by David Amram. She performed with harpsichordist Lionel Party from the New York Philharmonic on several concerts this season with the Lenape Chamber Ensemble. She appeared with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in January at Carnegie Hall and other venues in the area. Her article based on work with her flute studio was published in the newsletter of the New Jersey Flute Society this past spring.

DAVID WITTEN (Piano faculty; Keyboard Program Coordinator; Graduate Performance Coordinator) released a CD Piano music of Nikolai Nikolaievich Tcherepnin.


ALEX KNOX (BMus '11 - Clarinet) has won a principal clarinetist position with the U.S. Air Force "Heritage of America" Band in Washington D.C. Alex will be featured in performances both nationally and internationally performing in the woodwind quintet as well as in other chamber music ensembles.

BENJAMIN BRODY (MA ’12 – French horn) went to Brevard this past summer as a composition major. He founded the Cy-matics, a New York City-based Electro-Acoustic ensemble consisting of horn, tuba, guitars, voice, and electric keyboard known for blurring the line between modern classical and indie rock.

VIOLINIST KARIN CUELLAR (BMus ’14) won a position for the 2011 summer season of Ohio Light Opera in Cleveland Ohio

NICOLE DE MAIO (MusEd ’14) won the College Honorable Mention in the 6th Annual New Jersey Student Composition Contest. Her work, Inauguration of Ipseity, was performed May 6, 2010 at the Montclair Art Museum’s Pictures 2011 Concert.

JONATHAN GROSZEW (BMus ’11 – French horn) was horn soloist with Society of Musical Arts, Stephen Culbertson conducting, Mozart’ Fourth Horn Concerto (October 2010). He was awarded a teaching assistantship at University of Colorado-Boulder and pursuing a Master’s Degree in Horn Performance there in the fall.

French hornist CHRISTOPHER HETTEMA (MusEd ’15) is a member of the 2011 Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps.

VINCENT IP (BMus ‘15), a piano student of MARK PARKMAN (Adjunct Faculty – Piano), has been named the first prize winner  in the Pearl and Julius Young ‘Rising Stars’ Music Competition, sponsored by The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey. He played Ballade No. 2 by Frederick Chopin as one of 14 finalists during the competition, held on March 20, at Dolan Hall, College of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown. On March 8, he was featured at the Montclair State Cali School fund-raising event at New York Steinway Hall.

WENWEN LIU (BMus ’13), a student of RUTH RENDLEMAN (Piano, Theory faculty), won the Cali Concerto competition and will perform the Beethoven Third Piano Concerto under the direction of Ken Lam next year.

TOM OLTARZEWSKI (BMus ’11) has been accepted into the graduate program at the Curtis Institute of Music, one of the most competitive program in the country. He will be studying with Pulitzer prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon. Notable composers who have graduated from Curtis include, Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Ned Rorem and Jennifer Higdon.

MATT SEARING (BMus ’11 – French horn) is a member of the New York Youth Symphony. He has been awarded an orchestral fellowship to attend University of Maryland in the fall as a master’s student in horn performance.

REBEKAH STICKLER  (BMus ’14) is actively teaching violin at several music programs in New Jersey.


The Montclair State Wind Symphony and Montclair State Symphonic Band presented the annual Beatrice Crawford Memorial Concert in the Kasser Theater with special guest artists Warren Vaché, the New Hudson Saxophone Quartet, and the Manhattan Brass Quintet.

The Montclair State Wind Symphony appeared as the featured wind ensemble at the Northeast Regional Tuba-Euphonium Conference in May. The performance included guest appearances by tubists Kyle Turner, Matthew Brown, and euphonium soloist Jason Ham in the world premiere of a work by composer Stephen Anderson.

The Montclair State Flute Ensemble appeared in concert at the New York Flute Fair in March. They shared a program with world renowned flutist, Robert Dick, his ensemble from NYU, and the contemporary flute duo, Flutronix. The ensemble also performed "Within..." by Ian Clarke, and the performance featured second-year grad student, NATASHA LOOMIS, as soloist.

Congratulations 2011 Cali School Graduates and Award Recipients
Montclair State University’s College of the Arts held its Convocation ceremony on Saturday, May 14, at the University’s Amphitheater. Read the full article and complete list of award recipients.


ANDREW PECOTA (BMus ’04; MA ’11) performed as soloist in the Mozart Bassoon Concerto with the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey in January.

PAULA UNSAL (MA 2008), board-certified music therapist, received the annual Health Care Advocate of the Year Award as music therapist for Hudson Milestone's adult clients with developmental disabilities on March 26, 2010.  This was the first time in the institution's 60-year history that this award had been given to any professional other than a doctor, dentist, or nurse. After taking a new direction a little over a year before to use a music therapist with their Performing Arts program and then expanding this service to their group homes, Hudson Milestones stated that this change had had an outstanding impact on the health and well-being of their clients.