Masterful Musings collage

Masterful Musings

Inspirational Conversations in the Cali Choral Community

Welcome to our second season of Masterful Musings. Please join us via Zoom on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1 – 2:15 pm for a series of guest presentations featuring professional musicians from many different aspects of the music world. Stories and advice to inspire you and opportunities for Q & A. Cali students, family and friends are welcome to join us.

Be sure to have signed up for Zoom in advance!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021
1-2:15PM EST
Jessica Vosk, MSU ‘07
Defying Gravity
Want to become a Wicked performer? Learn from Elphaba herself!
Zoom Meeting ID: 820 3946 7313


Jessica Vosk recently starred as the Narrator in the 50th anniversary of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, at Lincoln Center last February. She also recently created the role of Aunt Val in the Broadway-bound Becoming Nancy, directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell. Before that, she finished an acclaimed run as Elphaba in Wicked on Broadway, having played the role for 2 years. Vosk also recently starred in the NYC Ballet Jerome Robbins tribute Something to Dance About, directed by Warren Carlyle and re-created the role of Fruma Sarah in the most recent revival of Broadway’s Fiddler on the Roof. Other Broadway: Finding Neverland, The Bridges of Madison County. She starred as Anita in the Grammy-nominated San Francisco Symphony’s West Side Story. Debut Solo Album “Wild and Free” available for purchase at Follow along @jessicavosk for upcoming news.

Thursday, February 18, 2021
1-2:15PM EST
Dr. Susan A. Cole, President of Montclair State University
When We Grow Up
What is the enduring power of music in our lives?
President Cole shares her unique story and answers your questions.
Zoom Meeting ID: 820 6733 3534


Dr. Susan A. Cole assumed office in September of 1998 as the eighth president of Montclair State University, which is the second largest university in New Jersey, with 21,000 graduate and undergraduate students. Dr. Cole served as President of Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, from 1993 to 1998 and, prior to that, as Vice President for University Administration and Personnel at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Associate University Dean for Academic Affairs at Antioch University, and as a faculty member at The City University of New York.2

Dr. Cole was a Woodrow Wilson Foundation Higher Education Policy Fellow and a Trustee of the Liberty Science Center and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, the Board of Trustees of the Montclair Art Museum, and on the Board of Directors of Peapack-Gladstone Bank. She was appointed by Governor Christie as New Jersey’s representative to the Education Commission of the States, and by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park Advisory Commission. She served on Governor Christie’s Executive Transition Team and chaired its Education Subcommittee. She also served on the Property Tax Convention Task Force, appointed by Governor McGreevey, as co-chair of Governor McGreevey’s Higher Education Transition Team and on his Education Cabinet, as co-chair of Governor DiFrancesco’s World Class Economy Task Force, and as a member of Governor Whitman’s trade missions to South America and Asia.

Dr. Cole earned three degrees in English and American literature: a BA from Barnard College, Columbia University, and an MA and PhD from Brandeis University. Dr. Cole writes and speaks extensively about current issues in American higher education.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021
1-2:15PM EST
Anthony McGill
Principal Clarinet of the NY Philharmonic + Cali Artist-In-Residence
The Citizen Artist: Creatives as change agents in the COVID era.Music can bring people together for the power of good. Find out how Anthony McGill is making a difference.
Zoom Meeting ID: 853 7420 3497


Clarinetist Anthony McGill is one of classical music’s most recognizable and brilliantly multifaceted figures. He serves as the principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic — that orchestra’s first African-American principal player — and maintains a dynamic international solo and chamber music career. Hailed for his “trademark brilliance, penetrating sound and rich character” (The New York Times), as well as for his “exquisite combination of technical refinement and expressive radiance” (The Baltimore Sun), McGill also serves as an ardent advocate for helping music education reach underserved communities and for addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in classical music. He was honored to take part in the inauguration of President Barack Obama, premiering a piece written for the occasion by John Williams and performing alongside violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and pianist Gabriela Montero.

McGill’s 2019-20 season includes the premiere of a new work by Tyshawn Sorey at the 92Y, and a special collaboration with mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato at Carnegie Hall. He will be a featured soloist at the Kennedy Center performing the Copland concerto at the SHIFT Festival of American Orchestras with the Jacksonville Symphony, and will also perform concertos by Copland, Mozart, and Danielpour with the Richmond, Delaware, Alabama, Reno, and San Antonio Symphonies. Additional collaborations include programs with Gloria Chien, Demarre McGill, Michael McHale, Anna Polonsky, Arnaud Sussman, and the Pacifica Quartet.

McGill appears regularly as a soloist with top orchestras around North America including the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, Baltimore Symphony, San Diego Symphony, and Kansas City Symphony. As a chamber musician, McGill is a favorite collaborator of the Brentano, Daedalus, Guarneri, JACK, Miró, Pacifica, Shanghai, Takacs, and Tokyo Quartets, as well as Emanuel Ax, Inon Barnatan, Gloria Chien, Yefim Bronfman, Gil Shaham, Midori, Mitsuko Uchida, and Lang Lang. He has led tours with Musicians from Marlboro and regularly performs for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. Festival appearances include Tanglewood, Marlboro, Mainly Mozart, Music@Menlo, and the Santa Fe, Seattle, and Skaneateles Chamber Music Festivals.

In January 2015, McGill recorded the Nielsen Clarinet Concerto together with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic, which was released on DaCapo Records. He also recorded an album together with his brother Demarre McGill, principal flute of the Seattle Symphony, and pianist Michael McHale; and one featuring the Mozart and Brahms Clarinet Quintet with the Pacifica Quartet that were both released by Cedille Records.

A dedicated champion of new music, in 2014, McGill premiered a new piece written for him by Richard Danielpour entitled “From the Mountaintop” that was commissioned by the New Jersey Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, and Orchestra 2001. McGill served as the 2015-16 Artist-in-Residence for WQXR and has appeared on Performance Today, MPR’s St. Paul Sunday Morning, and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. In 2013, McGill appeared on the NBC Nightly News and on MSNBC, in stories highlighting the McGill brothers’ inspirational story.

A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, McGill previously served as the principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera and associate principal clarinet of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. In-demand as a teacher, he serves on the faculty of the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute of Music, and Bard College’s Conservatory of Music. He also serves as the Artistic Advisor for the Music Advancement Program at the Juilliard School, on the Board of Directors for both the League of American Orchestra and the Harmony Program, and the advisory council for the InterSchool Orchestras of New York.

Thursday, February 25, 2021
1-2:15PM EST
David Miller
My Journey from Opera to Oprah
From Il Divo and La Bohème to classical crossover. Ask David Miller about his journey from stage to screen – including Oprah!”
Zoom Meeting ID: 857 6311 4310


Exposed to opera from the age of 6, David Miller found his love for singing fairly early in life. His dedication to the art form was formidable, but he also had many opportunities that allowed him to fully pursue his passion without distraction. He was accepted to one of the top music conservatories in the world and invited to apprentice at one of the top level opera companies in America. He sang leading roles in opera houses all over the world, which eventually led him to be cast and star in Baz Luhrman’s La Boheme on Broadway. That intense experience changed David’s life forever. It showed him the potential to create a completely new degree of accessibility for opera through directing it like a film. This planted a seed of possibility in his consciousness, and he began to see opera as a genre in a whole new way.

Almost immediately after La Boheme he was selected by Simon Cowell for the multi-platinum selling quartet Il Divo. Currently Il Divo is heading into its 15th year after selling over 30 million albums and has a large fan base of more than 60 countries worldwide. They pioneered the genre called Classical Crossover and created a worldwide audience of what David has dubbed the “Classically Curious”. Through this lengthy departure from opera, David has learned one very important thing, there is a worldwide hunger for more classic art forms.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Jason Zacher, MSU ‘16
1-2:15PM EST
What is my Brand?
Bass-baritone alumnus Jason Zacher ‘16 discusses his experiences as a performer and educator who takes risks, embraces diversity, and challenges the ‘norms’.
Zoom ID: 843 0484 7844


American Bass-Baritone Jason Zacher is a native of New Jersey and is quickly gaining attention on a national level as a rising new talent and a versatile performer. Most recently, Jason was featured making his company debut with Ars Lyrica Houston in their all-Bach program titled “Conflict & Concord”, as well as performing as bass soloist in Handel’s Messiah with Chapelwood United Methodist Church. This coming Spring, Jason will be returning to Opera in the Heights, where he was previously a Resident Artist in 2019/20. While there he will perform the title character in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. Shortly following this, Jason will return to Des Moines Metro Opera where he was formerly an Apprentice Artist in 2020. Here he will cover the role of Jupiter in Rameu’s Platée for their upcoming 2021 Summer Festival season.

Some of Jason’s notable opera performance credits include Angelotti (Tosca), Prince Gremin (Eugene Onegin), Alidoro (La Cenerentola), Oliver Jordan (Dinner at Eight), the title role in Don Pasquale, and William Jennings Bryan (The Ballad of Baby Doe). Zacher is also a much in demand interpreter of contemporary opera, and has created roles in several world premieres, notably: Male Admirer in Karim Al-Zand’s The Leader, Artie in Anthony Brandt’s Kassandra, and Sir Oliver in Robert Nelson’s The School for Scandal.

Equally at home on the concert stage, Jason has performed the bass solos in Mendelssohn’s St. Paul, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, as well as Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb with Montclair State University’s Vocal Accord.

Jason Zacher currently holds degrees from both the University of Houston (M.M. Vocal Performance) and Montclair State University (B.M. Music Education).

Jason presently resides in the Houston area where he is also a passionate music educator. Jason teaches music and drama at The Westview School, a school specializing in educating high-functioning children with Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as teaching private voice and piano lessons.

Thursday, March 4, 2021
Terrence Thornhill, MSU ’11
1-2:15PM EST
Many Strings to His Bow
Alumnus Terrence Thornhill ’11 is a dynamic music educator, successful cellist, and social justice advocate. Find out how he’s making a difference!
Zoom ID: 884 6200 3132


Terrence Thornhill serves as the Instrumental Music Director at Kent Place School in Summit, New Jersey. Mr. Thornhill earned his bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University studying Cello with Nicholas Tzavaras, Cellist of the Shanghai Quartet. He received his master’s degree in Cello Performance from SUNY Purchase College, studying cello with Julia Lichten, cellist of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Thornhill studied conducting with Ken Lam, Conductor of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and Illinois Symphony Orchestra.

As an educator, Mr. Thornhill maintains a diverse private cello studio in the New York Metro Area, teaching students from young children to adults. In addition to his private studio, Mr. Thornhill is on the Faculty of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra as the curriculum director/assistant conductor of youth orchestras. He is the conductor of the Varsity Youth Orchestra, the JCC Thurnauer School of Music String Camerata. Mr. Thornhill is the Music Director and Founder of the Harambee Chamber Orchestra, which is a youth orchestra dedicated to performing works by historically excluded composers, specifically composers of color and women. The Harambee Chamber Orchestra fundraises through its concerts for projects that the group feels passionate about, giving students experience using music as a vehicle to make change in their communities. Mr. Thornhill is an original teaching artist and lead conductor for the Paterson Music Project, an El Sistema program serving over 250 students in Paterson, New Jersey and the lead conductor at the Opportunity Music Project which services El Sistema students in New York City.

Moreover, Mr. Thornhill’s credits include winning Concerto Competitions at both Montclair State University and SUNY Purchase Conservatory. Mr. Thornhill has performed on the Grammys and late night television shows Saturday Night Live, and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Mr. Thornhill is the inaugural award recipient of the John J. Cali School of Music Alumni Achievement Award in 2018. The same year, Mr. Thornhill was selected to be on cello faculty at the Youth Orchestras of Los Angeles National El Sistema Festival sponsored by The Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Matt Bogart
Tuesday, March 9, 2021

1-2:15PM EST
Table Talk- From Farm to Stage

Zoom ID: 843 4482 1180

How did a small-town boy become a successful actor, singer, writer, and producer? Broadway’s best ‘Jersey Boy’ Matt Bogart shares his story.


Matt Bogart grew up on an Ohio livestock farm and is a NY based Actor, Singer, Teacher/Coach, Writer, Producer and Father of two boys. Broadway credits include Jersey Boys (Nick Massi), Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida (Radames), Miss Saigon (Chris on Bway and 2nd National Tour), The Civil War and Smokey Joe’s Cafe (filmed for broadcast and streaming). Other TV/film include Robert Goulet in VINYL on HBO, produced and directed by Martin Scorcese and Mick Jagger, Law & Order and L&O:SVU and Livin’ On A Prairie Series at Tribeca Film Festival as well as other indie features. Off-Broadway, produced and starred as James Joyce in Himself and Nora. On tour, he played Lancelot to Lou Diamond Phillips’ King Arthur in Camelot. Regional World premieres of Paint Your Wagon at St. Louis MUNY, Snow Child at Arena Stage, Most Beautiful Room at Long Wharf, Jane Eyre at Cleveland Musical Theatre, Ace at St. Louis Repertory, principal roles at La Jolla Playhouse, Old Globe, Goodspeed, Cincinnati Playhouse as well as Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and with Symphonic Orchestras throughout the U.S. Mr. Bogart has worked closely with Stephen Sondheim, Lucy Simon, Adam Gopnik, Richard Maltby & David Shire, Frank Wildhorn, Joe Masteroff & Edward Thomas, Joseph Stein, Barry Harman & Keith Herrmann, Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt, Bill Russell & Henry Krieger and many more. Matt has received Helen Hayes, Mary Jane Teall, Craig Noel and CCM Young Alumni Awards and is on the Steering Committee for Arena Stage in D.C. He is a playwright and record producer with solo recordings, including Simple Song and Sky Above Manhattan on iTunes. Mr. Bogart received his BFA in Musical Theatre from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and teaches voice, acting and college-prep out of his home, where he lives with his family in Westchester, NY. @BogartStudio, @TheMattBogart,

Thursday, March 11, 2021

“A Life in Music with Artistic Principle”
Zoom ID: 836 2971 1753

Meet one of the most esteemed and influential classical musicians in the world today


Named Musical America’s 2012 Musician of the Year, pianist Wu Han ranks among the most esteemed and influential classical musicians in the world today, appearing regularly in the world’s most prestigious venues as both soloist and chamber musician. With duo partner David Finckel, she serves as Artistic Director of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Chamber Music Today, and founding director of Music@Menlo. Her vast catalog of recordings can be found on the ArtistLed label. Wu Han was the Cali School of Music’s Artist-in-Residence in 2020.