Alan Shockley’s Toy Piano Miniature at International Toy Piano Festival

Pianist Mark Robson played Alan Shockley’s toy piano miniature “the reverse balducci” on his program at the International Toy Piano Festival in Tampa, Florida in mid-January.

In addition Dr. Shockley’s paper “Inversions of all this chambermade music”: ‘Napoleon Symphony, the Wake,’ and Mature Counterpoint’ has been accepted for the 25th International James Joyce Symposium hosted by the University of London this June.

Mostly Kosher on PBS

Mostly Kosher with alumni Leaav Sofer, Casey Solow, Mike, King, and Eric Hagstrom performed at the annual Christmas Eve concert at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, broadcast live on PBS.

Josh Nelson Nabs LA Weekly Top Album of 2015

LA Weekly named alumnus Josh Nelson’s Exploring Mars one of the best albums of 2015.

The article notes, “Nelson has been a fixture on local piano benches since the end of the last century but has increased his profile lately by adding art installations to his live shows, tying intricate, swirling immersions of flickering light with his churning chamber ensemble — the perfect soundtrack to another night in a Martian bunker. The resulting album is an engaging work of swinging theatricality, brimming with soaring musicianship unbound from jazz’s usual gravitational pull.”

Tom Kendall Hughes Wins Remix Contest

Tom Kendall Hughes won the Indaba Music “Do It” Remix Contest. He won $1,000 and an Official Spotify Release. Tom describes himself as a “Multi-instrumentalist/Beatsmith.”

Tom has been signed by Modstandard, a label dedicated to the blending of the hip hop and jazz culture, tying in elements of live and improvisational performance with the production and exploration of new technology. His music has been featured on the Long Beach Airport’s playlist, welcoming visitors to our city.

Mandy Smith Lands Job at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Alumna Mandy Smith (MA Musicology, ABD Case Western Reserve) has landed what she describes as her dream job. She wrote: “I’m the new Education Instructor at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. My main duties include booking and teaching in their K-12 Rockin’ the Schools program, which offers free, onsite, interdisciplinary classes that exceed Ohio educational standards. I also get to make class content, create online videos and lesson plans for our Digital Classroom, and do lots of other exciting rock education activities. The department is very vibrant–six out of eight of us are musicologists, so I’m in good company.”

Katie Thiroux’s Debut Receives Awards

Dan Bilawsky from All About Jazz named Katie Thiroux’s debut album one of the Best Releases Of 2015. In his review, he wrote, “So how do you separate hype from reality? Simply open your ears and listen. That’s how you separate the wheat from the chaff, and that’s how you discover true talent like Katie Thiroux. This bassist-vocalist-composer is flat out phenomenal. Introducing Katie Thiroux may be a first step for this young triple-threat talent, but it plays like the work of a well-seasoned veteran.”

NPR Music polled 147 jazz critics on their favorite recordings of 2015. They named Katie’s album as one of the top 5 debut jazz releases.


Congratulations to PST (Pacific Standard Time) who gave an outstanding performance at JEN (Jazz Education Network) in Louisville. They were given the honor of performing with Kurt Elling.

Elling recorded a demo in the early 1990s and was signed by Blue Note Records, releasing a total of six albums with the label. He has been nominated for ten Grammy Awards, winning Best Vocal Jazz Album for Dedicated to You (2009) on the Concord Jazz label. Elling often leads the DownBeat critics poll, and he was awarded the Prix Billie Holiday from the Académie du Jazz. (text from Wikipedia)