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.

PST at JEN

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)

 

Joshua Simonds brings Youth Orchestra to Chicago Bulls

Alumnus Joshua Simonds, Executive Director of the Chicago Youth Symphony, worked with the Chicago Bulls to bring their two art forms together for the Bulls’ Holiday Card. The youth symphony members surrounded the basketball court as the players scrimmaged. You can see a behind-the-scenes video here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJwyuBIk4P8#action=share

After nine seasons as General Manager of CYSO (2003-2012), Mr. Simonds became Executive Director of the DC Youth Orchestra Program only to return to Chicago in June 2013 as Executive Director of CYSO.

During his tenure, CYSO has expanded its programs, built strong relationships with world-class composers resulting in numerous world and local premieres, and initiated groundbreaking artistic collaborations, including performances with Ben Folds, My Morning Jacket, Blue Man Group, My Brightest Diamond, and multiple performances at the legendary rock festival Lollapalooza. In addition to artistic achievements, Mr. Simonds has been instrumental in overseeing CYSO’s rebranding efforts, growth of the Board of Directors, re-establishing an international touring program, and increased support on a national and local level.

Mr. Simonds currently sits on the Youth Orchestra Division Board of the League of American Orchestras, is a member of Ingenuity’s Advocacy Advisory Panel, and teaches a course at DePaul University on Performing Arts Management. (courtesy of http://www.cyso.org/View/Page/executive-director)

Alumni work with the Street Symphony

Alex Ross, critic for the New Yorker, named The Street Symphony’s performance of Handel’s “Messiah” as one of the 10 “notable” concerts of 2015 in the US.

Alumna Zanaida Robles conducted the performance, and alumnus Leeav Sofer prepared the choir. Alex Ross wrote, “About a hundred homeless people listened intently, and burst into applause at the end. The experience left me with a clash of emotions: joy, shame, sorrow, wonder. I do not know what it meant to those who mattered.”

The performance was on Skid Row, at The Midnight Mission.  Residents of the Skid Row community in our audience will be invited to sing alongside the newly formed Street Symphony Chamber Singers, comprised of members of the LA Master Chorale. They also partnered with the Urban Voices Project, a Skid Row singing project, as well as the City of Angels Community Choirs.

View a short preview video of a rehearsal which shows Zanaida Robles conducting and Leeav Sofer on keyboard.

Jaclyn Johnson on Choral Net

Alumna Jaclyn Johnson (MM Choral Conducting) was featured on Choral Net, the American Choral Director’s Website. She spoke about her trip trip to China as an  International Choral Exchange Conductor. She said, “Without any hesitation, I can honestly say that I have everything I want, and I know what brings me absolute joy and purpose: Teaching.”

Dolfo Picanço Featured in Paper

Alumnus Dolfo Picanço was featured in Millikan High’s school paper in an article. The drum major, Kai Bauer said, “Mr. P actually exceed my expectations…” He has “the competitive edge that lights a fire in us, something that hasn’t happened here in the past three years, What we’re doing here is the start of something great.” We have a three-alumni team at Milikan with Renee Batia, Drake York, and Dolfo Picanço teaching music there.

Seth Shafer’s piece at ICMC

Alumnus Seth Shafer’s piece Pulsar [Variant II] was performed at the International Computer Music Society at the University of North Texas where Seth is pursuing his doctorate. The piece for solo trumpet and live electronics explores two competing models of time: an unrelentingly fixed metrical time, and a type of static, or frozen time. Using echo and repetition as a point of departure, time is treated as a malleable material looking forward to the past and remembering the future.

Leeav Sofer Gets Raves Reviews

Alumnus Leeav Sofer wrote the music for and is starring in the play, Man Covets Bird.  The reviews are coming in and they are terrific. From a radio review on KCRW: ”24th Street’s production is as sophisticated as the script. When you walk into the theater it’s an empty stage: no set, no props – just a couple of small boxes, a guitar, a keyboard, and a clarinet on the margins. But once the play starts the world transforms. First, through the two remarkable and lovable actors Andrew Huber and Leeav Sofer who play the man and the bird – and those instruments. They enchant us with their wonderful, open presence and their gorgeous singing voices. Once their journey begins, the blank walls of the theater come to life with simple line-drawn animations that turn a stack of blocks into a loving mother and an empty wall into a glowing cityscape. It’s theater magic.”

Musicals in LA wrote, “Written by leading children’s playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer, Devine has taken the one-man play with music and staged it for two men (Andrew Huber as Man and Leeav Sofer as Bird) incorporating an original score by Sofer using his clarinet as the voice of the bird. That decision alone adds a profound sensitivity to the piece… With Sofer taking on double duty as both composer and actor, there is always a sense of the space being filled with possibility, even in the deliberate silences. The two actors connect intimately and deeply, and because of their open-hearted commitment, we go along with them not quite knowing what to expect but realizing that by the end of the 75-minute journey we will have been part of something extraordinary.