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Class Notes--Eastman


Charles Strouse wrote Concerto America, a piano concerto commissioned for the Valley Stream, N.Y., pianist Jeffrey Biegel. Best known for composing the music behind the Broadway hits Bye Bye Birdie, Golden Boy, Applause, and Annie, Strouse was originally a composer of piano concertos and continued to write the pieces while composing for the theater.


Pianist Richard Ziter ’51 (MM) and the Hyperion Quartet, whose members are Eastman graduates, performed at a benefit in June for the Museum of the Gilded Age at Ventfort Hall, the 1893 Lenox mansion that was featured in the movie Cider House Rules. Richard, who has his medical degree from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, recently retired from practicing medicine. He also performed a concert last year with violinist and conductor Joseph Silverstein for the benefit of the Berkshire Unit of Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.


Nancy Bookout Wolcott was elected dean of the Toledo, Ohio, chapter of the American Guild of Organists in May. She has been director of music at the First Presbyterian Church of Bowling Green, Ohio, for 17 years and previously held a similar position at the Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Toledo, Ohio, for 15 years.


Carl Leazer (MM) retired in April as pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Brentwood, N.Y., and is now living with his wife, Beverly, and two daughters, Kristin and Sonia, in Manorville, N.Y


A 50th birthday concert for composer Louis Karchin and performed by the Da Capo Chamber Players and Soloists of the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society was scheduled for September 24 at Merkin Hall in New York City. The concert was planned to feature the premiere of his Voyages for alto saxophone and piano, written for Taimur Sullivan and Marilyn Nonken ’92. Louis is the recent winner of a Goddard Lieberson Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and is professor of music at New York University. He notes that he is at work on a vocal/instrumental song cycle based on the Orpheus legend, a Barlow Endowment commission.


John Russo released his new jazz CD, Ithaca Our Home, which includes four original songs and 11 Broadway standards and other popular songs. The album features John on vocals, trombone, trumpet, and piano and Douglas Robinson on guitar, bass, and percussion. It is only available online at He also notes that the East Hill Classic Jazz Group played a series of performances for Cornell’s 2002 reunion in June. The group includes Drew Frech ’65.


Kathryn Hoffer, concertmaster of the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, is the designated orchestra teacher for seven public schools in Anchorage, often visiting up to six schools in one day to provide instruction. . . . Gene Tucker sends an update. He was accepted at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria and expects to be ordained as an Episcopal minister. He retired as a soloist with the U.S. Army Band at the end of March after more than 27 years of service. "Finally, I became a grandpa in December, with the birth of Mira Isabella Loomis to my older daughter, Anna. All good things, and thanks!"


Geary Larrick (MM) writes that his fifth book, A Percussionist’s Guide to Music: Bibliographic Essays, was published in April by the Edwin Mellen Press. He notes that Eastman Professor John Beck reviewed the book in the August 2002 issue of Percussive Notes.


The Harrisburg Choral Society’s Summer Sings series held in July included two Eastman conductors. Truman Bullard (PhD), adjunct professor of musicology at Eastman, conducted Gabriel Faure’s Requiem, and Peggy Dettwiler ’91 (DMA), professor of music and director of choral activities at Mansfield University, was scheduled to conduct other pieces.


Violinist Eden Vaning-Rosen (MM) writes that she joined Myor Rosen, former principal harpist with the New York Philharmonic, in a duo recital at the Florida Atlantic University as part of the Hibel Concert Series, and she sent a photo. The performance was a celebration in honor of Edna Hibel’s 80th birthday. "Standing ovation accolades greeted the performers, who charmingly succeeded in surprising Mrs. Hibel with a unique arrangement of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scherezade, highlighted with musical birthday greetings," she writes.


Dorothy Darlington sends an update. She writes that she "had a great time playing under Richard Bado ’83 (MM) at Wolf Trap Opera," where she played oboe and English horn for Kurt Weill’s opera Street Scene. She played two Puccini operas with the New York Grand Opera in Central Park and had six concerts with the Goldman Memorial Band and the Greenwich Symphony Pops. She also performed a piece with the Gregg Smith Singers in Lake Placid. She writes that she continues to work in real estate in Manhattan and Connecticut.


Jazz pianist and composer John Serry ’91 (MM) was scheduled to tour with Prague bassist Frantisek Uhlir and his quartet in the Czech Republic in August. John has been granted dual citizenship in Italy and will live there a portion of each year.


Michael Drapkin sends an update. He was elected to the board of directors of Youth Education in the Arts (YEA!). Last season, he joined the chamber music group Music Amici as clarinetist, and in May he appeared in a chamber music concert with the group at Carnegie Hall as a benefit for YEA! He also premiered two arrangements for solo clarinet and concert band, The Tempest Hora by Dinicu and Dovid’l Bazetst di Kallah by Tarras. He gave a clarinet master class at Eastman in September 2001 and delivered two Arts Leadership lectures. Michael was appointed music adjudicator for the United States Scholastic Band Association and also appointed chief information officer for Vested Business Brokers Inc. His most recent book, Three Clicks Away: Advice from the Trenches of eCommerce, made it to the top 10 for New York City on, he notes.


Lee Strawn (MM), ’87 (DMA) married Laurie Stevens in the summer of 2001 and lives in San Francisco, where he performs and has a private voice studio. Each summer he performs the role of naturalist John Muir in Mountain Days—The John Muir Musical at the 1,200-seat John Muir Amphitheatre in Martinez, Calif. It is available on CD at


Barric Stees, bassoonist for the Cleveland Orchestra, and Randall Fusco ’83 (MM) recorded with the Arianna String Quartet the album Nostalgica, which features blues- and jazz-influenced classical compositions. . . . Dan Locklair (DMA) writes to note the June release of the album Dan Locklair: Orchestral Music performed by Kirk Trevor and the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra. . . . Lori McKelvey won the 2002 Kleban Award in the librettist category for her book to Camila. Established in the will of Edward L. Kleban, Pulitzer Prize-winning lyricist for A Chorus Line, the Kleban Awards are given to the most promising lyricist and librettist in American musical theater. Lori is a Connecticut-based lyricist, librettist, and composer. Camila had its world premiere at Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia in the fall of 2001. . . . Mary Natvig ’82 (MA), ’91 (PhD) edited Teaching Music History. The book contains chapters by Mary; Michael Pisani ’96 (PhD); Maria Archetto ’79 (MS), ’92 (PhD); Marjorie Roth ’86 (MM), ’90 (MA), ’99 (DMA); former Professor of Musicology Robert Fink ’88 (MM); Professor Ralph Locke; and others.


Renée Fleming’s (Mas) latest CD, Bel Canto, a recording of Bellini, Donizetti, and Rossini arias, was released in August. Fleming also was a featured performer durning the second Concert for America, a tribute "to remember and mourn, to honor and celebrate" those who died September 11. The concert was televised nationally on the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks.


Lee Strawn (DMA) (see ’80).


Emily Freeman Brown (DMA) writes that volume two of The Composer’s Voice: New Music from Bowling Green has been released. The album features performances by the Bowling Green Philharmonia, which she conducts. All works are premiere recordings and were performed as part of the New Music and Art Festival at Bowling Green, where she is the director of orchestral activities. . . . David Heuser sends an update. Two of his works are included on new CDs, including Cauldron (for orchestra) on New Music from Bowling Green, Vol. 2, and Deep Blue Spiral (for saxophone and tape) on the CD Juggernaut. He notes that he and his wife, Cherie, had their second child, Julian Edward, born January 18, 2002.


Robert Moody (MM), conductor of the Phoenix Symphony, was guest conductor of a youth performing group, Spoleto Orchestra, during the finale of the 2002 Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C. . . . John Serry (MM) (see ’75).


Doreen Gilmartin Waldbieser (see ’92RC).


Peter Fletcher released his second album, Federico Mompou: Suite Compostelana; Canciones y danzas. The album features classical guitar songs by Catalan composer Federico Mompou. Atlanta-based Creative Loafing describes his music as exhibiting "an impressive command of the considerable dynamic range which is possible with just one guitar, and the flow is uniformly effortless and occasionally breathtaking." In October, Peter was scheduled to perform the world premiere of his release at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Atlanta.


Jonathan Arevalo Coo (MM) sends an update. He was featured in the French Spring in Manila 2002 concert in celebration of Victor Hugo’s bicentennial. He also gave a duo piano recital with Ingrid Santamaria at the German ambassador’s residence in Manila last May. A contributor for the Manila Times, he is finishing a master’s degree in diplomacy and hopes to work in the foreign service. He is also professor at Philippine Women’s University, Santa Isabel College, and Adventist University of the Philippines as well as a board director of the Ibarang Arts Foundation and Piano Teachers Guild of the Philippines.


Evan Jones (PhD) sends an update. He earned his Ph.D. in music theory and a D.M.A. in cello performance from Eastman in 2002. His dissertation, titled "Pervasive Fluency: A Contrapuntal Definition of Stability and Transience in Tonal Music," was completed under the supervision of Norman Carey ’98 (PhD). He is the author of two articles on the music of Iannis Xenakis, which appeared in Perspectives of New Music and Computer Music Journal. He writes that he enjoyed his first year as an assistant professor of music theory at Florida State University in Tallahassee, where he lives with his wife, Marnie Ferguson Jones ’98 (MM), and their children, Carson and Tessa. Marnie teaches cello and performs in the Tallahassee Symphony. Evan notes that he is "thrilled to welcome music theorists Michael Buchler ’98 (PhD) and Nancy Rogers ’00 (PhD) as new Florida State faculty members for the fall of 2002."

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