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Class Notes

Eastman School of Music


Composer Emma Lou Diemer (MM) has released three recordings: Going Away: Violin Works by Emma Lou Diemer (True Tone Productions); Emma Lou Diemer (Albany Records); and Attracting Opposites: New Music for Piano Trio (Azica Records).


Raymond Handfield has been musical director and conductor of the Callanwolde Concert Band, a DeKalb County, Ga., symphonic wind ensemble, for 30 years. To celebrate Raymond’s 30 years of service, the band performed a concert in his honor, featuring the 1851 composition Raymond Overture by Ambroise Thomas.


Emma Lou Diemer (PhD) (see ’49).


George Giroux (MA) sends an update. He writes: “I am amazed that the talented young musicians at Eastman continue to matriculate while amassing large debts. I think back to my brief time at Eastman, getting a master’s in music theory with just three summers of intense study plus a weekly clarinet lesson with Stan Hasty during the regular school year in 1961 and writing a thesis, all under the GI Bill. How lucky I was.” George lives near Albany, N.Y., and adds: “I am very fortunate to be playing solo jazz piano regularly at some of the capital district’s finest night clubs at the age of 80. I spent 45 years in Rochester doing the same thing while teaching for 34 of those years.”


Johnny Russo, director of the Ithaca, N.Y., based East Hill Classic Jazz Band, sent his recollections of Igor Stravinsky’s five-day visit to the Eastman School in March 1966. He calls them “The Day I Made Stravinsky Smile.” He writes: “I played trombone in the Eastman Philharmonia. We had prepared for weeks for the visit of Stravinsky and his incredible assistant, Robert Craft. All week, ‘the 20th-century Beethoven’ sat on stage showing no emotion, as he was about 80. At the final Saturday morning rehearsal, he took the podium to run us through his most famous work, Firebird Suite. The trombones are the least used in symphonic scores, so one sits and counts numerous silent measures while the strings and woodwinds swirl in tons of notes. But near the end of the piece, I had a forte fortissimo B-natural note, my big moment to impress this emotionless fellow with the baton. How proud I was to hit this note, and it shook the entire Eastman Theatre! Stravinsky, hearing the blast, glanced in my direction and gave a big smile, and if to say, ‘Look at that wild-looking trombone player.’ That image, the look, the moment’s excitement is in my memory forever. Eastman School director Walter Hendl made this experience happen for those of us in the Philharmonia. He did a lot for Eastman students during his tenure.”


Max Stern has published a book, Psalms and Music: Influences of the Psalms on Western Music (Ktav Publishers). The book explores the influence of the Psalms in a variety of genres and historical periods. . . . Diane Seufert Tait has published a book, Letters from Italy (Piquant Press). The book consists of diary entries as well as letters, “giving an intimate account of a year’s residency in Italy,” she writes.


Geary Larrick (MM) writes that he’s celebrating 65 years of playing keyboard percussion. “I perform regularly in central Wisconsin, where I’m a retired music professor from the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point. I’ve written 10 books, 123 reviews, 173 music compositions, and 207 articles and letters. In March, I presented three programs in Stevens Point featuring Women’s History Month selections, including some of my own work.” Geary’s most recent published article is “African American History and the Marimba,” which appeared in the spring 2014 issue of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors Journal.


David Harman (DMA) writes that he retires at the end of this season after serving for 21 years as conductor and music director of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. He’ll continue as professor of music and director of orchestral activities for the College and music director and conductor of the Penfield (N.Y.) Symphony Orchestra.


Phil Hildreth writes that he’s been appointed director of music by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers, Fla. He conducts the choir as well as a music team for each Sunday service. 1981 Dan Locklair (DMA) has released Tapestries (MSR Classics), a CD of choral music.


Helene Pohl writes: “I’ve been first violinist in the New Zealand String Quartet since February 1994. We play concerts all over New Zealand and enjoy tours that have taken us to many corners of the globe. In December, we spent two-and-a-half weeks in Beijing preparing a program, Tales from the Forbidden City, with the Forbidden City Chamber Orchestra, a group of 13 virtuoso Chinese instrument players. Repertoire included all new works by New Zealand and Chinese composers. It was a success beyond our imaginings, with not only the Chinese instruments a beautiful tonal and coloristic match for the string quartet, but the new works a wonderful addition to our repertoire. We played a concert inside Beijing’s Forbidden City in December and in March toured the program in New Zealand. In other news, the Ying Quartet will join us for our Adam Chamber Music Festival in New Zealand in January 2015. I’m terrifically excited to spend some time with them again, and to make beautiful music together!” The Ying Quartet consists of Janet Ying ’92, Phil Ying ’91, ’92 (MM), David Ying ’92 (DMA), and Ayano Ninomiya, associate professor of string chamber music and of violin at the Eastman School.


Johanna Siebert (MA), ’08 (PhD) has won a 2014 Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Award for outstanding music educators. Johanna is the director of fine arts for the Webster Central School District, near Rochester, where she supervises about 60 teachers in music and visual arts. She’s also a member of the music standards writing team for the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards, the group designing Common Core arts standards. During her career, she’s mentored new teachers in the Rochester City School District, taught K-8 general music and chorus at urban and suburban schools, as well as graduate-level curriculum courses at the Eastman School.


Thomas Lanners (DMA), professor of piano at Oklahoma State University, writes that he’s been named the 2014 Distinguished Music Teacher by the Oklahoma Music Teachers Association. He’ll be Oklahoma’s nominee for 2015 Teacher of the Year, a national award given by the Music Teachers National Association. Thomas adds that he presented a lecture entitled “Perspectives on Musicians’ Health Issues” at the Conference on Arts and Education in Zacatecas, Mexico, in March, and taught two master classes at Southern Methodist University in Dallas in February. . . . Phil Ying ’92 (MM) (see ’85).


David Ying (DMA) (see ’85). . . . Janet Ying (see ’85).


Gustavo Tolosa (DMA) is director of the Dallas Music Academy and pianist in the three-person ensemble, the Dallas Chamber Players, which also includes cellist Heather Moncrief Rivera-Torres and violinist Inga Kroll. Gustavo writes that the group self-released a CD of music from Argentina, Greetings from Argentina! Vol. 1. The release party for the CD took place at Dallas’s Meyerson Symphony Center.


Dariusz Terefenko (MM), ’04 (PhD) has published Jazz Theory: From Basic to Advanced Study (Routledge). Dariusz is an associate professor of jazz studies and contemporary media at the Eastman School.


Kyle Newmaster, a composer for television, film, and gaming, has composed the music for the motion picture Something Wicked. Something Wicked—Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Lakeshore Records) was released digitally in April.


Dariusz Terefenko (PhD) (see ’98).


Ivan Trevino ’10 (MM) and Patrick Laird ’07, founding members of the cello-rock band Break of Reality, write that the group has self-released its fourth CD, Ten.


Patrick Laird (see ’06).


Johanna Siebert (PhD) (see ’89).