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Class Notes

Eastman School of Music

1960 David Renner ’65 (MM) (see ’64).

1962 Fred Hemke (MM), a professor of saxophone at Northwestern University for 50 years, died last April, his widow, Junita, writes. The National Association of Saxophone Alliance will publish his autobiography in 2020. Junita adds: “In addition to being a fine musician, Fred was a painter of oil on canvas. He was an avid reader; he usually had three books going at a time. [He] loved life and could do just about anything. He skied; we camped; he did all the repair on our home of over 50 years in a Chicago suburb. While at Northwestern, he chaired the committee to build six residential dormitories on campus. He chaired his department and was associate dean. Then he was the faculty rep to the Big Ten Conference for 20 years; we met the wonderful folks at all of the Big Ten schools.” Fred and Junita had two children together, and four grandchildren. . . . Gary Kirkpatrick (see ’64).

1964 Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr (DMA) and her husband, Walter Verdehr, founded the Verdehr Trio in 1972. During Meliora Weekend in October, Jamal Rossi, the Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School, presented the trio—clarinetist Elsa, violinist Walter, and pianist Silvia Roederer ’80—with Eastman’s Luminary Award, given to “individuals who have given extraordinary service to music and the arts at the national and local levels.” David Renner ’60 ’65 (MM) and Gary Kirkpatrick ’62—the Verdehr Trio’s former pianists—joined the current lineup for the award presentation.

1965 David Renner (MM) (see ’64).

1970 Composer Arthur Michaels writes that his concert band pieces “Lydiana” and “Turn Signals” have been published by Bronsheim Music. In addition, his brass quintet “Bantering Brass” will be published by Tap Music Sales, and “Divertimento for Wind Quintet” will be published by Cimarron Music Press.

1980 Edward Czach ’82 (MM) (see ’83). . . . Silvia Roederer (see ’64).

1981 Dan Locklair (DMA) was commissioned by the music ministry of Bruton Parish in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, for music to celebrate the church’s new Dobson pipe organ. His Holy Seasons, Four Tone Poems for Organ premiered in September at the historic parish church. Rebecca Davy, music director and organist for the parish (seated at the organ with Dan in the accompanying photo by Gregory Davy), performed the work. Dan is composer-in-residence and a professor of music at Wake Forest University.

1982 Edward Czach (MM) (see ’83).

1983 Saxophonist and composer Brian Scanlon (MM) released the CD Brain Scan (Scan Man Music) in October. The recording includes eight original jazz compositions and one cover song and features Edward Czach ’80, ’82 (MM) on piano, Peter Erskine on drums, and Brian’s 21-year-old son, Avery—who attended Eastman for two years—on guitar. Brian lives in Los Angeles and performs on numerous films and TV shows. He is a Grammy Award winner as a member of Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band.

1985 Stephen Rush (DMA) writes, “I conducted the Art Ensemble of Chicago on the recording We Are on the Edge (Pi Records) on the occasion of [the ensemble’s] 50th anniversary.” Stephen also released an album of his own music, Something Nearby (Leo Records), with his band Naked Dance. Stephen plays piano and synthesizer on that recording. He is a professor of music at the University of Michigan.

1992 Gina Kutkowski released a CD, Bohm, 24 Caprices, Op. 26 (Iris Studios), a complete recording of Theobald Bohm’s work for solo flute. The composer is best known as the creator of the Bohm flute. Gina, who is based in Geneva, Switzerland, offers an accompanying study guide on her website.

1996 Gillian Smith released her first solo CD, Into the Stone (Leaf Music), last fall. It’s the premiere recording of solo violin works by Canadian women composers Kati Agocs, Alice Ping Yee Ho, Veronika Krausas, Chantale Laplante, and Ana Sokolovic. Gillian lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she is instructor of violin and viola at the Acadia University School of Music and head of the upper strings department at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts. She launched the CD with a performance at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, where she was also joined by Ho for a discussion about Ho’s piece “Caprice.”

1997 Shane Endsley (see ’99).

1998 Elizabeth Clasquin Alessi was featured in an August 2019 episode of the podcast RETHINK Retail, in which she talks about her Eastman education and how it shaped and influenced her approach to being the vice president of sourcing at Coach, where she oversees leather, fabric, and hardware development for handbags and accessories.

1999 Saxophonist Ben Wendel, trumpeter Shane Endsley ’97, keyboardist Adam Benjamin, and drummer/bassist Nate Wood—together the Grammy-nominated jazz ensemble Kneebody—released their seventh full-length album, Chapters (Edition Records), in October.

2006 Alexander Miller (MM) presented his new multimedia project TO . . . OBLIVION&ndashHistoric Landmarks Around Los Angeles in October at the Boston Court Pasadena performing arts center in Pasadena, California. In the show, based on an album he released in 2018, Alexander performs live on electric guitar to site-specific sounds that he prerecorded—accompanied by visuals of seminal Los Angeles landmarks that have been destroyed or indelibly altered. He teaches music courses at California State University, Long Beach and at Chapman University in Orange, California.

2007 Jonathan Ong is a founding member of the Verona Quartet, which was selected by Chamber Music America, the national network for ensemble music professionals, to receive the Cleveland Quartet Award for the 2020–21 and 2021–22 seasons. As part of the award, the quartet will be presented by music organizations in, among other cities, New York, Buffalo, Detroit, Austin, Texas, and Washington, DC.

2011 Kevin Chance (DMA) was inducted into the inaugural class of the Steinway & Sons Teacher Hall of Fame in October. He was one of 43 teachers in the US and Canada who were recognized for their commitment as piano educators.

2013 Thomas Doser (see ’13 College).

2015 Jessica Hart Wilbee (see ’15 College).