Alumni Relations

News From the Classes of 1984 and 1985

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25th Reunion

Help this list grow! Please send a brief biography (approximately 50 words), a special memory or reflection of your time at Eastman, and a current photo to:, or mail to Eastman School of Music, Office of Development, 26 Gibbs Street, Rochester, NY 14604. Both should be to the attention of: 25th Reunion Web Entry. Thank you!

Eve AbrahamEve AbrahamEve Abraham, BM ’85, MM ’87
Major/Instrument: Viola
Studio Teachers: Heidi Castleman, Atar Arad

Premiered James Grant’s “Phases of Courtship” with Jed Gaylin and the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra.
Assistant principal of Delaware Symphony Orchestra and Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, member of U.S. Army Orchestra.
Married Jesko Ohlemann in 2000, and we have just become foster parents to two Bavarian girls.
Now freelancing in Bavaria, Germany: Bavarian Chamber Orchestra of Bad Bruckenau, Orchester Jakobsplatz (Munich), Oberammergau Passion Play.

Reflection: Time and again I notice in my contacts with other musicians how lucky I was to have an Eastman education – not just excellent studio teachers but also a strong and rare foundation in chamber music, theory, history and musicianship.

Lisa (Bronstein) BrumbergerLisa (Bronstein) Brumberger, MM ’85
Major/Instrument: Music Education/Clarinet
Studio Teacher: William Osseck

My 25 years as a music educator have included all levels of instrumental and classroom music, dept. coordinator for the East Irondequoit Schools, and director of a band program at Brighton’s Hillel School. I am currently an elementary art/music coordinator teaching instrumental and classroom music for the Penfield NY CSD. I am actively involved with the “Arts-In-Education” Program, coordinating and integrating artist residencies and performances into classroom settings. I have run improvisational jazz groups, conducted district Band Extravaganzas, prepared students for NYSSMA festivals, served on district/school committees and am active as Elections Chair for the Penfield Education Association. My current and past students have been members of the Hochstein Youth Orchestra, RPYO, All-County/State/Conference ensemble. I received the “Rochester Philharmonic Music Educators Award for outstanding Band Director” in 2008. I have been principal clarinet with the Perinton Concert Band and first Clarinetist with the Monroe County Music Educators Wind Band for two decades. I’ve also been surviving stage IV B.C. cancer.

Reflection: As an alumna of ESM, I found my ongoing connections with school throughout the years beneficial and have been back several times to further my education with secondary instrument lesson and Orff certification. My 18 year old son, Zachary will be attending U of R in the Fall, studying Biochemistry and hoping to achieve a career in medicine.

Heidi ChisholmHeidi ChisholmHeidi Chisholm, BM ’84
Instrument: Oboe
Studio Teachers: Robert Sprenkle and Richard Killmer

I went on to study instrument repair and graduated with a degree from Minnesota State College in Wind Instrument Repair in 1985. I apprenticed for three years at RDG Woodwinds in Los Angeles and performed as a free lance oboist throughout the southern California Area. I then moved to New York where I opened my own business and started a family. I continued to repair and raise my family while I continued to perform around the greater New York area. I have enjoyed performing with Musica Sacre, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Ballet Orchestra, New York Pops Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, Cats! and Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.  In 2001, I accepted a position to direct the Music Institute at Hackley School, where I oversee a staff of 23 private lesson instructors and 300 students. I have gone on to begin a Master of Music degree in applied teaching at Lehman College, City University of New York. I have moved into teaching full time and am enjoying every minute of it! I continue to perform as the first oboist of the St. Thomas Chamber Orchestra.  Music continues to be my passion and joy and I am blessed with three wonderful musical children who keep me laughing!

Allan ComstockAllan Comstock, BM ’84
Instrument: Bassoon

Education: BM Bassoon Performance, Eastman School of Music, 1984 MA Bassoon Performance, Western Illinois University, 1986 DMA Bassoon Performance, The University of Memphis, 1999
Married: 1985 to Myrna ComstockPets: three cats, one dog
Career: Joined the faculty of Emporia State University in 1994 as Assistant Professor of Double Reeds and Music History. 2001, promotion to Associate Professor. 2008-present, Chair of the Department of Music. Have served as Principal Bassoon of the Topeka Symphony since 2001 and am bassoonist with the Mid-America Woodwind Quintet (1994-present) and the Flint Hills Trio (1996-present). Hobbies include fishing, backpacking, gardening, raising orchids.

Tim ConnerTim ConnerTim Conner, BM ’85
Major/Instrument: Trombone
Studio Teacher: John Marcellus

I am currently living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. After performing for 18 years as Principal Trombone with the Florida Philharmonic, I am now the fulltime trombone professor at the University of Miami Frost School of Music where I lead a thriving trombone studio, direct the Frost Trombone Choir, coach chamber music groups, and supervise graduate students’ papers and dissertations. I am currently playing Principal Trombone with the Miami City Ballet and the Atlantic Classical Orchestra.

My recent solo recording of the David Maslanka Concerto for Trombone and Wind Ensemble was released on the Naxos label, with the Frost Wind Ensemble under Gary Green, conductor. A review of the CD in Fanfare magazine review states that “Trombonist Tim Conner plays with a velvety smooth tone, fluid and supple phrasing, and spot-on intonation.”
I recently gave the world premiere of a new work for trombone and orchestra written for me by Thomas Sleeper, “Translucence for Trombone and Orchestra.”
Full clips of the performance can be found on Youtube.

I have been with my partner Patrick for 11 years now, and in our time away from Florida we have together built a cabin in the woods along the coast of Maine, hand carrying all the materials onto the site ourselves since there is no road! Having made four trips to Thailand over the past few years, I have developed a passion for Thai cooking and can deliver the most delicious panang curry you could ever imagine!

Nancy (Elliott) CurtisNancy (Elliott) Curtis, MM ’85
Instrument: Voice (Soprano)
Studio Teacher: Marcia Baldwin

I stayed in the Rochester area after finishing at Eastman, and currently live in Pittsford with my husband of seventeen years, Chris Curtis, and my two children, 14 year old son Chet and 10 year old daughter Faith.  I did quite a bit of auditioning when right out of Eastman, but realized in my mid-20s that I didn’t choose to pursue music as a full-time career. Nonetheless, I did a fair amount of concert and stage performing in the Rochester area, especially in the 80s and 90s.  Church music has always been a big part of my life; I have been the soprano soloist and section leader at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Rochester since the fall of 1983, and I continue to perform at occasional weddings and similar events.  Professionally, I have been employed by Element K, a locally-based e-learning development company (formerly known as Logical Operations), for close to twenty years, and currently hold the position of Content Development Manager in the Learning Products Division.  Through Element K, I volunteer as a route coordinator for the Monroe County Meals on Wheels service.   I am active as a volunteer in various capacities at St. Paul’s and in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, and I recently became a 10-gallon blood donor, of which I am quite proud.

Jonathan DubayJonathan DubayJonathan Dubay, BM ’85
Major/Instrument: Violin

After Eastman, I went on to earn a Master’s degree at the Yale School of Music, studying with Syoko Aki, and in 1994 received my DMA from Yale. As a member of the Essex Quartet for four years, I performed at Alice Tully hall, toured the US, taught at Rutgers University, the Bay View Music Festival and was a Teaching Assistant at The Juilliard School.

In 1992 I returned to my home town to join the Oregon Symphony. I try to keep creativity alive, for example by producing an original play with the Tears of Joy Puppet Theatre, which introduces Bela Bartok’s 44 Duets for Two Violins to family audiences. Teaching has also been a source of inspiration, both at home and at Pacific University, Lewis and Clark College and the University of Oregon. I have also recently been teaching music at a neighborhood public elementary school as a volunteer.

My wife, Robin, is also a violinist and a member of the Portland Baroque Orchestra. We have a boy and a girl, aged 11 and 8.

Sandra Jean (Maile) DudleySandra Jean (Maile) Dudley, MM ’85
Major/Instrument: Voice Performance & Literature
Studio Teacher: Jan DeGaetani

During my studies at Eastman, I taught voice at Hochstein Music School. After graduation, I married Bruce Dudley (MM in Jazz ’86) in 1986. We moved to Nova Scotia, Canada and I taught Jazz voice at St. Francis Xavier University for 3 years as an Instructor. In 1990, we moved back to the States, lived in my home town of Buffalo, NY and had our first child, Sara. I was a freelance Jazz musician and voice teacher there. We moved to Houston, TX in 1991, where I taught voice and music courses at the University of Houston until 1995. We had our second child, Heather, in 1993. In 1995, I accepted a position as Assistant Professor at Belmont University in Nashville, TN teaching commercial voice ensembles and styles courses. I have been teaching there for the past 15 years. My husband also teaches there full-time.

I have had a jazz singing career for the past 25 years, singing in clubs and concert halls throughout the US. I am featured on 3 CDs, and in 2004 came out with my first solo CD called “Close to you.” I am currently still at Belmont and am also singing with a vocal jazz quartet called “Third Coast Vocals.” Our first CD will be out this fall. My website is

Reflection: My best experience at Eastman was studying with Jan DeGaetani. It was an incredible experience and I learned things about myself and my music that have lasted my entire career. I was studying classical and jazz voice at the time and she was open to it and taught me how the two can intermingle. This set me up to teach commercial voice later in my career and I’ve been teaching all the vocal styles ever since!

Douglas J. FisherDouglas J. FisherDouglas J. Fisher, BM ’84
Major/Instrument: Bassoon
Studio Teacher: K. David Van Hoesen

During my last year at Eastman, I won a job as Second Bassoon in the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and have continued in that position since 1984. I also became deeply involved as a musician advocate and activist, first as Chair of the Orchestra Committee for several years and then as President of the Central Ohio Federation of Musicians, Local 103, AFM where I have served since 1996 winning eight consecutive elections to that position. I got married to Catharine Carroll, a viola professor at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and Ohio State University in 2001 and though we have no children, we maintain and share two homes in Columbus and Cincinnati with four Persian cats.

Reflection: I loved going to school at Eastman because of my excellent teacher and the great facilities there. I’m sorry to have lost touch with many friends there and will hopefully find them again. I enjoyed most of my classes, many concerts, great cheap eats such as Dagwood’s and Bay & Goodman Pizza, and places such as Park Avenue, Cutler Union, and Letchworth Park. I’m grateful for the education and experience I had at Eastman and miss those days often.

Kaaren FleisherKaaren FleisherKaaren Fleisher, BM ’85
Major/Instrument: Violin
Studio Teacher: Oliver Steiner & Girardo Ribeiro

I went on to earn a MM from Wichita State University in 1987 in violin performance, where I studied with Andrzej Grabiec. I moved to Ithaca (for love), and freelanced in the region for 4 years, then moved to Albuquerque, NM to play with the New Mexico Symphony for one season. I moved to San Antonio to play with the San Antonio Symphony from 1992-96, then moved (for love) to Houston, where I currently reside. My performing career as a violinist has been like an orchestral sandwich, comprised of freelance bread. The sandwich is gone, and I currently work at Rice University for the Shepherd School of Music, where I am orchestra manager and librarian.

My most cherished experiences during my orchestral years as a violinist have been in the opera pit. My first exposure to playing opera was with David Effron at the Heidelberg Schloss-Spiele; I played this festival 4 seasons! Among other small opera companies I joined over the years, I played 14 summer seasons with Glimmerglass Opera in upstate New York. I now attend operas as an enthusiastic audience member, and especially love the HD live broadcasts from the Met.

Jeanne GolanJeanne Golan, MM ’85, DMA ’87
Major/Instrument: Piano
Studio Teachers: Burge and Spillman

Life is full… performing, living in Manhattan, full-time college teaching position with tenure, private piano studio and a new and gratifying side-line of teaching music appreciation to professional dancers with major ballet companies in New York. I have released several solo and collaborative albums and been reviewed by The New York Times as “technically polished and superbly expressive.” I’ve done much work with living composers. I also enjoy programming quirky mixes of new and standard rep. I can be found on the web at

Kevin HoneycuttKevin HoneycuttKevin Honeycutt, BM
Major/Instrument: Flute
Studio Teacher: Bonita Boyd

Since graduating from Eastman – and spending a rather short-lived career as a performing flutist and teacher – I have dedicated the past 25 years as a leader in the field of cause marketing and fundraising in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. Specifically, I have been responsible for designing and implementing revenue growth plans generating close to $1 billion for social service and health care causes throughout the U.S. while exponentially expanding cause awareness through media for issues such as AIDS, cancer, women’s rights, higher education, diabetes, kidney disease, international clean drinking water efforts, and other relevant causes impacting society today.

Over the last decade, I have spearheaded the development and implementation of several national projects, including the creation and execution of two of the most distinguished and successful fundraising events in North America: AIDS/LifeCycle, a 7-day bicycling event benefiting the AIDS services programs of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center; and, the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, a weekend-long, 39-mile walk raising funds for the Avon Foundation for Women’s programs to provide access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer. Both programs continue to thrive today and have raised over $500 million to date.

Reflection: Despite the path my career took, I wouldn’t trade my Eastman education for anything in the world. Eastman is where I learned about Life: about how to conduct yourself, how to lead, or how to be part of an ensemble (or team). Everything I needed to know in my business career, I learned at Eastman – only with a little more creative style than my colleagues did in obtaining their MBAs!

I welcome email messages from my classmates at:

Donald KendrickDonald Kendrick, DMA ’85
Major/Instrument: Choral Conducting
Studio Teachers: James G. Smith and Alfred Mann

Since my time at Eastman, I have taught at Louisiana State University, the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music, and at universities in Canada. In 1989, I accepted an invitation from Boston’s celebrated Chorus Pro Musica, to serve as its third conductor in 41 years. I was also the founding Conductor of the 180-voice Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra that presents several concerts each season in the Sacramento Community Center Theater.

I am now Director of Choral Activities at California State University, Sacramento, where I conduct several choirs. At CSUS, I also direct the Graduate Degree Program in Choral Conducting that I initiated in 1986. My CSUS Choirs have performed in Europe, the United States and Canada, where they appeared on an international telecast at the invitation of the Prime Minister. I currently serve on the statewide board of the California American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) where I am the representative for Community Choruses in California.

I am also Organist and Director of Music at Sacramento’s Sacred Heart Church where I conduct Vox Nova and Schola Cantorum, an ensemble that has recorded and toured throughout North America and recently completed a concert tour of Spain. In addition, I am Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Sacramento Children’s Chorus and was recently awarded a Certificate of Recognition from the California State Assembly for my work in promoting choral music for youth in the greater Sacramento area. I have appeared on the CBC as a recitalist and conductor, and my choirs have been broadcast locally. I am active as a guest conductor, an adjudicator for choral festivals throughout the country.

In May 1995, I made my Carnegie Hall conducting debut in a performance of Verdi’s Requiem. In May 2003, I returned to Carnegie Hall with the SCSO to conduct a triumphant performance of Orff’s Carmina Burana. In July 2006, I led the Sacramento Choral Society and guests from the CSUS Choral Music Program on a performance tour of China, with a special performance on the Great Wall.  In June 2007, I toured Italy with Sacred Heart’s Schola Cantorum where we performed at a Papal Audience for Pope Benedict XVI and at St. Peter’s (The Vatican) on the Great Altar.  And in May 2007, I was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year by the Capitol Section of the California Music Educators Association (CMEA).

Karen Lesser, MM ’85
Major/Instrument: Music Education/Piano

Since Eastman, I have been teaching piano in Pittsford, NY and substituting for general music and accompanying in the Pittsford Central Schools. I have three daughters, ages 24, 18 and 18 (twins).

Lynette LimLynette LimLynette Lim, BM ’84
Major/Instrument: Applied Violin
Studio Teacher: Sylvia Rosenberg

After Eastman, I did my MM at Indiana University under Josef Gingold & Henryk Kowalski. I then came back to Eastman as Rosenberg’s TA while enrolled in the DMA program. I did not complete that but got married instead and moved home to Singapore in 1988, which is where I have been based since.

My husband, Lubin Chang is an Anglican minister and we have 3 wonderful kids who all play string instruments. Adriel the cellist is 19 and is now doing his mandatory service in the Singapore army; Jakin the violist and artist is almost 14 and Christel the violinist and ballerina is 12.

Since coming to Singapore, I have been very busy in the local music scene. I helped set up and headed the string department at two local music colleges- the LaSalle College of the Arts and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. I now teach gifted violinists privately and specialize in the older, pre-college age group. Many of my students have gone on to conservatories in the US, UK and Europe. Two of my students have graduated from Eastman with PC and currently, two more are doing their undergraduate studies. I hope to keep up the constant stream of students making it to Eastman!

Reflection: I think our years at Eastman were one of the Golden periods for Eastman. We had David Effron, and the Eastman orchestras were arguably the best college orchestras around. Though I was never one of his favorites (and he certainly did have some-rumor had it that it had to do with hair color?) he did provide a solid orchestral foundation for us and made those hours in ET or Room 120 most memorable!

The dorm food was also worthy of reminiscing over! I remember the Medieval Night theme where even the River Campus kids bussed over to enjoy the steak & game hen! And the fresh-squeezed orange juice and cream cheese and lox on bagels, which other dorm would spoil their residents like that!!

The Christian Fellowship group was wonderful too. We made a head-count and discovered that a quarter of the school was actively involved in church on Sundays or some form of fellowship groups during the week. Eastman has indelibly shaped my life. That is why I am still sending the next generation there!

Patti MonsonPatti MonsonPatti Monson, BM ’84
Instrument: Flute
Studio Teacher: Bonita Boyd

After graduating from the Yale School of Music, I enjoyed many seasons (17!!) living in Manhattan, performing and teaching.  Here are some highlights: Faculty, Manhattan School of Music, Director Contemporary Ensemble TACTUS, and creator of the very first Graduate Degree in Contemporary Performance at MSM; Founding member Sequitur New Music Ensemble; Numerous recordings on Sony Classical, Nonesuch, Koch, Albany, and CRI, including two solo CDs on the Albany and CRI labels, entitled “Chamber Music for Solo Flute”; Many appearances as soloist and masterclass teacher on performance series, festivals and universities around the world dedicated to new music; I spent many summers as faculty at the Bang On a Can Summer Festival, The Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and The Perlman Music Program; Premiered thousands of new works by composers like Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe, Mathew Rosenblum, Harold Meltzer, Steven Burke, Randall Wolf, Eric Moe…to name a few.

In 2008 I married my partner Diane Harvey. We were married in San Francisco during a window of generous sanity allowed by the state of California.  We are now retired, and live in the woods of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State with our two labs, Wolf and Lucca.  We enjoy hiking, fishing for bass and steelhead, breathing clean air, the sounds of 100 different bird species, the large spruce and cedar trees around us, and the magical sound of ice cracking when the temperature falls in the winter.  I spend a lot of delightful hours tending to my vegetable garden, and our orchard of apple and cherry trees.  We live among elk, deer, cougars, and bobcats; and the Olympic Mountains rise in our backyard.

Reflection: I am the most fortunate person in the universe!

I welcome email messages from my classmates at

Lila D. NoonkesterLila D. Noonkester, MM ’84, DMA ’88
Major/Instrument: Voice
Studio Teacher: John Maloy

I have been a member of the music faculty at Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina since 1988. I was appointed chair of the Department of Music in 2009 and continue to teach applied voice, freshman theory, opera workshop, and music appreciation. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to lead Lander Fine Arts Study Tours to Berlin, Budapest, London, New York, Prague, and Vienna. I sat on the Greenwood-Lander Performing Arts Board for 18 years and am currently serving as Vice President of the Greenwood Music Festival, a chamber series founded by Eastman graduate Keith Jameson and featured in the June 2010 issue of Opera News.

I saw Todd Rundgren for the umpteenth time recently at a South Carolina listening room called The Handlebar and have come to relish the musical artistry of Richard Thompson, Vance Gilbert, Lizz Wright, John Pizzarelli, and Eva Cassidy, to name a few. I still can’t get enough of Duke sports (2010 NCAA basketball and lacrosse champs) and am looking forward to watching my fellow Mississippian Brett Favre play football again this fall (I hope). And, of course, there’s my dog B.C. What a life!

Reflection: How thrilled I was to be able to see Mr. Maloy again in person as Eastman honored him upon his retirement several years ago. He was definitely a guiding musical force in my life and is much deserving of the portrait . How thrilled I was also to learn that a Chihuly chandelier has been commissioned to hang in the entryway of the newly renovated theatre. Though I own no glass by preeminent artist Dale Chihuly, I do have an extensive art glass collection, including cherished pieces secured at Craft Company No. 6 in Rochester during my graduate days.

David RosenDavid Rosen, MM ’85
Major/Instrument: Cello
Studio Teacher: Steven Doane

After graduating from Eastman, I attended the University of Miami from 1985-88 where I received my Doctor of Musical Arts and a Teaching Assistantship. I have been a member of the New Orleans Symphony and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (former New Orleans Symphony) from 1989 to the present. Since 1992, I have spent my summers at the Breckenridge Music Festival in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Reflection: Highlights of my career at Eastman include all the wonderful chamber music and being coached by the Cleveland Quartet.

Louise ShackeltonLouise Shackelton, MM ’84
Major/Instrument: Violin
Studio Teacher: Rosenberg

Since Eastman:
– Florida Symphony
– Hartford Symphony
– 1995-2001: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
– 2001-present: London Symphony Orchestra

I moved back to Britain in 1994. I played for 6 years as co-principal 2nd violin under Simon Rattle with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. I then joined the London Symphony Orchestra in 2001 with Sir Colin Davis. I’ve toured and recorded with them all over the world. I’m happily married to David with 2 gorgeous children: Isaac & Jacob (5 & 2).

Susan (Gall) SimsSusan (Gall) SimsSusan (Gall) Sims, BM ’84
Major/Instrument: Flute
Studio Teacher: Bonita Boyd

I am currently an orthopedic surgery resident at the University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital (seriously – I am not making this up!). I went back to school in 2004 to gather medical school pre-requisites and graduated in May 2010 from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine with my MD. I was very fortunate to match into the competitive field of orthopedic surgery at Strong and now live in Irondequoit with my husband Christopher Sims, two dogs, and a cat.

After graduating from Eastman and before entering the medical profession, I spent time as an electrical engineer, graduating from California State University in 1987 with a BSEE. This choice was largely influenced by the fear of homelessness combined with an aptitude for math. Working for Hughes Aircraft as a radar software engineer for the F-15 proved to be less fulfilling than I thought it would be, seeing as my job was primarily to design radar software that would guide missiles to more efficiently destroy things. In 1990, being definitely older and presumably wiser, I thought maybe giving music another shot would be a good idea so I pulled up stakes in California to move to Boston for an MM in flute performance at the New England Conservatory. I graduated in 1992 and immediately started teaching, freelancing, and formed a contemporary chamber music ensemble called Auros. I had 15 great years as a professional flutist but eventually started to feel I had done what I came to do in music and had one more career left in me. Of course – medicine, what else! This has been an extremely interesting and challenging road and I am very happy to be on it.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the reunion assuming I am not on call!

Reflection: Of all the many institutions of higher learning I have attended, I have the greatest fondness for Eastman. The lifelong friends, the great teaching (thanks for everything, Bonnie!), and the solid foundation in life were and are priceless. Now that I’m back in Rochester, I look forward to re-experiencing the joys of ESM concerts, this time from a much more relaxed seat in the concert hall.

I welcome email messages from my classmates at:

Phil SnedecorPhil Snedecor, BM ’85, MM ’93
Major/Instrument: Trumpet
Studio Teachers: Charlie Greyer, Barbara Butler

I’ve made a career for myself consisting of freelance trumpet playing, writing and arranging as well as starting and maintaining my own 501 (c) (3) non-profit, the Washington Symphonic Brass ( In addition to our five critically acclaimed CDs, we perform for most of the major churches and Cathedrals in the DC area and maintain a concert series in DC, Maryland and Virginia. I have held one year positions with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Baltimore Symphony in addition to principal trumpet chairs for the Harrisburg Symphony and the Baltimore Opera. A surprise windfall in my career has been the success of my etude books for trumpet and tuba as well as trombone and flute (!). Many of these studies are used in major university schools of music as well as top music conservatories, and some are required performance audition material for acceptance.

Last fall I was one of three finalists for the music director position of the River City Brass Band, a fully professional British-style Brass Band that performers over 45 concerts a year in and around the Pittsburg PA area. I conducted 9 performances as part of my audition and had a great time with these guys. Little did they know I was just a trumpet player….

Reflection: I continue to look back at my Eastman days with fond memories and gratitude for what I learned there. I recently visited there (on a trip to perform my new Trumpet Concerto for Solo Trumpet and Wind Ensemble) and was taken with all of the energy that continues to flow through the halls. I wish I could go back there (know what I know now), become a student again, and learn even more!

Elizabeth Stoppels GirkoElizabeth Stoppels Girko, MM ’85
Major/Instrument: Violin
Studio Teacher: Peter Salaff

For the past 25 years, I have performed in professional orchestras. From 1985-1989, I was a member of the Jacksonville (FL) Symphony. From 1989-1990, I performed with the Virginia Symphony and Virginia Opera as principal 2nd violin.

Since 1990, I have been a member of the San Antonio Symphony. I also am a member of the Austin Symphony and the San Antonio Opera.  In the summers, I perform with the Carmel Bach Festival in Carmel, CA.

I teach violin at San Antonio College and Our Lady of the Lake University, as well as maintaining a private studio at home. I married Steve Girko in 2001.

Jonathan A. SturmJonathan A. Sturm, MM and MA ’85
Instrument: Violin
Studio Teacher: Zeitlin and Rosenberg

In addition to being the concertmaster of the Des Moines Symphony since 1991, I have performed on concert series across the United States, and internationally in Canada, Russia, Albania, Cuba, and South Africa with the Ames Piano Quartet since 1998. I have soloed with orchestras in Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, and California, have recorded six compact discs on the Dorian, Albany, and Sono Luminus labels, and have published articles in journals for strings and music history.  In 2009, I was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award at Iowa State University, where I am Associate Professor of Music. I earned my Doctorate from Indiana University in 1995, and have also held positions at Drake University and Rhode Island College. I currently live in Ames, Iowa with my wife, Julie, Des Moines Symphony principal cellist.  My website is:

Reflection: In the 2 years I spent at Eastman, I learned more than at any other single place during the same period of time. I continue to model aspects of my performing and teaching on my experiences from Eastman with the hope and intent to continue the tradition of excellence found there.

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