June 27, 2000

More Information:
Eastman Office of Communications, 585-274-1050

ROCHESTER, NY – The Eastman School of Music announces the following new faculty appointments:

Hans Davidsson will be taking a position on the organ faculty in January 2001. Davidsson is founder and director of the Göteborg Organ Art center (GOArt), an international center for research in performance practice and historical instrument building. He also is artistic director of the renowned Göteborg International Organ Academy. Davidsson received his soloist diploma in organ and an M.A. in church music from the School of Music and Musicology in Göteborg and in 1991 became the first doctor of music performance in Sweden. A noted performer, teacher and scholar, Davidsson has served on the faculty of the School of Music and Musicology, Göteborg University, since 1986, and he gives frequent master classes and performances at major international festivals, conferences, and music schools throughout Europe and in the United States.

Benton Hess, who has been visiting professor of vocal repertory for the past year, becomes distinguished professor of voice (senior vocal coach) as of July 1, 2001. Since 1994, Hess has been the Marion Stedman Covington Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he also was vocal coach and head of the accompanying program. As a conductor, he has worked with Arkansas Opera Theater (Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts), Augusta Opera (Georgia), Lyric Opera Cleveland, New York Lyric Opera and other New York City groups, Minnesota Opera, Opera Theatre of Rochester and many other companies. He completed a B.M. in piano performance and did graduate-level studies at the New England Conservatory. Hess also studied with Felix Wolfes and Boris Goldovsky.

Clay Jenkins, associate professor of jazz trumpet, comes to Eastman from California. A graduate of the University of North Texas (B.A. in music theory), and the University of Southern California (M.A. in jazz studies), Jenkins has been a member of the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra (now affiliated with the Los Angeles Philharmonic), Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich and Count Basie orchestras, the Jim Widner Big Band, and the Joe LaBarbera Quintet. He has taught at Colburn School of Performing Arts (theory co-chair), Cal State Northridge, USC, and, since 1992, at California Institute of the Arts, where he taught jazz trumpet and small ensembles.

Ilya Kaler, who has served as associate professor of violin on a part-time basis since 1998, becomes a full-time faculty member as of July 1. Kaler, concertmaster of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra since 1996, is the winner of gold medals in the Tchaikovsky (1986), Sibelius (1985) and Paganini (1981) competitions. Born in Moscow, he studied under Zinaida Gilels at the Central Music School for Especially Gifted Children in Moscow. He continued his studies with Leonid Kogan and Victor Tretyakov at the Moscow Conservatory, where he earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees and graduated with the Gold Medal Award. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras around the world including the Leningrad, Moscow and Dresden philharmonics and the Detroit, Baltimore and Montreal symphonies. His many recordings include Paganini Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 as well as 24 Caprices, Schumann Violin Sonatas, Dvorak and Glazunov violin concertos, and Brahms Double Concerto.

Ashley Putnam joins the faculty as visiting professor of voice in September. A native of New York City, the noted soprano received bachelor and master of music degrees from the University of Michigan, and in 1976 won first prize in the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Marguerite in the Hal Prince production of Faust and later appeared with the company as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. She created the title role in Thea Musgrave’s Mary, Queen of Scots, which premiered at the Virginia Opera and was later produced by the New York City Opera. Her career has included performances in major cities around the world, including Florence, Berlin, Vienna, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, Chicago, Cleveland and Baltimore. This year, she appeared at New York City’s 92nd Street Y for the world premiere of the song cycle "Phantoms of Myself." For the past year, she has been associate professor of voice at DePaul University.

Martin Scherzinger, who will be assistant professor of musicology, comes to Eastman from Columbia University, where he recently completed his Ph.D. He holds master of philosophy and master of arts degrees from Columbia, and B.M. and B.A. degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He is winner of a President’s Fellowship from Columbia University, A.W. Mellon Summer Research Fellowship (1996), International Scholarship for Music from the Foundation for the Creative Arts, South Africa (1995), and other awards for scholarship as well as for composition. As the winner of the Total Music Composition Competition in 1994, his orchestral work was performed by the National Orchestra, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Reinhild Steingröver joins the humanities department as assistant professor of German. She received a Grundstudiumabschluss (B.A. equivalent) from the Free University of Berlin and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her research and teaching interests include 20th-century German literature, film studies, women’s studies and interdisciplinary approaches to literature. Steingröver is the author of a book on the contemporary Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard. Since 1997, she has been a faculty member at SUNY Buffalo.

Daniel Zager on July 1 becomes the fourth music librarian and chief administrator in the 96-year history of the Sibley Music Library as well as an associate professor of musicology, part time. Since 1999 he has been music librarian and adjunct associate professor of music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Previously, he was associate professor of church music and music history and coordinator of the master of church music program at Concordia University in Illinois (1997-98), and conservatory librarian and lecturer in musicology at Oberlin Conservatory (1987-97). Zager holds a B.M. in organ performance and an M.A. in library science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Minnesota. He has served as organist and music director at Lutheran churches in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Carolina and elsewhere almost continually since 1970, and also publishes regularly on subjects related to church music and music librarianship.

Established in 1921 by George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak Co., the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., has achieved international prominence including the top ranking in the U.S. News and World Report survey of the nation’s best graduate schools.