Eastman School of Music Announces New Faculty Members

August 20, 2020

Media only: Katey Padden, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator, (585) 451-8492, kpadden@esm.rochester.edu


Eastman School of Music is proud to announce several new full-time and visiting faculty appointments for the 2020-2021 academic year:

  • Benjamin Baker ‘18E (MA), Assistant Professor of Music Theory
  • Nicole Cabell ‘01E (BM), Assistant Professor of Voice
  • Yoojin Jang, Assistant Professor of Violin
  • Sarah Marlowe ‘13E (PhD), Assistant Professor of Music Theory
  • Joseph Rackers ‘01E (MM), ‘05E (DMA), Professor of Piano
  • In addition, violinist Itamar Zorman is confirmed as Visiting Guest Artist for the 2021-2022 academic year.

“It is thrilling to welcome these remarkable artists and scholars to the Eastman faculty,” says Jamal Rossi, the Joan and Martin Messinger Dean at Eastman. “Each of them has a proven passion and commitment to teaching excellence, which is a hallmark of the Eastman experience.  I am excited by the prospect of the contributions they will be making to our school in the years ahead.”   

Nicole Cabell, who earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Eastman in 2001, is returning to the school with an appointment as Assistant Professor of Voice. Named 2005 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, Ms. Cabell’s ensuing career has taken her to the most important opera stages and concert halls in the world, including the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; the Metropolitan Opera; Lyric Opera of Chicago; Deutsche Opera Berlin; Tetro Colòn Buenos Aires; and many more. As a concert soloist and recitalist, she has sung throughout the United States, Europe, and Canada. Her recordings include Soprano, an opera recital disc debut for Decca; Silver Rain, songs of Ricky Ian Gordon; Chanson D’Avril; Mademoiselle—Première Audience, Unknown Music of Nadia Boulanger for Delos; and Musetta in La Bohème with Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon, as well as in La Bohème: The Film.

“I’m incredibly honored to join the peerless, distinguished faculty of the Eastman School of Music,” Cabell says.  “It has been a dream of mine since my graduation at Eastman in 2001 to be part of this community and I greatly look forward to serving Eastman to the very best of my abilities.”

Katherine Ciesinski, the Chair of Eastman’s Voice, Opera, and Vocal Coaching Department, welcomes Nicole Cabell: “Her mastery of technique and its application in expressive communication will galvanize our students’ growth at all levels. In addition, her desires to promote the performance of new works by diverse composers and to reach out into the greater Rochester community will bring inspiration and new voices to our concert halls.”

Korean violinist YooJin Jang has been appointed Assistant Professor of Violin. Jang is a winner of the 2017 Concert Artists Guild Competition and First Prize winner of the 2016 Sendai International Music Competition in Japan, and also a co-founder of The Kallaci String Quartet, which made its international debut at the Seoul Spring Festival of Chamber Music. Recognized for her creative work in chamber music, she won the 2011 Borromeo String Quartet Guest Artist Award, and in 2009 the Schloss Weikersheim Scholarship of the London String Quartet Competition

YooJin Jang holds a Bachelor of Music degree from The Korean National University of Arts, and Master of Music degree from New England Conservatory; she is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts at NEC.

“I am so excited and humbled to be joining the faculty at Eastman School of Music,” Jang says. “It’s an honor to be collaborating alongside the esteemed faculty and I look forward to working with the students and help them discover their own voice both musically and personally.”

Phillip Ying, Co-Chair of the Strings, Harp and Guitar Department, adds, “Yoojin brings to the Eastman School a fresh voice and a stellar combination of instrumental brilliance, dynamic artistry, and a passion for teaching. She will be an inspiring presence and a fantastic colleague in the Eastman community.”

The Music Theory Department has appointed Benjamin Baker and Sarah Marlowe as Assistant Professors. “Eastman Music Theory is delighted to announce the appointments of Benjamin Baker and Sarah Marlowe,” says department chair Jonathan Dunsby. “Each will be a full-time, tenure-track Assistant Professor joining our vibrant, diverse team of internationally known expert teacher-researchers.”

Benjamin Baker is a University of Rochester Sproull Fellow in music theory, with a B.A. in music and mathematics from St. Olaf College and a M.M. in jazz piano performance from New York University. His research focuses on intersections between jazz and popular music, intertextuality and improvisation in jazz performance, and analysis of music by jazz pianist Robert Glasper.

“I’m elated and humbled to be joining the Theory faculty,” says Ben Baker. “Teaching at Eastman affords a rare and tremendous opportunity to work with talented students and brilliant colleagues, all within a community marked by exceptional warmth and collegiality. I am blessed indeed, and I look forward to a wonderful first semester this fall.”

Sarah Marlowe comes to Eastman from New York University, where she was an Assistant Professor and received the NYU Steinhardt Teaching Excellence Award. She holds degrees in piano performance and music theory from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and in music theory from Eastman. Sarah’s research centers on fugue and counterpoint, Russian music theory, the music of J. S. Bach and Dmitri Shostakovich, and music theory and aural skills pedagogy.

“It is a true honor to join the Eastman theory faculty,” says Sarah Marlowe. “I am continually inspired by the outstanding scholarship and musicianship of Eastman’s faculty and students, and I am thrilled to return to this wonderful and nurturing community of scholars and performers.”

While studying at Eastman, Ben and Sarah each received the Teaching Assistant Prize, and the University’s Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student.

Joseph Rackers, who was a Visiting Professor of Piano at Eastman last year, has been promoted to full-time Professor of Piano. Hailed as an “American Virtuoso” (Audiophile Audition) and for his “enormous power and intelligent, instinctive interpretation” (Spoleto Today), Rackers has performed for enthusiastic audiences throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. An International Steinway Artist, he serves on the artist faculty of the Perugia, Burgos, and Texas State International Piano Festivals and the Southeastern Piano Festival and has performed widely with the Lomazov/Rackers Piano Duo. He has given master classes at several American universities, and at conservatories and music festivals across the United States, Europe, and Asia, and his students have won national and international competitions.

“Joseph is an incredible performing artist in solo, concerto, and chamber music settings, as well as being a wonderful teacher, and he will be a great addition to our Piano faculty,” shares Doug Humpherys, Chair of the Piano department. This is also the first time we’ve had a duo-piano team in residence on the faculty, with Joseph together with Professor Marina Lomazov.”

Violinist Itamar Zorman is the winner of the 2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant, and the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition. Mr. Zorman studied at the Jerusalem Academy, The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, and the Kronberg Academy, working with Sylvia Rosenberg and Christian Tetzlaff. He has performed as a soloist with the Mariinsky Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, New World Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, KBS Symphony Seoul, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, and American Symphony, and with conductors Valery Gergiev, Zubin Mehta, James DePreist, and Michael Tilson Thomas. As a recitalist, he has performed at Carnegie Hall’s Distinctive Debut series, People’s Symphony Concerts, the Louvre Museum, Suntory Hall and Frankfurt Radio. He is a member of the Israeli Chamber project, and a member of the Lysander Piano Trio, which won the 2012 Concert Artists Guild Competition.

Regarding the return of Itamar Zorman to Eastman, Dean Rossi says, “Itamar Zorman is an artist with an authentic voice who expresses himself through the perfect combination of extraordinary intelligence coupled with deep emotion. We are thrilled to have him as a member of our community as a visiting guest artist.”



About Eastman School of Music: 

The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854-1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. It was the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Mr. Eastman’s dream was that his school would provide a broad education in the liberal arts as well as superb musical training. The current dean is Jamal Rossi, appointed in 2014.

More than 900 students are enrolled in the Collegiate Division of the Eastman School of Music—about 500 undergraduates and 400 graduate students. They come from almost every state, and approximately 23 percent are from other countries. They are taught by a faculty comprised of more than 130 highly regarded performers, composers, conductors, scholars, and educators. They are Pulitzer Prize winners, Grammy winners, Emmy winners, Guggenheim fellows, ASCAP Award recipients, published authors, recording artists, and acclaimed musicians who have performed in the world’s greatest concert halls. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 900 concerts to the Rochester community.