Eastman School of Music, of the University of Rochester, is proud to announce ten new full-time faculty appointments for the 2022-2023 academic year:
- Crystal Sellers Battle; Associate Dean of Equity and Inclusion, Director of the George Walker Center for Equity and Inclusion, Professor of Music Leadership
- Octavio Cardenas, Assistant Professor of Opera
- Alison d’Amato, Associate Professor of Vocal Coaching
- Christine Jensen, Assistant Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Media
- Sangmi Kang, Assistant Professor of Music Teaching and Learning
- Soojin Kang, Assistant Professor of Collaborative Piano
- Nathan Lam, Assistant Professor of Music Theory
- Nathan Laube, Associate Professor of Organ
- Loretta Terrigno, Assistant Professor of Music Theory
- Chelsea Whitaker, Assistant Professor of Vocal Coaching
“It is thrilling to welcome a truly remarkable group of scholars, artists, and leaders to Eastman,” says Jamal Rossi, the Joan and Martin Messinger Dean at Eastman. “We are excited to benefit from the experience, passion, and excellence each of these individuals will contribute to our community in the years ahead.”
Dr. Crystal Sellers Battle comes from Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA, where she currently serves as the Dean of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer. In that role, Crystal works to advance programs and policies that promote mindsets and behaviors that value and support equity, diversity, and inclusion. She co-founded DIEMA (Diversity, Inclusion and Equity in Musical Arts) Consulting Group LLC, to help schools of music address DEI related challenges and initiatives. She has presented to several groups around the country about DEI in music including the Northeastern Regional Conference of College Music Society.
Crystal holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in voice performance with a specialization in Singing Health from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Music from Bowling Green State University, a Master of Music degree from Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and a Postgraduate Diploma from Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK. She will be joined in Rochester by her husband Larry and their precocious four-year-old daughter Carey.
“Joining the Eastman community is exciting for me as it marries two of my passions into a beautiful fit – music, and equity and inclusion work,” shares Dr. Sellers Battle. “I am eager to help our Eastman community think about how we can be more equitable and inclusive of all. I look forward to seeing who will meet me at the starting line, as it will take all of us to work together, as we move towards what’s to come.”
Stage director Octavio Cardenas, born in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico, captivates audiences with his visionary, visceral, and physical style of directing. Opera News has praised him for creating “an immersive theater experience”, while the Dallas Morning News hailed him for bringing “every character and situation to life.” Recent projects include Papermoon’s production of Barber of Seville with Opera Delaware, Lohengrin by Salvatore Sciarrino as a pop-up digital opera installation: a site-specific opera for COVID times in collaboration with artist Lance McGoldrick and Opera Southwest; Cruzar la cara de la Luna with Opera Santa Barbara, and the world premiere of the children’s opera Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World for Fort Worth Opera. Upcoming projects include the world premiere of Hector Armienta’s full score for Zorro with Opera Southwest and Eugene Onegin with Unionavenue Opera. Other recent productions include La bohème for Minnesota Opera.
As the former Director of Opera for Baylor University, Mr. Cardenas directed productions of L’elisir d’amore, The Turn of the Screw, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Die Fledermaus, Man of La Mancha, La finta giardiniera, HMS Pinafore, and Rita. As Visiting Director of Opera at Chapman University, he directed Florencia en el Amazonas by Daniel Catán. He was a Resident Artist at Minnesota Opera for four seasons and has served as the Head of Directing Staff at Des Moines Metro Opera where he directed very successful site-specific productions of Maria de Buenos Aires in a Black Box theatre, Rappaccini’s Daughter at Des Moines Botanical Gardens, Galileo Galilei at a planetarium, The Tender Land in a cornfield, and La bohème for the main stage. He has also been on the directing staff at Chautauqua Opera.
Mr. Cardenas received his Master of Fine Arts in Theatre from UCLA, a Master of Music from the University of South Carolina, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Centenary College in Louisiana.
Pianist Dr. Alison d’Amato has been working in vocal and instrumental genres for more than twenty-five years as a collaborative pianist, teacher, and music director. Known as a trailblazer in the field of art song, she directs her passion for song’s rich history towards generating new music and merging its past with its present. In 2003, she became Artistic Co-Director of Florestan Recital Project. From 2007-2015, she was a Founding Faculty member of Vancouver International Song Institute (VISI), a broadly interdisciplinary program that brought together world-renowned artists, teachers, and scholars to celebrate and explore song as a global art. Dr. d’Amato is currently Program Co-Director of “(art) Song Lab,” a unique collaborative intensive which brings together writers, composers, and performers to create new art songs.
After several years on the faculty of the State University at Buffalo, Dr. d’Amato was promoted to serve as Director of Music Theatre to lead the program into new practices of equity, diversity, and inclusion. In 2017, she joined ArtsBridge as Co-Creator & Faculty for the Artsbridge Summer Art Song program, a college audition preparatory program for high school students that includes courses in song repertoire, poetry, performance masterclasses, and vocal coaching.
Dr. d’Amato has been a frequent guest artist at festivals and schools such as the Brancaleoni Festival (Italy), the SOURCE Song Festival (Minneapolis), The AmBul Festival (Sofia, Bulgaria), Boston Conservatory, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and SUNY Fredonia. She received the Grace B. Jackson Prize from Tanglewood Music Center in 2002 acknowledging her “extraordinary commitment of talent and energy.” Dr. d’Amato attended Oberlin College and Conservatory and earned a double Master of Music degree in solo and collaborative piano from Cleveland Institute of Music. In May 2007, she received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from New England Conservatory of Music.
“I’m thrilled to expand my role in the Voice, Opera and Vocal Coaching department. I look forward to dreaming up new projects with the vibrant Eastman Community,” d’Amato shares.
As a Downbeat Critic’s Poll winner for Rising Star Big Band, Arranger, and Soprano Saxophonist, Christine Jensen is constantly in motion leading her own jazz orchestra and small ensemble. Her jazz orchestra recordings have gone on to win Juno awards, including Habitat (2014) and Treelines (2011). She is two-time recipient of SOCAN’s Hagood Hardy Jazz Composer Award. Habitat received the coveted five stars in Downbeat and was included at the top of several international critic’s polls, including Jazz Album of the Year in 2014.
Jensen’s music has taken her all over the world; she has received numerous commissions and conducting opportunities in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Her recent guest artist residencies have brought her to Frost School of Music-UMiami, The New School, University of Michigan, UMO Jazz Orchestra, Stockholm Jazz Orchestra, and Luxembourg Jazz Orchestra. She has performed with Jeremy Pelt, Phil Dwyer, Ben Monder, Gary Smuylan, Geoffrey Keezer, Lenny Pickett, and Donny McCaslin, as well as directing Terrence Blanchard with the Orchestre National Jazz de Montreal. She is founding artistic director and conductor of the Canadian National Jazz Orchestra, as well as the past artistic director of Orchestre National Jazz de Montreal. As a saxophonist, Jensen continues to collaborate on small and large ensemble projects with her sister Ingrid Jensen, with the addition of guitarist Ben Monder with Infinitude.
Her teachers and mentors include Kenny Werner, Jim McNeely, Dick Oatts, Remi Bolduc and John Hollenbeck. Since 2006, she has held composition and arranging lecturer positions at McGill University, Purchase College, and the University of Sherbrooke, as well as guest professor at University of Montreal and being artistic director of McGill Jazz Orchestra and small ensembles.
“I am excited to be working, teaching, and learning with colleagues and students in an inspired place of inclusion and openness, sharing my passion for jazz composition, as well as directing the Eastman Jazz Ensemble,” shares Jensen. “I hope to encourage my students’ aspirations and dreams by presenting a firm foundation in which they can build upon, while navigating them to the highest level on stage.”
Prior to this appointment, Sangmi Kang served as an Assistant Professor of Music Education at Westminster Choir College and taught pre-K to 12th grade general music in South Korea and the United States. As a general music specialist, Dr. Kang is passionate about music teaching and learning practices that nurture ethnorelative mindsets and effectively engage music students in the 21st century. Her research interests include cultural diversity, intercultural approaches to music education, intrinsic motivation, and 21st-century skills. She has has published articles in the Journal of Research in Music Education, Journal of Music Teacher Education, Psychology of Music, Music Educators Journal, Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, and Update: Applications of Research in Music Education. Dr. Kang has presented her work at international, national, and regional music education conferences.
Dr. Kang is a professional performer on the Gayageum (a traditional Korean stringed instrument). She has performed at several institutions, among them Westminster Choir College, the University of Florida, Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She received her Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Florida, a master’s degree in Music Education, and a bachelor’s degree in Music with a focus on Gayageum performance, from Seoul National University in South Korea.
“It is my great honor to join the Eastman Music Teaching and Learning department,” shares Kang. “I am beyond thrilled about this incredible opportunity to collaborate with esteemed faculty members and talented students to create highly musical and cutting-edge initiatives. I look forward to many inspirational years accompanying Eastman’s outstanding musicianship and scholarship in this vibrant community.”
As a solo pianist, Soojin Kang has performed at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and had an invitation performance from Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Fenway Center in Boston, and Jinju Philharmonic Orchestra. She was chosen for graduate assistant pianist during her doctoral study at MSU and was an award-winning student at the Boston Conservatory. Dr. Kang is the recipient of numerous prizes; her honors include first prize in the Boston Conservatory Honors Competition, Golden Classical Music Awards International Competition, Salzburg Grand Prize Virtuoso International Competition, American Protégé International Competition, Baejae University’s Competition, Gaecheon Arts Festival, Jinhae Gunhang Festival, Kimhae Music Association’s Competition, Haneol Competition, second prize at the Christine Bane Kefferstan Classical Piano Competition, Wooin Art Hall Competition, Daesin University Competition, Changsin University Competition and third prize at the West Virginia University competition. She received master classes from renowned musicians, Julian Martin, Anton Nel, John O’Conor, and Peter Amstutz.
As a collaborative pianist, Soojin has performed for both vocalists and instrumentalists. She also performed many piano solo pieces in collaboration with Boston ballet communities, including works Alban Berg’s Piano Sonata, Op. 1 (In Blue Orchids), and J. S. Bach’s Partita No. 2 (Bach to Bach. She has appeared at Chamber Series Concerts, Fenway Center in Boston as a member of a winning trio. She also presented on Classical Interlochen Public Radio, and IPR featured several her collaborative performances. In addition, she has many years of teaching experience and served as a coach/accompanist and an orchestral pianist.
Dr. Kang received a DMA in Piano Performance from Michigan State University, M.M. from Boston Conservatory, and BM from Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea. Her musical mentors include Panayis Lyras, Alexander Korsantia, Daniel Epstein, Jungja Kim and Hyungkyu Kim. She recently served on the collaborative pianist of Interlochen Arts Center and Interlochen Arts Academy.
“I am so happy to be joining Eastman, working and learning with great students and colleagues,” Kang says.” I hope to share my passionate energy though music with all the great musicians at Eastman, as we work and create art together.
Nathan Lam is an Australian-American music theorist and composer. He holds a BM in clarinet performance from Queensland Conservatorium and a PhD in music theory from Indiana University. Before joining Eastman, he taught theory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Nathan’s teaching and research stems from a deep curiosity about the structures of music. His research sits at the intersection of modal theory, solfege, history of theory, applied mathematical music theory, and multiculturalism. His recent publications and talks explore Chinese pentatonic transformations, 19th-century French modality, comparative solfege in aural skills pedagogy, and Schubert’s diatonic transformations.
Nathan’s own music extends his theoretical research into the creative realm. His multi-year composition project “Finding Symmetry” uses canons to engage audiences with concepts in mathematical music theory. His upcoming CD album will feature canons old and new, such as crab canons, tempo canons, and fractal canons. Nathan plays the clarinet whenever he can, and outside of music, he enjoys exploring local trails by bicycle and unicycle.
Nathan shares, “I am thrilled to join the music theory department at the Eastman School of Music, and it is my absolute privilege to work with the next generation of artists and scholars. As one of the top music schools in the nation, Eastman has long been the hub for music theory research. I look forward to the opportunities ahead to collaborate with students and faculty alike in creative, innovative, and socially engaged research.”
In addition to serving as Assistant Professor of Organ on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music, and as International Consultant in Organ Studies at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, UK, Nathan Laube’s extensive recital career includes major venues spanning four continents. He appears often in the world’s major concert halls in Vienna, Berlin, Hamburg, London, Seoul, Geneva, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, and Montreal, among others. Recent highlights have included Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. He had the honor of performing the first inaugural recital of the restored organ of King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. In 2017, he was appointed the first “Organist in Residence” on the celebrated 1738 Christiaan Müller organ in St. Bavo in Haarlem, the Netherlands. Most recently, he performed the complete third part of J.S. Bach’s Clavierübung at London’s Royal Festival Hall.
Mr. Laube is regularly invited to important international organ festivals in Europe as a performer, lecturer, and pedagogue. Mr. Laube’s recording of the Stephen Paulus Grand Concerto on the Naxos label recorded with the Nashville Symphony and Giancarlo Guerrero, received a GRAMMY Award for Best Classical Compendium.
Loretta Terrigno previously taught at The Juilliard School, Hofstra University, Hunter College, Columbia University, and The Mannes College of Music. Her research interests include text-music relationships in 19th– and 20th-century German and English art song, temporality, and narrative in music, Schenkerian analysis, and music theory pedagogy. Her publications on temporality in Brahms’s solo songs, source studies of Brahms’s late folksong settings, and performance and analysis in Beethoven’s Piano Sonata Op. 7 appear in Music Theory Online, Music Analysis, Rethinking Brahms, and Music Research Forum. Her book and recording reviews appear in Notes: the Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association, Nineteenth-Century Music Review, and the newsletter of the American Brahms Society.
Dr. Terrigno is on the editorial board of The Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy Online and is a board member of the American Brahms Society. From 2016−2022 she served as board member-at-large for the Music Theory Society of New York State. She is a pianist and holds degrees in performance from the Mannes College of Music and a PhD in music theory and musicology from the Graduate Center, City University of New York.
“I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to teach at the Eastman School of Music,” says Loretta Terrigno. “I look forward to meaningful, rewarding work with the wonderful students and faculty here.”
Dr. Chelsea Whitaker is a collaborative pianist and vocal coach enjoying a diverse career including art song, opera, chamber, and musical theater repertoire. Passionate about American art song, and particularly that of living composers, she has worked with composers such as John Harbison, Jake Heggie, John Musto, Ben Moore, Paul Moravec, Alan Louis Smith, John Heiss, and Matthew Recio. Whitaker has performed in venues such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., Merkin Hall in New York City, and Jordan Hall in Boston.
Prior to her appointment at Eastman, Whitaker served on the faculty of the New England Conservatory, where she taught and coached in the voice and opera departments. Recent work has included performances with Cincinnati Song Initiative, Sparks and Wiry Cries, Music for Food, Boston Art Song Society, Callithumpian Consort, and Calliope’s Call; vocal coaching positions at Boston University Tanglewood Institute and University of Massachusetts—Amherst; a staff pianist and vocal coaching position at Boston University; and music director positions with Boston Opera Collaborative.
“I am absolutely thrilled to join the Voice, Opera, and Vocal Coaching department and begin collaborating with this incredible community of artists and scholars,” shares Whitaker. “The standard of excellence and spirit of camaraderie at Eastman is palpable, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to grow and learn together.”
Media only: Jessica Kaufman, Director of Communications; 585-278-4743; firstname.lastname@example.org
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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.
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. Additionally, more than 1,700 members of the Rochester community, from young children through senior citizens, are enrolled in the Eastman Community Music School.
The three-semester-long Eastman Centennial celebration began in Fall 2021 and continues throughout 2022. Highlights include acclaimed guest artists performing alongside Eastman’s ensembles; national academic and music conferences; alumni events throughout the country; a documentary being produced in partnership with WXXI, and more. For up-to-date information on the Eastman Centennial, including feature stories, future events, videos, testimonials, ways to engage, and more, please visit our Centennial website at https://www.esm.rochester.edu/100.
About the University of Rochester:
The University of Rochester is one of the nation’s leading private research universities, one of only 62-member institutions in the Association of American Universities. Located in Rochester, N.Y., the University gives undergraduates exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary study and close collaboration with faculty through its unique cluster-based curriculum. Its College, School of Arts and Sciences, and Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are complemented by the Eastman School of Music, Simon School of Business, Warner School of Education, Laboratory for Laser Energetics, School of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Nursing, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, and the Memorial Art Gallery.