UTEP Department of Music Newsletter 2014

Steve Wilson, D.M.A.
Steve Wilson, D.M.A.

Dear Friends:

As you read through this year’s newsletter, I hope you get as excited as I am about the wonderful work our students and faculty are doing.   The Symphonic Winds performed a featured concert at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention in February, August saw the US Premiere of the Opera Bhutan Project, presenting music and dance from Bhutan to 6,000 El Pasoans, and the UTEP Orchestra presented a series of sell-out concerts featuring student and faculty guest artists throughout 2014. 
Our faculty continues to perform around the world and publish in some of the premiere journals in the field of music.  Some of the highlights include an extended article in the Journal of the American Musicological Association by Dr. Lorenzo Candelaria, an article in the International Trumpet Guild Journal by Dr. Charles Leinberger, several publications by Dr. Andrea Shaheen in The Interdisciplinary Journal of Teaching and Learning, the Journal for Learning through the Arts, and The International Double Reed Society, and an upcoming book by Professor Nancy Taylor published by Oxford University Press.

The department has made some changes to adapt to the needs of our students and help ensure student success.  We have created a new Music Theory Tutoring Center, where students in all levels of music theory courses can come throughout the week for help in this often-difficult subject matter.  We have created a New Music Student Success Initiative that provides mentoring and special sessions for our new music students to help them get acclimated to life as a music major and to help overcome some of the common problems freshmen music majors often face.  The department also implemented a new scheduling program and protocol that we hope all users will find especially helpful.  Our music calendar is always up-to-date and provides detailed information on all our concerts.  Patrons can click on events to see extended information, email event reminders to friends and family, and send event posts to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with a single click.  The calendar is viewable on our music.utep.edu website (Click on Upcoming Events to view the full Calendar) or Click here to see the calendar in action.

We are proud to announce the creation of the Patterson Hornworks Oustanding Brass Jury Prize.  Jim and Cora Patterson have generously created this competitive gift, along with matching funds from horn professor, Richard Lambrecht.  The department thanks Patterson Hornworks, and UTEP Alumni Cora Patterson and Richard Lambrecht for their gift.

We hope to see you at our concerts and look forward to an exciting 2015!


Steve Wilson, D.M.A
Interim Chair, Department of Music
Professor of Music
The University of Texas at El Paso



Choral Activities

Opera Activities

Keyboard News

Orchestral Activities

Wind and Percussion News

Faculty News

Student News

Alumni News

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Elisa Fraser Wilson, Director of Choral Activities, enjoyed a busy year conducting the UTEP choirs and exploring new community partnerships.  Choral events included a UTEP Centennial concert with our alumni Celebrating Our Choral Heritage, and a fantastic Carmina Burana with the El Paso Symphony at the Plaza Theater, featuring all the choirs and many other local singers.   Dr. Wilson continued her work as an adjudicator & clinician with World Strides, Inc., judging choral festivals in San Diego and San Antonio, and she was awarded the El Paso Opera’s Maestro Award for her work in establishing the UTEP/EPO partnership providing UTEP student’s opportunities to perform in EPO’s mainstage productions and Young Artist Program.  Most significantly, she realized the completion of the Opera Bhutan project with students and colleagues with the August 2014 performance of Acis and Galatea in the Don Haskins Center for nearly 6,000 El Pasoans.

The choral ensemble also participted in the Centennial Clock dedication as part of the UTEP Centennial Celebration. They were also featured during a nationally televised UTEP Men's Basketball Game, performed at Centennial Commencement in the Sun Bowl, and at the College of Liberal Arts Golden Nuggets Distinguised Alumni Reception.

Dr. Wilson prepared the choirs (which included singers from the community joining the UTEP Choirs) for El Paso Symphony Orchestra's performance of the Terezin Requirem, a semi-staged version of Verdi's Requiem, which also featured Dr. Eric Hanson as the tenor soloist. She was a clinician at the All Region 22 Mixed Choir, the Nebraska All State Choir, and conducted the annual "Holiday Revels" concert, a major donor event for the Music Department.

In 2015 the Chambers Singers have been invited to sing as the liturgical choir in residence at the Leeds Cathedral in Leeds, England.

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Rehearsal for Carmina Burana with Maesto Rattay & EPSO

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Under the direction of Dr. Juan Pereira, Opera UTEP had a very busy and successful 2014. In the Spring they produced a successful production of classic opera scenes, and were also featured in the First Thanksgiving Celebration reenactment performance for the El Paso Mission Trail Association.

In the Fall, Opera UTEP students stunned audiences with a haunting production of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd.

In 2015 Opera UTEP will launch the Opera UTEP Germany Experience, a summer program in collaboration with James Madison University and the Saxony Opera in Freiberg Germany. This career-building opportunity will include staged productions, Brahms Lieder coaching, agent auditions, studies in German Opera, and much more.

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Dr. Pereira, the Cast, and Crew of Sweeney Todd
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Hannah Baslee as Mrs. Lovett

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The UTEP Piano Area continues to maintain its busy and exciting schedule, as plentiful student and faculty performances, projects and activities were completed in the 2013-2014 academic year.

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Our Piano Area is producing award-winning students! Jesus Fuentes received first place in the 2014 UTEP Piano Competition; Sara Ayala — the Good Neighbor Scholarship, and Carlos Barba — the distinguished Presser Scholarship and 2nd place at the 2014 UTEP Piano Competition

In January 2014, the Piano Area welcomed several guests to our campus to witness the second UTEP Piano Competition, with composer-in-residence, Cyprian composer Christos Tsitsaros and judges from Texas Tech University, Dr. Laura Deahl and Dr. Laura Spitzer of New Mexico State University. Local El Paso high school and UTEP piano majors competed and attended master classes and workshops during the exciting three-day event. Christos Tsitsaros also offered a seminar on his pedagogical piano works to the members of the El Paso Music Teachers Association. With generous support from donors, the competition will take place again in January, 2016.

Additional activities include UTEP Piano Faculty offering master classes with the El Paso Music Teachers Association, along with hosting and adjudicating the Irma Kluck Baroque Competition. The UTEP Department of Music's Piano Area had an exceptionally strong presence at the 100th Texas Music Teachers Association State Convention in June, as Dr. Dena Kay Jones offered her "Imágenes de España" (Images of Spain) multi-media presentation, Dr. Oscar Macchioni was an adjudicator for several days and two graduate students, Ms. Natalia Ferreiro and Ms. Sara Ayala also adjudicated for the "All Star Competition." Undergraduates Jesus Fuentes and Alejandro Loaezo Salcido also attended the conference.

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Our Graduate Program in the Piano Area continues to soar! To date and starting the 2013-2014 academic year, seven graduate students are pursuing degrees, with four of these students holding UTEP Teaching Assistant positions. We are proud of these students’ accomplishments and are looking forward to their continued success within the Piano Area at UTEP!

The Piano Area also announces the appointment of commercial pianist Dr. Chris Reyman. We are excited to have this new faculty join the Piano Area, where he will be teaching piano, assessing students and offering concerts within the Department of Music, in addition to the off-campus projects he already has underway.

Keyboardists continue to be active in the chamber, accompanying and ensemble scenarios as they worked within the UTEP Symphony, UTEP Wind Symphony, UTEP Chamber Symphony, UTEP Jazz Bands, as well as collaborating with the UTEP Vocal Area in lessons, master classes, area recitals and assisting with such events as the NATS regional competition and High School All-State clinics. Along with their faculty, the Piano Area has provided outreach performances and lectures to local assisted-living centers, libraries, public schools, as well as receiving guests within the Digital Keyboard Lab (DKL).

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Dr. Ron Hufstader spent another busy year with guest conducting, adjudicating and attending convention.  He conducted the mass band for the Alamo Bowl halftime in San Antonio, he was the guest conductor for the TMEA Region 8 Honor Band in Copperas Cove and he guest conducted the Naperville (IL) Community Band.  Conventions attended included the MidWest Band and Orchestra convention, TMEA and the American Bandmasters Association convention.  Adjudication invitations took him to Dallas, San Diego, New Orleans, Anaheim and San Francisco. He continues to serve as the conductor of the El Paso Wind Symphony.  The EPWS has been invited to perform at the Texas Bandmasters Association convention in San Antonio this coming July.

The UTEP Symphonic Winds made their ninth CD for Mark Recordings last November.  This CD was the music of Mr. James Barnes.  This November the group will record its tenth CD, the music of Mark Camphouse.  In February, the band was honored with an invitation to perform at the TMEA convention in San Antonio.  UTEP was one of four university bands invited to perform out of the entire state of Texas.

The band division is very pleased to welcome our newest faculty member, Mr. Kenneth Capshaw.  He taught in the El Paso School District for many years and most recently  completed fifteen years at Coronado High School where his groups were consistently outstanding.  In 2010, Mr. Capshaw received the Band World Legion of Honor Award and in 2011 received the Texas Band Master Meritorious Achievement Award.  In 2013, he was inducted into the Phi Beta Mu Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame.   It is with great pleasure that we welcome Mr. Capshaw as the Assistant Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands.

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This past year, Dr. Graham served as the guest conductor making music with the following ensembles: 

  • The UAB Honor Band, University of Alabama at Birmingham;
  • Barron Collier High School Band -- Naples, FL;
  • Honor Band (Wind Symphony) -- Clark County, NV;
  • UNT Symphonic Band recording the music of Julie Giroux -- Denton, TX;
  • SLBDA Honor Band -- Lafayette, LA;
  • USAF Band of Mid-America while on tour -- Louisville, KY;
  • Kentucky Intercollegiate Band -- Louisville, KY;
  • USAF Band (Washington, DC) at the American Bandmasters Association Convention -- Mobile, AL;
  • Sterling Municipal Band -- Sterling, IL;
  • Colorado Christian University Wind Ensemble -- Denver, CO:
  • The Denver Brass -- Denver, CO.

Dr. Graham served as the Key Note speaker for the UTEP Pi Theta Epsilon, Alpha Chi Chapter Induction Ceremony (Occupational Therapy), the EPMBA (El Paso Mortgage Bankers Association), and the Total Band Director Workshop in Minneapolis MN.  He served on the faculty for the Conn-Selmer Institute in South Bend, IN and was honored with the key to the city and Honorary Citizen of Sterling, Illinois.  Additionally, he made a presentation at The MidWest Clinic in Chicago, IL. 

A significant honor was the establishment of the “Professor Lowell Graham Award for Outstanding Orchestral Scholar,” which was created and funded by an anonymous donor to support performance and scholarship for an undergraduate string student.

The UTEP Symphony Orchestra continues to collaborate with the distinguished music faculty of UTEP and winner of the Concerto Competition.  Those guest artists who shared our stage with us this past year included Dr. Eric Hanson, Mr. Richard Lambrecht, Mr. Michael Covington – winner of the UTEP Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, Dr. Steve Wilson, Dr. Oscar Macchioni, Dr. Dena Kay Jones, and Dr. Elisa Wilson.

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The UTEP Flute Studio kicked off 2014 with a three-day flute seminar with guest flutist, Sheryl Cohen, culminating in "Flute Night" for the El Paso flute community. In March, Seniors Juan Rodriguez and Gabriel Gutierrez competed in the National Society of Arts and Letters Regional Competition and split third place. During the summer, Gabriel Gutierrez, studied at the Da Capo Paris Flute Seminar under the auspices of the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris and received an Honorable Mention for solo performance in the final competition. Sophomore Emily Mathews received the Texas Association of Music Schools’ Clara Nelson Scholarship (one of ten given per year). Gabriel and Emily were accepted also to perform in the Collegiate Flute Choir of the National Flute Association’s annual convention.

The UTEP Flautistas were invited to perform a showcase concert at the National Flute Association’s annual convention in Chicago in August. In preparation, they performed at various El Paso venues, including concerts at Zion Lutheran Church, Fountains at Farah (Open-Mike Night), and the El Paso International Airport. Performing a program of transcriptions of Mozart, Mendelssohn, Dvorak, Jobim, and traditional Mexican folksongs, their entirely memorized performance received much praise. 

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The UTEP Flautistsas

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The UTEP Percussion Department had many highlights in 2014. 

Two guest artists performed clinic/concerts at the university:  Dr. Jason Rasmusson of Utah State University (drum set, afro/Cuban) and Diana Herald/Grisha Alexiev with a fascinating jazz improvisation percussion clinic and concert. 

Professor of Music Larry White judged band and orchestra festivals representing UTEP  in San Francisco, Anaheim, Hollywood, Chicaco, and New Orleans, and San Antonio.

Seven percussion majors auditioned and were accepted at music festivals and drum corps, including Matthew Fernandez (Sewanee Music Festival, Tennessee)—and also Genesis, BlueCoats, Blue Knights, and other drum corps.

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Promoted to full Professor in September, the year 2014 has been fruitful for Melissa Colgin Abeln. There were two conference presentations on the subject of mapping music for memorization: Texas Music Educators’ Association in February, and Mid-South Flute Society Festival in March. During the March concert of the, Dr. Colgin was the featured soloist in Alfred Reed’s Divertimento for Flute with the UTEP Symphonic Band. The El Paso Society for Musicians of the Future named her the 2014 Honoree for her dedication to community music outreach and education. She continues to give numerous clinics for high-school students who aim for the Texas All-State competition program. In November, she will give her 27th annual Faculty Artist recital in Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall. Proposals have been submitted for conferences in Tuscaloosa, AL, Toronto, and Washington, D.C. in 2015. 

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Roger Ames & Eric Hanson

Dr. Eric Hanson, Assistant Professor in Voice, enjoyed a busy year as a performer, composer, and conductor locally and abroad.  Regional highlights included singing "Kaspar" in El Paso Choral Society's Amahl and the Night Visitors in El Paso and Juarez, Mexico; solo performances in El Paso Symphony Orchestra’s Carmina Burana and Verdi’s Requiem; and a conducting appearance with an El Paso LDS Youth Orchestra and Chorus in his own work "Keep Our Feet in the Narrow Way."  His symphonic song cycle "Truth After War" with poetry by Gwendolyn Brooks premiered in February 2014 at UTEP. Nationally, Dr. Hanson taught at the Vocal Beauty Bootcamp workshop at Brigham Young University; internationally, he travelled to Germany, where he worked with students from Wiesbaden American High School and performed a recital of sacred music in Kaiserslautern, Germany.  Dr. Hanson performed the role of Mr. Perry for El Paso Opera’s production of Roger Ames’ How Green Was My Valley.

In July 14th Dr. Macchioni returned to London to play a recital at the prestigious St-Martin-in-the-Fields church. He performed chamber works of Astor Piazzolla accompanied by Andrew Nickles (cello) and George Blum (violin). He served as an artist in residency at the Univesidad Autonoma de Chihuahua in Mexico, and at Sul Ross University. He presented a lecture-recital at the College Music Society National Conference in Cambridge, and a webinar on tango for the same association. He was invited to adjudicate at the TMTA Convention in Houston, for the Houston Forum Young Artist Competition, the Thelma Hearn Memorial Scholarship, the Cypress Creek Piano Competition, and the Music Teachers National Association Southwest Region Piano Competition.  For the second year, Dr. Macchioni received a grant from the City of El Paso Museum and Cultural Affairs Department and the Texas Commission on the Arts to bring classical music to underserved communities. This highly successful program was presented at various libraries, community centers and schools. 

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Dr. Macchioni in London

In August Dr. Macchioni traveled to Argentina where he presented a master class and a clinic on Group Piano Teaching to the faculty of his alma mater, the Universidad Nacional de Tucumán. This summer, Dr. Macchioni and Dr. Schuppener finished their CD “Latin-American Duos” which will be released by Centaur Records in the Fall. In November, Dr. Macchioni will travel to Thailand to judge the 1st Chopin International Piano Competition and will play two recitals in Bangkok. His recruiting efforts have ensured the addition of international graduate students from Argentina, Mexico, and the US as well.

Carmen Díaz Walker, Lecturer in Voice, and her voice students Selena Díaz, Michael Cortez, Abraham Quezada, and Hennah Rodriguez performed a Vocal Spring Recital in March of 2014 at Van Doren Public Library.  They were accompanied by pianist, Guillermo Gutierrez.  The songs were presented with a backdrop of illustrations and pictures on a large screen behind the performers.  These artists presented Spanish boleros, art songs and arias in English, French, German. 

On October of 2014 Mrs. Walker returned to Van Doren Library to present a Spanish Song Fall Fiesta.  The program featured 20th Century Mexican songs and Latin American boleros.  Accompanying her were pianist, Elvira Spector and percussionist, Lawrence Brown.  The multi-media presentation also included a brief lecture on the accomplishments of Mexican composers Blas Galindo and Manuel Ponce. 

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Brian Downen, UTEP’s new Visiting Assistant Professor, is an active performer specializing in the bel canto operatic repertoire.  This past year, he sang Damon in Acis and Galatea in Bhutan and in El Paso as part of UTEP's 100th year anniversary celebration, and sang Nemorino in L'Elisir d'Amore for Opera Saratoga in July of 2014.  He will be singing Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail for Opera Roanoke in November of 2014.

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In March of 2014, Charles Francis Leinberger was elected to the Executive Board of the Texas Society for Music Theory. He will be hosting that organization’s 37th Annual Meeting at UTEP in 2015. This will be the first time in TSMT history that the conference will take place at UTEP. In June, he was an Advanced Placement Music Theory Exam reader for the third year in a row. In August, he gave a Film Talk on The Good, the Bad and the Ugly as part of the Plaza Theatre Classic Film Festival. His new article, “‘Degüello’ No Mercy for the Losers: The Enduring Role of the Solo Trumpet in the Soundtrack of the Old West” will be published in the International Trumpet Guild Journal in March of 2015.

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Dena Kay Jones performed at the XIV Festival Internacional de Música de Tecla Española in Mojácar, Spain, and presented at the Hawaii University International Conferences 2014 Education STEM Conference (Honolulu), as well as at the Texas Music Teachers Association Annual State Piano Conference in Houston. She offered numerous solo and chamber recitals within the El Paso and Southwest vicinity and was the hostess and organizer for the second on-campus UTEP Piano Competition highlighting accomplished pianist and composer Christos Tsitsaros. She also completed a sound recording of newly commissioned music with Professor James Shearer, sousaphone and Celeste Shearer, horn and is looking forward to its release through Summit Records in 2015.

Dr. Jones continues to work with the teachers and students of the El Paso Music Teachers Association, The El Paso Conservatory, as well as performing for various local organizations, including performing music groups, public schools, assisted-living centers, and libraries. She is also the principal keyboardist for the El Paso Symphony.

Her piano studio excelled this year with successful student degree recitals and development in regard to collaborative piano performance. Her student Jesus Fuentes won first place in the UTEP Piano Competition and another student, Raul Calderon won the Best Peer Leader award for all UNIV 1301 courses (over 150 sections). Numerous students are working teaching piano and developing their skills as piano pedagogues.

Sought after as an adjudicator, Dr. Jones was invited to judge the Dennis Alexander Piano Competition for the Professional Music Teachers of New Mexico in Albuquerque as well as for the Piano Competition of the El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Her recordings have been chosen by media projects, including Serenata Española as prelude and postlude music for KTEP Public Radio’s project “100 at 100” and Concerto for Two Harpsichords with String Quartet for the YouTube Video produced by the El Paso Museum of Art, demonstrating the work of Renaissance art painter Bernardo Belloto and his Entrance to a Palace.

Dr. Dominic Dousa:

• With Dominic's wife Nayeli as soloist, the orchestra of the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez premiered his piano concerto Estrella del Norte, a work commissioned by the UACJ as part of their 40th anniversary celebration.

• Nayeli and Dominic performed recitals of original music for piano four hands in San Diego and at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, TX.

• Dousa's orchestral piece New Era Overture was selected out of 140 entries as the winning work for the Holyoke (MA) Civic Symphony's composition competition. The HCS presented the piece at their May concert.

• Faculty tenor Dr. Eric Hanson and The UTEP Virtuosi string ensemble performed Dousa's song cycle Through the Refining Fire as part of UTEP's celebration of Black History Month. The cycle consists of settings of African American Poetry from the 1920's, including a poem by El Paso native Bernice Love Wiggins. This cycle was one of seven works selected by The Secret Opera company in New York for programming on a 2015 concert of socially provocative vocal works.

Lorenzo Candelaria, Professor of Music History, presented excerpts from his current book project, Music in Early Mexican Catholicism, at the University of Leeds, University of Notre Dame, Ave Maria University, and at the University of Michigan (Distinguished Lecture Series). The fifth edition of his textbook American Music: A Panorama was published in January and, in December, an extensive article on Bernardino de Sahagún’s Psalmodia Christiana (Mexico City, 1583)--the first book of vernacular sacred song printed in the Americas--was published in the Journal of the American Musicological Society. In March, Dr. Candelaria returned to the University of Texas at Austin (where he served on the music faculty for twelve years) to record interviews in English and Spanish for a documentary on the Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas (1899-1940) that is being produced for the Naxos label by New York writer Joseph Horowitz. Outside of his academic work, Dr. Candelaria maintained an active schedule of community presentations including a keynote address for students at Bassett Middle School and, in October, was elected to the Board of Trustees for the El Paso Symphony Orchestra.

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Ernesto Villalobos, Jr. won the 2014 UTEP Symphony Concerto Competition, with Gabriel Gutierrez taking runner-up honors.

From the studio of Dr. Macchioni. Carlos Barba (BM) received the Presser Scholarship. Sara Ayala (MM) competed with thousands of the West Hemisphere international students, from all Texas Universities, and received the coveted Good Neighbor Award.  Dr. Macchioni studio presented outreach concerts at the Doris Van Dorren and Judge Marquez libraries; and at the Sounds of Grace Series hosted by the St. Marks’s United Methodist Church.

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Evelyn R. Donges was a Texas Western College alumna who earned a Bachelor of Music from the University in 1954 and went on to earn a master’s in Education in 1965. Always fond of the University’s Department of Music, Donges played cello in the El Paso Symphony and in the pit orchestra at Texas Western College when the school presented operas and other musicals. She taught elementary music classes in public schools throughout the country, eventually settling down in California in 1966. She retired from music teaching at the age of 73 and opened a business growing and selling orchids. She continued with her orchid business until 2012. She died March 28, 2013.
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The University of Texas at El Paso, Department of Music Electronic Newsletter
Dr. Eric Hanson, Editor