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What Can You Do with a Meadows Music Degree?

Latest Updates on Meadows Music Alumni Successes

The college ranking website College Factual has named SMU #1 in the country for “Highest Paid Grads” for its music alumni for many years in a row, ahead of Harvard, Boston College, Princeton, Yale and a long list of other blue-ribbon schools.

Hundreds of Meadows music alumni enjoy success in the arts. The list below reflects recent career moves or changes by some of our alumni:

Alton Adkins (M.M. French Horn ’94), assistant principal, Fort Worth Symphony

Singer Michelle Alexander (M.M. ’14) won second place, 2017 London Wagner Society Singing Competition, plus the Audience Prize; the President’s Award, which entitles her to a master class with opera legend Dame Gwyneth Jones; and a Bursaries award to attend the Bayreuth Festival in Bayreuth, Germany.

Olga Amelkina-Vera (M.M. Composition ’17) is a composer best-known for her award-winning chamber music work Submerged Worlds and her micro opera, All that Glitters. Frameworks Records to release an album of her original works. Previously she won first place in the 2017-18 The American Prize in Composition/Instrumental Chamber Music, Student Division.

Guido Arcella-Diez (B.M. Composition and B.M. Performance/Violin ’14), now attending the M.M. Scoring for Film, Television and Video Games program, Berklee College of Music/Valencia, Spain campus; freelance video game and media composer. Game titles include: Reign of Blades, Scrapped, Identity, Pandemonium, and Inua (Winner: First Place | Intel Game Awards at GDC 2016).

Christopher Arcy (Performer’s Diploma/Double Bass ’20), section bass, Lubbock Symphony Orchestra; freelance bassist and instructor in Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

Brinn Bailey  

Alyssa Barnes (M.M. Performance/Voice ’17 and P.D. in Performance/Voice ’19), professor of American Music history, San Jacinto College Houston; Houston Grand Opera chorus, The Magic Flute; Dialogue of the Carmelites; and Carmen. In spring 2022 Barnes debuts professionally with the American Baroque Opera Company in Acis and Galatea as Galatea, a two-act opera written by G. F. Handel.

Myles Blakemore (B.M. Performance/Trombone ’15), second trombone, Symphony in C (Collingswood, N.J.).

Julie Bridge (M.M. French Horn ’94), horn, Symphoria (Syracuse).

Jorge Caldelari (Artist Certificate ’08; M.M. Performance/Violin ’10), with the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra and the Reise String Quartet.

Nick Caluori (M.M. Performance/French Horn ’06), United States West Point Band.

Nicole Caluori (B.M. Performance/French Horn ’07), United States West Point Band.

John Campione (B.M. Performance/Voice; B.M. Music Education ’10), actor, singer, musician; School of Rock the Musical(national tour); Bridges of Madison County(national tour). Co-creator and co-host, “Pod Help the Outcasts” podcast; owner, CampiAudio podcast editing, management and performance coaching to writers, educators and thought leaders, based in New York City.

Santiago Cañon Valencia (Performer’s Diploma/Cello ’15), first prize, 2016 Carlos Prieto International Cello Competition in Morelia, Mexico; former major prize winner at Christchurch National Concerto Competition, Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition and Pablo Casals International Cello Competition.

Bradley Carpenter (B.M. Music Education, B.M. Performance/Saxophone ’21) teaches general music classes and choir grades K-6 at Merriman Park Elementary School, Richardson Independent School District (Richardson, Texas).

Brandon Carson (B.M. Composition ’16); Carson’s piece Rain at Sunset for Balinese gamelan and orchestra was featured at CalArts World Music and Dance Festival.

Daniela Castro (B.M. Music Education, B.M. Performance/Cello ’21), teaching music at the International Christian School of Budapest, Hungary. Daniela’s students are from Croatia, Ukraine, China, Romania, Korea, and Hungary, as well as Texas and Florida.

Cézanne Quartet, inaugural Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence at SMU. Second place Senior Division, 2015 Coltman Chamber Music Competition; semi-finalists, 2017 Plowman Chamber Music Competition. Three of the quartet members are SMU alumni: Eleanor Dunbar (B.M. Performance/Violin ’16); Elizabeth White (B.M. Performance/Cello ’15) and former SMU Meadows student Steven Juarez.

Daniel Chan (M.M. Composition ’07), Los Angeles-based composer currently writing music for television shows Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and The Flash. Other recent scores include Penelope in the Treehouse, Hurricane, Sidekick and Monster in a House.

Abigail Clark Poe (B.M., Performance/Flute ’13; M.M. Choral Conducting ’18), director of choral activities, The Hockaday School, Dallas.

Jodi Hill Coke (M.M. Choral Conducting ’14), choir director, Hillwood Middle School, Keller, Texas.

Shannon Conboy (SMU: B.M. Music Education, B.M. Performance/Voice ’16; Auburn University: M.B.A. ’22), Utah Festival Opera; ZACH Theatre (Austin); Prather Productions (Lancaster County, Penn.; Ft. Myers, Fla.); The Firehouse Theatre (Dallas); Lyric Stage (Dallas).

Sara Corry (B.M. Composition ’10), staff arranger for the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” Washington, D.C.

Nathan Courtright (M.M. Composition ’13), accepted for doctoral studies at University of Pennsylvania.

Hannah Cruse (B.M. Performance/Oboe and Organ ’17; M.S.M. '19), Music Director and Organist, First Presbyterian Church (Clarksville, Tenn.).

Jordan DeRouen (M.M. Performance/Organ ’16), third prize winner FOMS Young Organist Competition, 2018. Organist-choirmaster, The Basilica of St. Peter Columbia, S.C.

Ian Derrer (B.M. ’96), general director and CEO, The Dallas Opera.

Julie Dieltz Reed (M.M. Performance/Voice ’13) owns and operates Reed Music, LLC in Dallas, TX.

Claire Dillahunty (M.M. Performance/Voice ’20), “Mari” in Sound of Music, A.D. Players and the George Theater, Summer ’22.

Ordabek Duissen (M.M. Performance/Violin ’07), violin I, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.

James Eakin II: (M.M. Composition ’03), composer, numerous film and concert credits; based in Los Angeles.

Matt Ernst (M.M. Performance/Trumpet ’06, M.M. Instrumental Conducting ’07), principal trumpet, Milwaukee Symphony.

Dr. Donte A. Ford (M.S.M. Sacred Music ’16; M.M. Choral Conducting ’17; M.Div. Theology ’18), assistant professor of music and associate chaplain for worship arts, Wheaton College, Norton, Mass.

Lindsay Forrister (B.A. Music ’16), associate art director, Core Publishing (Austin, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Miami).

Sydney Frodsham (B.M. Performance/Voice ’18), apprentice at Santa Fe Opera 2021; Young Artist at Montreal Opera 2020-22.

Michael Galbraith (B.M. Performance/Horn and B.A. History ’88), French Horn, Fort Wayne Philharmonic since 1996; serves as a Philharmonic board member. President, Downtown Improvement District of Fort Wayne, Ind.

Katrina Galka (B.M. Performance/Voice ’11) sang with the Dallas Opera for OPERA America.

Dr. Liudmila Georgievskaya (SMU: Artist Certificate, Piano Performance ’10; also D.M.A. Piano Performance ’17, University of North Texas) is a member of Voices of Change, one of the premiere American professional chamber music ensembles. She is adjunct music faculty at SMU Meadows and adjunct piano faculty at University of North Texas (Denton).

Crystal Gerrard (M.M. Music Education ’15), completed a Ph.D. at The Ohio State University; assistant professor of music education at University of North Texas.

Richard Gray (M.M. Performance/Organ ’17), winner, Hymn-Playing category, 2016 Hall Pipe Organ Competition in San Antonio, Texas. Director of music for St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, St. Paul, Minn.; artistic director, Winifred Bean Sacred Music Series.

Jonathan Gregoire (Artist Diploma/Organ ’17), one of three winners, 2016-17 SMU Meadows General Concerto Competition; organist and collaborative artist, St. Andrew United Methodist Church (Plano, Texas); founder and director, Arts Foundation of St. Andrew (Plano, Texas); university organist and adjunct professor, Texas Woman’s University (Denton, Texas).

Kimberly Grigsby (B.M. Performance/Piano ’91), Broadway musical director, supervisor, conductor, arranger and musician.

Sheryl Hadeka (M.M. Performance/French Horn ’10), 2nd horn, Buffalo Philharmonic.

Dr. Lane Harder (B.M. Composition ’99). Harder’s piece The Red Queen Hypothesis for guitar orchestra was featured at The 21st Century Guitar Virtual Conference 2021. Harder is co-chair and senior lecturer of music composition and theory, and director of the SYZYGY ensemble at SMU Meadows School of the Arts.

Brittany Harrington-Smith (M.M. Performance/Bassoon ’13, Performer’s Diploma ’15), founder/member, Breaking Winds Quartet (official reed instrument company Fox Products artist); owner, You Do You consultancy for boutique studios and virtual platforms.

Kyle Hartman (B.M. Composition ’16 SMU Meadows; M.M. Film Composition, Seattle Film Institute ’17), film television and video game composer based in Los Angeles.

Ben Hauser (M.M. Performance/Trumpet ’16), U.S. Navy Band Washington, D.C. Concert/Ceremonial Band.

Derek Hawkes (B.M. Performance/Trombone, B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies '14), second/assistant principal trombone, Nashville Symphony.

Elise Hawkes (B.M. Music Therapy ’20) developed horn accompaniment for a stress reduction visualization protocol. The work was included in a Google Arts and Culture resource page regarding ways that music therapy supports breathing.

Daniel Hawkins (B.M. Performance/French Horn ’15), horn, San Francisco Symphony since 2017.

Abby Hawthorne (B.M. Performance/Oboe '18) earned a master’s degree in oboe performance and literature from Eastman School of Music in 2020. Freelance oboist and private teacher in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Performs orchestrally on oboe, English horn and Baroque oboe and the U.S. and abroad.

Sam C. Henderson (B.M. Music Composition ’18) received Jury Commendation for the 2020 King’s Singers New Music Prize for his piece Invitation to Love.

David Heyde (M.M. Performance/French Horn ’03), associate principal horn, Dallas Symphony Orchestra; adjunct associate professor of horn, SMU Meadows School of the Arts.

John Holiday (B.M. Performance/Voice ’07), 2021-22 season: Hollywood Bowl, all-Gershwin program with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel; Metropolitan Opera debut in Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice as Orpheus’s Double under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin; debut with the New York Philharmonic in Handel’s Messiah under the baton of Jeannette Sorrell; debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Barrie Kosky’s production of Agrippina in the role of Nerone; reprisal of his signature role as Refugee in Jonathan Dove’s Flight with Utah Opera and The Dallas Opera.

Greta Houk Richard (M.M. Performance/French Horn ’00), United States Marine Band.

Eun Chong Ju (M.M. Performance/Violin ’10), solo violinist and educator. First violin, Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas; third prize, 2019 Golden Classical Music Awards International Competition, which includes a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Previous: violin, Chicago Civic Orchestra.

Kelli Kader (B.M. Music Therapy ’15), senior music therapist, Memorial Hermann Health System (Houston).

Charles Karanja (B.A. Music ’13, M.M. Performance/Voice ’16) sang with the Dallas Opera for OPERA America.

Colonel Jim R. Keene (M.M. Instrumental Conducting ’92), commander, The United States Army Field Band.

Na Hung Kim (Artist Certificate ’10), faculty at Dongguk University and Sunhwa Arts School in

Paul Kroeger (B.M. Performance/Voice ’13), tenor, Thuringer Opernstudio, Weimar, Germany; soloist, Landestheater Coburg, Coburg, Germany; begins a master’s degree at the Bush Institute at Texas A&M; to join the U.S. Foreign Service in 2023.

Sarah Langbein Lee (B.M. Performance/Voice ’02), chorus, Houston Grand Opera; member of company of Houston Gilbert and Sullivan Society.

Garrett Law (M.M. Performance/French Horn ’17), fourth horn, Omaha Symphony / second horn, South Dakota Symphony.

Jennie Lee (B.M. Performance/Voice ’16), awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Germany.

Scott Leger (B.M. Performance/French Horn; B.M. Music Education ’16), YouTube horn influencer and Horn Fellow at New World Symphony.

Abraham Lopez (M.M. Performance/Guitar ’21), music instructor; director of the Jazz Band at Tarrant County College (Tarrant County, Texas).

Jennifer Magill (M.M. Performance/Vocal ’19), appointed artistic and digital stage coordinator, The Dallas Opera.

Vinnie Mahal (B.M. Performance/Voice ’17), adjunct professor of voice and diction at NYU, 2019-21. Performer, Disney Hong Kong 2021-22.

Drew Mangus (M.M. Performance/French Horn ’13), West Point Band.

Lauren Manza (B.A. Music Therapy ’15), teacher, Cornerstone Achievement Center (Dallas).

Eldred Marshall (M.M. Performance/Piano ’11, M.M. Performance/Organ ’12, M.M. Performance/Instrumental Conducting ’13), graduating this year with a D.M.A. Piano, University of North Texas.

Artina (Hunter) McCain (B.M. Performance/Piano ’03), assistant professor of piano, University of Memphis.

Michelle Merrill (B.M. Music Education ’06, M.M. Music Education and M.M. Conducting ’12), music director, Coastal Symphony of Georgia; previously assistant conductor, Detroit Symphony.

Audra Methvin (Performer’s Diploma ’15) sang with the Dallas Opera for OPERA America.

Katie Minion Scheetz (M.M. Performance/Organ '18, M.M. Musicology '19), 1st place winner, 2012 Arthur Poister Scholarship Competition in Organ Playing; recipient, 2015 J. William Fulbright research grant to Toulouse, France; organist, Highland Park United Methodist Church (Dallas).

Lynda O'Connor (Artist Certificate/Violin ’10), violin, Camerata Ireland chamber orchestra (Bangor, Ireland).

Obi Okechukwu (B.B. Music Education ’16), teen music leader, St. Patrick Catholic Church (Dallas).

Inah Park (Performer’s Diploma/Organ ’17), first prize winner, 2017 Hall Pipe Organ Competition in San Antonio, Texas.

Jun Soo Park (Performer’s Diploma/Violin ’16, M.M. Performance/Violin ’18), violin, Dallas Opera Orchestra.

Samuel Park (B.M. Music Education ’18), assistant orchestra director, Edward S. Marcus High School (Flower Mound, Texas).

Ross Patterson (M.M. Music Education ’15) was named 2018 Teacher of the Year at Burnett Junior High School in Wylie ISD, where he director of bands and lead teacher for school’s wind ensemble, concert band and jazz band.

Gillian Perry (B.M. Music Composition ’17), original work Looking for Friends performed by the Euclid Quartet in New York's Mostly Modern Festival.

Violina Petrova (B.M. Performance/Violin ’09), violin, Aalborg Symfoniorkester (Aalborg, Denmark).

Brandie Phillips (M.M. Performance/Violin ’10), first violin section, Dallas Opera Orchestra.

Jessica Pinkham (M.M. Performance/French Horn ’16), second horn, Dayton Philharmonic.

Aaron Pino (B.M. Performance/French Horn ’90), 4th horn, Fort Worth Symphony.

Jason Platt (M.M. Composition, M.M. Theory of Pedagogy ’15), accepted for doctoral studies, Arizona State University.

Abigail Potts Lesser (B.M. Performance/Violin ’13), violin and viola teacher, Park Cities School of Music; private music instructor, Richardson ISD; first violin section, Tulsa Symphony.

Nora Prener (M.M. Performance/Oboe ’14, Performer’s Diploma ’16), recently won a one-year position with the oboe section of the Pittsburgh Symphony.

Melissa Priller (B.M. Performance/Violin ’16), violin, Dallas String Quartet.

John Proft (M.M. Choral Conducting ’13), professional singer with vocal ensembles throughout the U.S. including Conspirare, Seraphic Fire, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Boston Handel & Haydn Society.

Jordan Pyle (M.M. Performance/Oboe '19) was accepted into the 2018 National Repertory Orchestra summer symphony program. She will perform in a section with other oboe students from such prestigious schools as Yale and Juilliard.

Jay Reed (B.M. Composition ’16), accepted to graduate film music studies, New York University.

Kevin Reid (M.M. Performance/French Horn ’97), principal horn, Jacksonville Symphony.

Uriah Rinzel (M.M. Theory Pedagogy, M.M. Composition ’15), accepted for doctoral studies, Texas Christian University.

Tim Roy (B.M. Composition ’09), D.M.A. candidate, Rice University.

Teresa Sanchez (M.M. Performance/Flute ’10), assistant professor of flute at Bowling Green State University.

Heather Schimp-Test (M.M. Performance/French Horn ’03), horn professor, Texas Christian University.

Dr. Thomas Schwan (SMU Meadows: Artist Certificate, Performance/Piano ’09; M.M. Performance/Piano ’11; M.M. Composition ’15; also D.M.A. Piano Performance, University of North Texas ’21), First Prize, 2020 World Bach Competition in Boulder, Colo. He recently gave multiple live performances of the complete First Book of Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier; will present the Second Book at SMU, UNT, and other concert venues in 2022.

Maura Sheffler (B.A. Music ’11, M.A./M.B.A. ’13), deputy director, programs and marketing, TACA (Dallas).

Alex Shuhan (M.M. Performance/French Horn ’06), horn professor, Ithaca College.

Allison Simpkins (B.M. Music Composition ’20) composed a new work for solo horn, till the water runs clear, which was premiered by Lisa Bergman of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

Jordan Smith (M.S.M. ’18), organist and director of music ministries, St. Stephen Presbyterian Church, Fort Worth.

Aleksandr Snytkin (Artist Certificate/Violin ’07), violin I & II, Dallas Symphony.

Wilhelm Sollie (Performer's Diploma/Organ '17), recipient, 2017 Roy and Sue Johnson Award in Organ or Sacred Music, in honor of Dr. Robert T. Anderson; assistant professor in organ and church music at VID Specialized University (Tromsø, Norway).

Samarth Srinivasan (B.M. Composition ’16), M.M. Scoring for Film, Television and Video Games program at Berklee College of Music/Valencia, Spain campus; featured as a performer at TEDxHyderabad 2020.

Aaron Stanley (M.M. Composition ’21); his piece Huapango de los Muertos premiered by the Irving Symphony Orchestra as part of the annual SMU-ISO Student Composer-in-Residence program.

Scott Strong (B.M. Performance/French Horn ’08), third horn, Detroit Symphony.

Ebonee Thomas (B.M. Performance/Flute '01), 2nd flute/piccolo in the Dallas Opera; assistant professor of flute, UMKC Conservatory (Kansas City, Mo.).

Yu Ting Su (B.M. Music Therapy ’15), music therapist, Taitung Christian Hospital (Taitung City, Taiwan).

Joe Tomkins (B.M. Music Education ’08) was named 2018 McKinney ISD Secondary Education Teacher of the Year. Tomkins is director of choirs at McKinney Boyd High School.

Dee (Donasco) Thompson (M.M. Performance/Voice ’10; Artist Certificate, Performance/Voice ’12) Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Marin Symphony (San Rafael, Calif.), Opera Piccola (San Antonio), Nashville Opera.

Emily Thompson (M.M. Music Education ’21) teaches K-6 elementary general music and choir at Lake Highlands Elementary School in the Richardson Independent School District (Richardson, Texas).

Paul Torrisi (B.M. Performance/Trumpet ’15), third trumpet, Grand Rapids Symphony.

Will Trice (B.A. Music ’01), executive artistic director, Arkansas Repertory Theater.

Nathan Ukens (M.M. Performance/French Horn ’10), third horn, Rochester Philharmonic.

Jennifer Frank Umana (B.M. Performance/French Horn ’05), associate principal horn, Calgary Philharmonic.

Callie Wahl Dengigh (B.M. Performance/Voice ’05), chorus, Houston Grand Opera.

Dr. Jeb Wallace (B.M. Performance/French Horn ’99), horn professor, Wichita State University; principal horn, Wichita Symphony.

Florence Wang (B.M. Performance/Violin ’12, Performer’s Diploma ’14), violin, Dallas Opera Orchestra.

Yinuo Wang (Performer’s Diploma/Piano ’18), First Prize, 2018 Concert Artists Guild (CAG) Victor Elmaleh Competition in New York. She was awarded two years of comprehensive management support including a debut recital on the CAG Presents Series at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, concert bookings, opportunities through the CAG commissioning program and CAG Records label, marketing, publicity and mentorship, in addition to a cash prize of $5,000.

Nick Weege (B.M. Performance/Viola ’05, M.M. Performance/Viola ’07), appointed financial advisor, The Crescent Group at RBC Wealth Management (Dallas); background in development with several Dallas arts organizations, including the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Justin Weisenborn (B.M. Performance/Trumpet ’11), trumpet, USAF Heritage of America Band at Langley AFB.

Lauren White (B.M. Performance/Oboe ’17), pursuing M.M. at Yale; recently named 3rd Oboe/English Horn, Tulsa Symphony Orchestra.

Sarah (Israel) Whitling (B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies ’15), senior manager of institutional giving, Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Scott Wise (B.M. Composition ’99, B.M. Performance/French Horn ’99, M.M. Composition ’01), staff composer-arranger, USAF Band of the Pacific-Asia.

Katie Wolber (B.M. Performance/French Horn ’09), principal horn, Dallas Opera.

Morgan Wood (B.M. Music Therapy ’16), music therapist, My Possibilities (Plano, Texas).

Yuan-Qing Yu (Artist Certificate/Violin ’92; Master of Music in Violin ’94) serves as associate concertmaster in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and was recently featured in a Chicago Tribune article.

Joshua Zentner-Barrett (M.S.M. Performance/Organ '17), Minister of Music, Kanata United Church (Ottawa, Canada), Director of Music, Anglican Studies, Saint Paul University (Ottawa, Canada). 

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