What Can You Do with a Meadows Music Degree?
Latest Updates on Meadows Music Alumni Successes
For the past four years, the college ranking website College Factual named SMU #1 in the country for “Highest Paid Grads” for its music alumni, 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 career moves or changes that some alumni have had within the last year:
Singer Michelle Alexander (M.M. ’14) won second place in the 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), won first place in the 2017-18 The American Prize in Composition/Instrumental Chamber Music, Student Division, for her Submerged Worlds and third place in the Opera/Theater/Film/Dance division for her micro opera, All that Glitters.
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)
Myles Blakemore (B.M. Performance/Trombone ’15), second trombone, Symphony in C (Collingswood, N.J.)
Jorge Caldelari (Artist Certificate ’08; M.M. Performance/Violin ’10), with the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra and the Reise String Quartet
John Campione (B.M. Performance/Voice; B.M. Music Education ’10), actor, singer, musician; touring with School of Rock the Musical (national tour); toured with Bridges of Madison County (national tour)
Brandon Carson (B.M. Composition ’16), percussion instructor, Prince of Peace Christian School (Carrollton, Texas)
Cézanne Quartet, Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence at SMU, second place Senior Division, 2015 Coltman Chamber Music Competition; semi-finalists, 2017 Plowman Chamber Music Competition
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.
Shannon Conboy (B.M. Music Education, B.M. Performance/Voice ’16), music teacher, Norma Dorsey Elementary School (Garland, Texas)
Sara Corry (B.M. Composition ’10), staff arranger for the US 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, B.M. Performance/Organ ’17), organist, Northridge Presbyterian Church (Dallas)
Jordan DeRouen (M.M. Performance/Organ ’16), senior organist, Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church (Plano, Texas)
Ian Derrer (B.M. ’96), general director and CEO, The Dallas Opera
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
Lindsay Forrister (B.A. Music ’16), associate art director, Core Publishing (Austin, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Miami)
Michael Galbraith (B.M. Performance/Horn and B.A. History ’88) has played French Horn for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic since 1996 and serves as a Philharmonic board member. Galbraith recently became director of The Road to One Million economic development project for the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.
Katrina Galka (B.M. Performance/Voice ’11) sang with the Dallas Opera for OPERA America
Crystal Gerrard (M.M. Music Education ’15), completed a Ph.D. at The Ohio State University and has accepted a position as assistant professor of music education at the the University of North Texas, beginning fall 2018
Richard Gray (M.M. Performance/Organ ’17), winner, Hymn-Playing category, 2016 Hall Pipe Organ Competition in San Antonio, Texas
Jonathan Gregoire (Artist Diploma/Organ ’17), one of three winners, 2016-17 SMU Meadows General Concerto Competition
Kimberly Grigsby (B.M. Performance/Piano ’91), Broadway musical director, supervisor, conductor, arranger and musician
Brittany Harrington-Smith (M.M. Performance/Bassoon ’13, Performer’s Diploma ’15), Breaking Winds Quartet named official Fox Artists
Kyle Hartman (B.M. Composition ’16), accepted to M.M. Film Composition program, Seattle Film Institute
Ben Hauser (M.M. Performance/Trumpet ’16), US 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
Daniel Hawkins (B.M. Performance/French Horn ’15), utility horn, San Francisco Symphony
Sarah Israel Whitling (B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies ’15), manager of special projects for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Abby Hawthorne (B.M. Performance/Oboe '18) was accepted to the 2018 Sarasota Music Festival, the National Orchestral Institute and the Festival at Round Top; she will attend Sarasota. She was also admitted to the Eastman School of Music for graduate studies and received a Sledge-Benedict National Fellowship through Alpha Chi, which awarded her $4,000 toward graduate school.
Eun Chong Ju (M.M. Performance/Violin ’10), violin, Chicago Civic Orchestra
Kelli Kader (B.M. Music Therapy ’15), Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital (Houston)
Charles Karanja (B.A. Music ’13, M.M. Performance/Voice ’16) sang with the Dallas Opera for OPERA America
Na Hung Kim (Artist Certificate ’10), faculty at Dongguk University and Sunhwa Arts School in Korea
Paul Kroeger (B.M. Performance/Voice ’13), tenor, Thuringer Opernstudio, Weimar, Germany; soloist, Landestheater Coburg, Coburg, Germany
Garrett Law (M.M. Performance/French Horn ’17), third horn, Las Colinas Symphony (Irving, Texas)
Jennie Lee (B.M. Performance/Voice ’16), awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Germany
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
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
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
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
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
Jason Platt (M.M. Composition, M.M. Theory of Pedagogy ’15), accepted for doctoral studies, Arizona State University
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
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
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
Maura Sheffler (B.A. Music ’11, M.A./M.B.A. ’13), deputy director, programs and marketing, TACA (Dallas)
Aleksandr Snytkin (Artist Certificate/Violin ’07), violin I & II, Dallas Symphony
Samarth Srinivasan (B.M. Composition ’16), accepted to M.M. Scoring for Film, Television and Video Games program at Berklee College of Music/Valencia, Spain campus
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. During his time as an SMU music student, he was named the Meadows Young Music Educator of the Year award in 2012.
Paul Torrisi (B.M. Performance/Trumpet ’15), third trumpet, Grand Rapids Symphony
Will Trice (B.A. Music ’01), Tony-winning Broadway producer, Jeffrey Richards Associates
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
Florence Wang (B.M. Performance/Violin ’12, Performer’s Diploma ’14), violin, Dallas Opera Orchestra
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
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
Morgan Wood (B.M. Music Therapy ’16), music therapist, My Possibilities (Plano, Texas)
Yu Ting Su (B.M. Music Therapy ’15), music therapist, Taitung Christian Hospital (Taitung City, Taiwan)
Yinuo Wang (Performer’s Diploma/Piano ’18) won First Prize at the 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.
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.
Read more about the Division of Music at SMU Meadows School of the Arts.