Facebook Twitter Instagram Flickr RSS Feed

Music in France: Summer 2015 Study Abroad Program

The FIU School of Music is pleased to announce its first Study Abroad Program. Participating students will have the opportunity to experience music study outside of the traditional classroom led by FIU School of Music faculty Dr. David Dolata and Dr. Joel Galand.

Students will explore the art of music editing and analysis with a special emphasis on the music of France. While in France, students will experience life in Tours, a historical medieval university town and visit Loire Valley chateaux, including the Chateau de Chambord, where they will attend a festive evening of music, dance, acrobatics, and period costumes to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the ascension of François I to the throne. The visit will be capped with the Bastille Day celebration at the Tours city hall, the Hôtel de Ville. The program includes a long weekend in Paris to experience the milieu in which the music students study was created and to take in the diverse contemporary Parisian musical scene. Highlights of the Paris visit will be a tour of the Paris Garnier Opera House, Montmartre, and the Gregorian Chant Mass at Notre Dame de Paris.

 Location Description

Classes in Tours will take place in a classroom within a 12th-century tower with vaulted ceiling, stained glass windows, carved wood furniture, and original tapestries within the Centre d’Etudes Supérieures de la Renaissance (CESR) at the Université François-Rabelais de Tours—CNRS, one of Europe’s leading research institutes. Additional visits by train or chartered bus will transfer students to Paris, the Chateau de Chenonceau and Chambord.


In Tours, students will be housed at “La Croix Montoire,” a university dormitory in the historic center of town within easy walking distance of CESR, dining, shopping, and the train station. In Paris, students will stay at a hotel with breakfast included within walking distance of the Gare Montparnasse rail station.

 Semester & Dates

Summer C

On Campus: June 3—26, 2015

Abroad: July 1—15, 2015

 Courses & Credits

This course is a 6-credit program. Students must sign up for two 3-credit courses as listed below:


MUH 4680 Music History Seminar

MUT 3611 Form and Analysis


MUH 6937 Special Topics in Music History

MUT 5629 Analytical Techniques



To contact the FIU Office of Study Abroad, click here. 

To learn more about funding your study abroad experience, click here.

To download the flyer, click here.


FIU School of Music, Modesto A. Maidique Campus, WPAC 140

Telephone: 305-348-2076

Email: david.dolata@fiu.edu





Learn more »
No Comment

Music Student Karla Gutierrez Shares Her “Fearless Journey” at TedXFIU

On November 13th, music student Karla Gutierrez took to the stage to share her “Fearless Journey” with audiences at TedXFIU.  

Originally from Cartago, Costa Rica, she has a master’s in business administration and for many years worked as a human resources coordinator at a Swiss corporation. Unfulfilled and yearning for a life in which she could explore her passion for music, she encountered grief and obstacles that prevented her from furthering her talents in the arts. Before passing away, Gutierrez’s mom urged her to pursue her dream of becoming a professional singer. Gutierrez quit her job and moved to Argentina to study jazz, so she could enroll at the FIU School of Music in order to hone her performing and composing skills as a Music Technology/Voice major.

She has since performed in classical choirs, salsa orchestras, jazz combos, symphony orchestras, and musical theater ensembles. She is currently working on a indiepop record with FIU alumnus and Costa Rican composer Fabrizio Montero. An active member of the FIU community, Gutierrez is founder of the student chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the president of the Electro­Acoustic Research Society and participates in the International Student Peer Mentor Program.

“I like Ted Talks because I feel connected to the idea of sharing stories that would encourage others to focus on the joy and continuous discovery of life, accepting challenges and overcoming fears. I’ve seen many Ted Talks that have moved me and inspired me in this way, such as My Creations, A New Form of Life by Theo Jansen, The Creative Genius by Elizabeth Gilbert, How the Worst Moments in Our Lives Makes Us Who We Are by Andrew Solomon, among many others.” Gutierrez continues “I thought that this year’s theme, “Fearless Journey,” would apply to my story about the transition from a business career to one of music. Receiving this opportunity is a great chance for me to hopefully inspire others to follow their passion.” 

To read more about TedXFIU 2014 “Fearless Journey,” click here.



Learn more »
No Comment

ARTS@FIU Expands Creativity in Miami-Dade Public Schools

The story was posted by FIU Student Media Staff Writer Samantha Davis and is available by clicking here.

On Tuesday, Nov. 4, teachers from all over Miami-Dade County flocked to the Wertheim Performing Arts Center for one of the biggest art events of the year. ARTS@FIU was a professional development day for any and all arts teachers to gain knowledge and learn techniques to engage the students in their classes.

Bryan Petorak, District Supervisor of the Performing Arts Division of Academic Support and the Office of Academics and Transportation for the Miami-Dade Public Schools system, was the man behind the event. Petorak oversees professional development for teachers, curriculum related to the performing arts, implementation of legislation that affects the performing arts, scheduling district performances and much more, so it was important to him that ARTS@FIU be engaging and informative.

Petorak met with FIU faculty prior to the event to shape ARTS@FIU into a day that would benefit Miami-Dade County teachers.

“I wanted to identify sessions that we could offer for all of the disciplines that we have here with art, music and theatre,” Petorak said.

According to Petorak, ARTS@FIU has just focused on music education the last two years but expanded to include theatre and art this year.

The event began at 8:30 a.m. with an introduction by Petorak and a video he showed in which Dr. Maya Angelou directly spoke about how to have a positive impact on peoples’ lives. Petorak then read one of his favorite poems by Dr. Angelou, “On the Pulse of Morning” to prepare the teachers for a day of learning how to impact their students’ lives.

At around 9 a.m. the teachers broke off into music, art, and theatre sessions.

“Teachers are participating in these sessions just as students participate in classes and courses. They can then take new information to their classes that will be useful,” Petorak said.

One session, “Participatory Culture: Creativity in Music Programs” led by Evan Tobias, Assistant Professor of Education at Arizona State University, analyzed the song “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons to reveal the ways in which society interprets music. The session featured a variety of covers, parodies, remixes and mashups of the song as a way to get music teachers thinking about how they can spark creativity in their classrooms and encourage students to share ideas with each other.

“My favorite part about today is getting together with colleagues and learning new techniques for the classroom,” said Ana Maria, a music teacher at Laura C. Saunders Elementary School.

David Cruz, an orchestra, chorus, and theater teacher at South Miami Senior High, enjoys connecting with his students.

“The greatest thing about teaching music is watching the growth of the students, sharing music with them, and influencing their lives,” Cruz said.

Other sessions at the arts event included Directing and Playwriting, an orchestra session in which teachers practiced playing their violins, and more.

FIU students played an integral role throughout the day.

“We made sure that we met and greeted the teachers and assisted with the workshops. It was beneficial for me to see how teachers think,” said Namdzy Marcelin, a freshman majoring in Music Education.

ARTS@FIU was a chance for students to see what their work as future teachers will be like.

“The best part about today was being able to interact with people who will eventually be my peers and getting an idea of what I can bring to the school system,” said Alex Toussaint, a sophomore majoring in Music Education.

ARTS@FIU is one of several professional development days for Miami-Dade County teachers and brought in a significant number of teachers this year.

The FIU School of Music would like to thank the Johnny Mercer Foundation for their generous and continual support of music initiatives throughout Miami-Dade County. This year, they have provided over 30,000 enrichment program guides for public school teachers and their students, in addition to awarding fellowships to four School of Music students. For more information, click here.




Learn more »
No Comment

Amernet String Quartet Receives Glowing Review in Jewish Program

On November 9th, the Amernet String Quartet, FIU’s Ensemble-in-Residence, performed with Cantor Daniel Gross in a program of Jewish works to commemorate the 76th anniversary of Kristallnacht. Writer Lawrence Budman of South Florida Classical Review offers his critique.

As part of an ambitious series of music and dance performances, the hall (Bailey Hall) hosted a concert of Jewish music Sunday afternoon marking the 76th anniversary of Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass).

On the night of November 9, 1938, supposedly in response to the killing of a German diplomat in Paris by a Jewish youth, over a thousand synagogues were torched and homes and businesses of Jews were looted and destroyed. Nearly one hundred people were killed and thirty thousand were arrested by the Gestapo and taken to concentration camps. It was a prelude to the Holocaust, the annihilation of Europe’s Jewish population (as well as gypsies and homosexuals) on a scale difficult to perceive even today.

The Amernet String Quartet was featured in a program of rarely heard chamber and vocal works. For Michael Klotz, the group’s violist, the concert had a personal dimension: his grandparents were survivors of Auschwitz.

When composer Viktor Ullmann was murdered at Auschwitz, the world lost a genius. A pupil of Schoenberg, Ullmann composed his String Quartet No. 3 in 1943 at the Theresienstadt concentration camp. (Ullmann wrote over 20 works at Terezin, not all of which have survived.)

Lasting just over ten minutes, the compact score is in four continuous movements. Opening in the romantic vein of Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, a Presto turns harsh with over lapping instrumental lines. The desolate Largo is the heart and soul of the score, deeply imbued with tones of impending tragedy.  A concluding Allegro vivace is at times playful but also dark and angular. The superbly crafted score brought out the Amernet’s plush tonal sonority and lithe blending of timbres.

The quartet also gave a forceful performance of Ernest Bloch’s Paysages. A multifaceted composer, this three movement suite comes not from Bloch’s Judaic, neo-classical or modernist periods but is a musicological exploration of the sounds of Alaska, the Swiss Alps and the Congo. From the high harmonics of “Alpestre” to the wild dance rhythms of “Tongataboo,” this is a highly imaginative work that poses instrumental challenges, easily handled by the Amernet foursome.

Cantor Daniel Gross was the featured vocal soloist in a series of Yiddish and Hebrew texts. Resident cantor at Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington Hills, Michigan, Gross has sung baritone roles with leading regional opera companies. His deep bass-baritone resounded in the opening Esa Enai (I Will Lift Up My Eyes) by Israel composer Mordechai Yardeini. Four Yiddish Songs in luminous arrangements by Leo Zeitlin prominently featured Klotz’s mellow viola. Devoid of vibrato and strong in the lowest depths, Gross was vociferous and moving in the traditional Eyli, eyli (My God, My God), light and witty in the child’s play of Pattycake, pattycake and strongly reverent in the Kaddish Prayer of Rabbi Levi-Isaac.

Incisively accompanied by Alan Mason on piano, Gross encompassed the operatic histrionics ofRachem (Have Mercy) by the late Miami-based composer Mana Zucca. A pop infused setting by Ofer Barnoy of L’Or Vador displayed Gross’ smooth legato while he turned Yiddish theater entertainer for Abraham Ellstein’s hilatious Yidl Mitn Fidl.

Grossd concluded with a stirring rendition in Hebrew of the traditional Im Eshkachech (If I Forgot You Jerusalem). As an interlude Amernet violinist Misha Vitenson and Mason sweetly conveyed the Viennese schmaltz and sadness of Fritz Kreisler Liebeslied (Love’s Sorrows).

To read more on South Florida Classical Reviewclick here. 

Learn more »
No Comment

FIU Vocal & Choral Festival Attracts Over 300 Miami-Dade Students

On Friday, November 7th, roughly 300 high school choral students from seven Miami-Dade County Schools will partake in a the FIU Choral and Vocal Festival located at the Herbert and Nicole Performing Arts Center. Throughout the day, students will be participating in rehearsals, masterclasses with vocal faculty, and choral clinics with special guest conductor Dr. Ann Howard Jones of Boston University.

Ann Howard Jones aAt Boston University, Dr. Jones is professor of music and director of choral activities. She conducts the Symphonic and Chamber Choruses, supervises conducting students in the Concert Chorus and the Women’s Chorale, teaches graduate choral conducting, and administers the MM and DMA programs in Choral Conducting. Dr. Jones is also the conductor of the BU Tanglewood Institute Young Artists’ Vocal Program Chorus, an auditioned ensemble of high school singers who rehearse and perform at Tanglewood in the summer. Recognized as a distinguished clinician, adjudicator, teacher, and conductor, she has led many all-state and regional choruses, workshops, and masterclasses in the U.S., Europe, South America, Canada and Asia. From 1984 to 1998, Dr. Jones was the assistant conductor to the late Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony choruses, where she was the assistant conductor for choruses, sang in the alto section, assisted with the Robert Shaw Chamber Singers and helped to organize the Robert Shaw Institute.

According to newly appointed FIU Choral Director Dr. Kathryn Longo, “the FIU Choral Festival began last year with three area schools. This year, we are expanding the event to offer more students a chance to work with an excellent clinician and experience some of what the choral and vocal program at FIU has to offer.”

Participating schools include Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School, South Miami Middle School, South Miami High School, Ronald Reagan/Doral Senior High School, Young Men’s Preparatory Academy, Miami Arts Charter School in Homestead, and John A. Ferguson High School.

The festival activities will culminate in an evening performance at 7:30pm featuring choral ensembles from each school and the FIU Concert Choir. The concert will close with a combined chorus of over three hundred singers led by FIU Vocal Director Robert B. Dundas, FIU Professor Mark Aliapoulios, and Dr. Howard Jones. To learn more, click here.

Learn more »
No Comment

FIU and Friends of Chamber Music of Miami Form Distinguished Artist Master Class Series

On October 28th in the Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center Concert Hall, violist of the Ehnes Quartet and member of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society Richard O’Neill gave a masterclass to both undergraduate and graduate viola students. His appearance was the first in a series of masterclasses given by distinguished musicians who are appearing on the Friends of Chamber Music of Miami 2014-15 concert season.

After working with O’Neill, graduate student Victor Torres explained, “this was an amazing opportunity! It was truly an honor and privilege to work with such an outstanding violist.”  

These artists will impart their knowledge to students of the School of Music and selected high school students. Other featured artists include internationally acclaimed violin soloist and recording artist James Ehnes, President and CEO of the Curtis Institute of Music Roberto Diaz, Juilliard piano professor and pianist of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio Joseph Kalichstein, and renowned British pianist Stephen Hough.

Michael Klotz states “with the new Friends of Chamber Music of Miami- FIU Distinguished Artists Masterclass Program, FIU continues to increase the quality of education to its already outstanding programs. This series of masterclasses features a most distinguished roster to which the students will undoubtedly benefit greatly from their expertise and knowledge.” 

This initiative, conceived by President of Friends of Chamber Music of Miami Julian Kreeger and FIU viola professor Michael Klotz and generously supported by CARTA Dean Brian Schriner, is another example of the “Worlds Ahead” activity at FIU. All classes are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Mr. Klotz at klotzm@fiu.edu.

To view the masterclass schedule, click here.

For more information about the Friends of Chamber Music of Miami’s concert season, click here.

Learn more »
No Comment

FIU Concert Choir & Symphony Orchestra to Perform Mozart Mass for Archbishop of Miami

Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church and the FIU School of Music and will together present a Solemn Vigil Mass on the Eve of All Saint’s Day on Friday, October 31st at 7:30pm at St. Patrick’s on Miami Beach. The Mass will be officiated by His Excellency the Archbishop of Miami Thomas Wenski and will be broadcast live on the Global Catholic Network, EWTN. FIU’s Choral Conductor S. Mark Aliapoulios will lead the FIU Concert Choir and the FIU Symphony Orchestra as they perform Mozart’s sacred work “Missa Solemnis.

When asked how this partnership came to fruition, FIU Vocal Studies Director Robert B. Dundas explained “I am a congregant at St. Patrick’s. I was approached by Father Roberto Cid who had wanted a performance of the Mozart Mass for many years, but had been unsuccessful in his search to find an ensemble who could do it. I knew immediately that our elite choral ensemble, the FIU Concert Choir, would perform beautifully. As time passed, more people became involved in the project and we are now very fortunate to have the Archbishop of Miami celebrating the Mass as well. I am very happy that we have established this wonderful partnership with St. Patrick’s Church. It has one of the most beautiful sanctuaries in South Florida and the pastor and his entire congregation seem very receptive to having FIU music faculty, ensembles, and students perform there.”

The Mass will feature the Saint Patrick Church Choir conducted by Brother Mark Spencer, the church’s Director of Music and Liturgy. They will be accompanied by pianist Jared Peroune and Principal Cantor Steven Wilson.

According to Father Cid, “this will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience, music, art, and beauty. In the context of the celebration of the greatest gift of God, the gift of Himself in the Eucharist. Beauty is one of the ways that enable the human spirit to the contemplation of God who not only is beautiful, but beauty itself and the source of all beauty.”

The community is invited to attend at no charge.

Address: St. Patrick Catholic Church, 3716 Garden Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33140

For more information: St. Patrick Catholic Church; Tel.: 305-531-1124  

Learn more »
No Comment

Annual Liszt Festival Brings South Florida Talent to the Wertheim

According to the American Liszt Society, “Franz Liszt was perhaps the most misunderstood musician in the history of our art. One has only to read a few pages of Alan Walker’s monumental biography of Franz Liszt before realizing that, in truth, Liszt was a deep thinker, and he had a profound effect on the musical minds of his day. His inspiration, genius, and generosity influenced the development of musical thought well into the twentieth century.”

It was this very reason that compelled FIU Keyboard Coordinator Jose Lopez to push for the approval of the South Florida Chapter of the American Liszt Society (ALS) at FIU in 2010, joining 16 other chapters in different parts of the United States. Since then, the chapter has presented annual concerts and events at FIU’s Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Concert Hall, the Deering Estate Estate (as part of the Piano Series), and the Coral Gables Museum, among other venues in an effort to promote Liszt’s contributions as performer, composer, and humanitarian. Currently, officers of the FIU Chapter include President Jose Lopez, Treasurer Kamilla Szklarska, Secretary Laura Wilcox, Artistic Advisor Kemal Gekic, and Honorary Advisor Frank Cooper.

“As a pianist, Liszt’s influence eclipsed all performers before, during, and after his time,” notes Lopez. “As a composer, he was at the forefront of new developments in European music that influenced contemporaries such as Wagner and future stylistic manifestations such as Impressionism, Nationalism, and Atonalism.”

The first performance is set to take place on Saturday, October 18th at 7:30pm in the Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Concert Hall. Performers will include FIU pianists Kemal Gekic, Jose Lopez, Kamilla Szklarska and Silvije Vidovic, along with graduate students from FIU, UM, and Lynn Conservatory. They will perform works by Liszt, Chopin, Ravel, Balakirev and Liszt transcriptions by Busoni and Horowitz.

The festival will conclude with a matinee performance on Sunday, October 19th at 4:00pm and will feature FIU and South Florida’s powerhouse pianist Kemal Gekic in a selection of solo repertoire by Chopin and Liszt. He will join conductor Darwin Aquino and the FIU Symphony in Chopin’s Piano Concerto in F minor, Op. 21 for the finale.

For more information on the Saturday, October 18th performance, click here.

For more information on the October 19th performance, click here.




Learn more »
No Comment

New Online App Allows Students to Submit Pre-audition Materials

The FIU School of Music has joined the ranks of over 400 performing arts schools who are now using a powerful, easy-to-use, digital application tool called GetAcceptd that not only provides students with a platform to upload their work, but also allows schools to manage admission materials.

Many parents and students are faced with the daunting task of creating and presenting their audition materials to the universities and colleges of their choice. GetAcceptd has made this pre-screening process easier. Starting this year, all applicants to the Bachelor of Music (BM), Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Music, and Master of Music (MM) or Masters of Music Education (MS) degrees are required to submit an application via GetAcceptd. GetAcceptd makes it easy for all prospective students to upload preliminary materials and pre-audition videos, which are then reviewed by FIU School of Music program coordinators. Successful applicants will then be invited to live auditions at FIU’s School of Music. The audition dates for  this year are:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Saturday, March 28, 2015

In order to be admitted to the FIU School of Music, students must first be admitted to Florida International University. Admission to the university is very selective and students are urged to submit their applications as early as possible. For more information, visit the FIU Undergraduate Admissions Office or the FIU Graduate Admissions Office. 

To find out how to apply to any number of program at the School of Music, visit the admissions page by clicking here. Students can consult specific program listings for applicable requirements in your area of interest by clicking here. Students pay a fee of $25 per application submitted.

Good luck on your journey! We look forward to meeting you!

Learn more »
No Comment

Student Vocalist Andrew Lujan Wins Prestigious International Collegiate Barbershop Quartet Competition

Congratulations to Music Education major Andrew Lujan (tenor, pictured far left) and his barbershop quartet “The Academy” for winning 1st place at the International Collegiate Barbershop Quartet Competition this past summer! The competition was hosted by the Barbershop Harmony Society at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada where the quartet competed alongside 27 other quartets. The other members of the quartet include Peter Cunningham (lead), Kevin Menendez (baritone), and Michael Skutt (bass). Since their successful first performance at the 2013 Labor Day Jamboree, they have been named the 2013 Florida Novice Barbershop Quartet Champions and the 2014 Sunshine District International Collegiate Representatives.

“Winning was very exciting for us and we are VERY excited to proceed into our future as champs this year. We went out, poured our hearts out on the competition stage, and were lucky enough to come away with 1st place among 27 other great quartets!” said Lujan.

Winning the International Collegiate Barbershop Quartet Competition is a great achievement, and they are guaranteed to receive well deserved exposure, including at Youth Workshops where their quartet will enjoy teaching large groups of students about the art of barbershopping. Learn more about “The Academy” and their upcoming events on their Facebook page by clicking here.  Andrew is also a member of the FIU Concert Choir, FIU’s elite choral ensemble. 

Congratulations again to Andrew Lujan! We are proud to call you a Panther! 


Learn more »
No Comment

Conductor To Pay Tribute to Maya Angelou in October 8th Concert

On October 8th, the FIU School of Music will present its Wind and Percussion Arts Series, featuring the FIU Wind Ensemble and newly appointed conductor Dr. Brenton Alston in a passionate journey that pays tribute to the late Maya Angelou. According to Dr. Alston,

“I have always been inspired by poetry and music. With the recent passing of Dr. Maya Angelou, I sought for a meaningful way to pay tribute to her legacy and bring together poetry and music in performances for our students and community. One day while walking, I remembered a lyric, “your life becomes a travelogue, of picture-postcard charms,” from Joni Mitchell’s Amelia, and the concert series began to take shape. I chose to focus on the music and poetry from many different regions: France, England, New England, China, Japan and the unknown area of outer space and the inner depths of our own soul. This concert series is filled with inspired music from amazing composers.”

The concert will take place at the Herbert and Nicole Performing Arts Center Concert Hall on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 7:30pm. Ticket prices range from $5-10 and can be purchased online at wpac.fiu.edu, at the door, or by calling 305-348-0496. For more information, click here.



Learn more »
No Comment

100% Job Placement for 2013-14 Music Education Graduates

Professors Cathy Benedict and Patrick Schmidt are proud to announce that all 2013 – 2014 music education graduates have successfully secured work placements in their field.  These graduates now represent FIU School of Music across the nation and globe, teaching students from pre-kindergarten through college.

Benedict suggests this accomplishment comes about by focusing “all our efforts toward fostering graduates who see themselves as leaders committed to act in critical and innovative ways.” Schmidt notes that “the strong collaboration the School of Music and the Music Education program have developed particularly with the Miami Dade Public School district has been essential in providing hands-on experiences and trust in the quality of the education provided at FIU.”

Elizabeth Urquiola, now in her first year of teaching at RAMZ Academy, reflects on her time at FIU and how her studies are now helping her create an effective classroom atmosphere:  

“With the experience and resources that I obtained from the FIU Music Education program, I feel well prepared for my first year of teaching. I was taught to consistently make music with the students throughout the lesson, and exactly how to do it. When I tried this approach in my classroom I was able to engage the students throughout the entire lesson and “classroom management” became easy. So far, all my lessons have been composed with songs that I learned during my time at FIU, and the students absolutely love them! Thank you to the FIU Music Education Program for making my first few weeks of teaching easy, fun, and rewarding. “

Ari Nemser, who graduated in 2014 with an MS in Music Education, is now working as a curriculum specialist in the office of the arts supervisor for Miami Dade Public Schools, Bryan Petorak.  He says the following of his experience as a graduate music education student at FIU:

“My experience at FIU as a graduate student opened many doorways for me. I really enjoyed how the program was designed, allowing me to customize how I spent my time and studies. The core graduate curriculum for music education provided a well-balanced offering of classes, introducing me to significant literature in the field on topics such as curriculum and learning, the opportunity to develop my own research, and a constant emphasis on thinking critically about my role as a music educator. In addition, I spent equally as much time fine tuning my trumpet playing, my conducting skills, my jazz knowledge, and my overall abilities to teach instrumental music, specifically band. All of my professors provided support as needed and continued that support after my degree completion as they assisted with my job search. As a Curriculum Support Specialist, I work on various projects and research aimed at improving the district’s programs, in particular the implementation and development of band programs.”

Testaments like these validate the dedication of both FIU music education students and the faculty who support them along the way.

The Music Education Program is fully certified by the Florida State Department of Education and nationally accredited by the National Association of the Schools of Music (NASM) and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Music education students accepted into this program join a world-class school of music and receive an outstanding education where they will be able to develop and practice their musical abilities in addition to their pedagogical skills.  Most significantly, the Music Education Program is committed to the mission of graduating educators who are responsible, reflexive, ethical, creative, and dedicated to their communities.


Congratulations to the following graduates on their success! 


Undergraduate Music Education Alumni:

Jina Park – Fernwood Elementary (Seatle)

Genesis Zambrano – Pine Crest Preparatory Academy

Giancarlo Rojas – Montessori school in North Miami

Carlos Hernandez – Middle School Charter in Pembroke Pines

Elizabeth Urquiola –  RAMZ Academy

Mashell Leroy – Bethune Elementary School of the Arts (Broward)

Juancarlos Rivero – Miami Dade Schools

Ana Rivero – Bridge Prep Academy


Graduate Music Education Alumni:

Trena Anderson – Starlight Cove Elementary (Palm Beach)

Kristine Musgrove – Mountain Ridge Middle School (Maryland)

Ari Nemser – Miami Dade Arts Supervisor District Office; Curriculum Specialist

Jacobo Nitsch – Assistant Professor, Universidad del Valle (Guatemala)

David Rodriguez – Miami Dade College


For more information on the Music Education Program, click here. 

Learn more »
No Comment

National Council on the Arts Member Bruce Carter Appointed Dean’s Distinguished Fellow

Brian Schriner, Dean of College of Architecture + The Arts, has appointed Bruce Allen Carter as a Dean’s Distinguished Fellow for 2014-15.

Bruce Allen Carter is an arts educator and researcher, whose work focuses on issues of creativity and the intersections of social justice and arts participation. His research has been published in the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education,Journal of Research in Music Education, and Music Educators Journal, in addition to numerous invited chapters by Oxford Press. Recently, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, School of Education designated the Bruce Carter Qualitative Research Center as a place for graduate students to pursue meaningful qualitative research agendas. Carter received a B.M. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, a M.M. from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in Music Education from Northwestern University. In 2013, he was appointed by President Obama to serve a six year position as Council Member on the National Council on the Arts.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to participate in the dynamic work occurring at FIU, specifically CARTA. I hope to engage faculty, students, and community members in ways that foster interdisciplinary approaches to artistic process and research. I am enamored with the vision of FIU Miami Beach Urban Studios and the way it seeks to utilize community engagement, and expertise afforded by its facilities and location to be at the forefront of teaching, research, and service in art, design, performance, and communication. I hope to spotlight the amazing faculty at FIU and add my voice to a vision that is forward thinking and beneficial to Miami.

During his nine month appointment, he will produce an online publication consisting of a series of short essays , videos, and images that document multiple exchanges with the College of Architecture + The Arts. The publication will be included in new and current online courses. He will also conduct a series of lectures and panel discussions to be held both at the FIU School of Music and the Miami Beach Urban Studios throughout the academic year. The first panel discussion will take place on Wednesday, November 12th at 7:00pm in the Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center Recital Hall and will cover the topic “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Understanding the Creative Mind.”

Learn more »
No Comment

FIU School of Music Unveils Its 2014-15 Season

The FIU School of Music begins its 2014-15 season under the leadership of Interim Director Dr. William Hipp, Dean Emeritus of the Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music at UM. Audiences can expect to benefit from culturally relevant programming and events that will focus on community building efforts through local partnerships, new ticket prices, and the appointment of new artist-faculty.

This season will prove to be both diverse and bustling with creativity with nearly 200 events (including performances, festivals, benefit concerts, master classes, workshops, and lectures) scheduled to take place between September and April. With the Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Art Center Concert Hall leading the way as the premier venue for performances, this season will welcome world-renowned guest performers, faculty ensembles and soloists, and a vast array of star student ensembles. Concerts and events will also be performed at venues throughout Miami, including College of Architecture + The Arts | Miami Beach Urban Studios on Lincoln Road, The Wolfsonian-FIU, Steinway Piano Gallery in Coral Gables, Heritage Park in the City of Sunny Isles Beach, and Pinecrest Gardens, among many others.

The FIU Chamber Players, directed by violinist Robert Davidovici, starts off the concert season on Tuesday, September 16th with a chamber musical showcase through the centuries, shortly followed by a performance by the FIU Symphony Orchestra and conductor Gzegorz Nowak on Thursday, September 18th. The Orchestral Masterworks Series will include a notable list of guest artists including conductor David Effron, conductor Mark Gibson, conductor James Judd of Miami Music Project, pianist Augustin Anievas, conductor Neil Varon, and more. On November 20, FIU violist Michael Klotz and the FIU Concert Choir will join the FIU Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Vaughan Williams’ unique choral-orchestral work, Flos Campi. This six-movement suite for orchestra, solo viola, and choir features the composer’s harmonic ingenuity and his gift for ethereal melodic development.

The Amernet String Quartet, FIU’s Ensemble-in-Residence, has a sensational season ahead featuring exciting collaborations with artists such as concert pianist Margarita Shevchenko, who will join them for a program of Russian composers during the opening concert of their season on Tuesday, September 30th. Later in their season they will be joined by pianist and Dean of FAU School of Music Heather Coltman for a program in commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance, where they will perform works by Korngold, Zeitlin, Schul, Bloch, and Weinberg at the Miami Beach Urban Studios Gallery.

The FIU GuitART Series, spearheaded by Turkish composer and classical guitarist Mesut Ozgen, offers an exciting lineup of performances by the FIU Miami Guitar Orchestra throughout the year, and will welcome Baroque specialist and internationally-acclaimed harpsichordist Anthony Newman and Flamenco dancer Karen Fuller for “Plucked Baroque” set to take place on Friday, October 3rd.

The appointment of two established, full-time faculty members, Dr. Brenton Alston and Dr. Kathryn Longo, promise to energize both the Choral Arts Department and the Wind/Percussion Department. Dr. Alston, Director of the FIU Wind Ensemble and Chamber Winds, has already begun building a strong wind and percussion area and will bring together poetry and music in a tribute concert to the late Maya Angelou on October 8th. Dr. Longo will be replacing retired former Choral Director John Augenblick and will lead the FIU Choirs in a season of sacred and passionate selections beginning with Mozart and James Whitbourn’s moving work for chorus and organ, “All Shall be Amen and Alleluia” on Thursday, October 9th.  The FIU Concert Choir will also have the honor of performing Mozart’s All Saint’s Day Mass at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Miami Beach on Friday, October 31st, which will be officiated by the Archbishop of Miami. Audiences will be further charmed by holiday programming that includes a joint performance with the FIU Choirs and Florida’s Singing Sons Boychoir on November 24th and the annual performance of Handel’s glorious masterpiece, “Messiah,” to be directed by S. Mark Aliapolious on December 5th.

Beginning on Tuesday, October 7th, the Jazz at the Wertheim Series, directed by Gary Campbell, will showcase the music of FIU jazzists including trombonist Chad Bernstein and will continue with guitarist Tom Lippincott, vocalist Lisanne Lyons, Rodolfo Zuniga’s Surface Quartet, Latin Jazz Ensemble with Grammy-nominated pianist Michael Orta, among others. Celebrate FIU Homecoming Week with trumpeter James Hacker and the FIU Studio Jazz Big Band or join us for a very special appearance with Grammy-nominated jazz artist John Fedchock for an evening of original compositions on February 7th, immediately following the highly popular Festival of Jazz Bands.

The Keyboard Art Series, directed by the Coordinator of Keyboard Program Jose Lopez, will present the annual Liszt Festival on October 18-19. The first of its kind in South Florida, the festival is dedicated to advancing knowledge about the great Romantic Hungarian pianist and composer Franz Liszt and is sponsored by the South Florida chapter of the American Liszt Society at FIU. The festival will feature FIU powerhouse and Miami International Piano Festival favorite Kemal Gekic, along with other FIU faculty, the FIU Symphony Orchestra, and graduate students from FIU, UM, and Lynn Conservatory. Piano aficionados will appreciate the variety of guest artists appearing on this series, including Steinway artist Michael Boyd, South Florida favorite Martha Marchena, University of South Florida’s Svetozar Ivanov, and more throughout the season.

Mark your calendars for February 21 and 22 for the much anticipated annual production of FIU Opera Theatre. This year, Vocal Studies Coordinator Robert Dundas will direct L’Etoile, an “operá bouffe” in three acts by Emmanuel Chabrier. Featuring disguise and deception, astrologers and ambassadors, peddlers and lovers, this whimsical opera tells the story of King Ouf who is on the search for a suitable subject to execute as a birthday gift to himself. Or immerse yourself in a performance of “One Voice, Many Nations,” a musical theatre showcase that traces the lineage of the Broadway musical to its European roots. Musical direction will be provided by Steven Chirucel from UCF’s Department of Theatre.

This spring, the New Music Miami ISCM Festival welcomes an array of innovative and well-known composers and performers from all over the globe in celebration of its 19th successful season. This contemporary music festival, founded by the former Director of the School of Music, provides exciting performances along with master classes and panel discussions with the invited guest artists. The distinctive character of his music has been described as “time suspended-haunting sonic explorations” developed from studies with Morton Feldman. Festival highlights include the performance of the FIU Symphony Orchestra and renowned guest violinist Jennifer Choi as they perform Peter Paul Koprowski’s Podhal and the world premiere of Orlando Jacinto Garcia’s Violin Concerto on January 30.

Other artists in upcoming concerts include cellist Charles Kurtis, FIU School of Music alumni composers, violinist Mari Kimura, flutist Robert Dick, and performances by the FIU NODUS Ensemble, the Fonema Consort Ensemble, the Bugallo-Williams Duo, and the Amernet String Quartet with pianist Amy Williams.

In addition to a very active performance calendar, over 60 master classes by esteemed musicians and scholars expect to find their way to the Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center, all of which are free and open to the public. An exciting partnership with the Friends of Chamber Music of Miami will result in the creation of a Distinguished Artist Master Class Series, which will include highly sought after performers such as violinist James Ehnes, pianists Joseph Kalichstein and Steven Hough, violists Roberto Diaz and Richard O’Neill, and cellist Williiam DeRosa. Details to be announced in October.

In effort to support local arts initiatives, students 18 and under are now able to purchase Miami Youth Tickets for only $5. Student discount rates are also available to individuals attending a college or university who are under the age of 26 with a valid I.D.


For more details about the season, contact the Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center Box Office for information at 305-348-0496 or visit music.fiu.edu/performances.

Listen to our season announcement on WLRN, by clicking here.

Learn more »
No Comment

FIU/ASCAP Spanish Songwriters Workshop to benefit FIU students

Brian Schriner, Dean of FIU College of Architecture + The Arts, is proud to announce the College has partnered with the New York, Los Angeles, and Miami offices of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) to offer a two-day songwriting workshop open to all currently enrolled FIU students and alumni. The workshop will be led by three of Miami’s leading bilingual songwriters along with industry veteran Karl Avanzini facilitating the workshop at the Miami Beach Urban Studios Gallery on November 3 and 4.

“The partnership provides our students with yet another opportunity to work alongside distinguished songwriters, composers, and producers,” stated Dean Schriner.

The intensive, tuition-free workshop will be offered in Spanish and English is designed to focus on the development and education of promising new songwriters. As part of the collaboration, a panel of artist-faculty from the FIU School of Music will select six aspiring student musicians to partake in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The panel will include the Director of Music Business and Music Management Programs Karen Fuller and Director of the Jazz Vocal Program Lisanne Lyons.

Chosen participants will have an opportunity to work collectively and privately with professional songwriters to develop original works as well as participate in a music business seminar which will cover areas such as marketing, copyright, and publishing. This year’s workshop will be led by Latin Grammy winners Yoel Henriquez and Fernando Osorio, along with Latin pop hitmaker Jorge Luís Piloto.

According to Interim Director of FIU School of Music Dr. William Hipp, “Miami has long been a fertile ground for songwriters and the recording industry, and ASCAP’s commitment demonstrates very special support for the next generation of hit-makers.”

The workshop will conclude with a private reception in the Miami Beach Urban Studios Main Gallery, where the students will perform their new works for music producers and invited guests. Afterwards, each student will receive a Certificate of Completion.

How to apply: Writers interested in applying to the ASCAP/FIU Spanish Music Songwriters Workshop should submit the following information electronically to music@fiu.edu; Panther I.D. (if current student), a brief biography including address, phone number, and e-mail address, and MP3s of two (2) original songs (in Spanish) with lyric sheets. The subject line must include: “ASCAP Songwriting Workshop.” If selected, participants must be able to attend all sessions at the FIU College of Architecture + The Arts | Miami Beach Urban Studios on 420 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL. The submission deadline has been extended to October 24th. 

For any questions, contact Karen Fuller at fullerk@fiu.edu. 

 About Karl Avanzini 

Karl Avanzini has been the Director of Creative Affairs, Latin Membership East Coast at ASCAP for over a decade.  He is responsible for signing most of ASCAP’s successful songwriters and has served as panelist, creator, and educator in the music industry. He is well-known for his artist showcases during the Billboard Latin Awards including Enrique Iglesias, Kany Garcia, LENA, Debi Nova, Nahuel, Daniel Santacruz, Victor Manuelle, and many others.

 About ASCAP

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a membership association of more than 500,000 U.S. composers, songwriters, lyricists and music publishers of every kind of music. Through agreements with affiliated international societies, ASCAP also represents hundreds of thousands of music creators worldwide. ASCAP is the only US performing rights organization created and controlled by composers, songwriters and music publishers, with a Board of Directors elected by and from members.

ASCAP is home to the greatest names in American music, past and present — from Duke Ellington to Katy Perry, from George Gershwin to Jay-Z, from Leonard Bernstein to Beyoncé, from Marc Anthony to Alan Jackson, from Henry Mancini to Hans Zimmer — as well as many thousands of writers in the earlier stages of their careers across the entire musical spectrum. Members are individuals who make their living writing music. There are many steps between creation and compensation; a music creator is like a small business, and ASCAP exists to ensure members are paid promptly and fairly when their compositions are performed publicly.


Learn more »
No Comment

“Bossa Nova Sinfonico” wins at 17th Annual Brazilian International Press Awards, nominated for Latin Grammy

Congratulations to Associate Professor of Jazz Michael Orta and Assistant Professor of Jazz Jamie Ousley, who received a Latin Grammy nomination for the CD “Bossa Nova Sinfonico.” The CD also won the “Best CD of the Year” at the prestigious 2014 Brazilian Press Awards.

The CD features the incredible talents of the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica as well as vocalist Rose Max, guitarist Ramatis Moraes, pianist Michael Orta, bassist Jamie Ousley, drummer Carlomagno Araya, and maestro Jeremy Fox. Its 2013 premier in Costa Rica was quickly followed by a whirlwind tour throughout Central America, Mexico, and the United States. Last January, South Florida audiences were treated to a performance at FIU’s Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center featuring these local favorites alongside the FIU Symphony Orchestra.

bossanovasinfonicoAccording to Michael Orta, “The objective of the making of this CD was to share Bossa Nova and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s music with the rest of the world. The music of Jobim is timeless and classic, and to bring it together with the Symphony Orchestra from Costa Rica was a perfect combination. To receive both a Grammy nomination and to win the Brazilian Press Award, along with my colleague Jamie Ousley, is an honor.”


Click here to view photos from the 2013-14 performance at the Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center.

Click here to learn more about “Bossa Nova Sinfonico.”


Learn more »
No Comment

Former Director of the School of Music Joins Miami Beach Urban Studios as Composer-in-Residence

Evan Northup from Miami Beach Urban Studios writes about composer Orlando Garcia’s move to this hip, urban space on Lincoln Road.

Dr. Garcia recently retired from the post of Director of FIU’s School of Music after a hugely successful tenure of four and a half years. In a whirlwind tour of global music, Garcia spent the early part of summer of 2014 in residence at MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, where he completed two chamber works, one for premiere in Assisi, Italy in July (Suono Sacro ensemble) and the other for premiere in Madrid, Spain in November (Nuevo Ensemble de Segovia). Then he traveled to Elba, Italy, where he was been writing a new work for piano duo (Bugallo Williams Piano Duo). From Elba, he journeyed back to Assisi for the Suono Sacro Festival to conduct the premiere of the work written at the MacDowell Colony.

Garcia frequently spends his summer months composing and traveling, as in 2013 he spent time at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation Center in Umbria, Italy. The foundation offered a grant to Dr. Garcia to create a new work for the Miami Symphony Orchestra and the Latin American String Quartet called “Towards the Light into the Numinous,” which is dedicated to the memory of his late wife, Catherine, and is scheduled to premiere in the 2014-2015 season. The residency was a series of four six-week sessions that were held in a 15th century castle which allows a community of 12-14 accomplished artists, writers, and composers to engage in robust dialogue and to refresh one’s work.

For the rest of this summer and the upcoming fall semester, Dr. Garcia will be continuing his world music tour with a three week Artist- in-Residency in Tuscany for the Festival in Assisi (July – Sacred Sounds), conducting a premier in New Hampshire, and offering research assignments, lectures, and concerts in Mexico, Poland, Spain, and the West Coast of the United States. One of his other exciting projects will be when he visits upstate New York’s Millay Colony in August to work on an interdisciplinary opera that will be a cultural collaboration, and which will include creative input by Chair of Art History Jacek Kolasinksi, Associate Professor of Architecture Eric Goldemberg, and Professor of English Campbell McGrath, as well as MBUS’s own Director, John Stuart.

After his thrilling and extensive schedule for the summer and fall, Dr. Garcia will begin his time at the Miami Beach Urban Studios in the spring semester. One of his main goals is to incorporate the New Music Miami Festival (which he created and continues to oversee) into the MBUS programming schedule, and hold approximately ten to twelve concerts over the Spring academic term. In his words, “as the composer in residence at our Miami Beach Urban Studios I will be creating and curating new works to be presented at the Studios by our faculty, students, and guest artists and ensembles, bringing additional visibility to the space while continuing my work as a composer nationally and internationally.”

We are incredibly excited and honored to welcome Dr. Garcia into our creative and innovative space here at MBUS, and we look forward to the inspirational vision and work he will achieve.

For more information on Dr. Garcia and his calendar of events, please click here.

Learn more »
No Comment

Choral Director Dr. Kathryn K. Longo to join FIU School of Music faculty

Dr. Kathryn K. Longo is the newly appointed Coordinator of Choral Studies at Florida International University’s School of Music where she will conduct the Concert Choir and Master Chorale, in addition to teaching undergraduate conducting courses. Since moving to Miami in 2011, Dr. Longo worked as a clinician in many South Florida schools, conducted honor choirs in Broward and Collier counties, sang with the Miami Bach Society and Temple Bet Shira, and has held positions with Miami Children’s Chorus and South Florida Singing Sons.


Where are you from?
I grew up in Newport, RI. In recent years I have enjoyed living in a variety of places including Miami, Oregon, New York City, and Connecticut.



What brought you to FIU?
I first learned about the FIU music program when I moved South Florida in 2011 to pursue my doctorate at the University of Miami. I was fortunate to meet several members of the FIU music faculty and learn about the many programs offered at the School of Music. Prior to pursuing my graduate studies, I attended and taught at public schools. I strongly believe in the importance of training teachers and musicians to give back to their communities and promote the arts locally, as well as nationally and internationally. FIU’s mission and philosophy strongly align with that belief. When a position opened in the choral department, I knew that was where I wanted to be. I am thrilled to be joining this dynamic department and I look forward to bringing my experience and perspectives to FIU.



What would you like to accomplish at FIU?
It is my goal to develop the choral program in several capacities. First, it is my intent to encourage excellent student performance and creativity through our choral rehearsals and concerts. It is very important to me to reach out to the larger university community and encourage as many singers as possible to become a part of our choruses. I strongly believe in the power of ensemble singing and I hope to encourage students from any discipline to join us and make choral music a part of their life at FIU. Finally, I am very committed to training young musicians to be musical leaders and skillful conductors. I am looking forward to working with the other ensemble conductors at FIU to train undergraduate and graduate conductors in the art of gesture and ensemble leadership.




What do you think the FIU community should know about your department?
The choral and vocal department is open to anyone interested in singing! You do not need to be a music major to participate in choral music at FIU. We currently have five choral ensembles, two of which are open to anyone in the Miami community! Our Master Chorale meets on the Modesto A. Maidique Campus on Monday nights at 7 pm and our University Chorale meets on the Biscayne Bay Campus on Tuesday nights at 7pm. Singing is a great way to meet people and be a part of a creative community!




It looks like you have ambitious plans for this year’s choirs. What events are you most looking forward to?
I am really looking forward to the diversity of the concerts we are presenting this year¬. Our singers will perform a wide variety of music with different ensembles including the FIU Orchestra and Florida’s Singing Sons Boychoir. I am most looking forward to our two choral festivals. This fall, we will present the FIU Choral and Vocal Arts Festival. This two day event will bring together area high school choirs to perform together, and give local teachers and conductors an opportunity to participate in a conducting master class with the FIU Concert Choir. In the spring, we will join with the University of Miami and Miami-Dade Community College for the first annual South Florida Collegiate Choral Festival. Both of these events will give FIU students the chance to perform for fellow musicians and community members, and to collaborate with choral musicians from throughout Miami-Dade.


To read more about Dr. Kathryn K. Longo, click here.

To find out more about our ensembles, click here.

Learn more »
No Comment

Faculty Spotlight: Conductor Dr. Brenton Alston

Dr. Brenton F. Alston was appointed to the position of Visiting Instructor of Symphonic Conducting for the 2013-14 academic term. Following a national search for the permanent faculty appointment, Dr. Alston was awarded a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Music position at the FIU School of Music. He conducts the FIU Wind Ensemble and Chamber Winds, in addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate conducting and courses in Wind Repertoire.


Where are you from?

I grew up in Washington, D.C. and College Park, Georgia.


What brought you to FIU?

I have been aware of the FIU School of Music ever since 2001, when I arrived in Miami to pursue my DMA at the University of Miami with Professor Gary Green. I would frequently come to concerts with colleagues and was always intrigued by the performances. Finally, after many years, the universe unfolded as it does and afforded me this amazing opportunity. I am a happy beyond words to be working at the School of Music.


What is your experience so far working with the FIU students and faculty?

I am imbued by the dedication of the students and faculty. Here, an amazingly diverse populous of students come to FIU with an infectious passion for music. It is a pure joy to share, in rehearsals, lecture classes, coaching sessions and private lessons, the dreams and fancies of composers works, and then discover how we will go about realizing them. I have found the faculty to be exceptional colleagues that are eager to support each other in our efforts to prepare future musicians. I am so lucky to have such a valued colleague as Professor Barry Bernhardt whom I get to work with side by side every day. Professor Bernhardt and myself are constantly seeking the most effective ways together, to teach and inspire our students in the wind and percussion areas.


What is your primary goal at FIU?

I have many goals at FIU. First, I will continue to build a strong wind and percussion area by increasing our numbers of students. Secondly, I would love to start a commissioning/recording project for the wind ensemble and chamber winds. Third, I am looking forward to helping the wind ensemble and chamber winds achieve a greater regional, national and international presence. Finally, I must continue to build a strong studio of young conductors, who will graduate and do important work for our profession.


It looks like you have an ambitious plans for next years concert series. What would you like to tell us about the about the concert series you have entitled “Travelogue?”

I have always been inspired by poetry and music. With the recent passing of Dr. Maya Angelou, I sought for a meaningful way to pay tribute to her legacy and bring together poetry and music in performances for our students and community. One day while walking, I remembered a lyric, “ your life becomes a travelogue, of picture-postcard charms,” from Joni Mitchell’s Amelia, and the concert series began to take shape. I chose to focus on the music and poetry from many different regions: France, England, New England, China, Japan and the unknown area of outer space and the inner depths of our own soul. This concert series is filled with inspired music from amazing composers. I honestly cannot wait to begin rehearsals. Our first performance will be at the Herbert and Nicole Performing Arts Center Concert Hall on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 7:30pm.

Learn more »
No Comment

South Florida Classical Review rewards Amernet with glowing critique at Mainly Mozart Festival

Writer and music consultant Lawrence Budmen offers this critique of FIU’s ensemble-in-residence the Amernet String Quartet at the annual Mainly Mozart Festival in Coral Gables.

The Amernet String Quartet chose rarely performed works by Mozart, Dvorak and Webern rather than chamber music warhorses for their annual visit to the Mainly Mozart Festival on Sunday. Playing in peak form, Florida International University’s ensemble in residence produced an evenly balanced, rounded sonority in the difficult acoustic of the Biltmore Hotel’s Danielson Gallery in Coral Gables.

Anton Webern was one of the pillars of the Second Viennese School, the leading proponents of atonality as the bold future of 20th-century music. Like his mentor Schoenberg, however, his artistic roots were steeped in romanticism. Webern’s Langsamer Satz, written in 1905 and published only after the composer’s death, opens with a gorgeous violin melody that could have come right out of a tone poem by Richard Strauss. Misha Vitenson played it with a heavy bow, producing a big, enveloping sound. Michael Klotz’s more restrained viola solo was no less intense. The section where the violin plays high harmonics over the viola melody was particularly striking.

Dvorak’s String Quartet in D minor, Op. 34 is an early work and uncharacteristically dark in tone.  The Amernet captured the underlying turbulence beneath the opening Czech melody and navigated the curving melodic lines of the first movement’s two subsidiary themes adroitly. Marcia Littley’s sonority has grown in depth and presence, and she filled Dvorak’s unusually prominent second violin part with keen skill and fine tone. The performance gradually accumulated power throughout the opening Allegro with the brusque ending an emphatic surprise.

The quartet’s unanimity and accuracy came through strongly in the Polka and Scherzo, the players capturing the dance rhythm while allowing the music’s folk infused strains to unfold organically. In the nostalgic Adagio Vitenson encompassed the lengthy solo with silvery tonal hues, the sound never turning harsh even when he played at full force. After three movements of subtle musicianship, the players really let go in the Poco allegro finale, attacking the music with bite and bringing a driving, harder-edged sound to the country dances.

Mozart’s Divertimento in E-flat Major, K. 563 is a six movement, nearly forty-five minute work for string trio that only receives occasional performances in its entirety. Individual movements are sometimes programmed as stand-alone pieces.

Vitenson, Klotz and cellist Jason Calloway collaborated on a classically scaled performance, the terraced dynamics never reaching extremes of loudness or softness. Taking the long measure of the score, the opening and closing movements were played at a relaxed pace and the players infused the score with the ideal salon aura.

To read the full article, click here.

To see Mainly Mozart Festival’s list of performances and featured artists, click here.

To read more about the quartet, click here.


Learn more »
No Comment