More or less recently you made music at the Weiss Center. We would love to hear from you, hear of your musical and other accomplishments. Please send us updates about yourselves (to the current chair). We wish you success in all your endeavors.
Select Alumni Achievements
Where are they now?
What do they say about Dickinson’s music program?
What have they accomplished?
Through its liberal arts approach to the study of music, the department seeks to prepare our graduates for the rigors of professional life outside the limestone walls – whether in musical fields or elsewhere. Graduates of the music department go on to a wide range of professional musical activities, from advanced degrees in musical performance and academia to positions in arts administration and library science. Other graduates have transferred their musical engagement with critical thinking and analysis to other fields, including medicine, law, business, and marketing. Below are some representative examples of how our graduates have translated their Dickinson musical education into real world successes and opportunities.
Recent Graduates (2000-Present):
Taylor Bell '11 (Music Theory)
In his senior year, Taylor authored a thesis on motivic transformation in Beethoven and was a soloist with the Dickinson Orchestra. As a member of the college choir, he created some of our most striking and memorable concert posters for the Carmina Burana, which led him to a career in marketing and advertising in New York City after graduation.
Juliana Burdick '11 (Music Performance, Voice)
In her senior year, Juliana was the winner of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Division 9 competition, a soloist with the Dickinson Orchestra, and an avid performer in the opera scenes program. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in vocal performance at the Peabody Conservatory (Baltimore, MD).
The music department promotes a nurturing culture of both peer and staff support, coupled with a very high standard for the work that is done… The faculty are clearly invested in their students’ well-being and future goals and success, whether the students plan to pursue music professionally or not. It has truly been a distinct pleasure and honor to study music here.
Aubrey Holmes '11 (Music Performance, Violin)
During his time at Dickinson, Aubrey performed alongside our musical artists-in-residence, attended the prestigious summer programs at the Brevard Music Center and Bowdoin, and toured China with the professional orchestra, Sinfonietta Polonia. A two-time winner of the concerto competition, Aubrey is currently pursuing his master’s degree in violin performance at the Boston Conservatory.
At my audition I knew immediately that this was the place to be. Performing in concerts alongside resident artists and faculty was a fantastic faculty-student research experience rare for undergraduate students. It allowed me to able to be competitive with people who graduate from conservatories, but [the close experience with faculty at] Dickinson has given me a special advantage. This has been truly special, and a wonderful learning experience.
Anubhav Mohan, '11 (Music Theory and Physics)
In his thesis on the chamber works of Philip Glass, Anu created the analytical concept of “linearity” to describe the minimalist structure and process of several works for string quartet. For his efforts, his thesis was recognized college-wide as an example of outstanding undergraduate research. Anu is currently pursuing a career in consulting.
Eric Rosenstein, '11 (Music History and Religion)
In order to combine his interdisciplinary interests, Eric wrote a history thesis on the socio-cultural status of the organ in American Reform Jewish communities. Additionally, he was a featured soloist with the orchestra, collegium, and opera scenes workshop his senior year. Eric currently lives in Los Angeles, where he plans to train as a rabbi.
The music department allowed me to grow as a person and student and engaged every part of my intellect. I am indebted to the faculty for helping me make connections that apply beyond the musical world. They took the time in my thesis process to make sure I understood how to write a paper--that I learned a skill that I could take away for life.
Ryan Koons, '10 (Music History)
Ryan merged his study of music history with unique global fieldwork opportunities, which resulted in the authoring of two ethnomusicological studies on Black Liberation Music in South Africa and the Muskogee-Creek American Indians (Florida). His work on South Africa was published by the undergraduate journal of research at the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at UCLA and has presented his research at national conferences such as the Society of Ethnomusicology.
My musical education at Dickinson College was characterized by a fun and supportive atmosphere and a number of enriching international experiences, such as the Global Mosaics program. I am grateful to so many encouraging professors who pushed me beyond what I perceived as the limit of my abilities. The department welcomed my ideas and helped me tailor my education to fit my cross-disciplinary interests while ensuring I was grounded with a broad and in-depth music education.
Megan Conlon, '09 (Music History and French)
Her senior year, Megan authored a thesis on Claude Debussy’s cultural nationalism during World War I, which garnered college-wide recognition as an outstanding senior thesis. In addition to her historical research, Megan also mounted a senior recital featuring her two performance fields: oboe and voice. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in musicology at Princeton University.
What made my personal experience so rewarding was the very individual attention I received from all of the professors in the music department. The faculty engaged my personal interests while also sharing their deep passion for their pursuits. When I came to Dickinson, I knew nothing about how to relate to music in a lasting way, and when I left I had not only a clear sense of how to profit from my relationship with music, but also much knowledge to help me begin to do so.
Elyssa Plotkin, '09 (Music Performance, Clarinet)
A winner of the concerto competition, Elyssa has earned several coveted summer internships in the New York City area, including positions at the New York City Opera and Lincoln Center. She recently completed a master’s degree in arts administration at New York University. Elyssa continues her work in arts advocacy and also performs in a professional ensemble, the Washington Square Wind Quintet.
Jamie Greenberg Reuland, '06 (Music Performance, Piano and English)
After graduation, Jamie earned a coveted Fulbright grant to study the musical culture of women’s music in Crete. A Ph.D. candidate in musicology at Princeton, she is currently writing her dissertation on the role Byzantium played in shaping musical practices in Venice, Italy. Jamie presents her work regularly at national conferences and also coordinates a summer research program for scholar at a 13th century Byzantine monastery in Greece.
While my emphasis at Dickinson was in piano performance, the department trained me to be a scholar-performer. The faculty challenged me to make performance decisions informed by my own original research. This made my transition into historical musciology a natural one. The opportunies the department provided for independent scholarship and their guidance in professional activities like grant writing, archival and source studies, and fieldwork launched me into graduate-level research.
Scott Nowicki, '06 (Music Composition)
Scott was a winner of the Concerto competition (2006) and premiered his original orchestral composition, Friday Ladder, in 2006 with the Dickinson Orchestra. He recently defended his dissertation for PhD in medicine at New York Medical College and his collaborative scholarship has been published in leading medical journals such as Bioinformatics Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. His recent composition, F(our) S(even), appears on the album In Concert II: New Music for Concert (2008), available at CDbaby.com.
Ben Vaughan, '06 (Music Performance, Violin)
A winner of the concerto competition, Ben participated in summer performance institutes such as the International Musical Arts Institute (Maine) and toured with the professional orchestra, Sinfonietta Polonia. Since graduation, he was worked at the Kimmel Center (Philadelphia) and as a music educator at the Agnes Irwin School (Philadelphia). He is currently pursuing a law degree at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.
Blythe Beall-Foreman, '04 (Music Performance, Violin and Political Science)
Since her graduation from Dickinson, Blythe has established a thriving and successful private violin studio in the central Pennsylvania area. She continues to contribute to the Dickinson music scene as principal second violin of the Dickinson Orchestra.
Leah Beshore-Naftalin, '03 (Music Performance, Violin)
Leah is an active orchestral musician and a member of Altra Quartet, based in Washington, D.C., and teaching violin privately. Having earned her master’s degree in violin performance, she is currently pursing her doctorate at Catholic University.
Shana Snyder '02 (Music History & Music Theory)
Currently, Shana is Dean of Administration for the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. Her previous experience included working for the Mason Gross Extension Division as Program Coordinator for the conservatory's community division and teaching an opera history course for the summer Opera Workshop. She also studies voice, and is an avid opera patron. She credits the education that she received at Dickinson College for her love of the arts.
The diversity and dedication of the faculty opened my mind to such a dazzling array of works, and I will always be grateful.
Many of our graduates continue to engage music as a significant part of their life after graduation. Graduates like Lisa Plumley, Kirk Hornberger, and Alison Sandford have studied at programs ranging from Penn State and the University of Wisconsin to the Royal Academy of Music in London. Others, such as William Black (a dentist and trumpeter) and Bill Fischer (and entrepreneur and avid singer), credit Dickinson’s music program with their life-long love of music. Sometimes our graduates continue to make dedicated contributions to our program, as is the case with Joseph Sobel, a lawyer who just celebrated over forty years of playing with the Dickinson Orchestra.
Below are some of our most accomplished graduates working in a musical profession:
Anne Jennifer Nash, '96 (Music Performance, Voice)
After graduation, Anne earned her Performance Diploma and Master’s degree in performance at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She has performed operatic roles with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Florentine Opera Company of Milwaukee, Lake George Opera, Bard Music Festival, Chautauqua Opera, Aspen Opera Theatre, the National Opera Company and Opera New Jersey, among others. Nash is the winner of the Aspen Music Festival Voice Competition and the Rising Star Recital Series competition. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in vocal performance at the University of Michigan and was recently featured in the Dickinson Magazine: http://www.dickinson.edu/news-and-events/publications/dickinson-magazine/2010-summer/The-Right-Key/
Anne has been appointed as faculty in voice at Concordia College.
Craig A. Weinrich, '95 (Music Composition)
During his time at Dickinson, Craig composed several compositions that he had the delight of conducting himself and worked as an intern in conjunction with the department’s musical-artists-in-residence. The latter experience led to his current career path in arts administration. He has held development positions with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and subsequently with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (MA).
Catherine Weis-Brussel, '95
Upon graduation, Catherine worked as administrative Assistant and later Marketing Associate at Carnegie Hall.
Richard Amoroso, '92 (Economics)
Richard joined the Philadelphia Orchestra as a first violinist in 1998 and has performed with most of Philadelphia’s major ensembles, including the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Opera Company of Philadelphia, and the Philly Pops Orchestra, with whom he has appeared as a soloist. His solo performances include a debut at Carnegie Halls’ Weill Recital Hall, and he returned to Dickinson in 2008 to give a concert and master-class to the next generation of performance students. You can read more about Richard in the Dickinson Magazine: http://www.dickinson.edu/news-and-events/publications/dickinson-magazine/2010-summer/Playing-for-Keeps/
David Metzer, ‘87 (Music and Economics)
David completed his PhD at Yale University. He is currently Professor of Music History at the University of British Columbia. His research focuses on all types of music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including classical, pop, and jazz. He is the author of Quotation and Cultural Meaning in Twentieth-Century Music and Musical Modernism at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century (both published by Cambridge University Press).
Studying music in a liberal arts setting was the ideal training for me as both a musician and a scholar. I had the opportunity to play in chamber ensembles and the orchestra and to connect my study of music history and theory with other courses that I was taking. My broad interdisciplinary interests grew out of my years at Dickinson.
Laurie Phillips Gibson, '86 (Music History)
Laurie holds a masters in musicology from the University of Rochester, Eastman School of Music and a masters of library science from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Library and Information Science. Her professional path took her to be the Bibliographic Control Coordinator/ Associate Professor at Loyola University Library, where she also works extensively with literacy volunteers in the New Orleans area.
I arrived at Dickinson determined to major in biology, but I realized I belonged in music. My father was not thrilled about my choice of major. He was sure I‘d never make a living, but he was wrong. The professors in music at Dickinson prepared me well to go on to graduate school in musicology. I learned to analyze and write about music, and to think critically.
Rebecca Anstine Smith, '77 (Music Performance, Harp and French)
After graduation, Rebecca earned her master’s degree in harp performance at the Peabody Conservatory and also studied at Tanglewood. She is currently the principal harpist with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra (DC) and has taught as a faculty member at the University of Maryland, College Park, George Washington University, and the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music.
Some of my colleagues express surprise when they learn that I attended a liberal arts college rather than a conservatory. In truth I never started out my college life with a desire to be a performance major, but once immersed in the musical and cultural life at Dickinson, I soon couldn’t imagine my life without the harp. The many opportunities to perform and constant encouragement from fellow students and faculty gave me the courage to persevere.