Current Music Majors (selected profiles)
Read about a few of our current Music Majors:
Why do they study music at Dickinson?
What they have accomplished via their departmental engagement?
George Bowerman ’12, (Music Performance, Piano)
George was a winner of the concerto competition whose junior recital featured the world premiere of Forms, a four-part work composed by the modernist composers Stefan Wolpe and Raoul Pleskow. George recently published a short article on the premiere in the Newsletter of the Wolpe Society and is currently applying for a Fulbright grant to fund research and performance studies in Toronto, where Wolpe’s archives are located. He has also performed at prestigious summer programs at the Eastman School of Music and the Brevard Music Center.
At Dickinson, the opportunity for a liberal arts education within the structure of a music degree presents an amazing opportunity to receive a great learning experience and foundation other than what is offered at undergraduate conservatory. At Dickinson, I have received a meaningful and personalized music education founded on my individual interests and talents.
Ilana Rainero-de Haan ’12, (Music Composition)
In 2008, Ilana received the prestigious ASCAP Irving Berlin scholarship and a professional commission to write a piece for the PRISM Saxophone Quartet. Peter Burwasser positively reviewed the 2010 premiere in the Broad Street Review as follows: “Rainero-de Haan’s finely crafted contribution, As of this Moment, opened with a squawky ensemble that recalled the energy and joy of free jazz, and then beautifully morphed into a liquid chorus.” Ilana has also held several prominent internships at institutions such as the San Francisco Symphony and, during her year abroad in Italy, the Museo della Musica. She is the winner of the prestigious Weiss Prize, for which she is composing a large-scale work.
The music department is a well kept secret: a thriving, nurturing environment with professors who dedicate much more time than they are required to spend with their students. When I was looking at colleges, I was more focused on languages and International Studies. After taking theory and piano, I decided to declare as a music major in composition…I adore my professors, and have learned more than I ever thought possible from my music classes, not just about theory or history, but also in terms of writing and analyzing. I believe that the classes at Dickinson that have made me the most well-rounded are my music classes.
Katherine Offutt ’12, (Music Theory and Anthropology)
Katherine is currently developing a senior thesis that explores the intersection between folk music and western compositional techniques, a natural combination of her interests in music theory and anthropology. Katherine has served as the president of the Music Society, planning social and cultural events that facilitate personal contact with guest performers and visiting scholars. She herself enjoyed the fruits of such first-hand interactions in her junior year, when she was selected as one of several students to meet with renowned ethnomusicologist Kay Kaufmann Shelemay (Harvard University) to talk about the challenges of musical fieldwork and anthropological approaches to music.
The faculty are inspired by their work, which in turn inspires us. I feel so supported in the department and have especially enjoyed hearing music I composed be performed by professionals.
Where else but here would I have gotten that opportunity? I never intended to be a music major, but the department here helped me to find out exactly how deep my passion for music goes - and for that I am eternally grateful.
Brayden Downing ’13, (Music Performance, violin and Economics)
Brayden has managed to merge his interest in music and economics well, earning a competitive arts administration internship with the Washington National Opera as a junior. The experience had him learning from the best mentors and rubbing shoulders with international artists such as Placido Domingo. While at Dickinson, Brayden has performed live with Christopher O’Reily, the host of NPR’s “From the Top,” and had the opportunity to tour China and Poland with the professional orchestra, Sinfonietta Polonia. He is considering a master’s degree in music as a potential career direction.
You can read about Brayden’s experience at Washington National Opera at this link: http://www.dickinson.edu/news-and-events/publications/extra-features/2011-12/A-Beautiful-Mind/?utm_source=extra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=exsept13staff
The music department perfectly encompasses the values that Dickinson wishes to portray as a twenty-first-century liberal arts institution. The lessons I have learned from the faculty extend far beyond course content; they teach practical life skills and challenge students to search for creative and analytical inspiration. My studies here have inspired me to consider my path in music very seriously. I plan to pursue graduate studies in music.
Ryan Karr ’13, (Music Performance, clarinet and Economics)
Ryan is the Music Society Treasurer, a winner of the 2010 Concerto Competition, a clarinetist in the orchestra and DICE, a saxophonist in the Jazz Ensemble, and a member of chamber ensembles.
I chose to come to Dickinson based on its strong Pre-Law reputation. I had not intended to be involved in music outside of lessons and one ensemble. My experience with the department has really defined my time on campus. I was given a myriad of performance and academic opportunities, and became a double major as a result. The quality of the Music faculty was my biggest factor in being drawn in. They have been the most academically engaging, interesting, helpful, and informative professors I have had at my time at Dickinson.
Elise Newhouse ’13 (Music History)
Elise came to Dickinson interested in exploring non-profit and global work, but soon found herself gravitating to the field of music history. Through the department, she has found various scholarly and professional opportunities that merge her two interests well. In January 2011, Elise was selected as a winter intern by the Jonathan Krist Foundation to help implement an inner-city music outreach program in New Jersey. She continues to use those mentoring skills in her capacity as a departmental Learning Community Coordinator, through which she oversees the residential-intellectual experience of two first-year seminars studying music at the college.
You can read more about Elise’s experience with the Krist Foundation at the following link (page 5): http://www.dickinson.edu/uploadedFiles/academics/distinctive-programs/community-studies-center/content/SpringSummer%202011fin.pdf
Noorjahan Akbar ’14 (Music Composition and English)
In addition to her advocacy work on behalf of the women of Afghanistan, Noorjahan’s outreach also includes the ethnomusicological. During yearly visits to her native country, Noor has collected traditional women’s and children’s songs in various parts of the country – an on-going ethnography project that she hopes to develop into a capstone project that would involve original compositions based on the folk material as well as an academic study of the repertory.
Noor’s research and work has been featured on national news programs and highlighted in major newspapers such as The Guardian. Her article, “My Trip to Kunduz,” was recently published in the Friends Journal and details her efforts to collect and record traditional Afghan music as part of a grant she received from the German Technical Corporation: http://www.friendsjournal.org/my-trip-kunduz.
You can read about Noor’s journey from Kabul to Carlisle and her feminist activism at the following link: http://www.dickinson.edu/news-and-events/publications/dickinson-magazine/2011-winter/From-Kabul-to-Carlisle/