It is a great pleasure to greet you as we inaugurate our first Department of Music Newsletter for alumni! If you were a student in the department from 1992 on, it is quite possible that we know each other. If you graduated before that year, then this is my opportunity to say hello and to hope that our paths will cross in the future.
Billy Joel Donates Piano
We are grateful to Billy Joel for his great generosity to the department, which includes in addition to the Baldwin grand piano and Bösendorfer Imperial Grand two significant monetary contributions as well. We are also proud to be associated with an artist of such stature in the world of popular music, especially since the Department of Music at Stony Brook was among the first to recognize the importance of popular music and to include its study in our curriculum, primarily through the work of Peter Winkler. Peter has long been an admirer of Billy Joel’s music, and was the ideal person to write on behalf of an Honorary Doctorate for the artist.
Peter Winkler Reminiscences
When Peter Winkler retired at the end of the 2014 academic year after 42 years of dedicated service, I asked, in my capacity as Chair of the Department of Music, students, faculty, and friends asking for their reminiscences about Peter. I immediately received a flood of affectionate recollections, some by students who had studied at Stony Brook over 30 years ago but still remembered Peter vividly. As one of the first scholars of popular music, Peter demonstrated that the subject could be taken seriously, giving impetus to ex-students who have gone on to careers in academia as scholars in the field. Several ex-students wrote that Peter was the single most important influence in shaping their careers. Theo Cateforis, on the faculty at Syracuse University, echoed the thoughts of others when he wrote, “if it were not for Peter, I would not be where I am today, teaching popular and American music at a university.”
Emersons Welcome Calidore Quartet
Fall 2015 marks the middle of the Calidore String quartet’s residency at Stony Brook. The quartet was selected by the Emerson String Quartet, to both join them as members of faculty, and to be mentored by them for the academic years 2014-15 and 2015-16. The Calidore Quartet is the most recent promising young quartet to earn this honor, and follow in the path of the St. Lawrence, Artemis, Avalon, Calder, Pacifica, Ying, Borealis, and Escher Quartets, all of whom have been mentored by the Emerson Quartet. The new residency, and the Calidore’s accomplishments were the subject of a feature article in the May issue of Strings magazine—fellow Emerson mentees the Calder Quartet were the cover story of the same issue.
Undergraduate Alumni in Opera
While the vast majority of Department of Music alumni attended as graduate students, it is two undergraduate alumni , both of whom hail from Long Island, who are going from success to success in the world of opera. Christine Goerke earned her BA in Music under the tutelage of Elaine Bonazzi in 1994, and Christian Van Horn earned his with Richard Cross in 2000. Today, both are singing major roles in prestigious opera houses around the world.
This year’s distinguished guest commencement speaker was Fred Bronstein (D.M.A. Piano Performance, 1987). Founder of the contemporary music ensemble Aequalis, Dr. Bronstein went on to serve as president of the Omaha Symphony and Dallas Symphony Orchestra, before becoming the president of the St. Louis Symphony from 2008 to 2014. In June, 2014, he was appointed Dean of the Peabody Institute.
We are grateful to Dr. Bronstein for his visit and for sharing his thoughts with us.
Career Development Initiative
In January, 2011, the Music Department Strategic Planning Committee held its first meeting to determine the needs of the department. One of the glaring needs expressed by students was for assistance in preparing for a career in music.
The department began planning soon afterwards and unveiled a robust schedule of events beginning with the 2013-14 academic year. The Career Development offerings were anchored by David Finckel, who had recently left the Emerson String Quartet, and Christopher Herbert, singer in New York Polyphony.
When students decide to study music on the collegiate level, whether as undergraduate or graduate students, their focus as they determine whether to attend a conservatory, college, or university is generally on the musical offerings at these institutions. Choosing a university, as many students have discovered here at Stony Brook, has unanticipated benefits. Students who attended Stony Brook University can be proud to have attended a world-class research institution, where students and faculty have the resources to participate in innovative interdisciplinary collaborations.
In 2001, Stony Brook was invited to join the Association of American Universities, in recognition of the university’s breadth and quality of its program of research and graduate education. The members of the AAU are regarded as the 62 most prestigious research institutions in North America. Membership is by invitation, and an invitation is only extended to a university when three quarters of the current members approve, after an extensive review of the nominated institution’s research and academic programs.
Recent Hires and Departures
- Margarethe Adams—ethnomusicology
- Matthew Barnson—composition
- Catherine Bradley—music history and theory
- Faith Conant—African drumming
- Jennifer Frautschi—violin
- Erika Supria Honisch—music history and theory
- David Jolley—French horn
- Stephen Decatur Smith—music history and theory
- Arnaud Sussman—violin
- Benjamin Tausig—ethnomusicology
- Rachel Calin—double bass
- Keith Johnston—music history and theory
Sarah Fuller Retirement
One of the founding members of the department, Sally retired in Spring 2013 after 43 years teaching. She has served as chair and as director of graduate studies, received the Stony Brook President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1984 and has been a member of the Stony Brook Academy of Scholar Teachers. Her research has appeared in Acta Musicologica, Early Music History, the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Journal of Musicology, Musica Disciplina, and other journals. Her annotated anthology The European Musical Heritage: 800-1750 will be familiar to many of you as it has been used in music history courses across the country.
An impressive number of recent hires and a new summer festival featuring Stony Brook faculty, alumni, and current students.
Many publications, premieres, collaborations, appointments, recordings, releases, solo engagements, awards, tours, and presentations by faculty across all disciplines.
Stories written by Hayley Roud (PhD candidate, History/Theory) and Perry Goldstein