I have just been informed that my composition, "Joy" for SATB voices w/ divisi and four-hand piano has been selected for publication by Santa Barbara Music Publishing. I am very excited to now be published by one of the largest choral music publishers in the entire world! Listen to the piece below, performed by the Liberty Senior High School Concert Choir, conducted by Dr. Rika R. Heruth, and accompanied by myself and Baker Purdon.
In a quick change before the concert, the pianist for the upcoming premiere of selections from my song cycle "Musings of Sky" will now be Dr. Paola Savvidou. Please take time to read about her on her website or below!
Paola Savvidou serves as Assistant Professor of Piano Pedagogy at the University of Missouri. She teaches applied piano, undergraduate and graduate courses in piano pedagogy and wellness, and coordinates both the Group Piano Program and Experiencing Piano; a community program offering group class and private lessons for beginning adults and children aged 6-9. A devoted advocate of contemporary music, Dr. Savvidou is a member of the New Muse Piano Duo with Jonathan Kuuskoski; an ensemble dedicated to commissioning and performing works by living composers. Their concert tours have included performances across the Mid-West, East Coast, Norway, Greece, and Cyprus. Dr. Savvidou's research is focused on utilizing Laban Movement Analysis, Yoga, and creative movement to improve alignment while deepening expressivity in performance. She has presented her work at prominent conferences including the MTNA National Conference, the International Society for Music Education Conference, the European Association for Schools of Music Conference, College Music Society’s International Conference, and the European Piano Teachers Association. With support from a Mizzou Advantage grant she is conducting cross-disciplinary research with Engineering and Physical Therapy specialists on the topic of injury-prevention for pianists. She has won Article of the Year through MTNA twice in a row; in 2015 for her article "In Search of the 'Perfect' Musical Performance" published in the American Music Teacher and in 2016 for her interdisciplinary research article "Assessing Injury Risk in Pianists: Using Objective Measures to Promote Self-Awareness." In Spring 2015 she received the prestigious Purple Chalk Teaching Award by the College of Arts & Science Student Council at the University of Missouri. As of Fall 2014 she directs the Experiencing Music Program, which brings music classes, drum lessons, choir, and educational concerts by MU students to the Boys & Girls Club of Columbia. In the summers she directs the Music of the World Piano camp for young children. Dr. Savvidou serves as President for the Mid-Missouri Area Music Teachers Association and as frequent adjudicator for local and State festivals and competitions. She is a Rainbow Kids Yoga Certified Teacher, holds a BM from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and graduate degrees (MM and DMA) in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
I'm honored to announce an upcoming performance of selections from my song cycle for soprano and piano "Musings of Sky" at the Mizzou New Music Initiative's Spring Composers Recital. As if the prospect of another performance of one of my works wasn't exciting enough, I've been fortunate enough to work with two very talented performers; soprano Mary Kettlewell and pianist Jenna Braaksma.
I had the privilege to work with Mary in the University of Missouri Show-Me Opera's recent production of Mozart's beloved Le Nozze di Figaro, and I am ecstatic at the opportunity to feature her voice with one of my own compositions! Her singing is incredibly sensitive and artistic; everything one could hope for in a vocalist. On the other side of the spectrum, Jenna is a performer's dream accompanist; every phrase of the music is perfectly nuanced, every note carefully placed. Together, they make an unstoppable musical duo! I encourage you to take time to read about the performers below in their bios!
Mary Kettlewell, soprano, comes from Columbia, Missouri. She is a senior currently working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at the University of Missouri. She is a member of the University Singers and the Show-Me Opera program, and is studying voice with Professor Ann Harrell. Here at Mizzou she has performed the roles of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi and Martha Sheldon in The Crucible. This past summer she was selected for the Opera in the Ozarks studio artist program in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where she played the Fairy Godmother and the Queen in a variety show of Massenet's Le cendrillon, Rossini's La cenerentola, and Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. She also was a chorus member of Les contes d'Hoffman at the program and performed as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte in the scenes program. In past Show-Me Opera fall scenes programs, she has covered the role of Valgerd in the world premiere of Justin Pound's The Outlaw, and performed scenes as Marcelline in Fidelio, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, the Governess in The Turn of the Screw, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Nanetta in Falstaff, and Zdenke in Arabella. She has also been a member of the chorus in scenes from La cenerentola, Così fan tutte, The Rake's Progress, Pagliacci, Die Fledermaus, and La jolie parfumeuse, among other works. She has performed musical theatre roles such as Lily Vanessi in Kiss Me Kate, Annie in Annie Get Your Gun, and Rose in Bye Bye Birdie. Mary is currently a scholarship singer at Missouri United Methodist Church as well as an alumni member of the Iota Lambda chapter of the music fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota. This summer she will be attending Opera NEO in San Diego, California as a studio artist and will perform in Mozart's Don Giovanni and Purcell's The Fairy Queen.
Jenna Braaksma, collaborative pianist, is a currently pursuing a Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy at the University of Missouri. She serves as the accompanist for the premiere choral ensemble, the University Singers, as well as the Choral Union Community Choir, both under the direction of Dr. R. Paul Crabb. Ms. Braaksma maintains an active teaching schedule through her involvement in group and private instruction. She teaches group piano courses for undergraduate music majors, elective classes for non-majors, children’s group music classes for the MU Experiencing Piano program, and private lessons through the MU Community Music Program. Ms. Braaksma performs frequently by collaborating with many student musicians, and has recently appeared as a collaborator and chamber musician with graduate and undergraduate students in recitals and competitions such as Missouri NATS, Iowa NATS, MMTA Strings and Voice Competition, and the NAFTZGER Young Artists Auditions. Ms. Braaksma works as a choral accompanist at the Missouri United Methodist Church in Columbia, Missouri, and works as the general manager for the Odyssey Chamber Music Series. Her past responsibilities as a graduate assistant at the University of Missouri included teaching group piano classes and applied piano lessons, as well as accompanying for the Hitt Street Harmony vocal jazz choir and MU’s Show-Me Opera. Ms. Braaksma was selected as a section leader and substitute rehearsal accompanist for the University Singers. In May of 2014 she performed in Austria and Hungary with the choir. Following graduation, Jenna looks forward to performing in Shangong, China.
While completing her Bachelor of Music degree at Iowa State University Ms. Braaksma was highly active in the choral music program. As an accompanist she worked closely with Dr. James Rodde and Kathleen Rodde. Ms. Braaksma served as the accompanist for the Cantamus and Lyrica Women’s choirs, and was a member of Cantamus and the Iowa State Singers. With these two choirs she performed at the 2010 ACDA Convention in Minneapolis, MN, the 2011 NCCO Convention in Ft. Collins, CO, and toured South Korea in the summer of 2011. Ms. Braaksma also accompanied for the Ames Chamber Artists community choir from 2009 to 2011.
Ms. Braaksma holds a a Master of Music degree in Collaborative Piano from the University of Missouri, and a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from Iowa State University. Her teachers include Dr. William David, Dr. Janice Wenger, and Dr. Paola Savvidou.
ABOUT THE COMPOSER
Hans Bridger Heruth is an award winning composer pursuing a degree in musical composition and vocal performance at the University of Missouri, Columbia. His works have been performed by various ensembles, both educational and professional. In addition to composing, Heruth is an accomplished pianist, violinist, singer, and conductor.