Current Graduate Students in Music
Anna Arata is from Framingham, MA, and has been a Nashville resident and performer since 2012. She moved to Nashville to attend Belmont University and graduated with a Bachelor of Music in 2015. Since graduation, she has had contracts at Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel, toured with a swing band, and several local performance residencies. She has worked at W.O. Smith Community School since 2018 as music instructor and voice teacher. She's excited to pursue her Masters of Jazz Studies in voice starting in Fall 2021.
Coming from Northeast Ohio, Charlotte Daugherty is a 2020 graduate of Kent State University where she earned her Bachelor of Music in Music Education. She will be a first year GTA for the MTSU percussion studio while pursuing her MM in Percussion Performance. Charlotte was the principal percussionist for the KSU Wind Ensemble and was a featured soloist/chamber player in the KSU Percussion Ensemble. At Kent State she was named the 2019 Bandsperson of the Year, President of KSU’s OCMEA chapter, Vice President of KSU’s Percussion Society, and a member of Delta Omicron. In 2019, Charlotte was selected to perform in the PASIC All-Star Collegiate Percussion Ensemble where she worked personally with Anders Astrand, James Campbell, Fransisco Perez, and other world-renowned percussionists. Amidst her studies and concert percussion priorities, she also has a passion for the marching arts due to her heavy involvement in Winterguard International and Drum Corps International. She marched three seasons of Matrix Performing Arts and two seasons of The Phantom Regiment where she was named Member of the Year in 2019. During her time at MTSU, Charlotte will help out with the Band of Blue and looks forward to working and learning with the faculty and students at MTSU.
Adam Davis, a native of Portage, Indiana, is a professional guitarist working and living in Nashville. He got his start playing in venues around the Chicagoland area at the age of fifteen. After studying music under the esteemed jazz educator David Baker at Indiana University, he went on to receive a bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University in 2014. Adam has performed throughout the United States and Europe with a diverse range of artists including Sturgill Simpson, Susan Werner, and Amos Lee. He has also completed multiple contracts as a showband guitarist for Princess Cruises, performing around Mexico, the Mediterranean, and the South Pacific. He continues to gig in the Nashville area and is currently working on an EP of original compositions. Adam is also a music educator and began teaching private lessons while still in high school. Since 2016, he has been a guitar instructor at Cedarstone School of Music in Hendersonville, TN, where he instructs students of all ages and skill levels. Adam will begin working towards his M.M. in Jazz Studies beginning in the Fall of 2021.
Sebastian Duncan is an aspiring composer and music theorist. Originally from Vienna, Austria, he graduated magna cum laude with a B.A in Music from Centre College. He is pursuing a Master of Music in Composition at MTSU and is a graduate teaching assistant. As a composer, Sebastian has written for a wide array of ensembles, including orchestra, choir, wind ensemble, chamber, and solo instruments. Stylistically, his recent works have been influenced by postminimalist elements of non-functional diatonicism, steady syncopated pulses, and simplistic musical units combining to form a distinct sonic texture. While at Centre College, he assisted in the redesign of the music theory curriculum and worked as a theory tutor. Sebastian was also a research assistant and translator of Handelian opera scholarship. His past research interests have focused on the history of western music theory, especially the writings of early medieval theorists. After completing his master's degree, Sebastian intends to pursue a doctorate in music and hopes to become a college professor. He views the relationship of his compositional voice to his theoretical knowledge as inseparable, and aims to develop both through his studies.
Gavyn Frankenfield is a graduate from West Chester University of Pennsylvania (WCU), where he studied Music Education. Gavyn was a part of the Sudler Trophy recipient West Chester University Incomparable Golden Rams Marching Band where he served as section leader. During his time at WCU, he was instructed by Dr. Jonathan Fowler on tuba. Gavyn will be pursuing a Master of Music degree in tuba performance at Middle Tennessee State University starting the fall of 2021. Gavyn has performed at the College Band Director’s National Association national conference in Tempe, Arizona with the WCU Wind ensemble as well as recorded multiple CDs with the group. Gavyn went on to serve as the principal tubist for West Chester’s top ensemble the following year. Gavyn has been fortunate to be able to perform in masterclasses for Mr. Jonathan Dorn, Mr. Andrew Hitz, and Dr. Aaron Tindall. Gavyn will be dividing his GTA time with Dr. Reed Thomas helping with the bands, and Dr. Christopher Combest in the low brass department.
Carl Keating’s spark for music was ignited when his sister gifted him a Disney’s Great Composers record album at age six. A native of Southeast Texas, he played the trombone and once marched at the Astrodome. He earned his bachelor's degree in Music Education from Lamar University, studying voice under Joseph Truncale. He sang in all university choirs and performed in its production of La bohème and the Cardinal Singers show choir. Carl taught music at the elementary level in Texas and Tennessee for many years and is now in his third year as Choir/General Music teacher at La Vergne High School. He also enjoys playing guitar, piano, and harmonica in local restaurants and clubs.
Born in Winchester, Kentucky, Devin Smith received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance at Eastern Kentucky University where he studied with Meg Saunders, Dr. Colleen Ferguson, and Dr. Sila Darville. He has an eclectic taste in music and has always enjoyed playing music of many genres. He has been a member of the Eastern Kentucky University Bluegrass Ensemble since it was created in 2016, and performed a series of concerts in Colombia, South America playing fiddle under the direction of Pam Perry. In his time in the EKU Symphony Orchestra, he served as Concert Master for 4 years. He has played in masterclasses with Dr. Timothy Cuffman, Robert Simonds, Dr. Andrea Dawson, Chauncey Patterson, Annie Fullard, Jeanita Vriens and Dr. Miroslav Hristov. He is now pursuing a Master of Music Degree in Violin Performance at Middle Tennessee State University studying with Dr. Andrea Dawson.
Logan Barrett is a native of Murfreesboro, TN, and as a recent graduate of MTSU in saxophone performance (BM, 2019) he is looking forward to exploring the other side of the baton as a graduate student in conducting. Logan is currently serving his third year in a row as a staff member of the Mount Juliet High School Band of Gold, as well as a saxophone and clarinet instructor with Music & Arts. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, reading fantasy novels, watching anime with friends and studying new wind band repertoire. Logan's goal during his time at MTSU is to establish an official saxophone choir that will last long after he graduates.
Jesse Gibens is a first year GTA for the trumpet area pursuing his master’s degree in performance. A native of Ripley, MS, Jesse performed at Carnegie Hall with the Honors Performance series and was a two-year member of the all-state band while in high school. Jesse received his bachelor’s degree in performance from the University of Mississippi. While attending Ole Miss, Jesse was the principle trumpet with the University of Mississippi Wind Ensemble, LOU Orchestra, and Mississippians Jazz Ensemble and was also the second trumpet in the University Faculty Brass Quintet. He has performed with the Ohio Light Opera Company, North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Corinth Symphony Orchestra, his own jazz combo, DU5T, and also with The Bonfire Orchestra, a rock and country cover band. Outside of performing, Jesse graduated from the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and was the president of the University of Mississippi chapter of Phi Mu Alpha.
Andre Madatian is a guitarist and film composer currently residing in Nashville, Tennessee. Andre holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Film Scoring with a minor in Contemporary Conducting from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. He has become inspired by film music to pursue a career in composition and has written many orchestral and concert works including an original holiday inspired composition for full orchestra and vocal duet premiering with the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra, and a string orchestra piece entitled "Obliquity for String Orchestra" for the renown Kalistos Chamber Orchestra in Boston, MA to name a few. Andre composes for numerous music licensing companies and has over 60 placements on 6 television networks. His recent credits include composing additional music cues for national television shows including “America’s Got Talent” on NBC, the PGA Tour Championships Learning Center show on the Golf Channel, "Say Yes to The Dress Atlanta: Season 9" on TLC, "NFL Monday QB” on CBS Sports, and "The Book of John Gray" on the Oprah Winfrey Network to name a few. Aside from composing, Andre is also an active touring guitarist as well as an educator both privately and with an online music company called Soundfly, where he mentors students from all around the globe in several areas including composition, arranging, orchestration, and music theory. Andre recently accepted a Graduate Teaching Assistantship with Middle Tennessee State University and will also be working towards his Masters degree in Music Composition starting in the Fall of 2020.
Gretta Maguire is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of North Greenville University, where she studied Piano Performance with Fabio Parrini. She is currently pursuing her M.M. with a specialization in Musicology under Dr. Joseph Morgan while working as a graduate teaching assistant at the MTSU Center for Chinese Music and Culture under Dr. Mei Han. A member of the MTSU Chinese Music Ensemble, Ms. Maguire studies erhu (Chinese two string fiddle) with master performer Xiao Dong Wei. As part of her studies, she continues her nine-year pursuit of Mandarin. In her spare time, she enjoys playing cello and piano and visiting her home town of Clemson, SC.
Wendy Payne, a Nashville native in year 9 of teaching, is currently teaching Choir/General Music/Musical Theatre at Blackman High School. Ms. Payne is a graduate of MTSU with degrees in Vocal Performance, 2005 and Music Education, 2011. While at MTSU, Ms. Payne was a member of the Chamber Chorus, Schola Cantorum and the Nashville Opera Chorus for the performances of Die Fledermaus, La Traviata, and The Magic Flute, all under the direction of Dr. Raphael Bundage. For the MTSU Opera, Ms. Payne sang the roles of La Ciesca in Gianni Schicci, Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Elizabeth in The Crucible. In 1997 Ms. Payne Earned 2nd place at the Beethoven Competition in Memphis, TN and earned the Encouragement Award at the Metropolitan Opera Regional Competition. Ms. Payne served as a Music Counselor for Governor’s School for the Arts from 1995-1998 and also served as the Female Dean of Students for GSFTA from 2016-2019. Ms. Payne is a member of NAfMe, MTVA, TMEA, and ACDA.
Robin Scheufele is a graduate student at Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Music degree in performance from the Eastern Illinois University. Their main instructors include Rebecca Johnson, Abigail Walsh, and Deanna Little. They have been playing the flute for 14 years and have experience teaching private lessons, directing flute choirs, and managing flute trios.
Eugenia Sosa Barboza
Eugenia Sosa Barboza has a degree in Percussion Performance from Berry College, where she studied with renowned jazz drummer John David. Sosa is from Montevideo, Uruguay, therefore setting off her passion for Latin percussion. She is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Musicology and is a graduate teaching assistant for music appreciation.
Wes Denkins is currently attending Middle Tennessee State University where he is pursuing his Master of Music in Percussion Performance. He is currently studying under Professor Lalo Davila and Dr. Brian Mueller. Formerly, Mr. Denkins was the band director at Morgan County Middle School in West Liberty, Kentucky. Wes received his B.M.E. at Morehead State University as a student of Dr. Brian S. Mason and Dr. Matthew Geiger. During his time at Morehead State University, he was a member of the percussion ensemble, marching band, symphony band, jazz band, concert choir, as well as the Cave Run Symphony Orchestra. Wes is currently a member of the D’Addario Education Collective and his professional memberships include the Percussive Arts Society, the National Association for Music Educators, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity. Wes is also a performing artist for Artifact Percussion
Jared Gabrielle is pursuing a Master of Music degree specializing in Music Performance. He is studying under Dr. Arunesh Nadgir and serves as a graduate assistant for the piano department. Jared grew up in Gallatin, Tennessee and studied piano with Mrs. Cynthia Poole. In 2018 he earned a degree in Music Performance from Tennessee Technological University under the direction of Dr. Catherine Godes and graduated with honors. While at Tennessee Tech, Jared was a student liaison and student recruiter for the piano department. When not doing music related things, he enjoys cooking, hiking, and spending time with family. In the future, Jared plans to pursue a doctorate degree in his field and hopes to obtain his dream job of becoming a piano professor.
Sarah Wilfong Joblin
Chicagoian Sarah Wilfong Joblin began her collegiate studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston, but took a left turn and ended up as a fiddle player in Nashville before she graduated. After touring the globe as part of the country act Mustang Sally, she decided to finish her undergraduate degree at MTSU and graduated summa cum laude in 2018. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Music in violin performance. Sarah’s interest in music extends beyond performance, and in January, 2020, she presented a paper at the Royal Musical Association/ British Forum for Ethnomusicology’s annual conference in England. In 2019 she founded the Fiddle and Banjo Society, a student organization that teaches and plays traditional bluegrass and celtic music. Sarah has worked as a session musician, arrangerG, and educator in Nashville for 15 years; she has released two solo albums of original and traditional fiddle music, and her playing and arranging have been featured on numerous albums, including the 25th anniversary reissue of Roy Orbison’s Mystery Girl album.
Jeffrey Keever, conductor, was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Jeffrey graduated from Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music with a Bachelors Degree of Music in Trumpet Performance in May 2019. He is now pursuing a Master of Music Degree in Orchestral Conducting under Dr. Carol Nies at Middle Tennessee State University. Jeffrey is currently the head conductor of Middle Tennessee State University’s Concert Orchestra, and the Assistant Conductor of both the Middle Tennessee State University’s Symphony and Chamber Orchestra. He is additionally a Conducting Assistant and frequent Guest Conductor to the Curb Youth Symphony and the Middle Tennessee High School Honors Orchestra. He has previously conducted the Vanderbilt University Orchestra, Vanderbilt University Chamber Ensembles, the Vanderbilt Opera Studio, the IES Vienna Music Ensemble, the IES Vienna Vocal Studio, the Blair School of Music Vocal Studio, and the Boston Conservatory Conductor’s Orchestra. For more information, visit www.jeffreykeever.com.
Born and raised in Morton, Illinois, Adam Kujawa began playing the violin in the 6th grade through his school district’s orchestra program. In 2015, Adam moved to Nashville, Tennessee to continue his musical studies at Belmont University. He graduated from Belmont in 2019, receiving two Bachelor of Music degrees:one in Violin Performance and one in Commercial Music. Adam’s past performances include concerts with the Peoria Pops Orchestra, Belmont Symphony, Belmont Chamber Orchestra, Belmont New Music Ensemble, Trevecca Symphony Orchestra, and Heartland Festival Orchestra. He has also recorded and toured with a folk-rock band, been a part of many studio sessions, appeared in music videos, performed in pit orchestras for musicals, operas, and ballets, and performed in televised specials with artists including Kathy Mattea and Sheryl Crow. Adam is currently pursuing his Master of Music degree at MTSU, where he is a graduate assistant for the orchestral studies and string departments. For more information, visit www.adamkujawaviolin.com
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Desmond Ng is a new trombonist to the Nashville scene. Desmond earned a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies from California State University Northridge, studying under teachers like Bob McChesney, John Daversa, Gary Pratt, and Matt Harris. While in college, Desmond played in the university’s top ensembles, including the internationally ranked Jazz “A” Band, which performed in the 55th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival. After completing his undergraduate studies, Desmond toured around many different countries on the Norwegian Pearl as a member of the showband orchestra. Soon after finishing his contract, Desmond moved to Nashville, where he quickly established himself as a reputable trombonist. He has performed alongside groups like Judah and the Lion, the Nashville Symphony, Nashville Jazz Orchestra, and the Fisk Jubilee Singers. In 2018, Desmond joined Scott Bradlee’s PostModern Jukebox and toured around the world, performing for thousands of people. In addition to these artists, other highlights of Desmond’s performing career include playing with Lee Konitz, Tigran Hamasyan, Alan Ferber, Wayne Bergeron, Andy Martin, and Bill Holman.
Jeremy Smith (b.1992) is a composer of chamber works, symphonic works, vocal works, and music for dance whose influences range from popular music to Bach. His music has been performed across the Southeast by ensembles such as The Shoals Symphony, Perimeter Flute Quartet, Shoals Chamber Singers, The Nashville Composers Collective, and Trill Ensemble. In 2017 he premiered his ballet The Singularity to sell out crowds in Florence, Alabama and has received a steady stream of commissions, residences, and performances since. Beyond the concert stage, he is a sought after collaborator across genres. He has worked with a number of DCI and WGI groups including Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps, Music City Drum Corps, Clarksville Audio Theatre, and Chattanooga Independent. He currently works as a designer, arranger, and consultant for a myriad of marching ensembles across the Country. Jeremy is an Alumnus of the University of North Alabama where he received a Bachelors of Science in Instrumental Music with a Minor in Philosophy.
Syneva is an accomplished arranger and composer, published through Sheet Music Press. She has taught private music lessons for over 15 years, and has led seminars and classes on music history and appreciation. One of her greatest interests is promoting a more widespread understanding of classical music.
Syneva studies cello with Dr. Christine Kim and is pursuing an M.M. in Cello Performance. She is a proud resident of East Nashville.
David Crosslin began learning guitar at age 11 and was self taught prior to college, he is currently pursuing his M. M. in Guitar Performance with Dr. William Yelverton. He graduated from MTSU in 2016 with his B. M. in Guitar Performance where he also performed in the MTSU Band of Blue (Saxophone), Guitar Ensembles, and Concert Orchestra (Double Bass). He has performed in master classes with guitarists Jorge Caballero and Matt Palmer, maintained an active concert performance schedule, teaches privately, and composes. David is from Tullahoma, Tennessee, where he also participated in Marching Band, Wind Band, Concert Band, and Jazz Ensemble as a saxophonist growing up. When not doing anything music related, David works at Walker Library Technology Services and enjoys playing ping pong, reading, and fishing.
Michaela Cundari is currently pursuing her M.M. in Clarinet Performance. She studies with Dr. Todd Waldecker and is a graduate teaching assistant for the clarinet studio. Michaela grew up in Hendersonville, Tennessee. She graduated summa cum laude from Tennessee Technological University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. While at Tennessee Tech, Michaela won the 2016 Derryberry Concerto Competition; this gave her the opportunity to perform as a soloist with the Bryan Symphony Orchestra. Michaela is a current member of the 572nd Air Force Band- the Air National Guard Band of the South.
Amber Den Exter
Amber began training as a cellist aged 6 in Australia with Anthea Scott-Mitchell (Newcastle Conservatorium) and later Susan Blake (Sydney Conservatorium). After moving to New Zealand in 2006, Amber won places in the Christchurch National Concerto Competition, the Mazda Foundation National Young Performer of the Year Competition and the Chamber Music New Zealand National Chamber Music Contest. In 2008 she successfully auditioned for a place at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, Germany, studying with Professor Christoph Henkel in the Bachelor of Music program. Whilst studying in Germany, Amber performed as Associate Section Leader with the Hochschule Kammerorchester, directed by Prof. Wolfram Christ (Berliner Philharmonika). She also performed solos in studio concerts and other Hochschule events. In 2011 Amber returned to NZ and obtained her degree from the New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington. Amber has recently performed in masterclasses for such International artists as Joseph Lin, Josef Luptak and Alisa Weilerstein. Whist studying in Wellington, Amber also performed in the NZ premier of Steve Reich’s ’Different Trains’ for string quartet with backing tape. In 2016 Amber began her Masters degree in cello performance studying with Dr Christine Kim at Middle Tennessee State University. Amber is also a Graduate Assistant with the string department.
Ke Ding is currently pursuing the Master of Music degree specializing in Music Education under Dr. Jamila L. McWhirter. Her hometown is Henan province China. She began playing flute at the age of nine and received her Bachelor’s Degree in music performance at Jiangxi Agriculture University. During her undergraduate study, she participated in symphony orchestra for four years and assisted with the music director Wei Yang in Symphony band. Before attending MTSU she worked in the Léman International School, which is a premier international school operated by Nord Anglia Education under the approval of the Ministry of Education of China. In her spare time, she enjoys songwriting and is fond of learning different musical instruments.
Dakota Dooley is pursuing his M.M. in music education at MTSU. A native of Corinth MS, Dakota started his musical career with trombone at age eleven. Wanting a stronger music education than his school could offer, Dakota pursued private lessons under Bass trombonist Dr. Jason Beghtol. Through Dr. Beghtol’s mentorship, Dakota discovered a shared passion for bass trombone and this became his primary instrument of choice by the end of his high school career. Dakota continued his education at the university of Mississippi under the direction of Dr. Micah Everett, Mr. David Willson, and Dr. Michael Worthy. At the University of MS, Dakota participated in the wind ensemble as well as, the Missippian’s, the university’s top jazz ensemble. During his time with the Mississippians, they received outstanding performance rewards at the Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival. Dakota concluded his undergraduate education by student teaching at Booneville High school, a consistently superior performing ensemble, and one the best in Mississippi. Dakota is now the graduate assistant for all orchestras at MTSU under the direction of Dr. Carol Nies. During Dakota’s free time, he enjoys composing and arranging and performing with MTSU’s Jazz ensemble.
Kyle Etges is a Jazz Studies student with a saxophone and composition emphasis, as well as the graduate assistant for professor James Simmons.
Kyle grew up in Denver, CO, and was an active member of the jazz community there for several years. In 2012, Kyle graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Northern Colorado with a Bachelor's degree in Music Education and Jazz Studies. Before relocating to Tennessee, Kyle was a member of the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, Denver's premeire big band. He was a member of Bop Skizzum, who placed 2nd worldwide in Hard Rock Cafe's 2013 International Battle of the Bands. He also taught woodwinds and violin with El Sistema Colorado, a nonprofit orchestra program for at-risk youth. Kyle is also an orchestra musician for Celebrity Cruises.
As a composer, Kyle has won multiple contests through the University of Northern Colorado and Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts. In 2011, his arrangement of John Coltrane's "Resolution" was selected to be performed at the UNC Jazz Festival with Jeff Coffin and Donny McCaslin. Kyle currently resides with his fiance outside of Nashville, where he hopes to continue his writing and performing career.
Sarah Hoff is currently pursuing her Masters in Flute Performance. She grew up in Middle TN and studied Music Education at Tennessee Technological University. While there she studied under Dr. Roger Martin and attended master classes with flutist such as Rhonda Larson, Brad Garner, and John McMurtery. Sarah is currently the graduate assistant for the flute studio under Dr. Deanna Little, and teaches private lessons at the Music and Art Center.
H.A. Hoffman is pursuing his M.M. in Horn Performance. He is a graduate assistant for the Brass area, studying with Prof. Angela DeBoer. H.A. is from Salisbury, North Carolina, and graduated from Western Carolina University in 2016 with a B.S. in Music Education and a B.M. in Instrumental Music. While attending WCU, he participated regularly in the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Marching Band, and Artist in Residence Orchestra, in collaboration with the Asheville Symphony. H.A. was also a member of the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps from 2014-2015. Apart from his studies, H.A. is an active music arranger and brass technician for marching band programs in both North Carolina and Tennessee.
Sandra is a Dickson, TN native pursuing a Master of Music degree specializing in Music Education. She currently teaches K-8 music and chorus in Wilson County. She completed her first Bachelor’s degree in Music Business at Belmont University and her second Bachelor’s degree in Music Education at Austin Peay State University where she received the Mabry Music Scholarship for voice and graduated summa cum laude. Sandra has been performing on stage since the age of nine particularly within the genres of Rock, R&B, Country, and Funk. She has been a part of many singing groups including collegiate choirs and a cappella vocal ensembles. Her musical interests also include guitar, songwriting, and percussion, but her passion for music is rooted in commercial voice and music education.
Chris Lowry is currently pursing the Master of Music degree in Conducting. He completed his undergraduate work in Music Education from MTSU, and served for 3 years as a band director at LaVergne and Smyrna Middle Schools before returning to MTSU. He is a Graduate Assistant with the MTSU Bands. Originally a native of Morristown, TN, Chris now resides in Smyrna.
Chris is an Innovative Percussion Artist; he is a member of NAfME, TMEA, and is the current webmaster for MTSBOA.
Taylor Meyers was born in Okinawa, Japan, and was raised in Springfield, Virginia, right outside of Washington, D.C. In high school, Taylor studied with Mrs. Lois Wynn, and was a finalist in her school's senior concerto competition in 2012, having the opportunity to perform The Carnival of Venice with the Lake Braddock Secondary School Symphony Orchestra.
She moved to Morgantown, West Virginia to earn her Bachelor of Music degree in Music Performance at West Virginia University with a talent-and-merit-based tuition waiver, studying with Professor Nina Assimakopoulos. While at WVU, Taylor participated in the Pride of West Virginia marching band and performed in Wind Symphony, flute choir, and a woodwind quintet. She was a member of Kappa Kappa Psi for two years. Taylor was a semifinalist in the school's 2015 Young Artist Concerto Competition, and was an active performer as both a soloist and a quintet member in many recitals.
Taylor is studying flute performance under Dr. Deanna Little, pursuing the Master of Music degree in Music Performance. She is a graduate assistant with the flute studio, as well as a member of MTSU's graduate woodwind trio for a portion of her assistantship duties. Taylor is also a member of the MTSU Wind Ensemble.
A native of Gallatin Tennessee, Nelson Moore is currently pursuing a Master of Music in performance specializing in classical saxophone. He is serving as a graduate assistant for the band department for which he is responsible for maintaining and repairing instruments owned by the university. Nelson earned his Bachelor of Music in saxophone performance from MTSU where he studied with Don Aliquo and Dr. Paula Van-Goes. Upon graduation in 2014, Nelson accepted a staff position at MTSU as an Instrument Repair Technician and founded his instrument repair business Moore Music Repair. Since its conception in 2014 Moore Music Repair has developed into a leading instrument repair source for the Murfreesboro community and is proud to act as the band repair department for Concert Musical Supply in downtown Murfreesboro. Apart from his work with instrument repair Nelson is also an active educator and performer. He maintains a private studio composed of students of all ages, and works with multiple public schools as saxophone and woodwind instructor. He can be seen performing with the Tennessee Valley Winds Community Band, Music City Swing, and the Murfreesboro Symphony. Nelson is an active member of the North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) and the National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians (NAPBIRT).
Nicole Neeley is originally from Murfreesboro, TN and is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in performance with a specialization in bassoon with the help of a graduate teaching assistantship. Her undergraduate degree in music performance was obtained from the University of Memphis. Professionally she holds the principal bassoon position in the Corinth Symphony and performs with the Grace Chamber Players. She is also a recurring guest artist with the Jackson Symphony, the Balmoral Chamber Orchestra, the Memphis Repertory Orchestra and many other organizations in the Mid-South. She has released several recordings with different organizations within the past few years and has been awarded several recognitions including First place in Bach Festival in 2010 and 2011, and Honorable Mention in the MTNA competition in 2009.
Jon Ortiz is a Music Performance student specializing in Percussion under the direction of Lalo Davila. He is a Graduate Teaching Assistant and works with the Band of Blue Drumline and assists with any other needs of the Percussion Studio.
Jon grew up in Odessa, Texas and studied percussion with Mr. Jimmy Olague. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Music Education from Texas Tech University in 2016. While at Texas Tech, he studied with Alan Shinn, Lisa Rogers, David Becker, and Sarah Mckoin. He is a member of the national music honor society, Pi Kappa Lambda, and received the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Collegiate Music Educator award. He worked as an ambassador and student recruiter for the Texas Tech College of Visual and Performing Arts.
Under the direction of Dr. Lisa Rogers, Jon travelled to Canada and Scotland to perform with the Steel Band, Apocalypso Now. He was also a member of the Goin’ Band from Raiderland, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, and Opera productions. While receiving his degree, he performed with the Lubbock Symphony, and with artists Joshua Bell, Liam Teague, Victor Provost, Mike Mixtacki, Fausto Cuevas, Andres Forero, and Lalo Davila.
Chris Pfeifer is a graduate teaching assistant in musicology, studying under the direction of Dr. Stephen Shearon and Dr. Joseph Morgan. Chris grew up on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and worked as a mechanical designer until 2011, at which point he moved to Lynchburg, VA to pursue a bachelor’s degree in classical guitar at Liberty University. Upon graduating summa cum laude in 2014, he returned to mechanical design while working as a church music director prior to beginning his master’s degree program at MTSU in 2016.
Johnny Richeson is a Jazz Studies student specializing in drum set and percussion. He is a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Percussion Department under the direction of Lalo Davila. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance (Percussion) from Coastal Carolina University.
Born in Woodbridge, Virginia, Johnny moved to Pawleys Island, South Carolina in 2005, and began teaching himself to play the drums. By the age of 16, he was an active member of the live music scene in the Myrtle Beach area.
While at CCU, Johnny performed in a variety of ensembles including: World Percussion (winner of the 2015 Percussive Arts Society World Percussion Ensemble Competition), Percussion Ensemble, Wind Ensembles, Marching Band (front ensemble and drumline), and Jazz After Hours (top big band), in addition to starting his own jazz combo. He was a performer in the South Carolina Intercollegiate Honor Band (2014, cond. Dr. Ray Cramer; 2016, cond. Eugene M. Corporon), and the National Intercollegiate Honor Band (2015, cond. Dr. Ray Cramer), as well as the South Carolina Honors Percussion Ensemble. He was also a member of a collaborative project called A Hushed Thrill: Brookgreen Gardens, which involved the composition, arranging, and recording of musical ideas by Ron Daise of the hit children’s television show Gullah Gullah Island. Some of the artists he has performed with include: Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones), Howard Levy, Steve Bailey, Liam Teague, Gregg Bisonnette, Chris Tanner, Scott Kettner, and Lalo Davila.
Robin Winkowski is pursuing an MM in Orchestral Conducting. She received her BM (Instrumental Music Education) from MTSU in 2004. Ms. Winkowski has been the director of bands at Wright Middle Prep and assistant director at Glencliff High School in Nashville since 2005. Under her direction ensembles from Wright have performed at the MTSBOA Concert Performance Assessment and the Annual Music Advocacy Concert sponsored by the Blair School of Music. Ms. Winkowski has been the Related Arts team leader, yearbook sponsor and the assistant director of the 2015 production of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland at Wright Middle.
Ms. Winkowski has performed as a member of the French horn section with the Rome Festival Orchestra (Italy), the MTSU Symphony, the Curb Youth Symphony, the Nashville Summer Orchestral Institute and Tennessee Valley Winds. She currently serves as the orchestral GA, studying conducting with Dr. Carol Nies. Ms. Winkowski teaches 5th grade music at Wright Middle, is the assistant director of the Glencliff High School Band, the assistant conductor of the Curb Youth Symphony, the assistant conductor of the Philharmonia, substitute conductor of the Repertory Orchestra and assistant conductor of the Nashville Summer Orchestral Institute.
Shan Zheng is from Hangzhou, China. She starts learning music when she was six years old. The first Chinese instrument that she learned was Guzheng and then she starts learning other Chinese instrument called Qin when she was in middle school until now. Shan graduated in spring 2017 from MTSU with a bachelor degree in Music. Her major is Music Industry in Vocal. Shan is currently pursuing her M.M degree in Music Education under Dr. Jamila L. McWhirter. Also, she is working at the Center for Chinese Music and Culture as a graduate teaching assistant. She is helping Dr. Mei Han to teach Guzheng at the center. Shan has many experiences on the Guzheng. She received a level ten Guzheng certificate once she was an elementary student meaning the highest award given. Shan continued on showing her best skills on playing the Guzheng and Qin. She performed in China's prestigious concert of West Lake Expo in Hangzhou.