All posts by Tony Cleeton

Lillios Selected as Honored Alumna UNT

Dr. Elainie Lillios (Professor of Composition) has been selected as an Honored Alumna of the nation’s largest music school. The University of North Texas College of Music selected Lillios from among its hundreds of outstanding alumni for this honor. In addition to receiving the award, Lillios will present a lecture on her music, give a master class to composers, and lecture in a Technology in Performance class. Lillios received a DMA in Composition with emphasis in Computer Music Media from the University of North Texas in 2000.

Pianist Vadym Kholodenko presents Valentine’s Day concert at BGSU

BOWLING GREEN, O—The Bowling Green State University Festival Series presents a Valentine’s Day performance by pianist Vadym Kholodenko, winner of the coveted gold medal at the 2013 Van Cliburn Competition. The concert will begin at 8 p.m. Feb. 14 in Kobacker Hall in Moore Musical Arts Center.

Kholodenko captured the attention of jury, audience, and critics alike for powerful, exhilarating performances that “showed the guts of a true superartist,” said the San Francisco Classical Voice. He continues to build a reputation for interpretations that are “impeccable, tasteful and vibrant, and also something more: imaginative,” according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The 2014-15 season marks his first year as the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra’s first artistic partner, a three-year collaboration that includes performing and recording the complete Prokofiev piano concertos, to be released by Harmonia Mundi USA. Other highlights of the season include orchestra debuts with seven orchestras in the U.S. and abroad; appearances at the Brevard Music Center and Stars of the White Night Festivals; and solo recitals in Boston, Louisville, Miami and Seattle, plus Rio de Janeiro and throughout Japan, Europe, and Russia. He will perform and record the Grieg “Concerto in A Minor “ and Saint-Saëns “Concerto No. 2” with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and Miguel Harth-Bedoya, which will join two critically acclaimed discs released since his Van Cliburn Competition win.

The recital program at BGSU includes “Chaconne in G Major, HWV 435” by George Frideric Handel, “Rondo in D Major, K.485” and “Rondo in A Minor, K. 511“ by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and “Sonate No. 10 in G Major, op. 14, no. 2” by Ludwig van Beethoven. After intermission, Kholodenko will play Claude Debussy’s “Children’s Corner” and “Images, Book 2,” concluding the performance with Mily Balakire “Islamey’s: Oriental Fantasy.”

Prior to Kholodenko’s performance, Alexa Woloshyn, BGSU music faculty, will give a free pre-concert talk at 7:15 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall about the evening’s music.

In addition to his Festival Series concert, Kholodenko will present a master class at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 13 in Bryan Recital Hall, and will also serve as judge for the final round of the 2015 David D. Dubois Piano Competition beginning at 9 a.m. on Feb. 15.

For tickets for the performance, visit or call 1-419-372-8171.


BGSU proudly announces Michael King as the new director of the FMB!


Michael King is currently a Doctoral Conducting Associate at the University of South Carolina, where he will soon complete a DMA in Conducting. Primarily responsible for assisting with the organization and instruction of USC’s 375-member Mighty Sound of the Southeast. Additional responsibilities have included writing drill for the Carolina Band and assisting with the direction of Concocktion (auditioned Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball and Volleyball Bands). His experiences with the concert ensembles at USC include guest conducting the USC Wind Ensemble, serving as an Assistant Conductor of the University Band, and assisting with the production of an upcoming NAXOS Wind Band Classics Recording. Michael received a Masters of Music in Instrumental Conducting from Central Michigan University where he studied with Professor John Williamson and served as a Graduate Assistant Conductor. While at Central Michigan, he was conductor of the Symphony and University Bands, guest conductor of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony. He led instruction of fundamentals and drill for the Chippewa Marching Band, and assisted in the Undergraduate Conducting and Instrumental Music Education Curriculum. Prior to his appointment at CMU in August 2011, Michael taught band at Flower Mound High School (Flower Mound, TX) and Leonard Middle School (Fort Worth, TX). A native of Michigan, Michael received a Bachelors of Music Education from Michigan State University where he studied saxophone with Professor Joseph Lulloff. Michael is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Kappa Kappa Psi (Honorary), and Pi Kappa Lamda. He and his wife, Robyn are looking forward to becoming Falcons!

48th Annual BGSU Competition in Music Performance Winners Announced

The 48th Annual BGSU Competitions in Music Performance were held the week of December 8, with finalists competing on Saturday, December 13, 2014 in Kobacker Hall on BGSU’s campus.

Coordinator of the competition, Dr. Nermis said “The judges were impressed with the high quality of performance. It was difficult for them to choose only two winners in each category since it was so clear there were more competitors that deserved to be commended. “

Undergraduate Division Winners included Quincheng Zeng, piano (Wuhan, China) student of Laura Melton, and Chi Him Chik, saxophone, (Hong Kong) student of John Sampen. Honorable Mention was awarded to Elizabeth Ritter, flute, (Ann Arbor, MI) student of Conor Nelson.

Chik Chi Him
Chik Chi Him
Qincheng Zeng
Qincheng Zeng


Elizabeth Catharine Ritter
Elizabeth Catharine Ritter

Graduate Division Winners included Chappy Gibb (not pictured), flute (Stillwater, MN), student of Conor Nelson, and Christopher Murphy, saxophone, student of John Sampen. Honorable Mention was awarded to Gunther own Hirthe, clarinet (Green Bay, WI), student of Kevin Schempf.

Christopher Lawrence Murphy
Christopher Lawrence Murphy
Gunnar Hirthe
Gunnar Hirthe

Composition Division winner was Thomas Beverly (San Antonio, TX)  and the Virginia Marks Collaborative Piano Award was given to Stephanie Titus, piano (Indianola, IA), student of Tom Rosenkranz.

Stephanie Titus
Stephanie Titus
Thomas Beverly
Thomas Beverly


Other graduate finalists included: Jacqueline Berndt, flute; Andrew Kier, clarinet; Danny Milan, piano; and Eun Hae Oh, flute. Undergraduate finalists included Tom Darlington, trumpet; Linda Jenkins, flute; Julia Kuhlman, saxophone; AJ Skojac, clarinet; and Malcolm Thompson, piano.

Judges for the preliminary round included James Westhoff, bassoon, Damon Coleman, cello, David Denniston, horn, Phillip Clark, piano and Carol Dusdieker, soprano. Final round judges included Ellen Breakfield, clarinet, Daniel Thomas, cello, Jonathan Ovalle, percussion, Amy Cheng, piano, Robert Peavler, baritone, and Mathew Fuerst, composer.

Winners will perform at the annual Concerto Concert with the Bowling Green Philharmonia on Sunday, March 1, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. in Kobacker Hall. For tickets,



Jennifer Higdon receives honorary doctorate, gives commencement address


By Jennifer Sobolewski

Jennifer Higdon’s life has been full of surprises. The BGSU alumna and composer admitted during her commencement address on Dec. 19 that much of her success, both personally and professionally, would likely have never happened had she stuck with her original plan at the University to become a professional flutist.

Instead of playing in an orchestra, Higdon ‘86 is one of America’s most acclaimed and most frequently performed living composers. She has become a major figure in contemporary classical music, with commissions in the orchestral, chamber, choral, vocal, and wind ensemble genres. An opera, written by Higdon and based on the book “Cold Mountain,” will premier next year in Santa Fe.

In addition to giving the commencement address, Higdon was also awarded an honorary doctorate from BGSU during the ceremony.

She holds doctoral and master’s degrees in music composition from the University of Pennsylvania, a bachelor’s degree in flute performance from BGSU, and an Artist Diploma in music composition from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she now holds the Milton L. Rock Chair in Composition Studies.

Her Percussion Concerto won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition in January 2010. Higdon also received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Violin Concerto.

In her address, Higdon challenged students to be open to the unexpected possibilities that could come their way and to strive to make new rules for living their life.

“The reality is we are not always able to imagine how events will unfold,” Higdon said. “The ability to think beyond the norm, and beyond expectations, can make a lifetime of the ‘amazing.’”

“Thinking outside the box has brought us the light bulb, personal computers, iPhones, the cure for diseases, Post-it notes, and the Internet. Many of the things we enjoy casually in our lives occurred because someone accidentally stumbled down a different path than what they had originally intended.”

Higdon also encouraged the new graduates to not be afraid to fail. “Failure only occurs when you don’t try. Success comes when you move past an event, and gain the most that you can from it.”

She also encouraged the new alumni to push themselves, to make every day unique, and to try to not get bogged down in daily routines.

“Can you imagine if you got to the end of your life and you could look back and say ‘Everyday, I made someone’s day a little better’? Small gestures—big results. Life is not a predetermined route. It’s never what you expect, but that’s what makes it possible for you to scale mountains of experience.”