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March Part 2 2024

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Welcome to the Emory Friends of Music e-Newsletter!

Message from the Editor

As you can see in this newsletter, there are a lot of student recitals in the last half of this month. I asked each student for some information about their recitals, and I am very grateful to those students who responded. Without that information, there is in general no information to report about them or their recital, as the Calendar listings give only the date, time, and place of their recital. You can see a complete listing of the recitals on the Arts Calendar. I have included the bios of all the students who responded below, because I think it is such a great indication of the amazing students we have at Emory, in terms of both their musical accomplishments and their other activities. These recitals are a great opportunity to hear wonderful music, well performed, and free!


One more indication of the quality of music students as Emory is the March 13 Emory News article about Kimiko Darcy. Kimiko is a first-year student who will participate in the national round of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Competition as a Senior Performance finalist in piano. She is the first student from any place in Georgia to compete at the national level in over a decade. That she is doing so as a first-year student is phenomenal. She will compete on March 17. Fortunately we will get to hear her play at Emory, as she will perform her competition pieces on April 28 at PAS.  More information about that recital will be in a later newsletter. Congratulations and best wishes to Darcy!


With best wishes,

Gray Crouse

Collaborative Piano Concert

Sunday, March 24, 2024, 7pm


If listening to one pianist perform is good, is listening to two at one time twice as good? You can judge for yourself at this program given by some of our amazing piano students who perform some of the best-known pieces in four-hand and two-hand piano repertoire. Certainly the opportunity to hear this literature live is much rarer than for the single repertoire. 


You can see the program for this concert by clicking here.

Student Recitals

Senior Honors Recital: Karyn Lisker (soprano)

Friday, March 22, 2024, 3pm


My honors recital features vocal works—Holocaust music—with the aim of giving voice to a time in history when Jewish voices were silenced, shining light on the oppression Jews experienced as well as the resilience that helped them survive in body and soul. The musical sections will be complemented by a multimedia element—documentary-style words to provide context and clips highlighting important insight from a Holocaust survivor, composer Lori Laitman, and a Holocaust instructor at Emory.

Karyn's Bio

Karyn Lisker, 22, from St. Louis, Missouri, is a senior at Emory University and will be graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Music (Vocal Performance) and Psychology. Karyn studies voice under Dr. Bethany Mamola and collaborative pianist, Dr. Hanna Song. She is a former student of Bradley Howard and Erika Tazawa. Karyn has performed in Emory Choir’s Concert Choir under Dr. Eric Nelson’s direction for four years as Alto 2 and serves as Co-Director of Public Relations. Karyn’s vocal studies have generously been supported by Emory’s Friends of Music, the 2018 Music Scholarship, and the Atlanta Symphony Chorus Robert Shaw Memorial Outstanding Singer Scholarship. This year is Karyn’s ninth of studying voice. At Emory, Karyn is involved in research at the Marcus Autism Center, and has or currently serves in leadership roles in Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women, Emory Hillel, Hillels of Georgia, Office of Spiritual and Religious Life, and the Student Well-being Advisory Committee.

Senior Honors Recital: Athena Grasso (piano)

Saturday, March 23, 2024, 2pm

Schwartz Center

For her recital, Athena will play pieces by Rameau, Brahms, and Chopin, ending with the Schumann Carnaval, op. 9. The complete program, with program notes about each piece, may be seen by clicking here.

Athena's Bio

Athena Grasso is a fourth-year student at Emory University double majoring in biology and music performance on the pre-med track. She began studying piano at age five at the Cleveland Institute of Music under Judson Billings and she continued her studies with Sean Schulze. At Emory, she studies with Elena Cholakova. In the music department, Grasso has played in several chamber ensembles and also serves as president of the Music Advisory Board. In summer 2023, she received an Emory Pathways award to attend the Prague Piano Festival in Prague, Czech Republic. She received the William B. Dickinson Scholarship in her third year of studies for her performance in each of her respective majors. She has a passion for mentorship and serves as a learning assistant for introductory-level biology courses at the college as well as teaches piano lessons. Outside of academics, Grasso additionally works in Dr. Anna Woodbury’s lab at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center and volunteers at the Winship Cancer Institute.

Student Recital: Chloe Nelson (violin)

Saturday, March 23, 2024, 3:30pm


Chloe Nelson's recital includes a variety of pieces, ranging from solo violin to combinations with piano, flute, and a second violin. The complete program may be seen by clicking here.

Chloe's Bio

Chloe Nelson. 21, from Orange County, California, is a junior studying chemistry and music performance at Emory University.  She began studying music at age five, first learning piano and starting violin at age six. She currently studies violin with Jessica Shuang Wu of the Vega Quartet, and her previous teachers include William Fitzpatrick and Adriana Triggs. Throughout her violin studies, Nelson has performed in masterclasses with notable violinists and pedagogues, including Soovin Kim, Michael Barenboim. Philip Setzer, Ronald Copes, Nicholas Mann, and Cornelia Heard.


Nelson has served as Assistant Concertmaster and Principal Second Violinist of the Emory University Symphony Orchestra. She also received the William B. Dickinson Scholarship in 2022-2023. Through the Emory Music in Italy program, she performed chamber music at the 2023 Cremona Music Festival. Prior to attending Emory, she was the Concertmaster of the Orange County Youth Symphony. She also participated in the MusiShare Young Artist Program in quartet and solo performance under the direction of William Fitzpatrick. In 2021, Nelson was named a semifinalist for the Orange County Artist of the Year.


In addition to performing, she is dedicated to promoting the accessibility of classical music. She manages the Emory Young People's Concerts, regularly presenting educational symphonic concerts at elementary schools. She is also the President of Emory's Continuo, an organization which provides free music lessons to students at Atlanta elementary schools.

Senior Honors Recital: Colin Song (piano)

Saturday, March 23, 2024, 5pm

Schwartz Center

My program will be exploring Romanticism and Impressionism and will give the audience a chance to analyze both the similarities and differences between the two eras of music. This is an exciting program full of virtuosity but also deep emotions, and I hope my performance will allow the audience to build their own personal connections with the pieces.

Colin's Bio

Colin Song is a senior and a Robert W. Woodruff Music Scholar at Emory University. He comes from Glenview, Illinois, where he attended Glenbrook South High School. He was a scholarship fellow at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy, a training center for advanced pre-college musicians, where he studied piano with Ralph Neiweem. Colin is pursuing a double major in chemistry and music, and he currently studies with Elena Cholakova.


In his solo career, Colin has received awards in the DePaul Concerto Competition, Emilio Del Rosario Concerto Competition, Sejong Music Competition, and MTNA Competition. As an accomplished chamber musician and previous member of Duo Appassionato, he is a first-prize winner of the 2017 Chicago National Youth Competition for Piano Duos and has had the opportunity to be featured on WFMT’s Introductions. In 2018, he was invited to play at the Smith Center in Las Vegas, as well as perform on NPR’s From the Top. Colin was a finalist in the 2018 MTNA Senior Piano Duet Competition, held in Orlando, Florida, a quarterfinalist at the 2019 and 2020 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and first-place winner in the 2020 Rembrandt Chamber Musician Competition. In 2022, he performed Carnival of the Animals with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra in Chicago. 


Additionally, Colin is the winner of the Emory University 2022 Concerto & Aria Competition and was invited to perform Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Emory University Symphony Orchestra. Most recently, Colin won 1st Place in the Atlanta Music Club Scholarship Competition and participated in the 2023 Prague Piano Festival.

Student Recital: Jordan Averett (soprano)/ Greta Franke (soprano) Sunday, March 24, 2024, 3:30pm


Our recital highlights works from prolific composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Antonín Dvořák, and Ludwig van Beethoven. Repertoire ranges from French art song to familiar Broadway classics. Antonio Vivaldi’s well-known “Laudamus te” duet from his celebrated Gloria will feature both vocalists. 

Jordan's Bio

Jordan Averett, 21, is a third-year student at Emory University studying business, with a concentration in finance, and music, with a focus in vocal performance. Jordan has been studying classical vocal music since she was 13 years old, beginning her studies at the Sound of Music School in Buford, GA, where she received the 2018 Student of the Year award. Jordan has been a part of choirs since she was in elementary school, and she now serves as the Vice President for Emory’s Concert Choir. This past summer, Jordan also had the opportunity to participate in the Emory Music in Italy program, where she performed various pieces in three concerts in Cremona, Italy, alongside other Emory music students. In addition to her musical commitments, Jordan is also the Vice President of Marketing and Outreach for Emory’s chapter of Scholars of Finance, is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and is one of the Robert W. Woodruff Scholars and is also a Mentoring Fellow in Emory’s Scholars Program.

Greta's Bio

Greta Franke, 21, of Tower Lakes, IL, is a third-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences (ecology and conservation track) and a Bachelor of Arts in Music (vocal performance track). Greta began singing as a toddler in the “Joyful Noise” children’s choir at church. She sang with the Barrington Children’s Choir for nine years, served as soprano section leader of her high school’s chamber choir and Madrigals ensemble, placed in three Chicago NATS classical competitions, and was a two-time Illinois All-State Musician. At Emory, Greta studies voice with Dr. Bethany Mamola with Dr. Matthew Brower as her collaborative pianist. She is a soprano in the Emory Concert Choir, music director of Dooley Noted A Cappella, and vice president of Mu Phi Epsilon professional music fraternity. Outside of her musical involvement, she is a peer mentor for the Department of Environmental Sciences, research assistant in the Sihi Biogeochemistry Lab, and trip leader for Outdoor Emory and the SOAR pre-orientation program. Greta is a grateful recipient of the Emory Liberal Arts Scholarship.

Student Recital: Lucy Bright (soprano)/ Ellie S. Paek (soprano) Saturday, March 30, 2024, 12pm


Lucy will be performing two musical sets. The first, a jazz set featuring tunes by Bart Howard and George Gershwin. She will sing while simultaneously playing her Double Bass. The second set highlights her passion for storytelling with all musical theatre pieces by Jason Robert Brown, Marc Shaiman, and more. Short reception to follow. 

Lucy's Bio

Lucy Bright (Adelman) is an Atlanta Native vocalist, bassist, guitarist, and pianist. She began her music journey as a child performing in musicals around Atlanta. In the Fall of 2020, she arrived at Emory University as a Vocal Performance Major and has since performed around the campus and city at Eddie’s Attic, Lost Dog, Tavern, and more. Her passion for creating sound pulled her into the recording studio, where internship turned full time recording artist. Throughout her time at Emory, Lucy performed with her band “Groove”, Aural Pleasure a Capella, and The Emory Alumni Association. She served as the Emory Musicians Network Events Coordinator, Ad Hoc Theater Group Vocal Coach, and Emory Composers Society Executive Board. The singer/ songwriter is taking her training and determination to New York City in the fall where she will be pursuing a career in music.

Senior Honors Recital: Vivian Zhao (piano)

Saturday, March 30, 2024, 2pm

 Schwartz Center

I have curated a recital that represents the boundless creativity and potential of musical writing for the piano. The repertoire I will showcase represents different performing and visual art mediums translated to music. Réminiscences de Boccanegra, S.438 by Franz Liszt is a paraphrase of the 1881 Simon Boccanegra opera by Giuseppe Verdi. In this piece, one can hear both verbatim and transformed melodies from the original opera, while also enjoying the Lisztian bravado associated with his solo piano pieces. Carl Vine’s Sonata No. 1 was written under the inspiration of contemporary dance, in which the meticulous rhythmic propulsion guides the listener through diverse soundscapes. Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky is a visual canvas brought to life by sound. It takes the listener into the journey of the composer strolling through a gallery full of paintings done by his dear friend Viktor Hartmann. One will experience the joy of children playing in gardens, the solemness of isolation, the terror of the chase by the witch Baba-Yaga, and the grandeur of a great adventure.

Vivian's Bio

Vivian Zhao, 22, will graduate in May with degrees in neuroscience and behavioral biology and music. Originally from Chandler, Arizona, Zhao has had a passion for music since she was young and studied piano for 15 years. Previously a student from the New Century Conservatory, she participated in numerous regional and national competitions. She currently studies under Elena Cholakova. Zhao attended the Prague Piano Festival in summer 2023. As the Pathways Global Award recipient, she explored the repertoire of her honors recital through cultural immersion and the guidance of David Kalhous. Her accolades include the William B. Dickinson and Atlanta Music Club scholarships.


Zhao strives for a collaborative environment in music performance. She actively acts as the keyboardist for the Emory University Symphony Orchestra (EUSO), performs original compositions for the Emory Composer’s Society, and participates in chamber music alongside other student musicians. Her contribution to EUSO led her to premiere a live film score, Sister Carrie by Daniel Nearing, in Chicago for the Gene Siskel Film Center in 2022 with 11 other principals. Zhao ties her musical life back to her goals to give back to the community.

Thank You to Our Members!

A big Thank You to those who have contributed during this year, and especially to those of you who have contributed in the past few months and have even increased your level of support or are new or returning supporters! There is no way to thank you enough. It was the strong level of giving last year that enabled us to substantially increase our grants to music students and faculty for this year.


Much of our support for students and faculty is through grants to provide scholarships for students to help pay for required music fees, to help fund undergraduate research projects, and to provide enhancements for classes. You can see the grants for this year by clicking here.


A special thanks to those of you who are sustaining members, either through payroll deduction, or a continuing contribution on your credit card. After two years of asking, our donations page is finally updated to make it easy to choose to give a one-time gift or a monthly gift. You can click here to donate or visit our FOM page for other ways to give.


If you have not yet contributed in this academic year, we of course would greatly appreciate your continued support!


The list of members can be seen by clicking here.


Please Note: It is surprisingly difficult to generate a list of members who are current in their giving. We measure our giving year from the start of our annual campaign, which is usually in July of each year. Some members give through payroll deduction or give more than one gift per year (thank you to both!) and we want to make sure we correctly acknowledge the level of giving. We don't have a set format for how names are listed and depend on member's preference. Sometimes we make mistakes. Please let us know if you find any errors in the list of members above. You can just reply to this newsletter and we will be glad to correct any mistakes. The date that the list was updated is given at the bottom. Among other problems, we are finding that it can take several weeks for us to get news of gifts.

Music Series with Strong Emory Affiliations

This newsletter focuses on Emory music students and faculty. There is clearly much additional music being performed in Atlanta, including many performances at Emory. There is no space in this newsletter to give specific information about those many performances, and most of them are separately well advertised. All music performances on the Emory campus are listed in the Emory Arts Calendar (linked to in the top left of our newsletters). Below is information about the separate music organizations with strong Emory ties.


I assume that all of our readers are familiar with ECMSA, whose Artistic Director is Professor William Ransom. All of their concerts are free, which is certainly remarkable given the extremely high quality of their performances with professional musicians. ECMSA has a variety of music series, most of which are at the Schwartz Center. The full array of their concerts can be seen on the ECMSA website.


Of particular note is the Masterclass Series which is an incredible gift for our students. These masterclasses feature outstanding musicians who will teach Emory students in these classes. Moreover, our members are invited to attend these masterclasses. There are ten masterclasses planned for this year, with an impressive array of artists involved.

Atlanta Master Chorale

The Artistic Director of the Atlanta Master Chorale is Professor of Music Eric Nelson, and the chorale is one of the finest in the country. All of their local performances are in the Schwartz Center, and there is a livestream option for concert tickets.  In addition, all purchased tickets include a link to the livestream recording for one week after the concert. I usually view the recording at least once after attending the concert, surely a form of having one's cake and eating it too! For those of you who can't attend their concerts live, viewing the livestream is a great option.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Not only is the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra a great orchestra, but our students benefit greatly from the ASO, as many of the Music Department Artist Affiliates are ASO musicians.


The entire ASO concert series is detailed on the ASO website. There continues to be a lot of excitement about the ASO’s new (as of a year ago) Music Director Nathalie Stutzmann. An indication of her “rock star” status is this paragraph from her ASO biography:


Nathalie made her spectacular debut at the 2023 Bayreuth Festival with Wagner's Tannhäuser, BR Klassik observed having "never experienced such a standing ovation at a pit debut in Bayreuth," with Oper Magazin describing her as a true possessor of "the Bayreuth gene." The 22-23 season also saw her acclaimed debut at the Metropolitan Opera with productions of both Die Zauberflöte and Don Giovanni; the New York Times declaring it "the coup of the year."


The ASO responded to the pandemic in a very creative way, beginning a series of "Behind the Curtain" performances featuring musicians playing without an audience. The "Behind the Curtain" series has continued, with a very modest yearly charge, featuring a selection of recorded performances from previous weeks.  Even if you can attend the live ASO performances, viewing the Behind the Curtain programs gives an entirely different perspective than you can get from the audience. Unless you are a player, it is rare to get close enough to a player to see the strings vibrate!

Emory Friends of Music
Schwartz Center for Performing Arts
1700 N. Decatur Rd, Suite 206
Atlanta, GA 30322