Dancer Patricia McBride, who taught ballet at IU, receives Kennedy Center Honor

Post by IU Communications colleague Karen Land

Former Indiana University professor Patricia McBride will be in good company Dec. 7. The longtime New York City Ballet dancer will receive the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington alongside actor Tom Hanks, singers Al Green and Sting and comedian Lily Tomlin.

The 2014 honorees will be seated with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama as their peers take the stage to deliver tributes and performances.

Patricia McBride

Patricia McBride is now the associate artistic director and master teacher at the Charlotte Ballet. Photo by Jeff Cravotta.

Then, all of them are headed to your living room. The awards, now in their 37th year, will be broadcast at 9 p.m. Dec. 30 on CBS.

Violette Verdy, distinguished professor of ballet at the IU Jacobs School of Music, said of McBride, “I’m one of her most devoted fans and a longtime friend. I’m so glad she’s getting those honors.

“To meet Patty is to love her forever,” she said.

Verdy, who also had a long career with the New York City Ballet, described first seeing McBride dance in a rehearsal. “We were still in the old school on Broadway,” she said. “There was something about her that was so great. I actually applauded her, because she was so extraordinary.

“What a dancer! She was effortless, never striving, very devoted and with no equal. She did exactly what the choreographers wanted. And how beautiful and serene her face was.

“She demonstrates a selflessness we don’t see much in great performers,” Verdy said. “She is a rare jewel.”

Full circle

It seems fitting for McBride to receive a Kennedy Center Honor. After all, she danced at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. It was one of many special moments in a 30-year career with the New York City Ballet.

Patricia McBride

Patricia McBride c. 1977. Photo courtesy of the New York City Ballet.

In 1961 McBride became the youngest principal dancer in the company’s history. She danced for George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. She danced with Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov. And she danced with Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, who became her husband.

Bonnefoux came to Indiana University in 1985 to lead the ballet department. McBride continued to dance in the spotlight for another four years before her retirement from the New York City Ballet. On June 4, 1989, she was showered with more than 13,000 roses during a spectacular tribute at Lincoln Center. She soon joined Bonnefoux in Bloomington, becoming a full professor of dance at IU that fall.

Bloomington years

In interviews during her tenure, McBride always remarked at the kindness and warmth of the people here.

And the dedicated ballerina became a devoted teacher.

“I just put all my energy into dancing, and when I stopped dancing, I put it into teaching, staging ballets at the university and being a mother. I think you’re only happy in whatever you do if you give it your all,” McBride said Nancy Upper’s 2004 book “Ballet Dancers in Career Transition.”

Patricia McBride

Patricia McBride c. 1977

“You never stop learning when you’re a dancer, and it’s the same thing with teaching. You learn and you grow.”

Michael Vernon, the current chair of the department of ballet, said of McBride, “She’s just a wonderful teacher. She’s so generous as a person in terms of imparting her craft upon her students.”

Though Vernon didn’t witness her work at IU, he has known McBride since 1977, when he staged “Sleeping Beauty” at the Eglevsky Ballet on Long Island, N.Y. Both Vernon and McBride now spend their summers teaching ballet at the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York, where Bonnefoux is the artistic director.

McBride and Bonnefoux left IU in 1996 for the North Carolina Dance Theatre, now known as the Charlotte Ballet. She is the associate artistic director and master teacher at the company, while he serves as its president and artistic director.


Upon learning she was named one of the 2014 Kennedy Center Honorees, McBride reacted with grace and modesty. “I’m honored, astonished, moved, humbled and ecstatic to have been chosen,” she said.

She thanked the committee and gave credit to her choreographers Balanchine and Robbins, “who made this all possible.”

“It’s extraordinary to be honored for something that I have loved doing and has given my life so much meaning and fulfillment,” McBride said.

Again she deflected the spotlight, this time to her family. “My mom would have been so happy … Thank you for making me look good to my children and grandchildren!”

And that is what is most exceptional about Patricia McBride. As Verdy said, she is always thinking of others.

“She is selfless, completely.”

MusAid offers teaching fellowships in Central America this summer

MusAidA chance of a lifetime!

The MusAid Teaching Fellowship offers students from around the world the opportunity to teach and perform at El Sistema inspired programs in Central America as part of our partnership with OJCA, The Youth Orchestra of Central America.  This years programs will be held at El Sistema, El Salvador and with the National Youth Orchestra of Belize.  Guest Faculty from the Yale School of Music and Indiana University will be present at the workshop to coach the fellows on pedagogy and teaching strategy.



Jacobs School of Music ranked #2 on the list of Top 10 Colleges for Music Education Majors in the US

Here Are the Top 10 Colleges for Music Education Majors In the US

By Bill Zuckerman


Music education is, without even a close second, the most popular college major musicians pursue in the United States.

The reasoning behind this is very simple – music education students have the highest rate of employment out all music majors just coming out of an undergraduate degree.

Music education graduates are needed at just about every public and private K-12 institution in the US that has a music program. The job market is, unlike with many other college majors and degrees, exceptionally favorable for music education graduates.

When making this list of the top music education colleges in the US, I looked at the employment rate of students who graduate with music education degrees at different schools, the depth and variety of research the specific program conducts, the strength, reputation, and publishing history of the faculty, what kinds of connections the school has to K-12 institutions in its area, the curriculum, and other factors, such as the overall strength of the school.

But before we talk about the top 10 colleges for music education majors, keep in mind a couple things when choosing the music education school best for you.

A music education program prepares you for statewide certification in the specific state you go to school in. So, while a school like Indiana University has a widely heralded and known music education program, if you don’t foresee yourself making a living in Indiana in your future, then perhaps it is not in your best interest to go to that particular school.

That said, you can still get certified in any state if you meet the requirements, it’s just the requirements do vary from state to state and it could take some extra work outside of just your degree to meet the minimum requirements.

There are other tips you should know about when choosing a career in music education – this article published in late October can give you some ideas.

Ok, so let’s get into it – here are the top 10 colleges for music education majors in the US…


2. Indiana University Jacobs School of Music – Bloomington, IN


Long considered one of the foremost colleges for music education in the entire US, Indiana University’s music education graduates frequently enjoy a near 100% employment rate at various Indiana K-12 schools. The program not only provides an exceptionally well-rounded curriculum to its music education majors, but also allows students to choose a music education focus in one of four major areas: choral, general, band, and orchestra. No matter what your goals as a student are at this major music education hub, you will find a program that fits your interests well.

An exceptionally well-rounded institution we recently qualified as the best overall music school in the US, music education majors at IU never run out of opportunities to perform in music ensembles at the school. There is never an orchestra spot, choir seat, or other specialty ensemble that can’t be filled with an aspiring music teacher. IU is an excellent choice for those who wish to double major in both an elite performance and education program.

Additionally, the schools provides students with the opportunity to work with major music education associations as well as with public music teachers who already have years of experience under their belt. Student apprentice teaching, of course, is a requirement of all music education majors as well.

At the graduate level, the level and depth of research that students explore at IU are fascinating, rich, and exceptionally varied. Some topics that the college’s published Philosophy of Music Education Review include examinations of musical instruction using MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) based composition, the evolution of systems utilized in music education, the implications of free improvisation in the classroom, and the relationships between music and spirituality.

The faculty at the program is second to none, and includes notable music education researchers and professors such as Brent Gault, past president of the Organization of Kodaly Educators, and Patrice Ward-Steinman, a widely published author in the field of music education.


Read the full article here:

‘Nutcracker’ sold out performances

By Alaina Milazzo


The applause for Thursday night’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” began even before the curtain opened and continued long after it closed.

The ballet was performed in five shows Thursday through Sunday at the Musical Arts Center and featured dancers from the Jacobs School of Music Ballet Department and the Jacobs Pre-College Ballet Program.

Tickets started at $20 for students and were sold out by Friday night. However, live streaming was available for those who could not attend performances at the MAC.

“This is a conventional production of ‘The Nutcracker,’” director and choreographer Michael Vernon said. “Some people make it very localized, but this is just the traditional, set somewhere in Germany or Austria.”

“The Nutcracker,” a classic Christmas tale, follows the story of Clara, who receives a Nutcracker doll from Herr Drosselmeyer for Christmas amid antics from her brother, Fritz, and the other children.

Upon falling asleep, Clara dreams of mice battles, a Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy attendants dancing through a candy-filled 

Aaron Anker, a junior ballet major and performer in “The Nutcracker,” encouraged students and the community to see the performance even if they’ve never seen it before.

“It is a great first ballet to see because there’s a lot going on and it’s very exciting,” Anker said. “The adrenaline for a lot of it is really cool.”

Vernon said the dancers had been rehearsing for the show since late October, but they had about a week off “to recover and catch up on some of the academics they might miss” because of dress rehearsals.

“There are four main pas de deux (major dances) … and that’s a lot of work,” 
Vernon said.

Many dancers played a supporting role one night and a principal role the next, and vice versa.

“It’s always different because we have different dancers for every performance,” Vernon said. “That makes it very egalitarian — everyone has a chance.”

Anker performed a variety of roles, including Herr Silberhaus and Clara’s father on Thursday, the Snow Cavalier on Friday, the Sugar Plum Cavalier on Saturday afternoon and the Flower Cavalier on Saturday night.

In addition to the dancers, Vernon also credits the University orchestra for its role in “The Nutcracker.”

“The music, especially in the first act, tells the story just as much as the choreography does,” he said. “But to impose one’s own vision (for the show) is not as easy as one would think because the music is so set.”

Dancers followed cues from orchestra members for each piece to stay in sync with the music while 

“As a department, we have really exciting opportunities to be able to do a wide range of (representation) that normally university programs don’t get to do, and I think that’s mostly because of our director,” Anker said. “He thinks it’s very important to get to do different stuff, new stuff, old stuff. This gives the city of Bloomington an opportunity to see real choreography from around the world.”


© Indiana Daily Student 2014



Hundreds of performers put on quite a show, with Zegree’s spark and spirit By Peter Jacobi   To say that … Continue reading

An Opportunity to Advance your Career in New Music – Ensemble Modern Academy

An opportunity with the Ensemble Modern Academy, which is a program in Frankfurt that may be of interest!

They offer an intensive one-year master degree specializing in contemporary music, fully accredited by and in cooperation with the Frankfurt University for the Arts (HfMDK). The program is free with a generous monthly stipend.

They’re looking for instrumentalists, conductors, composers, and sound engineers who have finished their core training and are looking to specialize in new music. This is a particularly good way to begin a career in new music, making contacts in Europe while learning about new repertoire from the best contemporary ensemble in Germany.

Applications are due February 13, with a live audition set for April 10-12. More information here:

Information sent by Paul Cannon
Double Bassist, Ensemble Modern


Steve Zegree: Jumpstart Entrepreneur of the Month

Steve Zegree, Entrepreneur of the Month

Meet Steve Zegree, Project Jumpstart’s December Entrepreneur of the Month!

Dr. Zegree is the Pam and Jack Burks Professor of Music, director of Singing Hoosiers, and director of the Jacobs School’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble.

Between teaching, performing, arranging, holding clinics, writing books, recording albums, developing music programs, directing a large scale show choir ensemble as well as other choral groups, Professor Zegree exemplifies the power of versatility of a highly successful musician an ever changing artistic world.

As we look forward to the 2014 Chimes of Christmas performance by the Singing Hoosiers and guests, we invite you to enjoy an interview with this incredibly successful musical entrepreneur.

Click here for the Interview >

Dominick DiOrio to compose piece for Cincinnati Boychoir

Cincinnati Boychoir receives $10,000 grant for 50th anniversary

By Janelle Gelfand


Grant earmarked for new choral piece to highlight 50th anniversary season

Cincinnati Boychoir serves about 200 youth

Cincinnati Boychoir serves about 200 youth

The Cincinnati Boychoir has received a $10,000 grant from the William O. Purdy, Jr. Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, the choir announced on Monday. The grant will make possible the commissioning and performance of a work in honor of the Boychoir’s 50th anniversary season.

The new choral piece, “A Horizon Symphony,” with texts of Walt Whitman and Stephan Crane, is being commissioned from Dominick DiOrio, a composer and assistant professor of choral conducting at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University.

The boys will work with DiOrio throughout the process, learning first-hand about the experience of creating a new work.

The piece is aimed to be a companion work to  Leonard Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms,” which calls for large orchestra. Both will be presented in concert March 7 and 8 at Christ Church Cathedral, Downtown.

Dominick DiOrio.

Dominick DiOrio.

The Cincinnati Boychoir, which is led by Christopher Eanes, is one of the premiere professional boy choirs in the United States, and the newest resident company at the Aronoff Center for the Arts, Downtown. Among its anniversary events, the choir will make its first trip to Australia in July.

Cincinnati Boychoir has about 200 young members from more than 90 schools in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.

William O. Purdy, Jr., an enthusiastic patron of the arts, established his foundation in 1988 and died a decade later. He was Senior Vice President of American Money Management Corporation, a subsidiary of American Financial Group, until he retired in 1995.


© 2014


Harpist finds ‘Rocky’ road to Q-C Symphony

By Jonathan Turner


While learning to play harp in her native Hong Kong, Lillian Lau had no idea how formative a place Rock Island would be in her future career.

“One of my mentors, Susann McDonald, was born in Rock Island. She’s one of the most famous harp teachers in the world,” Ms. Lau, principal harp for the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, said this week. She went to college at Indiana University to study with Ms. McDonald, who studied in Paris and founded the World Harp Congress. “She’s such a huge deal in the harp world,” Ms. Lau said.

Harpist Lillian Lau

Harpist Lillian Lau

Now 33 and living in Chicago, Ms. Lau auditioned for the QCSO in 2006 at Augustana College in Rock Island, and will solo this weekend with the orchestra in Maurice Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro for Harp (including the Sunday concert at Augie’s Centennial Hall).

“It’s very romantic, rhapsodic, it’s almost dreamlike,” she said of the 1905 work, originally a chamber piece accompanied by flute, clarinet and a string quartet. But the piece often is performed using a full string section, and the QCSO did not premiere it until 2003 with harpist Sally Goodwin Vogel.

“That’s why Ravel is such an impressionistic composer. It’s got lots of dialogue going on between the instruments,” Ms. Lau, who has played harp since she was 9, said. “I do like the fact it’s a smaller ensemble, it’s easier for the harp to be heard.”

Ravel’s harp piece came about to illustrate what the heavenly instrument can do, she noted. In 1904, a competition ensued between Paris’ two harp companies.The Pleyel Company had a new, improved model and commissioned Claude Debussy to write a work to demonstrate its new capabilities. Not to be outdone, the Erard Company answered the challenge a year later with its own new-model harp, commissioning Ravel to write a piece as well.

Debussy produced his “Danses sacree et profane,” and from Ravel, his Introduction and Allegro, and both works are staples of the harp’s concerto repertoire, according to the QCSO program notes.

“The French do like the harp,” Ms. Lau said, noting the biggest challenge is mastering the instrument’s seven pedals (one for each pitch on the scale). “Each string is like the white keys on a piano. For the accidentals, pedals change the length of the string. It’s a complicated mechanism.”

Ms. Lau’s orchestral engagements include performing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Ravinia Festival, Grant Park Music Festival and Elgin Symphony Orchestra in major concert halls throughout Europe and at the World Harp Congress. Just last month, she was featured at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago (the biggest cathedral in the city) at the installation mass for Chicago’s new archbishop.

Ms. Lau also is a founding member of the Lyrebird Ensemble with flutist Ellen Huntington (also a QCSO member). They are dedicated to performing, promoting and publishing repertoire composed for flute and harp and book performances throughout the U.S.

Ms. Lau maintains a teaching studio in the Chicago area and the University of Chicago, and she is assistant editor of the best-selling orchestral guide “Principal Harp Book 2” by Sarah Bullen of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

She has served as a vice president of the American Harp Society, president of the Greater Chicago AHS chapter and National Summer Institute co-chair. Ms Lau holds bachelor and master of music degrees from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, and a Professional Diploma in orchestral studies from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

Under the direction of conductor Mark Russell Smith, this weekend’s concerts showcase the talents of other QCSO soloists Marc Zyla (horn), Naha Greenholtz (violin), Hannah Holman (cello), Andrew Parker (oboe) and Benjamin Coelho (bassoon).

The program includes works from Saint-Saens, Haydn and Mozart. In keeping with the theme of this 100th season, there is a world premiere piece from one of Iowa’s most acclaimed composers, David Gompper.

“No celebration of our 100th season would be complete without featuring our wonderful musicians,” said executive director Ben Loeb. “Our principal soloists will display their talents in a diverse program that will not only include a world premiere work from David Gompper, but also one of the most beloved works in the orchestral literature – Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G minor. Attendees will relish the opportunity to applaud these stellar musicians from within the QCSO family.”

“I do have to say my favorite thing as harpist is to play with orchestra,” said Ms. Lau, who was featured in a Signature Series concert a few years ago at the Figge Art Museum. “I play in all kinds of settings, and I prefer orchestra over playing as a soloist.”

Mr. Gompper — at the University of Iowa since 1991, where he’s professor of composition and director of the Center for New Music — has lived and worked as a pianist, conductor and composer in New York, San Diego, London, Nigeria, Michigan and Texas. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London, and after teaching in Nigeria, he received his doctorate at the University of Michigan, and taught at the University of Texas, Arlington.

In 2002-2003, Mr. Gompper was in Russia as a Fulbright Scholar, teaching, performing and conducting at the Moscow Conservatory. In 2009, he received an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City.

Mr. Gompper’s compositions — heard throughout the U.S. and Europe — include “Transitus” (for wind ensemble), premiered in 1999 at Carnegie Hall, and a number of his works have premiered in London’s Wigmore Hall.


© 2014


Vocal performance major receives award, grant

Darian Clonts, an Atlanta native and a master’s degree candidate in vocal performance, won $3,000 from the Pierians Foundation. Pierians … Continue reading