Washington Post Reviews: "Cantate Chamber Singers honor Britten with strong 'Curlew River'"

March 25, 2014 - This past Sunday, Professor Gisèle Becker directed the Cantate Chamber Singers, with alumni Joe Deitrich ('08) (pictured below with Prof. Robert Baker) and junior Heather Gross in "Curlew River," in hour of composer Benjamin Britten's centennial -- and to a great result! Click here to read the entire Washington Post review.  

Robert Baker and Joe Dietrich


Students Named Finalists in the Washington Women in Jazz Festival

March 17, 2014 - The Department would like to send a big shout-out to our own Samatha Law and Cati Sesana, for being named finalists in the Washington Women in Jazz Festival's Young Artist Showcase! Help cheer them on as they finish the competition this Saturday, March 22! Get your tickets here. 



Professor Ahlquist and Resident Artist Wade Participate in National Civil War Project

Wade & AhlquistAs part of GW’s ongoing participation in the National Civil War Project, Professor Karen Ahlquist and Resident Artist & Scholar Stephen Wade participated in An Evening Exploring American Cultural Life During the Years Before, During and After the American Civil War, an evening featuring a staged play, The Actor and the Assassin, and a facilitated discussion between Ahlquist, Wade and Prof. Richard Stoff.

Ahlquist and Wade brought insight into the origins and culture of music at the time around the Civil War. As GW Today reports, “Music is one of the areas where the South was on par with the North, especially with patriotic songs, or ‘munitions of war,’” Dr. Ahlquist said. “Flag songs and recruiting songs -- ‘when Johnny comes marching home again, hurrah, hurrah’ -- were incredibly popular.” 

To read more the GW Today article covering the event, click here.


Our Faculty in Action

Professor Elizabeth Field was quoted in an Early Music America article about famous Rhode Island luthier, Karl Dennis. Click here to read the whole article. 

Professors Lora Ferguson (clarinet), David Jones (clarinet), Jeffrey Koczela (bass), Carole Libelo (oboe), Stephani Stang (flute), and Uri Wassertzug (viola) are performing in the orchestra of the Washington National Opera’s Moby Dick. Jake Heggie's new opera of Melville's literary masterwork is currently running at the Kennedy Center. For more about the opera, click here.

Professor and Deputy Chair Robert Baker traveled to Michigan to perform with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in multiple performances of Carmina Burana. The first night of the performances was live streamed so audiences everywhere could experience it. 

AMA Article


New Steinway B Delivered to Post Hall

New PianoAt the end of January a new Model B Sampele mahogany grand piano was delivered to Post Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus! We are excited for the concerts and recitals that will benefit from this beautiful looking and sounding addition for our program!



Professor Karen Ahlquist Named Editor of "Journal of the Society for American Music"

Department Associate Professor of Music, Karen Ahlquist was named Editor of the Journal of the Society for American Music beginning in 2014. The Journal is the official publication of the Society for American Music, a non-profit scholarly and education organization and constituent member of the American Council of Learned Societies, founded in 1975, dedicated to the study, teaching, creation and dissemination of all musics in the Americas. 

Prof. Ahlquist has taught music history, literature, and ethnomusicology at GW since 1992 and chaired the Department from 2006 to 2010. She has published numerous articles in the Journal of American History, the Journal of the American Musicological Society, and the Journal of Musicological Research, among others, and she was a founding editor of Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture.


Department Faculty and Students Entertain at IMF Meetings

Jazz at IMF

As world financial leaders and executives converged on GW for the Annual Meetings of the Work Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund, the Department of Music was there to entertain. Faculty and students performed on the University Yard and outside IMF Headquarters over several days, showcasing the diversity and talent of the Department.  Professor Magdalena Duhagon, along with her student Troy Gibb, performed a set of acoustic guitar music for onlookers. Professor Millicent Scarlett, accompanied by Professor Jeffery Watson on piano, sang Songs of the World with students Chen Song, Floyd Jones and Haruka Nakagawa, and the Department’s weekly Jazz Jam moved to IMF Headquarters on the final day of the meetings to provide Latin Jazz for the crowds.

The Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) each year bring together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, private sector executives, and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness. This years meetings took place on the campus of the George Washington University. 


Department Alumn Shines at International Opera Competition

Department of Music alumni Zach Borichevsky was one of two third place winners of the 2013 Operalia competition. The World Opera Competition, or Operalia, was started 20 years ago by Plácido Domingo to discover and honor new rising opera singers.  Hosted this year in Verona, Italy, the event invites singers from all over the globe to compete for top prizes.  This year was particularly competitive, featuring 12 finalists instead of the usual 10.

Congratulations to Zach!



Artist-in-Residence Stephen Wade presented with 2013 ARSC Awards for Excellence

Stephen Wade2013 Grammy nominee Stephen Wade, an Artist and Scholar in Residence at The George Washington University, has been selected as a 2013 ARSC Awards for Excellence recipient. A recognition given by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, Wade was awarded Best History in the category Best Research in Folk World, or Ethnic Music for his book The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience (University of Illinois Press). Founded in 1991, ARSC recognizes outstanding contributions in the field of recorded sound, encourages high standards and promotes awareness of superior works. Awards are presented to authors and publishers of books, articles, liner notes, and monographs, to recognize outstanding published research in the field of recorded sound.

Now in its fourth printing, The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience, is a product of Wade’s eighteen years of effort and near-lifetime involvement as a performer, researcher, and musician that presents the extraordinarily rich backstories of thirteen performances captured on Library of Congress field recordings between 1934 and 1942 in locations reaching from Southern Appalachia to the Mississippi Delta and the Great Plains.

Wade is currently acting as a GW Artist and Scholar in Residence. GW’s Artist and Scholar in Residence program strives to foster an interdisciplinary approach to creative research and scholarship over an intensive ten-month period by providing a physical and intellectual space for the development of meaningful artistic and scholarly linkages across the arts and other disciplines, both on and off campus. He will be performing at Jack Morton Auditorium on GW’s campus October 23, 2013 at 7:30 pm. The concert, The Beautiful Music All Around Us, is free and open to the public.


Welcome Back Everyone, It's going to be an exciting Fall!  Department of Music Announces 2013 Fall Performance Schedule

Baroque Mosaics: The Columbian Consort Faculty Ensemble, Introducing Charles Humphries

Charles HumphriesDate & Time: September 28 at 7:30 PM
Location: Post Hall on Mount Vernon Campus, 2100 Foxhall Road, NW
Free & Open to the Public

An evening of baroque music from Purcell, Handel and Vivaldi.

Cabaret Showcase
Date & Time: October 18 at 7:30 PM
Location: Phillips Hall, B-120, 801 22nd Street, NW
Free & Open to the Public

Students of GW Music & TRDA come together to showcase their vocal styles with cabaret numbers.

Camerata Showcase
Date & Time: October 19 at 3:00 PM
Location: Phillips Hall, B-120, 801 22nd Street, NW
Free & Open to the Public

GW Music students showcase their various instrumental skills on piano, strings, wind, brass and percussion instruments.

GW Bands: Verdi, Wagner, and the Big Screen
Date & Time: October 20 at 2:00 PM
Location: Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st Street, NW
Free & Open to the Public

Yeskel Visiting Artist Series: Stephen Wade, The Beautiful Music All Around Us
Stephen WadeDate & Time: October 23 at 7:30 PM
Location: Jack Morton Auditorium, 805 21st Street, NW
Open to the Public

Spend the evening with folk artist, and GW artist-in-residence Stephen Wade. 

University Orchestra: Sound Travel
Date & Time: November 8 at 7:30 PM
Location: Lisner Auditorium: Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st Street, NW
Free & Open to the Public

Featuring the music of Sibelius, Corigliano, Dvorak and Saint-Saëns.

University Singers & Chamber Choir: The Voice of David, Psalm settings over the centuries
Date & Time: November 17 at 4:00 PM
Location: Western Presbyterian Church, 2401 Virginia Avenue, NW
Free & Open to the Public

Featuring the music of Leonard Bernstein, Johann Sebastian Bach, Lili Boulanger, Bobby McFerrin and more...

GW Opera: Amahl and the Night Visitors
Date & Time: December 6 and 7 at 7:30 pm
Location: Phillips Hall, B-120
Open to the Public, Donations accepted for Toys for Tots

Gian Carlo Meonotti's one act opera - the story of a poor shepherd boy and his mother who are visited one night by three kings on their way to see baby Jesus in Bethlehem.

Celebrating Four Decades of Service - A Roy Guenther Celebration
Date & Time: December 9 at 7:30 PM
Location: Dorothy Betts Marvin Theater, 800 21st Street, NW
Open to the public with limited tickets available

In honor of his retirement, join the Department of Music as we say farewell through music with some of Dean Guenther's favorite composers and genres.


Department of Music Alumni Achieving Great Success in 2013

Thomas Richards (’10)

Department of Music Alumni Thomas Richards (’10) was one of the six winning artist of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2013 National Council Auditions at the Grand Finals Concert this March. This prestigious finals concert, which celebrated its 60th anniversary this year, is the culmination of months and months of competitions at the district, regional and national level.  Nearly 1,500 singers between the ages of 20 and 30 participated in the competition, which is considered the most prestigious competition in North America for singers seeking to launch an operatic career.

Richards, a 24-year old bass-baritone, and his fellow winners were selected from ten finalists who performed arias on the Metropolitan Opera stage with the MET Orchestra, conducted by Marco Armiliato. They performed in front of an audience that included artistic directors of leading opera companies, artist managers, established opera stars, important teachers and coaches, music critics, and others who can play an influential role in the careers of young singers. Past National Council Winners include Renée Fleming, Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham, and Thomas Hampson. Each winner receives a $15,000 cash prize, as well as the prominent exposure that can launch a successful musical career.

Richards, is a native of Burnsville, Minnesota and a current Artist Diploma student at the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) at the University of Cincinnati, where he studies opera with voice teacher William McGraw.  He is a 2010 graduate of The George Washington University in the District of Columbia where he double majored in political science and music.

Louie Diller (’12)

MTV recently exclusively premiered Holychild’s music video Best Friends on their Buzzworth Bog. Holychild, the experimental pop, Los Angeles based duo, includes Department of Music Alumn Louie Diller (’12).  Their debut EP, Tribes, dropped March 18. For more information on the group, visit

Ben Thornewill, and Tommy Siegel and Jesse Kristin (’07)

Department of Music Alumni Ben Thornewill, Tommy Siegel and Jesse Kristin, aka Jukebox the Ghost, returned to DC this March to perform at the 9:30 Club as part of their first headlining tour. The sold out concert was originally the closing night of the Indie/Pop/Rock band’s tour, but they have since added additional tour dates. Jukebox the Ghost’s  latest CD, Safe Travels, is available for sale on iTunes, Amazon, and Yep Roc Store.