Alumni and Staff News

August 21, 2015

Notes on the Staff

Laura Adam has been appointed Manager of Music Programs and Concert Production, succeeding Jenna-Claire Kemper.  Most recently, she has been education director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, where she strengthened existing programs and developed partnerships with over forty school districts across Connecticut. Among these programs are genre-bending artist residencies with composers Daniel Bernard Roumain (2013), including a focus on hip-hop and Chris Brubeck (2015), including a focus on jazz; both were supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.  She further developed two young composer programs with Yale composers Christopher Theofanidis and Hanna Lash, designed concert programs and curricular supplements for the annual Young People’s Concerts presented for 10,000 students annually, and developed an extensive administrative infrastructure and strategic objectives for the education department. An active choral singer, Laura has been involved in church music throughout her career, including at Christ Church, New Haven, where her husband Nate Adam is choir director. A graduate of Leadership Greater New Haven, she has also served on the board of directors for the Ann Arbor School for the Performing Arts.

Albert Agbayani, the longtime ISM events coordinator and technical guru, has left the ISM to return to his native California. He and his wife, who just finished her Ph.D. in American Studies at Yale, are expecting their first child this autumn. His entrepreneurial skills will be missed, and we wish him well in all his new (ad)ventures.

Tomoko Nakayama has been appointed as the new collaborative keyboardist/vocal coach for the ISM voice program for the 2015-16 year. A native of Japan,. Nakayama holds the Bachelor’s degree in harpsichord performance from Juilliard where she worked with Lionel Party. In 2009 she completed the Master of Music degree at Juilliard in collaborative piano under the supervision of Margo Garrett. Since then she has had an active career as both keyboardist and assistant conductor for such organizations as the Tanglewood Music Center, International Vocal Art Institute in Israel, Opera on the Avalon, Wolf Trap Opera, New York Lyric Opera Theatre, and most recently, the Washington National Opera where she has been the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist. She has command of a wide range of languages and repertorial styles, and has extensive experience as a coach. She is also a fine forte pianist and chamber musician. (She has performed with the New York Philharmonic Ensemble and with members of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra). She will be primary keyboardist for all vocal recitals this year as well as coach and scheduling coordinator to the voice majors.

As announced in the last issue, Jenna-Claire Kemper left the ISM in May to become executive director of the Koerner Center at Yale. Channeling Bob Newhart, Jimmy Taylor offered a tribute in the form of a frantic one-sided late-night telephone call, in which Jenna’s extraordinary competence, tact, patience, and good-humor were made humorously manifest. We miss her, as we welcome her successor Laura Adam (see above).


Alumni News

Kimberly Dunn Adams (M.M. ’05) is Director of Choral Activities at the Western Michigan University School of Music in Kalamazoo Michigan where she conducts the University Chorale, Collegiate Singers, and Grand Chorus. She also teaches choral literature, advanced choral conducting, and a graduate program in choral conducting. Under her direction, the University Chorale won 2nd place in the 2013 American Prize Competition for collegiate choirs. In 2014, Kimberly conducted the premiere of Paul Lansky’s “Contemplating Weather” with the University Chorale and WMU’s new music ensemble, Birds on a Wire. The piece was subsequently recorded and was recently released as the centerpiece of a new album of works by composer Paul Lansky. This album is the University Chorale’s first internationally distributed commercial release and is part of the Bridge Records catalog. In 2015, she will travel to Sweden as one of the American “delegates” for the American Choral Directors Association’s International Choral Exchange Program. In addition to her work as a conductor, Kimberly is enjoying being a mother to her son, Charlie, who was born in October 2014.


Dale Adelmann (M.M. ’86) reports that the Cathedral Choir & Schola of St. Philip, Atlanta, released their first CD on the Gothic Records label last November. “Into the House and Gate of Heaven” features anthems for the Feast of All Saints, including premiere recordings of works by Dan Locklair (Union S.M.M. ’73), Gerald Near, and Craig Phillips. Adelmann conducts, and the ensembles are accompanied by organists David Fisbburn and Kenneth Miller (M.M.A. ‘14).

Bo Kyung Im (M.A.R. ’12) is currently a Ph.D. student in ethnomusicology at the University of Pennsylvania.  She has recently been selected as a recipient of a U.S. Fulbright Student Research Grant, administered by the Institute of International Education, for the 2015-16 school year.

Christopher Jennings  (M.M. ’04) accepted the call as Organist-Choirmaster at Calvary Episcopal Church in Summit, NJ in November of 2013. Calvary Church is the fastest growing parish in the diocese with an active and dynamic music program. As a part of Christopher’s call he will help found a new chorister program for children and youth, building on the strong foundation of music that is an important part of the fabric of the parish. For the past seven years, Christopher was Associate Organist-Choirmaster and Music Associate for Children & Youth at St. James’ Church, Madison Ave., New York City.

W. Thomas Jones (‘82 M.M., M.A.R.) has been appointed University Organist at Elon University, Elon, North Carolina.

David Ouzts (M.M. ’87) co-created and hosted a sacred arts festival “Alleluia Be Our Measure” in May 2015 at Church of the Holy Communion (Episcopal) in Memphis, TN. The festival invited artists, poets/writers, and choristers from throughout the mid-south to work with clinicians Mel Ahlborn (visual artist), Susan Palo Cherwien (writing/poetry), and Dr. William Bradley Roberts (choral clinician). A new hymn for the parish was commissioned; Roberts composed the tune Walnut Grove as a setting of Cherwien’s text “Come, new heav’n, new earth descending,” from which the name of the festival “Alleluia Be Our Measure” was taken.

Jessica Petrus (M.M. ’12) was the soprano soloist in Bach’s B Minor Mass at the 83rd Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival in April 2015, and the soprano soloist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC in June 2015.

Jonathan Reuning-Scherer  (M.M. ’00) senior lecturer in statistics and in forestry and environmental science at Yale University, has been awarded the Richard H. Brodhead ’68 Prize for Teaching Excellence.

Jared Stellmacher (M.M. ‘09 ) has been appointed Director of Music at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Watertown, Wisconson. 

Peter Thompson (M.Div. ’15) was ordained to the Sacred order of Priests in the Episcopal Church on May 14, 2015.  Several ISM students and alumni were involved in the service, including Vince Edwards (M.M. ’93), director of Music at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Norwalk, and Jacob Street (M.M. ’16), who is the organ scholar there.  Additionally, a new piece by Bruce Neswick (M.M. ‘81) was commissioned for the occasion.

The Rev. Canon Janet Waggoner (M.Div. ’01) was appointed Canon to the Ordinary by Bishop Rayford High in July 2013, and she continues in that position. In March 2013, Janet was admitted to the Ph.D. program in Pastoral Theology at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, TX, and matriculated in August 2013. Janet continues her studies and plans to be finished with the three years of required course work in May 2016.

Russell Weismann (M.M. ’07) performed a second solo recital at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on February 26. Work continues towards his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at George Mason University.

Michael Wustrow (M.M. ’86) led The Diocesan Choir of Rockville Centre (celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2016) and the Saint Agnes Cathedral Girl Choir in a choir pilgrimage to England and Ireland in June 2016, with highlights including performances at Westminster Cathedral and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Now in his twenty-second year at St. Agnes Cathedral, he is in the middle of a two-year Cathedral renovation project that includes a redesigned music space.