Commencement 2014

August 19, 2014

Compiled by Katharine Luce

On Sunday, May 18, the ISM presented its newest graduates with their ISM certificates at a banquet at the New Haven Lawn Club. Some of them accepted our invitation to reflect on their experience at the Institute, and their plans and hopes for the future.

2014 Director’s Remarks

2014 Student Awards & Prizes

Photos from the 2014 ISM Awards Banquet as well as the YDS and YSM Commencement Exercises. Photos by Robert Lisak and Katharine Luce.

Kathleen Allan (M.M.) has been appointed to the conducting staff at St. Michael’s Choir School in Toronto, Canada, where she will lead the treble boys’ chorus in regular concert appearances and in weekly mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral. Other upcoming engagements include conducting Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in Osaka and Tokyo, Japan in 2015, assistant conducting La Bohème and acting as resident composer at Opera on the Avalon, and composing to commissions for ensembles throughout Canada and the US. She is the founding co-artistic director of Arkora, a new vocal music chamber collective whose inaugural season includes the release of a debut album and performances at Sound Symposium XVII, Redshift Record’s 2014 showcase, and Ear Heart Music Series at Roulette in Brooklyn. 


Robert Bennesh (M.M.) is “incredibly grateful”for everything he has experienced at the ISM. He describes it as” a place for musical growth and development, not least thanks to all talented colleagues. Serving as the Organ Scholar at Christ Church Episcopal was an especially nurturing experience.” He looks forward to staying at Yale to pursue an Artist Diploma.


Katherine Cadigan (M.Div.) feels “blessed to have been immersed in a community with some of the school’s most creative and inspiring faculty and students. Early on ISM helped mitigate my transition to being a full-time student after having been making films for many years. Over time, everything from the open doors, to hanging out, and – best of all - the ISM study tours, fostered a life-giving sense of creative connectedness.” She is headed back to Los Angeles, with ordination in the Episcopal Church on the immediate horizon, a parish to serve in, a future as a filmmaking priest, and a vision for starting an eclectic spiritual community.


Hansung Choi (S.T.M.) will begin a Ph.D. program in liturgical studies at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Chicago this fall semester of 2014.


Sara Couden (A.D.) is very grateful for her ISM experience. She writes, “As a singer, there are a lot of training programs around, but there are very few that concentrate so fully on the broader context of what it means to sing (or make or experience any form of art). Community is such an encompassing, incredible part of music, and it has been an extreme pleasure to learn in a place where, not just art, but the community that makes art possible is so consciously created and fostered.”  She wishes to express a huge thank you to the ISM for all of the help and care she has received.  This fall, Sara will reside in New York City as a Lindemann Young Artist at the Metropolitan Opera. 


Justin Crisp (M.Div.) will begin a Ph.D. in religious studies at Yale this fall, concentrating in theology and continuing to explore the intersection of liturgy with theories of sexuality and political economy. He’ll also be ordained to the transitional diaconate in the Episcopal Church, followed in a year by ordination to the priesthood, and will be associated with St. Mark’s Church in New Canaan, Connecticut. During his time here, Justin has indulged in frequent experiments in interdisciplinary collaboration, including two student research symposia and two consecutive years presenting with ISM colleagues at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. “I want especially to thank professors Teresa Berger and Tom Troeger for all their encouragement and guidance over the last three years; Martin Jean for his tireless championing of student work in the Institute; and Jacque Campoli and Kristen Forman for all they do to make this place so fabulous.”


This fall, Megan Francisco (M.A.R.) will be moving to Seattle to begin studying for her M.A. in musicology at the University of Washington in hopes of eventually pursuing a Ph.D. and become a college professor. She is “overwhelmingly grateful for my two years at the Institute and all the opportunities it provided – including my first trip to Europe with the Cuthbert/Bede group! I also want to thank the amazing ISM faculty, particularly my advisor Markus Rathey, for their support, encouragement, and brilliant minds.” She also expresses “oodles of love for my fellow religion and music cohorts who have taught me so much in their own, wonderful ways.”


Peter Johnston (M.Div.) is grateful to  the ISM for sponsoring his studies, and the faculty and staff “for their tireless support. I applaud my colleagues for the production of art in the service of the Lord.” He has been appointed curate at Ascension Episcopal School and Parish in Lafayette, Louisiana, where he will teach church history and theology and serve as a deacon on Sundays. He also continues his service in the U.S. Navy as Lieutenant Junior Grade in the Chaplain Candidate Program. With his wife, Yasmine, he looks forward to “dancing Zydeco and eating crawfish in Cajun country.”


Dexter “Tripp” Kennedy (M.M.) thanks “the entire ISM faculty and staff for such a profound, enlightening experience.” Next year, he will begin pursuing the Artist Diploma at Oberlin Conservatory while concurrently serving as the assistant organist of Christ Church Grosse Pointe.


Molly Netter(M.M.) writes, “I am incredibly grateful to the ISM for everything these past two years, and for the continued support network in the ISM family. The early music voice program is special, unique, and the opportunities for artistic, vocal, personal, academic, and spiritual growth have been endless. I owe a huge thank you to my teachers and colleagues, and I hope to pay your kindnesses and generosity forward in the coming years.” Residing in New Haven next year, Molly looks forward to a variety of musical collaborations in the area, NYC, and elsewhere.


James Knox Sutterfield (M.M.) is “immeasurably grateful for the breadth and depth of opportunities the ISM has provided for me and my colleagues. When I reflect on the past two years at Yale, I am overwhelmed by the experiences that have filled my days to overflowing. Moreover, the brilliance and generosity of the faculty, staff, students, and guests here have made for an unparalleled community of musicians, scholars, and artists from whom and with whom to learn and grow. I will treasure the lessons I’ve learned, the relationships I’ve formed, and the memories we share.” Following this summer’s travels, Knox will assume the post of director of music at Trinity-Pawling School, where, in addition to teaching and directing the school’s choral ensembles, he will coordinate a concert series and coach cross country and track.


Nathaniel Widelitz (M.M.) is “sad to be leaving the friendly and rarefied confines of the ISM. In no other place have I ever gotten to make such good music, collaborate and learn with such intelligent, engaged people, or find camaraderie of such a supportive and empathetic variety.” In the next chapter of his life, he will “attempt to tackle the new and entirely unfamiliar challenge of musically educating adolescents in my capacity as the new director of choral music at the Blair Academy in Blairstown, New Jersey.”


Other 2014 graduates include: Nathan Antiel (M.A.R.), Benton Blasingame (M.M.), Stephen Boda (M.M.), Jordan Burke (M.A.R.), Sarah Godbehere (M.Div.), Bálint Karosi (M.M.A.), Drew Konow (M.A.R.), Daniel Moore (M.M.), Andrew Padgett (M.M.), David Recca (M.M.A.),  Lauren Smith (M.A.R.), Summerlee Staten (S.T.M.), Kyle Stegall (A.D.), and Stacie Vos (M.A.R.).