Nine creative and performing arts faculty receive endowed professorships


Nine faculty in the Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts at Northwestern State University will receive endowed professorships for the 2016-17 academic year.

Those receiving the professorships are J. Mark Thompson, Leah Forsyth, Magale Endowed Professorship, Corey Trahan, Francis Yang, Prince Endowed Professorship in Music, Nicholaus Cummins, Prince Endowed Professorship in Voice, Jeffrey Mathews, Dennette McDermott, Alford Memorial Endowed Professorship in Music, Phyllis Lear, Leslie Gruesbeck, Derby Endowed Professorship in Creative and Performing Arts.

Thompson is exploring several opportunities to enhance the trombone and low brass studio. This is likely to involve travel to and participation in one or more trombone and/or low brass conferences.

Forsyth will be using the professorship to travel with the oboe/sax duo, “Three Reeds Duo” on a CD release tour to Tennessee and Ohio in September. Leah Forsyth and Paul Forsyth will release their first CD, “Signals Cross” this summer.

Trahan completed a teaching internship at Germany’s International Performing Institute. He was mentored by Maryann Kyle, Bruce Earnest and a number of internationally recognized musical theatre pedagogues and performers. Trahan was joined by recent NSU alumnae Alexia Mullally, Holli Conway and Hally Lambert who will participate in the program. The experience culminated in Vienna, Austria for a week of auditioning for agents and companies that hire Americans to perform Broadway shows in Europe.

Yang will be a participant at the Golandsky Institutes’ Summer Symposium at Princeton University, where he will be researching the findings of piano pedagogue Dorothy Taubman, through lectures, clinics, and masterclasses. Taubman’s teachings advocate effortless and brilliant piano technique.

Cummins commissioned Dr. Michael Trotta to write a set of choral works for the Northwestern State Chamber Choir to be performed and premiered in March 2017. The selected texts will be by poet Sara Teasdale and will be part of a recording project that we will eventually put onto iTunes. This will be a concert, residency and commission with Trotta working with our choirs and hopefully area high school choirs as well.

Mathews will be traveling to Manchester, England to serve as guest conductor of the Royal Northern College Music Wind Orchestra. The one- week residency will consist of rehearsals with the ensemble in preparation for a recording session that serves as the capstone event. The product of the professorship is a complete CD of entirely new works for the wind band medium. This is the fourth consecutive year Mathews has been asked by Studio Music Publishing and the RNCM to serve in this role.

McDermott plans to attend the Twin Cities Baroque Music Festival, where she will continue advanced studies of baroque flute and dance. At the Festival, McDermott will study with flutists, Wilbert Hazelzet of the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and professor at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague.

Lear will continue empirical research on baked clay objects (PPOs) from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Poverty Point. The PPOs excavated at affiliate sites in Mississippi will be examined and analyzed. Student research assistants will participate in the examination of PPOs, thus gaining a working knowledge of what empirical research entails. The students will be encouraged to develop research papers to be presented during NSU Research Day.

Gruesbeck will continue her studies at the Royal School of Needlework, the international center of excellence for the art of hand-embroidery. These studies will enhance the offerings of the Fiber Arts courses in the Department of Fine and Graphic Arts.

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