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Fall 2017 News

School News:

Two new Assistant Professors joined the Crane School this fall:

Casey Grev accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Saxophone after serving in one year as a Visiting Professor. Dr. Grev completed his doctoral degree at Michigan State University, with previous work at Ohio State.  We are pleased to welcome Casey into this ongoing appointment.





Marc Ernesti began as Assistant Professor of Music Business, coming to Crane from an appointment at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Professor Ernesti has degrees from the University of London and the University of Sheffield. 






On November 11, 2017, the Crane School welcomed faculty, alumni, and students to celebrate the lives of Dr. Rebecca Reames and Dr. Heather Eyerly, two Crane School of Music choral faculty who passed away this past year. Performances were by the Crane Concert Choir, Phoenix Club, Hosmer Choir, Crane Chorus, the A-Sharps, an Alumni Choir, and a faculty quartet (Colleen Skull, Lorraine Yaros Sullivan, Donald George, Jonathan Stinson). There will be remarks and remembrances by students, alumni, colleagues and Dean Michael Sitton spread throughout the concert. It was a moving tribute to two amazing teachers and musicians.


The Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam, has had an international student exchange program with Birmingham Conservatoire for many years. We applaud the Conservatoire's recent news of being granted a Royal title, and the renaming to the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

The Principal (like a Dean over here) of the Conservatoire, Julian Lloyd Webber, wrote, "The Royal title, personally granted by Her Majesty The Queen, marks the start of an exciting new era during which the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire will advance standards of music education in our brand new facilities, in keeping with its role as the first conservatoire of the digital age."

This announcement follows the appointment of HRH Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, as the Conservatoire's first Royal Patron last year.


Music Business News:

In September, the Crane School of Music presented the 2017 (and ninth annual) Sandy Feldstein Music Business Roundtable, with great success.

The panel's discussion topic was "How to Get a Job in the Music Business." In addition to Crane School Dean Michael Sitton (on the left), on the stage from left to right were:

  • Kurt Witt (General Manager for Woodwind and Brasswind, Guitar Center),
  • Crane alum Melissa Wegner ('03, Associate Director of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions),
  • David Via (Vice President of International Business Development, D’Addario & Co.), and
  • Crane's Marc Enesti, the new head of our music business program.

Below is a picture of all of the Music Business majors and minors who came to the Roundtable.

Also in association with the Roundtable, Melissa Wegner gave a masterclass with voice students, including soprano Samantha Martin and tenor Kirk McAuliffe (both pictured below). Kirk Severtson is the accompanist in both photos.


Music Education News:

The 2017 Joy Anthony Douglass ‘56 Visiting Master Teachers this fall were Dr. Constance McKoy and Dr. Jacqueline Kelly-McHale, who were in residency from September 25 to 29. Drs. McKoy and Kelly-McHale bring their wealth of experience to explore the question of what it means to teach – and learn – within a culturally responsive classroom.

Student reflections, done as podcasts for Dr. Marsha Baxter’s Urban Music Education course, can be found at


Performance News:

In September, The Crane School of Music welcomed trumpeter and performance coach Bill Williams for residency a devoted to "The Path to Optimal Performance" kicking off tonight with an Introductory lecture in Wakefield and opportunities for a limited number of students to have individual coaching sessions with Mr. Williams.

Mr. Williams was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance with the Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, and also the Master of Arts degree in Psychology from the New School for Social Research.


Guest James Smith, conductor, was at Crane in October for a talk on Musicianship for Dynamic Performance and several masterclasses. Maestro Smith conducts the Symphony Orchestra and is Music Director of the Opera at University of Madison-Wisconsin Mead Witter School of Music. He began his career as a clarinetist.


Guest Composer Stacy Garrop came to Crane in October for the premiere of her saxophone concerto, Quicksilver, performed by Crane’s Casey Grev alongside the Crane Wind Ensemble, directed by Brian Doyle. In addition to working with the ensemble, Stacy also spent time with Crane composition  majors and minors, and her residency including an open session on “leveraging your presence in the digital world.” 


Crane students will be working with one of Musical America's 2017 Movers & Shapers –Top 30 Professionals of the Year. Opera Dramaturg Cori Ellison, who was named to the list as an "opera whisperer," has already been to campus as we began the process of commissioning an opera for the 2018 Pellicciotti Opera Prize last year. We are pleased to note that she is continuing to work with the Crane Opera Ensemble and composer/librettist Tom Cipullo as the work progresses towards its premiere next fall.

Music History News:

In November, Crane music history faculty and students attended the national meeting of the American Musicological Society in Rochester. Crane musicology faculty chaired two panels at the conference: Dr. Erin Brooks co-organized and chaired a session on “Musicology and Trauma Studies: Perspectives for Research and Pedagogy,” and Dr. David Blake chaired a session on “Teaching Democratic Principles.”  Crane students had a blast attending the conference—they listened to papers, played historic musical instruments, talked with prospective graduate schools, and networked with musicology students and faculty from across the country.  Below: Crane students AMS conference (left to right) Christina Morris, Adelle St. Onge, Alexa Mani, Matthew Stroinski, Mitchell Brownell.


Alumni News

Great Performances declared August 28- September 3, 2017 “Renée Fleming Week.” We congratulate Renée (’81) for this incredible honor.


Katherine Beck (’12) was selected for the Young Artists Program at Opera Colorado. This is an eight-month residency, and Katie was one of only seven singers selected for the program. After attending Crane, Katie earned her Master’s degree in Vocal Arts from USC’s Thornton School of Music.

Then, Katherine went one better, becoming one of the four Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition winners in the San Francisco District. She is pictured below (on the left) with her fellow winners. Katherine will now go on to the Western Region Finals, which will take place in January in Los Angeles. The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions is a program designed to discover promising young opera singers and assist in the development of their careers.


Justin Moniz ('11) was featured in Modern Singer magazine recently. Justin is beginning his appointment at Millikin University (Decatur, Illinois) as Coordinator of Vocal Studies, and he returned to Crane in October to appear with featured Alumni Series pianist Ronny Michael Greenberg (’09) in an alumni recital.


David Williams' ('87) new book, "The Enterprising Musician’s Guide to Performer Contracts," came out in November. The book features a foreword by Stephanie Blythe ('92). David has a long career in both music and the world of business and law, he taught classes in Crane's Music Business program last year.


Crane School of Music students majoring in Music Business do exceptionally well when it comes to winning one of the prestigious NAMM President's Innovation Awards. Two of our alumni, Rebecca Scholldorf ('15) and Jordan Olinsky ('17), were recently among six past winners on the Innovation Awards who were profiled in College Magazine.

Rebecca won the Innovation Award in 2015 and now works at Dansr Inc., while Jordan is the Pacific North Division Manager at Buffet Crampon. Jordan is in good company at Buffet, where he joined recent graduate Jack Dring (’16) (Central Plains Division Manager) and now John Hylkema (’17), who accepted a position with Buffet as South Central Division manager this fall.


Adam Flynn Emery (Music Business '16) sent us a report of the workshopping a new work by Eve O'Donnell at National Sawdust in NYC on September 15th. The work, Arctic Water, was performed by the Os Ensemble, conducted by fellow alum Raquel Klein (Music Education '16), and included Adam and several other Crane alumni in the ensemble. (Brian Schuh, '17, who was in town for his music business internship with Innsbruck Records, is on the far right in the picture below.)

The work was inspired by aerial photographs of the polar ice caps which were projected during the concert, and is part of a larger work O'Donnell is writing for the Os Ensemble. The audience was made up of composers, producers, and other musicians, including Kronos Quartet founder Jeffrey Ziegler and National Sawdust founder Paolo Prestini.


The American Composers Forum recently praised the new CD "RETURN" by the New Music Ensemble at Grand Valley State University (Allendale, Michigan), led by Crane alum Bill Ryan ('90). The ACF wrote, "this album of hybrid electronic-acoustic audio landscapes opens up a wide musical horizon — forward gazing, a bit chill and sentimental, with surprises along the way. In the end it is a youthful vision of beauty unencumbered by textbook dogma." The 15 tracks were all written by three former composition students of Ryan, who is a composer as well as the ensemble's director.


Reflecting on the Ranlett Organ Recital guest recital one week ago: here is a picture of (L to R) guest artist Rachel Laurin, along with Crane alumni David Storey '78; Emeritus Professor James Autenrith. David Storey commissioned organist and composer Rachel Laurin to write an organ work in honor of Prof. Autenrith, which was premiered as part of the 18th annual L. Felix and Helen Miller Ranlett Organ Recital on October 15th, generously made possible by Dr. Judith and Dr. John Ranlett. The piece is Laurin's Concert Piece Op. 79.


Harpist Mikaela Davis (’14) passed along the news that she is now signed with Rounder Records and will be putting an album out in April 2018.


We were so proud to see that Alycia Cancel (’13) was featured in the American Forces Network Profile in November. Currently an Airman 1st Class, Alycia is a vocalist for the Air Force Band of the Pacific. Her video feature is at


Faculty News

Recent arrival to Crane from London, Coordinator of Music Business Marc Ernesti was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).  Founded in 1754, the RSA has Charles Dickens, Adam Smith, Benjamin Franklin, Karl Marx, and Stephen Hawking among its past and present members.

Originally established as a learned society for the encouragement of arts, manufacture and commerce in the United Kingdom, the RSA today is an international community of "achievers and influencers from a wide array of backgrounds and professions, distinguished by the title FRSA", who support the mission to enrich society through ideas and action, for a 21st-century enlightenment.


In September, clarinetist Julianne Kirk Doyle was the Vandoren feature in The Instrumentalist. A longer form of the interview appeared on the Vandoren website.


We are proud to share an interview with Miles DeCastro, Crane's Instrument Technician, published by in their Technician Spotlight column at

Meanwhile, Miles hosted a NAPBIRT (the National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians) Regional Clinic at Crane in October. There were clinics presented on Trombone Repair, Becoming a Professional Technician, Silver and Goldsmithing, and Miles' session on Carbon Fiber Pinning.

Miles also presented a clinic at the Third NAPBIRT Australia Regional Conference in Queensland, Australia in late October. The event attracts technicians from Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe, and North America. Miles' presented on "Increasing Your Clarinet Profits Through Repairs, Modifications, Customizations, And Sales."

In 3-D Hi-Tech news: Miles received funds to purchase a MakerBot Replicator Mini+ 3D Printer for use in the Repair Shop at The Crane School of Music. The 3D printer will allow him to create certain replacement parts for instruments at a lower cost than ordering them. It will also allow him to fabricate parts for obsolete instruments whose parts are no longer in production. This purchase will be made possible by funding from the SUNY Potsdam Student Government Association.


Music theory Assistant Professor Dr. Michael Vitalino was at the Complesso Monumentale di San Micheletto, in Lucca, Italy, in November, presenting a paper on the music of Liszt. The conference was focused on music publishing and composers from 1750 to 1850. Dr. Vitalino's paper is "Publication as Compositional Waypoint: Contextualizing Franz Liszt’s 1843 Buch der Lieder."

As the author explains, "The general theme of my talk is that as publication became formalized process at the turn of 1800, Liszt works against this new norm by revising his works. This is due to his career as improvisator and mindset that pieces are malleable rather than finite masterworks. My paper highlights one publication has been largely forgotten while the rest of his revisions are available in modern edition."


In late November, Crane Associate Dean David Heuser traveled to the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he was the alumnus guest composer of the I.U. New Music Ensemble. The ensemble, under the direction of David Dzubay, premiered a work they commissioned from Heuser, Absolutely and Forever, which takes its inspiration Thomas Pynchon's book Gravity's Rainbow. Heuser also spent time working with Jacobs School composition majors in masterclasses and individual lessons.


In December, Crane professors Jerod Sommerfeldt and Emmett O'Leary, in coordination with the North Country Children's Museum, presented an electronic music workshop. Children, grades K-5, made custom drum interfaces using Makey Makeys and remixed the soundtrack to a video game.


SUNY Potsdam produced features on a number of faculty during the fall semester, including Julie Hunter ( and Young-Ah Tak (


Emeriti Faculty News

Crane School Emerita Professor Carleen Graham was Crane opera director for nearly a quarter of a century, and as sad as we were to see her go in 2016, she stepped into an incredible position heading up Houston Grand Opera’s community education organization, HGOco. The entire company was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey, and we found this story about Carleen (in to be inspiring and a bittersweet reminder of her wonderful qualities.


Professor of Trumpet Emeritus Gordon Mathie has been in touch with us recently with the exciting news about the recent publication of parts, by Presser, for Vincent Persichetti’s The Pleiades for chorus, string orchestra and trumpet, a work commissioned by Crane in 1968. The piece employs a text by Walt Whitman. Prof. Mathie’s son David Mathie, whom we are delighted to have teaching part-time at Crane following his retirement from Boise State University and relocation to the North Country, is working to make this exciting news about a gem in the trumpet solo repertoire more widely known. Until now the parts the The Pleiades were unavailable for performance.

The original commission was by the Julia E. Crane Alumni Association in honor of Helen M. Hosmer. We are happy to know this piece, whose genesis involved Prof. Mathie and Crane, will now reach new audiences!


Student News

Crane Music Business major Brian Schuh ('17) spent the summer with Innsbruck Records in New York City for his (required) music business internship. Innsbruck co-owner Roman Klun shared this picture on his own Facebook page and wrote that Brian continued "to raise the bar of ultimate value within this music industry. Maria, Aaron and I thank Brian and Crane School of Music | SUNY Potsdam for their excellence in music education of all styles and genres."


The annual Central New York-Finger Lakes Chapter of National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) student auditions including a wonderful group of Crane students, as you can see from this picture below. Crane had five first-place winners and a number more in 2nd and 3rd place. Congratulations to all!

Students of Jonathan Stinson:

Tristan Lesso, 1st place in Musical Theater Upper Level Men
Chris Sarkis, 3rd place in Second Year Men

Students of Colleen Skull:

Calandra Damouras tied for 3rd place in the 1st Year Women
Craig Smith won 2nd place in the Second Year Men

Students of Donald George:

Adam Jones 1st place in First Year Men
Kirk McAuliffe 1st place in Advanced Men

Students of Lorraine Yaros Sullivan

Tessa Spencer tied for 3rd place, First Year Women
Joseph Benedict 2nd place, First Year Men

Students of Lonel Woods

Allison Brault tied for 1st place in Musical Theater Women
Shavon Lloyd 1st place in Third Year Men
Ivan Jukic 2nd place in Musical Theater Upper Level Men