Music Faculty and Staff
Director of the School of Music and Theatre
Dr. Richard Kravchak is the founding Director of the School of Music and Theatre at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. He has been heard as an oboe soloist, chamber and orchestral musician around the world, performing concerts throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Kravchak has appeared as a soloist with ensembles as diverse as The Dubuque Symphony, The University of Hawaii Wind Ensemble, The Carson Symphony, Banda Espinia de Portugal and the Orquesta Symphonica de El Salvador. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald has written “Kravchak’s playing revealed a real beauty of tone, not monolithic, but always changing in color and intensity. He makes even the most difficult lines seem almost effortless.” The Florida Flambeau raves “Kravchak made a good case for his virtuosity.” Dr. Kravchak has been invited to present solo performances at conferences and festivals including The International Double Reed Society, The North American Saxophone Alliance, Festival Forfest, the International Clarinet Society, and many others. He holds performance degrees from the Eastman School of Music, the Juilliard School, and Florida State University. Richard Kravchak served as Professor of Music at California State University, Dominguez Hills, where he was the Chairman of the Music Department. His duties also included directing the Music Education program and serving as a studio woodwind instructor.
Previous to his appointment at Marshall University, Dr. Kravchak was the Chairman of the Music Department at California State University, Dominguez Hills, in the Los Angeles, California metropolitan area. There his duties also included directing the Music Education program and serving as a studio woodwind instructor. Concurrent to his work at CSUDH he served on the conducting faculty of the Valley Youth Orchestras, as well as serving an elementary music instructor for the Los Angeles Unified School District. Dr. Kravchak’s teaching has been widely recognized by his colleagues. Kravchak was the first California teacher to receive National Board Certification in music education. He has also received a Platinum Apple Award from the United Teachers of Los Angeles, a Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year award from the Los Angeles County Office of Education, and has been a finalist for a Bravo Award, granted by the Music Center of Los Angeles. Dr. Kravchak received the Dunsay award from the Music Center, as the Bravo Award Finalist who “did the most with the fewest resources”.
Dr. Júlio Ribeiro Alves earned a D.M. degree in Guitar Performance and Music Literature from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, a M.M. degree in Guitar Performance from the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University and a B.M. degree in Guitar Performance from the University of Brasília (UnB- Universidade de Brasília), in his native country Brazil.
At Marshall, he is responsible for overseeing the guitar area, teaching applied lessons, guitar literature, guitar pedagogy, guitar techniques, and coordinating the M.U. Guitar Ensemble. He also teaches music theory and aural skills. Active as a solo player and also as a member of the Violauta Duo, Dr. Alves performs a wide variety of repertoire from various ethnicities and historical periods. He has performed in several Brazilian cities, and also in the USA, Argentina, and Uruguay.
I consider it to be both a blessing and a great responsibility to have the opportunity to guide my students to refine their natural abilities and to develop new ones. I believe that through a musical performance, lives can be significantly touched, either generating or simply nurturing a process of immeasurable proportions which can lead us to become closer to each other, and to be more aware of our human condition. I feel this touch every time I communicate music to an audience, or when, as a listener, I get to hear someone doing it. I also firmly believe that performers can express a more meaningful message if they are able to integrate their knowledge about music theory into their instrumental skills. As a teacher, I focus on the goal of gradually making myself obsolete to my students as a result of helping them to develop their potential while at Marshall and to prepare them for the challenges they’ll face in their professional lives after they graduate from our music department.
Clarinet, Oboe, Music History
Ann Marie Bingham is Professor of Music at Marshall University where she teaches clarinet, oboe and twentieth century music history. She holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in clarinet performance from the University of Kentucky. She is a founding member of Triptych, a woodwinds and percussion trio that specializes in and commissions a great deal of contemporary chamber music. She plays English horn with the Huntington Symphony Orchestra and clarinet with the Kingsbury Woodwind Quintet. In the summers she teaches woodwinds and performs with the Festival Orchestra and the Festival Band at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, Michigan. Before teaching at the collegiate level she taught band grades 5-12 in the Grainger County, Tennessee public school system.
Saxophone, Jazz Studies
Dr. Ed Bingham is Professor of Saxophone and Director of Jazz Studies at Marshall University. He holds degrees from the University of Tennessee, The Juilliard School and The University of Kentucky. In addition to the large saxophone studio ant Marshall University, he directs the Marshall University Jazz Ensemble and coordinates two jazz festivals each year. Marshall’s winter jazz festival is one of the longest-running collegiate jazz festivals in the country having just celebrated its 38th anniversary. In early summer, Dr. Bingham directs the Jazz-MU-Tazz Festival that features high school and college students with prominent jazz artists and clinicians. He is a founding member of Marshall’s faculty jazz ensemble Bluetrane. Bingham is Fellow of the Drinko Honors Academy Marshall. His research into the creative process was featured at Marshall’s Drinko Symposium and at the International Association for Jazz Education International Conference in Long Beach, California. Dr. Bingham maintains an active performance schedule in addition to his teaching responsibilities at Marshall and at Blue Lake. He is a bassoonist and saxophonist with the Huntington Symphony Orchestra and has performed with the Lexington (KY) Philharmonic, the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the River Cities Symphony Orchestra and the Ohio Valley Symphony. Current projects include a presentation at the national conference of the College Music Society in Salt Lake City and the release of Bluetrane’s first CD.
Director of Athletic Bands
Dr. Adam Dalton is currently the Director of Athletic Bands for Marshall University where he oversees the Marching Thunder and basketball pep bands. He also conducts the Marshall Symphonic Band and serves as the recruitment director for the music department.
Dr. Dalton is a native of Virginia where he attended James Madison University and earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. After graduating, he moved to Atlanta, GA where he taught high school at Milton High School, a large 5A program in Georgia. He then accepted a Graduate Teaching Assistantship at The University of Alabama where he received his Master of Arts in Music Education and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Instrumental Conducting.
Dr. Dalton performed with The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps for three years earning two world championships and a gold medal in individual and ensemble. He also marched in various independent winter guards in the southeast, consistently making finals at Winter Guard International. His designing and teaching experience includes the 2008 World Champion Phantom Regiment, The Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps, and currently serves as a caption head for the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps. He is featured on the WGI video, Toss and served as a clinician and performer for the first everSpinfest Clinic, an annual educational event sponsored by WGI. Dr. Dalton maintains a busy schedule as a designer, consultant, and adjudicator for marching bands and indoor groups both nationally and internationally.
Dr. Dalton worked with every ensemble while at The University of Alabama and was a featured conductor for the 2013 All-State Festival performance with The Alabama Wind Ensemble. His high school band received superior ratings at Large Group Performance Association. As a percussionist, Dr. Dalton performed with the Alabama Wind Ensemble for four years including their 10 day tour of Italy in 2012. He is a founding member of the Alabama Winds, a community band based in Birmingham, AL. He has also participated in the Alabama Wind Ensemble recording project The Glass Bead, available on Albany Records.
Dr. Dalton’s professional affiliations include the Collegiate Band Director’s National Conference, the National Association for Music Education, the Collegiate Music Society, and the National Band Association.
Cello and Double Bass, Music Appreciation
Dr. Şőlen Dikener has been the professor of cello and double bass at Marshall University since 2002. He began his teaching career as cello teacher at Hacettepe University in Turkey (1990-1995) and continued at Central Michigan University (1999-2000). As an educator, he has been a vigorous advocate of arts in the United States and Turkey, working on many levels of music education including as the director of Crescendo Music Academy in Michigan, as the coach for All State Orchestras and WV Youth Symphony, and as the founder/artistic director of Akademi Datca (2006-2008) an international summer music school and festival in southwestern Turkey. In 2010 he published a cello method book “Cello Warm-Up!” which received high critical acclaim from The Strad Magazine.
As a performer, he promotes the works of contemporary composers from Turkey and the USA. His recording projects feature the music of Ilhan Baran, Ahmed A. Saygun, Ilhan Usmanbas, Necil K. Akses, Cemal R. Rey, and Kamran Ince, as well as Paul Tortelier, Othmar Schoeck, William Matthews, Mark Zanter, David Walther, and David Williams. He has recorded seven compact discs that are available on iTunes, Amazon, Napster and other music stores. Some of his live performances were broadcasted on numerous radio stations including WWFM, WMUK, Radio France, and TRT (Turkish Radio & Television). Dr. Dikener has also appeared as solo cellist and chamber musician in the USA, Germany, Austria, France, Turkey, and England, and has also performed with the Kalamazoo Symphony, Huntington Symphony, CMU Orchestra, Kalamazoo College Orchestra, Marshall Orchestra, Bilkent Symphony, Presidential Symphony, Istanbul State Symphony, and the Hacettepe Symphony. These performances have given him the opportunity to collaborate with conductors Jean Perrison, Tadeusz Strugala, Raymond Harvey, Yoshimi Takeda, Isin Metin and Gurer Aykal, pianists Adam Neiman and Yefim Bronfman, and the Shangai String Quartet,. He is the founding member of Capital Trio (1997), based at SUNY -Albany, New York . The group has performed throughout New England and the midwest, along with the United Kingdom in concert venues including Cambridge University, Emerson College, Harvard University, Boston Athenaeum, Williams College, and the Franco Center.
During his studies in France, Dr. Dikener has been one of the final assistants of legendary French cellist Paul Tortelier. He received his Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from Michigan State University.
Applied Voice, Opera
Linda Dobbs, soprano, has been a member of the voice faculty at Marshall University, where she also directs the opera program, since 1982. She has appeared in opera, oratorio, musical theatre and as a chamber music recitalist in Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and Washington D.C.. She holds the Bachelor of Music (music education) and Master of Music (voice performance) degrees from Bowling Green State University, Ohio with additional studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder.
Her students have performed with Opera in the Ozarks and Sieur DuLuth Opera, with summer musical theatre companies, and pursued have graduate study in schools throughout the United States. An avid supporter of interdisciplinary learning, she has participated in developing distance learning programs that integrate the arts with social studies and language curricula in schools, and with university, community singers, and young students produces opera for family audiences. Her articles and reviews of new works for young singers have been published in the Journal of Opera for Youth, Inc. and she is the librettist for The Fiddler’s Ghost, an opera for children by composer Albert Zabel, published by MMB Music. In 2000, during a six-month sabbatical in Ireland, she studied the transmission of traditional folksongs from Ireland and Scotland to America returning to present lecture-recitals on her study. She performs that repertoire with the Celtic band Blackbirds and Thrushes.
In July 2007, she taught and performed as a guest of the University of Brasília, Brazil and was a featured performer and teacher at the Festival Internacional de Inverno de Brasília 2007.
Dobbs recently received the Distinguished Service Award from Marshall University for her work with arts in the community. She can be heard on the CD Rallying Round Our Liberty, performing music from the Federalist era of the United States with her husband, flutist Wendell Dobbs. Dobbs and her husband are the parents of a son who is studying at university.
Dr. Wendell Dobbs performs regularly in solo and chamber venues, in a variety of settings ranging from the Huntington Symphony Orchestra and the Ohio Valley Symphony (principal flute in both) to Blackbirds and Thrushes, a Celtic band. During a seven-year stint as flutist in the United States Army Band (Pershing’s Own) in Washington, D.C., Dr. Dobbs received two Certificates of Achievement for contributions as soloist and principal flutist of the United States Army Chamber Orchestra. He joined the Marshall University faculty in 1985 after two years in Paris as a French Government Scholar studying with Michel Debost and Alain Marion. At Marshall he received the Pan Hellenic Society’s Teacher of the Year award in 1993 and was selected the John Deaver Drinko Fellow for the 2007-08 academic year. In that capacity he studied flute music in America in the early 19th century and founded the John Marshall Fife and Drum Corps.
Dr. Dobbs received his Bachelor of Music from the University of Memphis and his masters and doctorate from Catholic University in Washington, DC. During his masters and doctoral studies his principal teacher was Bernard Goldberg.
His articles regularly appear in Flute Talk; he authored a Study Guide to Rubank Selected Studies for Flute which included instructional text and CD demo recording for West Virginia’s high school flutists.
He premiered Katherine Hoover’s Dances and Variations for flute and harp at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Dobbs’ interpretation of Dances and Variations and other works by Hoover can be heard on the critically acclaimed CD Flute & Company on the Leonarda label.
Dr. Dobbs performs on the Halsey Stevens Quintet, released on Koch International Classics CD, a disc that was selected as best pick of 1996 by Tower Record’s Classical Pulse! Magazine. He premiered James Kessler’s Appalachian Folksong Suite for flute and orchestra, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Huntington Chamber Orchestra. In spring, 1999 he premiered Paul W. Whear’s Celtic Concerto and in fall, 2003 Scott Michal’s Concerto for flute and orchestra both with the Huntington Symphony Orchestra. With colleague Kay Wildman he provided the music for Marshall University and Motion Masters documentary on the life of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall. He followed that project up with a CD recording entitled Rallying Round Our Liberty, devoted to American flute music and songs from John Marshall’s era. On these two projects he performs on the historically accurate 8-key simple system flute of the 19th century. He spins Irish traditional jigs and reels as a member of Blackbirds and Thrushes on two CDs, Calamity Nights and New Heights and regularly performs with his colleague, guitarist Júlio Alves in the Violauta Duo.
Coordinator of Percussion Studies
Steven Hall is presently an Associate Professor in the Marshall University Music Department. As the Percussion Coordinator, Steve’s primary responsibilities include directing the Percussion Ensemble, African Drumming and Dance Ensemble, teaching Percussion Lessons, and World Music. Active as a performing percussionist/drummer in a wide variety of settings, Steve has served as the Principal Percussionist and Timpanist for the Huntington Symphony Orchestra and the Ohio Valley Orchestra. In addition to performing at the 2001 and 2003 Percussive Arts Society International Conventions in Nashville, TN and Louisville, KY, he has performed recently in concerts with Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., The Three Irish Tenors, Video Games Live, Martin Short, Buggs On Broadway, LeAnn Rimes, Frank Sinatra Jr., Mark McVey, The Diamonds, The Coasters, The Drifters, The Platters, The Inkspots, and Ray Charles. Steve also plays drums regularly with Three Fold Theory, The Jay Flippen Group, Mark Zanter +, and C & S Railroad. As a result of studying traditional African music with the esteemed African scholar J.H.K. Nketia and others at the University of Ghana, Legon, West Africa in 1998, the African Drumming and Dance Ensemble was created by Professor Hall and has proven to be a very popular offering at Marshall University. In July of 2003 and 2004 Mr. Hall traveled to Salvador, Brasil to study traditional Brasilian music and culture with professional drummers from the Afro-Brasilian musical group Olodum. Mr. Hall’s recent performances with Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. included traveling to Germany in November 2012 to perform for American military troops in Edelweiss and Stuttgart and shows in Tulsa, OK and Panama City, FL. in Jan. of 2013.
French Horn, Music Theory
Doctor of Musical Arts – Michigan State University, 1991
Master of Music – Michigan State University, 1983
Bachelor of Music – Crane School of Music, SUNY at Potsdam, 1978
Dr. Stephen Lawson has been a faculty member at Marshall University since 2002, teaching horn lessons, music theory and music education courses. Additionally, he has served as the interim chair of the Department of Music and directed the MU Wind Symphony. He is a member of the Kingsbury Woodwind Quintet, and MU Faculty Brass Quintet. Lawson is a member of the Huntington Symphony Orchestra and, has performed with the Ohio Valley Symphony and the West Virginia Symphony, River Cities Symphony and Seneca Chamber Orchestra on horn, since arriving in WV.
From 1991-2002, Lawson taught at Minot State University in Minot, ND. At MSU, he taught horn, trumpet and guitar lessons, music theory and graduate research methods, and coached chamber music. From 1995-1998, Lawson was the music director and conductor of the Minot Symphony Orchestra. He has served as principal horn of the Minot Symphony and as principal trumpet of the Bismarck Symphony. He was the founder and director of the Audubon Chamber Ensemble and was the director of the Ambassador Brass Quintet. As well as performing in these ensembles, he has been an active arranger.
Lawson has served on the faculties of Western Carolina University, Albion College and Lansing Community College and performed as a horn player with the Asheville Symphony (NC), Greater Lansing Symphony, Kalamazoo Symphony and Flint Symphony (MI) and the Adirondack Symphony (NY). He has maintained an active schedule of adjudication, clinics and master classes, chamber music and solo recital performances throughout his career. A highlight was performing at the International Horn Society Workshop on a recital of historical horns at the University of Oregon, in Eugene, OR in 1996. Many of Lawson’s recital appearances have involved the performance practices on historical horns.
Ben F. Miller is Professor of Music at Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia, where he serves as Percussion Instructor and is a member of the M.U. Jazz Faculty. A native of Joliet, Illinois, he received his B.M.E. degree from Indiana University and M.A. and D.M.A. degrees from the University of Iowa. Dr. Miller teaches undergraduate and graduate applied percussion, percussion techniques classes for music education students and instrumental conducting. For more than 30 years Dr. Miller served as the Assistant Director of Bands conducting Marching, Symphonic and Jazz Bands. He is the former Timpanist and Principal Percussionist with the Cedar Rapids (IA) and West Virginia Symphonies and serves in a similar capacity with the Huntington Symphony and Pops Orchestras. He is the founder and leader of the “Flat Baroque (mostly) Marimba Quartet.” Dr. Miller also performs with the Marshall University Faculty Jazz Ensemble “Bluetrane.” As a freelance performer, Ben is active in the tri-state region of West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. A popular guest artist, conductor, clinician and adjudicator Dr. Miller has presented concerts and clinics throughout the United States as well as New Zealand, Cuba and Brazil. Many elementary school students know Ben as “Professor Boom Boom” who demonstrates his unique collection of percussion instruments from around the world and addresses the similarities of various cultures through percussion instruments and rhythm. He is associated with the Pearl Drum/Adams Musical Instruments, Sabian Cymbal, Mike Balter Mallet, Pro-Mark Drum Stick and Evans Drum Head companies as a clinician and consultant. He is Past President of the West Virginia Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society (P.A.S.) and is a member of the International P.A.S. Education and University Pedagogy Committees. He has also served as the West Virginia Chairperson for the National Band Association and is a member of NAfME, JEN and the American Federation of Musicians.
Director of Jazz Studies,
Martin Saunders is Director of Jazz Studies and Professor of Trumpet at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. He currently holds three degrees in music; a Bachelor of Music Education from Winthrop University, a Master of Music from Wright State University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma. Prior to teaching a Marshall University, Martin spent seven years in the Air Force Band program at Offutt AFB in Omaha, Nebraska. There he performed primarily as the Lead Trumpeter, and later became Musical Director, for the Noteables Jazz Ensemble. He was also a member of the Concert Band.
Dr. Saunders is an active jazz performer, adjudicator, and clinician for a number of universities and jazz competitions across the United States. He is a trumpeter and a featured soloist with Bluetrane, the Marshall University Faculty Jazz Ensemble, and with the MU Faculty Brass Quintet. Dr. Saunders is also a lead trumpeter and featured soloist with the Landau Murphy, Jr. Big Band, the Lippz Big Band, and performs with River Jam in Charleston, West Virginia. Martin has been an Artist Faculty member of the National Trumpet Competition since 2002, and has chaired the jazz division competition numerous times. He has performed with a number of highly regarded entertainers such as Arturo Sandoval, LeAnn Rimes, Byron Stripling, Rich Little, the Cab Calloway Orchestra, The Temptations, and Frank Sinatra, Jr. Dr. Saunders is a Conn/Selmer Bach Artist.
Elizabeth Reed Smith
Violin, Viola, Chamber Music
Elizabeth Reed Smith is Professor of violin, viola and chamber music at Marshall University. Since earning degrees in violin performance from the Yale University School of Music and the Eastman School of Music, Dr. Smith has received numerous awards, including first prize in the Columbia Philharmonic Orchestra Young Artists Competition. She has studied violin with Charles Castleman, Linda Cerone, Szymon Goldberg, Peter Salaff and Burton Kaplan. Smith’s performances have included solo appearances with Orchestra New England, the Connecticut Chamber Orchestra, the Columbia Philharmonic Orchestra, the Huntington Symphony Orchestra, and the Marshall University Symphony Orchestra. As violinist of the Nevelson Duo, she recorded a CD on Albany Records, American Music for Violin and Piano. Smith also performs in the Millefiori Trio with Henning Vauth and Marshall cello professor Sölen Dikener. She has appeared as a solo recitalist and chamber musician throughout the eastern United States. Locally she performs as concertmaster of the Huntington Symphony Orchestra. In addition to violin, viola and chamber music Smith teaches music theory, and conducts the Marshall University Symphony Orchestra.
Voice, Music Education
Dr. Larry W. Stickler, bass-baritone, is Professor of Music at Marshall University where he has taught voice and music education for 20 years. He is also chair of the Marshall University faculty senate. He served as the first assistant dean of the College of Fine Arts at Marshall. He has also taught on the faculties of Indiana University, Drake University, and Yankton College. He earned his Doctor of Music degree with distinction in voice pedagogy, literature and performance; his Master of Music degree in voice and choral music; and his Bachelor of Music Education degree in voice and choral music from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
Voice students of Dr. Stickler have pursued performance careers as well as graduate studies in both master’s and doctoral degree programs. They also can be found as teachers in classrooms and voice studios in colleges and public school classrooms throughout the country.
Dr. Stickler served as Dean of the West Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts in 2005-2007and 1999-2000. Dr. Stickler also taught on the faculty for the West Virginia Honors Academy (GHA) for three years.
Stickler is currently President of the West Virginia Music Educators Association. He also served as advisor of Collegiate Music Educators, Chapter 2 at Marshall for 10 years. During that time the chapter received a national award from MENC for programming. He has served on the executive board of WVMEA as State Advisor for Collegiate Chapters and as President of the University/College Teachers.
Stickler has taught voice and vocal pedagogy as well as classes in choral materials and methods, elementary music materials and methods, and curriculum in music education. In addition he has taught student teaching seminars and has supervised student teachers. Music Theatre was the topic of his honors seminars.
He has conducted the Hurricane Civic Chorus for 19 years. He is currently music director at Johnson Memorial United Methodist Church in Huntington, West Virginia.
Dr. Stickler remains active as a bass-baritone soloist, guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator.
Low Brass (trombone and euphonium),
Coordinator of Graduate Studies
- BM in Music Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis
- MM with Honors in Trombone Performance, New England Conservatory of Music
- MME in Conducting, University of North Texas
- PhD in Music Education, University of North Texas
Michael Stroeher serves as Principal Trombone in the Huntington Symphony and has performed with the West Virginia, Ohio Valley, Augusta, Greenville, and St. Louis Symphonies, the South Carolina Philharmonic, and the Aspen Festival Orchestra.
- Leopold Mozart Concerto with the Marshall University Orchestra
- Phillip Sparke Concerto with Marshall Wind Symhony
- Henri Tomasi Concerto with the Huntington Symphony
- Joseph Turrin Fandango with the Marshall Wind Symphony
- Soren Hyldgaard Rapsodia Borealis with the Marshall Wind Symphony (Western Hemisphere premiere)
- Derek Bourgeois Concerto with the DeKalb Wind Ensemble (Atlanta) and the Marshall Wind Symphony
- J. G. Albrechtsberger Concerto with the Augusta State University Orchestra
- Arthur Pryor Thoughts of Love with the Mighty Mississippi Concert Band and Idaho State University Symphonic Band
- Pryor Annie Laurie with the Augusta Concert Band, The Marshall University Festival Band, and the Marshall Wind Symphony
- Frigyes Hidas Movement and Axel Jorgensen Suite at the Eastern Trombone Workshop
- Marshall Faculty Brass Quintet
- Marshall Faculty Jazz Ensemble Bluetrane
- Numerous shows including The Temptations, The Stylistics, Bugs Bunny on Broadway, Video Games Live, Frank Sinatra, Jr., the Cab Calloway Orchestra, Ella Fitzgerald, Crystal Gayle, Nancy Wilson, and Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr.
Michael Stroeher has previously taught at Idaho State University, Phillips University, Augusta State University and in the St. Louis Public Schools. His students have placed or won the National Trombone Competition, the Ohio Valley Low Brass Competition, the Southeastern Regional Tuba-Euphonium Competition, and have gone on to successful careers as professional performers, university teachers and music educators.
“The most important thing I can do for students is to help them become the best possible musicians they can be, and to help them learn to teach themselves. I don’t really teach trombone; I teach how to make music using a trombone.”
When not teaching, performing, or practicing Dr. Stroeher runs, hikes, cycles, and spends time with his wife, musicologist Dr. Vicki Stroeher and two dogs, Maggie and Nellie.
Coordinator of Music History and Literature
Vicki Stroeher is a Professor of Music History at Marshall University in Huntington, WV where she is also Coordinator of the Music History and Literature area and chapter advisor for the Delta Kappa Chapter of Delta Omicron International Music Fraternity. She earned her Ph.D. in musicology with a secondary specialization in music theory from the University of North Texas in 1994. Among her mentors are Michael Collins (UNT), Graham Phipps (UNT), Deanna Bush (UNT), A. Peter Brown (Indiana University), and Ellsworth Peterson (Southwestern University). She has taught previously at Augusta State University in Augusta, GA, Philips University in Enid, OK, and Texas Wesleyan University in Ft. Worth.
Dr. Stroeher is active in many professional organizations, including:
The North American British Music Studies Association (Treasurer, 2011-present)
The American Musicological Society (AMS Council Representative, 2007-2009)
Allegheny Chapter of the American Musicological Society (President, 2005-2007; Program Chair 2003-2005)
The Royal Musical Association
The Society for Music Theory
The songs of English composer Benjamin Britten and text setting are her research passions, and she has presented papers on these topics to the Royal Musical Association, the Modern Languages Association, the North American British Music Studies Association, the International Conference on Music Since 1900 (held in the UK), the Kentucky Foreign Languages Conference, and various regional chapters of the AMS.
Her most recent presentations include the 2013 “Britten on Stage and Screen” conference in Nottingham, the 2012 North American British Music Studies Association Conference, the “Literary Britten” conference held at Girton College, Cambridge University in September 2011, and the “Britten in Context” conference in Liverpool Hope University in 2010. In 1998 she was awarded a University System of Georgia Grant to conduct research at the Britten-Pears Library in Aldeburgh, She is a co-organizer of the “Benjamin Britten at 100: An American Centenary Celebration,” held on the campus of Illinois State University, October 25-27, 2013.
Her current publications include a forthcoming chapter on Britten’s discursive use of monotone for Literary Britten, edited by Kate Kennedy, Cambridge University (to be published by Oxford University Press). She is also co-editor with Nicholas Clark and Jude Brimmer of A Life of the Two of Us: The Correspondence of Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears, 1937-1976, forthcoming.
In addition to cycling and hiking with her husband, Stroeher loves to spend time with her two dogs, Maggie and Nellie and cat, Snowshoe. She is married to Marshall music professor and trombonist, Michael Stroeher. Their favorite place to be, other than West Virginia, is Aldeburgh, Suffolk, UK.
Music History to 1750 (MUS 290)
Music History ca. 1730-1900 (MUS 360)
Music History after 1900 (MUS 361)
Research in Music (MUS 401)
Styles (MUS 304)
Introduction to Musicology (MUS 612)
Music of the Renaissance (MUS 652)
Music of the Classical Era (MUS 653)
Music of the Romantic Era (MUS 654)
Music ca. 1900 to the Present (MUS 655)
Music Research Methods (MUS 621)
Seminar in Teaching Music Appreciation (MUS 614)
Why Benjamin Britten?*
Not long ago, a student interested in pursuing a graduate degree in musicology asked me: “Why Britten?” I resisted the urge to retort back, “Why not?” and instead used the opportunity to reflect back on my history with this man whom I have never met in person, but who occupies a major portion of my life, sometimes even overshadowing the quite alive members of my family in his demands for attention. The truth is, Britten has “haunted” me since my first semester of college, first, when a group of female music majors gave a brilliant performance of Britten’s Ceremony of Carols in the chapel – I had never actually seen a harp up close, and second when scholar Anthony Milner, then of Goldsmith’s College, University of London, presented a lecture on Britten’s Curlew River. Milner’s lecture fed all that was sacred and inspired curiosity in me: England, Englishness, British music, and, opera, although being from a quite rural area I had never actually seen one, live or otherwise. Little did I know that these two encounters would mark the beginning of a long association with Britten and music, both in performance and in scholarship. Since those early days, I have performed in countless presentations of Britten’s choral works, including his incredible War Requiem – a journey I will never forget – given talks and written countless papers about him and his music.
But, Britten’s having haunted me does not really get to the heart of my student’s question: “Why Britten?” In other words, who is he to have so captured a mind and a heart?
For one thing, the story of Britten the man holds especial appeal. Like Mozart, he began composing at very early age, arranging notes on the page because of the way they looked and then later, when notation had been nearly conquered, writing music to mark the great events in his young life. How many youngsters would even think to document their father’s trip to London with a song: “Do you no that my Daddy has gone to London?” When he was older, a family friend asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He replied, “A composer,” and the friend pressed, “Yes, but what else?” From that moment forward, Britten’s mind was set – a composer he would become, and a very good one, too.
He cut his teeth with composition lessons with Frank Bridge and then John Ireland at the Royal College of Music. From there, he plied his trade working for the Government Post Office Film Unit supplying music for documentary films, an undertaking that allowed him to hone his technical facility. When the prospect of war began to tear at England, Britten came to understand that he was a pacifist and that he could never harm another human being, especially in battle. His job as a human being was to write music for humans to play and sing and enjoy, and from which they could learn about the ways and injustices of this world. For this reason, among others, he came to America, where war was, as yet, far away.
While in America, he discovered his Englishness, and that led him to return home to face the ravages of the war and declare his desire to register as a conscientious objector, a move that could have landed him in jail as it had close friend Michael Tippett. Instead, he and Peter Pears were directed to give recitals as their war work, bringing the joy of music to those most affected by the war.
One of the most compelling stories about Britten is one that resonates with my own family lore. My father, who was born just a few months before Britten in 1913, spent World War II in the reconnaissance unit of a tank destroyer battalion. After the war, so the story goes, he did not have enough points to come home, so he was posted to Germany, where he helped in the liberation of the concentration camps. My father died when I was very young, and so I’ve always been drawn to anything related to WWII in order to feel closer to him; thus anything having to do with Britten’s relationship to the war has always caught my attention. Imagine my delight when I found that, Britten, who was an extraordinary pianist, accompanied Yehudi Menuhin as he played for the inmates of various concentration camps after the war. When he returned home, Britten was ill with a high fever from the inoculations he received to be able to go: on his sick bed, he wrote some of the most gut-wrenching and soul-searching music to be had, his song cycle, the Holy Sonnets of John Donne. He takes you from the blackness of a soul that has reached its lowest point to the quiet and confident resolution of one, who through his faith, has overcome death. Nearly every work of Britten’s – as you hear them for the first time – gives you the sensation that you are embarking on a life-changing journey. Such is true of the Donne Sonnets, of Peter Grimes, Death in Venice, and of none more so, perhaps, than the War Requiem.
Britten has this uncanny ability to get to the heart of the matter of a text or story – and trying to find out how this is so is what appeals to me as a scholar. For, he sees quite clearly the human-ness of the character whose story he tells or the poet whose texts he sets, and he relates that human-ness in his music, expressing with it the very qualities that make us all human, from our innocence to our arrogance to our passion and our coldness. As a result, in the music we hear and feel the governess’s determination as she rides by carriage to the manor house in The Turn of the Screw; we immediately understand the moral turpitude of Lady Billows in Albert Herring; we are made to empathize with the desolation that is the Chimney Sweeper’s existence as he cries “’weep, ‘weep” in the Songs and Proverbs of William Blake; and we experience catharsis with the soldier in the War Requiem as he greets the man who ended his life: “I am the enemy you killed, my friend.” If everyone in the world were to hear that simple, unaccompanied utterance, war, gun violence, and anger would all be vanquished.
I will inevitably be asked again, “Why Britten?” I do not know if I will ever be able articulate in whole what sway he holds over me; instead, and because he has helped shape who I am as a human being – from my career to my humanity, I think I must answer the question: “Who else?”
* This essay is published in the Benjamin Britten at 100: An American Centenary Symposium Programme Book, Illinois State University, 2013.
Interim Director of Bands
Steven Trinkle has had a very eclectic and cosmopolitan career. After graduating from Washburn University and Ithaca College he began working as a trumpeter in orchestras in the United States, Italy and Venezuela including the Houston Symphony, the Augusta Symphony, the Kansas City Philharmonic, the Shreveport Symphony, the Orchestra Sinfonica dalla Radiotelevisione Italiana and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Maracaibo. He has given the world premiere performances of many new works for the trumpet and performed many times as a soloist with orchestras in North and South America.
Mr. Trinkle has been a professor at several universities and colleges including the State University of New York at Cortland, the University of South Carolina, Pembroke State University, Shenandoah University, Casper College and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Classes taught included music appreciation, class strings, class brass, orchestration, choral arranging, theory, sight singing, orchestra, band, pep band, brass ensembles and studio trumpet. Many of his former students are playing professionally and teaching in colleges and public schools throughout the United States, Europe and South America.
As a conductor he has worked with a wide variety of ensembles including choirs, orchestras, music theatre, and university ensembles. His conducting teachers include Sam Jones, Don Portnoy, Kurt Muspratt, Paul Vermel, David Becker and the many conductors with whom he has worked and observed for the past 40 years. Mr. Trinkle was a conducting fellow at the Conductor's Institute of South Carolina for 2 years. Ensembles under his direction have toured the U.S., Switzerland, Italy and Brazil.
His own ensemble, Trinkle Brass Works, has received wide recognition
through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Midwest and
Western States Arts Federation. Additionally grants from the Virginia Arts Council, North Carolina Arts Council, the Wisconsin Arts Board, the Wyoming Arts Council, Nevada Arts Council and many individuals and companies have funded hundreds of performances and Arts in Education residencies. TBW researches, commissions and performs music for brass and percussion.
Coordinator of Keyboard Studies
German pianist Henning Vauth serves as Assistant Professor of Piano and Coordinator of Keyboard Studies at Marshall University (USA). A laureate of the Concours Grieg International Competition for Pianists in Norway (Schubert Prize) and the IBLA Grand Prize International Piano Competition in Italy, he has performed at venues in the United States and in Europe, such as Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center in New York, the Konzerthaus in Berlin, and Salle Cortot in Paris.
Henning Vauth’s itinerary in 2013 includes solo recitals, master classes, and lectures at several universities in the US (UNC Chapel Hill, West Liberty University, Marshall University) and in Brazil (UFG in Goiania and UDESC in Florianopolis), the Paris International Summer Sessions, and the Palm Beach Atlantic Piano Festival in Florida (presentation of a lecture/panel discussion on musicians’ health). He is a founding member of the Millefiori Trio with American violinist E. Reed Smith and Turkish cellist Solen Dikener and performs frequently in chamber music settings with colleagues on and off campus.
He has served as a jury member for many competitions (most recently the 2013 Eastern Division MTNA competitions, held in Maryland, USA). He is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda (National Music Honor Society) and MTNA (Music Teachers National Association), a board member of West Virginia MTA (Foundation Fund Chair), and a former full-time faculty member at Auburn University.
He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music, in addition to further degrees and certificates in piano performance and pedagogy from the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien (Hannover, Germany) and the Ecole Normale de Musique “Alfred Cortot” (Paris, France) – piano studies with Nelita True, Nelson Delle-Vigne Fabbri, and Einar Steen-Nokleberg; harpsichord with William Porter; recent master classes with Philippe Entremont (2013).
Dr. Vauth is pursuing research in the field of musicians’ medicine/wellness and music physiology. In collaboration with the Institute of Music Physiology and Musicians’ Medicine at the HMTM Hannover he co-authored articles in the peer-reviewed American journals Human Movement Science (The Influence of Practice on the Development of Motor Skills in Pianists, 2009) and Movement Disorders (Quantification of Focal Dystonia in Pianists using Scale Analysis, 2004). In July 2012, he was presenter at the international PAMA (Performing Arts Medicine Association) Symposium in Snowmass, Colorado, held in conjunction with the Aspen Music Festival. Joined by Nicole Perrone, Assistant Professor of Acting and Movement at Marshall University, he plans further research utilizing electromyography/biofeedback during the academic year 2013/14.
Jazz Studies, Music Technology
Jeff Wolfe is an instructor of Jazz Studies and Music Technology at Marshall University. He holds a M.M. in Jazz Studies from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he studied jazz improvisation, pedagogy, history, and composition with world-famous jazz educator and composer David Baker. As an Associate Instructor of Jazz Studies at Indiana University, Jeff conducted one of the IU jazz ensembles and taught jazz improvisation. Jeff also holds a B.A. in Music Education from Marshall University. He is a former trumpet student of John Rommel, Edmund Cord, Pat Harbison, and Dominic Spera.
Jeff is an active performer, adjudicator, and clinician having performed on NPR’s nationally syndicated program Mountain Stage, served as an adjudicator for the jazz division of the National Trumpet Competition, and appeared as a clinician for the Nashville Songwriters Association International. Mr. Wolfe is a charter member of the Jazz Education Network and a member of the International Trumpet Guild.
Choral Music Education, Applied Voice
Robert Wray is Associate Professor of Choral Music Education at Marshall University, where, in addition to student teacher education and supervision, he conducts the Marshall University Chorus, Choral Union, teaches choral conducting and vocal techniques, and maintains a voice studio. Mr. Wray is also to the coordinator of the MU Festival Chorus weekend and Chamber Choir Invitational, both drawing high school students from West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Maryland.
Robert is the former President of the West Virginia chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. During his six years at Marshall, Mr. Wray has served as a guest conductor, clinician, presenter, and adjudicator in West Virginia and Maryland.
Mr. Wray holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from The Ohio State University and a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from Texas Tech University, where he was also the Assistant Conductor of the Men’s Chorus and founding director of the Men’s Chamber Ensemble.
Prior to his schooling at Texas Tech, Robert was Director of Choral Activities at Westlake High School in Waldorf, MD, where he directed three choral ensembles, taught class piano, and coached football, basketball, baseball, and softball. He also served as an at-large member on the Maryland Choral Educators Association executive board.
Coordinator of Music Theory/Composition
“I am interested in the expression of an idea; in creating pieces through observation of the inherent musical potential of my sound material. In each piece, I invent processes that express this potential, generating contexts for their realization. In that sense my music results from the interaction of observations, intuition, and processes, rather than from a willful shaping of my materials.”
“Harmonically and rhythmically moving,”
-Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Beautiful, emotional music that is exciting, expressive, and fresh in its musical language,”
-WV Commission on the Arts
Mark Zanter, an active composer/performer, has received commissions from the UIUC Creative Music Orchestra, CU Symphony, the American Composers forum, the WV Commission on the Arts, WVMTA, Due East, Solen Dikener, Rick Kurasz, Cetin Aydar, Ankara University Soloists, Lindsey Goodman, Lori Baruth, Awea Duo and many others. He has appeared as a composer and performer on NPR’s Live at the Landmark, WILL, IPR, Second Sunday concerts, on WVPN In Touch With The Arts, is published by Les Productions d’OZ, Schott European American and MJIC Music publishing, and his works have been performed nationally and internationally at festivals including, MUSIC X, June in Buffalo, The Cortona Contemporary Music Festival, NYCEMF, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and ECHOFLUX 14. He is the recipient of grants/awards from The American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP), The American Music Center (AMC), The American Composers Forum (ACF), Meet the Composer, The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, and WV Music Teachers Association.
As a performer Dr. Zanter is equally at home performing standard repertoire, creative music, and jazz and has appeared with orchestras, chamber groups, and improvisers, including the Huntington Symphony Orchestra, the Ohio Valley Orchestra, Sinfonia Da Camera, Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, Leroy Jenkins, Vinko Globokar, George Lewis, Butch Morris, and Alphonse Mouzon. He has recorded with Deborah Richtmeyer, Vinko Globokar, and his recording of Composition 165 with Anthony Braxton received special mention in Downbeat Magazine.
Dr. Zanter’s research interests include Algorithmic Composition, Structural Models for Improvisation, and Conduction(r) the music of Butch Morris. Mr. Zanter completed his A. Mus. D. in composition at the University of Illinois where he studied with, Salvatore Martirano, William Brooks, Paul Martin Zonn, and Erik Lund. He is Coordinator of Music Theory and Composition at Marshall University, Huntington, WV.
Bassoon, Music Education
Kay Lawson teaches bassoon and music education at Marshall University, is a member of the Kingsbury Woodwind Quintet, and performs with the Huntington Symphony. She frequently performs chamber music, including invitations to appear on the programs of the International Double Reed Society. Lawson is bassoonist for the Maelzel Woodwind Quintet, an ensemble devoted to historically-informed performances of classical era music. She plays a Bűehner-Keller Classical model bassoon made by Leslie Ross.
At Marshall, Lawson has taught music education at the undergraduate and undergraduate level, courses on film and music in the Honors College, and in the Arts and History Seminar for the Society of Yeager Scholars. Her research interests include the history of women musicians, interdisciplinary curriculum, and teaching & learning.
Prior to living in Huntington, she performed with orchestras in North Dakota, North Carolina, and Michigan. In addition, Lawson has taught at Minot State University (ND), Brevard College NC), and Western Carolina University NC) and in public schools in Massachusetts, New York, Michigan, and North Dakota.
Lawson earned the Bachelor of Music degree from the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York/Potsdam, the Master of Music degree in music education and a Master of Music degree in bassoon performance from Michigan State University. She received her Orff-Schȕlwerk Certification from the University of Kentucky.
Voice, Classical Piano
William A. Murphy, a native of western Kentucky, is a recent graduate of Marshall University with a Master of Arts in Performance (Piano). He has been an adjunct faculty member at Marshall University since January 2013 teaching applied voice, piano lab, Choral Union, and pianist and coach for the Opera Workshop. In addition to this position, he is the Organist at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Huntington and pianist and organist for the West Virginia Symphony Chorus in Charleston. Continuing in his fourth year at St. John’s, he has earned the Colleague Certificate from the American Guild of Organists.
As a graduate student at Marshall, he was a finalist for the 2012 MU Concert of Soloists Competition performing the first movement from the Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 2 with the MU Orchestra and was second prize winner of the WVMTA Mountain State Collegiate Piano Competition in October 2012. He has collaborated with a number of students in the music department for degree recitals and jury preparations. He has also been a staff accompanist for the KY State NATS and Mid-South Regional NATS competitions.
He received a Bachelor’s of Music in Voice Performance with Cum Laude honors from Morehead State University in December 2009. He has participated as a student and accompanist for the participants of the Kentucky Institute for International Studies program in Salzburg, Austria (Summers 2007 and 2009); KIIS a study abroad program from a consortium of colleges and universities from Kentucky and surrounding states. He is a member of the Huntington Chapter AGO, MTNA and ACDA.
George Palton currently serves as the Adjunct Professor of Tuba at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. Along with his duties at Marshall George is very active teaching in the public schools. He holds degrees in Tuba Performance at the University of Kentucky (DMA, MM) and Music Education (BMME, BM) at Bowling Green State University. Previous teaching appointments include West Virginia State University, The University of Kentucky, and Transylvania University.
Dr. Palton has won first place in several solo competitions including the Susan Slaughter International Solo Tuba Competition (2010), the International Tuba Euphonium Conference Tuba Artist Competition (2006), the Bowling Green State University Competition in Music Performance (2002), the National Federation of Music Clubs Orchestral Brass Solo Competition (2001), along with second place at the Susan Slaughter International Solo Brass Competition (2010), and the Potomac Festival Tuba Virtuoso Competition (2006). He is sought after as a performer and clinician both regionally and throughout the country. He performed at the 2008 International Tuba Euphonium Conference where he premieredAzucar! by Alice Gomez. He also has given solo performances at the 2013 North-East Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference, the 2011 South-East Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference, the 2007 Mid-West Regional and North-East Regional Tuba Euphonium Conferences, and the 2006 Phi Mu Alpha National Convention.
In addition to his performing and teaching activities, he is an active arranger and developer of pedagogical materials. He has published his research and arrangements through The Journal for the International Tuba Euphonium Association,Tuba-Euphonium Press, RM Williams Publishing Company, and Cimarron Music. Finally, his debut solo CD “Tuba in Motion” was recently released through Mark Records and features a variety of original recordings in numerous solo and chamber settings.