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UCLA Voice alumna triumphs in two major competitions

May 17th, 2016 · 1 Comment

Vanessa Vasquez, MM ?14, has just won the First Prize in the prestigious Zachary Society Vocal Competition held this past weekend in Los Angeles. The week before that, she was the Top Prize winner in the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation International Vocal Competition in New York. We are proud of Vanessa and her accomplishments! At UCLA, Vanessa sang Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Susanna in Il segreto di Susanna, and was also featured in H?ndel?s L?Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato and in the world premiere workshop of Bourland and Morris?s The Dove and the Nightingale. Since graduating from UCLA, Vanessa has been a Resident Artist at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.

A short bio on Vanessa:
Vanessa Vasquez, originally from Scottsdale, Arizona is a second-year Resident Artist of The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. She earned a B.A. in Vocal Performance from The Catholic University of America and M.M. in Vocal Performance from the University of Los Angeles, California (UCLA). She made her Academy of Vocal Arts debut as Mimi in La Boheme. This past season she sang the role of Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Giorgetta in Puccini’s Il Tabarro. In October, Vanessa won the James Parkinson Opera Foundation First Prize and the Walter and Alice Strine, Esqs. Audience Prize in the Giargiari Bel Canto Competition. Reminiscent of her win in the Giargiari, Vanessa won First Prize and the Audience Choice Award in Phoenix Opera’s Southwest Vocal Competition. Upcoming engagements include a solo recital with the Phillips Collection Museum in Washington DC this May. Next season she will also be singing the role of Gilda in Rigoletto with The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.


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Professor Inna Faliks reports on residency at UNC Greensboro

May 16th, 2016 · No Comments

We have received a concert update from Prof. Inna Faliks regarding her recent residence at UNC Greensboro, where she played a very demanding set of concerts with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra.

She says: “I just got back from a very intense performance week in Greensboro, North Carolina, where I played Rachmaninoff 2nd concerto twice, and between the two concerto performances was Beethoven Quintet for Piano and Winds, Schubert Notturno for piano trio, and Ravel Gaspard de la Nuit (solo piano).
Here are two really nice reviews that cover all that, (the chamber one mentions UCLA.)”

Concerto review
Chamber review

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School of Music Graduate Angel Blue to Appear in Metropolitan Opera’s Summer Recital Series

May 11th, 2016 · No Comments

The 2016 Metropolitan Summer Recital Series will once again bring free outdoor recitals featuring rising young stars of the opera world to New Yorkers in all five boroughs. The series, now in its eighth year, is presented in collaboration with City Parks Foundation?s SummerStage Festival and will feature six free concerts between June 22 and July 13. – See more by CLICKING HERE.


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Incontri in Terra di Siena–2016 music festival announces events

May 11th, 2016 · No Comments

Professor Lysy’s well known summer festival near Siena, Italy, will be featuring the following program of events. You may want to participate in the program or just come to the concerts! For more information, check the event’s website at:



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Chancellor’s Residence Recitals, April and May, 2016

April 28th, 2016 · No Comments

Mrs. Carol Block has forwarded to us more snaps from the most recent recitals at the Residence.

The first one, from April 27th, features cellist Charles Tyler and RJ Pearce on the piano. They performed Francis Poulenc’s Sonata for cello and piano. Here is a photo of both musicians with Mrs. Block.


From May 3, 2016 —

Ryan Nealon, from Ethnomusicology, along with fellow Ethnomusicology majors Grant Milliken, Cody Dear, Nashir Janmohamed, Sara Sith-Amnuai, and Nick Velez. Mrs. Block is in the front, slightly to the left.

They gave a great jazz program:

Old Devil Moon–Burton Lane
The Meaning of the Blues–Worth-Troup
Georgia On My Mind–Hoagy Carmichael
I Didn’t Know What Time It Was–Lorenz Hart (Intro composed by Ryan Nealon)
Pure Imagination–Bricusse-Newley
A Song for You–Leon Russel

From May 4, 2016 —

Catherine Arai, Julien Altmann, Mindy Cheng, Ema Jordan,and Matthew Tong performed Schubert’s piano “Trout” quintet.


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UCLA Profs Take Part in LA Opera Teacher Training Seminar

April 20th, 2016 · No Comments

Professor Peter Kazaras, Director of Opera UCLA, reports that he, Professor Mitchell Morris from the Musicology Department, and Professor Michael Hackett from the School of Theater, Film & Television, participated recently in a teacher training seminar with LA Opera.

He says:

“I was invited to participate on Saturday in the LA Opera Teachers in Training seminar on La Boh?me in order to provide the stage director?s point of view. When I arrived, I realized that one of the other speakers was Mitchell Morris, and the other was Michael Hackett. In addition, one of the sopranos for the recital portion of the program was Jamie Chamberlin, a UCLA alumna. All in all, a really nice showing for UCLA and a great example of how what we do impacts the entire community.”

Professor Michael Hackett addresses teachers group

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Update on Voice/Opera Alumni Successes

April 19th, 2016 · No Comments

We have heard from several of our voice/opera alumni recently with good news regarding their ongoing career successes and awards.

First, from Tracy Cox (L.A. Opera’s 2010 Young Artist of the Year)?in addition to appearing locally in some of Pacific Opera Project?s productions, and winning a number of prestigious awards and prizes, travelling and singing a lot, Tracy will now have her first roles at the Metropolitan Opera in 2017.

She says she will be covering the Foreign Princess in the new production of Rusalka, and Marianne Letzmarin in Der Rosenkavalier (in which Renee Fleming will be singing her last Marschallin) both in 2017.

Congratulations Tracy!

Here?s a phot of Tracy in our production of Gianni Schicchi in 2008.

Second, graduate Peabody Southwell is singing in a world premiere as part of the L.A. Phil’s Green Umbrella series. The piece is “Begin” by Juhi Bansal, which was commissioned by the LA Philharmonic today,Tuesday, April 19.

Peabody in one of our opera galas.

Third, graduate Brian Vu has just won top prize in the 2016 Lotte Lenya Competition. UCLA grads have won this prestigious prize for excellence in singing and acting three out of the last four years. Congratulations, Brian!

Here is Brian, in the middle, with other top finalists in the competition
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Next on our list is UCLA Extension alumnus Jesus Leon, who studied voice with us and performed in a number of productions. He just starred at Arena di Verona in ?La Sonnambula?, and in ?Les P?cheurs de perles? in Florence before that. Next, he sings the title role in Gounod?s ?Romeo et Juliette? in Atlanta.

Jesus Leon, featured here with Khori Dastoor in Ian Krouse’s opera “Lorca, Child of the Moon.”

Last but Not least, UCLA alumnus Rodell Rosell, who just sang ?Mime? in Wagner’s “Siegfried” in Houston


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Second Annual Thomas Lee Student Composition Competition

April 13th, 2016 · No Comments

From Professor Travis Cross:

“Dear music students and faculty,

For the second year now, the UCLA Wind Ensemble has hosted the Thomas Lee Student Composition Competition, which invites current UCLA students to submit original works for band and wind ensemble, with a winner chosen for performance by the UCLA Wind Ensemble.

This year’s entries were judged by Dr. Patricia Cornett, associate director of bands at California State University, Fullerton, and Dr. Travis J. Cross. The quality of works submitted remains high, showing both great musical creativity and technical understanding about how to write for winds and percussion.

The winning entry is Glide Path by Sam Young. The judges selected Green Mountain by Pin Hsin Lin and Nne Na Tatu by Daniel French for honorable mention.

The UCLA Wind Ensemble will premiere Glide Path in Schoenberg Hall on May 25, 2016.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the competition, and thanks for devoting some of your creative energies to writing for the vibrant wind ensemble medium!”

Professor Cross also mentioned that an announcement would be coming about for the third-annual competition, with scores due in fall 2017.

Professor Emeritus D. Thomas Lee

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Chancellor’s Recital photos, March 17 through April 7

April 7th, 2016 · No Comments

Mrs. Block has shared the following photos from three recent successful recitals at the Chancellor’s residence.

On March 17th, the recital featured clarinetist Shaniee Parker and pianist Ge Gao in a program of English composers

Shaniee Parker and Ge Gao with Mrs. Block

On April 5, 2016, the Residence recital featured pianist Tim Rantung in a program which included Liszt, Chopin, Stravinsky and Gershwin.

Tim Rantung with Mrs. Block

On April 6, 2016 pianist Anli Tong performed a program of Rachmaninov and Ma Shui-Long

Anli Tong with Mrs. Block

On April 7, the Chancellor’s Residence was host to the UCLA Guitar Ensemble – Aaron Dozal, Hanna Yocute, Naim Dehghani, Juan Rivera, Joan Greenwald (alumni) directed by Peter Yates


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Vocal Vision Awards 2016

April 4th, 2016 · No Comments

From Director of Opera UCLA Peter Kazaras:

“The results are in for the inaugural Vocal Vision Awards at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, held on Sunday afternoon April 3, 2016. A distinguished panel of three judges including Robin Guarino (Professor of Opera and J. Ralph Corbett Distinguished Chair in Opera at University of Cincinnati ? College-Conservatory of Music), Yuval Sharon (Stage Director, founder of The Industry and Artist-in-Residence at the Los Angeles Philharmonic) and Stacy Brightman (Director of Education and Community Programs at Los Angeles Opera) awarded the following prizes:

First Prize: Nathan Granner, MM2
Second Prize: Annie Sherman, MM2
Third Prize: David Childs, Senior

Sixteen students competed, and all were accompanied beautifully by Victoria Kirsch, who put in a monumental amount of work.

The Vocal Vision Awards were made possible by a generous gift from Suzanne Weiss Morgen, who created the Awards in memory of her mother and grandmother. Suzanne herself won the Sinatra prize in her junior year at UCLA, and has decided to give back in this meaningful way to our current students.

Congratulations to all who competed ? the performances were outstanding and the audience was thrilled.”


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