Music Department Honors 2020 Graduates

Graduation Ceremony 2020
May 16, 2020 - 3:30pm
Virtual Ceremony due to Covid-19 restrictions

2020 Graduation Ceremony - Video

2020 Graduation Ceremony - Program

Congratulations Messages from Music @ UVA

2020 Graduates

Ph.D. in Critical and Comparative Studies in Music


Justin Mueller

Dissertation Title: Aural Dramaturgies: A New Approach to the Operatic Soundscape

During my time at UVA, I was fortunate to teach (and/or TA) across a variety of courses, including those focussing on music theory and musicianship, as well as music appreciation classes in the classical, popular, and jazz traditions. Teaching summer classes, largely filled with incoming students in the Summer Transition Program, was a particular high point for me. I also spent several years working closely as an editorial assistant with Michel Puri in his capacity as Reviews Editor for the Journal of the American Musicological Society--another experience filled with many unexpected but ultimately rewarding challenges.

My dissertation encourages opera scholars and aficionados alike to bring a renewed focus to the way we hear, experience, and think about theatrical sound, and to recognise how twenty-first century A/V technologies might play a role in how we go about doing that. It is my hope to continue reading, writing, researching, and teaching about these things for many years to come, and I'm most grateful to the many outstanding faculty and staff at UVA who have already given me the ability to do so these past six years.


Bachelor of Arts


Brooke Adams

Much of Brooke's music major was spent in classes that explored electronic applications of sound. She particularly enjoyed her compositional and ethnographic classes. Some of her favorite classes involved collaborative project work with the Black Power Station in Makhanda, South Africa. The music major was a creative escape for her and she will never forget the kindness and brilliance that surrounded her every day that she walked into Old Cabell Hall.



Jordan Brown 

During her time at UVA, Jordan played viola for chamber orchestra for three semesters (Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018); was a member of Hoos in Treble, an award winning all-female a cappella group, from my first to fourth year, serving as their Music Director for two terms; served as Music Director and an actor for The Black Monologues Spring 2020; served as the co-vocal director for Spectrum Theatre Spring 2019; and co-hosted a radio show for WXTJ Spring 2019.

Classes she enjoyed included Composing Mixtapes with Professor Carson; Curating Sound with Professor Lobley and Jason Bennett; Music and Computers with Professor Reid; African Electronic Music with Professor Lobley; and Learn to Groove Advanced with Professor Jospé.

Some projects she enjoyed were her Thesis analyzing Beyonce's Homecoming; working with The Black Power Station in Makhanda, South Africa; and creating the mixtape, COPE, with her Composing Mixtapes class under the group name "REC".

She particpated in an internship with Red Light Management during Spring 2019, and will do so again Summer 2020.

    Her post-graduate plan is to persue a Masters degree in Ethnomusicology at Florida State University.

    Nathan Cho

    Throughout my years here at UVA, I have been in the Charlottesville Symphony, the Performance Concentration, and Professor Sender's violin studio. In my fourth year, I had been preparing for my DMP, which was scheduled for March 21, 2020. Unfortunately the performance was cancelled. However, I had the pleasure of collaborating with both Dr. Senders in preparation for the performance.

    A class I enjoyed being in was Professor Rous' first year of teaching Instrumental Conducting, which was actually his first year of teaching ever. It was a small and intimate group of students, but we learned a lot from his passion for music. I've had some unique opportunities to perform, like on stage for Lighting of the Lawn, or for many guest conductors throughout the year before Professor Tamarkin's final farewell concert.





    Minhyuk "Peter" Choi

    Naomi Collins

    Naomi Collins firmly believes that the music department at UVA has not only impacted her time at college, but also her life. She started out in the Politics and Psychology majors, but after taking ‘Introduction to Music’, she realized that she wanted to follow her passion and major in Music. The change was nerve-racking and stressful, but the support of her professors and academic advisors made her realize that she had made the right choice. Naomi really enjoyed the small class sizes because of the close relationships she formed with many students and professors. Majoring in music allowed her to make memories that will last a lifetime including writing and performing original songs, learning to play the djembe in ‘Learn to Groove’, and forming relationships with several artists in Charlottesville and Makhanda, South Africa. Naomi is incredibly grateful for her time at UVA and will miss the tight-knit community of the music department.


    Justin Crawford

    I am extremely grateful to have spent the last four years as a music major here at UVA. My love for the art deepened with every new class and the fantastic professors and students that occupied them. I have enjoyed everything from theory to production to history. To my fellow classmates, keep practicing what you love and continue to channel your creativity in these stressful times. To my professors, I can't thank you enough for your passionate enjoyment of the subject and dedication. As we all step into the next chapter of our lives, I will forever cherish the memories and late nights spent with some of the most creative people I have had the pleasure of knowing.



    Michael Dearing

    I am an Economics and Music double major, graduating with a minor in business Spanish. I have played in Pete Spaar's jazz small group for two years, and most of my music classes have generally had a focus in composition. One of my favorite experiences was being able to be a part of Dr. Carson's Composing Mixtapes class of 2020 and being able to join my classmates in dropping our mixtape "Isolate" just a couple weeks ago.



    Robert DiCicco

    Robert has been a member of the University Singers for all four years as well as
    playing bass in the jazz small groups for two years. Robert’s classes have mostly
    consisted of music theory, taking all of the department’s theory courses, advanced musicianship, jazz studies, and 17th- & 18th-century music. Learning under professors Michael Slon, Michael Puri, Fred Maus, and Ted Coffey, among many others has been a privilege, and Robert is grateful for all of his experiences in the department over the past four years.






    Zoë Gray

    During her time at UVA, Zoë was a member of University Singers, serving as Soprano Section Leader; a Miller Arts Scholar; a Teaching Assistant in Popular Music for Noel Lobley; and a Performance Concentration and DMP Voice student. 

    Zoë received a Departmental Recognition Award for her MUSI 4523 “What Good Is Music” project; participated in master classes with the likes of Martin Katz and Renee Fleming; and served as Music Department Representative on UVA College Council.






    Demitra Hajimihalis

    Demitra Hajimihalis transferred to UVA in 2017. She was originally on a business track, but fell in love with the music department after taking Music and Discourse with Professor Miller. Music has always been a passion of hers as she grew-up participating in many choirs, running a capella groups, and singing for special occasions such as weddings. At UVA, she thoroughly enjoyed her voice lessons with the amazing Pamela Beasley, discovering more about her soprano voice. Her favorite courses include Musical Ethnography with Professor Davé where she was able to connect her passion for music and volunteering at the Music Resource Center and participating in the drum circle at the Front Porch. She continued music and community outreach with Noel Lobley and Jason Bennett in the course Music Cultures, where she became deeply involved in a project at the Kluge- Ruhe aboriginal art museum. She also loved Women and Music with Dean Ozment; it was fascinating learning about the influence and history of women and the arts throughout history. This course was very inspiring for her during a difficult time after losing her grandmother. One course that truly inspired her to practice mindfulness and continue working on musical skills is Learn to Groove with Jos. This course really helped her to pause and enjoy life; this course also inspired her to start teaching her friends the Calypso and Clave cycles, which has been a blast! Demitra was unfortunately unable to participate in other ensembles as she was the President, and women’s varsity captain of the UVA Equine Polo Team, leading her team to the National Finals the last two years. She was also MVP and team captain for the United States National Intercollegiate Polo Team in 2019, leading them to victory against Great Britain.

     “I am beyond grateful for everyone in the Music Department at UVA. I would not have been able to navigate the obstacles of college without the amazing mentors in the music department. This department is full of inspiring and passionate individuals who treat every student as their own. Thank you for truly bringing the music to me!”

    Demitra will be remaining in Charlottesville and has accepted a position at CORE Management where she will be managing their Equine Polo Operation as well as practicing commercial real estate. She will also continue singing at King Family Vineyards for special occasions and the National Anthem at Sunday Polo. Eventually, she hopes to combine her love for horses and music to open an equine & music therapy center for children.

    Andrew Jiao

    Being a part of the music community here has been one of the best parts of being a student at UVA. I participated in Chamber Ensemble my first year, where I played Beethoven's second string quartet as the cellist in the fall and Brahms' first piano trio in the spring. I took many interesting courses such as Professor Michael Puri's Debussy and Ravel seminar on French modernism and Advanced Musicianship with Professor Michael Slon, while Composition II with Professor Leah Reid allowed me to broaden my skills in composing modernist classical music. As part of the course, two pieces were written: Poeme, a two movement piece for viola solo, and a piano prelude, which forms a set of four that I composed between 2017-2018. The resources available at the music department also allowed me to dive much deeper into the late works of Alexander Scriabin, and his influence can be seen in some of the preludes and especially Poeme.

    As far as memorable experiences go, one that stands out to me is playing the third movement of Beethoven's third cello sonata with my friend Annie Khuu during a Tea Time recital, but since I wasn't taking lessons, I wasn't technically allowed to play in the recital! (Thank you to Professor Puri for signing off as an "instructor" on the application form, though.) But perhaps the most profound was visiting the Westminster Presbyterian Church with Professor David Sariti and hearing the sounds of a Baroque organ and even getting to play it. No longer was it a pipe dream for me to experience the King of Instruments in its full glory.

    Madison Karten

    Madison's time at UVA was most impacted by her involvement in the Music Department. She was in University Singers her first two years and was part of the Performance Concentration as a vocal performance major. She has loved taking music courses, and one of her fondest memories was taking Ecoacoustics summer 2018. She will most miss getting to know and work alongside everyone in the back office including Tina, Joel, Kim, Leslie, her fellow student workers, and of course, Marcy Day.







    Ilenna Kim

    Ilenna has been playing the violin for 16 years and has been involved in the music department for the past four. She has been able to continue her musical endeavors at UVA as a member of the Charlottesville Symphony, chamber ensemble, and Professor Daniel Sender’s studio. As her time as an undergraduate student comes to an end, she wants to thank her family, friends, violin teacher, and the music faculty who have all been supportive of her growth as a musician. She would like to extend a special thank you to Professor Daniel Sender for not only helping her grow as a musician, but also for being one of her most consistent supporters throughout her four years at UVA. Ilenna will be continuing her studies here at the Curry School of Education to pursue her Masters in Elementary Ed. and hopes to find a community in which she can continue to play and make music.




    Yehyun "Grace" Kim

    Katie Kolo

    Although I didn't expect to be a music major in college, I was so happy when I realized I would be able to make it a meaningful part of my college career. I loved how open our department is and learned tons from my fellow music majors, but also from the non-majors taking classes out of pure interest. Some of my favorite classes were with Richard Will, my advisor, and A.D. Carson. I was able to take lessons on scholarship with Katy Ambrose all four years. Having the consistency of such a wonderfully supportive and caring person was a wonderful benefit. I participated in chamber ensembles, as well as Charlottesville Symphony and Cavalier Marching Band, both of which brought me great friends and great times. I was also able to squeeze in my DMP recital. It was an absolute joy to perform on the stage of Old Cabell, and I have no doubt I'll be back as an audience member again soon.




    Joshua Lisner

    During his time at UVA, Joshua played in Cavalier Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, and Trombone Ensemble. Some of the classes he took were Algorithimic Composition, Curating Sound, and Revising the Classics in Performance. He jokingly says that maybe one day he'll get to use that theremin.





    Kyle Lofland

    Kyle was a member of the Cavalier Marching Band and Basketball Band all four years of his time at UVA. He enjoyed his many composition classes, including writing for a dance performance in 2018.






    Maxwell McCrady

    Martin Moro

    During his time at UVA, Martin served as Business Manager for Virginia Glee Club; was an accompaniest for multiple Tea Time recitals and a Distinguished Major Performance; and performed at MRC (for Brown College Music Festival) and on WXTJ Radio.

    Classes he truly enjoyed include Learn To Groove; Songwriting (with Heather Maese); Composing Mixtapes (with A.D. Carson), in which he produced, mixed, and mastered a mixtape; plus many others. He also produced, mixed, and mastered songs in his Independent Study Project.






    Julia Nguyen

    I started private piano lessons as soon as I got to UVA, and it was something I really looked forward to coming into University. I played in Kelly Gross's studio for my four years of undergrad, but becoming a 3000-level pianist allowed me to play for a variety of accompanist roles with other instrumentalists, including a vocalist, violinist, flautist, and even in a cello and clarinet trio! I was also able to help with the department in a hiring process, play in multiple masterclasses accompanying and for solo piano, and of course, play in my own studio's recital every semester. Over the course of my undergraduate career, I've played so many unorthodox composers, like Granados and Janacek, but my favorite composer was always Prokofiev! In fact, my culminating project for this Spring would have been performing Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 29 (1917) in its entirety, and I was really excited for it! Some of the meaningful courses I took include Introduction to Music Ethnography with Nomi Dave; The Black Voice with A.D. Carson; and African Electronic Music with Noel Lobley, which really fostered collaborations between UVA and outside communities, here in Charlottesville and also in Africa!



    Wang "Billy" Qi

    During my time as a music major, I studied with Professor Heather Frasch on interactive sound design, computer performance, and sonic arts crafting. I participated in the MICE ensemble under the instruction of Professor Frasch as well. I also worked closely with Professor Leah Reid, who taught me a great deal on composition, and Professor Luke Dahl, who shared valuable insights with me on audio plugin development. I spent most of the time at the VCCM attending classes and working on projects, and I've met a lot of composer friends through musical idea exchanges.






    Joseph Reigner

    I have been able to work with many incredible peers and professors over the four years I have been involved with the Music Department. In Fall 2018, I had the opportunity to compose a piece for the visiting Neave Trio and hear it performed live in Old Cabell Hall. This past year I worked with a group of students and the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Museum through Professor Noel Lobely’s Curating Sound course to document the visit of Australian Aboriginal artists Barbara Moore and Sharon Adamson. I have also particularly enjoyed participating in Robert Jospé’s Intermediate and Advanced Learn to Groove courses.





    Caroline Schetlick

    My time in the Music Department at UVa has been inspiring, meaningful, thought-provoking, educational, and overall exemplary. For eight semesters, I was a part of the UVA University Singers under the direction of Professor Michael Slon. This experience allowed me to sing with 90 exceptionally talented musicians while performing at some of the University’s milestone events. My first two years at UVA, I sang with the UVA Chamber Singers, a smaller ensemble derived from USingers, where we sang intricate works at University events, outside venues, and concerts in Old Cabell Hall.

    Aside from my performance groups within the music department, I have had the pleasure to have taken amazing classes within the major. Some courses that have tremendously influenced me over the last four years are: Jazz Studies under Professor Scott Deveaux; Songwriting under Professor Ted Coffey; Theory III under Professor Michael Puri; 17th- and 18th-Century Music under Professor Richard Will; Music and Computers under Professor Leah Reid; Choral Conducting and Instrumental Conducting under Professor Michael Slon and Professor Benjamin Rous; and Deep Listening under Professor Fred Maus.

    Thank you to all of my professors who have not only taught me to be a better student, but to be a better musician. All of your teachings have lead me to this point, and I am eternally grateful. Lastly, although the recital never came to fruition, I am thankful to the music department and my advisors, Michael Slon, Benjamin Rous, and Richard Will, for all of their efforts in assisting me with my Distinguished Major Conducting Recital that should have happened this March. My time at UVA would not have been the same or as significant if I had not decided to follow the path of a Music Major. Thank you for the memorable and extraordinary experience.

    Thomas Shaw

    Tom Shaw declared his Music major in the fall of his third year. Although he hasn't been in the department very long, he has dedicated himself to a UVA career of music, both academically and extracurricularly. He has taken every Music course he could fit into his schedule, ranging from conducting seminars with Michael Slon to a jazz improvisation workshop with John D'earth. Tom has performed with a number of ensembles inside and outside the classroom, including his a cappella group The Flying V's, the Virginia Glee Club, Chamber Singers, University Singers, and his rock band Silver Retriever. Over his time at UVA, Tom has built instruments from scratch, arranged choir pieces for the Flying V's and the Glee Club, recorded an EP, and written several original compositions. Most importantly, Tom has been lovingly supported and encouraged by his family, his friends, and his professors at every step of his undergraduate journey, and will keep working hard in the next chapter of his life to continue making them proud. He is incredibly thankful for everyone that's made his time at UVA so special, and he looks forward to returning soon.

    Jacob Vanaman

    While there is so much that made UVA special for me - the spaces, the classes, and the people - a few of my favorite experiences have been in the Music Department with: Noel Lobley, the kindest and most passionate professor I have ever met; Luke Dahl, who taught me to unlock the artistic freedom of technology; Fred Maus, without whom I would be less observant, less introspective, and less empathetic; John Dearth, whose words echo the warmest embrace and continue to remind me to "strive for tone"; Matthew Burtner, who challenged me to see and harness the beauty in the seemingly mundane; Joel Rubin, who showed me the joy of art history and the nuance it can provide to lively debate and one's own art; Jack Hamilton, who effortlessly and fruitfully combined historical media analysis with discussion and passion for music; and Karl Hagstrom Miller, who, although we did not share a class together, consoled me during difficult times and reminded me that humans can be good. For these and all my experiences left unannounced - thank you.

    University Ensembles: Jazz Small groups, First Year Players (theater group) pit orchestra, The Virginia Gentlemen (guest performer)

    Projects: The Shrugs, a band of fellow UVA students with two studio releases; Kendall Street Company, a Charlottesville-based band of UVA graduates with nine studio releases

    I intend(ed?) to be a full time musician and multi-media artist living in Charlottesville, but the coronavirus has put quite a damper on those plans. I'm hoping that it can be realized soon.

    Adam Wever

    Some memorable experiences Adam had during his time at UVA were playing with Cavalier Marching Band during two half-time shows and Paint the Town Orange; working on a sound installation in conjunction with The Black Power Station in Makhanda, Africa through a class taught by Noel Lobley and Jason Bennett; doing group community work revolving around music in the Charlottesville area and a class taught by Nomi Dave; and working with Heather Frasch to set up a realization of “David Tudor’s Rainforest” at the bridge as an interactable installation during the Telemetry series.

    Aaron Stepp, Scott Deveaux, Heather Frash, and Joel Rubin (in no particular order) had huge impacts on Adam's life. Each for different yet potent and lasting reasons.

    Emily Williams

    Emily Williams is a double Music and Statistics major from Farmington, CT.  She was very active in the music department, singing in University Singers for eight semesters and Chamber Singers for four semesters, and taking violin lessons with Professor Sariti for three years. She served as University Singers fundraising chair for two years.

    Many classes have had a big impact on Emily's time at UVA, but Choral Conducting with Professor Slon and Orchestral Conducting with Professor Rous inspired Emily to pursue a Distinguished Major Project in conducting.  Emily also really enjoyed Songwriting with Professor Coffey; Writing Rap with Professor Carson; and Theory III with Professor Puri.  Emily would like to thank every professor she has had over the past four years and everyone who has made the music major such an incredible experience.

    Joshua Wohlgemuth

    I greatly appreciate and will miss my time with WXTJ Student Radio; PKG Concerts Committee; and project work for MomentNYC and the Black Power Station.  Old Cabell Hall will always occupy a special place in my heart.








    Tianyu Zhang

    Tianyu Zhang is a double major in Music and Statistics. He is hugely grateful to study with Professor Spaar, who helped and inspired him to find the deepest love and passion for music, as well as the strong calling to pursue it as a profession for the rest of his life. During his time at UVA, he has participated in New Music Ensemble, Jazz Small Group, and Jazz Ensemble. He received the 2019 UVA Arts Council Distinguished Artist Award in Music for demonstrating outstanding achievement in his musical study. Outside UVA, Tianyu has toured with multiple young jazz fusion groups around Southwest China, and played regularly in music venues in Chengdu with faculty members from the Sichuan Conservatory of Music.









    UVA Department of Music
    112 Old Cabell Hall
    P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176