How have you grown since joining the UB Department of Music?
Professor Roland Martin is my primary mentor, coaching me in individual and ensemble organ repertoire. He's a passionate and gifted teacher, often helping me to hear a piece in new ways and challenging me to go beyond mere technique. I believe my time here has also transformed me into a more confident and well-rounded organist and musician. Currently, I work full-time at a local church as the Music Director, and my education (both academic and performance-based) has greatly helped me build a successful music program at my parish.
What's the most interesting class you've taken so far?
My favorite class was a musicology seminar with Professor James Currie. Professor Currie covered a wide range of topics and we were able to pursue our own research subject for the final presentations and papers. I chose the French organist-composer Olivier Messiaen, who developed the particularly interesting concept of "colored music" – i.e. music that dazzles the listener. This was the first research paper I thoroughly enjoyed writing, and because of this seminar I plan to continue studying Messiaen and his unique musical style.
How would you describe the department culture and opportunities?
We are a small and tight-knit community. The faculty and students are all on a first-name basis and support each other by attending performances and presentations. The students are gifted musically and academically, which leads to interesting class discussions and the opportunity to perform more challenging music. I am especially excited to prepare for my two graduate recitals, particularly the ensemble recital where I will perform a variety of repertoire with several other talented musicians. Organists rarely get a chance to perform such repertoire at their church jobs, so this is something I'm really looking forward to!