What drew you to the UB Department of Music?
I had done my undergrad work at UB and while there, discovered a budding interest in classical percussion, especially in the context of contemporary music. UB is known for its focus on New Music, so I decided to stay here and immerse myself within it.
What's your favorite experience that you've had as a student so far?
One of my favorite experiences so far was collaborating with Ensemble Signal awhile back when they did a concert in UB's Black Box Theater. We played the first movement of Steve Reich's piece, Drumming, and it was quite the experience. I knew after that performance that I was in the right place and doing what was best for me and my interests.
What experiences are you looking forward to before you graduate?
I am looking forward to participating in as many performances as possible, including my final recital next spring. Many opportunities pop up while being a student here, including playing with the Slee Sinfonietta (UB’s resident chamber ensemble), so I am really just looking forward to any opportunities that come my way.
How would you describe the culture of the department? The culture of the student cohort?
The department here is quite diverse. I find that students are able to really come into their own here. There is a comfortable amount of freedom in the department to cater your studies to your interests, as well as the resources to pursue those interests. The various ensembles, performance courses, and incredibly accomplished staff enable each student to pursue their passion for music, whatever it may entail. As for the student cohort, the culture is what you make of it. For the most part, what brings students together are the ensembles, as well as being part of a performance studio. In my case, being in a percussion studio, you can develop close friendships with your studio-mates as you tend to be in the studio a lot to use the instruments for practice. Again, the student culture is what you make of it in those situations.
Have any faculty members become close mentors? If so, which faculty member and how do you feel they’ve made a positive influence on your experience?
Well, I cannot choose just one… Three of my professors have become close mentors to me in both my professional and personal development. Both of my percussion professors, Tom Kolor and John Bacon, have helped my development in such a way that I could not imagine even just a few years ago. They really push me to perform as much as possible and to also check out as much music as possible, whether it be listening to records or going to performances. They have expanded my horizons as the role of musician, as well as spectator. The other professor who has really helped me take what I have learned from Tom and John to the next level is Jean Kopperud. Her class, “On the Edge Performance,” has really allowed me to gain the confidence in my playing that is necessary for any working musician. Her knowledge, experience, and encouragement have proven to be invaluable to my development as a performer, as well as a person.
What are your plans post-graduation?
I have thought about the possibilities of pursuing a DMA in performance. However, that is still up in the air. Mainly, my goal is to keep playing as much as possible and apply what I have learned here at UB.
How do you see the Department of Music impacting your future goals and opportunities?
My future goals involve taking the skills I have cultivated at UB and using them to pursue performance opportunities, particularly in contemporary music. UB has enabled me to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to perform this kind of music and my goal is to continue to do so.