Meet Our New Faculty

Robert Carl

Robert Carl performance portrait.

Robert Carl

Robert Carl

Fall 2022 Visiting Slee Professor

Specialties

Contemporary Music; Music Composition

About

Robert Carl writes music that strives to create a sense of spaciousness, opens the listener to new possibilities of perception and openness. He received his musical training at Yale, Penn, and the University of Chicago. As an undergraduate, he was a history major, with a concentration on the late-19C south. He also studied in Paris during 1980-1 as a Lurcy Fellow at the Conservatoire Nationale Supérieure and the Sorbonne. His teachers include Iannis Xenakis, Betsy Jolas, Ralph Shapey, George Rochberg, Jonathan Kramer, George Crumb, Richard Wernick, and Robert Morris. Mr. Carl received the 2016 Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; he received the Charles Ives Fellowship from the same organization in 1998. He has also received prizes and fellowships from such organizations as the National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America, American Chamber Symphony, NACUSA, and Tanglewood. He is the recipient of a 2005 Chamber Music America commission for a string quintet premiered by the Miami String Quartet and Robert Black, contrabass. An excerpt from his opera-in-progress Harmony (libretto by Russell Banks) was premiered in May 2006 at the New York City Opera’s VOX showcase series.

Recent premieres include Harmony, his opera with novelist Russell Banks on the meeting of Charles Ives and Mark Twain: Simic Songs, a set of 15 4-voice madrigals on poems of U.S, Poet Laureate Charles Simic (who read the texts at its first performance); Shake the Tree for piano 4-hands, featuring Donald Berman and John McDonald; Symphony No. 4, “The Ladder,” No.5, “Land”, and No. 6 "Dome of Refuge"; and The Geography of Loss for soloists, choir, and eight instrumentalists, premiered by Khorikos.

As a writer on new music, Mr. Carl was commissioned by Oxford University Press to write a book on Terry Riley’s In C, which was published in summer 2009. In Spring 2007 he was awarded a 3-month fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council for a residency in Japan which involved the interviewing of 25 contemporary Japanese composers. A New World CD of electroacoustic music written during and related to his Japanese sojourn was released in July 2012. An Innova CD of recent major piano works was released in June 2013. He writes extensively on new music for Fanfare, was the editor of an issue of Contemporary Music Review on historicism in late 20C American music, and has contributed a chapter to The Farthest Place, an anthology of writings on the music of John Luther Adams. He is the editor of Jonathan Kramer’s final manuscript, Postmodern Listening, Postmodern Music, released by Bloomsbury Academic in 2016. In 2020 Bloomsbury also released his set of essays on issues in new music, Music Composition in the 21st Century: A Practical Guide for the New Common Practice.

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project released a CD of four orchestral works in 2020, receiving international critical acclaim.  New World Records has also presented programs of his string chamber works, and orchestral/choral music.  An Innaova CD features recent major piano work. In 1999 he received a Copland Award, which resulted in an artistic residency in the Copland home that fall. He has held other composer residencies abroad at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France (1984 and 1993), at the Bogliasco Foundation near Genoa, Italy, in Spring 2000, 2007 and 2014, at the Rockefeller International Study Center in Bellagio, Italy, in 1987, and at the Youkobo ArtSpace and Tokyo Wonder Site in 2007. US residencies include stays at Yaddo, the Djerassi, Ragdale and Ucross Foundations, and at the MacDowell and Millay. Mr. Carl has received extensive performances throughout the US and Europe, at such venues as Carnegie Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, IRCAM, Orchestra Hall Chicago, Musical Spring in St. Petersburg [Russia], the Royal Academy of Music, London, and New Music America 1982 and 1985. In 2010 he was the featured composer for the Festival of Contemporary Art Music at Washington State University; in 2011 he was resident composer for performances and masterclasses at Hacettepe University National Conservatory, Ankara, Turkey; and in July 2013 he was composer-in-residence at both the Wintergreen Music Festival in the Virginia Blue Ridge, and Western Michigan University.

His works are published by American Composers' Edition (www.composers.com), and Boosey and Hawkes. Other CDs of his work include piano music on Centaur; his sextet Time/Memory/Shadow on Neuma; the song "Beginning my Studies" on Cedille; a selection of electronic, experimental and theatrical works on Innova (Roundabout); and A Wide Open Field for electronic cello and orchestra on Vienna Modern Masters.

Mr. Carl has written works for soloists Robert Black, contrabass; Kathleen Supové, piano; Guido Arbonelli, and John Bruce Yeh, clarinet, among others. Currently he is chair of the composition department at The Hartt School, University of Hartford. He was a director of the Extension Works new music ensemble in Boston.

Melissa White

melissa white on stage.

Melissa White

Melissa White

Specialties

Violin Performance

About

American violinist Melissa White has enchanted audiences and critics around the world as both a soloist and a chamber musician. Her February 2020 performance with the National Philharmonic was deemed “absolutely breathtaking” by Maryland Theatre Guide critic Katie Gaab, who cited the “grace, precision, and warmth” of her playing in Florence Price’s Violin Concerto No. 1; reviewing the same concert for The Washington Post, Matthew Guerrieri called her “an excellent advocate, prioritizing ease and fluency over intensity, suiting the music’s lyric and episodic nature.” 

Ms. White’s recent orchestral activity includes return engagements with the National Philharmonic, the Chicago Sinfonietta, and debuts with the Richmond, Cincinnati, and Midland Symphony Orchestras, the Brevard Music Center and Heartland Festival Orchestras, as well as The Juilliard Orchestra when she stepped in with 3-days notice to play Florence Price’s Concerto No.1 in January 2022.  Additionally, Ms. White will be making her Aspen Festival Debut in August 2022 as featured soloist and conductor with an evening of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

A first-prize laureate in the Sphinx Competition, she has performed with such leading U.S. ensembles as the Cleveland Orchestra, the Boston Pops, the Louisville Orchestra, and the Atlanta, Baltimore, Colorado, Detroit, and Pittsburgh symphony orchestras. Internationally, she has appeared as soloist with Poland’s Fillharmonia Dolnoslaska; with the Colombian Youth Orchestra in a tour of that country; with the Czech National Philharmonic; and as a recitalist in Baku, Azerbaijian, and Jelenia Gora, Poland. Her film credits include a violin solo in the soundtrack to Jordan Peele’s 2019 psychological thriller Us; and in addition to her numerous classical performances she has also performed alongside several pop artists including Pharrell, Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys, and Lauryn Hill. 

Ms. White is a founding member of New York-based Harlem Quartet, where since 2006 her passion and artistry have contributed to performances that have been hailed for “bringing a new attitude to classical music, one that is fresh, bracing and intelligent” (Cincinnati Enquirer). Together with Harlem Quartet, she has worked with such classical-music luminaries as Itzhak Perlman, Ida Kavakian, Paul Katz, and Anthony McGill; appeared in many of the country’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, the White House, and the Kennedy Center; and performed throughout the U.S. as well as in Europe, Africa, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Harlem Quartet was named quartet-in-residence at Montclair State University in the fall of 2021; and has been the visiting quartet-in-residence at the Royal College of Music in London since 2016.

Ms. White currently serves as Music Artist Faculty at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. 

A native of Michigan, she holds performance degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and New England Conservatory, where her teachers included Jaime Laredo, Ida Kavafian, Donald Weilerstein, and Miriam Fried. Her current instrument, “Matilda,” was commissioned as part of a Sphinx MPower Artist Grant in 2014 by the American violin maker Ryan Soltis.

In addition to her musical career, Ms. White has enjoyed practicing various styles of yoga for more than a decade, and completed training in both Vinyasa and Ashtanga at Sampoorna Yoga School in Goa, India. She is the co-founder of Intermission, a ground-breaking program that unites body, mind, breath, and music-making through yoga and meditation. Intermission comprises sessions for students, retreats for professionals, and an app for everyone. 

Melissa White is represented worldwide by New York-based Sciolino Artist Management.

Brendan Lanighan

Brendan Lanighan playing the trombone (photo).

Brendan Lanighan

Brendan Lanighan

Adjunct Instructor
Department of Music
College of Arts and Sciences

Specialties

Trombone; Euphonium; Jazz Music

About

A native of Buffalo, New York, trombonist and educator Brendan Lanighan has begun to be recognized on the international stage. In 2017, Lanighan won the International Trombone Festival’s prestigious J.J. Johnson Jazz Solo Competition.

In 2015, Lanighan completed degrees in Jazz Trombone Performance and Music Education from the Eastman School of Music, where he had many dedicated mentors. Time spent in Buffalo and Rochester during his studies allowed Lanighan to develop into a versatile musician; he appeared often with local musicians and international acts traveling through the area. Performances during this time included working with The Johnny Mathis Orchestra, The Dave Rivello Ensemble, Taylor Hix, 5head, and others.

In addition to winning the J.J. Johnson Jazz Solo Competition, Lanighan has received accolades from other musical organizations as both performer and composer. Lanighan placed as a finalist in the 2015 International Trombone Festival’s Carl Fontana Competition, and his arrangement of J.J. Johnson’s composition “Lament” was honored by DownBeat Magazine’s Student Music Awards as Best Student Arrangement of 2015.

Upon the completion of his work at Eastman, Lanighan sought opportunities to develop as an educator; he accepted a position as a faculty member at Rochester’s Hochstein School of Music and Dance. While at Hochstein, Lanighan worked with an incredibly diverse group of students, teaching lessons and coaching jazz combos comprised of people of all ages and backgrounds.

In 2017, Lanighan left upstate New York to tour internationally with The Glenn Miller Orchestra, where he was featured both as a jazz trombone soloist and as the tenor voice in the band’s vocal ensemble, The Moonlight Serenaders. His work can be heard on the band’s new recording, “The Glenn Miller Orchestra: Live in Japan,” was released in 2019.

Stephen Guerra

Stephen Guerra portriat.

Stephen Guerra

Stephen Guerra

Specialties

Music Theory; Brazilian choro

About

Specializing in Brazilian choro, guitarist-composer Stephen Guerra performs at music clubs and concert halls, cultural centers, universities, and guitar societies around the United States and Brazil, sharing the stage with Rogério Souza, Duo Violão, Ami Molinelli, and Tiago do Bandolim among others. He has spent years studying in Rio de Janeiro with legendary brothers Rogério Souza and Ronaldo do Bandolim (of Trio Madeira and Época de Ouro) and continues to visit regularly. Some of his published work includes: the album Choro in the Time of Bossa Nova with Duo Guerra/Morrow, Suíte Rio de Janeiro with Guitar Chamber Music Press, 10 Brazilian Choros Arranged for Classical Guitar Solo with Mel Bay, and a popular YouTube channel. Stephen has a Ph.D. in music theory from Yale University. He has published various research articles about rhythm and meter in Latin-American African-diasporic music and teaches music at the University at Buffalo.