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Student & Faculty Successes

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October 2016

Featuring two OU trumpet graduates, Luke MacDonald and Mikki Gramoll.


July 2016

Jason Gadberry (MM choral Conducting, 2016) has accepted an assistant position at John Horn High School in Mesquite, Texas. JHHS is a 6A school with a choir enrollment of 350 students a year. 

William George (DMA choral conducting, ABD 2016) has been appointed to the position of Director of Choral Activities at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX.  Booker T. Washington was created to provide a program of excellence in the arts. The curriculum reflects a commitment to exemplary standards in both the arts and the academics. 

Stephen Hartman (BME, 2016) has accepted a position at Epperly Heights Elementary in the Mid-Del public schools teaching pre-k - 5th grade general music and 4th-5th grade children's chorus. 

John M. Morrow (BA, 2015) is the newly appointed Principal Organist at McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church in Norman, OK. He has been an active member of McFarlin's music ministry and founded the Wesley Choir at the OU Wesley Foundation.


May 2016

Kenn McSperitt, 3rd-year DMA candidate in Composition, has recently signed a recording contract with Centaur Records on the Naxos label for international distribution of an album which will feature two multi-movement works for chamber orchestra. The pieces utilize McSperitt's technique of phonetic composition, the application of spectral analysis of speech formants, phonetics, and phonology, to artistically represent speech patterns in music for standard acoustic instruments. McSperitt recently lectured on Phonetic Composition at the University of California - Santa Barbara, and will enjoy presentations of his research this summer at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain on June 14, and again at the Sounds and Structure of Language and Music conference in Cologne, Germany on July 10. McSperitt is in talks with Dr. Richard Zielinski and the Norman Philharmonic to serve as the recording ensemble for this album project, which will be released in 2017.


April 2016

Congratulations to our students who placed in the Oklahoma National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition.

Music Theater Division

  • Alexandra Johnson, 2nd Place Upper College Women, student of Joel Burcham

Classical Divison

  • Bea Kim, 1st Place Freshmen Women, studies w/ Kim Josephson
  • Madeline Breedlove, 1st Place Sophomore Women, student of Donna Mitchell Cox
  • Robert Hartfield, 1st Place Sophomore Men, student of Kim Josephson
  • Alexandra Johnson, 2nd Place Junior Women, student of Joel Burcham
  • Michael Bailey, 3rd Place Junior Men, student of Mark McCrory
  • Hunter Birkhead, 2nd Place Senior Men, student of Joel Burcham
  • Maura Grace, 3rd Place Graduate Women, student of Joel Bucham
  • Paul Whitehead, 3rd Place Graduate Men, student of Kim Josephson
  • Guillermo Delgado, 1st Place Graduate Men, student of Joel Burcham
  • Melissa Delgado, 2nd Place Adult Division, student of Mark McCrory
  • Nicole Keeling (Flores), 1st Place Adult Division, student of Mark McCrory 

Other students who made finals

  • Alex Bolerjack, finalist in Adult Division
  • Hannah Tullius, finalist in Sophomore women
  • Maggie Armand, finalist in Sophomore women
  • Rachel Peek, finalist
  • Brianna Clancy, Grad Women Finalist
  • Amber Cox, Senior Women Finalists
  • Catherine Pierce, Senior Women Finalists
  • Hannah Tullius, Sophomore Women Finalists


April 2016

Congratulations to Dr. Cassie Keogh on being selected as a recipient of the 2015 Provost’s Ph.D. Dissertation Award for her dissertation The Art of Meld:  Pitch Organization and Motivic Transformations in Joan Tower's Music for Clarinet.


April 2016

On Saturday, April 2nd, four University of Oklahoma graduate students won second place in the collegiate division of the Coltman Chamber Music Competition. This annual competition is hosted by the Austin Chamber Music Center at Concordia University in Austin, Texas. The competition features both a collegiate and junior division and draws chamber music groups from around the country. The collegiate semi-finalists represented six schools—University of Oklahoma, Northwestern University, Eastman School of Music, Case WesternReserve University, Arizona State University, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Dylan Edwards, Brennan Lagan, Cameron Miller, and Curtis Vanzandt founded the Copperhead Quartet in August 2015. In addition to the Coltman competition, the quartet has presented several on-campus recitals and also competed in the 2016 North American Saxophone Alliance saxophone quartet competition in Lubbock, Texas.


March 2016

Congratulations to the following OU students who competed in the OKC Ladies Music Club Competition. 

College Vocal Division
First Alternate - Maggie Armand
Second Alternate - Dohee Beatrice Kim

College String Division
First Alternate - Elizabeth Frazier
Second Alternate - Cody Byrum

College Brass Division
First Alternate - Tyler Chargualaf

College Percussion Division
First Place - Grayson Rushing
Second Place - Tanner Brown


March 2016

Congratulations to Dr. Konstantinos Karathanasis for havinig his submission Convergences accepted for performance at the 2016 New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival.

The festival will take place June 13-19, 2016 at the Abrons Arts Center in New York City and is considered the most reputable festival of electroacoustic music in the US.


March 2016

Congratulations to Dr. Konstantinos Karathanasis on winning first place in the SIME 2016 Electroacoustic Music Compwetition. His winning work, Ode to Kitchen, will be performed during the SIME 2016 festival at the University Lille III, France, on April 20, 2016.


February 2016

From the Norman transcript...

The OU Chorale got a music lesson from an unlikely source Friday afternoon at Lloyd Noble Center.

Coming off a recent bid to perform at the prestigious ACDA Southwest Regional Conference, the all-student choir met Lon Kruger and the OU men’s basketball team at center court for a message. Kruger didn’t delve into the finer points of vibrato or breathing. He spoke about the commonality of sport and art and the principles that drive winning philosophy.

“He gave a great motivational speech about teamwork and his message was to always take care of each other,” Director Richard Zielinski said.

Zielinski grew up as a gym rat. Now, he’s director of choral activities at OU and artistic director of the Norman Philharmonic. But in his youth he idolized NBA legend, Hall-of-Fame point guard “Pistol” Pete Maravich. That’s who he wanted to be. He went on to play football and run track at Carthage College before transferring to the University of Wisconsin as a decathlete.

“At some point, I realized I wasn’t going to play point guard for the Knicks,” he said, “so I looked at music. It has always been an important part of my life and I realized I had a gift for it. That’s when I hung up my cleats. Still played a lot of basketball, though.”*

Everything he took from sports, he translated into the world of music. He said the principles that govern a winning team make a good choir, a good business … a good anything.

“(Playing) point guard and conducting are the same thing. It wasn’t a tough transition. For me, there’s always been this comparison, because a game is like a concert and practices are like rehearsals,” Zielinski said. “I grew up that way. There wasn’t any line between the two. I knew if I worked harder at singing I was going to do better, and it was the same with sports.”

So, when he noticed a slip in the choir’s focus, he enlisted Kruger’s help. He wanted the choir to hear a different perspective and embrace the excitement of what lay before them.

“That’s how this whole thing came about and (Kruger) and I were just comparing what you go through. A choir, or any group of people who are trying to achieve a high level of excellence, is no different than trying to win a game. Sooner or later, you have to challenge each other and try to be there for each other,” Zielinski said. “It’s the same stuff. Show up early, always be on time. Put in the extra work because it will pay off. Lift each other up. My students need to hear it. We all need to hear it.”

After a brilliant start, Zielinski said his choir mirrored the No. 3-ranked Sooner basketball squad.

“I realized that my choir was kind of going through the same thing as the team,” he said. “We were going through a little slump a couple of weeks ago where rehearsals were really getting intense and we had to try something different and have a team meeting with me out of the room. And the students needed to make the decision to be committed and move it up a notch.”

Out of 112 choirs that applied via blind submission, only 12 were selected to make the March 7-10 trip to Kansas City, Missouri. The Sooner basketball team will make their own trip to Kansas City on March 10 for the Big 12 Tournament.

Both will be in elite company.

Only one OU choir has made the trip to the ACDA Southwest Regional Conference in the last 30 years. When they perform at the conference, it will be for an audience of nearly 1,000 well-trained ears. They’ll be singing in German, Polish, Latin and English at a concert billed as “the highest honor” in the region.

Zielinski believes his choir is poised to take on the challenge, and tossing aside the cliché “one-game-at-a-time” philosophy, he said it could position them for a shot at national recognition next year.

“It’s a little more high pressure, but it’s made us work hard,” he said. “The teams that work together become more than the sum of their parts. That’s where we’re at with this choir. They’re really singing well and producing some fine choral music … I know they’ll do their best. I want them to know that when they walk out on that stage, they’ve worked as hard as they can for each other.”

* Zielinski said he had a three-point shootout with OU star Buddy Hield Friday at Lloyd Noble. Hield shot 3 for 3. Zielinski finished 2 for 3. Hield did not attempt to conduct.


February 2016

Congratulations to Kenn McSperitt, DMA candidate in composition, on being offered a full-length record deal for international distribution via the Naxos label from Centaur Records. 


February 2016

Congratulations to Daniela Lancara on winning the String Division of the 2016 Young Artist Competition. Daniela will have the opportunity to perform the Vieuxtemps Concerto No. 4 in D Minor (Mvts I and III) with the Oklahoma Community Orchestra. The concert will take place April 19, 2016 in Hardeman Auditoriam on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University.