Justin Benavidez (BM 2005, tuba performance), was recently appointed the assistant professor of tuba and euphonium at the Ithaca College School of Music in Ithaca, NY. He is also the Tuba Artist-Faculty member at the Round Top Summer Music Festival and Institute. This past summer he was the Orchestral Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and was the winner of the Aspen Music Festival Concerto Competition, performing the Vaughan Williams Concerto for Tuba with the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen Orchestra.

Kevin Brunkhorst has released his new CD, Otherwise, which he recorded in Denton with John Murphy, tenor saxophone, Fred Hamilton, bass, and Ed Soph, drums. All of the tracks are original compositions by Kevin Brunkhorst.

Soprano Heather Hawk (DMA 2012) was first place winner at the 2016 NATSAA Competition for the Texoma Region.  She will compete in the final round at the NATS National Convention in July.  She is in the private voice studio of Carol Wilson.  

Argyle ISD director of bands Kathy Johnson (BM, MM) was recently elected to the American Bandmasters Association. Membership to the organization is by invitation only in recognizing the exceptional achievements of band conductors and composers.  See 

Reiner Kramer (Ph.D. music theory) holds a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Schulich School of Music, McGill University, Montréal, Canada. The two-year position (2015-2017) is with the SIMSSA (Single Interface for Music Score Searching and Analysis) project, part of CIRMMT's (Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology) Research Axis 2 (Music Information Research).

Kaela Sinclair, a 2012 Jazz Studies bachelor’s graduate (her name in EIS is Kaela Bratcher), has joined the band M83: and

Patricia Surman (MM, flute performance and musicology; DMA in performance), Fulbright Scholar and Yamaha Performing Artist, was recently appointed as Assistant Professor of Flute and Director of Woodwind Studies at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.


Gabriela Alvarado (student of Mary Karen Clardy) was selected for the 2016 American Bach Soloists Academy, and her flute quintet, Radiance Quintet, will perform at the 2016 National Flute Association convention in San Diego.  Jennifer Willis, current MM student, will join the group for the August performance in San Diego.

BM in tuba performance candidate, Austin Crumrine, has been awarded a two-year MM (tuba performance) Teaching Assistantship in Jazz Studies at Baylor University that includes a stipend and full waiver of tuition.

Dwight Jilek was named the UNT Outstanding Graduate Conductor.

Stephen Lochbaum, DMA in guitar, made the semifinals at the Maurizio Biasini International Guitar Competition in San Francisco; won first prize at the Columbus International Guitar Competition (prize was $1500 and a new guitar valued at $7000); won second place and prize for best performance of a piece by John Duarte at the University of Texas at Dallas International Guitar Competition (won over $2000).  At the end of April he competes in Montral.

MM in Tuba Performance candidate, Guytano Martorano, has been awarded a three-year DMA Teaching Assistantship at Texas Tech University that includes a $10,500 annual stipend and waiver of tuition. Duties will include membership in the Graduate Brass Quintet and Tuba-Euphonium Studio responsibilities including Advanced Low Brass Class.

Jacob Nydegger, student of Joseph Banowetz, was named the Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Piano.

Ben Price defended his dissertation entitled “Toward a Rationale for Music Education in the Public School Context Framed with Both Progressive and Essentialist Considerations:  Operationalizing the Ideas of William Chandler Bagley.”  Prior to the Ph.D. studies, Ben taught elementary, middle, and high school band for nine years in the Texas public schools.  While at UNT, he taught courses in the music education sequence, supervised student teachers, and served as an assistant director with the New Horizons Band.  He also presented and co-presented at state and national-level conferences on topics including music teacher identity, occupational stress, assessment, and connecting research to practice.  Ben is a member of Texas Music Educators Association, College Music Society, and the American Educational research Association.  Currently, he serves a as a field supervisor for Texas Christian University, where he supervises music student teachers across elementary, middle and high school music classrooms.

Gregory Santa Croce [music performance (organ), jazz studies (arranging)] has been selected as the 2016-17 Presser Undergraduate Scholar for the UNT College of Music.  Gregory’s major professors are Jesse Eschbach for organ and Rich DeRosa for arranging, with applied instruction in jazz piano by Pat Coil. He has served as pianist for the Three O’Clock Lab Band, and Four O’Clock Lab Band and currently performs with the UNT Jazz Singers.  He also holds a position as organist for St. Paul Lutheran Church (Denton).  In 2015, Gregory won first prize at the Cherine Troxel Organ Competition in Oklahoma and recently took both first prize and hymn playing prize at the 2016 William Hall Pipe Organ Competition in San Antonio. Gregory maintains a 4.0 cumulative grade point average at UNT.  The Presser Undergraduate Scholar award is presented annually to a student entering his or her senior year who has shown extraordinary musical and academic accomplishments.  The winner is nominated and selected by UNT music faculty and receives the award from the Presser Foundation, which awards annual scholarships, grants, and  funds for the furthering of music education and music in America.  The Presser award is considered the most prestigious undergraduate award in music at UNT, and has a continuous history in the college that stretches back well before 1951.  The organization was founded in 1916 by Theodore Presser, the music publisher and philanthropist.

Jessica Stearns, a PhD student in musicology, received the 2016 Dena Epstein Award for Archival and Library Research in American Music from the Music Library Association. The award will fund research for her project "Christian Wolff's Notation and Its Context" in New York this summer.

MM in Tuba Performance candidate, Kosuke Toho, has been selected by audition to be a member of the 2016 Disneyland All American College Band.

Ethnomusicology PhD student José R. Torres-Ramos has been awarded the Presser Graduate Music Award at UNT for 2016. José’s scholarly interests focus on the mariachi tradition including research, teaching, and performance.  His Presser funded project consists of a two-month performance-research practicum in Mexico to include the development of an ethnomusicological praxis for mariachi teaching and performance.  In addition to his ethnomusicological studies at UNT under the mentorship of Steven Friedson and Catherine Ragland, José serves as director of Mariachi Águilas de UNT, the ensemble founded in 2003 by Donna Emmanuel.  Sixteen graduate schools of music at accredited colleges, universities and independent institutions of higher education have been invited to present the Presser Graduate Music Award to an outstanding graduate music student whom they select. The program is designed to encourage and support in a special way the advanced education and career of truly exceptional graduate music students who have the potential to make a distinguished contribution to the field of music. The Presser Foundation operates under the will and Deeds of Trust created by its founder, Theodore Presser.  It is one of the few foundations in the United States dedicated solely to the support of music and music education.

Robert Ward, DMA Choral, student of Jerry McCoy and Richard Sparks, has accepted the position of Director of Choral Activities at Emporia State University.

Brendon Wilkins (flute student of Mary Karen Clardy) was chosen as a member of the 2016 Disney Band in Disneyland, CA, and the Dallas Morning News contacted him for an interview following his selection for the band. As Outstanding Undergraduate Woodwind student and this year's Presser scholar, Brendon was honored at this year's UNT Honors Day.

Jesse Eschbach organ studio:  Andrew Kenney won the First Prize Graduate Division in the Bill Hall Organ Competition held on March 5 at First Presbyterian Church in San Antonio.  Gregory Santa Croce (senior, jazz piano major) won First Prize Undergraduate Division and the Undergraduate Best Hymn Award.  Judges were Jonathon Dimmock, Faythe Freize, and Crista Miller.  With the possible exception of New York State, no other area in the United Sates has more active university organ programs than Texas.  Contestants represented University of Texas, Southern Methodist University, Rice, University of Houston, and UNT.

Pamela Mia Paul piano studio:  Eldred Marshall was a semi-finalist in the J.S. Bach International Piano Competition in Wurzberg, Germany.  Yibing Zhang was a quarterfinalist in the Hastings International Concerto Competition in England.  Baolong Zhang won the Lewisville Symphony Concerto Competition and will perform with that orchestra in their season opener in September in Lewisville. He will repeat his performance of the third movement of the Prokofiev 3d Piano concerto with the UNT Symphony Orchestra on Wednesday, April 6th.  Ah Young Kim won second prize in the Petroff Competition in San Antonio.  Kiryang Kim won a prize in the American Protege Competition and will perform at Carnegie's Weill Hall in New York City at the end of April.

Jeff Snider voice studio:  At the DFW Chapter of NATS Student Auditions on April 1-2 at Texas Wesleyan University, the following winners are are announced:  Musical Theatre:  Max Ary, Freshman, 1st place in Category I (lower class college men); Lauren Lestage, Junior, 2nd place in Category IX (upper college women); Classical:  Max Ary,(Freshman, 1st place in Category IVA (Freshman Men) and Betty Utter Award for overall best Lower Class College singer; Andrea Weidemann, Senior, 1st place in Category XI (Upper Level College Women) and James McKinney Award for best Upper Class or Advanced College Singer; Derrick Brown, master’s student, 2nd place in Category XIV (Advanced Men).

Terri Sundberg flute studio:  DMA students Rachel Woolf, Hannah Leffler, and Ieng Wei (Wesley) Wong  have been named three of eight semi-finalists in the Myrna W. Brown Artist Competition, a national flute competition with no age limit.   All three also study with James Scott and Elizabeth McNutt.   Also named a semi-finalist is BM alum Hyejeong Ryu, currently a MM student in flute performance at Northwestern.

Carol Wilson voice studio:  Soprano Eleni Kotzabassis, senior vocalp performance major, was accepted to the Tanglewood Young Artist's Program for Undergraduate Singers.  She will make her debut in the role of Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus.  MM soprano Hilary Taylor was accepted on scholarship to the 2016 SongFest in Los Angeles.


Joseph Banowetz had a teaching residency with masterclasses, private lessons, and a lecture on piano pedaling from March 16 - 18 at Lang Lang's music school "Music World" in Shenzhen, China.

Jason Bergman and Dennis Fisher travelled to the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China from March 28-April 4. While in residency at the Central Conservatory, Prof. Fisher worked with the wind ensemble and several other groups in the Beijing area. Dr. Bergman presented a recital, solo performance with the Wind Ensemble with Prof. Fisher conducting, provided masterclasses, and private lessons. He also presented a masterclass for the Conn-Selmer corporation. They were invited by Professor Zhongui Dai, the leading trumpet professor (and successful conductor) in China.

Jason Bergman served as an adjudicator for the Undergraduate Semi-final Division of the National Trumpet Competition which was held at Columbus State University from March 10-12.

Benjamin Dobbs (Visiting Lecturer in Music Theory, Ph.D. 2015) published an article entitled "Die Privilegierung der verschriftlichten Musik als Impuls für das Konzept der 'musica poetica': religiöse, intellektuelle und musikalische Faktoren im 16. Jahrhundert" (The Privileging of Written Music as Impetus for the Concept of 'Musica poetica': Religious, Intellectual, and Musical Factors in the Sixteenth Century) in the journal Musiktheorie this month.

Retired Faculty

Texas Times, a new duo CD by Jim Riggs, saxophone, and Stefan Karlsson, piano, is available on


The UNT Trumpet Ensemble had a successful performance at the National Trumpet Competition. They were even invited to perform for the public at a street fair. This was the first time in many years that UNT was represented at this select competition. The group included the following UNT students: Spencer Wallin (DMA), Megan Bailey (DMA), Beth Peroutka-Schneller (DMA), Robby Garrison (Freshman), Ryan King (MM), Gilbert Villagrana (Senior), Danny Brock (MM), Dakota Keller (Junior), and Amanda Bateman (MM). They were coached by Dr. Jason Bergman.