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News from your classmates


Lily Afshar '83 M.M., Classical Guitar Performance, published her Book called "Essential Bach arranged for the Guitar" published by Mel Bay Publications. Read what she says about her new book here.  Currently, Lily is Professor of Guitar at the University of Memphis.  2013-01-29







Bill Banfield '83 currently serves as Professor of Africana Studies/Music and Society and director of the Center For Africana Studies and programs at the Berklee College of Music.  Previously, he served as the Endowed Chair of Humanities, Fine Arts, professor of Music and director of American Cultural Studies/Jazz, Popular, and World Music Studies at the University of St. Thomas, MN. Banfield served as Assistant professor, African American Studies/Music at Indiana University where he developed the Undine Smith Moore Collection of Scores and Manuscripts of Black Composers. On April 13 and 14th, 2012 the National Symphony Orchestra Pops conducted by Thomas Wilkins '82 M.M. premiered Banfield's Affirmations. The Grammy Award–winning a cappella group, Sweet Honey in the Rock, brings its renowned African American vocal styles to this NSO co-commission.


Marquita Lister '83 writes: "Bill Banfield's five movement symphonic work (Affirmations) is an extraordinary showcase of the five poems (lyrics) written by each member of the Grammy-nominated group, Sweet Honey In the Rock.As I sat in my seat listening, I was intrigued by the complex and wonderful sounds that were coming from the stage; the sultry voices of Ysaye, Nitanju, Aisha, Carol and Louise as they delivered the magnificent lyrics of their individual movements, the strong, vibrant voices of the Morgan State University Choir filled the concert hall, the enthusiastic conducting of Maestro Wilkins, and the fantastic playing of the National Symphony Orchestra.   Bill Banfield has written a work in which artists from different "worlds" of music can come together to perform something unique...memorable...enjoyable."

Dr. Banfield served as a panel member for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in American music. Banfield was recently hired by Quincy Jones to write a national music curriculum for schools learning about American popular music. In 2002 Dr. Banfield served as a W.E.B. Dubois fellow at Harvard, and was invited by Toni Morrison to serve as visiting Atelier Artist at Princeton University.

He is author of Landscapes in Color: Conversations With Black American Composers, Black Notes: Essays Of A Musician Writing In A Post Album Age and Cultural Codes: Makings Of A Black Music Philosophy, Representing Black Music Culture. Banfield has hosted several NPR/MPR shows including his own show, "Essays Of Note." Currently he is the chair of Black Music Culture for the Association of American Culture and the Popular Culture Association of America conferences. He serves as executive director of Videmus/ Visionary records, and joined Scarecrow Press as its contributing editor of Cultural Studies and Jazz Publications. 2012-05-09


Alan Weinstein '83 is the recipient of the Virginia Tech 2012 Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching.  Weinstein is an Assistant Professor of Cello at the university and will be inducted into the school’s Academy of Teaching Excellence.  He was also awarded the Phi Beta Kappa Sturm Award for Faculty Excellence in the Creative Arts and Performance in 2010.  
In addition to cello, Weinstein teaches chamber music, a lecture class, Creativity and Aesthetic Experience to over 1,100 students a semester and is Artistic Director of the Virginia Tech String Project.  He performs regularly with the Kandinsky Trio  (Benedict Goodfriend  ’78, violin, Elizabeth Bachelder piano) who are finishing their 24th season as Artists–in- Residence at Roanoke College.  For more information go here.  2012-05-09


Zhu Xiao-Mei: The Secret Piano cover artZhu Xiao-Mei '83 M.M. hit the French bestseller lists in 2007 with La Rivière et son secret, a memoir that spans the terrifying years of the Cultural Revolution in China, and includes her studies with Gabriel Chodos at NEC. Still topping French Amazon's classical music list 5 years after publication, it's now available in English as The Secret Piano. The translator, Ellen Hinsey, is an award-winning poet who has also translated Hélène Grimaud's memoir Wild Variations.

Zhu continues to teach at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris. 2012-04-10





Marquita Lister '83 received the 2011 Victory Award. Victory Awards® were created by National Rehabilitation Hospitals in 1986 to celebrate the Victory of the Human Spirit. This nationally recognized, one-of-a-kind award honors individuals who best exemplify exceptional strength and courage in the face of physical adversity. Over the past 25 years, NRH has recognized celebrities and former patients from all walks of life with this prestigious award. 2012-02-01




The Emerald TrioThe Emerald Trio, comprising Karen Bogardus ’83, flute, Orlando Wells, violin, and James Matthew Castle, piano and composer, recently won first prize in the Continuo Arts Competition. As a result they gave a performance in Carnegie Hall. 2011-06-02





Anne Azéma ’83, Music HistoryThis Fall, Boston Camerata’s Artistic Director Anne Azéma ’83 was named a Chevalier (Knight) of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government for her contributions to French culture. The "Arts et Lettres" decoration is awarded yearly to artists and creators, both French and non-French. It is one of the principal distinctions of the French Republic. As a singer, Anne Azéma has been widely acclaimed for her interpretations of early French music. She has also distinguished herself as a director, scholar and researcher, leading musical teams on a series of original programs of medieval music. She is a co-recipient of the Grand Prix du Disque, described as the French equivalent of the Grammy Award. In addition to her leading work with the early music ensemble, The Boston Camerata, Anne also directs the Europe-based Ensemble Aziman and is on faculty at the NEC School of Continuing Education. 2010-12-21

Dawn Walker '83, '85 MM, Flute PerformanceDawn Walker ’83, ’85 M.M. has joined the flute faculty of the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View, California. She is a member of the Carmel Bach Festival Orchestra and principal flute of the Monterey Symphony. She has performed for more than 20 years as a substitute flute with the San Francisco Opera and Ballet orchestras. She lives in California with her husband, cellist Mark Walker ’85 and their two sons. 2011-01-06



Michael Ponella '83, Jazz StudiesMike Ponella ’83 recently released a CD of his original music titled G.W.B. Shuffle, which includes bandleaders and friends such as Toshiko Akiyoshi, Paquito D'Rivera, and Slide Hampton. The recording is available at CDBaby.com, as well as on Mike’s website. Mike is currently living in the NYC area of Leonia, New Jersey. 2010-09-08




Brian Folkins-Amador, '83, Third Stream StudiesGuitarist/Composer Brian Folkins-Amador '83, Third Stream Studies, recently premiered his suite for Latin ensemble and string quartet, SABOR Y MEMORIA: a Musical Feast in Seven Courses, in Flint, MI with his group Sol y Canto and the renowned Mexican string quartet Cuarteto Latinoamericano. Brian was awarded a fellowship at the MacDowell Artist Colony in 2009 to compose the work, which is about food in various aspects: health, cultural identification, immigration, hunger, the joy of cooking, and of course, chocolate! The Boston Globe recently published an article about the project. Brian lives in Cambridge, MA with his wife and musical collaborator, Rosi, and their teenage twin daughters Sonia and Alisa. 2011-05-03

Susan Calkins ‘83 M.M. of Wayland Public Schools in Wayland, MA, received a $2,000 Learning & Leadership Grant in Fall 2009 from the NEA Foundation to fund a research project to develop a general music program that provides the building blocks of skillful jazz improvisation. 2010-08-02


Dave Douglas '83, Jazz PerformanceDave Douglas ’83 recently released a new album with his group, the Dave Douglas Quintet. The album, A Single Sky, features Douglas with Grammy-winning arranger/conductor Jim McNeely and the Frankfurt Radio Bigband. Dave’s recent projects also include work with experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison to create the soundtrack for a reinvented version of the first Frankenstein film. The film, Spark of Being, was premiered in April 2010. 2010-08-02




Help find your lost classmates

Unfortunately, NEC has lost touch with some of your classmates. If you have e-mail or other contact information for any of the people listed below, please let us know so that we can keep them informed of reunions and other NEC activities.

Mary Elizabeth Bolton, Seung Yong Choi, Paul Cortese, Gerry Cruikshank, Paulo Finateri, Bridgett Gerlinghaus, Jay Douglas Johns, Hae-Kyung Jun, Cornelia Kellogg, Andy Joel Kirshner, Thomas Michael, Shannon E. Peet, Mary Schmidt, Daniel H. Sheppard, Kathleen Moylan Sommers, Elizabeth M Svanes, Peter John Torvik, Rachel A. Vasquez, Karen Elaine Ward, Yu-Qing Yan.