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  • Music Department
    1845 E Northgate Dr
    Irving, TX 75062
    Phone: 972-721-5079

    music@udallas.edu

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Faculty

Kristin Van Cleve

Kristin Van Cleve

Director of Music, Violin Professor

Office: Music Department, Carpenter Hall
Phone: 972-721-5079
E-Mail: kvancleve@udallas.edu

Kristin Van Cleve was recently appointed chairperson of the music department at the University of Dallas, where she has directed the chamber ensemble program since 2007. She is Artistic Director and Principal Violinist of the historical performance ensemble, Texas Camerata and is Principal Second Violin with the Dallas Opera Orchestra. 

Ms. Van Cleve began violin studies in her hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska and later moved to Texas, receiving both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Violin Performance from the University of North Texas.   As a baroque violinist, she has performed in Boston, Washington, D.C., France, Mexico and throughout the southwest. Ms. Van Cleve is concertmaster of several other historical instrument ensembles, including the Orchestra of New Spain, and has performed with Apollo's Fire, the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra.  As a modern violinist, she is a member of the New Hampshire Music Festival, has returned to Alaska as a faculty member of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival and in June 2011 traveled to Bolivia to teach and perform. 

Ms. Van Cleve is active as a clinician for violin students of all ages and also maintains a private teaching studio in Dallas. She performs with the Fort Worth Symphony and traveled with that orchestra to Carnegie Hall in 2008.

Andrey Ponochevny

Andrey Ponochevny

Adjunct Professor, Piano

Office: Music Studio, Haggar
Phone: 972-721-5079

Andrey Ponochevny graduated from Belarussian Academy of Music where he received his bachelor and master degrees. He also earned his Artist Diploma from TCU in Fort Worth, where he studied with Dr. Tamás Ungar. He continued to refine his skills in the Artist Certificate Program at SMU in Dallas with renowned pianist, Juaquin Achucarro. He has appeared with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Des Moines Symphony, Rogue Valley Symphony and the Illinois Symphony, Irving Symphony, Orchester der Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele and Belarusian State Symphony among others.

His concerts have been broadcast on radio stations in Boston, New York, Chicago, Germany, Belarus, Slovenia, Romania, Australia and Denmark. In recent seasons, Mr. Ponochevny has been featured in many venues throughout Europe. Andrey Ponochevny performed at several prestigious festivals such as Ruhr Klavier Festival and the Bonner Herbst, International Keyboard Institute and Festival (IKIF) in New York city, International Ludwigsburg Festival; Serie de los Nuevos Virtuosos in Puerto Rico, Bravissimo Festival in Guatemala city and Changchun International festival, China.

He also holds several prestigious awards from China such as Outstanding Artist in China 2009 and 2011, Honorable professor of Jilin College of Arts and visiting professor at the Beihua University. In his hometown Minsk (Belarus) he was awarded the title "Minskovite of the year 2002".

LeeAnne Lawson

LeeAnne Lawson

Adjunct Professor, Violin

Office: Music Department, Carpenter Hall
Phone: 972-721-5079

 LeeAnne Cheoweth Lawson, violinist, graduated from the S.M.U. Meadows School of Arts in 1986, where she was a recipient of the Meadows Artistic Achievement Award Scholarship, with a Bachelor's Degree in Violin Performance. After working in the Dallas Opera Orchestra, she won her first job audition at Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in 1990. After 17 years of performing with the FWSO, she now works there as a substitute as needed, while concentrating more on chamber music. She has contracted string trios and quartets under the name Chenoweth Chamber Music for special events throughout Texas since 1986. In 2006, she became an adjunct professor of violin at the University of Dallas.

In August 2007, Ms. Chenoweth produced the first Timeless Concerts production, a piano trio concert series based in Arlington at the Arlington Museum of Art, and hopes to expand the series over time. Since 2008, she has performed frequently with the Dallas Chamber Orchestra, as well as on the Holy Trinity Catholic Church music ministry concert series and on the First Baptist Church of Arlington music ministry series. Ms. Chenoweth also performs in the orchestra accompanying the Arlington Master Chorale. In April 2009, she performed in the Dallas Theatre Center orchestra for the world premier of the musical, Sara Plain and Tall.

 

Jim Higgins

Jim Higgins

Adjunct Professor, Music History & Theory

Office: Music Department, Carpenter Hall
Phone: 972-721-5079
E-Mail: jhiggins@udallas.edu

Jim Higgins, born in Indiana, received his Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Indiana State University, and a Master's Degree in Cello Performance from Ball State University. After 10 years of performing with the Florida Symphony, he moved to Texas to begin a career in education and performing. He now teaches music history and music theory here at the University of Dallas as well as maintaining a private cello studio at his home in Richardson, and teaching cello at Brookhaven and Richland Junior Colleges.

An active free-lance cellist in the metroplex, Mr. Higgins has performed in many churches and with many organizations including The Dallas Opera, Lewisville and Richardson Symphonies. He is a founding member of Timeless Concerts, a dinner/concert series based in Arlington.

In addition to performing and teaching, Mr. Higgins writes arrangements for a variety of ensembles in Texas as well as other states. His arrangements for school orchestras have been published by Kjos and RBC.


 

Elena Zyl

Elena Zyl

Adjunct Professor, Piano

 

Office: Music Department, Carpenter Hall
Phone: 972-721-5079

Elena Zyl, known for her versatility, imagination, and sensitive musicality, is a passionate and devoted advocate of collaborative piano and chamber music, and a piano instructor. She has given recitals with instrumentalists throughout the United States, as well as Japan, Germany, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Ukraine, and Belarus.

Born in Minsk, Belarus, Elena made her recital debut at the age of ten. She graduated from the Special Music School for Gifted Children in Minsk and the Belarusian Academy of Music with a Master of Music in Piano Performance.

Her duets with violinists, cellists, flutists, vocalists, bassists and other instrumentalists, including the Belarusian folk instrumentalists, gave her a reputation as a first-rate chamber musician. In addition, she was awarded multiple times as the best accompanist in several competitions for young talented artists. Since 2009, Elena Zyl has served as an official accompanist for the Wideman International Piano Competition in Louisiana.

Elena regularly performs in a piano duo with her husband, Andrey Ponochevny, an internationally acclaimed pianist. She has appeared at the Dallas Museum of Art, Osaka Castle Hall in Japan, Robert Schumann-Saal in Germany, Hybernia Theatre in Prague and many others.

Prior to settling in the Dallas area, Elena was a piano faculty member at the Belarusian Academy of Music.

Dee Donasco

Dee Donasco

Adjunct Professor, Applied Voice and Lyric Theater

Office: Music Department, Carpenter Hall
Phone: 972-721-5079

 Philippine-born soprano Dee Donasco is rapidly establishing herself as an artist to watch.  At age 10 she won the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) of the Philippines. After moving to the U.S. at age 13, she became a member of the Corpus Christi Cathedral Pontifical Chorale for ten years, and served as the cantor for five years. Dee spent the summer of 2012 as an Apprentice Artist for Chautauqua Opera where she covered the title role in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor and also appeared as a featured soloist in concerts with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. She made her Dallas Symphony Orchestra debut as the featured guest artist for the 2011 New Year's Eve Concert. She also appeared with the Texas Camerata as soprano soloist in Couperin's Tenebre and as a guest artist in Turtle Creek Chorale's Christmas Concerts.

A recent Regional Finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions 2011 (Southwest Region), Ms. Donasco returned to Opera North to sing Barbarina and Susanna in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro after making her company debut in 2010 as Zerlina in Mozart's Don Giovanni.  In 2009, she made her debut at the San Antonio Opera as Ines in Verdi's Il Trovatore.  Her roles at the Meadows Opera Theater include Susanna in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Eurydice in Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld, Aminta in Mozart's Il Re Pastore and Laurie in Aaron Copland's The Tender Land. She has also performed in H.M.S. Pinafore (Josephine) and Hansel and Gretel (Gretel) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi where she studied with Flicka Rahn. Her concert works include soprano soloist for the Coronation Mass and Requiem by Mozart, Michael Haydn's Requiem, Bach's Magnificat, Handel's Messiah, Orff's Carmina Burana, and Vivaldi's Gloria.  In addition, she was featured as the first guest recitalist for Rockport Center for the Arts Young Artists Series.

Her awards and honors include the Apprentice Award from Chautauqua Opera, first prize from the 2009 Annual Concerto Competition of the Meadows School of the Arts (SMU), the 2007 San Antonio Opera Vocal Competition, and the 2006 Tuesday
Musical Club Vocal Competition (San Antonio).  She was also awarded second prize in the 2009 Mid-Texas Symphony Young Artist Competition in Voice, and the 2007 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition. She received the inaugural Ben K. Howard Excellence in Opera from SMU (2010), third prize from the 2010 Lois Alba Aria Competition and was a finalist in the Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Vocal Competition 2010.  She was a member of the Dallas Opera/SMU Emerging Artists Program for three consecutive seasons and was also a recipient of full artistic scholarship from SMU Meadows School of the Arts.  Ms. Donasco earned her Performance Diploma and her Master of Music degree at Southern Methodist University and received her undergraduate degrees from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi with a double bachelor's in Biology and Music Performance (Cum Laude).  She currently resides in Dallas, Texas where she continues her vocal studies with Dale Dietert and serves as the cantor and soprano section leader at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church.

 

Dr. Charles W. Eaker

Brian Bentley

Director, UD Chorale

Office: Music Department, Carpenter Hall
Phone: 972-721-5079

 

Tara Cunningham

Tara Cunningham

Adjunct Professor, Applied Piano

Office: Music Studio, Haggar
Phone: 972-721-5079

Ms. Cunningham graduated from Texas Woman's University with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education/Piano Performance. After teaching in the classroom for four years as a general music teacher of K-8, she decided to go completely private about 14 years ago and has a studio of 50 private piano students here in Irving. She was born and raised with her two older brothers on a 300-acre farm in Jasper, Indiana, by two very hardworking Catholic parents. Ms. Cunningham and her husband are the proud parents of two young children and very much enjoy living in Texas although they try to get back to Indiana as much as possible.

Besides teaching privately and working as the music teacher at Mount St. Michael's Catholic School in Dallas, Ms. Cunningham enjoys her church job at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in North Richland Hills where she is the main pianist/organist and plays for four masses on Sundays.

She is the author of a Music History program called, "The Five Fathers of Music" which is currently making its way around the country. Other than her work, she enjoys walking, swimming, reading, traveling and hanging out with her little family here in Texas and her big family in Indiana.

 

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