The Music Department at the University of Dallas is dedicated to providing our students with opportunities to explore and create music from a variety of genres, to contributing to the vibrancy of the university and to bringing focus to the excellence of the UD experience.
The Music Department presented its annual UD Summer Music Academy during June 2019. Thirty students ages 11-18 from across the U.S. came to campus for a week to make music and new friends. Working with UD faculty, string, piano and voice students all joined together to create a community of music, with a wonderful final concert featuring performances ranging from chamber ensembles to the Academy Chorale.
The Summer Music Academy final concert in June, 2019
Bianca Aridjis-Olivos and Adrianna Schell perform at a Fall Brown Bag recital.
The Fall 2019 semester was a busy one in the UD Music Department. Auditions for incoming freshmen and new students were held, chamber ensembles were formed, private lesson assignments were made, and rehearsals began. Cello, piano, violin and voice students all participated in weekly lessons and prepared for Brown Bag recitals. The joy of sharing music with the community is a gift!
Left Image: Claire Kirby performs at a Fall Brown Bag recital
Right Image: Elizabeth Couinard Catherine Wells, John Rabaey and Ethan Owens (l-r) perform at a Fall Brown Bag Recital
The Crowley Trio, consisting of UD Music Department Faculty members Jim Higgins (cello), Andrey Ponochevny (piano) and Kristin Van Cleve (violin), presented two performances in September 2019 as part of the “Music in the Museum” concert series. Held at the Museum of Biblical Arts in Dallas, these evenings of chamber music serve the dual purpose of promoting the music program at UD and the university as a whole to friends new and old. The trio presented two additional concerts in Feb. 2020, which marked the beginning of the second season for the series. A huge thanks to Marilyn Walker for her support and vision in bringing this project to fruition!
Another happy event was the establishment of the Marilyn Walker Endowment for Music in early December. Made possible by a generous gift from Mary Ritter, BA ’85, this fund will help to support the music program in its efforts to offer students the best possible music experience at UD.
The UD Chorale, directed by Brian Bentley, embarked on a busy and fulfilling semester by rehearsing for participation in Mass at the Church of the Incarnation on the UD campus, singing at the Nov. 1 inauguration of President Hibbs and presenting performances of Handel’s Coronation Anthems at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Fort Worth and on campus with the professional instrumental ensemble Texas Camerata.
Left Image: Student performers after the Winter Recital - Dec. 2019
Right Image: The UD Chorale performs at St. Patrick Cathedral in Fort Worth - Nov. 2019.
Student recitals at the conclusion of the semester were a wonderful way to showcase the hard work and artistry of the many talented music students at UD.
Left Image: Piano lessons with Mr. Ponochevny via Zoom during the spring semester.
Right Image: Catherine Hand smiles for the camera during her online piano lesson.
The spring 2020 semester began with the usual flurry of activity — music history and music theory classes, private lessons and ensemble rehearsals commenced, as Catherine Hall once again resonated with the sounds of music -making. The UD Chorale sang at the National Catholic Bioethics Center Bishop’s Dinner in early February, an event enjoyed by all.
Guest artist performances are a chance to bring world class artists to UD, and two recitals in the spring semester afforded the UD community the opportunity to hear Yuri Anshelevich (retired cellist with the Dallas Symphony) and Steve Harlos (University of North Texas piano faculty) perform works from the baroque through the modern eras. In early March, a recital of baroque vocal and chamber music featuring Camille King (SMU voice faculty) and Willa Henigman (Dallas Symphony oboist) was presented in the beautiful setting of the Church of the Incarnation.
The first Brown Bag recital of the semester took place in early March, as well as a recital showcasing student chamber ensembles.
After the university moved to distance learning in mid-March due to the impact of COVID-19, the Music Department, like all areas of the university, had to quickly figure out a way to teach our students and give them the best possible experience under the circumstances. While the performing arts are particularly challenged by remote learning platforms, music instructors taught private lessons via Zoom and FaceTime. Choir and voice students recorded examples for teachers to analyze and provide feedback, and ensembles listened to and analyzed works from the classical music canon. Andrey Ponochevny’s piano students recorded a Virtual Spring Piano Recital, culminating a semester of hard work and dedication.
"... I have had more time to practice my cello during quarantine and have been able to be with my family more ..." - Laurence Bell
While distance learning was certainly not ideal, all involved accepted the challenge with courage and grace, developing creative ways to present performances and to keep learning and growing as musicians. Cellist, chamber ensemble student and music concentrator Laurence Bell summed up his quarantine experience: “When I first heard of the coronavirus, I did not take it seriously. Weeks passed by, and I realized that the situation was very serious. I had to come to terms with the fact that I, along with other students, was not coming back to campus after spring break. I was especially unhappy about this because I really enjoyed chamber music. However, I have had more time to practice my cello during quarantine and have been able to be with my family more, since beforehand we were always in and out of the house. While I would not want to go through this situation again, I have been able to learn to value life.”
Laurence Bell practicing at home after UD moves to distance learning.
We are all looking forward to the time when we can return to campus and resume rehearsals, lessons, classes and performances.