Skip to main content
Lincoln Hall

Department News

11th Concerto Competition

The 11th annual Cornell Concerto Competition was held on Sunday, December 14, in Barnes Hall Auditorium. From a very strong field of four finalists, judges Malcolm Bilson and Matthew Ardizzone chose Paul Huang as the winner.  Huang, Chemistry ’18, performed Edouard Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole, 1st Movement with accompanist Joe Pepper. Professor Bilson commented, “All the participants played at a very high level and it was a difficult decision.” The other three finalists included Hae Soo Cheon, Jae Baek, and Jiacong Xu.  Huang will perform the Lalo Symphonie Espagnole with the Cornell Symphony Orchestra on February 28th, 2015 in Bailey Hall.

Winner Paul Huang is a freshman majoring in chemistry and minoring in music. He began playing the violin at age 6, studying first with Bo Huang (no relation) and later with Jonathan Lam. He was a member of the New England Conservatory Preparatory Orchestras for seven years, and is currently in the Cornell Symphony Orchestra. Aside from violin, Paul also played the alto saxophone for five years. He currently studies violin with Amy Christian.

Finalist HaeSoo Cheon is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences double majoring in Psychology and Asian Studies and minoring in business. She performed Karl Goldmark’s Violin Concerto, mvt 1.  HaeSoo began playing violin at age nine and started taking private lessons one year later. She studied with Levon Zarasian in Scottsdale, AZ for five years before coming to Cornell. She studied with Juliana Athayde her freshman year and served as concertmaster of the Cornell Chamber Orchestra. She currently plays in both orchestras and is under the instruction of Dr. Ariana Kim.

Finalist Jae Baek is a sophomore in the College of Engineering majoring in Biological Engineering. She performed Francois Borne’s Fantasie.  Jae Baek started flute at the age of 10 and since then, has participated in region and all-state orchestras. She received a blue ribbon in the New York Flute Club Competition and as a student in high school, performed Mozart Concerto in G Major with the school orchestra. She currently studies with Amy Elizabeth Shuhan.

Finalist Jiacong Xu performed Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No.1. Born in China, Jiacong didn’t touch the piano until he moved to Sydney, Australia. He started considerably late at the end of 8th grade when he was 14, but immediately fell in love with the instrument. A year later, he was admitted into Conservatorium High School, the secondary division of Department of Music of University of Sydney. Jiacong studied piano with Elizabeth Powell until graduation in 2013.

Thank you to all the competitors and Congratulations to Paul Huang!

Jennifer Zetlan as Mozart. Photo by Hiroyuki Ito for The New York Times

Jennifer Zetlan as Mozart. Photo by Hiroyuki Ito for The New York Times

Professor Emeritus Steven Stucky’s comic opera, The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts), premiered to a packed Zankel Hall in New York on Thursday, December 4th. Inspired by Charles Rosen’s landmark 1971 book, The Classical Style: Hadyn, Mozart, Beethoven,  the piece both entertains and educates.  The New York Times calls it, “absurdly funny yet genuinely insightful into the inner workings of music” To read the rest of that glowing review, follow this link.





The Recording Academy has nominated Professor Roberto Sierra’s Sinfonía No. 4 for a Grammy in the Best Contemporary Classical Composition category. Released on the Naxos label, the piece was premiered by the Nashville Symphony with Giancarlo Guerrero conducting.  Grego Applegate Edwards’s lauded this work as standing “apart from the typical offerings one can hear for the orchestra in the new Millennium,” and ArtsNowNashville praised it as, “uncommonly vivid and sensuous.”  Congratulations Professor Sierra!


Roberto Sierra

matheson-james James Matheson’s (DMA, 2001) “Cretic Variations” is featured along with new works from three other American composers on the new CD, Woman at the New Piano: American Music of 2013.  Performed by pianist Nadia Shpachenko, you can get a glimpse of each new work here.


DanzonAssociate Professor Alejandro L. Madrid’s latest book, Danzón. Circum-Caribbean Dialogues in Music and Dance, co-authored with Robin Moore (University of Texas, Austin), has been awarded the Robert M. Stevenson Award for for outstanding scholarship in Iberian music from the American Musicological Society.

In the Award Committee’s comments, they laud the book’s “theoretical and methodological sophistication,” and conclude by saying that Danzón is, “a great contribution to our field, and as a model for future works that also aim to cross borders between musicology and ethnomusicology.”



MatAgainst a highly competitive field, Mat Langlois was awarded the Pisk Prize for best paper read by a graduate student at the 2014 AMS conference.

This semester three Department of Music graduate students won awards that are funding their international research.

Niccolo AthensNiccolo Athens was awarded a 2014-2015 Fulbright Research Grant for his project entitled, Stylistic Trends in Contemporary Chinese Concert Music.

He is spending the academic year in Beijing, China based at the Central Conservatory of Music and will be continuing his studies in composition with Professor Ye Xiaogang.






MiaTootill_photoMia Tootill was awarded the American Musicological Society’s 2014 William Holmes/Frank D’Accone Award for travel and research in the history of opera. Additionally, she received a graduate student travel grant from Cornell’s Society for the Humanities.  With the support of these two awards, Mia plans to complete research in Paris this semester, for her dissertation entitled, From the Underworld to the Opéra: Representations of the Devil on the Parisian Musical Stage, 1827-69.


dept pic 2Jillian Marshall received a Fulbright-mtvU fellowship for the 2014-2015 academic year. The Fulbright-mtvU Fellowship, jointly sponsored by the Fulbright Foundation and Music Television, is awarded to four projects each year that focus on contemporary or popular music as an expression of cultural force or change. She is currently in Japan, where she is immersing herself in and considering the connections between indigenous, popular, and underground musics.



Mikusi-Balazs Alumnus Balázs Mikusi (2010) recently discovered 4 pages of Mozart’s Piano Sonata in A, K.331 long thought lost, in the National Szechenyi Library in Budapest, Hungary. For more information on the discovery read the AFP article here.

DanzonAssociate Professor Alejandro L. Madrid’s latest book, Danzón: Circum-Carribean Dialogues in Music and Dance has been awarded the 2014 ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor Béla Bartók Award for outstanding ethnomusicology book. Co-authored by Robin D. Moore and published by Oxford University Press, Danzón explores the development, circulation, and continuous re-signification of danzón music and dance from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 21st century.

The winners will be honored at a ceremony in November at the New York Institute of Technology in Manhattan, NY.

For more information about the award, follow this link.

music-for-amplified-keyboard-instruments-500x50033 years after it’s original release, David Borden’s influential work, Music For Amplified Keyboard Instruments, has been digitally remastered and will be reissued by Spectrum Spools in cooperation with Editions Mego.  Borden, along with David Yearsley and Blaise Bryski, will perform selections from this work at the Carriage House Hayloft on November 11, 2014.  For more information on the reissue, follow this link.

Roberto Sierra, professor of music, in his home.

Professor Roberto Sierra has received a new commission for an 8 – 10 minute Overture as part of the Eugene Symphony Association’s 50th Anniversary Commissioning Project.  The piece, along with works by two other American composers, will have it’s world-premiere during ESA’s ambitious 2015/2016 season.  For more information, follow this link.