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School of Music

Music Liner Notes

The University of South Carolina School of Music is pleased to announce our faculty, staff and students’ accomplishments and awards along with mentions in regional and national media channels.

Associate Professor of Composition Fang Man received the Outstanding Composer Charles Ives Fellowships and Scholarships Award from the February 2024 American Academy of Arts and Letters Music Awards.  This award recognizes Fang Man’s exceptional talent and contributions to the field of music, highlighting the significance of her work. 

Music educator Gail V. Barnes published an extract, "Influence of primary personality trait and age on string orchestra music preference" in String Research Journal. The article was a culmination of eight years of research (for the theoretical framework)  and several rounds of data collection. 

Undergraduate academic advisor Jillian Bigony was presented the USC Institutional Academic Advising Award for Commitment to Advising Excellence at the 11th Annual USC System Advisors Conference on February 16, 2024. The award recognizes Jillian’s positive contribution to student success and her commitment to advising excellence.  

Jay Jacobs, Associate Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music, was voted “Best Professor at the School of Music” by readers of The Daily Gamecock. Annually, the editorially independent student newspaper publishes a special “Best of Carolina” issue.

Professor of percussion Scott Herring was invited to conduct the Texas Music Educators All-State 5A Percussion ensemble at TMEA in San Antonio in February.  Former conductors of the ensemble include Michael Burritt, Leigh Howard Stevens, James Campbell and Lalo Davila — all top names in the field of percussion.

USC Jazz Studies chair Matt White, along with drummer Quentin Baxter, saxophonist Chris Potter and a 20-person ensemble have been invited to perform the ensemble's album Lowcountry at Spoleto Festival USA 2024. The concert brings together modern jazz with praise house melodies to illuminate the rich heritage of the Gullah culture.

Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology Birgitta J. Johnson was featured in the series Gospel on PBS. The latest documentary series from Henry Louis Gates Jr, digs deep into the origin of Black spirituality through sermon and song.  Johnson served as one of its consultants. 

Assistant Professor of Voice Rachel Calloway played the lead role in composer Su Lian Tan's multimedia opera, Lotus Lives, at University at Buffalo Center for the Arts in February. Scored for two singers and a brass ensemble, Lotus Lives tells the story of a Chinese American woman exploring her heritage through a fascinating juxtaposition of chronologies.

Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies Colleen Clark was invited to sit in as guest drummer with the iconic 8G Band on Late Night With Seth Meyers for four nights beginning January 29.  The drummer, composer, and educator joined a long line of world-class drummers who have sat behind band leader/comedian Fred Armisen’s drum kit on Meyers’ NBC late-night show since 2015. 

Music educator Gail V. Barnes received the 2024 ASTA Distinguished Service Award for her work developing strong orchestra teachers through the University of South Carolina String Project and creating an online home for orchestra educators through the School Orchestra and String Teachers Facebook group.

New releases

Bassist Craig Butterfield’s progressive bluegrass chamber ensemble EZRA release their debut album on March 1 with Adhyâropa Records. Founded by award-winning composer and multi-instrumentalist Jesse Jones, EZRA is a collective of classical, jazz, rock, and bluegrass musicians focused on the creation of genre-crossing and style-inclusive new music. The ensemble consists of mandolinist Jacob Jolliff, banjo virtuoso Max Allard, and bassist Craig Butterfield, with Jones on guitar- and keyboard-related instruments.

Soprano Serena Laroche collaborated with pianist Catherine Garner on Saloons, Salons, and Salutations. The album is a musical journey through the American West and the salons of Europe. The eclectic — sometimes irreverent — compositions pay homage to the creativity and innovation of women in the world of classical music. Available in Apple Music and through Albany Records.

Short Stories, vol. 1, a new collaborative album by David Kirkland Garner (Composition and Theory) and Greg Stuart (Experimental Music Performance and Music Literature), is a tapestry of music constructed around six field recordings made by John and Ruby Lomax during their 1939 Southern Mosaic trip, during which they documented hundreds of hours of folk songs and instrumentals.

Trombonist Michael Wilkinson’s 9-piece chamber ensemble NewStream Brass seeks to be the premiere crossover brass chamber ensemble. Their debut album, A Step Forward, consists of both classical and jazz compositions/arrangements and features every member of the ensemble both soloing in a classical style and improvising in a jazz style.

Pianist John Valerio joins Philadelphia’s iconic saxophonist, Larry McKenna, as soloists on Kaylé Brecher’s arrangement of her spirited original Glad Bag. The song currently sits at No. 2 on the Roots Music Report for jazz recordings and has been in the top 5 for over a month.

Drummer Colleen Clark’s group Alliance, co-led by Sharel Cassity, is releasing their self-titled debut on March 15 with Shifting Paradigm Records, an independent record label based in Minneapolis, MN, focusing on jazz, instrumental and improvised music.

Archive: 2022, 2023

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