Department of Music

Satellite Salon Series

When Dr. Lynn Vartan started her position at Southern Utah University, she wanted to bring her musical world closer to her students in Cedar City, Utah. Her desire to merge these worlds manifested itself in the launching of her Satellite Salon Series. This unique concert series happens twice a year, in September and January at SUU, and brings in a guest artist for a small residency for the weekend. As the series has developed, Dr. Vartan has often added a visual artist to the event to participate in the merging of multiple arts on stage live for the audience. Typically, on Thursday or Friday the artist gives a masterclass to the both university and high school students, followed by a Q & A session led by Dr. Vartan, in the style of “Inside the Actor’s Studio." The dynamic, collaborative Satellite Salon concert occurs on Saturday evening at 7:30 pm. All events are free and take place in Thorley Recital Hall.

Christopher Swist

January 26, 2019

SUU’s Satellite Salon Series is hosting Christopher Swist in a concert titled Duality – The Life of the Composer/Performer. This concert is the second in the 2018-2019 series and will be held on Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. in the Thorley Recital Hall at SUU’s Music Building. It is free and open to the public.

Swist has performed, recorded, and composed on a virtuosic level from an early age. As an undergraduate student at the University of Buffalo, his first compositions where published by Studio 4 Music and distributed through Alfred Music. Swist will be presenting his own pieces comprising solo vibraphone and other percussion instruments. This concert will include a world premiere of one of his newest compositions.

Created by Dr. Lynn Vartan, the Satellite Salon Series occurs twice a year and provides Southern Utah University and local students an opportunity to attend master classes held by professional musicians. A question and answer session follows, led by SUU faculty member, Dr. Vartan, in the style of “Inside the Actor’s Studio”. Saturday evening offers the community and students alike a chance to see a dynamic, collaborative Satellite Salon concert. The Series is also an educational program, designed to give southern Utah rural high school students the opportunity to learn from professional musicians and artists.

Professor Swist is Artist in Residence at Keene State College in New Hampshire where he has taught music technology, percussion, composition, and music theory since 2003. He has also taught at Franklin Pierce University, Bennington College, The Hartt School, and Holyoke Community College. Swist was educated at SUNY-Buffalo and The Hartt School, holding two Master of Music degrees in both performance and composition. He frequently performs with the Hartford Symphony and has been the principal percussionist of the New Britain Symphony for 20 years.

Experience the excitement of the vibraphone as played by Christopher Swist.

View Press Release for Duality – The Life of the Composer/Performer

Jazz Horizons

September 15, 2018

Wave Trio consists of members Chris Reyman (piano), Jonathan Rodriguez (drums), and Emma Taylor (bass/vocals). Firmly rooted in the tradition of American jazz, Wave Trio plays influential jazz trios from the “Great American Songbook”. Additionally, their original compositions extend the limits of harmony, rhythm and form within this type of group. They challenge the roles and forms of jazz trios with imagination and courage, in both obvious and subtle ways. Their music creates an intensified communication of progressive jazz with a fascinating and airy openness, collaborative camaraderie, and virtuosic interaction.

Dr. Chris Reyman joined UTEP’s Music Department as an Assistant Professor of Commercial Piano in 2014. He received his Bachelor of Music in Commercial Music from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois and his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Performance from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He has performed and given presentations nationally and internationally and is a well-respected member of the professional music education community.

Jonathan Rodriguez is an emerging percussionist. He received his Bachelor's degree at Millikin University in Latin American Studies and Percussion Performance and holds a Master's degree, also in Percussion Performance, from the University of New Mexico. He has won numerous awards at competitions for performance and scholarship and has taught percussion lessons throughout various schools and institutions across the country.

Emma Taylor is a rising bass player from Central Illinois having graduated from Millikin University with degrees in Music Business and Commercial Music. Emma has been immersed in the cultural arts since birth and grew up performing from a young age. She attributes her musicality to years of studying dance. Emma has won numerous scholarships and awards for her playing and has toured internationally playing in Cuba, Argentina, Chile as well as in the United States.

View Press Release for Jazz Horizons

Trios for Two Poster

January 27, 2018

The Satellite Salon Series, hosted by Dr. Lynn Vartan and SUU’s Department of Music, brings Molly Gebrian and Danny Holt to the Thorley Recital Hall in SUU’s Music Building. These outstanding musicians have been performing together since 2011.

During this performance, the guests will play pieces composed for three people by modern composers. The artists have taken the trios and adapted them for two people, hence their program title Trios for Two. Gebrian plays the viola, while Holt plays both the piano and percussion, an extraordinary style of playing that he developed while studying in California. This unique setup ensures an exciting performance that will mesmerize audiences.

Gebrian received her Doctor of Musical Arts in viola performance from the New England Conservatory of Music. Her undergraduate studies at Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music consisted of viola performance and neuroscience. When she isn’t touring with Holt, she teaches classes in Viola and Music Theory at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Holt has performed internationally in places such as Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Copenhagen Jazzhouse, and many more. He serves as the Music Chair at The Oakwood School’s Academy of Creative Education and is the Scholar-in-Residence at Harvard-Westlake School. He has worked with over 25 composers to create music specific to his piano and percussion collective. 

Workshops held by Gebrian and Holt will cover topics that range from career development to current research regarding practicing instruments and the neuroscience behind it. This opens up a new world to students and the importance of their work in the music industry.

View Press Release for Trios for Two

Cello Crossroads Poster

September 23, 2017

SUU’s Department of Music will host the Satellite Salon Series on Saturday, September 23, 2017 at 7:30 p.m., featuring Ashley Walters, cellist. The Cello Crossroads concert will be held in the Thorley Recital Hall of the Music building on campus. Accompanying Walters will be Music professors Dr. Lynn Vartan on percussion and Dr. Christian Bohnenstengel on piano. This exciting concert is free and open to the public.

From her biography, we learn that “Walters has been the dedicatee of significant additions to the cello repertoire and has appeared on concert series and venues throughout the United States, including Walt Disney Concert Hall, Spectrum (NYC), Center for New Music (San Francisco), Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, San Diego New Music soundON Festival, Nief-Norf (Knoxville), Tuesdays @ Monk Space (Los Angeles), wild Up’s WORK series (Los Angeles), REDCAT (Los Angeles), the wulf (Los Angeles), and wasteLAnd music (Los Angeles).”

The Satellite Salon Series, occurring twice a year, provides Southern Utah University and local high school students an opportunity to attend masterclasses held by professional musicians followed by a question and answer session led by Dr. Vartan, in the style of “Inside the Actor’s Studio”. Saturday evening offers the community and students alike a chance to see a dynamic, collaborative Satellite Salon concert.

To learn more about Ashley Walters and her distinctive musical stylings, please visit her website.

View Press Release for Cello Crossroads

Composition Conjuring Poster

January 28, 2017

Two highly decorated musical artists, composer George Gianopoulos and soprano Kathleen Roland Silverstein, will join Southern Utah University’s Associate Professor of Music, Dr. Lynn Vartan, and other Department of Music faculty members for an evening of music titled Composition Conjuring. The concert will be held at SUU in the Thorley Recital Hall on Saturday, January 28, at 7:30 pm.

Gianopoulos began studying music in college at the age of eighteen and quickly became an accomplished musician and composer. His music has been performed throughout Europe, America, and China. Gianopoulos has been commissioned to write music for renowned professional companies, such as The Glendale Philharmonic, The Helix Collective, and The Chamber Opera Players of Los Angeles. He is currently the composer-in-residence for the Los Angeles based Symbiosis Ensemble.

Silverstein is a Fulbright senior scholar and an assistant professor of applied music and performance (voice) at Syracuse University in New York. She has been a featured soprano at many music festivals across the country, including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and the Tanglewood Music Festival. In the last year, Silverstein has performed in New York and San Diego, as well as internationally in Australia, Sweden, Vietnam, Cambodia and Germany. She is also the author of a musical anthology titled Romanser: 25 Swedish Art Songs with Guide to Lyric Diction.

Composition Conjuring will feature the musical compositions of Gianopoulos. The evening will include a world premiere performance of Gianopoulos’ composition “The Bells”, inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s poem with the same name, by Silverstein and Dr. Vartan. The first live performance of Gianopoulos’ vocal composition “Motet” will also be performed by Silverstein and five members of SUU’s voice faculty. Pianist Dr. Christian Bohnenstengel, Assistant Professor of Music (piano), and flautist Candice Behrmann will also be featured during the concert.

Composition Conjuring is part of the Satellite Salon series that was instituted at SUU by Dr. Vartan. Her desire to bring her musical world closer to her students in Cedar City led to the creation of this unique concert series. The Satellite Salon Series happens twice a year, in January and September, and brings in guest artists for a weekend residency. All Satellite Salon Series events are free and open to the public.

View Press Release for Composition Conjuring

George Gianopoulos

George Gianopoulos

Kathleen Roland Silverstein

Kathleen Roland Silverstein

Rags to Riches

September 16, 2016

The Satellite Salon Concert Series is starting the year off with an exciting evening of xylophone and piano music Rags to Riches: Golden Age of Xylophone on Friday, September 16, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. in the Thorley Recital Hall. Returning to Cedar City to perform in this delightful evening is former director of percussion at Southern Utah University, Patrick Roulet and his wife, Rachel Roulet.

The program will highlight ragtime, novelty, and jazz music from the golden age of the xylophone including: “The Belle of the Cakewalk” written in 1897, “Maple Leaf Rag” and “Bethena” by Scott Joplin, and the "Calliope Rag” performed daily on the Island Queen Steamboat as it transported passengers to the Coney Island amusement park in Cincinnati in 1911.

Lynn Vartan, director of percussion at Southern Utah University said, “This program of music is going to be so much fun - the nostalgia of the Roaring ‘20s and the sound of Ragtime music is so contagious to the happy energy that it embodies! And it also brings to life the birth of Jazz harmonies! It is a chance to hear this special music - a chance that won’t come around often if ever!”

Rachel Roulet is the head collaborative pianist at Western Washington University where she accompanies and coaches students in lessons and recitals and performs with the concert choir. She previously held accompanying positions at Towson University, Southern Utah University, and the New England Conservatory. A native of Seattle, Rachel has been affiliated with many arts and educational institutions in the Northwest in a variety of musical and non-musical roles. She has performed as the keyboardist with the Bellingham Festival of Music and was a member of the Board of Directors for the Seattle Young Artists Music Festival.

Patrick Roulet is the Percussion Area Coordinator at Western Washington University where he teaches percussion and world music and directs the WWU Percussion Ensemble. His previous teaching appointments have included full-time tenured positions at Towson University and Southern Utah University and eight seasons as the percussion instructor at the New England Music Camp in Maine.

“It is really exciting to have Patrick Roulet in town again! He was the Percussion Director before I came to SUU and this program will be a rare treat to see him perform again in Utah,” said Vartan.

View Press Release for Rags to Riches: Golden Age of Xylophone

PowerPlay Poster

January 29, 2016

The return of SUU’s most innovative music program promises to spark creativity in more ways that you can imagine. SUU’s ground-breaking Satellite Salon Series presents Power Play: An Electric Evening of Music, a performance built around the works of electronic composer Jason Francesco Heath. Developed by series creator Dr. Lynn Vartan, the evening will feature guest artists Alma Fernandez, violist, and Heath along with SUU’s Shane Summers, pianist, and Dr. Lucas Goodrich, tenor, and percussionist Vartan. These artists will participate in a joint concert on Saturday, January 30 at 7:30pm. On Friday afternoon, January 29, Heath, Fernandez and Vartan will participate in a master class for SUU students, high school students or anyone interested in electric composition. This event takes place at 3pm. The concert and master class will take place at Thorley Recital Hall in SUU’s Music Building. All events are free and opened to the general public.

A diverse concert in its musical variety, Power Play: An Electric Evening of Music showcases the music of Jason Francesco Heath and includes the premiere of two new works. Alma Fernandez performs “Rain Ceremony” for viola and live electronics, she joins Summers for “Alchemy of Everyday Things, a piece for viola, piano and electronics. Fernandez collaborates with Vartan on a new work for viola, percussion and live electronics. Lucas Goodrich sings “Broken Machines” which features solo and duo performers and live electronics. Summers solos on “Color Variations,” a work for re-tuned keyboard. Vartan premieres a new composition by Heath for solo percussion and live electronics.

Jason Francesco Heath, Ph.D., is a Los Angeles based composters and electronic media artist. His music has been heard at such diverse venues as Bang on a Can, Pacifica radio’s “Global Village,” KPCC with Steven Cuevas, “Sacred Mondays” on KXLU 88.9, People Inside Electronics (P.I.E.), Hear Now, What’s Next Ensemble’s “Los Angeles Composers Project,” Villa Aurora,” UC Berkeley’s CNMAT (Center for New Music and Audio Technologies), Pepperdine University, Chapman University, Cal State Fullerton, Carnegie Mellon University and many more. As a highly sought-after composer, he recently received commissions from the Ray-Kallay Duo, The Varied Trio, Brightwork New Music, The Lyris Quartet, The Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts, cellist Maggie Parkins, and Grammy-nominated pianist Aron Kallay. From 2010-2014, Dr. Heath developed and implemented a series of music technology outreach programs that have engaged thousands of people of all ages. His programs make use of gaming controllers, Wacom tablets, various custom-built electronics, and original software. In 2013, he founded UCR Gluck Laptop Ensemble. As a dedicated music educator, Dr. Heath has lectured at Pomona College, Chapman University, Pepperdine University, UC Riverside, Cal State San Bernardino, the Colburn School of Music and Cal State Long Beach. He currently teaches Electronic Music, Counterpoint, and applied Music Composition at Los Angeles City College (LACC).

Alma FernandezAlma Fernandez, violist, attended the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and UCLA, where she received a Master's Degree in Viola Performance. She performs regularly with such ensembles as the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, LA Master Chorale, Long Beach Symphony and Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra. Alma is also active in the recording industry, having played for numerous motion picture soundtracks, television shows, and record albums. As a chamber musician, she has been described as "...a soulful violist” (- Los Angeles Times, Mark Swed). She is a member of the Denali String Quartet, resident ensemble of the Jacaranda Chamber Music Series in Santa Monica, which gave the world premiere performance of Ben Johnston's “Revised Standards.” She has also worked closely with composer Tigran Mansurian, having given the west coast premiere of his Percussion & Viola duet in 2007. Alma participated in the Dilijan Chamber Music Series featuring Mansurian's third string quartet, with an interpretation that was described by the Los Angeles Times as a "gripping, expert performance."

Dr. Lynn Vartan performs regularly and is percussionist for Southwest Chamber Music, two-time Grammy® nominee in the “Best Classical Album of the Year” and “Best Small Ensemble with or without a conductor” categories. Vartan has been featured on the Los Angeles Philharmonic Green Umbrella Series, the Different Trains Series and has soloed with the Music and the Court series in Pasadena, California, and the Sierra Wind Symphony. She recently released her first solo recording, Dancing on the Head of a Pin. Vartan received her master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Southern California with special honors and recognition. She teaches percussion at Southern Utah University.

Created by Dr. Lynn Vartan, the Satellite Salon Series allows for personal interaction and communication between a resident or guest musician and or visual artist and music students from SUU and the region through master classes, question and answer sessions and workshops. The Series is also an educational program, designed to give southern Utah rural high school students the opportunity to learn from professional musicians and artists during the Master's Class.

Experience the electronic compositions of Jason Francesco Heath. Don’t miss Power Play: An Electric Evening of Music.

View Press Release for Power Play: An Electric Evening of Music

Fall 2013 - Carlos Rivera and Ron Spears - Musica de los Muertos

Of Cuban-Guatemalan descent Carlos Rafael Rivera has established a name for himself as a composer with the unique ability of incorporating a large diversity of musical influences into his captivating compositions, which reflect his multi-cultural upbringing in Washington, DC, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Miami, and Los Angeles. His music has been performed by some of the worlds most prominent ensembles and soloists, including Arturo Sandoval, Colin Currie, Chanticleer, Cavatina Duo, the American Composers Orchestra (ACO), the New England Philharmonic, and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet; commissioned by the Simon Bolivar Youth Symphony, the Miami Symphony Orchestra, and the American Wind Symphony; recorded by Warner, Sony, Naxos, and Cedille labels; published by Mel-Bay, and Doberman Editions; and awarded by the ACO, the Herb Alpert Foundation, the Guitar Foundation of America, BMI, and twice by ASCAP.

Ron Spears' diverse career as an illustrator and painter has taken him on a colorful journey. He has illustrated book covers, magazine articles, video games, and much more. He illustrated the children's book Dad, Are You the Tooth Fairy? written by renowned comic actor Jason Alexander. As a Lead Illustrator for International Game Technology, and an Art Director for Sierra On-Line, Ron has created countless illustrations for dozens of video games. Additional projects include illustrations for Dungeons and Dragons, Upper Deck, Blizzard Entertainment and many others. He received his Bachelor of Art from the University of Puget Sound and was awarded his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Hartford. Ron is currently an assistant professor at Southern Utah University in the Department of Art and Design.

Fall 2013 - Carlos Rivera and Ron Spears - Musica de los Muertos

Common Threads - Matthew Coley and Deb Snider

Somewhere along the way, dulcimer artist Matthew Coley has found himself uncovering the secrets to being a kinetic sound artist. With a keen sense for turning movement energy into sound or creative energy, Matthew was not only able to have a professional modern dance career in Chicago bringing him to perform alongside the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, at the Harris Theatre for Music and Dance, and in an Olympic-sized drained swimming pool, but he has also been successful at entertaining audiences performing on any percussion instrument. He has also been featured three times on Chicago's WFMT Classical Radio Station and in a feature article in Time Out Chicago Magazine. Matthew is frequently presenting concerts and master classes at universities, and has visited Denmark, Germany, Moldova. and Sweden. Matthew has premiered concertos by Bjorn Berkhout, Lyn nGlassock, Ghenadie Ciobanu, Marcin Błaźewicz, and Andrew. Matthew is currently Lecturer of Percussion at Iowa State University, and holds degrees from Northwestern University and the University of North Texas. He is endorsed by Marimba One, Evans Drumheads, Innovative Percussion, Edition Svitzer, and Sabian Cymbals, and published by Innovative Percussion and Edition Svitzer.

Visual artist Deborah K. Snider holds Bachelor's and Master's of Arts degrees in Art Education. Drawing and Design (Western Michigan University Honors College, University of Colorado at Boulder) and a Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts (Goddard College, Vermont). She has directed three community art centers in Florida, Colorado, and Oregon; taught art at all age levels; and administered many programs in higher education. She is a visual artist in drawing, mixed-media, and art quilt/fabric collage whose work has been shown and collected world-wide. Recent accomplishments include the 2004 Crested Butte (Colorado) Wildflower Festival poster; two art quilts juried into the Studio Art Quilt Associate's international touring exhibitions in 2008-9 and 2009-10; an art quilt juried into the Houston International Quilt Association's "Quilts: A World of Beauty," also winning an award (2008), and three art quilts accepted for the Lark Books 2010 publication of 500 Art Quilts. Her art quilt, "Bye-Bye Beautiful Bee" won third place in the national juried "Evolutions" challenge at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colorado in 2010.

A Little bit of Pluck

Alison Bjorkedal is a freelance orchestral, chamber, and solo musician and teacher in Los Angeles, CA. She is actng principal of the Pasadena Pops Orchestra and has performed with the San Diego Symphony, Downey Symphony, and the San Luis Obispo Symphony. Alison has played harp on ABC's Dancing with the Stars and the PBS Special 'David Foster and Andrea Bocelli's My Christmas'. An avid proponent of contemporary chamber music, Alison gave the world premiere of William Kraft's Encounters XII for percussion and harp and Anne LeBaron's HSING for solo harp, and has performed for contemporary ensembles including Southwest Chamber Music, the L.A. Philharmonic's Green Umbrella Series, and Nimbus Ensemble.

Lane Gifford blends dance, theater, and visual arts, seeking to communicate human issues that touch and excite through vibrant physical interchange. After receiving a French Cultural Service Award from the French government she lived in Paris, where she danced for José Caseneuve and Jean Marc Torres and taught modern and improvisation at the International School of Paris. Ms. Gifford currently teaches creative process and movement classes for children and adults at several schools in New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts - classes that combine the arts in an engaging multi-arts dialogue about articulation and communication of individual expression.

Paul Ocampo received his Master of Fine Arts degree from The Ohio State University. He choreographed and performed with The Ballet Philippines for 7 years and with Singapore Dance Theatre from 1990-1999. With BP & SDT, he performed extensively and participated in numerous International Festivals. He was awarded the Shell-NAC Young Artist Award and is a recipient of scholarships from National Arts Council (Singapore), Lee Foundation (Singapore), and Howell Dance Fund. With the department at SUU, Professor Ocampo teaches modern dance, ballet, liberal education courses, movement for actors, composition, and motif movement analysis.

Shalini Vijayan, Violin

Shalini Vijayan, deemed “ a vibrant violinist” by Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times is an established performer and collaborator on both coasts. A native of California, Shalini studied in New York as a scholarship student at the Manhattan School of Music where she received her B.M. and M.M. degrees under the tutelage of Ariana Bronne and Lucie Robert.

Always an advocate for modern music, Shalini was a founding member and is Principal Second Violin of Kristjan Jarvi’s Absolute Ensemble, having recorded several albums with them including 2001 Grammy nominee, Absolution. As a part of Absolute, she has performed throughout the United States and Europe, most notably in London's Barbican Hall and the Konzerthaus in Vienna. The group has premiered works by John Zorn, Daniel Schnyder, Ezequiel Vinao, and Charles Coleman, among others and worked closely with soloists such as Thomas Hampson, Simone Dinnerstein and Napoleon Murphy Brock.

A member of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida from 1998-2001, Shalini served as concertmaster for Michael Tilson Thomas, John Adams, Reinbert de Leeuw and Oliver Knussen. She was also concertmaster for the world premiere performances and recording of Steven Mackey's Tuck and Roll for RCA records in 2000.

In Los Angeles, Shalini is featured regularly with Grammy Award winning Southwest Chamber Music and can be heard on their Complete Chamber Works of Carlos Chávez, Vol. 3. She is one half of the duo 61/4, with percussionist Lynn Vartan, with performances throughout California and in Mexico. Shalini was also a featured soloist for the world premiere of Chinary Ung’s Spiral XII at Disney Hall with the Los Angeles Master Chorale during the 2008 season.

Shalini is a member of the first violin section of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and served as Principal Second Violin of the Opera Pacific Orchestra from 2003-2008. She has appeared on over a hundred film scores including A Beautiful Mind, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Star Trek, Up and Avatar as well as on every season of the television show Lost. Shalini has been on the faculty of the Sequoia Chamber Music Workshop in Arcata, California since 2003.

Bridget Convey - The Prepared Piano of John Cage