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

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


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 Bohnenstengal, 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

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