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what past students are saying and doing

hannah

I am so grateful for the education I received at UMass. The high caliber of teaching, the endless performance opportunities, and the personal attention given to each student make it a wonderful place to learn. As a Master's student in performance, I was able to completely devote myself to my instrument, and through lessons, ensemble rehearsals, as well as theory and history classes, I received an extremely well-rounded music education.

van der swaagh

Hannah van der Swaagh received her Masters of Music degree at University of Massachusetts Amherst where she held a Teacher's Assistantship and studied with Kathryn Lockwood. Hannah has her Bachelor of Arts in Viola Performance from Hillsdale College in Michigan, where she studied with Dr. Melissa Knecht. While in Michigan, Hannah played part-time with the Adrian Symphony Orchestra, and was a three-time concerto competition winner with the Hillsdale College Symphony Orchestra. Hannah is a founding member of the Bahn String Quartet and has played with the Lark String Quartet, members of the UMass Faculty, and the Lighthouse Chamber Players. Hannah currently lives in New York City and teaches violin at the Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls in the South Bronx.

amelia

Amelia Clingman graduated from UMass Amherst with a BM in violin performance in 2006, and in 2008 she completed her Master’s degree in viola performance at the New England Conservatory. She has been a participant in the Killington, Musicorda, Heifetz, and Kneisel Hall music festivals, and served as a viola fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center from 2007-2009. During her time in Boston, she performed with various groups including the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, and as a substitute with the New World Symphony. Amelia currently lives in New Orleans and has been a member of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra since September 2008. Teachers include James Buswell, Marylou Speaker Churchill, Ed Gazouleas, Kathryn Lockwood, Carol Rodland, and Elizabeth Chang.

clingman

One of UMass's greatest strengths is its size and breadth of available areas of study. To have that, combined with the personal guidance I was given within the music department, was a perfect way to focus on my music while still having access to other classes and exposure to other students. The music department has a dedicated faculty who really want the best for all of the students, and I felt that very strongly while I was there. It's a small and tightly knit community, so each student has wonderful access to mentorship both from their private teacher and the rest of the faculty in their area.

russell
"I participated in UMass' new Professional Performance Certificate program in viola. Working with the faculty was a joy. My lessons with Kathryn Lockwood, the viola professor, were instructive and energizing. I found myself improving rapidly within a concentrated period of time. I also played in the Opus One Chamber orchestra, which put on performances of Bela Bartok's "Divertimento" and Arnold Schoenberg's "Verklärte Nacht" while I was at UMass. Opus One not only provided me an opportunity to work on difficult and engaging repertoire, but also lent me valuable experience in the trials and triumphs of rehearsing a large unconducted ensemble--all within a friendly environment with active faculty participation. Most important, it was clear to me that the performance faculty at UMass looked out for the welfare of their students--academically, emotionally, intellectually--with great commitment."

o'rourke

Russell O’Rourke is a graduate of Princeton University, where he studied music composition with Paul Lansky and Dmitri Tymoczko, and viola with Nicholas Cords. After graduating college, Russell studied viola with Kathryn Lockwood at the University of Massachusetts through the school’s new Professional Performance Certificate program. He is currently applying to graduate programs in musicology. A Northampton, MA native, Russell has spent the last ten summers attending and working at Greenwood Music Camp inCummington, where he developed his love of chamber music.

vanessa


Vanessa Buttolph graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in May of 2011 with a BA in Music. There she spent four years studying viola with Kathryn Lockwood of the Lark Quartet. Other teachers include Wendi Melnik, Carol Hutter, Karen Ritscher, and currently Lila Brown. She was recently accepted into the Masters Program at Boston Conservatory but has declined and opted to continue studying privately and pursue teaching opportunities.

She has participated in master classes with Michelle LaCourse, Micheal Tree, Roger Tapping, Bela Keyes, Rhonda Rider, and the Borremeo and Chiara String Quartets. She has attended Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, Music From Salem, and the Lake George Music Festival. She has performed with the Boston String Players, Opus One, and the choral groups at MIT and Mt. Holyoke College.

buttolph

I found the music school at the University of Massachusetts to be a wonderful experience. It was ideal to be part of a small community within such a large University. The support of the other students and the close relationships with the entire faculty helped me to grow and develop as a musician and a person. Being part of a large school also allowed me the opportunities to participate in course work outside of music and learn from incredible professors who are leading researchers and teachers.

sarah

I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a graduate student at UMass Amherst. The music program provided me with freedom to express my many interests, while fostering a nurturing, yet challenging, learning environment in which I grew as a musician, student, and teacher.

bleichfeld

Sarah Bleichfeld received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in viola performance from the Crane School of Music and the University of Massachusetts, respectively. In addition to her strong background in chamber music, Sarah has performed at numerous summer music festivals, and with many orchestras nationally, as well as internationally, including a performance internship with the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Costa Rica. She is currently the Co-Artistic Director of the Chiron Chamber Orchestra, and is working as the Communications and Visitor Services Assistant at the Yiddish Book Center.