Faculty News

  1. Home
  2. News & Events
  3. Faculty News

Mason Gross School faculty: Share your latest news by filling out the news submission form.


  • Julia Baumanis was given the 2024 Mason Gross Inclusive Community Award at this year’s convocation ceremony. The award is given to a faculty or staff member who has “had an extraordinary impact in fostering a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment” for our school. MUSIC
  • Melissa Dunphy’s choral piece “Change” for children’s choir was recently published by Edition Peters and was premiered by the Lake Superior Youth Chorus last May. Inspired by the writings of young singers, the work enables the performers to express the desire for positive change in the world. Dunphy’s choral piece “Halcyon Days” will be performed by UK vocal ensemble VOCES8 at the Sydney Opera House on June 23, 2024, as part of the Utzon Music series. In addition, a new BBC commission, “Totality,” will have its world premiere at the BBC Proms on July 21, 2024. VOCES8 and The King’s Singers will perform the work, which is inspired by this year’s total solar eclipse. MUSIC
  • Ani Javian has been awarded a 2024–25 Fulbright Scholar Award for her project “Listening Inward, Moving Outward: Dance and Memory, Story, and Trauma,” to teach and conduct research in Yerevan, Armenia. She will travel to Yerevan in the fall. DANCE
  • Brandon Williams is our new director of choral activities. Williams, an associate professor of music education and conducting, joined the faculty in 2016 and received the 2020–21 Rutgers Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Innovations, the Mason Gross Inclusive Community Faculty Award, and the 2021–22 Rutgers Presidential Fellowship for Teaching Excellence Award. In Dean Geary’s announcement, he said that, after a national search, Williams “emerged as the candidate with just the right combination of first-rate musicianship and conducting skills, leadership and administrative acumen, a deep and abiding commitment to inclusive pedagogy, and a compelling vision for building on the proud traditions and existing strengths of Rutgers’ internationally known choral program while charting new paths toward increased visibility, excellence, and recognition.” MUSIC
  • Nancy Yunhwa Rao is a recipient of a 2024 Professional Achievement Award from The School of Music, Theatre & Dance at the University of Michigan. The annual awards honor alumni “who have graduated within the past 16–30 years who have made significant contributions to their artistic fields.” Rao is also one of three Rutgers professors elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences this year. She is included in the Humanities and Arts in the Field of Performing Arts category for her work in preserving the history of Chinese operatic performers in America. Rao serves as editor-in-chief of the journal American Music and co-editor with Philip Bohlman of the book series Big Issues in Music at the University of Chicago Press. MUSIC
  • Jeff Friedman has been named a 2024-25 Cheryl Wall Faculty Fellow. The fellowship recognizes full-time faculty committed to addressing issues faced by the university’s diverse student population. MUSIC
  • Park McArthur, the Tepper Family Endowed Chair in Visual Art, has been named a 2024 Guggenheim Fellow in Fine Arts. Now in its 99th year, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation recognizes and awards monetary prizes to artists and creators across 52 fields. ART & DESIGN
  • Jacqueline Thaw has been selected to receive the Provost Award for Excellence in Cross-Disciplinary Research. The honor carries an institutional award of $5,000. Thaw’s research delves into food access and health, among other issues. ART & DESIGN
  • On June 22, Pam Tanowitz will receive the 2024 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award at a ceremony in the Berkshires. Jacob’s Pillow leadership describe her as “an influential collaborative and creative force, admired for her abstract treatment of classical and contemporary movement ideas, informed by rigorous research.” DANCE
  • Christopher Cartmill is a visiting scholar at the American Academy in Rome in March and April 2024. He will be working there and in Italy on his translation of Carlo Gozzi’s play The Little Green Birdie, which was first performed at Mason Gross in 2022, to prepare the work for publication. On February 9, 2024, The Brooklyn Center for Theatre Research along with company member George Olesky presented The Nebraska Dispatches, based on Cartmill’s journals that detail his return to his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, to write a play about Chief Standing Bear and the complicated personal adventure that ensues. THEATER
  • Evelyn Wang has been awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts in the amount of $16,500. The competitive awards for New Jersey artists are granted by an independent peer panel assessment of work samples, and awards may be used to help artists produce new work and advance their careers. DANCE
  • Shelley Zhang and Melissa Dunphy collaborated on a new composition, “The Price of Ambition,” with music by Dunphy and poetry by Zhang. The piece was commissioned for Every BODY/The Body Image Consortium, which is made up of LGBTQ+ identifying choirs including the Atlanta Women’s Chorus, Appalachian Equality Chorus, Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C., One Voice Chorus, Turtle Creek Chorale, and Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus. It is published under Mormolyke Press and will premiere July 21 and 22 at the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus concerts. MUSIC
  • David P. Gordon designed the scenery for “Groucho, A Life in Revue” at Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre, directed by Frank Ferrante. The production marks the 100th anniversary of the Marx Brothers record-breaking run on the very same stage. The show ran from February 13 to March 10. THEATER
  • A number of faculty and alumni were part of ensembles that took home Grammy Awards at the February 4 ceremony: Mark Dover, faculty, and Ilmar Gavilán, alumnus: Best Classical Compendium for Passion For Bach and Coltrane; Javier Diaz and The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra: Best Opera Recording for Terence Blanchard’s Champion; Isrea Butler and Shawn Edmonds, alumni, with The Count Basie Orchestra: Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for Basie Swings The Blues. MUSIC
  • Didier William is one of 49 artists featured in the exhibition Prospect.6: the future is present, the harbinger is home in New Orleans, opening November 2, 2024. Prospect 6 is the longest-running, citywide contemporary art triennial and is curated by Miranda Lash and Ebony G. Patterson. Work by William, along with Paul Gardère, is also featured in the Zimmerli Art Museum’s exhibit Repossession, which William organized and which runs through July 31. ART & DESIGN
  • Alessandra Lebea Williams spoke about pedagogy, networking, and economic stability for BIPOC students in dance higher education as a co-panelist with Ananya Chatterjea and Gaynell Sherrod for the plenary address “With Love, You Can Reach for Whatever You Want!” at the International Association of Blacks in Dance conference in Memphis on January 26. DANCE
  • Anne McPherson is the production stage manager at The Play That Goes Wrong, playing off-Broadway at New World Stages. THEATER
  • On February 21, 2024, students from New Brunswick Public Schools participated in an All-City Music Festival; the band was conducted by Todd Nichols and Julia Baumanis, and the orchestra was conducted by Tomás García Dueñas and Nathan Sawyer, both graduate students of Ching-Chun Lai. MUSIC
  • Scott Ordway‘s multimedia symphony “The End of Rain,” a response to recent California wildfires, will make its New York premiere on April 25 in a performance by the Riverside Choral Society at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Distinguished Professor Patrick Gardner will direct the performance, which blends choral music with photography, video, and text messages sourced from those at the center of these environmental catastrophes. MUSIC
  • The Mingus Big Band, featuring jazz studies faculty Conrad Herwig, Alex Norris, and Abraham Burton and distinguished alumni Johnathan Blake, Theo Hill, and Anthony Fazio, was nominated for a 2024 Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for The Charles Mingus Centennial Sessions. MUSIC
  • Steffani Jemison is the recipient of a 2023 Anonymous Was A Woman (AWAW) grant of $25,000, awarded to woman-identifying artists over the age of 40 and at a critical junction in their career. The award is given in “recognition of an artist’s accomplishments, artistic growth, originality, and potential” according the AWAW website and is by nomination only. ART & DESIGN
  • On November 15, the university’s Committee to Advance Our Common Purposes (CACP) honored Julia Baumanis with the Torchbearer Award. According to CACP, the Torchbearer Award recognizes those who work to further “diversity, inclusion, equity, and access…through their academic research, teaching, community engagement, and/or workplace engagement, program development, and leadership.” One of Baumanis’s students, Zoë D’Amico, nominated her for the award. “She works tirelessly to provide the best environment for her students, teach future educators how to be inclusive and incorporate diversity in their own teaching, and use her own platform to empower her own students, community, and women in her field,” D’Amico said in her speech at the ceremony. Baumanis was one of just seven Rutgers employees selected for the award this year. MUSIC
  • Music and Jewish Culture in Early Modern Italy: New Perspectives, edited by Lynette Bowring, Rebecca Cypess, and Liza Malamut (Indiana University Press, 2022), was awarded the Ruth A. Solie Award from the American Musicological Society and the book award from the Jewish Studies and Music Study Group. MUSIC
  • The Coldest Case, an Audible Original scripted audio drama co-written by Ryan Silbert, will be released this year. Aaron Paul and Krysten Ritter lend their voices to the second season, a collaboration with James Patterson Entertainment. FILM


  • Mitchell D. Weiss provides financial tips in WalletHub’s article “Cities with the Highest & Lowest Credit Scores.” RUTGERS ARTS ONLINE
  • Christopher Cartmill is quoted in this Los Angeles Times article about the meaning of banter and its place in dating and on dating apps. THEATER
  • Min Kwon was interviewed by former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley for his Sirius XM radio show, American Voices, about her “America/Beautiful” project, which includes 70 composers and their take on “America the Beautiful.” Kwon has begun recording all 70-plus new works written for the project, which received media coverage from The Financial Times, NBC Nightly News, NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and International Piano, among others. She is collaborating with the Grammy-winning producer Adam Abeshouse for this recording (five volumes), which will be released later this year. MUSIC
  • Rebecca Cypess, associate dean for academic affairs, wrote an opinion piece for Inside Higher Ed titled “The Abuse of Scholar Activism,” in which she outlines how ideologically driven scholar activism contributes to campus antisemitism. MUSIC
  • Jeff Friedman spoke with about the Disability Studies minor, a collaboration between MGSA, SMLR, Bloustein, and SAS, as part of the website’s feature “Rutgers launches disability studies minor to explore world of oft-ignored community.” DANCE
  • Rebecca Cypess, associate dean for academic affairs, penned an Op-Ed at titled “Rutgers gets creative about climate change and creates a new minor.” MUSIC
  • Composer and multimedia artist Scott Ordway speaks about the relationship between art, landscape, and emotion on the Climate Change and Happiness podcast (Helsinki, Finland). MUSIC
  • Patrick Stettner weighed in about the benefits and limitations of using a smartphone to shoot a movie in a WIRED article, “You Can Shoot a Movie on a Phone. Just Don’t Expect It to Be Easy.” FILM


Haiti-born Didier William’s dazzling, gazing paintings are literally an eyeful (Los Angeles Times) ART & DESIGN

Review: Pam Tanowitz’s Witty Dance Secrets in London (The New York Times) DANCE

Oakland Museum of California Opens an Exhibit Highlighting the Life and Career of Angela Davis (Gerry Beegan in Ebony magazine) ART & DESIGN

How to Decolonize a Museum? Try an Ax. (Raphael Montañez Ortiz in The New York Times) ART & DESIGN

Road Trip to Escape, USA (Julie Langsam in Dense Magazine) ART & DESIGN