Current Students


MA/PhD in Theory

Kiyomi Kimura Andoh


Ben Baker Photo

Benjamin Baker is a second-year Ph.D. student and Sproull Fellow in music theory. He holds a B.A. in music and mathematics from St. Olaf College (2009) and a M.M. in jazz piano performance from NYU (2011). His research interests dwell at the intersection of musical improvisation, cognition, and pedagogy—specifically the acquisition of musical language for use in improvisation, theoretical modeling of improvised performance, and related issues of embodiment.

Prior to coming to Eastman, Ben worked for six years as a versatile freelance pianist in New York City, where he served as an adjunct music director and vocal coach at NYU, accompanied festival choruses at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, performed in numerous professional jazz and pop groups, and maintained a private piano studio. He remains active as a pianist, both in NYC and in Rochester. Outside of music, he enjoys running, following politics, and helping to coordinate alumni engagement for his undergrad alma mater.


AlyssaAlyssa Barna is a third-year Ph.D. student in music theory. She completed a MM in music theory at Indiana University (2014) and a BM in music theory and a BM in music education and clarinet performance from Ithaca College (2012), where she was a member of Pi Kappa Lambda. Current research interests include the study of aspects of form in American popular music, specifically folk, bluegrass, and rock genres, the music of 20th and 21st century composers, and post-tonal analytical techniques. She has presented her research at a variety of conferences in Indiana, Ohio, and at most recent conference of Music Theory Society of New York State. Committed to pedagogy, Alyssa has enjoyed teaching a variety of written and aural skills courses.


WIN_20141112_151033-258x147-customOwen Belcher is a fourth-year PhD student in music theory. He received his BM from Furman University (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Lambda) in 2011, and his MM from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music in 2013. His research interests include analytical approaches to the music of J.S. Bach, 19th century German harmonic theories, and transformational theory. He has presented his research at conferences including the Music Theory Society of New York State, Music Theory Southeast, and the Rocky Mountain Society of Music Theory. His dissertation develops a framework for the interpretation of J.S. Bach’s cantatas. Outside of music, he enjoys playing chess, Ping-Pong, and rabidly supporting the Duke Blue Devils.


Sam Bivens is a fourth-year Ph.D student in Music Theory at the Eastman School of Music, where he received his MA in Music Theory Pedagogy in 2013. Before coming to Rochester he received his BM in Tuba Performance at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he was a substitute musician for a number of orchestras throughout the Midwest.

Sam’s dissertation looks at various approaches to drama in Wagner’s Die Walküre, the only Ring opera without its own dedicated analytic study.  Other current research focuses on the intersection between music theory and free/open–source software: one project seeks to create a dedicated Schenkerian analysis environment for GNU LilyPond, while another explores the use of MuseScore in the undergraduate core curriculum.  Sam has presented on these and other topics both nationally and internationally, most recently in October of 2015 for the yearly conference of the Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie in Berlin.  A dedicated pedagogue, Sam was awarded Eastman’s Oustanding Teaching Assistant Prize for the 2011–2012 school year.  Away from music, he can be found somewhere in the skies enjoying his second life as a private pilot.


M Blankenship photoMichael Blankenship is a sixth-year Ph.D. student in Music Theory and a Sproull Fellow. Before coming to Rochester, he received his B.A. in music from Grinnell College (2010), in beautiful Grinnell, Iowa, and spent the remainder of the year studying the early music of Penderecki as Grinnell’s Ninth Semester Music Fellow. His dissertation attempts to unravel the various structural relationships, common practices, and intersections of music and meaning in American rap music. Other research interests center on the grain of the voice, especially by examining form, song writing, and harmony in the magnificent diversity of American pop/rock music since 1950, as well as in art song since Beethoven. Beyond his academic interests, Michael is an avid culinarian, karaoke singer/rapper, and film watcher, as well as being an increasingly rabid supporter of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.


Richard Desinord


Amy Fleming is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in music theory and a Sproull Fellow. Her primary research interests lie in the music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, especially the music of George Crumb and post-tonal pedagogy. Amy holds a Master of Arts degree in Music Theory and History from The Pennsylvania State University, where she received the Creative Achievement Award from the College of Arts and Architecture and was elected to membership in Pi Kappa Lambda. She also holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Wheaton College (IL), where she graduated magna cum laude with a double major in Music Composition and Music History. While at Wheaton, Amy was commissioned to write a composition for the Wheaton College Women’s Chorale, and the resulting piece, “Plegaria a Dios,” was included on the Chorale’s most recent CD, “View Me Lord, A Work of Thine” (2009). This piece also won the Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Prize from the International Alliance for Women in Music in 2010. Amy’s non-musical interests include Philadelphia Flyers hockey, canoeing, tennis, and deep dish pizza.


Anna Fulton is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in music theory at Eastman and a Sproull Fellow.  Her current research interests include 20th-century vocal music, embodiment, popular music studies, and the intersection between music theory and feminism/gender studies.  She holds a B.A. in Music Theory/Composition and Russian Studies from St. Olaf College (2012, summa cum laude) and an M.A. in Music Theory from Eastman (2015). Anna enjoys teaching, singing in her church’s choir, reading science–fiction novels, and exploring national parks.


Aaron Grant

Aaron Grant is a Ph.D. student in Music Theory and a Sproull Fellow. His dissertation engages issues of form, narrative, and style in Schubert’s sonata form. In it, Aaron explores Schubert’s treatment of secondary thematic areas and idiosyncratic formal practices used therein—focusing, in particular on his inclusion of three or more tonal areas within an exposition and his unique alterations to the point of the medial caesura.

Aaron’s work has been presented at multiple regional, national, and international conferences including the Allegheny Chapter of the American Musicological Society (2010), the Music Theory Society of New York State (2013), the New England Conference of Music Theorists (2014), the 18th Biennial International Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music (2014), the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic (2014), and the Society for Music Theory’s National Meeting (2015). Aaron’s work on Schubert and Stravinsky have earned him multiple graduate student paper awards, most recently winning the 2015 Dorothy Payne Best Student Paper Award. 

Prior to his studies at Eastman, Aaron graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a B.M. in flute performance and an M.A. in music theory. His Master’s thesis examined Igor Stravinsky’s compositional process in his opera The Nightingale, which allowed him to travel to the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basel, Switzerland to examine the composer’s sketch materials for the work. Aaron has continued to incorporate sketch studies into his work, recently traveling to Europe to examine manuscripts for Schubert’s instrumental works through a grant awarded by the Presser Foundation. 

In addition to his work on Stravinsky and Schubert, his current research interests include Schenkerian analysis, popular music, opera analysis, and scale theories. In addition, his commitment to pedagogy earned him the Eastman School of Music Teaching Assistant Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2016.

Outside of music theory, Aaron enjoys rock climbing, hiking, playing chess, cooking, candy making, and attempting to perfect the chocolate-chip cookie. For more information, please visit:


Trevor Haughton is a Ph.D. student in music theory at Eastman. Originally from New Jersey, Trevor graduated summa cum laude with high honors in both Music and History from Colgate University in 2007, and was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his M.M. from the Boston University School of Music in 2010, where he was elected to Pi Kappa Lambda, before coming to Rochester. His diverse research interests include tonal theory, thoroughbass/improvisation, and mathematical modeling.


IMG_0758David Hier is a second-year PhD student in Music Theory.  He holds a B.Mus in Composition and Theory and an M.Mus in Composition from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.  His research interests include harmony and form in late romantic and early 20th century music, particularly in the work of Max Reger and Arnold Schoenberg.  David is also an active composer whose music has been played throughout North America.  He came second in the 2012 Sejong Composition Competition and has been commissioned by McGill University and the Transmission Ensemble.  In addition to music, David is a film buff, board game fiend and avid cook.


KeepDavid Keep is a third-year Ph.D. student in music theory at the Eastman School of Music. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from Lawrence University and a Master of Music degree in piano performance from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. His research interests include Brahms, music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, musical meaning, and the connections between analysis and performance. In addition to music, David’s interests include theology, hiking, and the artwork of J.M.W. Turner.


Purchase Knob headshotDaniel Ketter is working on a PhD in music theory and a DMA in cello performance. Since 2013 at Eastman he has been a classroom instructor for aural skills and music theory, as well as a teaching assistant in Alan Harris’s cello studio. His current research interests include analytical approaches to solo melodic instrumental music and techniques of single-voice polyphony. Recent performance projects have included a lecture recital, titled “Heinrich Schenker, Author of J. S. Bach’s Solo Cello Suites,” Sunset Concerts of Rochester, NY, and a summer tour of newly commissioned music celebrating the National Park Service centennial with Music in the American Wild, supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has a MM in cello performance and pedagogy from the Peabody Conservatory and graduated with high distinction from both the Eastman School of Music (BM ’10, cello performance) and from the University of Rochester (BA ’10, mathematics).


HeadshotCatrina Kim is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in music theory and a Sproull Fellow. She holds the B.M. in Piano Performance from the University of Houston (2013, summa cum laude), and the M.A. in Music Theory from Eastman (2016). She has presented papers on formal and aesthetic issues raised by works of Beethoven and Mendelssohn at the annual meetings of the Society for Music Theory (2015 & 2016), the Music Theory Society of New York State (2016), the New England Conference of Music Theorists (2016), and the Texas Society for Music Theory (2013). 


Ethan Lustig

Ethan LustigWhat makes music sound good to different people? What makes music groovy? What is “deepness” in house music (a type of electronic dance music, or so-called EDM)? Is there a science behind musical taste? Is it possible to build a model that can predict what songs a person will like or dislike?

Ethan has presented at the Analytical Approaches to World Music (AAWM) and the British Forum for Ethnomusicology (BFE) joint meeting (2014), and the International Conference for Music Perception and Cognition (ICMPC) (2016). He holds a Doctoral Fellowship from the SSHRC of Canada, and a Sproull Fellowship from the University of Rochester. 

As a teaching assistant (TA) at Eastman, Ethan has three years of classroom teaching experience: freshman aural skills (TH161/162), freshman written theory (TH101/102), and sophomore aural skills (TH261/262).

Apart from the music theory PhD, Ethan Lustig can be found producing futuristic electronic music, DJing, playing jazz piano, boardgames, badminton, and singing and rapping in the shower.

Feel free to get in touch:

BMBraden Maxwell is currently a dual-degree student majoring in music theory at the Eastman School of Music and brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. He is a piano primary in the studio of Tony Caramia and a recipient of the Howard Hanson, Vernon Kellogg Penny, Carol Frank Clement, and National Merit scholarships. In the fall of 2015, Braden began work as a theory and aural skills tutor in the Eastman theory department, and he has also served as a teaching assistant for cognitive science classes at the University of Rochester. He is passionate about teaching, and specifically about understanding the cognitive processes underlying learning in theory and aural skills.

In 2015, Braden was awarded a University of Rochester Discover grant to study how musical vibrato is processed in the inferior colliculus, a bottleneck region for auditory processing in the brain. The work for this project is currently underway at the Carney Auditory Neuroscience Lab, where Braden has also worked on replications of psychoacoustic “notched-noise” experiments. He has assisted with research on absolute pitch at the Eastman Music Cognition Lab as well.

Braden’s research interests include musical semiotics, applications of Schenkerian theory to French music from the turn of the twentieth century, and computational models of Schenkerian elaboration. He is also interested in replicating behavioral experiments and computational models relating to cognitive musical expectation and repetition.

Outside of music theory, Braden may be found enjoying traveling with his family, learning about his brother’s research on the ancient Maya, or tracking updates as a fan of various NASA missions. More information about Braden’s Discover Grant project may be found here:



Elaina McKie


mollyMolly Murdock is a first-year Ph.D. student in music theory.  She holds degrees from Michigan State University, The University of Virginia, The University of Central Florida cum laude and a conducting diploma from the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Academy in Hungary.  Molly is the Founding Music Director of Riverbend Opera previously served as interim Director of Education for The Orlando Opera. She spent many years in the Washington, D.C. area as a choral director in Fairfax County Public Schools and music associate at Temple Rodef Shalom and historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.  She taught theory to children and adults with the Fairfax Choral Society and was the choral director for the Virginia Ambassadors of Music.

Molly’s primary research is in Béla Bartók’s choral works.  In 2015, she was invited to present her research at the Anniversary Conference of the International Kodály Society in Kecskemét, Hungary.  She is currently preparing an English edition of Bartók’s Twenty-Seven Choruses for Women and ChildrenMolly created the Women in Music Lecture Series at Michigan State University, an ongoing project which showcases extraordinary musical women.

Aside from music, Molly is an active member of Anon: the J.M. Barrie Society and serves on the Grave Restoration Committee.


IMG_1874Samuel Reenan is a second-year Ph.D. student in music theory. He completed a BM in Music Theory and a BS in Biological Sciences at the University of Connecticut (2014). His current research interests include the music of Richard Strauss, Henri Dutilleux and their contemporaries; transformational and post–tonal theory and analysis; musical memory; and the perception of tension, resolution, and musical organization. Sam is co-author of an article recently published in Music Theory Online, a journal of the Society for Music Theory. Outside of music, Sam enjoys sampling local coffee roasters, hiking in the Adirondacks, and attending operas at the Met. 


DeDerek Remesrek Remeš is a second-year Ph.D. theory and third-year D.M.A. organ student at Eastman. He holds B.M. degrees in Composition and Film Scoring from Berklee College of Music (2010, summa cum laude), and a M.M. degree in organ from Eastman (2014). Derek received the Performer’s Certificate in organ in the studio of David Higgs in 2015.

Derek’s research interests include figured bass theory, historical keyboard improvisation, the academic fugue and pedagogy at the Paris Conservatoire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and musical-rhetorical practices in the Renaissance and Baroque. He is currently collaborating with Dr. Robin Leaver to prepare a modern edition of a manuscript of figured bass chorales which originated from J.S. Bach’s students in Dresden. Derek has presented his research at MTSNYS (2016) and the Eastman Organ Rochester Initiative (2016). 
In addition to his teaching duties at Eastman, Derek serves as Choir Director and Organist at St. Thomas More Church in Brighton, NY.
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20160819_194606Alan Reese is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in music theory. He holds an M.M. from the University of Colorado at Boulder (2013) and a B.M. in piano performance and music theory from the University of Georgia (2011). He received the Robert R. Fink Scholarship in Music Theory from CU Boulder and served as an officer of the CU chapter of the College Music Society from 2012-2013. Research interests include transformational theory, the study of 19th and early-20th century music, and the WWI-era music of Karol Szymanowski (the focus of his dissertation). Alan has presented work from his master’s thesis on the functions and treatments of the augmented sixth chord in the music of Debussy and Ravel at the Music Theory Society of New York State (April 2014) and the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Society of Music Theory (April 2013).


SONY DSCJoseph Siu is in his sixth year of the MA/PhD program in Music Theory at the Eastman School of Music, and his study is supported by the Doctoral Fellowship Award from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Prior to  his studies at Eastman, Joseph earned his BMus in Piano Performance with distinction  from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, where he was awarded the UWO  Gold Medal upon graduation. Joseph then taught at the International Christian  Quality Music Secondary and Primary School in Hong Kong as a music and science  teacher from 2009-2011.

Joseph’s research interests include absolute pitch, music cognition and perception, phrase rhythm and musical form in 18th– and early 19th– century music, and music theory pedagogy. Joseph has presented his research at the meetings of the International Conference on Mobile Brain-Body Imaging and the Neuroscience of Art, Innovation, and Creativity (2016), the International Exploring the Mind through Music Conference (2016), the Music Theory Society of New York State (2016), Music Theory Midwest (2016), the Canadian University Music Society (2016, 2014), the Society for Music Perception and Cognition (2015, 2013), the Eighth European Music Analysis Conference (2014), the South Central Society for Music Theory (2014), the Rocky Mountain Society for Music Theory (2014), the New England Conference of Music Theorists (2013), the Center for Research on Brain, Language and Music (2013), and the Northeast Music Cognition Group (2012). Joseph was the recipient of the Best Student Paper Award at the 2014 conference meeting of the South Central Society for Music Theory.

As an interdisciplinary researcher, Joseph has collaborated with faculty and students from the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and the Department of Linguistics at the University of Rochester on projects funded by the UR Provost’s Multidisciplinary Award (2012-2013) and other projects. In summer 2016, Joseph was awarded an all-inclusive travel award sponsored by the National Science Foundation to participate in the Doctoral/Postdoctoral Consortium at the International Conference on Mobile Brain-Body Imaging and the Neuroscience of Art, Innovation, and Creativity in Cancun, Mexico. In the same summer, Joseph was also selected as a Music Fellow by the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University to participate and to give a public TED-style talk at the 3rd International “Exploring the Mind through Music” Conference. Joseph served as the manager of the Eastman Music Cognition Lab from 2012-2014.

A dedicated pedagogue, Joseph taught graduate and undergraduate courses in music theory at Eastman as a Teaching Assistant (2011-2016) and as a Summer Session Instructor (2016). To recognize Joseph’s effective teaching, the Eastman School of Music awarded him the Teaching Assistant Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2015.


WP_20160223_009Eron Smith (IPA [iɹən]) is a first-year Ph.D. student and a Sproull Fellow in music theory. Originally from Decatur, Georgia, she has a brand-new Bachelor of Arts from Pomona College (2016, cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) where she majored in music with a concentration in theory.

She has focused her research so far on modeling and analyzing form as temporal and experiential, particularly through visual representations. Her undergraduate thesis, “A Theory of Form as Temporal Referentiality” (2016) looks at “sameness” through and across musical time, seeking to reconcile linear and nonlinear temporal experiences of form. She also has spent time working with topics including tension cycles and solo-ensemble dialogue. Eron is particularly excited about piano works, concerti, and instrumental chamber music of the early-to-mid 19th century.
Aside from theory, Eron is a pianist, previously studying under Genevieve Feiwen Lee and Ming Tsu. She enjoys playing solo and chamber works as well as accompanying. She was also active as an oboist in the Pomona College Orchestra and Band. Her other academic passions lie in languages, religious philosophy, and intersectional feminism. Outside the classroom, Eron enjoys thrift shopping, road trips, home cheesemaking, lifting weights, fresh fruit juice, listmaking, and sewing more raglan shirts than necessary.

JamesJames Sullivan is currently ABD and working on a dissertation on meter perception in post-tonal music. He lives in Evansville, IN, where he is Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Double Bass at the University of Evansville. He holds a D.M.A. and M.M. in double bass performance from the Eastman School of Music, as well as a B.M. in double bass performance and a B.S. in mathematics from Indiana University.

James is especially passionate about teaching. He has received the University of Rochester’s Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching and Eastman’s Teaching Assistant Prize. He has presented at numerous conferences, including those of the Society for Music Theory, the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, and the International Society of Bassists. James’s performance interests center around new music. He is currently revising his Post-Tonal Method Book for the Double Bass, which won Eastman’s Lecture Recital Prize. 


Ivan Tan 


Joseph_LetchworthJoseph VanderStel received a B.A. in Music with high honor from Michigan State University. His primary interest is jazz improvisation, particularly questions related to harmony, cognition, style, counterpoint, and tonality. Since coming to Eastman, Joseph has developed an interest in computer science, and often takes a computational approach to music-theoretical problems. Joseph began his musical life as a jazz guitarist, and he regularly performs in a gypsy jazz group composed of Eastman students and alumni. Beyond music and computer science, Joseph enjoys powerlifting and hiking.


Adam Waller


MA in Theory Pedagogy


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Hannah Renée Becker is a second year MA Theory Pedagogy student. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Houghton College. Before transferring to Houghton, Renée spent three years at the Conservatoire Jacques Thibauld (Bordeaux, France), where she obtained various certificates in courses of study ranging from harmony and counterpoint to orchestra conducting. Renée’s research is currently focused on advanced aural skills and tonal memory in individuals without perfect pitch. As a mezzo-soprano, she is also continuing her vocal studies while at Eastman, and in the past year she has performed at multiple venues in the United States and France. Her extramusical interests are too varied to be included here; philosophy, literature, and history would only begin a lengthy list that might end with watching Star Trek over a cup of tea.



Myles Boothroyd_1209 4x5 colorMyles Boothroyd is a performing artist dedicated to promoting the versatility of the saxophone and its relevance to music both new and old. He is the alto saxophonist for East End Quartet, an award-winning ensemble founded at the Eastman School of Music. Most recently, the ensemble took first price in the 30th Annual Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition (2015). Boothroyd’s work as a soloist and chamber musician has garnered him numerous accolades and awards across the United States. He won the 2014-15 Music Teachers National Association (MNTA) Young Artist and chamber Competitions, earned first prize in the 2014 North American Saxophone Alliance Collegiate Solo Competition, and took second place in the 2014 Vandoren Emerging Artist Classical Saxophone Competition. 

Along with maintaining an active performing career, Boothroyd distinguishes himself as both an artist and a scholar.  He is a Presser Scholar and National Merit Finalist who has shared original research at conferences in Cincinnati, Lansing, Honolulu, Chicago, and Montreal. He has published original research on Miles Davis and the inception of modal jazz, exploring the influence of composer George Russell on Davis’s Kind of Blue album.  Today, Boothroyd works as assistant editor for The Saxophone Symposium, a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal of saxophone literature, performance, and pedagogy.

Boothroyd currently teaches as Adjunct Professor of Saxophone at Roberts Wesleyan College. He is also a graduate teaching assistant at the Eastman School of Music, where he is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree (Saxophone Performance and Literature) and a Master of Arts degree (Music Theory Pedagogy). He holds a Master’s degree in Saxophone Performance and Literature from the Eastman School. Boothroyd is a recipient of the Eastman Arts Leadership Certificate and Eastman Performer’s Certificate.



Ryan McKenna is a first year MA Theory Pedagogy student. He holds a B.M. in Music Education from Ithaca College. His major instruments of study were piano and trumpet. After graduating from Ithaca he taught for three years in Clewiston, Florida. He taught K-5 general music for one year and Middle School Band for two years.  He looks forward to combining his passions for music theory and education in an effort to help young musicians develop a more meaningful relationship with music.


Trygstad Head ShotAlexander Trygstad is a violist and music theory pedagogue who specializes in analysis and performance. 

As a scholar, Mr. Trygstad has presented research in analysis and performance of viola repertoire both in writing and in recital settings.  His recent article, “Ritornello Form and the Dynamics of Performance in Telemann’s Viola Concerto in G Major,” appeared in the Journal of the American Viola Society, and he recently gave a lecture recital at the Eastman School of Music titled “The Performance Dynamics of Chromatic Duality in Brahms’ Sonata for Viola and Piano, op. 120, No. 2.”

Recent performance highlights include WXXI Public Radio “Live from Hochstein” and premiers of works by Nicolas Bacri and Kenji Bunch as a leading member of the Eastman Viola Ensemble. Past engagements also include appearances in the Eastman Virtuosi Faculty Artist Series, the Roberts Wesleyan College Faculty Chamber Series, the Rochester Bach Festival, the Eastman Bach Cantatas Series, Ossia New Music Ensemble, “If Music Be the Food…”, Gibbs & Main, the Lake George Music Festival, the George Eastman House Organ Plus Series, and the Waco Symphony Orchestra.  As a soloist, he was a national finalist in the Music Teachers National Association Young Artist Competition and won second prize in the Mid-Texas Symphony Young Artist Competition. 

A committed teacher, Mr. Trygstad is on faculty at Roberts Wesleyan College where he teaches viola and chamber music. Currently, he is earning a Doctor of Musical Arts in Viola Performance and Literature and a Master of Arts in the Pedagogy of Music Theory from the Eastman School of Music.  At Eastman, he serves as Carol Rodland’s teaching assistant and is currently a classroom TA instructor in Aural Musicianship and Model Composition & Tonal Analysis.  In 2014, he was a finalist for the Eastman Teaching Assistant Prize for viola instruction.  

Mr. Trygstad holds a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree from Baylor University, graduating from both institutions Summa Cum Laude.  His principal teachers include Carol Rodland, Dr. Kathryn Steely, Phillip Ying, and Karen Ritscher.



BM in Theory


jl (1)Jon Lin Chua

Born in Singapore, Jon Lin has been named the Presser Scholar (a prestigious honor bestowed by the Presser Foundation) for the year 2016-17 of the Eastman School of Music, where she is a double major in composition and music theory. She is also a recipient of the Louis Lane Award (2016) and the Bernard Rogers Memorial Prize (2015), in recognition of her excellence in composition.  Her teachers in composition include composers Oliver Schneller, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Robert Morris, David Liptak, and Robert Casteels, and she has also participated in a composition masterclass with Moritz Eggert. Jon Lin is also a recipient of the National Arts Council of Singapore Arts Scholarship (Undergraduate).

As a composer, she has worked with groups such as the MusicaNova Orchestra based in Phoenix, Arizona, as the orchestra’s composition fellow for the 2015-2016 season. Other groups she has worked with include the Southeastern Ensemble for Today’s and Tomorrow’s Sounds (SETTS), the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, the Guitar Ensemble of the National University of Singapore, the Zen Ensemble, and has premiered works in festivals such as the National University of Singapore Arts Festival (2012), and the Women in Music Festival (2014).  Jon Lin was also invited to presented her paper A Collapse of Musical Categories?: A Closer Look at Ethnic Chinese Music within the Chinese Conservatory Tradition Today at the Composition in Asia International Symposium and Festival held in the University of Florida (2015).  Prior to pursuing her degree in music, Jon Lin obtained a B.A. (Hons) in philosophy from the National University of Singapore.



Stephanie Venturino, a native of Rochester, N.Y., discovered her love of music theory at age 15 while taking a course in Fuxian counterpoint at the Eastman Community Music School (ECMS). Now a senior music theory and saxophone performance major and German language minor at the Eastman School of Music, Stephanie’s research interests include analysis of wind repertoire, French impressionist harmony, German harmonic theory, and atonal aural skills pedagogy. A dedicated teacher, Stephanie has taught written theory and aural skills at the ECMS since 2010. She is also on the theory faculty of Summer@Eastman’s Music Horizons program.

As a saxophonist, Stephanie is an active ensemble musician, chamber musician, and soloist. She is a member of the Eastman Saxophone Project, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, the Highland Saxophone Quartet, and Musica Nova, Eastman’s contemporary music ensemble. Stephanie has toured throughout the United States and Asia, playing at venues such as the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.) and the National Centre for the Performing Arts (Beijing, China). As both a soloist and chamber musician, she has garnered top prizes in numerous local, state, and national competitions; Stephanie is also a recipient of Eastman’s prestigious Performer’s Certificate. Her primary teachers have included Chien-Kwan Lin, Douglas O’Connor, and Chih-Huan Wu.


Vu, Anh Dang MinhVu Dang Minh Anh (Ania) was born in Warsaw (Poland) in 1994 to a family of Vietnamese descent. She began playing the piano at the age of five and was officially enrolled in a music school at the age of seven. In 2013, she graduated from the Karol Szymanowski Complex of State Music Schools no. 4 in Warsaw in piano performance.

She has always enjoyed music theory and aural skills from the very start of her music education. During her twelve years of studies in the public music schools in Warsaw, she took part in different regional and national ear training competitions and has been a first prize recipient twice.

Currently, she is a senior pursuing two degrees in composition and music theory at the Eastman School of Music. Her strong belief in the idea of a musician being well-rounded motivates her to study different disciplines in music. Ania has been studying composition with prof. David Liptak, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Oliver Schneller, and this school year of 2016-2017, she will be in the studio of prof. Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon and Robert Morris. Throughout her first three years at Eastman, she received three different prizes at the annual departmental competitions for her compositions: Louis Lane Award, Bernard Rodgers Award and Belle Gitleman Award. To Ania, composing and performing are equally important as one boosts the other. That is why she has been taking piano seriously by learning and performing the classical repertoire, as well as premiering new works of her composition peers. As a pianist, she is a recipient of several prizes in national and international piano competitions in Europe. She has performed in the Royal Castle in Warsaw and three times in the Hanoi Opera House, from which once she performed as a soloist with the orchestra. In the summer of 2015, she participated in the program called Music Inspire Africa and along with six other musicians, she travelled to Zimbabwe and South Africa for over two weeks to expose young students to classical music through performance and teaching. Besides music, she enjoys studying psychology and languages: in addition to the music degrees, she is also pursuing a minor in social psychology at the University of Rochester. She speaks fluently in Vietnamese, Polish, English, French and has studied German and Latin for a few years.