Among our graduate degree recipients before 2004 are the
composers Eric Sawyer, Martha Horst, and Anne Guzzo; and
musicologists Donna M. DiGrazia, Carol Hess, Don Meyer, John
Palmer, Matthew Daines, Suzanne Jubenville, Mark Brill, and Paul
Sarah Wald was born in Chicago. She
attended Columbia University in the City of New York for her
bachelor’s degree in music with a focus in
composition. While at Columbia, Sarah studied composition
with Tristan Murail and Arthur Kampela, as well as with Robert
Lombardo in Chicago. She also studied flute with Sue Ann
Kahn. Sarah then studied with Conrad Susa and David Garner
at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for her master’s
degree in composition. For her master’s thesis, she composed
and produced Elegy for a Lady: a Music Drama in One A
Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, Aida Shirazi is
a Ph.D. student in composition at UC Davis, and she works with
Pablo Ortiz. Shirazi’s music is described as “well-made”
and “affecting” by The New Yorker. She holds her B.A. in
classical piano from Tehran University of Art (Iran), and her
B.M. in music composition and theory from Bilkent University
(Turkey). She studied santoor (traditional Iranian dulcimer) with
Parissa Khosravi Samani.
Born and raised in central Illinois, Daniel
Godsil (b. 1982) is a composer of chamber, orchestral,
vocal, electronic, and film music, currently pursuing his
PhD in composition and theory at the University of
California, Davis. He holds an MFA in music composition from the
Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he studied with John Fitz
Rogers, John Mallia, and Jonathan Bailey Holland.
David A. Roby was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. He started
studying piano at age five and has since become a
professional recording multi-instrumentalist. He is self-taught
on mandolin, tenor banjo, fiddle, trumpet, guitar, bass,
accordion, tin whistle, and bodhrán. David Roby is a member of
the recording project Dance the Bridge with long-time
friend Damon Gentry. Dance the Bridge has recorded
two EPs and one full-length
LP, which is also available at iTunes.
Hendel Almétus received a Ph.D. in composition from UC Davis in
2012. He was born in Haiti where he began his musical training at
the age of 12. He earned a bachelor’s in music composition from
the Houston Baptist University and a master’s in composition
from the Eastman School of Music.
Gabriel José Bolaños (b. 1984 Bogotá, Colombia)
is a Nicaraguan-American composer of solo, chamber, orchestral
and electronic music. He holds a PhD in composition from UC Davis
and a BA from Columbia University. His principal composition
teachers include Mika Pelo, Pablo Ortiz, Laurie San Martin,
Fabien Lévy, and Sebastian Currier, and he studied orchestration
with Tristan Murail. He likes to write music that explores
unusual timbres and structures, and is interested in
computer-assisted-composition, auditory perception, and
Composer and Chinese flutist Yu-Hsin Chang is currently a Ph.D.
candidate in music composition and theory at UC Davis.
She received her previous degrees (MFA, BFA) from Taiwan.
Her works include solo, chamber, and orchestral pieces for
both Western and Chinese music instruments, and have been
performed by soprano Tony Arnold, the Empyrean Ensemble, the
Daedalus Quartet, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, the Chai Found
Music Workshop, and the Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra.
An alumnus of the Juilliard School, William David Cooper has
enjoyed a diverse career as composer, conductor, and
keyboardist.His music has been championed by Augustin Hadelich,
the Juilliard Orchestra, Trio 180, the JACK Quartet, and the
Lysander Trio, and has been performed at the Radio France
Festival and the Wellesley Composers Conference. He has
recently been commissioned by Soli Deo Gloria, and is currently
writing Hagar and Ishmael, a two-act opera, that will
premiere with members of the Indianapolis Symphony
Orchestra. In addition to positions on faculty at Purdue
David Dennen is assistant professor of Applied English at Chihlee
University of Technology in Taipei, Taiwan. He received his Ph.D.
in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Davis. He
received his bachelor’s from the Evergreen State College in
Olympia, WA, where he concentrated on ethnomusicology, cultural
studies, and performance.
Anthony (Tony) Dumas is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the
State University of New York, The College at Brockport where he
teaches courses in both the Department of Theatre and Music
Studies and the Delta College Program. Previously, Dr. Dumas has
taught at UC Davis, Woodland Community College, St. Lawrence
University, and SUNY Potsdam.
MusicologyPh.D. Musicology, University of California, Davis
Carol A. Hess has published books and articles on the music of
Spain and the Americas. Her work has been funded by the National
Endowment for the Humanities, the Spanish Ministry of Culture,
and the New York Public Library, among other entities. She
received the Society for American Music’s Irving Lowens Article
Award, and her book Manuel de Falla and Modernism in Spain,
1898–1936 (University of Chicago Press, 2001) won the
ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award and the American Musicological Society’s
Robert M. Stevenson Prize for Outstanding Scholarship in Iberian
Music, in addition to other prizes.
Gillian Irwin has been a student of ethnomusicology at UC Davis
since Fall 2014. Before coming to Davis, she studied music and
English at Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA) and served as a
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. At
Davis, Gillian specializes in Indonesian music with interests in
educational and cultural policy, national identity formation, and
the relationship of the region to the nation of Indonesia.
Sarah Lappas received her Ph.D. in 2013 in Ethnomusicology with
research interests in African American and African popular music,
music and violence, multispatial criminalization, indexicality,
and musico-racial signification.
Sarah Messbauer graduated from Muhlenberg College in the spring
of 2011, receiving a bachelor’s degree with honors in
anthropology and music. While at Muhlenberg, she received
the Louise M. Cafouros Award for distinguished scholarship in the
field of anthropology, as well as the Class of 1969 Award for
Promising Work in the Field of Music.
David Möschler is an award-winning San Francisco Bay Area-based
musical director and conductor. He has music-directed over one
hundred musical theater, opera, and theater productions, and
conducted over eightypieces for orchestra, including over two
dozen first performances.
Garrett Rigsby is a conductor based in Kansas City, Missouri. He
is currently the Assistant Conductor of the Conservatory
Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra at the University of
Missouri–Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance. He has
conducted fully staged productions with the UMKC Opera Theatre.
He recently was the Barbara K. Jackson Fellow in Conducting at
the University of California, Davis where he served as the
Assistant Conductor of the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra and UC
Davis University Chorus and Alumni Chorus.
Davin Rosenberg grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and is a
PhD candidate in ethnomusicology at University of California,
Davis. His research focuses on flamenco in the Americas wherein
he explores musicking in the social (re)creation of space and
sense of place; groove and performance temporalities;
intersensory modalities, and transnational musicocultural flows
The music of Garrett Ian Shatzer (b. 1980) has been performed by
such musicians as the Mobius Trio, Erato and Finisterra
Piano Trios, GRAMMY-award winning countertenor Ian Howell,
EOS Duo, Lyris Quartet, Meridian Arts, Empyrean, Luna Nova
and Citywater Ensembles, violinist Rolf Schulte, cellist
David Russell, and pianist Geoffrey Burleson in such venues
as the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.) and the Teatro
Colón (Buenos Aires). His current commissions include a
choral work to be premiered in St.
In summer 2017, Jonathan Spatola-Knoll took up residence at the
Salzburg Festival as an awardee of the Vienna Philharmonic’s
Ansbacher Fellowship for Young Conductors. He holds a master’s
degree in conducting from UC Davis, where he has acted as the
assistant conductor for both the symphony orchestra and chorus,
and will soon complete his doctorate. He has also served on the
faculty at Whitman College as director of orchestras.
Alexander Stalarow received his Ph.D. in Musicology in 2017. His
dissertation, Listening to a Liberated Paris: Pierre
Schaeffer Experiments with Radio, was funded by awards
including a Chateaubriand Fellowship from the French
government, a Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship, and an Alvin
H. Johnson AMS 50 Fellowship. Alex currently lectures at the San
Francisco Conservatory of Music and University of the
A Sacramento native, Ryan Suleiman was born to
Lebanese and American parents. His music aims to explore new
worlds both sonically and expressively, incorporating
“impressionistic textures and large melodic gestures” (SF
Classical Voice), resonant sonorities, and lively rhythms.
Ryan is deeply inspired by the wonder of the natural world and
the tremendous beauty and complexity of everyday life.
B.M. Performance (flute), UC Santa BarbaraM.A. Musicology, Pennsylvania State University
Claire Thompson is a doctoral candidate in musicology at UC
Davis. She has a B.M. in performance (flute) from UC Santa
Barbara, and a master’s degree in musicology from Pennsylvania
State University. Her research interests include music aesthetics
and the cultural and political aspects of opera and operetta. Her
dissertation explores the creation, dissemination, and reception
of nineteenth-century Italian operas based on the works of Sir
Walter Scott. She is a recipient of the Hubert H. and Barbara P.
Jeremiah Trujillo is an active soloist, collaborative pianist,
and historical musicologist. He is the recipient of numerous
awards, including a special prize for the interpretation of a
nineteenth-century Romantic work at the 2013 San Francisco
Young Pianists Competition. He is a recipient of the 2018
Faculty Recognition Award for Excellence in Musical Performance
at UC Davis, and the 2014 Eisner Prize for Music, awarded at
UC Berkeley. Jeremiah was also a finalist in the 2013 Carmel
Music Society piano competition, held at Sunset Center in Carmel,
Alex Van Gils is a composer and performer, exploring the
interplay between human and electronic creative agents. In his
composition work he creates musical systems that explore, amplify
and transform the gestures of human improvisational partners.
Alex holds a Ph.D. in Music Theory and Composition from UC
Davis. His dissertation work included The Permanent, a
concerto for improvising jazz saxophone and orchestra.
David Verbuč (from Slovenia) received his master’s degree in
ethnomusicology at UC Davis (with distinction), and his
bachelor’s degree in music education from the Academy of Music,
University of Ljubljana, Slovenia (under the supervision of
Svanibor Pettan, professor of ethnomusicology).
Ching-Yi Wang began her music training in piano at the age of
five, and started taking composition lessons at the age of twelve
and received bachelor and master of fine arts degrees in theory
and composition from Taipei National University of the Arts in
Taiwan (TNUA). One of her music compositions, Yu Lin
Ling, was awarded the Tune in Taiwan, 2002. Wang has taught
at Tainan National University of the Arts.
Her music can be found on the Taiwan Composer League’s Taiwan
Contemporary Composers I: Chamber Music CD, released in
Chia Wei Lin is greatly interested in the historiography of music
and the history of performers.
Born and raised as a pianist in Taiwan, Lin received her master’s
degree from Taipei National University of the Arts and her
bachelor’s degree from National Taiwan Normal University. She
began playing piano at age three and her formal music education
commenced at age eight. As a pupil of Professor En Wang, a
renowned pianist and an enthusiastic promoter of new Taiwanese
music, Lin has performed works by contemporary Taiwanese
composers, including the esteemed composer Mao-Shuen Chen. She
has been performing since the age of twelve, with several
premieres to her credit. Recently, she performed and recorded the
incidental music for the theater work Elephant’s
Graveyard, composed by contemporary American composers
Laurie San Martin and Garrett Shatzer in the Mondavi Center at UC
Serena Yang is a doctoral candidate in musicology at the
University of California, Davis. Her research interests include
twentieth- and twenty-first-century music, interdisciplinary
studies, cultural studies, and Asian music. Yang holds a
bachelor’s degree in violin from National Sun Yat-Sen University,
Taiwan, and a master’s degree in music history from the
University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music under
Richard Chowenhill is an award-winning composer and guitarist.
His music has been performed across North America by the Lydian
String Quartet, the Talujon Percussion Ensemble, the Beat City
Percussion Ensemble, the Wellesley Composers Conference
Orchestra, Music from China, members of the UC Davis Symphony
Orchestra, members of the UC Davis Early Music Ensemble, the
Davis Shakespeare Ensemble, and numerous other soloists and
ensembles. Originally from California, he has performed as a
guitar player in numerous California-based bands and chamber
After graduating, Front moved to Brooklyn, working for Boosey &
Hawkes as a part-time Database assistant and part-time at a small
non-profit called the Gruber Foundation. He eventually moved to
the Gruber Foundation full-time, then worked at a few different
non-profits, and in the past few years, has started specializing
in the Salesforce database.
Emma Gavenda was a harpsichord performance major
at UC Davis. She moved to Auckland, New Zealand, in 2017 and
joined The Graduate Choir NZ, a high-quality community choir,
immediately upon arrival. Since 2019, Emma has been working as
part of the fundraising team for the Auckland Philharmonia
Orchestra as their Trusts and Foundations Manager. When she’s not
singing or writing grant applications, she is exploring
Aotearoa—New Zealand’s immense natural beauty, by hiking,
kayaking, and swimming throughout the country.
After graduating from UC Davis, she completed a Master of Music
degree in flute performance at San Francisco State University and
has taken a number of professional auditions. She also
established a private teaching studio, which now includes about
twenty private students. Green frequently performs in chamber
music concerts around the Bay Area, and is now preparing to join
the San Jose Wind Symphony.
Jessica M. Gutierrez is an ethnomusicologist-in-training with
research interests in Mexico, Native American music, music in
video games, indigenous studies, music and identity, and
ethnography. She is fascinated by how native peoples in the
Americas not only maintain, but celebrate their traditions
through music and dance. In her current research, she is using
Diamond’s Alliance Studies Model (2007) as the primary
analytical framework to trace cultural and historical connections
to a famous Zapotec- Mexican song and dance.
Shawyon Malek-Salehi graduated from UC
Davis in 2014 with a double major in music (violin performance)
and pharmaceutical chemistry. He began studying the violin at the
age of five and was concertmaster of the UC Davis Symphony
Orchestra (UCDSO) from 2010 to 2013 and during their
international tour to Spain in 2012. He won the UCDSO Concerto
Competition in 2009, 2012, and 2013. At UC Davis, Malek studied
with Dan Flanagan and also participated in masterclasses with
Fritz Gearhart, Ida Kavafian, Rachel Barton Pine, David Halen,
and Gil Shaham.
Susanna Peeples earned her bachelor’s
degree from the UC Davis Music Department in 2009 and went
on to earn her master of music degree (in music
education) from the University of the Pacific. She has been
teaching choirs, piano, and guitar at Granite Bay High School.
Jonathan Pwu is now a band and orchestra director at his alma
mater, Saratoga High School in Saratoga, California. During
his time at Davis he assisted Pete Nowlen with the UC
Davis Concert Band and played clarinet.
“One of the best things about studying music at Davis was the
flexibility and support that the professors and staff gave
the students. They really consider your interests and
encourage student involvement beyond just playing in
Hari (“Indi”) Savitala graduated in 2003 from UC Davis with
a Bachelor of Arts in Music, focusing on percussion performance.
After hearing a lecture on acoustics and seeking advice from the
music faculty, he studied acoustics at Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute (RPI) and graduated in 2006 with a Master of Sciences
degree in Architectural Sciences with a concentration in
M.M., Percussion Performance – University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music (2010)B.A., Music Performance – UC Davis (2008)
Megan Shieh-Cruz is an active freelance
percussionist residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, devoted to
the performance of Western Contemporary Classical and
Afro-Caribbean percussion. She received her bachelor’s degree in
percussion performance from UC Davis, studying with Chris Froh, and her master of music
degree in percussion performance from the University of
Wisconsin-Madison School of Music in 2010 under the mentorship of
Anthony Di Sanza.