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Congratulations to 2021 KMEA Student Composition Winner Benjamin Carter!

Congratulations to 2021 KMEA Student Composition Winner Benjamin Carter!

 Every year, KMEA solicits submissions from undergraduate student composers currently studying at a Kentucky college/university to submit an original score for consideration in the Kentucky Music Educators Association Collegiate Composition Competition. The 2021 winner is UofL School of Music’s Benjamin Carter with his winning work for SATB choir, A Winter Night.

Benjamin Carter, sophomore, is a composer, pianist, vocalist, and violist who is currently pursuing a B.M. in Music Composition at the University of Louisville. A native of Bowling Green and a proud graduate of Bowling Green High School, Benjamin is also an alumnus of both the Governor’s School for the Arts and the Governor’s Scholars Program. At UofL, Benjamin studies composition with Dr. Steve Rouse, piano with Dr. Anna Petrova, and sings in the Collegiate Chorale and Cardinal Singers, both under the direction of Dr. Kent Hatteberg. Benjamin is also a member of the Brown Fellows Program, a prestigious academic scholarship program dedicated to attracting and retaining bright, passionate minds for the betterment of the Commonwealth. Upon completion of his B.M. in Music Composition, Benjamin plans to attain an M.M. and a D.M.A. in Choral Conducting, eventually working as a university-level choir director while maintaining an active composition career.

 Composed in April 2020, “A Winter Night” is an SATB choral piece dedicated to those suffering physically, mentally, and emotionally during the ongoing pandemic. The piece utilizes a Sara Teasdale poem of the same name, and in the poem, the speaker conveys empathy for those less fortunate, stating “God pity all the homeless ones, the beggars pacing to and fro.” This sense of compassion is reiterated in the closing stanza of the piece when the speaker laments “But somewhere, like a homeless child, My heart is crying in the cold.” Teasdale’s text is hauntingly chilling, portraying a bleak coldness both literally and metaphorically, and the composition is intentionally crafted to reflect both bleak coldness and a sense of empathy. Ultimately, the piece serves as a reminder that in times of fear and darkness such as these, it is essential that we maintain our sense of compassion and kindness for our fellow human beings.

 Benjamin can be contacted with commission inquiries via email at


 Listen: A Winter Night - Benjamin Carter, KMEA Student Composition Winner, 2021





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Jerry Tolson Named to Jazz Educators of Iowa Hall of Fame

 Jerry Tolson, Professor of Music Education and Jazz Studies and Chair of the Academic and Professional Studies Department in the School of Music at the University of Louisville, has been named the 2021 inductee to the Jazz Educators of Iowa (JEI) Hall of Fame. The JEI Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have created new directions and curricular innovations in regards to jazz education in the state of Iowa.

 Tolson will receive his award at the Iowa Jazz Championships in April 2022.

A Mt. Pleasant, Iowa native, Tolson taught in Iowa at Sigourney, Des Moines Dowling, and Des Moines Hoover, as well as Central College and the University of Nebraska-Omaha before receiving his appointment at Louisville.

 “There are a few names that people keep mentioning as having a huge impact on jazz education in our state, and Jerry Tolson is one that comes up again and again,” said Dennis Green, JEI President. “One of Iowa's first Black music educators, Jerry was a role model to students and other teachers across the state. Many of the things he put into place as a young band director are hallmarks of jazz teaching in Iowa today. And he continues to be a positive impact on Iowa jazz education, through the many students who followed him into teaching as well as returning home to serve as an adjudicator and clinician.”

 Pat Kearney, past president of the Iowa Bandmasters Association, took over at Des Moines Hoover after Tolson’s departure.

 “During his time as a high school band director in Iowa, Mr. Tolson was a leader in programming authentic jazz literature as well as introducing more contemporary jazz pedagogy to the state” Kearney said. “In addition, he was highly involved with the Des Moines Community Jazz Center, which brought many of Iowa’s finest young jazz musicians together on a regular basis to study with jazz professionals."

 A graduate of Drake University and the University of North Texas, Mr. Tolson is an active clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor. He has made presentations at national and international conferences such as IAJE, JEN, and NAfME; numerous state conferences; and the Midwest Clinic, as well as universities in the U.S. and abroad. Tolson has also conducted All-State and Honor Jazz Ensembles in numerous states including Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and Kentucky. As a composer and arranger, his vocal jazz works are published by UNC Jazz Press. He is an author and clinician for Kendor Music, a clinician/consultant for Alfred Music Publishing Company and a content consultant for Pearson/Prentice Hall Educational Publications. He is the educational director for the University of Louisville Jazz Festival and co-founder of U of L's African American Music Heritage Institute, a celebration of the contributions of African Americans to America's musical history, as well a national series of jazz teacher training institutes. In addition, he has been a faculty member of the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops for over twenty years.

Tolson has been named to "Who's Who Among America's Teachers," has received the Kentucky Music Educators "College Teacher of the Year" award, the University of Louisville Exemplary Multicultural Teaching Award, and has twice been recognized with the University of Louisville Distinguished Faculty Service Award. Tolson has served as a board member of the University of Louisville Athletic Association, the University Club of Louisville, and IAJE. His other professional memberships include the American Federation of Musicians, Jazz Education Network, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) also known as the Grammy organization, College Music Society, Pi Kappa Lambda (Honorary Music Society), Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Kentucky Music Educators Association, and the National Association for Music Education.


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School of Music student picked to speak at commencement ceremony

School of Music graduating senior Murphy Lamb has been chosen as the student speaker at the University of Louisville’s Commencement ceremony May 8, 2021, in Cardinal Stadium. The Campbellsville, Kentucky, native and pianist is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in music and a minor in physics.

“I hope to relay to guests and fellow graduates that graduation is a time to reflect on our experiences, look forward to the opportunities ahead of us, but most importantly, it is a time to connect with one another in the present. It is a time to celebrate our accomplishments and live into the fullness of the moment,” Lamb said.

Lamb is the 2021 School of Music Outstanding Graduating Senior award winner. At the end of his Junior Year, Lamb was recognized by the faculty as the 2020-21 Presser Scholar, an award given to the student who best exemplifies high academic accomplishment, leadership, and citizenship. In Fall 2019, he was selected as the overall winner of the School of Music's Concerto Competition providing him with the opportunity to perform a concerto with the UofL Symphony Orchestra in March of 2020, a concert that had to be cancelled at the last minute due to Covid-19.

“Whether in the classroom or piano studio, he has been a thoughtful student using his creative thinking skills to dig deeper into the music he is studying. He asks probing questions, strives to reach the highest goals, and has grown into a pianist with excellent technical skills and a deep sense of musical understanding and expression,” said Associate Dean Emeritus and Piano professor Dr Naomi Oliphant.

In his leadership roles, he has challenged and guided others to put forth their best effort. He has served as a Student Ambassador and Peer Mentor to incoming freshman and as a Student Advisor for music students. He is Music Director of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity and served on the Music Student Council and Cardinal Marching Band Leadership Team. He has held positions as a Residential Advisor for the Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts and as an Intern for the Louisville Orchestra Artistic Operations Department.

“Murphy has demonstrated to all that he is truly our outstanding graduating senior, and I know he will make the University of Louisville School of Music proud of him as he looks forward to a future career in the music world,” said Oliphant.


Spring 2021 Commencement Ceremony 3 will be May 8 at 4pm in Cardinal Stadium. This ceremony will be honoring the 2020 graduates and May 2021 degree candidates from the College of Education and Human Development, Kent School of Social Work, School of Music, School of Nursing.

To live stream the event Clickhere. 

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String area changes


Exciting things are happening!

The School of Music at the University of Louisville continues to have a strong and vibrant presence in our community.  For example, recent developments in our String area include our very successful inaugural String Summit, during which we hosted middle and high school students for an exciting week of music-making activities in June.  Our String Preparatory Center provides wonderful opportunities for precollegiate students in traditional and Suzuki teaching models, and we are now accepting students for lessons. Those wishing to register for lessons can do so by emailing Anna Oldham at Finally, we are thrilled to welcome to UofL Dr. Geoffrey Herd, the newest addition to our String faculty. Dr. Herd brings a wealth of experience and robust achievements to our lauded artist faculty. Already in his first year, he is attracting students to our campus from as far away as China and Thailand. In addition to his robust collegiate studio, Dr. Herd will maintain a small studio of pre-college students through the String Preparatory Center. Please stay tuned as we continue to develop and extend our reach into the community with the gift of music.

For more info about Suzuki Strings at UofL go to









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Emily Yocum Black

Emily Yocum Black
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Alumna Emily Yocum Black wins prestigious award

Exciting alumni news.

The University of Louisville School of Music is proud to share that Soprano Emily Yocum Black received the Meyerson/Zwanger Award, earning Second Place and a $5,000 prize at the 44th Annual Lyndon Woodside Oratorio-Solo Competition Finals held on August 21, 2021.

Emily got her undergrad and masters at UofL in vocal performance studying with Edie Tidwell and then Emily Albrink for her masters. She is originally from Paducah, KY and has returned there to open a very successful teaching studio.

“She has started a very rewarding career, singing nationally with renowned orchestras and ensembles, specializing in new American music and baroque. She is an absolute delight,” Albrink said.

The Oratorio Society of New York (OSNY) is one of the oldest musical organizations in the United States and has become New York City’s standard for grand choral performance. Founded in 1873 by Leopold Damrosch, the Society has played an integral role in the musical life of the city. In its early years, the Society established a fund to finance the building of a new concert hall, a cause taken up in earnest by the Society’s fifth president, Andrew Carnegie. In 1891, and under the direction of Pyotr Tchaikovsky, the Society helped inaugurate this new Music Hall, which would be renamed Carnegie Hall several years later.

For more information:

2021 Fall Concert Attendance Covid-19 Policy


The students and faculty of the UofL School of Music look forward to presenting live performances once again for our campus and surrounding community this Fall 2021 semester.  Although we wish for a return to normal, the Delta variant of COVID-19 creates for us an evolving situation, which we are monitoring closely.  The vaccine is the most effective defense against the virus.  In the interest of the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, we are eager to welcome audience members who are vaccinated.  For those who are unable to attend due to these guidelines we are happy to announce that several of our concerts will be presented with a live stream option.

A comprehensive list of our concerts with signup links can be found at

Here are some important details if you wish to attend a School of Music Concert:

  • All concerts will have a required online sign-up process on
  • Proof of vaccination is required at the door for each concert.
  • Seating will be limited in all concert halls with prearranged spacing to allow for physical distancing.
  • All who enter the Music building, for any reason, must wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth completely at all times.
  • Regardless of one’s vaccination status, we expect that anyone feeling unwell on the day of an event will refrain from attending so as not to risk their own health or the health of others.

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Opera exploring gender identity wins Grawemeyer music award

Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth has won the 2022 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition for “Orlando,” an opera based on a Virginia Woolf novel about a gender-switching poet whose adventures span more than three centuries.

The opera, an unconventional piece embracing a vast range of musical styles from Tudor-era ballads to modern electronic sound layering, was commissioned by Vienna State Opera and premiered on its stage in 2019.

Neuwirth drew inspiration for the three-hour work from “Orlando: A Biography,” Woolf’s 1928 fictional account of a young male poet in 16th century England who mysteriously becomes female at age 30 and lives until the early 20th century. The book, which shows how gender can be fluid in different circumstances, is considered a feminist classic and has been extensively studied by scholars focusing on women’s, gender and transgender issues.

“I wanted to reflect the wonderful diversity of life and evoke a subtle form of sexual attraction that cannot be pigeonholed into a single gender,” Neuwirth said. “What’s more, the main character refuses to be patronized and treated in a condescending manner, something that continually happens to women with no end in sight.”

Neuwirth studied composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and painting and film at San Francisco Art Institute. She lives and teaches in Vienna.

Earlier this year, she won the 2021 Wolf Prize in Music, a prestigious international award presented in Israel that also went to Stevie Wonder.

“’Orlando’ is an enormous, supremely ambitious work,” said Marc Satterwhite, who directs the Grawemeyer music award. “The libretto and multifaceted score challenge our preconceptions of gender and sexual roles and test our ideas of what opera is and is not. It also seems appropriate that the first female-composed opera to be performed at the Vienna State Opera, a venue long regarded as a bastion of tradition, should take aim at these issues.”

Ricordi Berlin, the German branch of Italian music publisher Casa Ricordi, published the winning work.

Recipients of next year’s Grawemeyer Awards are being named this week pending formal approval by university trustees. The annual, $100,000 prizes also honor seminal ideas in world order, psychology, education and religion. Recipients will visit Louisville in April to accept their awards and give free talks on their winning ideas.


In the news:

Caitlin Edwards

UofL School of Music Alumni Caitlin Edwards
Caitlin Edwards
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UofL Music Alumni Spotlight: Caitlin Edwards

UofL School of Music Alumni Caitlin Edwards


Caitlin Edwards began studying violin at the age of eight, and today, she boasts an impressive list of accomplishments from performing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, recording film scores by Hans Zimmer, to releasing her own CD.

Caitlin received degrees in Violin Performance from the University of Louisville (2017) and DePaul University (2019), studying with J. Patrick Rafferty and Janet Sung. She is currently a mentor with the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative, a program designed to offer training for talented student musicians from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. She performs frequently with local artists, and her Chicago based string quartet, D-Composed, which recently made their national television debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

She has soloed with the Chicago Solisti, University of Louisville Symphony, Alabama Youth Symphony and was a finalist in the Collegiate Virtuoso Concerto Competition in Atlanta, GA. In 2020, Caitlin was featured as a soloist in the “Dreams of Hope” documentary which premiered on PBS across the US and has received awards nationally and internationally.

Caitlin has performed with Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, Nairobi Philharmonic, Grant Park Festival Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta, the ReCollective Orchestra, the Matt Jones Orchestra, the National Repertory Orchestra, and the Wordless Music Orchestra. She was a semi-finalist for the New World Symphony national auditions and has performed at the Kennedy Center as a part of the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute.

She has performed and recorded with artists such as John Legend, Israel Houghton, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Common, Yolanda Adams, India Arie and on PJ Morton’s “Gumbo Album”, for which she received a Grammy Certificate. She also recorded for the Disney movie score, The Lion King, at Sony Studios.

Caitlin took some time to talk to the School of Music about her career and her experience at UofL.

Q: What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishments to date?

Caitlin: Receiving a 3Arts Award, releasing and recording an album of original music, recording for film scores by Hans Zimmer and Terence Blanchard, and contracting for cool concerts and recording sessions in Chicago!

Q: Tell us more about your CD release. How did it come about? Describe the music? How can we listen to it?

Caitlin: I began creating music during the pandemic. I eventually began experimenting with software instruments in Logic and pulling drum and piano samples from Splice, then I would create melodies, improvise, and record layers of myself over the track to create an ensemble sound. I also had friends and family to record piano, bass, and cello on the album. I'm classically trained, but I'm strongly influenced by gospel, R&B, and neo-soul music. I combined the classical sound of violin with the soul and harmonies of these genres to create a journey through my mind and heart during the early part of the pandemic. It is my first album so I'm definitely looking forward to the future! Exhale is available on all digital streaming platforms, and on my website for hard copies.

Q: What was it like performing with some of the big celebrities you have worked with, like John Legend, etc?

Caitlin: I've never had a necessarily bad experience, which is great! I usually have the pleasure of playing or recording with friends, so it's just a fun experience in general. Some experiences, like Hollywood Bowl with Ms. Lauryn Hill, are exhilarating because of the energy, the lights and sounds, the people in the audience and of course getting to perform with one of my favorite artists on the planet!

Q: Describe your career path and what has that looked like.

Caitlin: I finished grad school at DePaul in 2019. While in grad school, I recorded regularly with the Matt Jones Orchestra, taught with various music programs, and traveled frequently for performances/recordings with the ReCollective Orchestra, Gateways Music Festival, Wordless Music Orchestra, and other gigs! I also began to contract musicians for recording sessions and shows within Chicago in 2019. My quartet D-Composed was also founded in 2017 and has been active to date, with performances on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and collaborations with Google, MCA Chicago, Apple, and more. I gig with different orchestras around Chicago, record for studio sessions, teach sectionals for a high school and the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, mentor with the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative and regularly give solo performances/recitals. I am also a 2021 recipient of a 3Arts award! My career has been full of diverse experiences, and I'm truly thankful for the opportunities!

Q: What is your best college memory at UofL?

Caitlin: Traveling to Costa Rica with the orchestra in 2014, performing with the Brazilian and Contemporary Jazz ensembles, and theory with Chris Fitzgerald! :)

Q: What is the most important thing you learned while at UofL?

Caitlin: To be open to new things and to not limit yourself to one source/type of inspiration.

Q: What advice to you have for current students? Especially in the music industry?

Caitlin: Give attention, preparation, and value to every performance you give and every gig you take. Maintain your integrity! Aim to be at least 20-30 min early to things, you never know what may happen. Try new things, you never know what you might find you have a passion or gift for. Give respect to everyone you interact with, from your colleagues to the contractor, the maintenance worker, etc. Take a break and be kind to yourself.


To learn more about Caitlin and hear her music:


Chamber ensemble:


YouTube Channel:


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New minor: Entrepreneurship in the Music Industry


The College of Business and School of Music partner to launch new minor 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Entrepreneurship Minor in the Music Industry will enhance a music graduate’s degree by adding entrepreneurial business skills to the curriculum.

Music students don’t always recognize the full spectrum of jobs and careers available to them once they graduate. With training to develop an entrepreneurship mindset, these students can better understand how to earn a living doing what they love. The Music Entrepreneurship Minor, available beginning Fall 2022, will prepare these graduates to become job creators and use their own toolset to personalize their careers in the music industry and beyond.

The 18-hour minor program includes 12 hours of entrepreneurship instruction in the UofL College of Business, covering topics in creativity, innovation, the entrepreneurial process, and venture planning and management, plus 6 hours of music industry instruction in the School of Music.

This new entrepreneurship minor model can also be added to many other B.A. degrees across the University to enhance a student’s business skill set and career.

 More info about the minor here.

Course Listing:

Entrepreneurship Core

ENTR 350 Entrepreneurial Creativity and Innovation  

ENTR 370 The Entrepreneurial Process  

ENTR 402 Venture Finance  

ENTR 403 Venture Planning and Management

Music Industry Courses

MUS 535 Music Industry I

MUS 536 Music Industry II

MUS 478 Music Industry Internship

Louisville Jazz Workshop

UofL School of Music, July 15-23, 2023

Jazz Workshop 2023


Louisville has a long tradition of supporting and presenting jazz events especially in the summer. In July of 2023, the tradition will continue with an intensive and exciting educational and performance jazz experience for adults 18 and over. The event will be held at the University of Louisville School of Music from July 16-21. Enrollment will be balanced to assure a positive experience, so a limited number of spaces will be available. Initial enrollment will be limited to the first four players on each rhythm section instrument with spaces for up to 20 non-rhythm performers. Additional spots may be available after the initial slots are filled.

The Louisville Jazz Workshop will feature two combo experiences per day for all participants as well as daily jam sessions, masterclasses on each instrument, jazz history sessions, repertoire, sessions on practice technique and faculty concerts. There will also be an option for attendees to enjoy nightly dinners at local restaurants with live jazz music. The week will culminate with a participant concert on Friday afternoon. The tuition for the camp is $850 with on-campus lodging and meal options are available. Attendees may also take advantage of special lodging rates at selected local hotels and motels.

For those who are looking for a more limited exposure, there will also be a weekend of mini-camp experiences in the areas of Vocal Jazz I and All Things Guitar - July 15-16. Brazilian Jazz and Vocal Jazz II will be July 22-23. You are welcome to participate in both the week-long and mini workshops.

No matter whether you are a practicing pro, a casual player, a current or retired educator, or fresh out of school, this is an opportunity to hone and develop your skills with talented, professional staff in a dynamic, supportive environment. Registration is now open and can be found online at

For questions or more information contact:

Mike Tracy ( or Jerry Tolson (


Louisville Jazz Workshop 

Sunday, July 16 – Friday, July 21 

Nightly concerts at 6:00PM in Bird Hall.  

Visiting artist include and are the featured performers:

Drummer Joe La Barbara

Bassist Lynn Seaton

Pianist Harry Pickens


The faculty includes:

  • Ansyn Banks – brass
  • Gabe Evens – piano
  • Chris Fitzgerald – bass
  • Terry O'Mahoney – drums
  • Jerry Tolson – vocal
  • Mike Tracy – woodwinds
  • Shelley Yoelin - woodwinds
  • Craig Wagner – guitar


Master classes will include: 

  • What a rhythm section wants to hear from you!
  • Tendonitis, Arthritis and Beyond!
    • How to Avoid the Most Common Playing Injuries and What to Do if You’re Hurting
    • Sessions on the Alexander Technique and Yoga for musicians
  • Stop Wasting Your Precious Practice Time!  
    • The 5 Keys to Efficient Productive Practice!  
    • How to Practice Even When You’re Really Busy!  
    • The 3 Most Common Practice Mistakes of Adult Students 
  • Yes, You Can Get a Jazz Gig - Learn How!!! 
  • Classes on your instrument.
  • Retirement musician careers:  

Playing and teaching at retirement homes; assisting at schools, colleges, and Universities.  Hospitals, farmers' markets, religious institutions, coffee houses, malls, etc.

The tuition for the camp is $850 with on-campus lodging and meal options available. Attendees may also take advantage of special lodging rates at selected local hotels and motels.

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Riley Ferretti

Riley Ferretti
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2022 KMEA Collegiate Composition Winner: Riley Ferretti, SOM alum

 Each year, The Kentucky Music Educators Association solicits submissions from undergraduate student composers currently studying at a Kentucky college/university to submit an original score for consideration in the KMEA Collegiate Composition Competition. The 2022 winner is Riley Ferretti, a UofL School of Music graduate, with her winning work for SATB choir, The Oak.

Riley Ferretti is a Japanese-American composer and vocalist whose music explores the expanse of human emotion through various compositional and improvisatory techniques. Her inspiration spans numerous sources, ranging from Eastern European choral music to punk to electronic ambient music. She recently graduated from the University of Louisville with a B.M. in Music Composition, studying under Dr. Marc Satterwhite. At the University of Louisville, she was also a member of the Collegiate Chorale and Cardinal Singers under the direction of Dr. Kent Hatteberg and the Women’s Chorus under the direction of Dr. Won Joo Ahn. She recently received the Sixty-Second Annual Alumni Award from the UofL School of Music.

Jazz Workshop 2023

Jazz Workshop 2023
Jazz Workshop 2023
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Educators Inspire a Path in Music and in Law

An interview with Rosalyn "Roz" Carothers, alumna of School of Music
Educators Inspire a Path in Music and in Law

Rosalyn Carothers

“If it hadn’t been for the School of Music scholarships, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I have deep internal gratitude for the UofL and I enjoy showing others how they can make a difference through the varying philanthropic vehicles.”


Rosalyn “Roz” Carothers '85, '90 loved classical music from a very young age. A pivotal moment in her musical journey came in the third grade, when a teacher handed her a violin and suggested she join the orchestra. This opportunity instilled a passion that she’s kept her entire life, leading to her joining the Jefferson County Youth Orchestra, spending several summers at Sewanee Music Camp in Tennessee, and training under the late Carol Hughes and Virginia Schneider, who developed the Suzuki Violin Program at the University of Louisville. By high school, Roz was deeply connected with the classical music community in Louisville and was given an opportunity by UofL Professor Peter McHugh to enroll a year early in the UofL School of Music.

Roz has no regrets about skipping her senior year of high school. She recalls, “I felt like Peter took a chance and opened the doorway for me to be among my people and learn from great talent within the School of Music.”

Roz excelled as a student and spent four summers at Meadowmount and one summer at the Aspen Music Festival, proudly representing the UofL School of Music. After Roz graduated with a dual major in violin and viola, she played professionally for the Louisville Orchestra and taught strings in Jefferson County Public Schools. One year later, inspired by a former high school teacher, Roz took a chance at the LSAT. Given her previous studies and talents had been focused on music, she was pleasantly surprised to have scored well, and was quickly admitted to the Brandeis School of Law. Roz recalls, “I put myself through law school while continuing to teach and to play music, an option I know is not available to students today.” 

In her early years of legal practice, Roz volunteered for the Friends of the School of Music and the UofL Alumni Association, ultimately holding leadership positions in both. She has continued to give time and treasure over the years by leading the UofL School of Music Alumni Council and serving on the UofL Estate and Gift Planning Advisory Council.

Roz focuses her practice on estate-planning, probate and trust administration, and asset preservation, which has given her to opportunity to share the joy of philanthropy with clients. In 2020, Roz became a Conn Legacy Society member by adding the UofL School of Music as a beneficiary to her estate plans. If you would like to join Roz in becoming a supporter of the School of Music, contact Mark Kaczmarczyk, director of development, at or 502-852-7108 to learn more.

Concertmaster, soloist, conductor: the many faces of alumna Misaki Hall '21, '23

Interview with alumna, Misaki Hall
Concertmaster, soloist, conductor: the many faces of alumna Misaki Hall '21, '23

Misaki Hall

Director of Development Mark Kaczmarczyk recently sat down with Misaki Hall to reflect on her time at UofL and recent experience as guest lecturer and conductor of the University Symphony Orchestra. 

Where’s home, and how did music resonate in your early development?

My parents (American father, Japanese mother) met in Okinawa, Japan, and later moved to the United States. I was born in California, and moved to Radcliff, KY at the age of two. My brothers and I would watch Doraemon, a Japanese children’s show, where a young girl character played the violin. I told my mother (a high school teacher) that I wanted to play as well, and eventually started violin lessons at five years old. During my undergraduate career, I briefly considered pursuing medicine, but ultimately decided to fully commit to music.

What were the seminal musical moments growing up, and what brought you to the UofL and the School of Music? I studied at the Bardstown Suzuki School, which was fabulous. The instructors there cultivated a healthy relationship between child and parent through the Suzuki Method. From sophomore year of High School, I continued to study violin under Professor Brittany MacWilliams through the School of Music's String Academy, an outreach program she directed. The Academy became a crucial part in my development as a musician and was the reason I ultimately attended the UofL School of Music as an undergraduate student.

Along with String Academy, I participated in the Louisville Youth Orchestra, which was under the direction of Jason Seber at the time. This experience exposed me to orchestral repertoire, performance, and traditions, which I am forever grateful for.

What can you tell our readers about what it is like to play in an orchestra? My favorite aspect of orchestral playing is the honor and privilege to make wonderful music as a team. At the University Symphony Orchestra there exists this fantastic culture and community based on the value of every player. Every musician is a key player, no matter the seat or section, and this culture is led from the top with Professor Kimcherie Lloyd. My undergraduate years of playing the violin in orchestra under her direction, as section violinist and occasionally as concertmaster, furthered my curiosity of the orchestral world, and is what ultimately made me want to learn orchestral conducting from her. During my graduate studies with Professor Lloyd, I was fortunate to further study the violin with Dr. Geoffrey Herd as well.

My time studying with Professor Lloyd is something I will always treasure and led me to learning opportunities and professional experiences I would have never imagined, including my time as lecturer for the University Symphony Orchestra during her sabbatical this past fall and playing solo jazz violin with the Count Basie Orchestra in February.

Describe how you learned the basic conducting technique, and then refined it? I studied instrumental conducting as an undergrad with Dr. Jason Cumberledge, where I learned basic technique, patterns, etc. With Dr. Amy Acklin I further studied technique as well as refined my score study/analysis. I was eventually permitted to observe and occasionally conduct the Graduate Orchestral Conducting Seminar which hosted the Graduate String Quintet. My first time conducting a full orchestra was for Dr. Acklin’s Conducting II final exam, which was with the University Symphony Orchestra playing Beethoven’s Overture to Fidelio, Op. 72.

There are still very few female concert masters of major orchestras in the world, and even fewer female conductors, but the landscape is slowly changing.  What were your personal challenges transitioning from being in the orchestra to standing on the podium? I suffered from imposter syndrome, doubting myself, being a girl, and making final artistic decisions. Over time, I have learned that all the musical decisions must be made as a conductor before we are on the podium, and never to “think on the orchestra’s time”. This expectation has encouraged me to combat my doubt with as much studying, research, and use of musical instincts as possible.

Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to travel and participate in conducting festivals and symposiums, most recently the Denver Philharmonic International Conducting Workshop this past February taught by Maestri Robert Spano and Lawrence Golan. What I witnessed were conductors who arrived confident and sure with solid musical ideas and a wide variety of different artistic interpretations - whether others thought their ideas were “right” or “wrong,” they came with a musical concept of the work that they were absolutely convinced of while recognizing that their concepts are likely to change over time. This inspired me to approach the art of conducting differently.

I have also attended the Pierre Monteux School and Music Festival in Maine, which is largely based on the principle that conductors should continue to play in orchestras as instrumentalists as long as possible. This has most definitely aided in my understanding of the different roles, and to maintain both perspectives.

Goals for the future? More playing, more teaching, more conducting - possibly a DMA program, but not right away. Most importantly, I aim to continue to learn as a student of life.