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Motifs: March 2024

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Jonathan Newmark’s (IAC/NMC 68) flute-marimba composition, “Better on Slickrock” (2015), was performed by Polish flutist Iwona Glinka and Greek percussionist Panos Thiotis on the album Percussion+. The album, which was released on the Phasma-Music label in 2023, is the fourth CD to include Newmark’s works. Newmark was also selected for his third artist residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst, Virginia.

Dr. Deborah Podolka (IAC/NMC 75-79, IAC St 08) is now the music consultant and flute teacher for the Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City Independent School District. She is also the owner of The Cibolo Flute studio in Cibolo, Texas.

Dara Levan (IAC/NMC 83-90, IAC St 94) made her fiction debut with It Could Be Worse (Regalo Press), which launched on March 12. The book, partially set at a music camp in Michigan, tells the inspiring story of a young mother’s awakening to the truth about her parents. Levan is a storyteller and the founder and host of Every Soul Has a Story, a podcast in which she interviews inspiring people from around the globe about their life journeys.

Jewel (IAA 90-92) will present an immersive art experience, The Portal, at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art from May 4 to July 28. The one-of-a-kind journey features a 200-piece aerial drone show, a meditative art walk, a never-before-seen painting and sculpture by Jewel, and chef-crafted dining options.

Jonathan Smucker (IAA 93-96), tenor, has won a tenured position in the San Francisco Opera Chorus beginning March 2024. Smucker has sung with the chorus since 2018, first as an extra chorister, then in the regular chorus in 2022 and 2023. In that time, he has appeared in the world premiere of John Adams’s Antony and Cleopatra, the San Francisco premieres of Gabriela Lena Frank’s El último sueño de Frida y Diego and Mason Bates’s The (r)Evolution of Steve Jobs, as well as notable productions of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Eurydice, Beethoven’s Fidelio, and Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten. He will sing with the chorus in the U.S. premiere of Kaia Saariaho’s Innocence this June. Smucker is a lecturer in voice at San José State University, where he serves as Voice Area Co-coordinator. He has made San Francisco his home since attending the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he earned a Bachelor of Music, Master of Music and Postgraduate Diploma in Voice. He is also a member of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Chorale and the American Bach Soloists Choir & Cantorei.

Bestselling author Cynthia's (Rice) Ellingsen (IAA 94-95, IAC St 95) will release her tenth novel, The Lost Letters of Aisling, on April 1. The book was selected as a March pick for the Amazon First Reads program.

Lance Horne (IAC 94-95, IAA 94-96) was featured in the recent New York Times article “Reports of Cabaret’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated.” Horne currently hosts weekly Monday night sing-alongs at East Village’s Club Cumming.

Writer and Director Jordan Anderson (IAC 97-99, ICCA 16) has completed production on the feature documentary Marqueetown, which is touring 20 cities across Michigan to benefit arthouse movie theaters before premiering on PBS in the fall. The true story of a man's quest to restore the theater of his youth has also been selected to the Fresh Coast, Green Bay, Arizona International and Capital City Film Festivals, among others. The documentary features an original score by Andrew Dost (IAC Fac 21-22, IAA Fac 21-22).

Heidi Radtke (AS 99, IAA 99-00) is currently in her second year as the lecturer of saxophone at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Her debut solo album, Convergence, was released March 1, 2024 on Navona Records.

Michael Arden (IAC 99, IAA 99-01, IAC St 01) will direct the pre-Broadway run of Stephen Schwartz’s The Queen of Versailles at Boston’s Emerson Colonial Theatre from July 16 to Aug. 18. The production, which will announce its Broadway run at a later date, stars Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth as Jacqueline Siegel.

Lora Lee Gayer (IAC 02-03, IAA 03-06, IAC St 06) will appear as Ellen Rabinowitz in a production of Daniel Goldstein and Michael Friedman’s The Unknown Soldier at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. The musical will run March 29 to May 5, 2024.

Ross Baum (IAC 04-07) composed the music for the new musical Gun & Powder, which will have its pre-Broadway production at Paper Mill Playhouse in April. The musical features a book and lyrics by Angelica Chéri, and stars Ciara Renée and Liisi LaFontaine under the direction of Tony Award nominee Stevie Walker-Webb. The musical previously won the 2018 Richard Rodgers Award and premiered at Washington, D.C.'s Signature Theatre in 2020.

Katherine DeYoung (IAC 11) and Ruby Dibble (IAC 11) were selected as semifinalists in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2023-24 Laffont Competition. The two mezzo-sopranos competed in the national semifinals on the Met Opera stage on Monday, March 11.

Charlotte Shao’s (IAA 15-18) Fall/Winter 2024 runway collection, “Glacial Requiem,” was featured at Tokyo Fashion Week. The collection offers a poignant narrative of our planet’s struggle against modernity and climate change and was crafted with eco-friendly materials. Shao launched her personal brand, SISIO, in 2018.

Emma Kerkman (IAC 17) was selected as the winner of the 2024 Dell Award (formerly the Isaac Asimov Award) for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing for her story, “Lolo’s Last Run.” The award goes to the best unpublished and unsold science fiction or fantasy short story submitted by a full-time undergraduate college student. As the recipient of the Dell Award, Kerkman will receive a $500 prize, attend the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, and have her story published in an upcoming edition of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine.

Elizabeth Hanje (IAA 19-20) recently won the Houston Grand Opera's 36th annual Eleanor McCollum Competition. Hanje was selected to receive the $10,000 prize from a field of more than 900 applicants through a competitive audition process and performed live with seven other finalists in the Concert of Arias on Feb. 2.