Arts Academy Welcomes New Faculty for 2014-15 Year

Crescendo issue: June 2014
Violin, Voice, Writing and Clarinet.

These four arts will welcome new faces to their faculty ranks during the upcoming Academy year. 

Ara Sarkissian will be joining the faculty next school year as instructor of violin. Ara has been teaching at Interlochen Arts Camp for seven years, serving as a violin teacher, chamber music coach and sectionals coach for the World Youth Symphony Orchestra. Ara comes from the University of Memphis, Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music, where he was an instructor of violin and member of the Ceruti Quartet in an interim position for the past year. Ara has also taught extensively in the Boston area with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra and as chamber music coach at Stony Brook University’s Pre-College division.

In addition to his outstanding teaching credentials, Ara has been an active violin performer as soloist in Lucerne under the direction of Pierre Boulez, and with ensembles Gorilla Opera, New England String Ensemble, and Boston Modern Orchestra Project. He is currently completing his D.M.A. in violin performance from SUNY Stony Brook where his principal teachers are Phil Setzer of the Emerson String Quartet and Soovin Kim. Ara also holds the degrees MM and BM in violin performance with academic honors from New England Conservatory.

Laura Osgood Brown will be joining the faculty as a teacher of voice and opera workshop. Laura hails from the Eastman School of Music where she recently completed her D.M.A. in Voice Performance and Literature. She also earned the degrees M.M. in Voice Performance from College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, and B.M. in both Music Education and Performance in Harp, and Voice from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam.

Laura comes to Interlochen with strong teaching credentials, having taught at Ithaca College and University of Rochester in addition to her teaching responsibilities at Eastman and the Crane School of Music. Laura has taught middle school in Churchville, N.Y. and High School in Canton, N.Y., and was a guest lecturer on Breathing Techniques with the Trumpet Studio at Eastman School of Music.

Laura is an active and accomplished performer. She is currently preparing for the role of Mimi in La Boheme with Opera on the Avalon, and has been a featured soloist in Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem. Laura premiered the role of Nora in The Sailor-Boy and the Falcon for its World Premiere in 2006 with Metropolitan Opera mezzo soprano Stephanie Blythe. In addition to these professional roles, Laura won the Concerto Competition as a doctoral student at the Eastman School, and was recently awarded second prize in the Jesse Kneisel Lieder Competition, judged by Dawn Upshaw.

Emil Khudyev will be joining the Arts Academy faculty as a full time instructor of clarinet. Emil will be moving from Kansas City where he has been serving as an acting associate principal clarinet, second clarinet and Eb clarinet, with the Kansas City Symphony. Emil has an extensive orchestral background having performed with many orchestras, including The Cleveland Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, Opera Naples, New Haven Symphony and the Cleveland Contemporary Music Ensemble. He is also an active chamber musician performing with the Boetti Trio, Los Angeles Grand Ensemble, and with members of the Paris Opera.

In addition to his extensive performance career, Emil has been an active teacher, serving as assistant to Yehuda Gilad in Los Angeles, teaching at the Colburn School Academy, Yale University, and Cleveland School of the Arts. Emil’s principal teachers have included Yehuda Gilad, David Shifrin, Franklin Cohen, and Nathan Williams. Emil graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy and continued his studies with a bachelor's in clarinet performance from Cleveland Institute of Music, a master's in clarinet performance from Yale University, and a postgraduate diploma from the Colburn School.

In addition to winning his current position with the Kansas City Symphony, in the past several years Mr. Khudyev has won the Vandoren Emerging Artist Competition, Yale Chamber Music Society Competition, the Thomas Daniel Nyfenger Prize at Yale, the Yamaha International Competition, the Gino B. Cioffi Memorial Prize at Tanglewood, and the Fine Arts Award at Interlochen Arts Academy.

"We are very excited to welcome these incredibly talented new faculty members," says Interlochen's Director of Music Kedrik Merwin. "They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience into a musical community that has always enjoyed the most gifted faculty and students. I am very much looking forward to the next Academy season."

The Writing House welcomes Francine J. Harris. Her first collection, Allegiance, reached the number one spot on the national poetry bestseller's list and was a finalist for the 2013 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, 2013 PEN Open Book Award and the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including recent publications in Sou’Wester, BODY and Southern Indiana Review. Originally from Detroit, she is a Cave Canem fellow and is the Front Street Writers Writer-in-Residence in Traverse City, Michigan for the 2013/14 school year.

"Francine comes to Interlochen on the heels of publishing her first book of poems Allegiance, a collection of poems that uses her hometown of Detroit, Michigan as a backdrop for grappling with the love/hate relationship I think we all have with the places we are from, the people we grew up with and had a hand in shaping us," says Interlochen's Director of Creative Writing David Griffith. "Francine's work has been published widely in the top literary journals, and she has served as a Callaloo and Cave Canem fellow, organizations that help cultivate and promote poetry by African American writers. She will bring tremendous energy and a fresh perspective on the world of poetry to the Writing House."