ASU music faculty member recognized nationally and locally for her work in music education


May 5, 2015

Marg Schmidt, associate professor of music education in the School of Music at Arizona State University, was recently honored with two prestigious awards: the 2015 national String Researcher Award by the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) and the 2015 Arizona Governor’s Arts Award for an Individual in Arts in Education.

“Being chosen for even one of these awards, let alone two, speaks volumes about Schmidt’s dedication to passing on her knowledge and love of music to others and for her unwavering commitment to furthering music education,” says Heather Landes, director of the School of Music. Download Full Image

ASTA is a membership organization for string and orchestra teachers and players, helping to develop and refine their careers. The ASTA award is presented annually to a deserving string researcher “whose work has contributed significantly to scholarship in string education and performance.”

Schmidt received tenure at ASU in 2007, and since then, she has been actively involved in publishing in leading research journals, presenting research at professional meetings, mentoring students and participating in the strings community. Schmidt accepted the award at the ASTA National Conference, March 18–21, 2015, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Governor’s Awards are a statewide celebration of the arts that recognizes distinguished artists, arts organizations, businesses, educators and individuals for their passion, creativity and devotion to Arizona’s arts and cultural community. The winners of the 2015 awards were announced at a ceremony on March 24 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel. Appropriately, each recipient was awarded an actual work of art made by a living Arizona artist.

Schmidt’s career as a string educator and researcher has spanned over 30 years. She is an expert on string education and pedagogy and on music teacher preparation and development. Her research has focused on sociological issues of race and class among and between music learners and teachers, and how these concepts mesh with the reality of teaching strings in today’s schools.

“I am so pleased that both these awards bring recognition to the music program at ASU,” Schmidt says. “I have always loved the idea of ‘lighting your candle in your own little corner.’ Neither award is completely about me, as I couldn’t do the things I do without the support and encouragement of the administration, staff, my colleagues and our students in the School of Music. They inspire and encourage me every day in so many small ways. If we each keep lighting our candles, we can collectively make a difference in the lives of our students and the larger community.”

In addition to teaching in the School of Music, in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Schmidt is also the founder and director of the ASU String Project, which won the Robert Jesselson String Project Consortium Award in 2005 for the nation’s most outstanding string project. Schmidt holds a Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Michigan, a Masters of Music in Violin performance from SUNY-StonyBrook and a Bachelors of Music Education from Lawrence University.


Public Contact: 
Heather Beaman
Communications Liaison
480.727.6222
Heather.M.Beaman@asu.edu

Media Contact:
Heather Beaman
Communications Liaison
480.727.6222
Heather.M.Beaman@asu.edu

ASU School of Music welcomes new associate professor of Lyric Opera Theatre


May 5, 2015

The ASU School of Music has appointed Brian DeMaris to the position of associate professor and artistic director of Lyric Opera Theatre, beginning in August 2015.

According to Heather Landes, director of the ASU School of Music, DeMaris will be the main conductor of the Lyric Opera Theatre and will be responsible for the five fully-staged and costumed opera and musical theatre productions that are presented by the program each year. DeMaris will serve as a teacher and mentor for aspiring opera and music theatre students and graduate conducting students, recruit students from all over the world, teach opera repertoire, conduct coaching and seminars and use his leadership qualities to further the mission of the School of Music. The ASU School of Music has appointed Brian DeMaris to the position of associate professor and artistic director of Lyric Opera Theatre, beginning in August 2015. Photo courtesy of Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts Download Full Image

“We are thrilled to welcome Brian DeMaris as the artistic director of our Lyric Opera Theatre Program,” says Landes. “He is uniquely skilled in both opera and musical theatre, brings a wealth of knowledge and energy, a rising international reputation and excellent musicianship, and a passion for students and their success.”

“I’m inspired by the School of Music’s mission ‘to inspire and empower students to become creative leaders who transform society through music,’” says DeMaris. “I plan to keep this in mind through this important time of transition and thereafter.”

DeMaris comes to the ASU School of Music from Ithaca College in New York, where he has served as the director of opera and musical theatre since 2008. He also currently serves as the music director of the Mill City Summer Opera in Minneapolis and an artist-faculty member of the Aspen Music Festival.

He has big shoes to fill in this new position with Lyric Opera Theatre: He is taking the helm of this influential and highly visible program that was founded in 1964. “I’m honored to follow in the footsteps of two greats in the realm of opera and musical theatre training, William Reber and Kenneth Seipp,” says DeMaris. “I plan to uphold the ASU School of Music value of ‘building upon the traditional foundations’ of what these master teachers and musicians have done to bring the Lyric Opera Theatre to where it is today.”

DeMaris has worked with the New York City Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Theater of Saint Louis and Syracuse Opera, among others. He has appeared at the United Nations, the Aspen Music Festival, Boston’s Jordan Hall, New York’s Studio 54, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, Alice Tully Hall, Skirball Center, La Maison Française, and in recitals, competitions and master classes throughout the United States and abroad.

DeMaris has taught at Lawrence University, New England Conservatory School of Continuing Education, George Mason University’s International Opera Alliance and the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv. His students have performed on Broadway, film and television, and with opera companies and at festivals throughout the world.

Although DeMaris’ resume includes an impressive list of performances in national and international venues, he is honored to be selected for this position with the Lyric Opera Theatre here in Tempe. “The reputation of the Lyric Opera Theatre program and its faculty and students has been known to me for some time. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such remarkable people in such a beautiful facility, in a culturally rich city with beautiful weather!”

DeMaris has been awarded second place in The American Prize in Conducting — Opera Division competition, and he has spoken and presented at conferences and master classes including the New York Music Teachers National Association at Ithaca College and the New York State School Music Association all-state conference in Rochester, among others. He has participated as a panelist at events including the Opera Singers Career Workshop at Tri-Cities Opera/Binghamton University, and the National Association of Teachers of Singing, National Opera Association, Opera America joint conference in New York.
DeMaris was born and raised in Lancaster County, Penn., to a musical family. “Though none were professional musicians, music was always in the house. I owe a great deal to my parents for supporting my musical training from a young age,” says DeMaris. He has a Master of Music in Piano Performance from the New England Conservatory and a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Ithaca College.

DeMaris feels strongly about the importance of the Lyric Opera Theatre program at ASU. “The essence of theatre is communication, and music enables us to communicate on levels that words cannot. I aim to support communication at all levels — amongst the students and faculty, within the institution and throughout the community — about the things that are most important. Why we’re here, why we do what we do, and why what we do is important.”

Amanda DeMaris also joins the School of Music

Brian DeMaris’ appointment to the ASU School of Music comes at the same time as the hire of his wife, Amanda DeMaris, as clinical assistant professor in voice. Amanda DeMaris will use her skills as a successful vocalist to teach voice lessons as well as sightsinging and sightreading for singers.

Originally from the Pocono Mountains in northeastern Pennsylvania, DeMaris received her Doctor of Education in College Teaching, Music from Columbia University in 2012, her Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the New England Conservatory in 2004, and her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Ithaca College in 2002.

“I was initially attracted to ASU because of the great reputation of the school, as well as the esteemed, warm and welcoming faculty and staff,” says DeMaris. In her new position, DeMaris says she is most looking forward to getting to know and working with the students.

DeMaris has taught at Cornell University as a visiting lecturer, Ithaca College as a lecturer and assistant professor, and at Columbia University and the New England Conservatory as a teaching assistant. She has also instructed at various community schools in New York and Massachusetts.

She has presented at conferences including the Voice Foundation in Pennsylvania, MENC Collegiate at Long Island University in New York and the International Society of Music Education World Conference in Italy. Her performances range from soprano solos in Handel’s “Messiah” and Mozart’s “Vesperae,” to “Selected Songs of Samuel Barber” and a selection of cantatas by Bach. Her work has been published in the Journal of Singing, and she is a member of The New York Singing Teachers Association, the National Association of Teachers of Singing and Pi Kappa Lambda.

“We are extremely fortunate to have attracted Amanda DeMaris to the ASU School of Music faculty. Her understanding of vocal pedagogy and the ways in which musicians make sense of the theoretical aspects of music will greatly benefit our students,” says Landes.

The School of Music in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University is ranked 19th in the country and eighth among public institutions by U.S. News & World Report. More than 100 music faculty artists and scholars work with approximately 750 music majors each year in research, performance and scholarly activities. It presents approximately 700 concerts and recitals each year. To learn more about the ASU School of Music, visit music.asu.edu.


Public Contact: 
Heather Beaman
Communications Liaison
480.727.6222
Heather.M.Beaman@asu.edu

Media Contact:
Heather Beaman
Communications Liaison
480.727.6222
Heather.M.Beaman@asu.edu