Commencement Concert – Friday, June 12, 2020, 7:30p.m. CDT

[view/download PDF program with performer bios – 200 KB]

Awake for Birds:
Henry McCammond-Watts ’20, voice and guitar
Lizzy Lynch ’20, voice and bass ukulele

Lizzy Lynch ’20 (b. 1998)
Henry McCammond-Watts ’20 (b. 1998)

In Transit

Else, If Else:
Nolan Ehlers ’20, vibraphone
Zoe Markle ’20, double bass
Ben Portzen ’21, piano

Nico Muhly (b. 1981)
arr. Ben Portzen ’21 (b. 1998)

A Hudson Cycle

Becky Swanson ’20, alto saxophone

Daniel Whitworth ’18 (b. 1996)
Portraits of Being
     V. A Momentary Taste of Being

Nicholas Fahrenkrug ’20, baritone
Susan Wenckus, piano

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
Songs of Travel
     IV. Youth and Love

Sara Prostko ’20, flute
Nick Towns ’03, piano

Ian Clarke (b. 1964)
Hatching Aliens
     I. Something is There!

Nicholas Suminski ’20, piano

Enrique Granados (1867-1916)
El pelele from Goyescas

Jonathan Ibach ’20, horn
Nick Muellner ’20, tenor saxophone

Daniel Schnyder (b. 1961)
Little Songbook
     V. Bananas

Nolan Ehlers ’20, percussion

Robert Honstein (b. 1980)
An Economy of Means
     I. Filigree
     IV. Cross Fit

Maria Santos ’20, piano

Leoš Janáček (1854-1928)
In the Mists
     IV. Presto

Emily Richter ’20, soprano
Bianca Pratte ’20, alto flute
Frances Lewelling ’21, piano

André Previn (1929-2019)
Two Remembrances
     A Love Song

Evangeline Werger ’20, piano

Emma Lou Diemer (b. 1927)
Toccata for Piano

Alex Quade ’20, percussion, vocals and dance

Traditional Ghanaian
     Fast Gahu

Student Bios

Nolan Ehlers ’20 is a percussion performance major, primarily studying with Dane Richeson and José Encarnación. Nolan has performed with the Fox Valley and Green Bay symphony orchestras, traveled to Cuba to study rumba and batá drumming, and premiered new works by important young composers. His love of Cuban percussion has resulted in Nolan receiving a research fellowship, as well as the Fred Sturm Inspiration Fund grant to study rumba and batá drumming in Havana and Matanzas, Cuba. Recently, Nolan co-directed the Lawrence University Jazz Band in a concert of Afro-Cuban inspired music, which went on to win Best Undergraduate Latin Group in the 2020 Downbeat Student Music Awards. Nolan’s new music trio, Else, If Else, has premiered multiple new works written for the ensemble and is currently working on a commissioning project to develop an album of pieces inspired by nature. An avid educator, Nolan is a clinician for the Mile of Music’s Music Education Team and maintains a private lesson studio through the Lawrence Community Music School. To develop his chamber music and percussion skills, Nolan has attended the Sō Percussion Summer Institute and Chosen Vale Percussion Seminar. At Lawrence, Nolan is the student director of Tambo Toké, the Afro-Cuban ensemble. He has also participated in Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Band, New Music Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Improvisation Group, Kinkaviwo (Ghanaian drumming and dance), Sambistas, and various chamber ensembles.

Nicholas Fahrenkrug ’20, from Davenport, Iowa, is graduating with a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance. During his time at Lawrence, Nick has been seen on stage as Raimbaud in Le comte Ory, Street Singer in Bernstein’s Mass, and The Count in The Marriage of Figaro, in addition to many opera scenes and choir programs. Nick placed first at the Wisconsin NATS competition in 2016, 2017, and 2018, and second at the Schubert Club Scholarship Competition in 2018. This past winter, Nick sang with Emily Richter ’20 at the National Opera Association’s Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition and placed first in their division for their performance of Leoncavallo’s “Nedda/Silvio” duet, from Pagliacci. This fall, he will be moving to Baton Rouge, La. to pursue his master’s in vocal performance at Louisiana State University. Nick would like to thank anyone and everyone who has helped shape who he is today, and to know that he wouldn’t be where he is without all that love, support, and guidance. Special thanks goes to his voice teacher John T. Gates, and opera director Copeland Woodruff, for their unending investment and friendship throughout the years.

Jonathan Ibach ’20, from the studio of Ann Ellsworth, will be graduating with a Bachelor of Music in music education and horn performance. Jonathan has enjoyed serving on the Dean’s Advisory Council and Lawrence’s NAfME board, being particularly proud of the growth and success of the NAfME chapter the past three years. Over his time at Lawrence, Jonathan has enjoyed playing in the Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, and Viking Chorale, along with various chamber groups, including the infamous Cygnus V brass quintet. Working at the Mudd Library and as a music theory tutor and aural skills TA, Jonathan loves meeting and connecting with people, especially all the wonderful students, faculty, and staff at Lawrence! Some musical highlights include embracing his inner bird during the New Music Ensemble’s performances of Ten Thousand Birds, playing in the pit for The Marriage of Figaro, the Wind Ensemble’s Presto Tour to Minneapolis, and the recording projects of the Lawrence University Studio Horns (LUSH) – look out for our upcoming release: “Chuck E’s In Love.” Next fall, he will student-teach in the Appleton area, in both elementary general music and high school band, after which, Jonathan plans to enter the teaching profession while continuing to challenge himself with the horn. Finally, Jonathan would like to thank Ann Ellsworth for her unfailing guidance and support through the ups and downs of horn playing, John T. Gates for welcoming Jonathan into his voice studio for the last two terms and helping him gain confidence in his voice, all of the wonderful professors who have devoted their time and effort to help Jonathan grow as an individual, musician, and teacher, and lastly to his parents who have given so much support by attending almost every concert, as well as for putting up with the horrific sounds of a practicing horn player for 13 years.

Frances Lewelling ’21 is a junior studying piano performance in the studio of Michael Mizrahi. She grew up in Abu Dhabi, UAE, where her family currently resides. She has loved exploring opera with vocalists at Lawrence in Spring Scenes 2018 (Cendrillon, Massenet), Spring Scenes 2019 (Gianni Schicchi, Puccini), and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (2020). She has sung and played with Lawrence’s women’s choir, Cantala, and this year was an alto in Concert Choir. She has enjoyed collaborating closely in recitals with several Lawrence vocalists, particularly while navigating the COVID-19 crisis with a couple of close friends on campus. Aside from piano, Frances likes playing cello, running, and writing, and misses cooking with her friends in McCarthy co-op!

Lizzy Lynch ’20 is a senior psychology major from Escanaba, Mich. Although Lizzy is in the sciences, that hasn’t stopped her from spending many long hours in the Conservatory. Lizzy began her Lawrence choir career in Viking Chorale for her first two years, and was then welcomed into Cantala and Concert Choir for her last two. For the past two years, Lizzy was also a part of Identity Crisis, a student-run a cappella group. But Lizzy’s proudest moments as a musician have been with her roommate, as the duo Awake for Birds. Although Awake for Birds didn’t take flight until her junior year, Lizzy and her roommate, Henry, have had opportunities to play all around campus and the wider Appleton community, on stage at LUaroo, and even as far as Chicago and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Lizzy would like to thank her roommate and parents for pushing her to step out of her comfort zone and start performing. She would also like to thank professors Connie Kassor, Helen Boyd Kramer, Leila Pertl ’87, Cory Chisel, and Dean Pertl ’86 for showing her what education can and should look like and for encouraging and inspiring all who walk through their doors.

Zoe Markle ’20 is a double bass performance major from the studio of Mark Urness. Zoe has performed for the Jazz at the Trout series, and traveled to New England Conservatory in Boston to study contemporary classical music, and premiered new works by several composers. Zoe’s new music trio, Else, if Else, has premiered new works for the ensemble and has received funding to propel their current commissioning project, which will culminate in an album of pieces inspired by nature and sustainability. Zoe enjoys using music as a tool for community engagement. She has been a part of a jazz lecture/concert series at the Neenah Public Library for two years, experiencing first-hand the positive impact of live music and education for a community. Zoe has worked with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, developing outreach programs for rest homes and special needs classrooms in the Appleton area. At Lawrence, Zoe performed with the top jazz combo, Improvisational Group, Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Opera Pit Orchestra, Tambo Toké (Afro-Cuban), Sambistas, New Music Ensemble, various chamber ensembles, and won two Downbeat awards for best undergraduate ensemble with the Jazz Ensemble. In her spare time, Zoe likes to bake, spend time outdoors, and hang out with her cats.

Henry McCammond-Watts ’20 is a senior, happily graduating with a Bachelor of Music in educational advocacy. Over the last four years, they have had the opportunity to sing in two of Lawrence’s choirs (Cantala and Concert Choir), participate in multiple student-run organizations (Identity Crisis a cappella, and SPAMALU), and even got the chance to gig on and off the Lawrence campus with their musical duo, Awake for Birds. Awake for Birds has performed at Harmony Pizza, LUaroo, as well as several campus parties and events. Not only that, Awake for Birds is spreading their wings and “flying” to Madison after graduation to continue creating music together. Henry is leaving Lawrence with a drive to make a difference through arts advocacy, while staying true to their passion for performing, and they couldn’t be happier. They want to thank their mom and dad for always supporting them, their friends for always being there, and their incredible teachers who have shaped them over the years. Brian Pertl ’86, Leila Pertl ’87, Steven Paul Spears, Phillip A. Swan, Stephen Sieck, Connie Kassor, and countless others who make up the one-of-a-kind community that is Lawrence University.

Nick Muellner ’20 is a senior from Roseville, Minn., majoring in music education and music performance, and has studied with Steven Jordheim, Sumner Truax ’11, and José Encarnación. During his time at Lawrence, Nick has been involved with a wide variety of ensembles, including Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, the African brass band Atoto, Symphony Orchestra, Improvisational Group of Lawrence University, Jazz Band, several jazz combos, Spectre Saxophone Quartet, as well as several chamber groups. He was also a part of the back-to-back Downbeat award-winning Jazz Ensemble directed by Patty Darling ’85. Outside of academic ensembles, Nick also has spent time performing in several campus bands, including the divisive Heavy Metal Ensemble of Lawrence University. During his time at Lawrence University, Nick’s favorite performance was the Brazilian concert with Jazz Band led by José Encarnación.

Benjamin Portzen ’21 is a sound artist interested in the experience of music in time – how participation through listening or performing suspends us in the moment, interacts with our memory, and reveals new ways for us to experience sound. Through the creation of complex forms, electronic manipulation of sound, and a commitment to patience, Ben’s works embody a creative practice rooted in meditation, deep listening, and compassion. As a performer, Ben strives for truly collaborative processes from commission to performance, using creative programming as a tool for making meaning. Ben is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music in composition at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis. His primary teachers include Asha Srinivasan, Matt Turner ’89, and Anthony Padilla.

Bianca Pratte ’20 will be graduating in June with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a Bachelor of Music in flute performance with a minor in music theory. During her time at Lawrence, Bianca has held principal positions in the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Opera Orchestra, and has also participated in the Lawrence New Music Ensemble and the Improvisation Group of Lawrence University. An active vocalist, Bianca takes voice lessons with Dr. Karen Leigh-Post ’79 and served as the president of the Lawrence University Concert Choir this past year. Bianca was also honored to serve as co-chair for the 2019-20 Dean’s Advisory Council, a leadership group that helps build community and improve the conservatory. In 2017, Bianca performed Jules Mouquet’s La flûte de Pan with the Lawrence Wind Ensemble as the winner of their annual concerto competition. She is also the first-place winner of the 2016 MTNA Wisconsin Young Artist Woodwind Competition, the 2016 Wisconsin Flute Festival Collegiate Competition, and second-place winner of the 2019 Lawrence Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and 2018 Colorado Flute Artist Competition. Bianca was recently awarded the 2020 Dave Burrows Award for Senior Experience in Psychology for her capstone on applying working memory research to improve aural skills pedagogy. Her paper was described as “creative,” “original,” and of “publishable quality,” and she hopes to submit it to several journals for publishing this summer. When not playing flute, Bianca enjoys playing accordion, roller-skating, swing dancing, and drinking coffee milkshakes from Seth’s. Bianca would like to thank her family, friends, and flute professor, Dr. Erin Lesser, for their never-ending support and love.

Sara Prostko ’20, a fifth-year student from Kenosha, Wis., will graduate with a Bachelor of Music in flute performance and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. Sara has performed with the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Symphonic Band. She has enjoyed working with colleagues in chamber groups and small ensembles, such as the Viking Bassoon Ensemble with whom she performed Jethro Tull Medley: A Concerto for Flute and Bassoon Ensemble. She is passionate about community building and bringing music to everyone and educating individuals that there is more to music than just Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. In her time at Lawrence, she has been an active member of Sigma Alpha Iota, the Dean’s Advisory Council, and has spent the past three years in the Lawrence University CARE Lab researching suicide prevention in adolescents. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in clinical psychology and continue playing chamber music with her fellow musicians. She would like to thank her many professors, friends, and family, especially Erin Lesser, for their endless support and encouragement for pursuing her passions.

Alex Quade ’20, from Port Washington, Wis., is a percussion performance major from the studio of Dane Richeson. During his time at Lawrence, Alex has been a frequent performer in the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, New Music Ensemble, various classical percussion ensembles, Kinkaviwo, Tambo Toké, Sambistas, a jazz combo, and various chamber groups. In 2016, he premiered an orchestral work at the prestigious Carnegie Hall, where he has performed three times, most recently in 2019. Alex has also performed in master classes and coachings under artists Jack Van Geem of the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Matt Smallcomb of Alarm Will Sound, and Dr. Greg Beyer ’95 of Northern Illinois University. Alex’s Senior Experience included traveling to Kopeiya, Ghana, where he studied the traditional music and culture of the Ewe people. With what he learned, he had the pleasure of leading Lawrence’s West African dancing, drumming, and singing ensemble Kinkaviwo from 2018-2020. In spring of 2020, Kinkaviwo had the honor of working and performing with the renowned Nani Agbeli. In taking a gap year after graduating from Lawrence, Alex will work on a project to make the music and culture of the Ewe people more accessible to musicians, educators, and anyone interested in learning more about their traditions. He will then pursue a master’s degree in percussion performance. In his spare time, Alex enjoys photography, traveling, reading, and spending time outside.

Emily Richter ’20 is a graduating senior studying vocal performance with Steven Paul Spears. After growing up abroad and spending most of her Lawrence years based out of Tokyo, she now permanently resides in Arlington, Va. During her time at Lawrence, she’s enjoyed performing in operas including: The Marriage of Figaro (Countess), Le comte Ory and Bernstein’s Mass. She has also sung in the opera scenes performing scenes from Così fan Tutte (Fiordiligi, 2017, 2018), The Consul (Magda, 2018) and I Pagliacci (Nedda, 2019). Her scene from I Pagliacci competed and placed first at the 2020 National Opera Association’s Opera Scenes Competition. She placed second at Wisconsin NATS competition in 2017 and 2019. Choral and chamber singing has long been a part of her passion for music and this has very much grown in her time at Lawrence. She has sung in large and small ensembles of all kinds during her time at Lawrence. In choir, she has served as section leader in Concert Choir, Cantala (where she served as Cantala co-president, 2018-19), and working as a Scholar at First Congregational United Church of Christ. In the fall, Emily will be attending McGill’s Schulich School of Music where she will be pursuing a degree in opera vocal performance. In the summer of 2021, she will be an Emerging Artist at Seagle Music Colony. Special thanks to all of her friends, mentors, and professors at Lawrence who have shaped her not just in music, but in making her a more compassionate listener and thinker.

Maria Santos ’20 will graduate this year with her Bachelor of Music in piano performance with a minor in pedagogy. Maria is originally from Princeton, N.J., where she studied piano at the New School for Music Study beginning at age five. As a student at Lawrence, Maria studied with Catherine Kautsky. Maria has appeared in performance many times in department recitals, chamber concerts, and studio recitals on campus and in the community, and with the Lawrence University Symphonic Band. In her first three years at Lawrence, she performed annual recitals with her friend and colleague Gabrielle Claus ’21. During her fall semester abroad in Vienna, Austria, Maria performed three chamber concerts and a half recital at the Palais Corbelli. Most recently she completed her senior recital, featuring a new work by Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra – a special experience for her because of her own Puerto Rican heritage. Maria loves teaching and has actively pursued that passion in pedagogy classes with Mary Van De Loo ’89 and in teaching private students through the Lawrence Community Music School. Furthermore, this year, Maria was elected as the Community Music School representative for the Dean’s Advisory Council. In her spare time, Maria loves baking and spending time with family and friends. She also loves learning languages and has studied both German and Spanish at Lawrence. This fall, Maria plans to attend Texas Christian University to earn her Master of Music in piano pedagogy.

Nicholas Suminski ’20, from Traverse City, Mich., is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in piano performance and a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry. He has been recognized in several competitions, most recently taking second place in the Piano III division of the 2020 Schubert Club Competition. He was also a winner of the 2017-18 Lawrence Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, a semi-finalist in the 2018 PianoArts North American Competition, and winner of the 2017 MTNA Wisconsin State Piano Solo Competition in the Young Artist Division. He has attended several summer music festivals, most recently participating in the 2019 Pianofest in the Hamptons. At Lawrence, he is a past recipient of the Margaret Gary Daniels Keyboard Performance Award and the Marjory Irvin Prize for Piano Performance. His teachers have included Michael Coonrod, Dierdre Irons, Gert Hecher, and Christiane Karajeva, and he currently studies under Catherine Kautsky. Next year, he plans to pursue a Master of Music in piano performance at Stony Brook University, where he will study under Christina Dahl.

Becky Swanson ’20, a fifth-year senior from Elmhurst, Ill., is graduating from the double-degree program at Lawrence University with a Bachelor of Music degree in music education and saxophone performance, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. She was most recently selected as the first-prize winner in the Lakeshore Wind Ensemble’s 2020 Young Artist Competition for her performance of Jacob ter Veldhuis’ Tallahatchie Concerto; she was also selected third-prize winner in the 2019 Elise Hall Competition for Emerging Saxophonists, and was a selected performer at the Wisconsin Saxophone Summit’s Faculty Recital in 2019.

As a saxophonist, Becky’s primary interest is in contemporary music that is both meaningful and relevant, and has worked directly with a variety of composers including Marcos Balter, Stacy Garrop, and Cassie Wieland. During her time studying saxophone in the studio of Steven Jordheim, Becky has enjoyed playing in a number of ensembles ranging from non-standard chamber group settings, to the Lawrence University Wind Ensemble where she has sat first chair.

In her pursuit to elevate contemporary music and bring new art into the world, Becky’s most recent project, Bright Voices, involved commissioning five new works for the saxophone using funds secured through Lawrence University’s Chandler Senior Experience Grant. Becky is also a passionate educator, and hopes to inspire new generations of musicians to bring about change through the mediums of art. In the fall of 2020, Becky will be student-teaching in general and instrumental music education in the Milwaukee Public Schools system.

Evangeline Werger ’20, from Minneapolis, Minn., is a German and piano performance major, studying with Michael Mizrahi. While at Lawrence, she has focused on the music of living composers and has commissioned and premiered over 20 new works for solo and chamber music. In the fall, Evangeline will be starting her master’s degree in piano performance at the University of Missouri where she was accepted into the Mizzou New Music Ensemble.