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MUSIC FACULTY

 

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Michael Becker received his Bachelor of Arts degree in music from North Park University, and a Master of Music degree in musicology from Roosevelt University. At VanderCook, Becker teaches undergraduate and graduate music history and world music courses, and is co-facilitator of the community drum circles.  He also teaches world music courses at Waubonsee Community College and Saint Xavier University. An active performer, Becker is a member of Digitally Correct Meta-Troubadours, a group dedicated to exploratory performance of improvised and semi-improvised music combining world music instruments with digital sound processing. He is also a co-founder of the Home Street Recorder Ensemble, a trio that performs recorder repertoire of the 13th-20th centuries. Becker collects and plays a variety of instruments, including Native American flutes, and sells instruments from around the world through his business Native Sounds. mbecker@vandercook.edu
 

 


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Manju Durairaj (MMEd ‘03) was born and raised in India. She studied in London, England, and was involved in graduate research projects on comparative pedagogical practices of Indian (carnatic) and Western Music. Durairaj is certified in Orff Schulwerk, having completed her levels training at VanderCook, George Mason University, University of St. Thomas, and at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria. She currently teaches preK-5 general music at the Latin School of Chicago. She is president of the Greater Chicago Orff Chapter, has presented at ISME, AOSA, OAKE, ILMEA, ECMMA, MKMEA and NAfME (formerly MENC), and has been published in the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education.  mdurairaj@vandercook.edu
 
 
 
 

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David F. Eccles is a native of Norfolk, VA, and the son of a music educator. Eccles comes to VanderCook following conducting and music director positions with the Florida State University Summer Music Camps, Tallahassee Symphony Youth Orchestra, Southwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra, Greater Miami Youth Symphony, Jubilate Youth Orchestra, and Brevard Symphony Youth Orchestra. Eccles is also a clinician for the Hal Leonard Corporation, and has served as a guest conductor for various state, county, regional and community orchestras. Eccles holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Miami and a Bachelor of Music and Media degree from Norfolk State University. He is completing his doctoral studies at Florida State University. His principal teachers include Elizabeth Eccles, Laurien Laufman, Ross Harbaugh and Dr. Michael Allen. Eccles is a member of NAfME and serves as President of the Illinois Chapter of American String Teachers Association. He also serves as Administrative Vice President of the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra Board.  deccles@vandercook.edu
 

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Matthew Gaunt received his bachelor’s degree in tuba performance from Boston University. He is currently the principal tuba for the Rockford Symphony Orchestra and performs as a member of Burning River Brass and Proteus 7. He has performed with Chicago Chamber Musicians, Chicago Symphony Brass Quintet, Millar Brass Ensemble, Rhythm & Brass, Empire Brass, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Grant Park Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Ballet and Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, among many others.  mgaunt@vandercook.edu
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


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Named Guitarist of the Year by the international radio program Classical Guitar Alive, Dr. Julie Goldberg has been with VanderCook since 1999. She was the first guitarist to receive a Doctorate in Music Performance from Northwestern University, and also holds degrees from the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University and College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. A Chicago native, Dr. Goldberg leads the Chicago Community Classical Guitar Orchestra, directs VanderCook’s annual Day of Guitar festival, presents yearly guitar clinics for the Wisconsin Center for Music Education, and is a faculty member for Teaching Guitar Workshop, sponsored by GAMA. Overseas she has taught master classes at the Vietnam National Academy of Music in Hanoi and the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music. Dr. Goldberg was named Guitarist of The Year by Classical Guitar Alive magazine, and performs frequently as a soloist and with the Avanti Guitar Trio. She is co-author of 100 Classical Guitar Lessons published by Hal Leonard. Her educational guitar ensemble arrangements are published by Guitar Chamber Music Press.   jgoldberg@vandercook.edu
 

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Dr. Michael Hall received his doctoral degree from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and a bachelor’s degree from Ball State University. He recently made his Chicago Orchestra Hall concerto debut, concluded a recital tour to Austria and Italy, and performed to critical acclaim the North American premiere of Chen Yi’s viola concerto, Xian Shi, with the Chicago Composers Orchestra. Dr. Hall is deeply committed to collaborating with living composers, evidenced by the 42 works written for him. Recent performances include the inaugural Ear Taxi Festival in Chicago and the 2016 Bowling Green New Music Festival. Dr. Hall is chair of the Gardner Composition competition, a board member of the American Viola Society, and in 2016 became co-founder and co-Artistic Director of the Bandung Philharmonic Orchestra – the first professional orchestra in Indonesia.  mhall@vandercook.edu

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Dr. Yu-Sui Hung received her Doctorate of Musical Arts in piano performance with secondary expertise in theory from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She also holds a master’s degree in piano from Temple University, and a bachelor’s degree in piano and clarinet from National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei. A chamber music enthusiast, Dr. Hung performs frequently as a solo, collaborative and orchestral pianist, and has appeared in major concert venues throughout the U.S. and her native Taiwan, collaborating with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. She is an active member of the Music Teachers National Association and the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society.  yhung@vandercook.edu
 
 
 
 

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Anthony G. Kidonakis (MMEd ‘09) joined the faculty of VanderCook in 2009 soon after earning his master's degree. He earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from Northern Illinois University, studying saxophone with Steve Duke. In addition to his master’s degree from VanderCook, Kidonakis earned a master’s degree in wind performance and literature from Northwestern University, where he studied saxophone with, and served as teaching assistant for, Dr. Frederick L. Hemke. Kidonakis toured the U.S. and Europe with the Northern Illinois University Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Ronald Carter, and alongside legends including Benny Golson, Curtis Fuller, Jimmy Heath, Ed Thigpen, Frank Foster and Wynton Marsalis. Kidonakis maintains an active performance schedule with numerous local musicians and has worked with recording artists such as The Drifters, Gene “The Duke of Earl” Chandler and The Cryan’ Shames. Kidonakis is also the composer for The Paideia Projects, a series of video documentaries on the contributions of Ancient Greece to Western civilization.  tkidonakis@vandercook.edu

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Joseph Martorano received his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Michigan. Post-graduate opera apprentice programs in Italy and Austria allowed him to study with such legends as Tito Gobbi, Mignon Dunn and George Shirley. Martorano is a resident artist with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and formerly with the Chicago Symphony Chorus. He has performed throughout the Midwest with numerous regional orchestras. Martorano previously taught applied voice for over 30 years in Chicago-area high schools. Prior to teaching in Chicago, Martorano taught at Mansfield State University in Pennsylvania and in the All-State Voice Program at National Music Camp in Interlochen.   jmartorano@vandercook.edu
 
 
 
 

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Ruth A. Rhodes (BMEd ‘69) teaches woodwind courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, and previously served as Graduate Dean and Professor of Clarinet at VanderCook. After receiving her bachelor's degree from VanderCook, she earned a Master of Music degree from the musical college of Roosevelt University. She is a clarinetist with the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra; co-founded and performed with the chamber group Ensemble d’Accord (including live broadcasts in the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series on WFMT); and performed with the Opera Theater of Illinois for several seasons in addition to the Orchestra of Illinois and Lyric Opera of Chicago. She has had great fun performing on stage with The Moody Blues, Kansas, Led Zeppelin, ABBA, Mannheim Steamroller, Itzhak Perlman, Marilyn Horne, Frank Sinatra Jr., and Tony Bennett, among others. Her articles have been published in Bandworld Magazine and in The Instrumentalist. She served as a woodwind consultant on the Essential Elements Band Method DVD for Hal Leonard Publishing, and was an adjudicator for the Boosey & Hawkes Buffet-Crampon Clarinet Competition. She is very proud to have served her alma mater for over 40 years as a faculty member and administrator.  rrhodes@vandercook.edu
 

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Dr. Roseanne K. Rosenthal recently began her second tenure as President of VanderCook, having previously served in that capacity from 1989-2004. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from SUNY Fredonia, and her Master of Science and Doctor of Education degrees from Syracuse University under the direction of Dr. Cornelia Yarbrough. She taught instrumental and general music in upstate New York for many years prior to arriving at VanderCook. A past president of the Illinois Music Educators Association, Dr. Rosenthal is on the editorial boards of both the Journal of Research in Music Education and the Reviews of Research in Human Learning and Music. She has published and presented numerous research articles pertaining to music teacher education and music learning, participates in the Motor Learning Research Forum, and has served as chair of the NAfME Music Education Research Council. Between presidential terms, Dr. Rosenthal taught coursework in methods of music teaching, research, technology and education psychology at VanderCook.  rrosenthal@vandercook.edu

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Dr. Leah Schuman holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts and a master’s degree in trumpet performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music, a graduate certificate in performance from the St. Petersburg State Conservatory in Russia, and a bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance from Northwestern University. Dr. Schuman has worked with hundreds of teachers and students to refine and develop their work on brass instruments. In addition to teaching at VanderCook, she is also an active performer and clinician across the Chicagoland area, and a former member of the St. Petersburg State Chamber Orchestra.  lschuman@vandercook.edu
 
 
 
 

 


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Timothy Riordan studied trombone performance with John Marcellus at the Eastman School of Music, and conducting with Dr. Robert Hasty of Northwestern University. He is the Chamber Music Director and director of the Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-Free Conservatory and the Dynamic Starts program at Merit School of Music. Riordan has worked with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Eastman School of Music and Carthage College. He has performed with the Southwest Symphony Orchestra, Viennese Symphony Orchestra, Star Plaza Theatre, Crossroads Big Band, Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Philharmonic.  triordan@vandercook.edu
 
 
 

 


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Dr. I-HsuanTsai received her Doctorate of Musical Arts in piano from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, a master’s degree in piano and bassoon, and a bachelor’s degree in piano from Indiana University. An active soloist and chamber musician, she is a winner of the Buckeye Piano Competition and the Graves Piano Competition. Dr. Tsai’s performances include concerts at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the United Nations, live performances on WFMT radio, the Aspen Music Festival, Roosevelt University, Northeastern University and the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series. She has also performed and taught in Mexico, Brazil, Portugal, China and Taiwan.  itsai@vandercook.edu
 
 
 

 


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Director of Percussion Studies James Yakas joined VanderCook in 2015, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in percussion performance from the University of North Texas, where he also earned his bachelor’s degree in music education. Yakas earned his master’s degree in percussion performance and pedagogy from Northern Illinois University, and spent 12 summers in the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps, eventually becoming their percussion coordinator and arranger in 2003. Yakas has performed at festivals in Trinidad/Tobago and Seoul, South Korea. He studied Afro-Cuban drumming with Orlando Cotto, and with ethnomusicologist Dr. Steven Friedson in Ghana. Yakas endorses Yamaha Percussion, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, Remo Drumheads and World Percussion Instruments, and Sabian Cymbals.  jyakas@vandercook.edu

 


 

 

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VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

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