By Jeremy O’Neill
One of Sewanee’s smaller departments, that of music, welcomed significant staff changes over the summer that will result in many new opportunities for students both in and out of the department. Positions were accepted by Dr. Kerry Ginger, assistant professor of voice; Professor Erik Gustafson, visiting instructor of voice; Dr. Jason Carl Rosenberg, who will take on the newly created title of director of music theory and composition; and professor Mathew Ward, who will take over as artistic director of the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra.
Ginger, a mezzo-soprano, comes to Sewanee to instruct young vocalists, share her passion for the arts, and further her research in the study of the interaction between music and culture, particularly focusing on the role of women in music.
“There is such an appreciation of music and the arts at Sewanee, and music is built into the fabric of this community in a special way,” said Ginger. “As I’ve met with my new voice students this week, it is clear that Sewanee students are multi-talented, creative, and highly engaged.” Ginger’s first major project will be a recital as part of 50 Years of Women at Sewanee celebrations called “Voice of Woman,” which will be on November 6.
Ginger will share the vocal instruction duties (and occasionally the stage) with her husband, Gustafson, who is a tenor. Gustafson comes to Sewanee after his role as a vocal instructor at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. The couple now call Sewanee home along with their cat, Sweet Pea.
Rosenberg, previously a member of the music faculty at Jackson, Mississippi’s Millsaps College, has also been added to the music department. He will take on a position newly created at Sewanee, director of music theory and composition. Rosenberg focuses his research primarily on composition and exploration music theory, and does significant composition of his own contemporary music.
His faculty biography on the music department website pulls from the Herald Tribune, saying: “[Rosenberg’s] concert music uses contrapuntal inventiveness and rhythmic vitality to create rich environments of ‘power and persuasion…and violence.’” His music also features an interaction with historical models, especially from the Renaissance and Baroque, through an idiosyncratic artistic practice based on evocation and transformation.”
Ward takes over as Visiting Assistant Professor of Music and Artistic director of the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra following Dr. César Leal’s departure to Gettysburg College. A talented professional violinist, Ward has served as conductor of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival New Music Ensemble, the Louisiana State University Symphony Orchestra and LSU Philharmonia.
“I am extremely excited for the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra season this year,” Ward said in an email interview with the Purple. “We will have two performance series this semester. The first being on Halloween, starting with an interactive performance for hundreds of elementary students from around the Sewanee community who will be bussed in for the performance. That evening, we will present a second full performance filled with sinister music to reflect the holiday. Our second performance series will happen December 9 and will commemorate 50 years of Women at Sewanee.”
All of these new faculty come to Sewanee with great energy and enthusiasm, and hope to make the mountain as musical as possible.