Featured Speakers and Artists

Opening Night Special Guests



Award of Merit Recipient


The American baritone and music pedagogue, Matthew Hoch, received a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance, music education, and music theory , summa cum laude, from Ithaca College (1995-1999), where he joined Mu Phi through the Lambda chapter, a Master of Music degree in vocal performance and music history from the Hartt School (2001-2003), and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in vocal performance from the New England Conservatory of Music (2003-2005). His voice teachers have included Susan Clickner, Joanna Levy, Mark St. Laurent, and Lawrence Weller.  

Matthew held part-time teaching positions at Central Connecticut State University, Northeastern University, the Hartt School, and the New England Conservatory. He then was Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Wisconsin–Barron County (August 2005-May 2006). From 2006 to May 2012 he was Assistant Professor of Music at Shorter University in Rome, Georgia, where he was a member of the voice faculty, taught vocal literature, and served as Coordinator of Vocal Studies. From 2006 to 2008, he conducted the Shorter Chorus. Since August 2012 he is Assistant Professor of Music at Auburn University, where he teachers applied voice, diction, and opera workshop.

Matthew is primarily known to the national vocal pedagogy community through his scholarship, authorship of several books, and service to several high-profile professional organizations, most notably the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and the New York Singing Teachers Association (NYSTA). Currently Vice President of NYSTA, he has been the Editor-in-Chief of VOICEPrints: The Official Journal of NYSTA since 2008. For NATS, he has served two terms as chair of the Professional Development Committee, hosted the 2009 NATS Intern Program at Shorter University, and from 2006–2011 was the host of NATS CHATS, a monthly online resource utilized by voice professionals throughout the world. He is an alumnus of the 2006 NATS Intern Program, and received the 2007 NATS Vocal Pedagogy Award. His book, A Dictionary for the Modern Singer, will be published by Scarecrow Press in 2014.

As a professional baritone, he has performed with the Oregon Bach Festival, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Conspirare, the Handel and Haydn Society, and the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy. As a regular participant in the Carnegie Hall Choral Workshop, he has performed under the batons of  Peter Schreier, Charles Dutoit, and Helmuth Rilling. He has also performed with Ash Lawn Opera, the Hartford Symphony, Santa Fe Pro Musica, and the College Light Opera Company on Cape Cod. He has studied with Meredith Monk through the Weill Institute at Carnegie Hall, with Alice Parker on a Melodious Accord Fellowship, and has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants.

Matthew also maintains a secondary career as an Episcopal choirmaster. He served as Choirmaster and Director of Music at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Rome, Georgia (August 2010-July 2012). Since August 2012 he serves as Choirmaster and Minister of Music at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Auburn, Alabama. He has published articles in the Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians

Matthew will present a Master Class and presentation at the 2021 convention.  

Keynote Speaker


Mary Luehrsen is director of public affairs and government relations for NAMM, the National Association for Music Merchants and Executive Director of the NAMM Foundation.  Luehrsen oversees NAMM’s government relations and advocacy efforts that affect support for music education and impact NAMM members as global music product businesses.  Her role with the NAMM Foundation focuses on advancing music research, and philanthropic and public service programs that advance music making opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. Luehrsen leads NAMM’s national effort to advance music education for all children through the SupportMusic Coalition - a vast network of national and global partnership organizations united to create opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to know the joys and benefits of learning and making music.  She spearheaded the development of NAMM’s GenNext and Music Education Days programs that host thousands of university music faculty, students and music educators at the annual NAMM Show to inspire career options in music, connections with the music industry and advance opportunities for music learning. A former professional flutist and music teacher, Luehrsen acknowledges her inspiration for work as a music education advocate to her first music teachers in rural Wisconsin and a belief that all children have the right to learn and grow with music.   


Workshop Presenters


Danielle Musat, MT-BC, NMT, is a board-certified music therapist who received her Bachelor of Music Therapy degree with a minor in Psychology from Baldwin-Wallace College.  She has served as a Music Therapist in a variety of settings and currently works for the Fine Arts Society in Willoughby, Ohio along with owning a private practice in Music Therapy. Danielle completed a three-year study on the effects of music therapy in the Emergency Department at TriPoint Hospital, using music therapy as a means of assisting patients with relaxation, pain management, distraction, and stress-reduction, as well as other objectives. Danielle is on the board of directors for In Harmony Therapeutic Services, a non-profit that focuses on trauma informed music therapy services. 

Ashley Bouras graduated from the University of North Texas in 2012 with a Bachelor's degree in Music Education. She is an Orff Schulwerk certified teacher currently teaching General Music at an elementary school in Richardson, Texas. Ashley is the music director for McKinney Youth OnSTAGE where she has directed 26 productions and volunteered over 1,400 hours since 2017. She was initiated in Mu Phi Epsilon in April of 2010 into the Phi Tau chapter. During her time in Phi Tau, she was the chapter's Marketing Committee head and Vice President, as well as the 2011 convention delegate. She has served Mu Phi Epsilon as District Director for South Central 2 for seven years and one year as the District Director At Large. Ashley was named District Director of the Year two times during her eight years of service and has been chosen for the Honorable Mention several times. As a member of the Dallas Alumni chapter, she has held the offices of President for two years and Vice President for two years. She lives in Garland, Texas, with her husband, Basil, and her 3-year-old daughter Evelyn. 


Lisa Beyer


Allegra Hein received her Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance from Ohio University and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Music Therapy. Allegra has been a board-certified music therapist since 2016.  Originally working with individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, Allegra accepted her current position as Regional Music Therapist for Justus Senior Living in 2017. Her work with older adults includes: facilitating music therapy sessions, leading resident choirs, performing lecture recitals, presenting Music Appreciation classes and organizing a summer concert series. Additionally, Allegra performs regularly throughout Indianapolis as a collaborative pianist and provides music therapy consultation to local arts organizations.

Rebecca Niederheiser is a passionate conductor, oboist, and music educator. Currently teaching at Wartburg College in Waverly, IA, Nederhiser conducts the Wartburg Community Symphony and the Kammerstreicher strings ensemble, in addition to teaching music theory/oboe. Conductor and cofounder of the Trace Chamber Society, Nederhiser’s research focuses on the performance and arrangement practice of modern orchestral works for chamber ensemble. Performance highlights from this research have included Mahler’s Wayfarer Songs, Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen. Nederhiser recently graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, with her DMA in orchestral conducting. https://www.rebeccanederhiser.com/


Rachel Evangeline Barham (Washington, DC Alumni) is a soprano and teacher specializing in Baroque and new music, oratorio, and recitals. She is best known for importing her keen sense of theatricality to the concert repertoire. Rachel’s solo album Up Toward the Sky (Guild 7819), with pianist Jeremy Filsell, was funded by the Brena Hazzard Voice Scholarship. It features previously unrecorded and under-recorded American art songs highlighting the poetic and musical voices of women. She earned a 2020-2021 Fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and during the pandemic has explored Appalachian and Sephardic music and vocal improvisation.


Adrianna Jagodzinski



Yoko Nakatani received B.A. from the Osaka College of Music in Japan, M.M. from the University of Oregon, and Ph.D. from Brandeis University in Music Composition and Theory. She is the recipient of Ira Gershwin Prize in Music Composition in 2005 at Brandeis University. Ms. Nakatani gave a recital in Japan in 2010 as well as in Belgium in 2011, all based on her original compositions.  Her first CD, “Résonance Poétique” is based on the recording from the recital in Japan. She is the founder of the music non-profit organization, Vivace, Inc. 


While teaching General Music at Elk City Intermediate School, Tiffany Piper maintains a healthy private flute studio in the Western Oklahoma area. Piper has been selected for several Internships with the National Flute Association Convention. She also serves the flute community in Oklahoma by holding the office of Secretary for the Oklahoma Flute Society. Piper is also very active in the Oklahoma Alumni Chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon and is the incoming Secretary for the chapter. Tiffany Piper is currently completing a Master’s of Music Education with an emphasis on Flute Performance at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.  




Stephanie Platz



Tenor Kurt-Alexander Zeller has sung throughout North America and Europe, winning acclaim as a singing actor in opera and music theatre and for recital collaborations with pianist Michiko Otaki.  He has been stage director for professional opera companies in Oregon and Georgia and for over two dozen academic productions of music drama.  Currently he is Director of Opera and Vocal Studies and Coordinator of the Division of Music at Clayton State University, as well as Resident Stage Director for Peach State Opera.  A licensed Body Mapping Educator, Dr. Zeller is co-author of What Every Singer Needs to Know about the Body and has given workshops in Body Mapping for musicians throughout the USA and in Australia.


Dr. Rebecca Sorley holds the position of Professor of Music at the University of Indianapolis where she is Director of Student Support and Coordinator of the Music Business Concentration.  Dr. Sorley has performed for conferences and festivals around the country including Denver, Washington, D.C., San Antonio, Honolulu, Jacksonville, Rochester, and Sacramento along with international conferences in Sydney, Australia and Puerto Rico.  Sorley serves on the International Board for Mu Phi Epsilon music fraternity as 4th-International Vice-President, Music Advisor.  Rebecca enjoys collaborations with her husband, hornist, Darin, and her daughter, Allegra, pianist.  Dr. Sorley also serves as organist at St. John's United Church of Christ in Indianapolis.  


Yi-Yang Chen is an Assistant Professor of Piano at the University of Kansas and the Founder and Artistic Director of the Appalachian Music Festival & Competition. He shot onto the international stage with back-to-back victories in Sussex (2018), Washington (2017) and the Waring (2017) International Piano Competitions in addition to first prize awards at the Pacific International Piano Competition (Canada) and the MTNA National Young Artist Steinway Piano Competition. A native of Taipei, Taiwan, Yi-Yang holds degrees from Eastman (DMA, BM) and Juilliard (MM). Yi-Yang is engaged in a recording project with the Champs Hill label (UK) to be released in 2022-2023. 


Ian Wiese is a multifaceted composer. Currently a doctoral candidate at New England Conservatory of Music in composition under John Heiss, his works have been heard in places such as New York City, Boston, Denver, Houston, The Walt Disney World Resort, and Oslo, Norway. Many ensembles, including Imani Winds, Box Not Found, and the New England Conservatory Contemporary Ensemble have performed his music. Wiese’s works can be heard on albums from Stone Records with Aaron Larget-Caplan and Odd Pop Records with Some Assembly Required. Wiese holds a Masters in Composition from NEC and Bachelors in Composition from Ithaca College. https://www.ianwiese.com/




Kathryn Frieberger



Julie Hanna Schmitt graduated from Kaufman High in Kaufman, Texas and then went on to receive a BA in music and a MME from UNT with studies in piano, voice and composition.  While at NT, she studied composition with  Dr. Samuel Adler and voice with Virginia Botkin, as well as piano with Dr. Paul van Katwijk of SMU.  She has taught piano and voice privately, as well as at Southwest Texas State University, Mississippi College and Dallas Baptist University.  A member of Phi Tau chapter, she now resides with her family in Dallas.


Courtney Houston is a graduate of Wichita State University. During her undergraduate studies, she earned degrees in music education, vocal performance, and French horn performance. She was involved in a wide range of ensembles, including Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Concert Chorale, and Opera Theatre. Furthermore, she was a founding member of Wichita State’s indoor marching band and a section leader in the pep band for five years. She held numerous officer positions, including president, in both Tau Beta Sigma and Mu Phi Epsilon. She will be attending Roosevelt University this fall to pursue her Master’s of Classical Voice degree.



Pianist, Leslie Spotz, Professor at Tarleton State University, enjoys an international career that has included performances at Tchaikovsky Hall of Moscow University, South Bank Center of London, Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the inaugural opening of Philadelphia's Kimmel Center, performances in Italy, and several tours of Germany.  She has performed throughout the United States, including solo appearances with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Mozart Society of Philadelphia, and the South Jersey Symphony. Concert highlights include performances of twenty Beethoven sonatas at Rutgers University.  Receiving a full scholarship to the Curtis Institute of Music, Spotz studied with the legendary Mieczyslaw Horszowski. She completed her doctorate at Rutgers University.


Carmen Lemoine is Assistant Professor of Flute at Wichita State University and principal flute of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. She is also a member of the Santa Rosa Symphony in California.  Dr. Lemoine has performed and taught on four continents, from the United States to New Zealand to Austria to Malaysia. Students at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Eastman School of Music, and the University of North Texas, among others, have enjoyed her dynamic and generous teaching.  Carmen earned degrees in flute performance from the Eastman School of Music and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Find out more at carmenlemoine.com