Author Archives: mccauleyn

CofC Concert Choir Spring Performance

The College of Charleston Concert Choir will perform a spring concert of works by Eric Whitacre, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. The performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 22, 2019 at the Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting St. Admission is $10 at the door; students are admitted free of charge. For more information call (843) 953-5927.

The 2018-19 school year marks Director of Choral Activities Rob Taylor’s 20th anniversary season with the choral program at the College.

The College of Charleston Concert Choir is the premier touring choral ensemble at the College of Charleston. Under the direction of Dr. Robert Taylor, the Concert Choir has toured throughout the United States, Ireland and the United Kingdom, and has performed at national, regional and state American Choral Directors Association Conferences, three National Collegiate Choral Organization Conferences, regional American Guild of Organist conferences, and multiple South Carolina Music Educators Association conferences. The Concert Choir’s membership is composed of both music majors and non-majors, representing a wide representation of the College’s student population. The Concert Choir is part of the College’s Department of Music. Taylor, serves as Director of Choral Activities at the College, the Founding Artistic Director of the professional Taylor Festival Choir and Taylor Music Group, and the Director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus.

CofC Orchestra: Works by Debussy, Tchaikovsky + More

The College of Charleston Orchestra will perform a spring concert conducted by Yuriy Bekker. The program will include Claude Debussy’s Petite Suite, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations (featuring cellist/faculty member Natalia Khoma), Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 in G Major and a world premiere of The Overview Effect by College of Charleston composition student Will Goss.
DETAILS: Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at 7:30 p.m., at the Gaillard Center, 95 Calhoun St. Admission is free, with $20 suggested donation for adults. For information, call 843.953.6315 or visit
The College of Charleston Orchestra is a small orchestra consisting primarily of music students from the College. Some of the students are non-music majors who are experienced performers that participate in order to stay active as musicians. Members of the Charleston Symphony also participate. Under the direction of Yuriy Bekker, Charleston Symphony Concertmaster and Principal Pops Conductor, the chamber orchestra performs twice each year.

Concert by Vocal Faculty Powerhouses Saundra DeAthos-Meers and David Templeton

The 2nd Monday Series at the College of Charleston School of the Arts will present a concert featuring faculty duo Saundra DeAthos-Meers (soprano) and David Templeton (baritone) for an evening of operatic scenes, arias and art song, joined by collaborative pianist Robin Zemp.

The concert will take place on Monday, April 8, 2019 at 7:30 p.m., in the Recital Hall of the Simons Center of the Arts, 54 Saint Philip St. DeAthos-Meers and Templeton will perform duets from Lucia di Lammermoor (Gaitano Donizetti) and La Traviata (Giuseppe Verdi), as well as cycles by Henri Duparc and Modest Mussorgsky. General admission is $15 with student tickets at $10 with school I.D. Tickets can be purchased at the door or reserved by emailing

Lyric soprano Saundra DeAthos-Meers has been heralded for the remarkable quality of both her vocal and dramatic presentations. Most recently, she has received rave reviews at Utah Festival Opera for her portrayals of Giorgetta in Il Tabarro and the title role in Suor Angelica. The HERALD JOURNAL states that, Defying typecasting, soprano Saundra DeAthos plays an unfaithful wife in Il Tabarro and a doomed nun minutes later in Suor Angelica. Ms. DeAthos captures the emotional torment in both roles and her singing is breathtaking, especially in her tragic aria “Senza Mamma.” Excelling in a varied and broad repertoire, she began her career as an Adler Fellow and in the Merola Opera Program with San Francisco Opera. Flourishing in the spotlight, DeAthos-Meers claimed numerous principal assignments with San Francisco Opera and on tour with Western Opera Theater. Of her San Francisco Opera performances, OPERA Magazine admired, “Saundra DeAthos imparted vulnerability and an elegant soprano.” Accordingly, the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE noted, “Saundra DeAthos delivered a virtuosic performance… a real charmer of a soprano, [she] made one love the character.” SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE confirmed, “Saundra DeAthos nailed all of [her] coloratura flights and showed perfect timing.” DeAthos-Meers has graced the stages of many outstanding opera companies across the United States, such as San Francisco Opera, Western Opera Theater, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Boston Lyric Opera, Virginia Opera, Eugene Opera, Amarillo Opera, Sacramento Opera, Opera North, Opera Illinois and West Bay Opera among others.

While her entry into opera focused largely on the operas of Mozart, highlights of her recent repertoire includes her acclaimed portrayal of the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor, Juliette in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, Marguerite in Faust, Gilda in Rigoletto, Micaëla in Carmen, and Mimì in La Bohème. DeAthos-Meers made a stunning role debut as Cio Cio San in Madama Butterfly with the Helena Symphony Orchestra and reprised the role with Amarillo Opera where she was described in the North Texas Performing Arts News as “vocally…stunning. She meets the extravagant demands that Puccini makes on his hero without any strain whatsoever. She has a full-throated lyric-verging-on-verismo soprano and can still float a gorgeous pianissimo note at the top of her range. In the final scene, she ate the scenery and left the audience in tears.” Other recent engagements include Nedda in I Pagliacci with Amarillo Opera, Giorgetta in Il Tabarro and the title role in Suor Angelica in Utah Festival Opera’s presentation of Puccini’s Il Trittico.  DeAthos-Meers received rave reviews for her portrayal of Micaëla in Carmen with Denyce Graves for Opera Charleston. Of her heart-rending performance as Micaëla, Charleston’s POST AND COURRIER exclaimed, “Soprano Saundra DeAthos, who played Micaela, possessed a beautiful, sweet tone and made you want to shake some sense into José, who might have married her if he hadn’t fallen for the wild gypsy temptress.” The CITY PAPER added, “Soprano Saundra DeAthos melted hearts with her portrayal of Micaëla; her silvery, emotionally naked singing made me cry in her lovely act III aria.”

In addition to her operatic activities, DeAthos-Meers performs regularly with symphony orchestras throughout the United States including the San Francisco Symphony, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Sinfonia da Camera, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Helena Symphony Orchestra, Fresno Symphony Orchestra, Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra and the Elgin Symphony Orchestra among others. She offers a remarkably broad concert repertoire that encompasses Handel’s Messiah and Jeptha, Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass, Dvořák’s Te Deum, Brahms’ Ein Deutches Requiem, Górecki’s Symphony No. 3, the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs and Fauré’s Requiem. She was featured in Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Charleston Symphony and Chorus for a performance telecast on PBS.

DeAthos-Meers holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Central Michigan University, a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Illinois, is a graduate of the Opera Institute at Boston University. She received her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Performance and Literature with a minor in Vocology, also at the University of Illinois. DeAthos-Meers recently accepted a position at the College of Charleston as Head of Opera after spending 10 years as the Music Coordinator in the Theatre Department at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois.

David Templeton has garnered critical and popular praise as much for the stunning quality of his vocal portrayals, as for his striking dramatic and physical presence. Internationally, he has been admired as Silvio in I Pagliacci and Valentin in Faust with Opera de Puerto Rico, as Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Marcello in La Bohème, and Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette for Edmonton Opera, Marcello in La Bohème and Valentin in Faust for both Winnipeg Opera and Manitoba Opera. In the United States, Templeton has appeared to great effect with Nevada Opera, Opera Columbus, Toledo Opera, Hawaii Opera, Sarasota Opera, Connecticut Grand Opera, Fresno Opera, Piedmont Opera, Mobile Opera, and Illinois Opera, among others.

Of his international appearances, OPERA Magazine stated, “Baritone David Templeton displays a strong voice and a convincing air of authority.” Das Opernglas concurred, “Faultless enjoyment on this evening was provided by David Templeton, who impressed with his evenly measured, fully formed baritone.” Accordingly, the American Record Guide was effusive regarding his Germont in La Traviata, “Plangent-voice baritone David Templeton made the most of his fully restored scenes in Act II, and in the extended final scene; he reminded me of the young James Morris.”

A perennial audience favorite with Opera Columbus, Templeton has bowed as the title character in Don Giovanni, in addition to the principal baritone roles in La Traviata, Madama Butterfly, La Bohème, Carmen, and The Merry Widow. Indeed, the Columbus Dispatch affirmed, “Opera Columbus regulars already recognize the talents of David Templeton, which grow more impressive with every appearance. Templeton suggests he is poised to emerge as one of the next great American baritones.”

Highlights of past seasons have been Don Giovanni with Nevada Opera, I Pagliacci and Eugene Onegin for Hawaii Opera, La Bohème for Toledo Opera, Le Nozze di Figaro and Così Fan Tutte for Connecticut Grand Opera, La Traviata and Luisa Miller for Sarasota Opera, Carmen for Fresno Opera, La Traviata with Piedmont Opera, and I Pagliacci for Mobile Opera.

On the concert and recital stage, Templeton has performed extensively throughout the United States in a diverse repertoire that encompasses Brahm’s Ein Deutches Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem, Mussorgsky’s Songs of Dances and Death, Ravel’s Don Quichotte et Dulcinée, Schubert’s Schwanengesang, and Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs.

Templeton holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas, and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Ohio State University.

Robin Zemp, pianist, made his New York debut at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1984 to both public and critical acclaim. The New York Times praised his “intriguing coloristic effects” and “strong, firm, and secure” playing. In constant demand as both soloist and ensemble player, he performs over 30 different programs each season. The late Robert Jones wrote in the Charleston Post and Courier, the “pianist was the familiar Robin Zemp, who played beautifully as he always does.”

On the faculty of the College of Charleston School of the Arts, he teaches piano and vocal coaching. His students have won many state and regional competitions and awards. He has served in many capacities with the South Carolina Music Teachers Association including President and Vice-President for Conferences. In 2006, Zemp received the Association’s Distinguished Service Award. In March 2011, he was honored by the Music Teachers National Association as an MTNA Foundation Fellow for making significant contributions to the music world and the music teaching profession. Zemp is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore.

Housed within the College of Charleston School of the Arts, CofC Concerts includes five extraordinary series: International Piano Series, Magnetic South, Charleston Music Fest, 2nd Monday Series, and CofC Ensembles (CofC Concert Choir, Opera and Orchestra), featuring international, national and regional artists, as well as the award-winning student ensembles in the College of Charleston’s Department of Music.

Me Three: Exploring Female Composers Through Piano Trio

Housed in the College of Charleston School of the Arts, Charleston Music Fest will present esteemed faculty trio Janet Orenstein, (violin), Allison Gagnon (piano) and Brooks Whitehouse (cello), all hailing from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). Whitehouse and Orenstein were founding members of the Guild Trio, for whom composer Sheila Silver was commissioned by Chamber Music America to compose To the Spirit Unconquered. Gagnon was a founding member of the Martlet Trio in Montreal, Canada. Gagnon enjoys playing great works of the sonata literature with each of her colleagues, and together they now enjoy both the trio repertoire and playing in larger chamber ensembles together. This beautifully curated concert program for Charleston Music Fest will honor two of the foremost female composers of the 20th century, Rebecca Clarke and Sheila Silver. This concert is a special offering during College of Charleston’s Year of Women celebration and will take place on Thursday, April 4, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall at the Simons Center for the Arts, 54 Saint Philip St. General admission is $25 and tickets for College of Charleston students are $10, available ONLINE, at the door, by emailing or calling (843) 953-6315.

Artist Bios:

Violinist Janet Orenstein has enjoyed an active performing career both in the United States and abroad as a chamber musician, soloist and advocate of contemporary music. She is a founding member of the Guild Trio and toured with them extensively in Canada, Europe and the United States for over 10 years. She has also appeared as a chamber musician in New York’s Alice Tully and Merkin Concert Halls, as well as at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. As a member of the Greensboro Symphony, she has appeared numerous times in chamber concerts with Dimitri Sitkovetsky.

Orenstein toured extensively in Africa, giving recitals and master classes with pianist Christina Dahl. Upon her return she contracted focal dystonia, which made it nearly impossible for her to move her left hand. Since moving to N.C. with her husband and two children, she taught violin and chamber music at various times at University of North Carolina Greensboro, Wake Forrest University and currently at UNCSA, where she teaches alongside Ida Bieler. In 2013, Orenstein gave her first solo recital in 17 years, after working continuously during those years to recover from focal dystonia.

Canadian pianist Allison Gagnon directs the Collaborative Piano Program at UNCSA, and appears in recital throughout the United States and Canada, and in Europe, with both instrumental and vocal colleagues. At UNCSA, she performs not only with faculty and students, but also with guest artists including Frederica von Stade, Jens Lindemann and the Miró Quartet. Before joining the UNCSA faculty in 1998, Gagnon taught at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada and was staff pianist at McGill University in Montreal. For nearly two decades she was a member of the piano staff at the renowned Meadowmount School of Music, N.Y.

A dedicated educator, Gagnon was a recent recipient of the UNCSA Excellence in Teaching Award. Graduates of the collaborative program she created at UNCSA have won positions in Texas, N.D., Tenn. and Pa., and have become active professionally in the United States and abroad. Her definitive edition of the piano reduction for Ernest Chausson’s Poème, Op. 25 for Violin and Orchestra has been published ( She is preparing teaching materials in the field of collaborative piano pedagogy, and she has begun to explore the role of music in the well-being of those with dementia.

Gagnon completed her D.M.A. with Anne Epperson at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM). Her earlier teachers were Dale Bartlett (McGill), Michael Krist (Vienna Hochschule für Musik), Pierre Jasmin, and Margaret McLellan (Queen’s) and her mother Marjorie Gagnon. From CIM she holds the Brooks Smith Award of its Collaborative Piano Department. Her creative interests include ceramics and wildlife photography.

UNCSA cello professor Brooks Whitehouse has performed and taught throughout the United States and abroad. With The Guild Trio Whitehouse he won “USIA Artistic Ambassador” and “Chamber Music Yellow Springs” competitions, and has toured extensively in the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia. He is the co-creator with Paul Sharpe of the popular cello/bass duo Low & Lower, and has appeared as guest artist with the American Chamber Players, Villa Musica (Germany), the Ciompi Quartet, The Apple Hill Chamber Players, and the New Zealand String Quartet. Recently he performed in Carnegie Hall with the Garth Newell Piano Quartet as part of their Fortieth Anniversary Celebration.

Housed in the College of Charleston School of the Arts, Charleston Music Fest presents intimate chamber music concerts featuring College of Charleston faculty, and local and international artists.

CofC International Piano Series Features AyşeDeniz Gökçin in Season Finale

Praised for being “extraordinary, unconventional, interactive and fun” and for playing that is “bold, personal and masterly” (Royal Academy of Music), Turkish pianist and composer and Turkey’s 2017 Pianist of the Year, AyşeDeniz Gökçin is widely sought-after as an international soloist and a recording artist. Gökçin’s recent solo appearances include Sureyya Opera House (Istanbul), Teatro das Figuras Faro (Portugal), Galleria d’Arte Moderna (Italy) and Le Poisson Rouge (NYC). She has been praised for her fresh, genre-bending projects, including her current concert concept “Beethoven to Rock” which melds the artistry from two wildly contrasting musical styles and produces an interactive and dynamic concert experience. For the 29th season finale of the College of Charleston International Piano Series, Gökçin will perform movements from some of Beethoven’s most-loved sonatas from Moonlight and Tempest to Pathetique. Additionally, keeping with her versatile repertoire, she also will perform a number of newly arranged rock covers in the style of Franz Liszt, as well as some of her own compositions.

The concert will take place on Tuesday, April 2, 2019 at 7:30 p.m., in the Emmett Robinson Theatre, Simons Center for the Arts, 54 Saint Philip St. General admission is $20 and FREE for students and faculty/staff and kids under 18. Tickets may be purchased ONLINE, at the door, by emailing, or by calling (843) 953-6315.

Gökçin will also offer a master class, free and open to the public on Wednesday, April 3, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., in the Cato Center for the Arts, room 237. Students from the Music Department at the College of Charleston will perform.

AyşeDeniz Gökçin was considered a child prodigy in her native Turkey and made her concerto debut when she was nine with the Gordion Chamber Orchestra playing J.S. Bach’s Keyboard Concerto No. 5. At thirteen, she had already performed as a soloist with various orchestras under conductors including Ibrahim Yazici, Fahrettin Kerimov, Antonio Pirolli, Cem Mansur, Engin Sakpinar, Ertug Korkmaz, Rengim Gokmen, Vladimir Sirenko and Kirill Karabits.

Watch videos of Gökçin in performance.

​In 2011, she completed her Masters in Piano Performance at the Royal Academy of Music in London, under the tutelage of Christopher Elton and received the Maud Hornsby Award. In 2009, she completed her Bachelor’s Degree at Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) in the studio of Douglas Humpherys, where she received the Howard Hanson and Clements Scholarships as well as the John Celentano Excellence in Chamber Music Award.

​As a young pianist, Gökçin attended prestigious summer festivals including the Verbier Academy, Music Academy of the West, Aspen Music Festival and School, PianoTexas, Goslar Konzertarbeitswochen, Tel Hai, and Beijing International Music Festival, studying with renowned piano pedagogues such as Menahem Pressler, Jerome Lowenthal, Arie Vardi, Yoheved Kaplinsky, as well as Lang Lang. In middle school, Gokcin moved to Spain for half a year to study with the renowned Bach interpreter Rosalyn Tureck, becoming one of her last students.

​Throughout her early career, Gökçin has given concerts around the world including Cathedral of Christ The Savior Moscow (Russia); L’Eglise Verbier (Switzerland); Duke’s Hall, Steinway Hall, Kings Place London (UK); Bellapais Antique Monastery (Northern Cyprus); Central Park of Culture Open Air Hall, Lysenko Hall (Kiev, Ukraine); in the United States’ PepsiCo Hall (Texas), Kilbourn Hall (N.Y.), Harris Hall (Colo.), Pacific Amphitheater (Calif.); Teatro Cine (Argentina); Teatro Cine Gouveia, Teatro das Figuras Faro, Centro Cultural de Ãlhavo , Centro Cultural da Gafanha da Nazare (Portugal); Galleria d’Arte Moderna, San Fedele Milan, Teatro Dario Fo Venice, and St. Giorgio Cathedral Palermo (Italy); and in almost all of Turkey’s most important art centres, including Sureyya Opera House, Albert Long Hall, AkSanat, Borusan Music House, The Seed, CRR (Istanbul), State Opera House (Eskisehir) and MEB Sura (Ankara).

​Upon hearing Gökçin’s interpretation of Chopin Sonata No. 3, Nikolai Petrov personally invited her to perform in the Kremlin Palace (Moscow, Russia) “a concert that was very well-received and marked somewhat of a milestone. Another milestone was after three of her piano arrangements of Pink Floyd songs in the style of Franz Liszt went viral, Gökçin attracted the attention of the progressive rock listeners, and was featured on Pink Floyd’s Official Facebook Page. Upon the requests of fans, she completed the “Pink Floyd Classical Concept” Album, which she performed in the United States, Argentina, Ecuador, Bulgaria, Italy, Portugal, Turkey and Germany. Recently, she performed as a soloist in Wavelength (United States, 2013); Sofia Piano Extravaganza (Bulgaria, 2013); Gouveia Art Rock (Portugal, 2014); Piano City Milan & Palermo (Italy, 2014, 2016, 2017); 31st International Ankara and 38th & 41st Istanbul International Classical Music (Turkey, 2014-2015), and TanJazz (Morocco, 2016) Festivals.

​In 2014, her show won the Argentinian Association of Cable Television Music Award; in 2015 her new album “Nirvana Project” dedicated to Kurt Cobain was released and reached the UK Top 10 Classical Charts on iTunes; in 2016 she won the ‘Pianist of the Year’ Award in Turkey at Donizetti Classical Music Awards. She appeared on BBC News, Classic FM, Prog Rock Magazine, International Piano Magazine, Andante Magazine, MusicOff, Vogue, and continues to attract the attention of fans with her fresh, genre bending projects. Newspapers including France’s Le Figaro, Scotland’s The Herald, Austria’s and Germany’s Taz have all given her positive reviews.

​Her work as a composer and a pianist for Editta Braun Dance Company’s “Close Up” show toured Salzburg, Vienna, Linz and Edinburgh in 2015. In January 2019 her original album “Earth Prelude” entered the Top 10 iTunes classical charts in the United Kingdom, the United States, Turkey and Italy. In February, her Beethoven Senses Album with the composer’s five iconic sonatas as a preparation for his 250th anniversary is now on digital platforms including iTunes / Spotify.

Housed within the College of Charleston School of the Arts, the International Piano Series (IPS) is Charleston’s longest running, year-round program with a pure focus on piano. Consistent with the School’s mission, IPS plays a distinctive role in the lives of students and the community by implementing excellence in the arts and education and cultivating piano music appreciation. 


Tired of Flushing Money Down the Drain? Residents of URINETOWN Feel the Same in College of Charleston Musical Production

College of Charleston Theatre and Dance closes its 2018-2019 season with the hilarious, Tony Award-winning comedy Urinetown directed by artist-in-residence Bret Shuford with musical direction by Laura Turner. While the show is lighthearted in nature, it shares with audiences a glimpse of serious issues tied to the season’s theme of social justice in support of the College’s sustainability literacy initiative.

A 20-year drought has caused a water shortage and has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets. Citizens must use public amenities, regulated by a single malevolent company that profits by charging admission. A hero decides that he has had enough, and plans a revolution. Winner of three Tony Awards, three Outer Critics Circle Awards and two Obie Awards, Urinetown by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis is a satire on capitalism, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, politics, greed and the musical theater!

The show will run April 11-16, 2019 in the Emmett Robinson Theatre, Simons Center for the Arts, 54 Saint Phillip St. A talkback with actors will take place after the opening night performance. TICKETS CAN BE PURSHASED ONLINE, by calling (843) 953 -6306, by emailing, or at the door two hours prior to curtain. Admission is $20 general; $12 College of Charleston students; $15 College of Charleston employees, Senior Citizens, non-College of Charleston students. 

Director and choreographer Bret Shuford is spending the 2018-2019 academic year working directly with students in the College’s Department of Theatre and Dance, which is being funded by the Quattlebaum Artists-in-Residence Endowment. Last fall, Shuford conducted lectures, workshops and masterclasses on various acting and arts management skills. This semester, in addition to directing Urinetown, Shuford will give a free presentation titled “Business of Broadway” on April 18 at 5:00 p.m. in the Emmett Robinson Theatre. With its origin dating back to 1985, the College’s Quattlebaum Artists-in-Residence Endowment has helped connect students and the community to renowned artists, such as visual artist Christo, pianist Leon Fleisher, photographer Duane Michaels, former NEA Chairman and actor Jane Alexander, and visual artist Htein Lin, among many others.

Shuford’s Broadway credits include Cirque Du Soleil’s ParamourAmazing GraceChitty Chitty Bang BangBeauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid. Other N.Y. credits include Actors Fund Benefit performances of A Wonderful LifeBest Little Whorehouse in TexasOn the Twentieth Century, and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Shuford’s credits outside of New York City include the National Tour of Lincoln Center’s South Pacific and Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden in Next to Normal at the Adirondack Theatre Festival. He originated the role of Vernon Castle in Castlewalk, a new musical presented as part of the New York Music Theatre Festival. He has sung with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, and the Fort Worth Symphony. Shuford also has been seen on TV and Web series including Law and Order SVUAlpha HouseSubmissions Only and My Dirty Little Secret. His film credits include Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall StreetBedfellows, and Uncle Melvin’s Apartment.

Music Director Laura Manning Turner received her B.F.A. in Dramatic Writing and an M.F.A. in composition for Music Theater concurrently from New York University. Since 1994 she has been Associate Professor of Theatre at the College of Charleston where she began the Theatre for Youth program and the M.A.T. in the Performing Arts Program which prepares theatre and music teachers for the K-12 school setting. She also teaches musical theatre coursework in the department. She is a playwright and composer of many musicals for family audiences in collaboration with her husband. Some of their original works include: MarsQuest, awarded grants by N.A.S.A.; The Redcoats and Glow: The Story of Marie Curie, commissioned by The Charleston Museum; The Wizard of Wartville, sponsored by Keep America Beautiful; and WorldSong, which won a national playwriting competition and toured the Midwest. In addition, her musical, Finding Joy, was published by Eldridge Publishing Company with performances in churches nationally each year. Her musical score for A Boy and His Piano was published by Dramatic Publishing Company after premiering with Charleston Stage Company. She also was a finalist for the national Aurand Harris Playwriting Fellowship sponsored by the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America.

CofC Opera to Perform ‘Dialogues of the Carmelites,’ a Story of Martyrdom

The College of Charleston Opera will present a production of Francis Poulenc’s only full-length opera, “Dialogues of the Carmelites.” It tells a fictional account of the actual events of the Martyrs of Compiègne — the Carmelite nuns who in 1794 refused to renounce their faith during the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution. As a result, they were guillotined in Paris.

The performances will take place at 7:00 p.m., with pre-show talk at 6:15 p.m., on Friday, March 1 and Sunday, March 3, at the Recital Hall in the Simons Center for the Arts, 54 Saint Philip St. Tickets are $20 for the general public and $15 for College of Charleston students and 18 and under, available online or at the door (cash and check only).

Premiering in 1957 at Teatro alla Scala, Milan, “Dialogues of the Carmelites” was one of the most successful operas of the later decades of the 20th century. Directed by the new Head of Opera at the College, Saundra DeAthos-Meers, and assisted by Amanda Castellone, College of Charleston Opera will perform the music in English. DeAthos-Meers shares, “This opera is exceedingly beautiful and dramatic and was chosen specifically with our students in mind. When choosing repertoire, I keep in mind what the opera will both challenge the students and serve their development. “Dialogues of the Carmelites” is a poignant story about the brave women who were sent to the guillotine for their beliefs. I am proud of these students and how they have accepted and conquered the challenge of this dramatic piece.”  

“We chose to do this opera in English even though it was originally composed in French. It was important to me to adhere to the composer’s desire that the work be performed in the vernacular of the audience.”

This cast will feature College of Charleston students, a reduced orchestra that is comprised of both professionals and College of Charleston students, with faculty member Rob Taylor at the helm.

Watch an interview clip with Director DeAthos-Meers on Lowcountry Live.

The College of Charleston Opera is a program in the Department of Music in the College’s School of the Arts.

CofC Faculty Jazz Ensemble to Perform

Students, alumni and the public love to see our jazz professors take stage. Toes tapping, heads nodding to the beat – at the end of the concert you’ll leave with melodic arrangements still on your mind.

The 2nd Monday Series at the College of Charleston School of the Arts will present the CofC Faculty Jazz Ensemble:  Robert Lewis (saxophones)David Heywood (flute)Tyler Ross (guitar), Gerald Gregory (piano), Quentin Baxter (drums) and Frank Duvall (bass). The group will perform jazz standards, arrangements and originals. Directed by Robert Lewis, Jazz Studies in the College’s Department of Music is one of the most prominent music programs in the area and includes instruction by some of the best jazz performers of the South.

Monday, March 11, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. 

Recital Hall in the Simons Center for the Arts, 54 Saint Philip St. 

$15 general / $10 students. Purchase tickets online or at the door. More information is available at This concert is popular among the Charleston musical community; early arrival is advised, as seating is on a first-come, first-served.

Student Dance Work to Be Staged in ‘Chapel Moves’

The Department of Theatre and Dance in the College of Charleston School of the Arts will present the dance concert, “Chapel Moves.” The annual concert features original dances by some of the department’s most talented students. These future professional choreographers and aspiring dance artists will showcase pieces selected for inclusion in the American College Dance Association’s southeastern regional conference.

Exploring themes of human connection, science and technology, and self-reflection in relation to the world around us, the choreographers have created an evening of dance showcasing the diversity and strength of the dance students. Many choreographers have challenged their casts with technical movement phrases, intricate musicality, and partner work, pushing the performance of the dance pieces both  physically and emotionally.

Performances will take place March 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m., March 9 at 2:00 p.m. and March 10 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The venue is the Chapel Theatre, 172 Calhoun St. Tickets are $15 for the general public; $10 for senior citizens and College of Charleston students and employees. Tickets can be purchased online, by emailing, or by calling (843) 953-6306. More info at

Orion Weiss to Perform for International Piano Series


One of the most sought-after soloists in his generation of young American musicians

Praised for his “powerful technique and voluptuous tone” (The Washington Post) and playing that is “at once sensitive and technically dazzling” (Daily Camera), Orion Weiss is one of the most sought-after soloists in his generation of young American musicians. Weiss has already performed with the top American Orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic. Weiss will perform the third concert in the International Piano Series 29th season at the College of Charleston School of the Arts, with a dynamic program of works by Maurice Ravel, Dmitri Shostakovich and Johannes Brahms.

The concert will take place on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 at 7:30 p.m., in the Emmett Robinson Theatre, 54 St. Philip Street. General admission is $20 and free for students and faculty/staff and kids under 18. Tickets may be purchased online, at the door, by emailing, or by calling (843) 953-6315.

Weiss will also offer a master class, free and open to the public on Wednesday, March 13, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., in the Cato Center for the Arts, room 237. Students from the Music Department at the College of Charleston will perform.

[Listen to clips of Weiss in performance.]

Weiss began his 2018-2019 season with the Lucerne Festival and will end with the Minnesota Orchestra, with performances for the Denver Friends of Chamber Music, the University of Iowa, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Albany Symphony, the Kennedy Center’s Fortas Series, the 92nd Street Y, and the Broad Stage in between. In 2017-18 Weiss performed Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, toured with James Ehnes, and soloed with 12 orchestras around the United States. Other highlights of recent seasons include his third performance with the Chicago Symphony, a North American tour with the world-famous Salzburg Marionette Theater in a performance of Debussy’s “La Boîte à Joujoux,” the release of his recording of Christopher Rouse’s “Seeing,” and recordings of the complete Gershwin works for piano and orchestra with his longtime collaborators the Buffalo Philharmonic and JoAnn Falletta.

Named the Classical Recording Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year in September 2010, in the summer of 2011 Weiss made his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood as a last-minute replacement for Leon Fleisher. In recent seasons, he has also performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and in duo summer concerts with the New York Philharmonic at both Lincoln Center and the Bravo! Vail Valley Festival. In 2005, he toured Israel with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Itzhak Perlman.

Also known for his affinity and enthusiasm for chamber music, Weiss performs regularly with violinists Augustin Hadelich, William Hagen, Benjamin Beilman, James Ehnes, and Arnaud Sussman; pianist Shai Wosner; and cellist Julie Albers; and the Ariel, Parker, and Pacifica Quartets. As a recitalist and chamber musician, Weiss has appeared across the nation at venues and festivals including Lincoln Center, the Ravinia Festival, Sheldon Concert Hall, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla Music Society SummerFest, Chamber Music Northwest, the Bard Music Festival, the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, the Kennedy Center and Spivey Hall. He won the 2005 William Petschek Recital Award at Juilliard, and made his New York recital debut at Alice Tully Hall that April. Also in 2005 he made his European debut in a recital at the Musée du Louvre in Paris. He was a member of the Chamber Music Society Two program of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center from 2002-2004, which included his appearance in the opening concert of the Society’s 2002-2003 season at Alice Tully Hall performing Ravel’s “La Valse” with Shai Wosner.

Weiss’s impressive list of awards includes the Gilmore Young Artist Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Gina Bachauer Scholarship at the Juilliard School and the Mieczyslaw Munz Scholarship. A native of Lyndhurst, OH, Weiss attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Paul Schenly, Daniel Shapiro, Sergei Babayan, Kathryn Brown, and Edith Reed. In February of 1999, Weiss made his Cleveland Orchestra debut performing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1. In March 1999, with less than 24 hours’ notice, Weiss stepped in to replace André Watts for a performance of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He was immediately invited to return to the Orchestra for a performance of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto in October 1999. In 2004, he graduated from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Emanuel Ax.

Housed within the College of Charleston School of the Arts, the International Piano Series (IPS) is Charleston’s longest running, year-round program with a pure focus on piano. Consistent with the School’s mission, IPS plays a distinctive role in the lives of students and the community by implementing excellence in the arts and education and cultivating piano music appreciation. The final concert of the International Piano Series’ season will feature AyşeDeniz Gökçin on April 2, 2019. For more information about the 2018-19 season, visit