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Alumni Spotlight

Virginia Russel (BM'45, Music Education/French Horn)

As one of Peabody's longest living alumni, Virginia K. Russell is still professionally performing at 90. Virginia was the substitute Music Director on July 20, 2014 at Asbury United Methodist Church in Salisbury, MD, and is pictured here with her daughter, Kara Dahl Russell, harpist and 2-time Associated Press Award Winner as Classical Music Program Director and Host on Delmarva Public Radio. [Photo by Marimargaret Reichert.] 

Jacob Yoffee (BM'02, Composition; GPD'04, Jazz Saxophone)

Jacob Yoffee came to Peabody as a freshman composition student with a goal to move to Los Angeles and become a film composer after graduation. Shortly after his arrival he heard Gary Thomas, Peabody's director of jazz studies, play.

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Bryan Young (BM'96, Bassoon)

An alumnus with an active performance schedule, Young is also an accomplished mobile software designer. He merged both sides of his career when he created and launched Peabody’s new mobile phone app last June.

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Murry Sidlin (BM'62, Music Education; MM'68, Instrumental Conducting)

Murry Sidlin, who is credited with having one of the most diverse musical careers in America today, has been selected to receive the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumni Award.

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Audrey McCallum (BM'60, MM'67, Music Education-Piano)

In the 50 years since Audrey McCallum graduated from the Peabody Conservatory with a bachelor’s degree, she’s enjoyed a standout career as a music educator, pianist, accompanist, clinician, and an adjudicator, and has touched the lives of generations of students from all over the city and the state.

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Mark Mandarano (MM'91, Conducting)

Mark Mandarano has conducted on some of the biggest stages across the country—including Lincoln Center in New York City and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.—and was recently named the principal guest conductor for the Moscow Chamber Orchestra. But he’s also a maestro much closer to home...

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Monika Vasey (BM'05 Harp & Music Education; MM'07 Music Education)

While working on her master’s thesis in music education, harpist Monika Vasey became troubled by the dearth of materials aimed at musicians with disabilities. “Where could a music teacher or parent go to find current resources for a student who is capable of learning a musical instrument, but limited by a physical disability?” she recalls wondering.

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Paul Jan Zdunek (BM'91, Composition)

The Pasadena Symphony Association (PSA) was in dire financial straits when leaders there turned to Paul Jan Zdunek for help. After some initial consulting, he says, "The PSA asked if I would serve as CEO to assist them with a complete reorganization."

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Christine Rutt Schmitz (BM'75, Voice)

"We've had about 13 bear markets since World War II, so while it seems really painful now, my thought continues to be to stick with your investment plan, maybe have a consultation with your planner. The biggest money can be made right after a bear market."

The financial advice comes from Christine Rutt Schmitz, a senior specialist for wealth protection at Glass Jacobson who also happens to be a Peabody-trained singer.

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Gabrielle Goodman (BM'90, Voice)

She's a jazz singer. She's a pop singer. She's a backup singer. She's a soloist. She's a teacher.

But most of all, Gabrielle Goodman, associate professor of voice at Berklee College of Music in Boston, is a risk taker.

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Zuill Bailey (BM'94, Cello)

As an 8th grader, Zuill Bailey encountered a scheduling conflict that forced him to choose between soccer and music. He loved the fastmoving sport, but even so, there was no choice.

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Hilary Vrooman (BM'90, Music Education; PC'90, Clarinet)

When Hilary Vrooman was a student at Peabody ... her instructor in Instrumental Music Education at the time, passed along a tidbit that has stuck with her: "He said, 'Busy hands are happy hands,'" she recalls.

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Sam Matthews (BM'02, MM'05, Cello)

If you look up the word “multitasking” in the dictionary, there may well be a photo of Sam Matthews.

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Alyson Covino (BM'02, MM'05, Composition)

Alyson Covino leads dual lives: one on land, and one on water.

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Byeong Woo Lee (GPD'98, Guitar)

There is a moment in the Korean-made horror film The Host ... where the main characters are running for their lives from a mutated sea creature. The dialogue goes silent and all you can hear is the music.

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Daniel Trahey (BA'00, Tuba, Music Education)

Sifting through the postings on YouTube, you’ll find lot of band performances, many of which are forgettable. But click on a link from the Archipelago Project called The Chicken and you’re in for a treat.

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