Congrats 2021 Music Award Recipients

2021 SOMD Music Award Recipients

Music Awards 

Undergraduate Awardees | Graduate Awardees


Undergraduate Music Awards 

Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar

Bailey Halleen 
Music Education

Bailey Halleen is graduating with a Bachelor's of Music in Music Education with a Choral focus. She has been in Chamber Choir, Repertoire Singers, and Lab Choir during these past four years and has enjoyed making music with her lovely peers and faculty members. Upon graduating, she hopes to teach music at the elementary, middle, or high school levels and to continue singing within the community. She just completed student teaching at Churchill High School which was highly rewarding and a delightful experience overall. She would like to make a special thank you to the Music Education faculty members for this award and for all of their wonderful guidance. She is grateful for all of the love and support she has received from family (including her fluffy orange cat, Simon), friends, and faculty as they helped her make all of this possible!

Tom Slaff
Music Technology

Since I was young I had been determined to pursue music. This pursuit had culminated at my arrival to the University of Oregon, when my love and appreciation for electronic music had grown to a level I hadn’t previously imagined. The power and expressivity of machines, which one seemed like an obscure language, is now one of my main methods of musical communication. Besides exploring the unnatural beauty of electroacoustic music, I enjoy exploring the wondrous physical beauty of Oregon and all of its many terrains. I feel lucky to have spent most of my life in an area full of so much beauty, opportunities, and amazing people.



Abigail Kellems 
Music Theory and Composition

Abby Kellems grew up in West Virginia, and moved to Oregon when she was in high school. She has played the piano from a young age, but found her love of music playing the tuba in wind ensembles and performing pop music with her friends. Since coming to the UO, Abby has enjoyed singing with the University Singers, accompanying the Lab Choir on piano, and putting on concerts with the Oregon Composers Forum. She likes to go hiking, camping, backpacking, and rafting. Most of her time is spent writing music and hoping her car doesn’t break down.



Outstanding Undergraduate Performer

Kalin Mark

Kalin Mark is a graduating senior of the University of Oregon, completing her Bachelor of Music degree in tuba performance under the incredible mentorship of Michael Grose. Kalin has been playing tuba for 11 years now, and hopes to continue this passionate streak far into the future. Aside from her tuba duties, she has been heavily involved in other areas throughout the School of Music and Dance as well. Kalin is an avid member and leader within the athletic bands, working with the sousaphone section and playing bass trombone in the Green Garter Band. She also works alongside staff and other students as an undergraduate peer advisor, and as a liaison between the Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble and the UO student government. After graduation, Kalin will be moving to Ohio to pursue her master’s degree in tuba performance as a graduate assistant at Bowling Green State University.


Robert Bohall 
Jazz Studies

Pianist, teacher, and composer Robert Bohall is an Oregonian at heart with a passion for learning. Robert studies music as a whole through the lens of jazz under the direction of Steve Owen, Paul Krueger, and Torrey Newhart. His compositions have been performed with the University of Oregon Chamber Choir, the Oregon Jazz Ensemble, Newberg High School Vocal Point, various jazz combos, “The Breadhunters” funk band, and most recently, string quartet. Robert’s compositions stem from a wide variety of styles which gives him a peek into many time periods and cultures. He will continue to study for the next two years at the University of Oregon as a graduate educator in pursuit of a MMus in Jazz Studies.


David Lee  

Originally from Seoul, South Korea David Lee has worked with acclaimed percussionists, across North America, studying a wide variety of percussion instruments. Lee has performed with groups such as the Eugene Symphony, OrchestraNext, Seattle Youth Symphony, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, In a Landscape, the University of Oregon Percussion Ensemble, and more. He is the 2018 winner of the Eugene Symphony Young Artists Competition, Senior Division, and was a featured soloist in their 2018-2019 concert season. Lee is grateful for all the opportunities that the University of Oregon and the city of Eugene have provided in furthering his music education and is thankful to his teachers and mentors for all their support. At the UO, Lee studied under the tutelage of percussionists Pius Cheung and Sean Wagoner. This fall, David will be working towards his Masters of Music in Percussion Performance with Daniel Druckman at the Juilliard School.

Lawrence Barasa Kiharangwa

A tenor from Kenya, Lawrence developed his artistic profile as a member and Assistant Production Manager of The Kenyan Boys Choir. In this capacity he interacted and performed with artists including, Jonas Brothers, Ellie Goulding, Ciara and Demi Lovato, among others. 

He has performed the roles of Spoletta in Astoria Music Festival and Eugene opera’s production of Tosca. He also appeared as Don Basilio and Don Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro at the Astoria Music Festival in 2018, and He also appeared as Hoffmann in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Don José in La Tragedy de Carmen at the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance. He also completed training at the Savannah Voice Festival 2019-2020 under the tutelage of Sherrill Milnes and Maria Zouves.

He is the 1ST Prize Winner of The National Opera Association (NOA) vocal competition 2020, Encouragement award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition 2018 and the 2nd Prize winner of PNW Sings, a vocal competition run by Eugene Opera. 

Lawrence is currently a student of Dr. Karen Esquivel.

Wesley Becherer

Wesley Becherer is the principal oboist of the Oregon Wind Ensemble and a former member of the UO Symphony. In his Junior year of college, he was a part of the Wind Ensemble group that toured Oregon in February 2020. Wesley is a former member of the University of Oregon Marching Band, where he had the opportunity to be a part of the Rose Bowl and Rose Parade performances. In 2019, Wesley was a part of Orchestra NEXT’s production of Stravinsky’s Firebird in conjunction with the Eugene Ballet. In 2018, he had the opportunity to perform a series of concerts with the Greater Eugene Sacred Choir. He is a member of the Alder Street Quintet, a Eugene based ensemble made up of community members, as well as a number of student-formed chamber ensembles. Wesley holds a degree in Music Performance from the University of Oregon, where he studied with Melissa Peña. 


Titus Young

Titus Young is very grateful to soon receive his Bachelor of Arts degree in cello performance.The idea of being a cellist was sparked at the age of seven. He focused of music while he was home educated. In high school he had the privilege of choosing the career path of music at Lane Community College which prepared him well for his time at the University of Oregon. Titus choose music because of his love for the cello and collaborating with fellow musicians. He is especially fond of chamber music which he has enjoyed with his colleagues. Throughout his journey at the U of O, Titus has had many wonderful professors, and would like to thank a few of them. Steven Pologe, Marc Vanscheeuwijck, David Jacobs, and Margaret Gries. He would also like to thank his fellow musicians whom he has collaborated with these past four years.


Graduate Music Awards 

Outstanding Graduate Scholar

Derek White 
Music Education

Derek originally enrolled at the University of Oregon in 2011. He earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree in 2019 after several years of unenrollment. During his time living in Eugene, he spent his time participating in and teaching the Oregon Athletic Bands, Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble, and UO’s concert bands. Outside of school, Derek worked his way through his undergraduate studies as a manager at the campus McDonald’s, teaching private brass students at Music Masters, a private lesson studio, and leading the Oregon Tuba Ensemble, a community music ensemble, as the Music Director. Derek’s primary area of research throughout his schooling has been the application of Chicago Symphony Orchestra tubist Arnold Jacobs’ pedagogy to non-brass instruments and ensemble settings. Derek is currently applying for band teacher positions at middle and high schools around his hometown of Tacoma, WA.

Chelsea Oden
Music Theory

Chelsea earned her MA in Music Theory from the University of Oregon in 2016 and degrees in Music Education, Performance, and Composition from Adams State University in 2013. Two questions that motivate her research are How does art move us? And, How can art teach us about the interconnectedness of our world? Focusing on timbre and embodiment in the overlap of film, music, and dance, her dissertation, “There is a Body in the Sound,” explores meanings of musical sound in multimedia by treating sound as living, moving, and dynamic.
Chelsea’s article, “Dance as Political Activism: Two Popular Choreomusical Responses to the Orlando Shooting” was published this year in ~Vibes – The IASPM D-A-CH Series. Her chapter, “Timbre,” is forthcoming in Routledge’s Music Analysis and Film: Studying the Score. SMT-V recently accepted her article “We are dancing, We are flying” for production. Alongside her research, teaching remains one of Chelsea’s greatest passions. 

Joanne Na  

Joanne S. Na is a multicultural composer, who brings together the cultural traditions of the East and West through her music. Her output encompasses a diverse range of works including vocal music, instrumental solo and chamber works, and orchestral music. She endeavors to create music that evokes human emotions, experiences, and places, and to share positive energy and hope through her music. She received the 1st Seoul Grand Philharmonic Orchestra Next Generation Composers Award, and she was a finalist for the 68th BMI Student Composers Award and a semi-finalist for the 2020 Walter Hussey Composition Competition. Her works have been performed by Grammy-winning soprano Estelí Gomez, cellist Arlen Hlusko, soprano Arwen Myers, Delgani String Quartet, UO Saxophone Studio, Hwaum Chamber Orchestra, Seoul Grand Philharmonic Orchestra, Helix! New Music Ensemble, and Rutgers Symphony Orchestra. She is pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Oregon, studying with Robert Kyr and David Crumb.

Hannah Lafleur 

Hannah (she/her) is thrilled to be graduating with a Masters in 
Musicology because her friends will now have to take her musical opinions more seriously. Hannah also holds a Bachelors in Music 
Education from LSU, and she has two years of experience being a middle school band director. Besides her professional experiences in music and education, Hannah enjoys making art, talking to any cat that will listen, and baking (but mostly eating). Wherever her quarter-life crisis takes her, she will be glad she spent these past two years learning from UO’s incredible faculty and following her curiosity for music in culture. Go Ducks!



Outstanding Graduate Performer

Morgan Bates

Morgan Bates graduates with dual master's degrees in trumpet performance and musicology along with a women's, gender, and sexuality studies graduate certificate. During their time at the University of Oregon, Morgan won positions with the Rogue Valley Symphony and Oregon Mozart Players while holding the GE role of second trumpet with the Oregon Brass Quintet, UO's own faculty brass quintet. A member of the Eugene Difficult Music Ensemble, Morgan is passionate about exploring performance beyond the western classical realm. As a researcher, Morgan's work focuses on gender and queer perspectives in music-making, from Handel operas to Janelle Monáe's emotion pictures. Following graduation, Morgan will spend the coming year working as a mental health support specialist with Shangri-La in Eugene, Oregon and intends to pursue a PhD in musicology in the coming years.

Ardeshir Pourkeramati 
Jazz Studies

Ardeshir Pourkeramati is a saxophonist, who is currently living in Vancouver, Canada. Before attending the University of Oregon, he received his bachelor’s degree at Capilano University. Ardeshir had a great time in Eugene, and is very pleased with the opportunities that have come his way within the past two years. He’s very grateful for meeting the wonderful faculty and students here at UO. Ardeshir would like to thank Steve Owen and Paul Krueger for all the work that they put into making the school a positive and educational environment, and for being two of the best educators he’s ever come across.



Sophia Lo 

As a Yamaha Young Performing Artist, Chin-Li Sophia Lo present wide variety of interdisciplinary performances including premiers at Double Exposure, a media festival featuring collaboration between film and music. She has performed concerts in Dvorak Hall, Slovak Radio Hall, Bela Bartok National Concert Hall, as well as music festivals around the globe such as Percussion Meets Identity (Austria), Beta Percussion International Institute, International Katarzyna Mycka Marimba Academy, Percussive Arts Society International Convention, and Zeltsman Marimba Festival. In addition, she has placed in numerous competitions such as Great Plains Marimba Competition, Mid-Missouri Percussive Arts Trophy, and PAS California Chapter Marimba competition.
In addition to her performance career, she is a passionate educator and presents masterclasses at middle and high schools in Oregon and California where her students have placed first in CCGC competitions. Sophia will serve as a Graduate Teaching Fellow at University of North Texas next year, pursuing a doctoral degree.

Connie Mak 

Connie Mak will receive her Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance in August 2021. She has served as a Graduate Employee in piano pedagogy and collaborative piano as well as the Administrative Assistant of the Piano Pedagogy Program at the University of Oregon. She holds degrees from the University of Kansas and Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Her primary teachers include Claire Wachter, Dean Kramer, Jack Winerock, and Eugene Pridonoff. 

Connie is the winner of 2019 University of Oregon Concerto/Aria Competition, 2016/2017 MTNA Northwest Division Young Artist Piano Competition, 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 Oregon MTNA Young Artist Piano Competitions, and 2010 Hays Symphony Young Artist’s Competition. She is the recipient of Eugene Kiwanis Club George P. Hopkins Piano Scholarship, Kansas City Musical Club Gladys Casford Memorial Scholarship for Piano, and University of Kansas Zakoura Collaborative Piano Scholarship. She has performed in masterclasses with Stephen Hough, Anton Nel, Jon Nakamatsu, and Natalya Antonova.

Yaoyun Miao
Collaborative Piano

Chinese pianist Yaoyun Miao, currently earning a Doctor of Musical Arts in collaborative piano from the University of Oregon under Dr. David Riley. She has served as a piano instructor in the Piano Pedagogy Program of UO and is currently a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the School of Music and Dance. She received her master’s degree in collaborative piano from the University of New Mexico and bachelor’s in piano performance from the Shandong University, where she studied with Juilliard alumna Pamela Viktoria Pyle, Steinway Artist Falko Steinbach, and Jing Mei, respectively. Her performance experience includes vocal and instrumental recitals, choral and orchestral concerts, as well as operas and musical theaters.


Yunhan Xu
Piano Pedagogy 

As an educator, Yunhan Xu has been teaching piano for more than 10 
years. Yunhan was a piano instructor in the Piano Laboratory Program of the University of Illinois, and most recently at the University of 
Oregon Piano Pedagogy Program. She is a member of the MTNA Music Club and Music Club Steering Committee.  She is a certified Harmony Road instructor, trained in Portland from Jan Keyser, the founder of the Harmony Road Method.

As a performer, Yunhan earned her B.Mus. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2015. Following two years of study, she received her Dual Master`s Degrees in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy under the tutelage of Dr. William Heiles and Dr. Christos Tsitsaros. Yunhan received her Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the University of Oregon under the guidance of Dr. Claire Wachter and Dr. Dean Kramer. She is the First Prize Winner of the Clara Rolland Piano Competition and has performed solo recitals for the Kiwanis Club, the Global Scholars Hall, Clark-Lindsey Village, among many others.

Yunhan is currently located in Palo Alto, North California and teaching at New Mozart School of Music as senior instructor.

Bethany Battafarano 

Bethany Battafarano is an active soprano soloist and consort singer. Recent solo engagements include the title role in Perti’s La beata Imelde, Kurtag’s Kafka Fragments, and Luzzaschi’s Madrigali. Battafarano has performed, toured, and recorded nationally and internationally with such award-winning ensembles as The Rose Ensemble, South Dakota Chorale, Quince Ensemble, and Apollo Master Chorale. She is a founding board member and co-chair of the Justice and Best Practices Committee with the nonprofit Border CrosSing, and a co-founder of experimental vocal consort Artemis, which has been commissioned by Walker Art Center and EMPAC of New York, among others. Battafarano’s compositions have been commissioned by the Cedar Cultural Center and featured at Studio Z and SPNN Studios. She enjoys additional work as a Spanish medical interpreter and transcript editor. Battafarano holds M.A. Musicology and M.Mus. Voice Performance degrees from the University of Oregon, and undergraduate degrees in Music, Anthropology, and Psychology from Macalester College.


Annabel MacDonald 

Annabel MacDonald is a graduate student at the University of Oregon in the studio of Dr. Jacqueline Cordova-Arrington, currently pursuing the Graduate Performance Certificate in Flute. In 2020 she graduated from the UO with double bachelor’s degrees in Music Performance and International Studies with a focus in Law and Human Rights (genocide studies and restorative justice). In her time at the UO, she has played with numerous chamber and orchestral ensembles in Eugene and performed in festivals in the US and abroad. She served as the 2020-21 UO CEI Student Representative and facilitator for the Student and Alumni LGBTQIA+ Community Conversations. 

Next year Ms. MacDonald will begin her master’s degree in music performance studying with Marianne Gedigian at the University of Texas at Austin, where she will serve as Teaching Assistant for the flute studio. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, hiking, and making music with friends.

Hannah Willard 

Hannah Willard is graduating with her Masters of Music in violin performance and is receiving a certificate in violin/viola pedagogy. Over the past six years of college education, she soloed with the UNL Symphony, performed five solo recitals, played beloved chamber and orchestral works with university and professional groups, taught violin in several institutions, and connected with hundreds of amazing musicians through schools and festivals. Moving forward, Hannah is greatly looking forward to staying in the Eugene area to create and grow even more deep connections through the beauty of performing and teaching.


Christine Sears

Washington native Christine Sears began her cello studies at age 11 in her elementary orchestra program. After winning the Masterworks Youth Music Competition in 2013, Christine participated as a finalist in the Beatrice Herrman and Cour d’Alene Young Artists competitions. In 2020 she was selected as a winner of the Strings Division of the University of Oregon Concerto Competition. She has had the pleasure of being admitted to summer festivals including the Chautauqua Institution, Icicle Creek Chamber Music Institute, and Center Stage Strings among others. An avid orchestral musician, Christine served as Assistant Principal with the Longmont Symphony in Longmont, CO, and regularly performs with the Eugene Symphony and Orchestra Next. She holds bachelor’s degrees in cello performance and music education from the University of Colorado at Boulder where she studied with David Requiro. Christine is pleased to be graduating with a Master of Music degree and to have studied with Steve Pologe.