School of Music > About > Alumni


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​When we leave the School of Music, we are ready to command the world stage as performers, educators and professionals. We've honed our skills, tuned in not only to our artistry, but also to our industries, our communities and how we'll impact our world.

Alumni Spotlights

DePaul School of Music alumni are doing extraordinary things in the music community and beyond. With the shared experience of their training, our alumni make names for themselves as world-class artists, community-minded educators, and dedicated professionals. 

Discover the personal stories and recent interviews of several Chicago-based alumni by clicking "Learn more".  

LaRob Payton

LaRob K. Payton - BM '15

Artistic Director of Hearing in Color and Bass-Baritone

"As a performer, I am tasked with interpreting art based on my personal experiences. I can use these experiences to build a pathway for others to experience incalculable empathy, thus, bridging dissimilar communities of people."

Learn More

Mary Mazurek

Mary Mazurek - BS '92

Grammy-nominated Recording Engineer

"When I applied for the Sound Recording Technology course of study at DePaul, I possessed little knowledge of the recording industry. [My teachers] taught me the skills I needed not only to work, but to succeed."

Learn More

Lucinda Ali-Landing

Lucinda Ali-Landing - MM '96

Founding Director, Hyde Park Suzuki Institute

"Starting a music school, I knew I could create a community that focused on providing a rich, fun and supportive social experience for children that looked like me."

Learn More

Visit our Distinguished Alumni page​ for even more notable alumni profiles, or scroll down for monthly Music Alumni News Notes!

​​School of Music News​​

The School of Music Alumni office connects you with your alma mater, faculty and friends!

  • Don't miss this article in the Chicago Reader featuring alumnus and Director of Jazz Studies, Dana Hall (MM '02). This first-person account sheds light on what life has been like, and continues to be, as a musician and educator navigating the pandemic.
  • The School of Music Career Services office has announced the upcoming launch of the SOM Career Closet, a free clothing resource for music students at​ the Holtschneider Performance Center. To learn how you can donate to this new initiative, visit the SOM Career Closet webpage​.

  • The Music Alumni Practice Rooms have reopened to our alumni community. To review our new practice room reservation procedure, click here​.

  • Looking to add some Blue Demons to your Spotify playlist? Check out the Music Alumni Spotify Playlists on the Blue Demon Online blog​.

  • Read our Music Alumni interview​ with alumna, Marta Sofia Honer (BM '12)​, where she shares her advice on remote recording.

  • The DePaul School of Music Vincentian Initiatives Committee has launched a community outreach program with the Little Sisters of the Poor, St. Mary's Home. To learn more about how you can participate in this new initiative, visit the Vincentian Initiative Committee webpage.

  • School of Music alumni can submit personal and professional updates to the Alumni office by completing the DePaul Music Alumni News Form or by emailing

    Questions or Concerns? Contact Mary Arendt, Coordinator of Alumni Engagement​

Juan Pastor (MM '13, Jazz Studies) was recently featured on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight. His band, Chinchano, has announced two upcoming shows: Friday, Aug. 6 at Fourth Presbyterian Church and Thursday, Aug. 26 at Epiphany Center for the Arts.

Dr. Janice Minor (CER ‘95, Performance) has been appointed Clinical Associate Professor of Clarinet at the University of Illinois for the upcoming academic year. In addition to her academia positions, Dr. Minor enjoys an active career as a solo recitalist, chamber musician, orchestral player, clinician, and music educator.

Stephen Powell (CER '93/ MM '91, Performance) joined Opera Festival of Chicago on July 24th as Count Gil in a production of Ermanno Wolf-Ferrai's "Il Segreto di Susanna".

Steve Wallace (MM '13, Performance) is the winner of the 2021 BMI Lehman Engel Workshop Advanced Harrington Award for Creativity in Musical Theater.

Caitlin Edwards (MM '19, Performance) has announced the upcoming release of her debut album, Exhale. Pre-order becomes available Aug 5th.

Deenah Bassiouny (BM '13, Performance) recently joined Facebook as a Music Operations Associate for Strategic Music Partnerships.

Laura Adkins (MM '17/BM '12, Performane) gave a masterclass for the International Double Reed Society on July 28th, entitled "Extended Techniques - Where to Begin".

Pierre-Nicolas Colombat (BM '14, Performance) is moving to Basel, Switzerland, this fall to study with Jan Schultsz at FHNW Academy of Music.

Willord Simmons (BM '19, Music Education) was awarded the Linda Muise Staff award for his work as Assistant Director for Student Activities and Engagment at Eastman.

Elena Snow (BA '12, Performance) joined Teatro Nuovo’s production of The Barber of Seville as the Rosina cover. This is the first opera production to make its return in New York and Lincoln Center after the pandemic. Elena is a Resident Artist with Teatro Nuovo.

Ethan Philion (MM '19, Jazz Studies) performed for the MCA's Tuesdays on the Terrace series with his quartet featuring Greg Ward, Russ Johnson, and Dana Hall (MM '02, Jazz Studies) on July 27th, 2021.

Molly Burke (CER '15/MM '13, Performance) joins Third Eye Theatre Ensemble from September 17th through October 3rd for two productions: The Infinite Energy of Ada Lovelace and Petticoats & Sliderules at The Edge Theatre in Chicago.

Betsy Sorensen (BS '18, Sound Recording) has joined Live X, a full service production company, designing, producing, and broadcasting live events for global brand leaders, as Executive Assistant/Coordinator.

Jeff Mattsey (BM '85, Performance) joined Pacific Symphony as Giorgio Germont in a production of Verdi's La Traviata this June.

Asuza Tashiro (MM '13, Performance) performed virtually in March in the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra's Reimagined first solo-performance concert season. She is the orchestra's concertmaster.

Krystina Andreoli (MM '18/BM '13, Music Education/Performance) and Joseph Nierzwicki were married on May 8th, 2021, in Lake Geneva, WI. She works as a music educator at Wilmette (IL.) Junior High School and as an adjunct professor at DePaul University. He works at Grand Dental in Franklin Park, IL. The couple resides in Chicago.

Kaitlin Foley (MM ‘14, Performance) is the soprano soloist in Schubert’s “Mass in G Major” with the Grant Park Music Festival on August 18th at Grant Park Pritzker Pavilion.

Kinan Abou-Afach’s (MM ‘03, Performance) work, “Of Nights and Solace”, was commissioned for Grammy-winning choir The Crossing’s latest album, “Words Adorned”, released on Navona Records in June 2021.

Regina Harris Baiocchi's (MM '95, Composition) Juneteenth Concert Tribute to Melba Liston with 6Degrees Composers can be viewed on the HotHouse Global Livestream Twitch channel.

DJ Corchin (BM '03, Music Education) published his new children's book, "A Thousand No's", with Sourcebooks Inc.

Kate McDuffie (MM '14, Performance), is creating an in-depth series of public videos and accompanying worksheets that outline Shakespeare's Folio Technique for diverse learners. This resource is designed to be a completely free, accessible, guided active learning experience that can be used in a classroom setting or at home. Her goal is to empower learners of all backgrounds and abilities with the tools to take ownership of Shakespeare's language, and learn on their own terms and at their own pace.

Chris Moreno (BM '18, Performance) was recently profiled in an article for the Daily Herald for the release of his second EP, "Jeux".

LaRob Payton's (BM '15, Performance) organization, Hearing in Color, has been awarded a Think Grant by Arts Work Fund.

Bryan Kraak (Performance) has accepted a position at the Academy for the Arts as the trumpet instructor in Asheville, NC.

Dr. Amy Lewis (BM '10, Music Education) has been selected for the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Future of Music Faculty Fellowship, which is a career development initiative will engage 35 Black and Latinx music professionals who are pursuing or considering academic careers, preparing them with the skills, insights and networks to flourish professionally and influence generations of musicians.

Monica Benson (MM '19/BM '14, Performance) recently joined DePaul's Community Music Division as a Suzuki Trumpet teacher.

Richard Brasseale (MM '19/BM '17, Performance) won People's Choice Award in the National Saxophone Museum competition.

Ian Hosack (MM '17, Performance) has joined Maker's Mark in Denver, CO, as a Brand Diplomat.

Breanna Leach (BM '18, Music Education) joined Rappahannock County Public Schools in Washington, VA, as band director in mid-2020.

Yuriy Yurchuk (Performance) returns to the Royal Opera House in London to sing Marcello in Piccini’s La Boheme this June.

Marques Carroll (MM ‘14/BM ‘01, Jazz Studies) recently performed at Chicago’s Jazz Showcase from May 27-30, highlighting his most recent album, “The Ancestors’ Call”

Regina Harris Baiocchi (MM '95, Composition) has announced the 6Degrees Composers Juneteenth Concert Tribute to Melba Liston, to be streamed live on June 19th on the HotHouse Global Livestream Twitch channel.

Janet Puskar (BM '64, Performance) has formed a group called The Lighthouse Trio. They recently performed for the Pensacola Symphony Guild meeting and at the Easter celebration at the Pensacola Lighthouse.

Kayla Burke (BM '16, Music Education) has accepted the position of band director at Marshwood Middle and Great Works Schools for Fall of 2021.

Pierre-Nicolas Colombat (BM '14, Performance) joins the MN Duo 2021 Source Song Festival alongside singer Devon M. Russo as they work with composer Lingbo Ma to present a new song which sets the work of Minnesota Poet Laureate Joyce Sutphen.

Stephen Reichelt (BA '00, Music) is currently performing as section double bass of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and principal bass of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra. He will be releasing a fifth collection of soundscapes by early fall. His previous album, entitled , came out October 30th, 2020. The next release is entitled and will be released September 3rd, 2021.

Kiyoe Matsuura (MM '16, Performance) and Lillia Woolschlager (MM '19) can be seen performing this July as part of the International Music Foundation's Rush Hour Concert Series. Kiyoe is a member of Ars Musica Chicago and Lillia will be performing with oboist, Alex Klein.

Eric Matthew Richardson (BS '14, SRT) was a featured writer in the New York Theatre Barn presentation of works by students of Tony Award-Winning composer William Finn.

Ethan Philion (MM '19, Jazz Studies) will present a pre-recorded concert for the 2021 International Society of Bassists Convention on June 7th. Ethan won the ISB Jazz Competition in 2019.

Joe Beribak (BM '09, Performance) has released several singles, available on all streaming platforms. In addition to these singles, Joe has created a YouTube video series, called "Repetition in Music". 

Kody Glazer (Music) was quoted in a recent NYTimes article, "Biden Administration Moves to Speed Aid to Renters". Kody is a member of the Florida Housing Coalition.

Michelle Kraak (BM '16, Performance) has been accepted into the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers as an apprentice.

Emily Whittaker (MM '19, Performance) has launched a new virtual summer program, Sunshine Horn Camp, dedicated to inspire, teach, and empower French horn students going into grades 6-8. From August 16-20, students will be interacting through games and activities and will have the opportunity to learn more about the horn, the secrets to success in the band room, and diverse professional horn players.

Zachary Good (BM ‘13, Performance) was selected as the 2021 Luminarts Cultural Foundation Classical Winds Fellow.

Alex Wasily 9BM ‘13, Jazz Studies). Dumpstaphunk released their latest album "Where Do We Go From Here" on Bootsy Collins’ label, Mascot Records via The Funk Garage. The album is available for download on all major streaming platforms.

Janai Brugger (BM '05, Performance) joins Cincinnati Opera in summer of 2021 as Michaela in Bizet's Carmen.

Morgan Little (BM '16, Performance) has released a new video on his YouTube channel about stereo recording techniques for small spaces.

Mary Mazurek (BS '92, Sound Recording) was appointed as the Chairperson of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee for the Audio Engineering Society (AES). Recent projects include audio engineering for Haymarket Opera's productions of Handel's Acis and Galatea, Apollo e Dafne, as well as for their upcoming production of Orlando, which will be shot at DePaul's Jarvis Opera House.

Amy Zoloto (BM '93, Performance) of the New York Philharmonic, Paul Demers (CER/MM '97, BM '96, Performance) of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Tim Zavadil (BM '93, Performance) of the Minnesota Orchestra, were all guests for an April master class hosted by the Clarinet studio.

Emma Bonanno (BM '13, Performance) will be attending Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in the fall to pursue a Masters in Urban Planning.

Jeff Conary (BM/BS '03, Performance/Sound Recording), Brian Bullard (BS '06, Sound Recording), Chris Novak (BS '02, Sound Recording), Molly Regan (BS '00, Sound Recording), Craig Anderson (BS '96, Sound Recording) and Charles Lipper (BS '01, Sound Recording) were featured on a guest alumni panel for the SRT Career Info Session virtual program on April 12th.

Josh Jones (BM '14, Performance) is hosting a three-day virtual seminar on May 14-16, called The Art of Performing.

Emily Margevich (MM '19, BM '17, Performance) is a finalist in the Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition.

Danielle Giulini (MM ‘13, Performance) and Drew Griffin were featured in Broadway World for the release of thor video recording of the Handel/Halvorsen “Passacaglia”.

Dana Hall (MM ‘02, Jazz Studies), Director of Jazz Studies at the School of Music, presented "Black Music and Social Justice: Going Beyond the Names and Notes of "Jazz" and other Black American Musics" on March 18th, 2021, in collaboration with the DePaul University Office of Alumni Relations.

LaRob Payton (BM '15, Performance) is one of the 81 Black Chicago leaders recently recognized by the UpTogether Equity Fund.

Janai Brugger (BM '05, Performance) was the recipient of one of LA Opera's newest awards, The Eva and Marc Stern Artist Award.

Steve Wallace (MM '13, Performance) was recently published in Newsweek! Read Steve's article on his musical journey that led him to create his film, Hal King, and how it connects to the legacy of Black Arts.

Jared Esguerra (BM '12, Performance) will join Chautauqua Opera for its 2021 season.

Jackson Kidder (BA '15, Music) recently released a debut record with New Context, available on all major streaming platforms.

Josh Jones (BM '14, Performance) will join the adjunct faculty at UMKC Conservatory for Fall of 2021.

Ryan Wolfe (BM '18, Performance) has advanced to the semi-finals of the 2021 Lotte Lenya competition.

Caitlin Edwards (MM '19, Performance) was featured in an episode of Music Made Classic, a series produced by Chicago Sinfonietta’s Residents Orchestrate Project initiative in collaboration with Connect Gallery in Hyde Park, Chicago.

Steve Wallace (MM '13, Performance) had three of his art songs premiered with Portland Opera this February, performed by Michael Parham. This performance was part of a program dedicated to Black composers and arrangers.

Rich Daniels (BM '83, Composition) was recently featured on the "Someone Gets Me" podcast with host, Dianne Allen, to discuss precision and ambition.

Jeremy Carrasco (BS '16), Joe Hampton (BS '16) and Owen Burton (BM '16) are joining Live X, a full service design, production and broadcast company. Jeremy and Joe were co-founders of Accessible AV, which was recently acquired by Live X.

Janai Brugger (BM '05, Performance) joined Palm Beach Opera this February in the 2021 festival performance of Mozart's The Magic Flute in the role of Pamina.

Brian Scarborough (MM '15, Jazz Studies) recently released his debut book project, The Scales Handbook, which is available now on Amazon and through the store on his website. The book is currently available in bass clef and will be released in a treble clef version in the coming months.

Morgan Little (BM '16, Performance) is the new Baroque ensemble assistant at Adlai E. Stevenson High School and will be leading the Viol consort, as well as helping Enrique Vilaseco further shape his baroque program.

Mary Mazurek (BS' 92, SRT) served as the audio engineer for Chicago's-own Haymarket Opera Company's Acis and Galatea, the soon to be streaming Apollo, and for the upcoming Orlando.

Leah Johns (BM '14, Performance) recently presented a virtual workshop for the Association of Opera in Canada on social media management for artists. Leah is the founder of Opera Shenanigans and a social media manager for Lenny's Studio.

Sonia Mantell (MM '16, Performance) lead a virtual cello masterclass for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. Sonia is an alumnae of the CYSO and current cellist with the Minnesota Orchestra.

Tomeka Reid (MM '02, Performance) has been selected for this year’s class of United States Artists Fellows, receiving a grant of $50,000.

Melissa Treinkman’s (MM '07, Performance) article, "Focus of Attention Research: A Review and Update for Teachers of Singing" was published in Vol.77, No. 3 of the Journal of Singing.

SSG Alexander Bullard (BM '15, Performance), GySgt Joseph DeLuccio (MM '01, Performance) & SSG Parker Gaims (BM '11, Performance), all DePaul alumni members of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, performed "Hail to the Chief" to honor President Biden, and accompanied Lady Gaga on the national anthem.

Richard Brasseale (MM '19/BM '17, Performance) created an ambient lo-fi EP available now on Spotify and other streaming services.

Steve Wallace's (MM '13, Performance) film, "Hal King" is officially available for streaming on iTunes, Amazon Prime and other platforms.

LaRob Payton (BM '15, Performance) and Kristina Lynn (BM '14, Performance) have joined Chicago's WFMT Classical radio host fill-in roster.

Stephen Powell (CER '93/MM '91, Performance) is nominated for two Grammy's this season: Best Classical Vocal Solo for his latest album "American Composers at Play", and Best Opera Recording for "The Trial at Rouen".

Violetta Todorova (MM '13/BM '11, Performance) shares her most recent recording of relaxing violin and waves music for deep sleeping and stress relief.

Brandon Acker (BM '12, Performance) was featured in Haymarket Opera Company's "We Wish you a 'Marais' Christmas" recital, available online now.


Tori Lupinek (BM '15, Performance) has launched a podcast called "The Unclassical Musician", where she and her guests discuss hot-button topics for young professionals in the music world. The goal of the podcast is to empower the new generation of classical musicians to take risks and live a fulfilling life.

Joel Baer (MM '14, Jazz Studies) recently released a jazz big band album self-entitled "The Blueshift Big Band". The Blueshift Big Band is a 17-piece jazz orchestra lead by Joel and Chris Parsons that plays original arrangements based on Blues, American songbook tunes, pop music and video games.

Join alumnae Anna Caldwell (MM '16, Performance), Daina Fischer (MM '17, Performance) and Laura Smalley (BM '17, Performance), members of The Peppermint Patties, for a virtual concert, "Home for the Holidays", available on December 5th.

Monica Benson (MM '19, BM '14, Performance) joined the Fulcrum Point New Music Project team as General Manager.

Steve Wallace (MM '13, Performance) is now a member of Theatre Now’s writer’s lab developing a new music theatre work with lyricist Kenny Harmon.

Kristina Elstner (BM '14, Performance) made her radio hosting debut on 98.7 WFMT this November.

Audrey Lidke (BM '18, Performance) earned her Real Estate License in TN in summer 2020 and has joined the team at Mark Spain Real Estate as an Exclusive Listing Consultant.

Janai Brugger (BM '05, Performance) joined the soundtrack of HBO's hit series, Lovecraft Country, on Episode 9, "Rewind 1921". Instead of the show's regular closing theme, viewers were treated to "Tulsa, 1921: Catch the Fire", a song composed by Laura Karpman and performed by Janai.

Mary Mazurek (BS '92, Sound Recording) was featured on the SoundGirls podcast this October. To listen to her episode, visit the SoundGirls Spotify page.

Ruth Marshall (CER '11/MM '09, Performance) has been appointed as Instructor of Cello at Hamline University in Saint Paul, MN, beginning in September 2020. In the same month, she gave two virtual master classes at the Escuela Departamental de Música de Maldonado in Uruguay.

Geof Bradfield (BM '92, Jazz Studies), Dana Hall (MM '02, Jazz Studies) and Ben Goldberg's new album, General Semantics, was featured on an episode of WBEZ's FRESH AIR.

Elyse Anne Kakacek (BM '10, Performance) was featured on WGTE to discuss her new album, Formless: The Biblical Songs of Antonin Dvořák. Inspirational in both interpretation and content, Formless offers a peaceful meditation on spirituality – and a salve for the soul in troubled times such as these.

Kaitlin Foley (MM '14, Performance) and Jianghai Ho (MM '17, Performance) performed in Haymarket Opera Company's virtual production of Handel's Acis & Galatea as Chorus members.

Jeremy Cunningham (MM '16, Jazz Studies) performed live from Chicago's The Hideout in September 2020 with alumnus Lane Beckstrom (bass) & Will Miller (trumpet/electronics), playing selections from his most recent album, The Weather Up There (Northern Spy, 2020). This new work focuses on the life of Jeremy's younger brother Andrew, who died in a home invasion robbery in 2008. The album confronts the tragedy of violence and examines the acute ripple effect on several people's lives through the lens of memory, response, and collage.

Lindsay Metzger (BM '10, Performance) is now represented by Stratagem Artists. Founded by Justin Werner in 2018, Stratagem Artists is a boutique artist management company dedicated to representing a select roster of classical singers. Lindsay is a graduate of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center.

Alumni Matt Ulery (MM '13), Marquis Hill (MM '12), Dana Hall (MM '02), Tomeka Reid (MM '02), Nick Mazzarella (MM '09/BM '06), Brent Griffin Jr (BM '16), Mary Halm (BM '19), Steve Marquette (BM '10), and Geof Bradfield (BM '92) performed in this year's Hyde Park Jazz Fest, in both virtual and live concerts.

Stephen Powell (CER '93 / MM '91, Performance), baritone, released his new album, "American Composers at Play" in September 2020. Featured composers include, William Bolcom, Ricky Ian Gordon, Lori Laitman and John Musto.

Marta Sofia Honer (BM '12, Performance) played viola for Chloe x Halle’s rendition of the National Anthem for the opening game of the NFL season. 

Megan Fletcher (MM '15, Performance), LaRob Payton (BM '15, Performance) and Robin West (BM '16, MusEd) joined in celebrating the immeasurable contributions of the LGBTQ community within the world of performing arts with Chicago Fringe Opera's Virtual Pride Celebration. This online concert highlighted the works of living LGBTQ composers performed by members and allies of the LGBTQ community.

Joe Clark (MM '10 / BM '08, Jazz Studies & Composition) was recently interviewed by Dan Ursini for Escape into Life's series, "Music for Music".

Alex Laskey (BM '14, Performance) has joined Purdue University Fort Wayne as an Adjunct Horn Professor. He has been an active member of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic as second Horn since 2018.


Eric Beltran (BM '98, Music Education) has joined the D91 administration as the assistant principal at Field Stevenson and the Forest Park Middle Schools. Beltran brings over two decades of experience in education to the district, including being a band director at Catholic elementary schools and Nazareth Academy for 15 years. He served as dean of students at St. Joseph High School, which he attended. He was assistant principal at St. Cletus in LaGrange. Most recently, he was the dean at Wilford Elementary School in Cicero for three years and assistant principal for a year.


Pierre-Nicolas Colombat (BM '14, Performance) recently released his debut recording of Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata in collaboration with Daniel Orsen. The album is available on Spotify and Bandcamp.


Akshat Jain (MM '18, Performance) joins the Proviso Math and Science Academy as Assistant Band Director.


Sarah Kozak (BM '15, Performance) launched her food & recipe website, "And She Cooks!", a site with ingredient lists, suggestions, and basic recipes that give you the structure of a dish with the flexibility to improvise:


Marty Wells (MM '20, Performance) was hired as the Director of Orchestra for Bray Elementary and Permenter Middle in Cedar Hill, Texas – schools he attended between 1998 and 2007.


Jeremy Cunningham (MM '16, Jazz Studies) will be performing live from the Hideout with alumnus Lane Beckstrom (bass) & Will Miller (trumpet/electronics) playing selections from The Weather Up There (Northern Spy, 2020) as well as material for their trio on Sept. 30th @ 8pm.