Lawrence Bivins
Lawrence Bivins is Founder and Principal of Evensong Communications, Ltd., a provider of communications and market intelligence services to businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies. From 2017 to 2022, he was Managing Director for Policy and Public Affairs at the North Carolina Economic Development Association (NCEDA), a Raleigh-based non-profit with more than 800 active members. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Bivins served as Interim Deputy Secretary for Public Affairs at the N.C. Department of Commerce and was Deputy Communications Director there from 2015 to 2017.

Through the years, Bivins has contributed features on business and the economy to the Rocky Mount Telegram, Business North Carolina, The Wall Street Journal, and Area Development and Site Selection. He is the author of North Carolina: A State of Minds, published in 2004 by Cherbo Publishing Group. Bivins holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Louisiana State University, American University and the London School of Economics. He resides in downtown Raleigh with his wife, Lori.


Alana Bleimann
Alana Bleimann is a graduate of the University of San Francisco where she obtained a degree in Sociology. Now back in her hometown of Raleigh, NC, she is diving into the world of writing and journalism while also immersing herself in the local Triangle arts scene. She has been performing on the stage her entire life, with appearances in Porgy and Bess (Justice Theater Project) and Black Nativity (Justice Theater Project). Her love lies in the art of dance and writing where she hopes to use this intersection for inspiration, reflection, and change.

Josh Bottoms
Josh Bottoms has spent most of his life in the mountainous deserts of Nevada and currently lives in Greensboro, NC. An avid music educator and performer, Josh is the principal clarinet of the Fayetteville Symphony and a founding member of the Cardinal Sound Collective chamber ensemble. In his free time, Josh is a fervent baker, dedicated gardener, aspiring interior designer, and an adventurous outdoorsman. Josh earned a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Nevada, Reno and a Master of Music in Clarinet Performance from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

Kelsey Carlisle
Kelsey Carlisle began playing music at 7 years old, and his early career in blues music allowed him to play alongside multiple Grammy-nominated and award-winning artists such as Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Bob Margolin, and Victor Wainwright. He began his classical music studies in his junior year of high school when he joined the University of North Carolina School of the Arts high school program and stayed there all four years of his undergraduate education. During this time, he studied with Eric Larsen, Dmitri Vorobiev, and Allison Gagnon, and constantly performed in both concerts held by UNCSA and in outreach concerts around the state of North Carolina. Additionally, he performed in multiple student projects for UNCSA’s School of Drama. Kelsey began as an intern at CVNC during his senior year of college and became a staff writer after graduation in 2022. His work at CVNC has covered everything from Bach to bluegrass, which has allowed him to continue his passion for widening the scope of what “classical” music is. He is currently the pianist at Dobson First Baptist Church in Dobson, North Carolina, and Music Director at Unity Church of Winston-Salem.

Lakota Craft
Lakota Craft is a senior at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She is pursuing a major in both Mass Communications: Broadcasting and English: Professional Writing, along with minors in Media Integration and Creative Writing. Since January 2021, she has worked for the Pine Needle newspaper at UNC Pembroke as a reporter and a tutor at the Writing Center; she also interned at Native Visions Magazine. During her time at UNC Pembroke, she has learned how to use language to write for different genres including creative fiction, poetry, academia, non-creative fiction, news articles, feature stories, and academic grants, along with other forms of writing.


Roy C. Dicks
Roy C. Dicks He has undergraduate degrees in English and in Drama from East Carolina University and a Masters of Library Science from UNC-Chapel Hill. His musical background includes singing in university and community choruses as well as a lifelong devotion to classical music and opera. His additional theater background includes performing in over 60 productions at university, community and dinner theaters, as well as directing more than 30 productions in the Triangle area. He reviewed theater, dance and classical music for Raleigh’s weekly Spectator Magazine from 1978-1986 and from 1997 to 2018, he did the same for the daily Raleigh News and Observer. Roy also has written for Opera Quarterly, American Record Guide, Dance Magazine, Pointe Magazine. and Classical Voice North America. He is a member of the Music Critics Association of North America and the American Theatre Critics Association.


Lynn Felder
Lynn Felder is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about art and culture for newspapers and magazines in North and South Carolina for more than 35 years. She is a poet and a playwright. In 2021, she wrote and produced a one-act play, “Our Time: A Conversation in Black and White,” with support from Artists Thrive, a program of the Emily Tremaine Hall Foundation, and the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. She is always on the lookout for collaborators to make antiracist art that aims to heal ongoing social injustices in the U.S.


Gregg Gelb
Gregg began his jazz career in the ’80’s performing with the fine jazz group, GROUP SAX. The group included the group’s first leader and drummer, Peter Ingram, and featured the fine trumpeter and composer Ray Codrington (in photo) and Rodney Marsh (see below for recent article in Our State Magazine). In the mid-eighties Gregg became leader and the jazz sextet traveled much from festivals to concerts and one of the last and best projects was a recording session with Sir Roland Hanna.

Gregg formed a new band in the late ’80’s because he wanted to play with the great Raleigh swing pianist Paul Montgomery, and also to arrange swing standards for a band of four horns.  Paul, better known to thousands of North Carolinian’s as famous TV personality Uncle Paul, was also one of the best swing pianists around, sounding no different that Earl ‘Fatha Hines’ and other great players like Mel Powell. But it was Paul’s daughter and vocalist Kathy who soon became a feature of the band, (and soon after that also Gregg’s wife!)  The eight-piece Gregg Gelb Swing Band went on to achieve wide popularity and still continues to this day. Gregg has written 250 arrangements for the group that features Kathy, and long time members Rodney Marsh, Jim Ketch, John Hanks, John Simonetti, and newest members Grant Osborne and Jerald Shynett.

Gregg is a recipient of a Jazz Composers Award from the North Carolina Arts Council and four Regional Artist grants from the Fayetteville/Cumberland County Arts Council.  In addition to leading his Jazz Quartet, 8-piece Swing Band, BIG BAND, Latin Jazz Band and other small groups, he is founder and director of the Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Society, and co-founder and player with the North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra. He is director of the Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble and he teaches Introduction to Jazz online for Central Carolina Community College.

He has been an Interim Assistant Professor of Jazz at UNC Greensboro, NC State, and Francis Marion University, an Adjunct Professor at Fayetteville State and UNC Chapel Hill, band teacher in the Wake County Public Schools, and a Visiting Artist in the North Carolina Community Colleges.

He has a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Berklee College of Music, a Master of Music degree from the North Carolina School of the Arts, and a DMA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


Timothy W. Holley
Timothy W. Holley is a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College and the University of Michigan. He is a cellist; he was a member of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra for twelve years and was also affiliated with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra during that time. He is Assistant Professor of Music at North Carolina Central University (since 1996) and also taught at the Duke University String School (1997-2001). He is a member of the Mallarmé Chamber Players and has performed with the Ciompi Quartet of Duke University and the North Carolina Symphony. His doctoral dissertation focused on the cello music of African-American composers, and he continues to be active in the study and performance of African-American concert music.

Chelsea Huber
Chelsea Huber is the choral director at Lucas Middle School in Durham. In addition to teaching. She performs with North Carolina Opera, North Carolina Master Chorale, and the Durham Savoyards. She is a graduate of Meredith College, where she began as an intern at CVNC for three years before becoming a regular contributor. She loves to explore the many performing arts events in the Triangle Area.

C. C. Lilford
C.C. is a writer and critic currently based out of Wilmington North Carolina. Their background is in storytelling, across mediums and genres, with a focus on balancing the fantastical with the nuances of human drama. C.C. enjoys a wide range of art across mediums, the operas of Gilbert and Sulivan, the comics of Grant Morrison, the music of Prince, the films of Howard Hawks, the novels of Jane Austen and much more. As a critic C.C. strives to balance an understanding of genre history with the a work’s place in a contemporary context and the voices of the creatives involved.They have a B.A. in Communications from Goshen College and Masters in Film Studies from UNCW. C.C. is an occasional collaborative critic on the podcast BBB Radio and a script doctor on the fiction podcast Rifted. When not working on a project, C.C. can be found at random antique stores looking for lost treasures.

Timothy H. Lindeman

Timothy H. Lindeman is Professor of Music Emeritus at Guilford College, where he served as Chair for more than 20 years. He received the Ph.D. in music theory with minors in piano and art history from Indiana University. He is a published author and has presented papers at several national music conventions. For more than a three decades he has written about the Triad music scene in both Triad Style, the News and Record, and for the on-line journal, Culutral Voice of North Carolina. His most recent reviews can read be at
In 2007 he was one of 23 critics from across the country to be accepted in the National Endowment for the Arts sponsored "Reviewing Classical Music and Opera," a ten-day seminar housed at Columbia University in New York City.
His primary research interest is Beethoven. He was one of twelve scholars to participate
in an NEH seminar on Beethoven at Harvard University under the tutelage of Lewis Lockwood. As an outcome, he designed an interdisciplinary senior seminar, "Beethoven: The Age of Revolution." Tim has given both solo and collaborative recitals, usually with his soprano wife, Nancy Walker, a Professor of Voice Emerita at University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
They have performed throughout the US, in China, and in Europe. In his spare time, Tim likes to cook, exercise, walk the dog (Ladaie), and spend time with his two daughters, Kelsey, a veterinarian technician in Greensboro, and Chloe, a Ph.D. student in physics at the University of Chicago. (Both are musically inclined….)


Andrea McKerlie Luke
Andrea McKerlie Luke earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Flute Performance, along with a minor in Professional Writing and Presentation Media, from Meredith College in 2013. She began with CVNC through the college internship program in 2011, continuing to become a reviewer/critic after graduating. After additionally taking on the role of Calendar Editor for several years, she was appointed as the new Executive Director in 2021. She is also the Executive Director for the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra, and the Development Director for RAFA (Raleigh Area Flute Association), with which she is an active performer and has directed several youth flute choirs. She is a Chapel Hill native and has performed with the Raleigh Flute Choir, Raleigh Little Theatre, and Triangle Youth Ballet, and she has published two young adult fantasy novels.

Emmeline MacMillan
Emmeline MacMillan is a violinist from Florida currently based in Greensboro, NC. Emmeline holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music in violin performance from the Florida State University College of Music, as well as a certificate in violin performance from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. Having played violin since she was six, she is an avid supporter of both classical and non-classical performance endeavors, and is currently a member of both the Greensboro Symphony and the Western Piedmont Symphony. MacMillan also received a minor in English during her undergraduate studies at FSU and has a passion for literature and linguistics. When she isn’t pursuing musical or literary activities, Emmeline enjoys making lattes at The Green Bean, spending time with friends, and lounging around with her beloved cats.

Michelle Medina-Villalon

Michelle Medina Villalon has been with CVNC since 2021. She began as an intern, covering events in her college town of Salisbury and the surrounding area. Now a proud alum of Catawba College Theatre, she mostly writes for the Charlotte region. Some of her favorite events to cover are intimate theatrical productions, vocalists, and the educational performing arts. A director, playwright, and theatre educator herself, she finds joy in uplifting artists through her reviews as she looks to help bolster the community support around local productions. Michelle is a 2023 National Critics Institute (Charlotte) Fellow.


H. H. Miller
A native of New Mexico and a graduate of Luther College, a liberal arts college in Decorah, Iowa, Heather E. Miller holds degrees in elementary education and music. As a student at Luther, she sang in 4 different choirs, performing across the Midwest. The daughter of a physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and a music teacher, she grew up surrounded by science, but was just a short drive away from an abundance of art, music, and theater in Santa Fe. She has performed in numerous musical and dramatic theater productions throughout her life. Heather has held a variety of jobs including elementary music teacher and personal assistant, and is currently serving as a director of children’s and youth ministries in Lumberton, North Carolina. Her theater experience includes writing and directing musicals for children. In addition to keeping up with her own 2 children who attend college at the University of Northern Iowa, she enjoys traveling, spending time with friends, long walks, and the occasional lazy day curled up with coffee and a good book.

Karen E. Moorman
Karen E. Moorman earned a BA in music from UNC-CH and a MA in Liberal Studies from NCSU and has served as a lecturer in the Arts Studies Program at NCSU. Her academic treatises include: The Recitatives of the Late Beethoven String QuartetsAmy Beach: An American Composer; and Chaos Theory and Experimental Music: The Intersection of Two Avante-Gardes. With an interest toward educating young listeners, Moorman planned, coached students, and hosted Arts Now for Kids as part of the 2004 Arts Now Series directed by Dr. Rodney Waschka II at NC State University. She is a NEA Fellow (2008) of the Columbia University Arts Journalism Institute for Music and Opera.

Now a retired music teacher, Moorman is spending more time in the garden, reading and with great joy, grand parenting.

(Revised 5/21)


Melanie Kaye Moseley
Melanie Kaye Moseley is a senior at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) of Durham, North Carolina studying instrumental performance. Her primary instrument is piano, and she hopes to someday become a musicologist, teach college-level music history, and publish works focusing on artists and music associated with the African-American community.  Melanie is a member of Alpha Kappa Mu Scholarship National Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, Inc., Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society, and Sigma Alpha Pi National Society of Leadership and Success. At NCCU’s 2022 Honors Convocation, she received the Outstanding Academic Scholarship Award from the Department of Music, and the Excellence in Student Led Research Award from the Department of Education. Melanie is a member of Musical Empowerment, an on-campus organization that renders free music lessons to students in the public school system.

In Spring 2021, she was accepted to become a member of Duke University’s Bass Connections Research team, strengthening partnerships between Durham public schools and local universities during the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 academic school years. On this team, Duke University partners with North Carolina Central University to connect students, parents, faculty, and staff in Durham Public Schools with resources within the Durham Community such as health clinics, anti-racism curriculums, and an informative dashboard consisting of resources such as child-care facilities, farmers’ markets, etc. During summer 2022, Melanie coded and researched on Duke University’s Data+ team. She is a 2022 Eileen Southern Travel Grant Recipient, and will attend the 2022 American Musicological Society’s Annual Meeting.


Samantha Oleschuk
Samantha Oleschuk is an emerging arts professional and art writer based in North Carolina. With experience in museum collections, exhibitions, research, art education, and art criticism, she is dedicated to creating and supporting accessible, inclusive, and transformational art experiences. Samantha studies Art and Visual Culture with a concentration in Art Management at Appalachian State University. On campus, she manages the Plemmons Student Union’s permanent art collections and the Looking Glass Gallery. She is currently working on her honors thesis focused on creative aging programs in museums and cultural institutions/organizations. Upon graduation in May of 2024, Samantha hopes to stay in North Carolina and establish a career in the museum/nonprofit arts field.

Richard Parsons
Richard Parsons was born and reared in Raleigh. He attended Ravenscroft School, Broughton High School, and UNC-CH. He studied piano with Valerie Baumgarten and was a private organ student of Margaret S. Mueller and Catherine Ritchie Miller. Beginning in 1972, he established the Sunbury Press and published eight scholarly titles on organ and harpsichord building. These include Charles Ferguson’s translation of the monumental The Organ-Builder, originally by Dom François Bédos de Celles, and Owen Jorgensen’s Equal-Beating Temperaments. For over ten years, beginning in 1983, he reviewed mostly Baroque keyboard and chamber music for Raleigh’s Spectator Magazine. He is also an experienced church bell change ringer; he is a member of the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths, an English elective society of ringers. He plays the harpsichord privately for his own amusement. He is a free-lance graphic designer in New Bern.

Maggie Pate
Maggie Pate is a native North Carolinian with an extensive background in the performing arts. Maggie holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Pedagogy from East Carolina University, attended Berklee College of Music, and obtained a M.S. Ed. from Sunbridge College, New York.

Having been on both the North Carolina and Washington State Visiting Artist rosters, Maggie has performed throughout the United States in both classical and jazz genres and as well in musical theatre and dance. Some of her most noted local performances include the soprano soloist of Stravinsky’s Les Noces and spearheading a concert for Sights and Sounds at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Maggie is a member of the North Carolina Master Chorale.

Maggie has worked for professional organizations within the arts including the Thelonious Monk Institute, WHR-Wilmington, Performance Support Services of Seattle, Long Leaf Opera Company. Maggie has held the position of music and dance editor for CVNC since 2015. She is now honored to be moving into the role of Editor in Chief for the organization as of 2021. Maggie is also currently the business development manager for choral music in North America for Oxford University Press.


Peter Perret
Born in Minnesota to a family of artists and scientists, Peter Perret was the Music Director of the Winston-Salem Symphony from 1978 to 2004. Previously Perret had served the Buffalo Philharmonic as Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductor for three years, and before that he was Principal Conductor of the Capetown Symphony (South Africa). Perret frequently lectures and leads workshops on the relationship of music to learning. Perret has co-authored a book (with Janet Fox), A Well-Tempered Mind; Using Music to Help Children Listen and Learn, aimed at parents and teachers, released by the Dana Press in October 2004.

Spencer P. Phillips
Spencer Phillips has been writing for CVNC since December 2010. She is a 2011 cum laude graduate of Meredith College. Holding a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Theatre, Spencer now works as an instructor at the Mariposa School for Children with Autism. In the future, Spencer aspires to apply her passion for music and theatre to a career in art therapy for persons with special needs.


Christian T. Roberts
Christian T. Roberts is a ceramic artist with a BFA in Studio Art and a minor in English from Appalachian State University. With a background of nine years in dance and four in theater, Roberts decided to shift to a tactile medium as he transitioned into university. Both are still prevalent in his own life. Roberts’ art is exhibited regionally and current body of work explores the permanence of ceramics and the impermanence of performance.

Barry Salwen
Barry Salwen has given recitals and master classes in the U.S., Central America, Europe, Israel, and Asia. He holds a doctorate in piano from Juilliard and the Diploma with Highest Honors from the music academy in Vienna. He is associate professor of music at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he has also served as coordinator of keyboard studies and director of the annual summer piano workshop.

Barry Salwen has recorded nine CDs, some in the U.S. and some in Europe. He was the first artist to record the complete solo piano works of the American master Roger Sessions and remains the only pianist to have done this. In 2005, the CD was re-released on Albany Records.

In earlier times, he served for four years as music reviewer for the Star News newspaper in Wilmington, and now is most pleased to be back writing about concerts.


Kirstie Spadie
Kirstie Spadie, originally from New Orleans, received a BFA from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She graduated with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.  Professional theatrical productions included international and national tours of West Side Story and the National Tour of CATS in the role of the White Cat, Victoria. Kirstie was appointed by National Dance Institute founder, Jacques d’Amboise, as the founding Artistic Director of North Carolina Arts in Action. She created several original children’s dance productions including “Moving to the Master: Beethoven, Bach and Mozart and “Got Jazz?” celebrating the roots of American Jazz. Kirstie was featured in the book: Career Ideas for Kids who like Music and Dance and Firestarters: 100 Job Profiles to Inspire Young Women. 

Artistic Director of the North Carolina Dance Institute for the past 20 years, Kirstie has taught thousands of dancers at North Carolina Dance Institute.  She is a frequent visiting artist for the Carolina Ballet Summer Intensive, UNCSA Festival of Dance, WCPSS Professional Development Series, and the NC Dance Educators Conference. She has traveled to China for DDC’s Talented Youth Program in Beijing and Shanghai, directing and choreographing productions of Madagascar The Musical!Seussical and The Wizard of Oz. Kirstie was featured in Walter Magazine May 2022.

Kirstie enjoys seeing live theatre at DPAC, ADF, UNC-Carolina Performing Arts and mentoring talented young artists at North Carolina Dance Institute.


Darrell D. Stover
Mr. Stover has an MA in Science Writing from the Johns Hopkins University Creative Writing Program which prepares you to contextualize for museums and communications to the public. It requires proficiency in multiple genres. In his case it was creative non-fiction and poetry. He has written, performed, published and workshopped science, jazz, and blues poetry at many institutions and festivals over the years as well as guest editing the special Jazz Issue of Obsidian when it was published at North Carolina State University. The other major contribution in this regard resulted in the presentation of the paper “Rita Dove, Sterling Brown, and the Blues” at the first “Furious Flower – Black Poetry 60s and Beyond” at James Madison University.

He has more extensive practice as a cultural historian reflected in 30 years of performance and curation of cultural programs of the Black Experience – the Celluloid Sounds: Black Music Traditions in Film among others for the Black Diaspora Film Festival; a 10 month long series of panel discussions and programs on Afrofuturism; the, co-hosted with Doris Betts, 14-week nationally broadcasted public radio program “Storylines Southeast” that examined southern literature; 5 years of curation and booking of the Bull Durham Blues Festival; curation of the African-American Music Trail of Eastern North Carolina photo exhibition and musicians directory; curation of Sci-Fi Noire – Discussions with Black Science Fiction Writers; 15 years as a member of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival selection committee; management of the first ever partnership between the state of North Carolina and the Smithsonian Institution Museum on Main Street program touring New Harmonies – America’s Musical Heritage through rural communities in their examination of their regional musical heritage as Program Director of the North Carolina Humanities Council; and 8 years of teaching close to twenty sessions of AFS 346 Black Popular Culture – From the Blues to Afrofuturism, a very popular course on campus at NCSU which brings into discourse an interdisciplinary scholarship that embraces cultural history, performance studies, art history, and intersectionality.


Perry Tannenbaum

Perry Tannenbaum has been covering the performing arts for Cultural Voice NC since 2009. He has nurtured the arts scene in Charlotte, NC, with reviews, features, and interviews since the inaugural issue of Creative Loafing in 1987, continuing at Queen City Nerve when its inaugural issue was published in 2018. He also contributes regularly to American Record Guide, Broadway World, All About Jazz, and Classical Voice North America. Beyond Charlotte, he regularly reviews Spoleto Festival USA and the New York City scene – Broadway, off-Broadway, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, and various jazz clubs. A devout believer in the busman’s holiday, Perry has also published review roundups from the Aspen Music Festival, Santa Fe Music Festival, Verbier Festival, Spoleto Italy, SeixalJazz International Festival, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Edinburgh International Festival, BBC Proms, Stratford Festival of Canada, Shaw Festival, the Jazz Cruise, and the Savannah Music Festival. He is a member of the Music Critics Association of North America and the American Theatre Critics Association.
Born in New York, where he completed his undergraduate work at Queens College of CUNY, Perry holds an MA in English from Western Washington University. He has been a Southerner since 1972 when he came to teach at the University of South Carolina and study writing under the guidance of poet James Dickey. He traces his love of music to his parents, who met at the Met in the early ’40s and were proudly loyal – and opinionated – subscribers until his father’s death in 2012 at the age of 97. Mom, now nearing 104, resides in Charlotte these days, still able to summon weekly Met Opera broadcasts via her Google Hub.
Perry’s love of music has withstood successive frustrating attempts to master piano, clarinet, and guitar. With more success, he has tackled acting roles with Innovative Theatre and Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. He has sung in musicals staged at Rock Hill Little Theatre and Columbia’s Town Theatre. He is still called frequently into service at Temple Israel, where his aging baritone remains in reasonable vicinity of the traditional cantillation for Torah and Haftarah readings on Shabbat and the cantorial melodies of morning and afternoon prayers during the High Holy Days.

Chelsea S. Waddelow
Chelsea S. Waddelow started writing as CVNC’s first student intern in the summer of 2009, and joined the ranks of CVNC’s staff writers upon graduation from Meredith College in 2011. Chelsea completed her masters in music therapy from Appalachian State University in May of 2015; covering events in Boone and Hickory as a graduate student. Now back in Raleigh, she is the owner/operator of Opus 1 Music Therapy and provides music therapy developmental and mental health services across the Triangle to children and teens. She plays piano and keyboards for the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra, is a founding member of the Hillsborough St. Jazz Trio, and serves as the music minister at the Church of the Holy Family in Chapel Hill. Chelsea believes that arts criticism should be interesting, informative, and challenging, and she strives to make her reviews a reflection of and response to the actual experience of attending a performance.

Byron Woods
Byron Woods is an award-winning journalist and critic who has covered the arts in central North Carolina since the mid-1990s, with over 1,900 stories published to date in regional newspapers and online media including Durham’s INDY Week and Raleigh’s News & Observer, and national and international publications including Back Stage, Dance Magazine, Downbeat,, InTheater and the Village Voice.

Selected honors include two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in theater and dance criticism, two National Critics Institute fellowships at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, the North Carolina Press Association and, most recently, a 2022 Green Eyeshade Award in arts criticism from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Woods has served six times (so far) as critic in residence and clinician in short-course intensives on theater criticism in various regions of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, and taught arts journalism and criticism at UNC Greensboro and in private seminars. He earned an M.A. in Communication Studies with a Performance Studies concentration from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1995.


Past Contributors

Aneesah Abdur-Razzaq
Aneesah Abdur-Razzaq, attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as a senior, is pursuing a dual major in Bachelor of Arts for Drama and Dance Studies (anticipated May 2022). Aneesah has a diverse background in theatre and performance with appearances in productions like Akeelah and the Bee as Akeelah (NC Central University); Wine in the Wilderness as Cynthia (NCCU); Contribution as Katy Jones (NCCU); Underground as Emala (NCCU). She is currently working toward expanding her experience in writing and directing while attaining her undergraduate degree.
K. Porter Aichele
K. Porter Aichele is a Professor Emerita at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, where she taught art history and museum studies and happily resided at the Weatherspoon Art Museum. She is the author of numerous articles and museum catalogue essays on modern and contemporary art, as well as two books on the Swiss-born artist Paul Klee. Her current research project is a book on collectors of early 20th-century art. In retirement she is (literally) cultivating her garden and restoring a mid-century modern house. Her favorite indulgences are listening to music and looking at art.
Rachel Anthony
Rachel Anthony just completed the first year of her MM in Vocal Performance at UNCG. She graduated summa cum laude from Brevard College in 2015, where she studied with Dr. Kathryn Gresham and received her BA in Vocal Performance and Photography. Most recently, Ms. Anthony performed the role of Laetitia in UNCG Opera Theatre’s production of Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief and Suor Constance in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites. She will be performing Papagena in Brevard Music Center’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute with Janiec Opera CompanyMs. Anthony studies under the tutelage of Dr. Carla LeFevre.

David Arcus
David Arcus, Interim Director of Music at All Saints Parish Church, comes from Durham, North Carolina (USA), where he has lived and worked at Duke University from 1984 until January of 2014. During that time, Dr. Arcus served as Director of Music of Duke Divinity School, as well as Chapel Organist and Associate University Organist. He has recently been appointed Parish Musician of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Hillsborough, North Carolina.

Dr. Arcus holds degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the School of Music at Yale University, where he earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree. He has received awards in composition and improvisation competitions, and he is in demand as a solo recitalist, having performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Great Britain.  He has also toured with the Duke Chapel Choir in Great Britain, Poland, The Czech Republic, Spain, Greece, Turkey, and China, and he has appeared as organist with the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra. He has served on the faculties of St. Mary’s School, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Dr. Arcus’ recitals have included premieres of new works by well known composers such as Aaron Jay Kernis, Dan Locklair, and Marianne Ploger. He is frequently commissioned to write new works for organ and choir, and he is also active as clinician, teacher/lecturer, and conductor. He has presented workshops and masterclasses on service playing and organ improvisation for the American Guild of Organists, and has served as Course Organist for RSCM (America) training courses. His compositions are published by Concordia, Hinshaw, and Wayne Leupold Editions. His CD, The Organs of Duke Chapel, is on the Gothic label.


Kate Dobbs Ariail
Kate Dobbs Ariail has written extensively about the arts since 1988 for many publications, with her specialties being dance, theater and the visual arts, particularly fine crafts. A long-time resident of downtown Durham, she is a seasoned observer of the Triangle’s arts development and covers dance and theater throughout the area, as well as making occasional forays elsewhere in the state.

Kate was a 2009 NEA Fellow in Dance Criticism at the American Dance Festival. She holds an MFA degree from Syracuse University in studio art and a BFA in design from UNC-Greensboro. Her “way in” to the performing arts is intensely visual, and her writing is often marked by its descriptive qualities. She has loved ballet and dance since age five and discovered the power of theater at fifteen. She sees as many performances as she can, both imported and local.

Currently, Kate divides her time between Durham and Washington, DC, which allows her the opportunity to put the Triangle’s artistic offerings in a larger context.


Viki Atkinson
Viki Atkinson danced professionally in musical theater for a number of years, later shifting her focus to choreographing for theater. In Raleigh, NC, she danced in the North Carolina Theatre productions of CabaretMy Fair LadyMan of La Mancha, Oklahoma!, and West Side Story. Additional performance credits include Kathy in Company and the title role in Gypsy. Later, Ms. Atkinson served as chief dance critic for Spectator Magazine from 1987 to 1999. In 1989, she was invited to be a fellow at the American Dance Festival’s Dance Critics Conference, facilitated by former New York Times Dance Critic Don McDonagh.  Ms. Atkinson held a degree in Dance Education from UNC-Greensboro. She taught dance at Meredith College, NC State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Appomattox Regional Governor’s School, and the School of Richmond Ballet. She was on the faculty of the Raleigh School of Ballet for 10 years and directed the dance program at Martin Middle School in Raleigh for four years. Viki died in 2016, but a memorial website and dance education scholarship are both dedicated to her memory.

Jayanthi Balachandran
(relocated to California August 2009)

Jayanthi Balachandran trained for many years in Bharathanatyam under Padmashri Mrs. Chitra Visweswaran (one of India’s respected Bharathanatyam exponents). She is the Artistic Director of Rasa Dance Creations and offers workshops in universities, schools and arts organizations wherein she promotes her message – “Dance Transcends Barriers.” Through “Speaking Through Dance” sessions, she incorporates eloquent narration coupled with dance movements to educate audiences on thought-provoking, cross-cultural works of literature. She served on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Dance Alliance. She received a Regional Artist Grant awarded by United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County and collaborated with Indian Classical Music and Dance Society (ICMDS) and the North Carolina Museum of History to launch “Shiksha” (“education”) – a series of lecture-demonstrations on Indian classical dance presented by various local artists, with an aim of bringing to life the myriad nuances from the world of Indian classical dance. She enjoys choreographing solo and group dance programs. She also presents her public speaking talents to host dance programs. (8/2009)


Judith N. Barber
Judith N. Barber has written for Classical Voice of North Carolina since 2008, focusing primarily on the review of instrumental performances in eastern North Carolina, joining that with her other activity of serving as program note editor and writer for East Carolina University’s Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival. Her first degree, from Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was outside the realm of music. But she later returned to the classroom to earn degrees in theory and composition at East Carolina University. Her master’s thesis, “The Symphonic Scherzos of Robert Schumann: Maintaining Mastery of a Sublime Form,” deals with the substance and reception history of those works.

While working in the music library at East Carolina University Mrs. Barber maintains an active performing schedule as a free-lance horn player. Her role as pianist for the weekly chapel services at Greenville’s Vidant Medical Center inspired her to establish the monthly concert series “Good Music Good Medicine,” in which ECU School of Music students and faculty perform at the hospital as a community service.

Judy and her husband Chuck live in Greenville, North Carolina, where all four sons have come and gone and none but Jake the dog remains. There’s a garden with limitless possibilities and stacks of good books to be read, but for now, there’s a concert tonight that just shouldn’t be missed.


James Bash
Tanner Benson
Tanner Benson earned his Master’s in Critical Film Studies from UNCW in 2022, specializing in Latin American film and “Slow Cinema.” Originally from Utah, Tanner grew up going to the theater as a fan, as well as performing in plays and musical groups. He believes that the arts have a way of making life more vibrant and colorful, and is grateful to be immersed in the unique cultural landscape of North Carolina. He began as an intern in 2021 and continues to contribute both as a writer/critic and as CVNC’s Calendar Editor as of July 2022.

Elisabeth Lynne Bjork
Elisabeth Lynne Bjork, 19, has played the piano for eleven years and won numerous local, state, and national competitions. Her achievements include 1st prize in the Dr. Sharon Edwards Piano Competition; Most Promising Performance award in the Harold Protsman Classical Period Piano Competition; 1st place (piano) in the Hampton Young Artists Competition; and recognition in the North Carolina Symphony, Raleigh Symphony, and Meredith College concerto competitions. This summer she looks forward to teaching at Bach 2 Basics, a children’s music camp she founded two years ago. In addition to studying and teaching piano, she plays violin under Dr. Carol Chung and has performed in both the Bay Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Meredith College Sinfonietta. She looks forward to a fantastic sophomore year under the piano tutelage of Dr. Margaret Evans. In her free time, she reads, writes, and spends time with her wonderful family in Chesapeake, Virginia. (2/2011)

Craig Brinker
Intern, music, Brevard College, Brevard, NC. (2/2011)

Stuart Burnham
Stuart Burnham, a native of Spokane, WA, started writing for CVNC in 2004. As an undergrad he double majored in English and Music/Piano Performance at Wake Forest University, where he also ran cross-country and track on a full scholarship (1990-94). He then spent a year (1994-5) teaching English in the Czech Republic, where he met his (American) wife. They currently live in Mount Olive, and he teaches at Mount Olive College. He holds a Masters in Musicology from Stanford University (2001) and is currently working on his Ph.D., also from Stanford; his dissertation deals with the Czech composer Václav Tomášek (1774-1850) and musical life in Prague in the early 19th century.

Jessie Cantu
In high school, Cantu participated in the Tulsa Youth Symphony and was a three-year all-state musician. She also participated in several summer programs including the Eastern Music Festival, Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute, and Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival. As a member of Meredith’s study abroad program, she performed with a quintet during the summer of 2011 in Sansepolcro, Italy. After finishing her undergraduate degree she plans to continue academic work at the graduate level.

Kayla Chavis
Kayla Chavis is a 2nd year Graduate student at North Carolina Central University studying Clinical Psychology. She has a passion for music and writing and has been involved in music production for many years. Kayla has also had some experience studying piano and voice. At NCCU, she wrote publications for psychological journals and looks forward to switching perspectives as an Intern for CVNC.

W. Gerald Cochran
Dr. W. Gerald Cochran, a plastic surgeon practicing in Salisbury, Statesville, and Lexington, is an amateur musician (piano) who sings in the the Concert Choir of Salisbury. He has served on the boards of the Salisbury Symphony and the Concert Choir. His reviews have appeared in the Salisbury Post and in Outlook, published by Observer News Enterprise (Newton, NC).

Jackson Cooper
Jackson Cooper is a widely read cultural critic, writing for publications on both coasts. In addition to CVNC, his writings have appeared in the Greensboro News and RecordICareIfYouListen.comClassical Voice of North America, and Film Matters magazine; he also contributed an essay for the Perform book series published by Focal Press. He is a member of the Music Critics Association for which he launched the Association’s Instagram account @classical_voice.

Equally at home in the rehearsal rooms of theatres and orchestras, Cooper debuted as a guest conductor with the Durham Symphony in November 2015. He studied theatre criticism and conducting at UNCG, working as an assistant director on several university and community productions and serving as a rehearsal conductor for UNCG’s Opera Theatre. In the Summer of 2015 he received an undergraduate research grant to study musical theatre conducting with the company Greensboro Light Opera and Song. He also helmed UNC-Chapel Hill’s acclaimed production of A Chorus Line in November 2015. Follow Jackson Cooper on Twitter at @CrampedCritic.


Julie-Kate Cooper
Julie-Kate Cooper has been writing for CVNC since the fall of 2010. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Meredith College in 2012 with a B.A. in Theatre and a K-12 teaching license.

At Meredith, Julie-Kate was President of the student organization, Extra Theatre Company, and a member of Alpha Psi Omega, the National Honorary Theatre Society. She worked on productions with local companies and youth theatre companies, while also performing and designing as a student at Meredith. She was nominated for the Irene Ryan Acting Award for her senior capstone role as Prospera in an adaptation of The Tempest and the Barbizon Costume Design Award for her design for Intimate Apparel.

After college she worked in Arts Administration and assistant directing for Lexington Children’s Theatre in Kentucky. Happy to return home, she is now the Managing Director for a local non-profit theatre company in Raleigh and began teaching at a local high school in the fall of 2013.

Julie-Kate is a Goodman Fellow through Leadership Triangle College Edition 2010 and is an advocate for education and the arts.


Roger A. Cope
Roger A. Cope joined the CVNC cadre of writers in 2003 producing over 70 articles before becoming Editor in September of 2006. Prior to CVNC he had written articles for the original Florida Flambeau (now the FSView), was staff writer and regular columnist for Vintage Motorsport Magazine, and composed reviews, features and technical pieces for Guitar Review, Guitar Foundation of America’s Soundboard Magazine, and GuitART International. He is also in demand for liner notes of commercial guitar recordings. He is author of The Bachelor Guitarist, guide for undergraduate study, and Guitar: How to Audition. He attended the 2005 National Arts Journalism Institute at Columbia University, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Cope was musical as a child and performed on a variety of instruments until finally settling into what has become a life-long career as a classical guitarist. He has served as orchestral soloist, concert performer, recitalist, lecturer, recording artist, and, since 1978 a college-level educator. For nine years he was a member of the Affiliate Artist Faculty at Brevard College (NC), serving as Director of Guitar Studies and Director of the Guitar Ensemble. He is currently a Lecturer and member of the Music Studio Teaching Faculty at California State University at Bakersfield where he also directs the Guitar Ensemble, and serves as coach for chamber music groups.

Cope has premiered new music for guitar by Karen Thomas, David Leonard, Paul Elwood, and Bertil Van Boer. In North Carolina he has performed at Thomas Wolf Auditorium, the Diana Wortham Theatre, and Biltmore Estate in Asheville and at the Porter Center for Performing Arts in Brevard, the Henderson County Library in Hendersonville, the Muses Gallery in Flat Rock, the School of Music of Appalachian State University, and High Hampton Inn at Cashiers. He has also performed at the Dock Street Theater in Charleston, SC, and as soloist with the Charlotte Repertory Orchestra, the Hendersonville Symphony, and the Asheville Symphony.


Owen Cordle
Victor Owen Cordle
1945 – 2022View Obituary



Grace Cote
William Henry Curry
William Henry Curry was appointed Music Director and Conductor of the Durham Symphony on May 7, 2009. For twenty years Maestro Curry was the Resident Conductor and Summerfest Artistic Director  of the North Carolina Symphony. He came to the North Carolina Symphony by way of New Orleans where he served as Resident Conductor of the New Orleans Symphony.

A native of Pittsburgh, Curry started conducting and composing music at age 14. His first major appointment was at age 21 when he was named Assistant Conductor of the Richmond Chamber Orchestra. On the same day, he was called in to replace a conductor who suddenly became ill for a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Maestro Curry’s unexpected debut was hailed by the critics and audience alike. He went on to serve as Resident Conductor with the Baltimore Symphony for six years (1978-1983) and with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for two years (1983-1985).

Maestro Curry was appointed Associate Conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony in 1983, a post he held until 1988, the same year he was named winner of the Leopold Stokowski Conducting Competition and performed in Carnegie Hall. He was feature conductor for the tour and recording of Anthony Davis’s Grammy-nominated opera X. He has also conducted opera productions with the New York City Opera, the Houston Grand Opera and the Chicago Opera Theatre.

Maestro Curry has conducted over forty orchestras, including appearances with the Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, National, Detroit, Denver, American and San Diego symphonies and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In November of 1997 he made his debut in Israel with the Israel Camerata Jerusalem orchestra; he has also conducted orchestras in Bangkok and Taiwan. In the 2002-03 season he made appearances as guest conductor with the Indianapolis, Detroit, and New Jersey orchestras. He made his conducting debut in December 2002 with the New York City Ballet in their famed Balanchine production of The Nutcracker. Guest conducting reengagements include a return to the Indianapolis Symphony and the New York City Ballet, as well as debut performances with the Chicago Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Maestro Curry is also a composer, and his works have been played by many of America’s finest orchestras. On June 13, 1999, the Indianapolis Symphony premièred his work, Eulogy for a Dream. This work, based on the speeches and writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a tremendous success and received a standing ovation. This piece was broadcast nationally in January 2000 on the National Public Radio program Performance Today.

Maestro Curry is also committed to new music and has conducted premières by, among others, Schwantner, Bolcom, Foss and Hailstork. The range of artists Maestro Curry has worked with in his career run the gamut from Zubin Mehta and Aaron Copland to John Williams and Ella Fitzgerald. In addition, he has been a beacon for promising young musicians both as an instructor at the Peabody Conservatory and the Baltimore School for the Arts, and as a mentor.


Kelly Dalton
Kelly Dalton is a photographer, writer, and long-time dance enthusiast with a degree in Public Relations from The University of North Carolina’s School of Media and Journalism. During college, she was an avid explorer of the local social dance scene, and jumped back into technical classes shortly after graduating while working at the front desk of Ninth Street Dance. She’s enjoyed dabbling in various styles including ballet, modern, contemporary, hip-hop, jazz funk, African, Latin, swing dancing, and more! She’s been hired to perform with various local dance groups and local charity events. After receiving her certification to teach group fitness classes, Kelly also volunteered with a local nonprofit to create two consecutive years of dance fundraisers featuring a Zumba Dance Marathon and a “Dance Off” competition. These days she spends most of her time social dancing in the local West Coast Swing community, as well as competing in national West Coast Swing Dance events. Her next dream is to endeavor to create her own choreographed pieces by fusing contemporary dance into West Coast Swing partner dancing. Her love of dance is driven by her passion for music, and she has also spent time singing and playing guitar in church and with local bands. One of her favorite sayings about dance comes from Martha Graham: “Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.” Kelly believes that dance and art should and can be accessible to all people, no matter their age, race, status, body type, or ability.



Jason DeCristofaro
Jason DeCristofaro is an active educator, performer, and composer based in Asheville, NC. He is adjunct faculty at Warren Wilson College, where he directs the Jazz Ensemble and teaches Jazz Improvisation, Jazz History and World Music, and A-B Technical Community College (Asheville, NC), where he teaches Jazz History, Music Appreciation and serves as accompanist for the A-B Tech Chorus.

A published composer with C. Alan Publications, DeCristofaro’s concert works have been performed in New Zealand, China, Sweden, and all over the United States, and he has been a featured guest composer with the Symphony of the Mountains and the Asheville Ballet. He is also the founder and artistic director of Asheville Composer Concerts. DeCristofaro has presented at Harvard University for the International Journal of Arts and Sciences (IJAS), Virginia Tech for the Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy (CHEP), and Black Mountain College Museum.

The winner and recipient of the 2011 Yamaha/Percussive Arts Society Terry Gibbs Scholarship, an international scholarship competition for jazz vibraphonists, DeCristofaro has been invited to perform as a clinician and guest artist at numerous jazz festivals, conferences, and universities throughout the Southeast, including the Brevard Music Center (Brevard, NC), Furman University (Greenville, SC), The Eastern Trombone Conference (Washington, D.C.), Jazz on the Square (Spartanburg, SC), Jazz on Main (Greenville, SC), Western Carolina University Jazz Festival (Cullowhee, NC), Appalachian State University (Boone, NC), and North Greenville University (Tigerville, SC). His original Jazz compositions are featured on three albums, Live at the Altamont (featuring Swiss flutist Calen Gayle), Dialogues (with pianist and UNC-Asheville Jazz Studies director Dr. William Bares), and Magic Numbers (a trio recording with bassist Daniel Iannucci and drummer Micah Thomas).

Jason holds a Master of Music Performance from University of North Carolina School of the Arts, a Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences from UNC-Asheville, and is currently working towards his Doctorate in Music Education at Boston University.



Stan H. Dick
Sebastian Gabriel Eichvalds
Meredith college music student & CVNC intern.

Mark Evans
Mark Evans, Ph.D, is a composer, conductor, pianist, and organist with a multifaceted background in music, writing, broadcasting, and education. He hosts the popular, “Mark! My Words,” television program and is founder and president of “Cultural Conservation,” a foundation, “dedicated to the principle that society should preserve its cultural resources with the same care and devotion that a nation devotes to its natural resources.” He began his broadcasting career on radio, producing 500 radio programs under his trademarked title, “Mark! My Words,” also the name of his newspaper column in The New York City Tribune and his series which airs on the Pinehurst, North Carolina television station he founded

Mark Evans literally grew up in the world of film music in Hollywood. He was a private pupil of such renowned composers as Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Roy Harris. His book, Soundtrack: The Music of the Movies, has been recognized as the definitive book on the history of film scoring. As a writer and lyricist, he is the author of numerous books for adults and children and has collaborated on books with such varied personalities as Robert Stack and Xavier Cugat.

He began his broadcasting career on radio, producing 500 radio programs under his trademarked title, Mark! My Words, also the name of his newspaper column in the New York City Tribune. Many of the world’s most prominent figures in fields ranging from music, art, and literature to government, diplomacy, and education have been guests on radio and programs he has hosted and produced. Mark! My Words programs are devoted to the best of the past which shouldn’t be forgotten, the best of the present, which shouldn’t be ignored, and the best of the future, which shouldn’t be undiscovered. He is widely in demand as a speaker.

His book, also titled Mark! My Words, is subtitled “How to Discover the Joy of Music, the Delight of Language, and the Pride of Achievement in the Age of Trash Talk and MTV” (reviewed here). It was the first major book to address our current cultural crisis and to provide positive solutions that can impact your life and the state of our culture.

His most recent book is Our Musical Heritage: From ‘Yankee Doodle’ to Carnegie Hall, Broadwayv and The Hollywood Sound Stage. It is a guided tour through four important genres of music, concert works, jazz, musical theater, and film scores. The book was written to provide parents, grandparents, and teachers a resource to share the story of how music played an important role in the development of our country and to introduce their children and grandchildren to our true musical heritage


Martha A. Fawbush
Martha A. Fawbush is a classical singer whose major interest is opera but who also performs as much jazz, gospel, blues, and Broadway music as she can. She is also a teacher of voice, does some coaching for recitalists and opera singers, teaches music classes for senior citizens, is active in church music, and writes reviews of classical music performances.

She holds a B.S. in secondary education and an M.A. in English from the University of Tennessee; a B.A. in vocal performance from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia; and an M.A. in musicology from UNC-Chapel Hill. She has sung as a soloist as well as with numerous choral organizations in Knoxville, Tennessee; Newport News, Virginia; and Chapel Hill and Asheville, North Carolina. She taught English at U-T, Christopher Newport, and Richlands Virginia Community College in Richlands, Virginia, and music appreciation courses at UNC. In Asheville she has taught voice at UNC-A, had roles in OliverMy Fair Lady, and Sweet Charity at the Asheville Community Theatre, was assistant manager for the Radio Reading Service, and wrote music reviews for the Asheville Citizen-Times.


Elmer Gibson
Elmer Gibson began his studies of piano with Irwin Gelber and trumpet with Sigmund Herring of the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Settlement School of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Since the mid ’60s, Gibson has been writing, arranging, and performing music around the world with some of jazz’s finest musicians. When not playing with his own group, he’s been performing and recording with many local and nationally known jazz artists. Gibson has toured the U.S. performing at the Newport Jazz Festival, the Berkeley Jazz Festival, the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston SC, the San Jose Music Festival, the Pleasure Island Jazz, Blues and Seafood Festival in NC, Bel Cher Festival in Asheville NC, and The New Bern Jazz and Blues Festival in New Bern, NC.

Bryan Gilliam

Bryan Gilliam has been at the Duke University Department of Music since 1986 and joined the Department of German and German Literature in 2013. In 1995 he was appointed to the Bass Society of Fellows. Gilliam serves as Associate Editor at The Musical Quarterly, is on the board of advisers for the Kurt Weill Edition, as well as the editorial board of the new Richard Strauss Edition.

Gilliam’s book publications include four on Richard Strauss, one on music during the Weimar Republic, and has recently completed a book (Rounding Wagner’s Mountain: Richard Strauss and Modern German Opera), which is in production at Cambridge University Press.

His principal areas of interest include: late 19th and early 20th-century German music; Richard Strauss; Anton Bruckner; Kurt Weill; Erich Korngold; German opera; fin-de-siècle Vienna; film music; German musical aesthetics; poetry and music.

Education: Harvard PhD, 1984


Melanie Greene
Melanie Greene is a recent graduate with a Master of Fine Arts from UNC-Greensboro. She obtained her bachelors degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from UNC Chapel Hill. Beginning her dance and writing career in high school, she has participated in a variety of performance endeavors and writing ventures. In addition to participating in the North Carolina School of the Arts summer intensive program, Modernextension Dance Company at UNC Chapel Hill, the Martha Graham reconstruction of Steps in the Street at UNCG in spring of 2010, and Amahl and the Night Visitors Opera at UNCG, Melanie has written many texts investigating the dynamics of academic dance cultures. As a teacher, performer, and choreographer, Melanie is excited to continue studies that facilitate the intersection of visual and performing arts, pedagogy, literature, and intellectual scholarship.

Matthew Hager
Matthew Hager is a theatre artist who lives in Raleigh and has worked for CVNC for over ten years as the theatre editor (initially as the calendar coordinator as well). He began training CVNC’s intern reviewers in 2019. As an actor, Matthew has performed locally with such companies as Burning Coal (company member), NC Theatre, NC Symphony, Manbites Dog, Deep Dish, Honest Pint, Justice Theater Project, Bulldog Ensemble Theater, and Aggregate Theatre Company, among others. As a teaching artist, Matthew has written curriculum for and/or taught at Burning Coal, NC Theatre Conservatory, Justice Theater Project, Vault Theatre, and Aggregate Theatre Company. Matthew has written and adapted several children’s plays and musicals, and he is currently writing music and lyrics for a full-length musical for adults called Away Home with playwright Tamara Kissane. Matthew started Aggregate Theatre Company in 2017 in an effort to develop a younger theatre-going audience in the Triangle. Since inception, Aggregate has produced an eclectic mix of plays, children’s musicals, Shakespeare, and new play workshops all geared toward reaching youth or young professionals. Matthew looks to theatre as a vital tool in shaping a more educated and empathetic society, and he sees reviewing theatre as an extension of that mission.

Alan R. Hall
Alan R. Hall is a Chapel Hill, NC, freelance writer, reviewer, novelist, and poet. He has written theater reviews for the Georgia State University System and the online writers’ network “Themestream.” For 11 years, he wrote reviews of theater, music, dance, and film for The Chapel Hill News. Now celebrating twenty-five years reviewing Triangle theater.

Max Halperin
Max was both an artist in his own right and an art critic who appeared in national, regional and local journals. He roamed and wrote about American and European galleries and museums for as long as he could remember and lectured on modern art history.  A graduate of the High School of Music and Art in New York, he was a professor emeritus at North Carolina State University where he created and taught courses linking modern art to modern literature. As a writer he was a newspaperman and editor and graduated from the City University of New York as a journalist, later taking his masters and doctorate in contemporary literature from Florida State University. For many years he has had studios in Artspace and elsewhere in Raleigh.

Max passed away on Oct. 6, 2014. For details, click here.


Carl J. Halperin
(resigned July 2007)

Carl J. Halperin was born in Chicago but has lived for many years in central North Carolina. He attended the N.C. School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, receiving his B.M. in voice in 1982. Long writing stints at Spectator Magazine locally (where he received his first literary experience) and for Opera News in New York led to work in public radio, as a local NPR affiliate station anchor (also submitting stories directly to the network proper) and time spent writing for Raleigh’s News and Observer and for Durham’s Herald-Sun. Halperin has performed leading baritone roles in operas by Mozart, Pasatieri, and others, and participated in opera productions at Raleigh’s Meredith College, in one of which his role was written for him. He has interviewed leading celebrity singers from opera’s Golden Age (c.1950-75) for a prospective volume and is hoping to do other work with smaller to moderate-sized publishing houses in the Southeast.

Max passed away on Oct. 6, 2014. For details, click here.


Joseph Hartman
(through January 2008)

Joseph Hartman is a North Carolina native who currently lives in Drexel, NC, with his wife and two children. He is a freelance writer who focuses on the literature and history of the piano and the organ. Though not a trained musician, he grew up in a musical home and has been immersed in music and art from a very young age. He is an avid collector of rare and historical piano recordings.


Kirby Hawkins
Kirby Hawkins is an English major at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is a passionate classical music listener and performer. He currently plays principal bass clarinet in the UNCG University Band. Originally from Ocean Isle Beach, NC, he is currently a senior and wants to go into music publishing.

Ken Hoover
Ken Hoover was born in Chicago, reared in Portsmouth, VA, and earned his BA in English with a minor in sociology at Richmond College, University of Richmond. He went on to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest and from there to serve churches in Virginia. Beginning in 1970, he was involved in Clinical Pastoral Education, which brought him to Duke University Medical Center in Durham in 1971. Apart from a three-year stay in Sanford from 1972-75, he has lived in Durham since then. He is currently retired after thirty years as a substance abuse counselor.

The landmark event of his life was a 1950 trip with other members of his high school band to Richmond to hear Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra on their last nation-wide tour. The Maestro and the sounds he brought forth from the instruments on stage captivated him, and he has been an avid classical music buff ever since.

In college, he sang in Men’s Glee Club and Chorus and played trombone in the school band and in a jazz ensemble. He sang for two years in Carl Fehr’s “The Common Glory” choir in Williamsburg and in the Chorus of Alumni and Friends of the University of Richmond (CAFUR) with the Richmond Symphony under James Erb. Locally, he sang with the Choral Society of Durham under Larry Cook and Rodney Wynkoop.

Hoover studied music sporadically at University of Richmond and at UNC-Chapel Hill. He studied composition privately with Peter Klausmeyer. He has composed ten choral anthems and a number of service pieces, some performed widely. He is especially interested in choral music and opera and finds passion in all music. He says his favorite piece of music is the one he is listening to right now.


David W. Hursh
David W. Hursh is professor and head music librarian at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC where he is responsible for the daily operation of the largest collection of music materials in the eastern North Carolina region.  David received the master of science in library science from Florida State University, the master of music in voice performance from Converse College in Spartanburg, SC, and the bachelor of music in voice performance from Houghton College in Houghton, NY.  Prior to joining the library faculty at ECU, he served as head of library technical services at Embry-Riddle University in Daytona Beach, FL and cataloger at Polk Community College in Winter Haven, FL.  In addition to being a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society and the Delta Omicron International Music Fraternity, David has received several research grants and honors.  Among these are the Music Library Association’s Walter Gerboth and Dena Epstein awards, the North Caroliniana Society’s Archie K. Davis Fellowship, and the North Carolina Society of Historians’ Paul Green and Willie Parker Peace awards.  The last of these was for his book Good Medicine and Good Music: A Biography of Mrs. Joe Person published in 2009 by McFarland Publishing.

Joshua Hutchins
Joshua Hutchins is a graduate of Brevard College, a small liberal arts college near Asheville, with a degree in Music. Currently working as an Information Technologies Support Analyst, Joshua intends to pursue an advanced degree in Musicology.

Peter Ingram
Peter Ingram, who played drums, was formerly from London, England. After finishing his schooling at the University of Southampton he moved to North Carolina to practice his profession in academia as a physicist. He was affiliated with Duke University Medical School, conducting research on the pathology of diseases. He was a central figure on the jazz scene in North Carolina for many years. He owned and operated the now-legendary jazz club the Frog & Nightgown as well as the Café Déjà Vu in Raleigh. He subsequently served as an Arts Commissioner for the City of Raleigh for six years. He and his partner, pianist Elmer Gibson, formed the Preservation Jazz Company in the late 1970s as an outreach project in the Triangle.  This resulted in a series of free public workshops – Jazz: Its Language and Culture – held in community centers in the area supported by the North Carolina Arts Council and others for about three years. His band, “Group Sax”, recorded three albums, won several prestigious awards in the 1980s and ‘90s, and toured the Southeast United States extensively. He worked with many jazz greats, a few of whom include Stan Getz, Clark Terry, Zoot Sims, Bud Shank, Teddy Wilson, George Duvivier and Buddy DeFranco.  Recording credits include dates with pianist Sir Roland Hanna, guitarist Charlie Byrd, saxophonists Frank Foster and Sonny Fortune, David ‘Fathead’ Newman, trumpeter Brian Lynch and vocalist Carol Sloane. Peter Ingram passed away November 21, 2020. A longer article on his life and work is available on our blog.


Rebecca Lynn Jessup
Lynn Jessup was a UNC-G graduate who attended journalism school at UNC-CH until she landed a job at the late, great Raleigh Times. She went on to work for the N.C. Zoo and the News & Record in Greensboro. She taught writing at Guilford Technical Community College.

Lynn passed away after a long battle with cancer in November of 2020, and her obituary can be accessed here.


Laura Pollie Johnson
Laura Pollie Johnson (formerly McDowell) is Professor Emerita of Music at Brevard College in Brevard, NC. She taught music history and literature, interdisciplinary courses involving music, and piano. She has performed on harpsichord and recorder for the Colonial Williamsburg Restoration and with the Cullowhee Consort, an early music ensemble in western North Carolina. As writer she was a contributor to Carl Maria Von Weber: A Guide to Research (Garland Publishing, 1990) and editor of Nicolas Payen: Motets and Chansons (A-R Editions, 2006). Her article “The Musical Language of Death and Resurrection: Three Motets by Nicolas Payen” has been published in “Hands-On Musicology: Essays in Honor of Jeffery Kite-Powell (Steglein Press, 2012). She has been an active music critic with CVNC since 2007. She earned a B.M. in Music History from Converse College, the M.A. in Historical Musicology from Columbia University, and the Ph.D. in Historical Musicology from Florida State University. In addition, she holds the Zertifikat Deutsch als Fremdsprache from the Goethe Institute, Salzburg, Austria, a Certificate in Early Music from Florida State University, and is a fellow of the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Classical Music and Opera.

Alexandra Jones
(resigned January 2008)

Alexandra Jones is a tuba player, aspiring journalist, and dedicated music fan. After coming of age in Raleigh, she attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to study tuba performance with Professor Fritz Kaenzig. She immersed herself in working for the campus student-run newspaper, The Michigan Daily, where she served as an arts reporter, film and music reviewer, columnist, magazine editor, and associate editor of the Arts section. She graduated with Bachelor of Musical Arts and Bachelor of General Studies degrees in summer of 2006. She became a member of the Triangle Brass Band in Fall 2006.

Jones is interested in 20th-century and avant-garde classical music, the work of the “Moguchaya Kuchka,” the “Mighty Five” (Balakirev , Cui, Mussorgsky, Borodin, and Rimsky-Korsakov), improvisational/experimental/noise/difficult listening, good pop music, soul, Elvis Costello, orchestral works that feature decent tuba parts, gamelan, American roots music, and psychedelic garage rock from the 1960s, just for starters. She relishes hearing new music and loves writing and talking about it almost as much.


Brandon C. Jones
Brandon C. Jones was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, and has appeared as a performer in a number of theatrical productions, independent films, and musical concerts. He was awarded 1st place in the North Carolina Artistry Competition for vocal performance, and 2nd place for dramatic performance. He has been privileged to perform for historic venues such as Carnegie Hall, The White House, and the National Cathedral. As a poet, he has performed abroad at the Metro 54 festival in Amsterdam, NL. Brandon attended the North Carolina School of the Arts majoring in Drama, and later obtained his B.A. in Theater Performance with a minor in Musical Theater, from Marymount Manhattan College.

Nathan Jones
Nathan Jones is a doctoral student at Duke University, studying the intersection of theology and music. He graduated from Duke in 2009 with a B.A. and in 2012 with an M.Div. As a professional baritone, he has performed with The Dallas Opera, Longleaf Opera, the American Singers’ Opera Project and various other companies. He has won vocal competitions in the US and Europe, and in 2009 performed as a soloist at the Mozart Festival in Salzburg, Austria. He lives in Durham, NC with his wife, Amy, an internal medicine resident at Duke Hospital. In his spare time, he enjoys playing disc golf, brewing beer and working for the Duke football team as an equipment manager.

Elizabeth Kahn
Daughter of a New York music critic, Elizabeth Kahn led a charmed life growing up with any and all concerts free for the asking. She majored in voice and piano at Brandeis University and continued at Brandeis as a graduate student in musicology. She received her PhD from Harvard in Comparative Literature, creating a special niche in the relationship between music and poetry. Her dissertation on the legends of Orpheus in the Middle Ages and Renaissance was published in 1987. She is also an amateur oboist.

Elizabeth sees the critic’s role as largely educational rather than judgmental. She believes that by explaining something about a program, both its content and performance, she can help readers sharpen their appreciation of music their own critical faculties. As in other areas, Elizabeth is a true musical liberal, believing that there is no such thing as a definitive performance. But that doesn’t mean that performers can get away with just anything.


Joseph Kahn
Joe Kahn escaped from Nazi Germany at age six and grew up on a chicken farm in what is now Israel. His life, nevertheless, has been steeped in classical music and listening to good music became an indispensable part of his life from childhood. With a good ear, avid interest and innumerable concerts, he acquired an eclectic musical knowledge – all of it self-taught.

Joe is Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry from NCSU where he taught for 28 years. For ten years he hosted the classical music request program, first on WKNC and then on WCPE. He was classical music critic with his wife Elizabeth at the Independent Weekly for ten years. He and Elizabeth now write program notes for musical organizations around the country.

He believes that musical criticism should be geared to the interested lay person and aim to be both informative and accessible. Criticism should not only evaluate, but also explain and educate.


Caitlin Kennedy
Intern, theatre, Brevard College, Brevard, NC.

Dorothy Kitchen
Dorothy Kitchen, Founder and Director of the Duke University String School, has been an educator for 42 years. She was educated at the Eastman School of Music, Western Reserve University, the University of London, Brandeis University and the Longy School of Music, and her violin teachers included Jaroslav Holesovsky, Millard Taylor, Wolfe Wolfinsohn, Eugene Kilinski, Julia Kohl, and Georgio Ciompi.

She has taught violin and chamber music at the Longy School of Music, the Ecole Ste. Trinite in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and was Professor for Youth at the Fourth International Festival of Music in Lima, Peru. She now teaches violin, viola and chamber music and conducts the Duke University String School Chamber Orchestra. Her playing career includes solos with the Dayton Philharmonic, the Greensboro Symphony, the St. Stephen’s Chamber Orchestra (SCOR; now the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle), and the Trinite Philharmonic of Haiti. She was Associate concertmistress of the Greensboro Symphony, Principal Second of the SCOR, and, for many years, Principal Second of the Duke Symphony Orchestra. She toured as part of the Kitchen-Nicolson Baroque duo for six years. She has served as String Chairman of the North Carolina Music Teachers Association and is Co-Chair of the Durham Music Teachers Association’s Performance Festival. She is the author of a small book for beginning violinists and has written about music for the Durham Herald-Sun, the Dayton Daily News,and CVNC.

Kitchen has been honored as “Teacher of the Year” by the NCSA, had a day named for her by the City of Durham, and received the Ella Fountain Pratt Lifetime Award for Service to Music from the Durham Arts Council.


Brandon Lane
Brandon Lane is a graduate student in the Jazz Studies program at North Carolina Central University, as well as an intern for CVNC. Hailing from Richmond, VA, Lane decided to return to his roots and pursue a graduate degree in music after completing his undergraduate work in Mass Communications at Virginia State University.

John W. Lambert

Since 1977, John W. Lambert, has written reviews and articles published, variously, by The News and ObserverLeaderSpectatorFanfareFiIndependentCVNC, and CVNA. His studies included violin, piano, voice, and music history. A sketch of his thesis, on the North Carolina Symphony’s first 50 years, was published by Greenwood Press, in Symphony Orchestras of the United States: Selected Profiles (ed. Robert R. Craven); and his liner notes for several Toscanini Lps were published by Music and Arts Programs of America, Inc. His latest major publication is The North Carolina Symphony: A History, written in cooperation with Joe A. Mobley, with a foreward by Roy C. Dicks.

He is a recipient of the Raleigh Medal of Arts, the Durham Symphony’s “Share the Music” Award, and a Triangle Arts Award.

Lambert is a member of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections and an avid collector of recordings. Ever mindful of his late critical mentor Nell Hirschberg’s oft’-repeated admonition to continue writing (because, as she said, “People die when they use up the number of words allocated to them in their lifetimes”), he hopes to live long enough to annotate “best-available” transfers of all of Toscanini’s NBC Symphony broadcasts (1937-54), a listening (and collecting) project he began when he was 11 – a musical journey that is documented in this valedictory article.

He cherishes the memory of his time in Uncle Sugar’s Canoe Club, including a deployment to Vietnam aboard the Navy’s last 8″ rapid-fire cruiser, the USS NEWPORT NEWS; he retired after 26+ years of combined active and reserve service, the latter including a substantial hitch in military shipping. His civilian “day jobs” were largely in private-sector and government purchasing and technical writing. He retired as a business officer with NC’s Department of Health and Human Services in September 2010.

He is a member of the Music Critics Association of North America and serves on the production team of Classical Voice North America.

(Revised 10/2022.)


Dan Locklair
Joel Mauger
(resigned July 2007)

Critic Joel Mauger, a guitarist and keyboard specialist, of Raleigh, is currently a graduate student at NCSU. He maintains an active interest in playing music through his continuing study of the classical guitar and its literature in addition to having recently taken up the tenor banjo to play Irish Traditional music. He is a great fan of solo piano recordings of all vintages.


Josh McCormack
Josh McCormack is a current graduate student at North Carolina State University who has a lifelong love for the arts, especially in the realm of film and stage. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree from UNC Asheville, he published film reviews for outlets such as Asheville Movies and Mountain Xpress. He also writes for his personal blog He currently resides in Durham with his partner.

Robert W. McDowell
Robert W. McDowell is a Raleigh, NC, freelance writer, editor, and theater critic who served as CVNC’s theatre editor from September 2002 to May 2010.

Since 1973, the Columbia, SC, native and 1970 graduate of East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, has written theater, book, and music previews and reviews for the Raleigh News & ObserverThe Raleigh TimesNorth Carolina Magazine of Raleigh, and Spectator Magazine of Raleigh. In April 2001, Robert McDowell established Robert’s Reviews, an e-mail theatrical newsletter, to help fill a growing void in Triangle theater coverage. Triangle Theater Review is an expanded version of the original newsletter, circulated by e-mail.

He also co-edited and supervised the production of Jim Valvano’s Guide to Great Eating (JTV Enterprises, 1984), a 224-page celebrity cookbook; and he served as a fact checker for Valvano: They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, and Then They Declared Me Dead (Pocket Books, 1991).


Ted McIrvine
Ted McIrvine used his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from Cornell University during a career that included research management, academic administration and consulting. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, an elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, and served on the Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics.

McIrvine published for general audiences in Scientific American and Physics Today, and on the impact of technological change on society in the 1967 book Dialogue on Technology edited by Robert Theobald. While living in Rochester, NY, McIrvine was President of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, for which he hired David Zinman as music director, negotiated the first-ever multi-year labor contract with the musicians, and stabilized the finances.

After studying piano and clarinet in his home town of Winnipeg, McIrvine decided at age 14 not to become a professional musician. At age 15, he decided not to become a journalist. However, he rekindled those interests in retirement. He resumed piano study with Joseph Werner in Rochester and Content Sablinsky in Charlottesville, and played chamber music privately. From 2001 to 2008, he wrote Arts Spectrum, a weekly Sunday column on the arts in Hendersonville’s Times-News. After 2007, he taught musical courses at the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement and studied creative writing in the Great Smokies Writing Program at UNC-Asheville. He was a critical mainstay in Western NC for CVNC.



Lauren Mitchell
Lauren Mitchell is a junior Journalism and Mass Communications student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Lauren is a section editor for the A&T Register, covering on-campus news. She has written numerous articles published in print and online for the student-run newspaper.

Mitchell plans to reach beyond her comfort zone to explore the endless possibilities for herself, where she can make positive contributions and also be able to hone skills from her peers.


Tom Moore
Tom Moore holds degrees in music from Harvard and Stanford and studied traverso with Sandra Miller. From 2004 to 2007, he was visiting professor of music at the University of Rio de Janeiro (UniRio), where he co-directed the early music ensemble, Camerata Quantz. He is presently Head of the Sound & Image Department of the Green Library, Florida International University, Miami, Florida.

He has recorded with Kim Reighley and Mélomanie for Lyrichord (USA) and with Le Triomphe de l’Amour for Lyrichord and A Casa Discos (Brazil). He participated as flutist and interviewer for the CD released in Oct. 2006 marking ten years of music for flute by Sergio Roberto de Oliveira. Mr. Moore writes about music for BrazilMax.comMusicabrasileira.org21st Century MusicOpera TodayFlute TalkFlutist Quarterly, and other journals. He has also sung professionally with the Symphonic Chorus of Rio de Janeiro and Concert Royal and Pomerium Musices of New York.


Trey K. Morehouse
Trey K. Morehouse is a graduate of UNC Wilmington with a degree in English and Theatre Studies. Trey is a director by training with a background in criticism. Trey is a former directing intern at Burning Coal Theatre in Raleigh, NC and former student artist at WordBRIDGE Playwright Laboratory based out of Clemson, SC. Trey is also an alumni of the National Critic’s Institute based out of the O’Neil Playwrights Center in Waterford, Connecticut. Directing credits include Mr. MarmaladeDog Sees GodI Am My Own Wife, and an original devised piece titled The Diary Play: Four Teens Tell Their Story.

Todd Morman
Todd Morman is a Raleigh, NC, freelance writer, reviewer, blogger, and host of the “Monkeytime” community-access cable television show. For more of his no-holds-barred commentaries on current events and the arts, see the Monkey Media Report:

Mary Elizabeth Nordstrom
A member of the American Guild of Organists since 1966, Mary Elizabeth Nordstrom was until recently music director and organist at St. George’s Episcopal Church, Sanford, Maine.

A graduate in political science, she developed her Music Appreciation (101 and -2 and -3) and writing skills at Middlebury College in Vermont. She wrote the first Arts column in her native state: “Des Beaux Arts in New Hampshire,” for the Manchester Union Leader. She often reviewed NH Music Festival concerts for The Telegram.

The “naturalized North Carolinian” initially relocated with her family from New Hampshire to Winston-Salem, where she wrote “Spotlight on the Arts,” in Steve Neal’s The Suburbanite. She also represented performing artists there in the ’70s. Later, she and her husband, Everett, lived in Chapel Hill, where she researched, published and marketed Outdoor Drama and he was, during most of the ’80s, Executive Director of the Medical Foundation of North Carolina, retiring in 1990. Prior to relocating to Maine in the summer of 2004, they lived in Pinehurst and Raleigh. For a couple of years, she was program director for Women of Weymouth and was Dean of the Sandhills Chapter, American Guild of Organists. She wrote occasional reviews for The Pilot. In 1998, she founded the Handel On Hungerannual events in the Sandhills; she hopes that there will be delayed spin-offs to “feed His flock like a shepherd” (Isaiah 40:11) everywhere that Messiah is performed or given in “sing along” readings.

Nordstrom has edited her husband’s manuscript, How The Dome Was Done, which relates his professional fund-raising experience as Campaign Director for the late Hargrove “Skipper” Bowles and the Educational Foundation of UNC.

In 2004, she moved from NC to Maine. She is a founder of Classical Voice of New England.

Her death in Maine in September 2021 at the age of 95 was noted in Legacy, here:


Frank D. Pittman
Pianist, accompanist, and chamber musician Frank D. Pittman completed his D.M.A. at UNCG. He writes: “There is a saying that actors should never be producers and that producers should in no way be actors. The same applies to musicians and ‘reviewers.’ Almost inevitability, a ‘reviewer’ who is a performing musician cannot perform with the same level of mastery as the artists he (or she) reviews. The reviewer, consequently, is not often capable of ascending to the high echelons they advocate and demand — and that can be a frustrating experience. Conversely, musicians, as ‘reviewers,’ can never truly be objective, for when they try to be candid in their remarks, they invariably forge adversaries within their own professional circle when commentary is less than luminous. This, in turn, creates bias in the formation of the reviews and can thereby dissuade the writer from candor. It’s a devil vs. the deep blue sea dilemma, for sure!”

Doris B. Powers
Since arriving in Chapel Hill in August, 1983, Dr. Doris B. Powers has maintained a teaching studio, taking keen enjoyment in seeing young people learn and grow musically. She has been a member of Duke Chapel’s Orchestra Pro Cantores for about 20 years, a violinist in Carolina Baroque in Salisbury, NC, and has performed with members of the Ciompi Quartet, the Raleigh Symphony, Durham Symphony, and the Chapel Hill Philharmonia, serving as concertmaster for the latter two for brief periods. Powers has researched and published two books: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: A Guide to Research (New York: Routledge, 2002) and C.P.E. Bach’s Keyboard Trios I, II/3.1 (Los Altos, California, The Packard Humanities Institute, 2011). She also wrote a monthly column about music, “Classical Themes,” for the Chapel Hill News from 2000-04, and contributed book reviews to the Music Library Association’s journal, Notes.

Powers assisted Donald L. Oehler, artistic director, in various capacities for about 20 years in UNC’s Adult Chamber Music Workshop. As a member of the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild board for six years, she served on the Masters committee and also helped initiate the September Prelude Festival and the master classes for young chamber musicians.

Powers received a B.A. in music education (University of Washington), M.M. in violin performance with a specialty in baroque performance practices (Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS), and a Ph.D. in eighteenth-century musicology with areas of expertise in north German intellectual history, including rhetoric, and late eighteenth-century performance practices, and troubadour music (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill). She belongs to the American String Teachers Association; Chapel Hill Cooperative Suzuki Project; American Federation of Musicians Local 500, Professional Musicians Association; American Musicological Society; American Bach Society; and Phi Beta Kappa.


Nicholas Rich
Nicholas Rich (b. 1984) is a composer who works at the intersections of music, memory, language, and culture. His output spans multiple genres and media, from traditional chamber ensembles to interactive computer music and laptop orchestras. As a guitarist, he came from a family of musicians who played Country-Western, Bluegrass, Pop, and Rock, and his compositions often carry strong associations with American and British popular music. Rich is a co-founder of Collapss (Collective for Happy Sounds), an experimental music and dance ensemble and one of the premier collaborative art groups in the Southeast. He earned a Master of Music degree at UNCSA, studying with Lawrence Dillon, and a Bachelor of Music at UNCG, studying with Mark Engebretson and Alejandro Rutty. He also studied organ with William Weisser, Joshua Dumbleton, Robert Burns King, André Lash, and Pamela Kane. (

Bill Robinson

Bill Robinson was born into a musical family in Denton, Texas, in 1955. He started piano lessons at age three and violin at ten and moved to Massachusetts in 1961. Composition started in 1972 while a student at Phillips Academy Andover. After that came a year at Eastman School of Music, then many years at NTSU in Denton (now UNT). He earned a BM in composition there in 1984. In 1987, he moved to North Carolina, coming to Raleigh in 2001 to study physics at NCSU, where he earned a BS in 2004. He graduated with a PhD in May 2010 and promptly joined the physics faculty as a lecturer. He retired in 2017 and now lives in senior housing in Garner.

His compositions include ten solo violin or viola sonatas, sonatas for various other instruments, chamber works of many kinds, seven concertos for several kinds and combinations of instruments and orchestra, full orchestral pieces, two large works for chorus and orchestra, and pieces for concert band. He has produced a dozen CDs and video DVDs independently, written and recorded his Autobillography, and has a website at that has all his scores and recordings, as well as a YouTube channel.


Scott Ross
Scott Ross is a local playwright who won the 1995 Thompson Theatre Playwright Award (professional category) for The Dogs of Foo, which was produced by University Theatre at N.C. State. He received a 2000 United Arts grant for the production of his drama A Liberal Education, which debuted in Thompson Studio Theatre, and his one-act play Unreliable Witness was produced at REP in 1991, where it was directed by CVNC music critic Roy C. Dicks. He has written theater criticism for Spectator Magazine (1981-86), movie and book reviews for Raleigh’s News & Observer (1986-91), and served as Dance, Comedy and Theater editor for (1998-2000). He was the primary CD reviewer for the quarterly Sondheim Review from 1994-2004. He also penned two original musical revues — I Love A Piano: The Music of Irving Berlin and Serenading The Moon: The Songs of Johnny Mercer — for University Theatre’s annual TheatreFest series. His most recent play is a dramatic adaptation of Booth Tarkington’s novel The Magnificent Ambersons, and his book on the films of Billy Wilder will be published by McFarland. He was awarded a B.A. in Playwriting from Hampshire College in 1990.


Jeffrey Rossman
After nearly a lifetime of studying and playing the classical guitar but suffering from orchestra envy, Jeffrey Rossman turned his musical energies to learning the cello. He studied that wonderful instrument with Fred Raimi, cellist with the Ciompi Quartet. He is a member of the UNC and Duke Symphony Orchestras and the Chapel Hill Philharmonia. Mr. Rossman has also played with the Carolina Ballet Orchestra, the Orchestra Pro Cantores, and, after a rigorous audition, the AIMS Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria. Being a member of ensembles and experiencing first-hand the complexity and effort involved in playing great works of music has given him, he feels, greater sensitivity to the critic’s role and responsibility.

Rossman attended the 2005 National Arts Journalism Institute at Columbia University, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Rossman grew up in Brooklyn, New York; he says, “As anyone from there will tell you, no matter how long you’ve been gone, you are always ‘from Brooklyn.'” After the obligatory family pilgrimage from New York to Miami, he attended Florida State University. A teaching assistantship at Ohio State University led to the one bright spot of that tenure – he met his wife, Monica. In 1982, she was offered the position of Assistant Organist at Duke Chapel, so the Rossmans loaded up their truck and moved to Durham. They have two daughters: Jessica, a nursing student at UNC-Chapel Hill, and Natalie, a junior at UNC-Greensboro.

Mr. Rossman earned a Juris Doctorate degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law and was admitted to the North Carolina State Bar in July, 1990. Rossman’s “real” job is Information Technology Senior Analyst with Duke University Health System.


Steve Row
Steve Row worked 24 years as a reporter and editor at The Richmond (Va.) News Leader (1968-92) and then 11 years in journalism education outreach on behalf of Richmond Newspapers, Inc., in scholastic journalism classes in approximately 20 Richmond area high schools (1992-2003). During his time in the newsroom, he was the main substitute classical music reviewer for the paper and reviewed Richmond Symphony, Richmond Sinfonia, touring orchestra, and other musical group performances, as well as wrote occasional music-related feature stories. After taking early retirement in 2003, he relocated to Knoxville, Tenn., where he edited the local city magazine for more than a year and did freelance writing. He sang in the Maryville Community Chorus for 2004, 2005, and 2006 spring programs. He relocated to Greenville, N.C., in June 2006 and does freelance writing and editing for local and regional magazines. He has written features for the quarterly East magazine at East Carolina University and contributes fine and performing arts previews to the magazine. Row sings in the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church choir in Greenville and the Greenville Choral Society, and he is a member of the board of directors of the choral society.

Harrison Russin
Harrison Russin is a PhD student in musicology at Duke University. A Pennsylvania native, he has performed and written about music for most of his life, and is thrilled by the variety of arts events that the Triangle offers.

Kristin Sands
Kristin Sands grew up in Westfield, NC, just outside of Winston Salem. She is currently in her senior year at Salem College, majoring in music with a concentration in alto saxophone. Kristin participates in the Wake Forest University’s marching band, The Spirit of the Old Gold and Black, where she marches tenor saxophone and works under direction of Dr. Tim Heath. Kristin also had the opportunity to sing in the Salem College Choir for her first two years of college. She is part of a small acting troupe based out of Mount Airy, NC, called The Nonesuch Playmakers. She has performed in over twenty shows with them and even took on the role of Assistant Director for some of their community theatre workshops. Kristin plans to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the spring of 2022.


Danielle Schroeder
Danielle Schroeder is a college senior obtaining her bachelor’s degree in music performance at Montreat College with piano as her primary instrument. She has performed in numerous soloist opportunities, including as the featured soloist in Ellen Taffe Zwilch’s Peanuts Gallery, performed by the Montreat College Chamber Orchestra. Danielle hopes to attend graduate school in her pursuit of becoming a musicologist, with a specialized interest in Appalachian music. She is passionate about introducing classical music to peers within her generation and believes that everyone can and should enjoy all that the classical world has to offer.


Geoffrey Simon

Geoffrey Simon retired in April, 2021 from being Director of Music and Organist of Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Raleigh, NC, in order to concentrate on performing as organ recitalist and conductor. A Fellow of the College of Church Musicians at Washington National Cathedral, where he studied with Leo Sowerby and Paul Callaway, he holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. He was Director of University Choirs at The American University in Washington, DC before becoming Professor of Church Music at Wesley Seminary. He has played or conducted in twenty US states and Canada, and in European capitals including Berlin, Copenhagen, and Warsaw. He is one of few Americans to play a recital at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany, where J.S. Bach served as Cantor. Also a harpsichordist, he has performed at the Smithsonian Institution (Bach’s D-minor concerto), the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, and the National Cathedral (the 5th Brandenburg Concerto), under conductor Alexander Schneider).

As Organist-Choirmaster for Christ Lutheran Church in Washington, DC for thirteen years, he guided the process resulting in installation of the first major 20th-century mechanical-action organ in the city, built by the firm of Rudolf von Beckerath, of Hamburg, Germany. That organ, of 30 stops and 45 ranks of pipes (2180 in all) has been critically acclaimed and used in recitals for conventions of the American Guild of Organists. Among its many recitals was a series of sixteen concerts of the complete organ works of J.S. Bach, shared by Dr. Simon and Marian Ruhl Metson, then Organist at The Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill.

As Music Director for the Martin Luther Jubilee in 1985, Simon played and conducted massed choirs for a televised service and dramatic production from the Nat’l. Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC and conducted 80 members of the National Symphony Orchestra plus the Howard University Choir in a gala concert at the Kennedy Center. During the Kennedy Center’s Mozart Festival under conductor Julius Rudel, he and Donald Sutherland presented the complete Mozart organ works. For a decade, he was organist and choral conductor for Adas Israel, the DC area’s largest Conservative synagogue. He has served as a resident musician at Holden Village, the Lutheran retreat center in the North Cascade mountains.

Dr. Simon is a contributing music critic for the Classical Voice of North Carolina, that state’s online arts site. He lives in Raleigh with his wife, Sarah Morgan; their home features a concert hall seating 75, where they regularly host solo and chamber music programs.



George M. Stephens
George M. Stephens, amateur musician, received the Raleigh Medal of Arts in 1985 for volunteer activities, including service as a member of the NC Symphony Board of Trustees, president of the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild, chairman of the Raleigh Performing Arts Center Task Force, and president of the Raleigh Concert Band. He was chairman of the Buncombe County Chapter of the NC Symphony and Director of Development at its headquarters in Raleigh. He sang in the Brevard Festival Chorus, the Raleigh Oratorio Society and a church choir, and played the flute in the Raleigh Concert Band. His service as a critic began in 2002 at the invitation of CVNC. Stephens died in February of 2021, and his obituary can be accessed here.


Carter Stevens
Carter Stevens is a student at Brevard College working towards his BA in music. Currently he studies organ with Kyle Ritter and jazz improvisation with Steve Wilson. He has an active performance schedule outside of the college, serving as organist of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Tryon, NC, and playing jazz gigs throughout the Asheville area.

Kirsten Swanson
Kirsten Swanson is a classical violist from Greenville, NC.  She plays in many ensembles around the state, and teaches viola at Elon University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Ms. Swanson is currently finishing up her DMA and is working on becoming a certified Pilates Instructor.  In her spare time, she reads, cooks, and dreams about walking the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain.

Megan Swinyard
Megan Swinyard, 21, is in her senior year at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Music with a concentration in Voice and a minor in Education Studies. Upon graduation she will take a gap year before attending graduate school for vocal performance. Along with holding an intern position with CVNC, Megan is a choral scholar at Bethany Presbyterian Church. This summer she will be performing as Vittoria in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers with GLOS.

Patrick Taggart
Patrick Taggart studied music and journalism at Baylor University and covered film and classical music for the Austin American-Statesman from 1974 to 1990. He then was a film columnist for the Austin Chronicle from 1990 to 1996. From 2007 to 2013 he served on Duke Health System’s Institutional Review Board for clinical trials involving human subjects.

Larry Reni Thomas

Larry Reni Thomas, a native of Wilmington, North Carolina, is a writer/radio announcer/lecturer based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, who has worked at seven radio stations and whose journalistic work has appeared in downbeat magazine and The New York Times Magazine. He is the author of The True Story Behind The Wilmington Ten (KHA Books, 1993)) and Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit!: A Fictional Account of The Wilmington Ten Incident of February 1971(KHA Books, 2006). Thomas also wrote “The Lady Who Shot Lee Morgan,” an article that included an exclusive interview with North Carolina native, Helen Morgan, who killed the 33-year-old jazz trumpet legend in 1972. Later, Larry published a book called The Lady Who Shot Lee Morgan (KHA Books, 2014).

Thomas’s lecture, The Carolina Jazz Connection with Larry Thomas, has been presented at schools, colleges, universities, libraries and public places since 2008. He was named Jazz Hero in 2014 by The Jazz Journalists Association; received the Fifth Annual Donald Meade Legacy Jazz Griot Award at The Jazz Education Network (JEN) conference in 2016, and has been a downbeat magazine jazz critic since 2012. Larry is presently writing a book titled: Carolina Shout: That Wonderful, Soulful Blessing: The Carolina Jazz Connection! He is featured in the documentary films: Wilmington On Fire and I Called Him Morgan. He received a MA in History from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) and has done further study at UNC-CH's Journalism graduate school. Thomas is also the host of “Sunday Night Jazz” on WCOM-FM, Chapel Hill-Carrboro, North Carolina.


Jessica Thomas
Jessica Thomas is a communications professional and freelance writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She writes about the visual arts, dance, and design. Jessica earned her master’s degree in Art History, Theory & Criticism from SUNY Stony Brook where she studied with art critic Donald Kuspit and philosopher Edward S. Casey. She also holds a Master of Architecture degree with a concentration in urban design from UNC Charlotte.

A lover of all things dance, Jessica gained her formal training under the guidance of teachers from the National Ballet of Canada, Atlanta Ballet, Washington Ballet, Jazz Dance Theatre of Atlanta, Kansas City Ballet, and Intercity Ballet Company where she performed as a soloist. She spent two summers of ballet and theatre training with Gelsey Kirkland and Michael Chernov. Her jazz and hip hop training is rooted in her studies with dancers and choreographers from the stages of Broadway, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. Jessica continues to dance and teach in the Charlotte area.

In 2009, Jessica founded Speak Your Design, a communications and project management firm that serves clients in the fields of architecture, engineering, higher education and the arts, among others.


William Thomas Walker
Bluegrass on the radio and shape note singing in local churches constituted high art in Wilkes County, where William Thomas Walker grew up, but TV brought Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts. He left the hills for the Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill), attended his first concert in 1969, and earned a BS in Zoology in May, 1971. In 2016 he retired after 44.6 years as Stacks Supervisor in UNC’s Wilson Library and later in Davis Library, an occupation that enabled him to fund his addiction to classical music by collecting recordings and attending 80+ concerts annually. This led to writing for Spectator Magazine and then helping launch CVNC with an “Overview of the 25th Anniversary of the Spoleto Festival USA.” He is a member of the Music Critics Association of North America (

Note: Walker’s pre-CVNC  guest restaurant reviews are compiled in Kent’s Carolina Barbecue Book from what was the #1 ranked by Google website from 1998 until its retirement in 2008 with an average of over 10,000+ unique visitors per month.



Marvin J. Ward

Marvin J. Ward has degrees in French and English: BA (62) & MA (72, English), SUNY Albany; MA (68, French), Université Laval, Québec; Ph.D. (specializing in their medieval literatures, 84), UNC-CH; is bilingual, was a HS French teacher, then a translator and interpreter for 20 years.

He was a choral singer, radio announcer, retail music recording salesman and department manager, member of boards of presenter organizations, and is a collector of recorded classical music.

He relocated from Raleigh, NC, to Western Massachusetts upon retirement in 2003, now residing in Easthampton, and continues to contribute to CVNC. He was a founder & Executive Editor (2006-2009) of the now defunct Classical Voice of New England.

Since April 2011, he is a Five Colleges Associate with Five Colleges, Inc., based at Smith College in Northampton, MA. His research and writing focus on music, especially French, early music, and performances on historic pianos, particularly at the Frederick Collection in Ashburnham, MA.

Other interests include art/art history, history (with a forthcoming book about Easthampton’s earliest industries), historical sites, museums, and reading.

He has written for CVNC since 2001, and for CVNA since 2013.


Marsha Warren
Marsha Warren is Executive Director of the Paul Green Foundation.

Cecilia Whalen

Cecilia Whalen is a freelance arts writer based in NYC. She is a practicing dancer, pursuing a career as a modern dancer and choreographer. She is currently enrolled in a choreography program with Martha Graham Studios, and she is an active contributor in dance commentary with Fjord.

As a student at UNC Charlotte, Cecilia was a staff writer for the UNCC Niner Times covering artistic events on-campus and city-wide. She has written numerous reviews, previews, and interviews published in print and online for the student-run newspaper. As a high school student, Cecilia was the Editor-in-Chief of her high school newspaper, The Eagle, and a winner of several writing awards, including the Blumenthal Performing Arts and Charlotte Observer “Best Student Critic” Blumey Award in 2017, and a Scholastic Art and Writing Award “Gold Key” in 2018 for her personal essay on jazz. Cecilia holds a strong interest in jazz music and is also a practicing jazz drummer.

With CVNC, Cecilia covered many events in Charlotte, NC and the Western part of the state; she served as Calendar Editor from 2021 – 2022.


Meg Freeman Whalen
A freelance writer in Charlotte, North Carolina, Meg Freeman Whalen has written more than 220 articles for Charlotte magazine, The Charlotte Observer, and Charlotte Arts Magazine, including features, personality profiles, critical reviews, and previews. She served as contributing arts editor for Charlotte magazine from 2003 to 2007. Her short book, The Sound of Charlotte: The First 75 Years of the Charlotte Symphony, was published in January 2007. The first chapter of that book, “An Orchestra is Born,” was reprinted in the anthology, Making Notes: Music of the Carolinas, published by Novello Press in 2008.

Scholarly articles include “From Salonière to Social Activist: Muriel Draper and the Popular Front,” in the Journal of the North Carolina Association of Historians, Vol. 6-7, Fall 1998-Fall 1999; “A Little Republic Filled with Grace: The Nineteenth-Century Music Salon,” in Women of Note Quarterly Vol. 3, No.4, November 1995; and “Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s Sunday Musicales,” in Women of Note Quarterly Vol. 2, No. 1, February 1994, reprinted in the Journal of the Conductors’ Guild Vol. 14, no. 1, Winter/Spring 1993.

Since 1994, Whalen has taught music history and music appreciation courses at Queens University of Charlotte. She is currently the Director of Communications and External Relations for the College of Arts + Architecture at UNC Charlotte.


Chloe White
Chloe White is studying jazz saxophone at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She works for the college radio station 103.1 WUAG and loves playing at sessions, as well as resting with her elderly dog Fifi. Chloe grew up in Western North Carolina and aspires to do field research in rural communities as well as bring her horn to fiddle jams.

Krista Wiese
Krista Wiese is a freshman at Meredith College. She is double majoring in English and Music with a concentration in Management. Krista has played violin since she was three years old. Throughout middle and high school, she participated in the various youth orchestras of the Philharmonic Association, earning the position of Concertmaster in 2016 and Principal Second in 2017.

In 2016, Krista formed her own string quartet which performed together for two years. Managing this quartet was what led Krista to discover her passion for management. Currently, Krista works as an intern for the Philharmonic Association. She was also recently hired to be the operations manager of a startup arts organization focused in Johnston County, The Around Town Singers & Orchestra. Her dream is to one day work as a manager for an arts organization like the North Carolina Symphony.


Paul Williams
Paul Williams, a native of North Carolina, wrote for Classical Voice of North Carolina from early 2007 until his death in 2016. Read more about his life in our blog post. For several years he was a reviewer for the News & Observer in Raleigh. He believed that the reviewer should seek out the positive aspects of a performance, particularly when the performers are amateurs. Except for the most egregious cases then, more oblique references may be made to areas in need of improvement.

He was a graduate of Furman and Auburn universities. He retired from the electronic computing industry, and later from a secondary career teaching mathematics and computer courses at Shaw University. He also taught in adjunct status at Auburn University, Georgia State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

His interest in music sprung from early studies in high school and college, but still more so from a lifetime of listening and appreciating. That time spread included multiple years as a choral performer. In fact, vocal music tended to move him like no other form. (To fill out his all-time favorite vocal spectrum, he would choose soprano Zinka Milanov, contralto Christa Ludwig, and tenor Richard Crooks. Innate modesty forbade that his identifying his favorite baritone.)


Olivia Willie
Olivia Willie is a senior music education student at Brevard College. Clarinet player of ten years, she currently resides as principal clarinetist for the Brevard College Wind Ensemble. She also serves as the Head Usher and Music History tutor at her school. Olivia will be receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education in December of 2014.  Upon graduating college, she hopes to find a job as a music director at a high school. She is fascinated by conducting and is considering pursuing a Master’s degree in it later in life.

Morris L. Wilson
As a young person, Morris L. Wilson spent entirely too much time at The Frog and Nightgown, not nearly enough time at the Blue Note, and far too little time studying and practicing on his own. During a short stint at Spectator Magazine it quickly became apparent that he was in the minority with regard to the retention of conductor Patrick Flynn by the NC Symphony. We are pleased to welcome him to the pages of CVNC for occasional commentary on events of significance in our community.

Jentry Womack
Jentry Womack is a recent graduate of Brevard College (Brevard, NC). After receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Music with a minor in English, she has decided to make the shift from coloratura to columnist and pursue a M.A. in journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder this coming August 2016. She currently writes for the Brevard Chapter of The Odyssey and has been featured in both of the student-run publications on Brevard College’s campus, The Clarion and The Chiaroscuro.