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August 9, 2018

CIM Announces Faculty Additions in Voice & Music Theory for 2018-19


new faculty
Pictured: Voice faculty Dina Kuznetsova and Music Theory faculty Alan Reese

Three full-time conservatory faculty members are set to join the Cleveland Institute of Music when the 2018-19 academic year begins: Russian-American soprano Dina Kuznetsova joins the voice department, and Dr. Sam Bivens and Dr. Alan Reese formally join the Institute’s distinguished music theory department.

“These new faculty members—along with new violin faculty Ilya Kaler and Olga Dubossarskaya Kaler, whose appointments were previously announced—exemplify the incredible standard and excellence of CIM’s entire faculty,” remarked Chief Academic Officer & Dean of the Conservatory Dr. Judy Bundra. “We are thrilled at the strength each one brings to our students, their departments and the school.”

A native of Moscow, soprano Dina Kuznetsova is an alumna of the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago where she starred in The Cunning Little Vixen, Rigoletto, Romeo et Juliette and—marking her role debut as Tatyana—Eugene Onegin under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis.

Her outstanding musicianship and compelling stage presence have resulted in performances at many of the world’s greatest opera houses, from the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Berlin’s Staatsoper, Wiener Staatsoper and Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper to the San Francisco Opera. Recently, Kuznetsova made her outstanding debut as Dvořák’s Rusalka at Glyndebourne Festival and her highly acclaimed debut as Cio Cio San (Madama Butterfly) at English National Opera. A keen recitalist and chamber musician, Ms. Kuznetsova appears regularly at both the New York Festival of Song and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. “What a seductive and arresting voice” noted Le Figaro, “warm and generous, with an easy top end that conceals a true lyric temperament.”

CIM’s theory department is proud to have the talents of both Sam Bivens and Alan Reese after receiving their PhD degrees in 2018 from the Eastman School of Music (ESM).

Sam Bivens’ dissertation focused on form in Wagner’s opera, Die Walküre. Alongside his extensive work on all things Wagner, his current research interests include music of the late 19th century, music theory pedagogy and a burgeoning pet project addressing issues of data visualization in music theory. He has presented on a number of these topics in the United States and abroad.

Bivens also is the proud recipient of several teaching and research awards: the 2012 Teaching Assistant Prize for Excellence in Teaching at ESM; the 2017 Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student at the University of Rochester; and the prestigious Presser Graduate Music Award which provided the means for a three-month trip to Bayreuth, Germany to perform archival dissertation research during the summer of 2016.

Alan Reese’s research focuses on analytical approaches to 20th-century music, particularly the impressionist compositions of Karol Szymanowski. Additional interests include transformational theory, late-19th-century German harmonic theory, and 20th-century Polish art music. Recent and upcoming presentations include the Society of Music Theory (2018), Music Theory Society of New York State (2016, 2014) and the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Society of Music Theory (2013). While at Eastman, he served as reviews editor and web manager for the music theory journal Intégral.

Although announced last year, renowned violinists and teachers Ilya Kaler and Olga Dubossarskaya Kaler join the CIM faculty beginning with the 2018-19 academic year.

Ilya Kaler is considered to be one of the most outstanding personalities of the violin. He is the only violinist to win the Gold Medal in the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Sibelius Competition in Helsinki and Paganini Competition in Genoa. Gramophone has described him as a “magician, bewitching our ears” for his hauntingly beautiful sound, flawless command of the instrument and mesmerizing phrasing. His performing career ranges from soloist and recording artist to chamber musician, and he is one of the most sought-after teachers in the world. 

Olga Dubossarskaya Kaler has been praised by music critics for her “deep, soulful sound” and “powerful, enchanting renditions.” She is a renowned soloist, chamber musician and artist-teacher. She has won numerous awards including the Special Prize at the Rodolfo Lipitzer International Competition and first prizes at the Northwestern and Thaviu-Isaak competitions. Not only has Kaler established a successful performing career, she is also highly sought out as an artist-teacher and guest clinician. She has presented master classes at many distinguished schools and held various summer festival teaching engagements.