Focus Areas and Key Dates
- The Academic Job Market: June 25 - 27
- Navigating the Search Process: July 30 - August 1
- Effective Teaching: August 27 - 29
- The Politics of Academia: October 22 - 24
- Special session with Wynton Marsalis: November 12
- Peak Performance and Influencing at All Levels: December 3 - 5
- Putting it All Together (in person at SphinxConnect): January 27 - 29, 2022
Complete curriculum coming soon!
- Wynton Marsalis, internationally acclaimed musician, composer and educator
- Dr. Ronald Crutcher, president of the University of Richmond.
- Dr. Angela Duckworth, MacArthur grant winner and author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.
- Simon Sinek, TED speaker and author of the bestselling book Start with Why. Photo by: Andrew Dolgin
Meet the Faculty
Carlos Abril is professor of music and associate dean of research at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, where he teaches courses in equity, access and diversity in music education, philosophy of music education and general music methods. His body of research, which seeks to identify and eliminate visible and invisible barriers to the study of music in schools, is published in numerous research and professional journals, as well as in books. He co-edited the books Teaching General Music: Approaches, Issues, and Viewpoints (Oxford University Press) and Musical Experiences in Our Lives: Lessons We Learn and Meanings We Make (Rowan & Littlefield) and has published music and instructional materials for World Music Press and McGraw-Hill’s Spotlight on Music. Abril has served on the research panel for the National Endowment for the Arts and is the chair-elect of the Society of Research in Music Education. He was recently honored with the Phillip Frost Award for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship.
Dr. Vernell Bennett-Fairs is a trained vocalist and orator, with over 25 years of experience in higher education. She was recently appointed president of LeMoyne-Owen College. Previously, Bennett-Fairs served as the vice president for student affairs at Delta State University.
At Delta State University, her career accomplishments include increasing student enrollment, realigning the college’s scholarship budget and assisting in attracting students from over 50 countries. She also served in a similar role at Kentucky State University, an HBCU, where she instituted innovative recruitment strategies such as a coordinated recruitment program and faculty teaching days in high schools. Her leadership is based in collaboration, relationships and student-centered strategies.
A native of Lorain, Ohio, Bennett-Fairs began her postsecondary career at Kentucky State University as a non-tenure track instructor of music. Of all her accolades, her most prized honors are those bestowed upon her by the students, which include KSU Girls Rock, Woman of the Year, the SGA Award of Accomplishment and her first DSU student award, a Lady Statesman Emerald Award of Excellence for Top Female Administrator.
Bennett-Fairs is currently a protégé in the 2020-21 cohort of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Millennium Leadership Initiative. She is an alumna of the Executive Leadership Summit, Hawkins-Scott Leadership Institute, Leadership Kentucky and Leadership Mississippi. Bennett-Fairs is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and the Mississippi Delta Chapter of the Links, Incorporated.
Bennett-Fairs received a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Fisk University, a Master of Arts in vocal performance from Eastern Michigan University and a Doctorate of Education in Administration and Instruction from the University of Kentucky.
Michael Birenbaum Quintero is an associate professor and chair of musicology & ethnomusicology at Boston University, where he is also affiliated with the African American, Latin American, African, and American & New England Studies programs. He researches the history and current political and cultural ramifications of Afro-Latin American music. His book Rites, Rights & Rhythms (Oxford UP, 2018) discusses Afro-Colombian music. He also works on US Latinx music, the circulation of Black music through the diaspora and ritual soundscapes in the Caribbean, the US and Nigeria. He works closely with musicians, cultural policy institutions, grassroots organizations and political activists in Colombia and the US.
José Antonio Bowen has been leading innovation and change for over 35 years at Stanford, Georgetown and the University of Southampton (UK). Currently, he runs Bowen Innovation Group L.L.C., and does innovation, leadership, pedagogy and D&I consulting and training in both higher education and for Fortune 500 companies in the healthcare, energy, automotive and telecom sectors.
Bowen is a musician and has appeared on five continents as a jazz pianist and conductor with Stan Getz, DizzyGillespie, Bobby McFerrin, Dave Brubeck, Liberace, and many others. His compositions include a symphony (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1985), and music for Jerry Garcia.
He has long been a pioneer in education, classroom design and technology.
Ellen Burts-Cooper is the senior managing partner of Improve Consulting and Training Group, a firm that provides personal and professional development training, coaching and consultation.
Burts-Cooper is on faculty at Case Western Reserve University in the Weatherhead Executive Education Program and The Institute for Management Studies (IMS). She is the author of the books aMAZEing Organizational Teams: Navigating 7 Critical Attributes for Cohesion, Productivity and Resilience and Canine Instinct: A Guide to Survival and Advancement in Corporate America. She also created the workshop curricula Personal Positioning: Building Personal Brand Equity and Don’t Just Think Outside the Box, Make the Box Bigger and is a member of the National Wellness Institute.
A native of El Paso, Texas, Frank Candelaria is a first-generation, Mexican American college graduate. Following a year of study with the celebrated Russian violinist Victor Danchenko at the Cleveland Institute of Music, he completed his undergraduate degree in musicology at the Oberlin Conservatory where he also studied violin, viola and the Chinese erhu (a two-stringed folk fiddle). He received his Ph.D. in musicology with highest honors from Yale University.
Candelaria has held professorships at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and at the University of Texas at Austin, where he received tenure and served for 12 years on the musicology faculty.
He later served as an Associate Provost at the University of Texas at El Paso, a Hispanic-Serving Institution of 25,000 students that earned national distinction for its bold and inspiring mission of “access and excellence” in a severely under-resourced community along the US-Mexico border.
Candelaria currently serves as dean of the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University. He joined Vanderbilt in 2020 with a mission to focus on the professional education of highly talented young musicians who demonstrate an exceptional capacity and motivation to shape our increasingly diverse and complex global century.
A former member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Ronald A. Crutcher has performed numerous recitals in the US, Europe and South America and has recorded for Austrian and German radio. For almost forty years, he performed in the US and Europe as a member of the Klemperer Trio.
Crutcher has written extensively about the performing arts and has served internationally as a consultant for numerous music and fine arts programs. He has served on the boards of the Boston, Cleveland and Austin symphony orchestras, and currently is a member of the board of the Richmond Symphony and the board of advisors for the Sphinx Organization. He is also a past president of Chamber Music America.
Crutcher currently serves as the tenth president of the University of Richmond, having previously served as president of Wheaton College in Massachusetts and dean of the conservatory at the Cleveland Institute of Music, among other leadership positions. A national leader in higher education, he currently sits on the boards of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the American Council on Education.
Rodney Dorsey is professor of music and chair of the band department at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, a position he has held since fall 2018. Dorsey is the conductor of the internationally recognized Indiana Wind Ensemble and guides all aspects of the graduate wind conducting program. Past positions have included director of bands at the University of Oregon, associate director of bands at the University of Michigan, associate professor of music at DePaul University and director of athletic bands at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. Dorsey also taught public school for eight years in Florida and Georgia.
His commitment to the music community has been demonstrated by his participation on boards of directors for the Midwest Clinic and Music for All. He is also an elected member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association. His lifelong commitment to teaching saw him recognized as a Yamaha Master Educator.
Aaron Flagg joined Juilliard's faculty during the 2014-15 season, where he currently specializes in jazz studies and creative ideas. Before joining Juilliard's faculty roster, he was at the Hartt School at the University of Hartford where he was dean and professor of music.
He has been a board member of the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), the League of American Orchestras in New York, Hartford Hospital, iQuilt Partnership and the Stamford Symphony Orchestra. He has served on strategic committees for New York University, Hartford Performs and Harlem School of the Arts. He was also the New York Metro Area chapter chair for the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts. He is on the membership committee of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans and has served as an external evaluator for the National Office for Arts Accreditation (NOAA) and panelist for the Massachusetts Cultural Council, New York State Council on the Arts, Cuyahoga Arts and Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Flagg has served on numerous grant panels and was New York metro area chapter chair for the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts.
He has been a consultant with arts presenting organizations and universities around the country, while serving as a teaching artist for 15 years with organizations, including the Lincoln Center Institute, Carnegie Hall Education, New York Philharmonic Education, Memphis Arts Council, Guggenheim Museum and New York City Opera.
Prior to his appointment at the University of Hartford, Flagg was executive director of the Music Conservatory of Westchester from 2005 to 2009. At Juilliard, he served as director of educational outreach from 2000 to 2005. Prior to that, Flagg was director of the jazz studies program at the University of Connecticut.
Jason Geary is distinguished professor of music and dean of Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. He has also served as director of the University of Maryland School of Music and associate dean for graduate studies, equity and inclusion at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Geary has successfully led initiatives fostering community engagement, student entrepreneurship, interdisciplinary collaboration and greater inclusivity in the arts. He is in demand as a speaker and arts consultant and currently sits on the board of the Alliance for the Arts at Research Universities and the American Musicological Society. He has also lectured and published widely on German music and culture and has received several prestigious fellowships in support of his work, including a Fulbright Grant and membership at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Geary holds a degree in piano performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a PhD in musicology from Yale University.
Don Greene, a peak performance psychologist, has taught his comprehensive approach to peak performance mastery at The Juilliard School, Colburn School, New World Symphony, Los Angeles Opera Young Artists Program, Vail Ski School, Perlman Music Program and US Olympic Training Center. During his thirty-two year career, he has coached more than 1,000 performers to win professional auditions and has guided countless solo performers to successful careers. Some of the performing artists with whom Greene has worked have won jobs with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Opera, Montreal Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, National Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Pacific Northwest Ballet and the Dance Theatre of Harlem, to name just a few.
Winner of a Naumburg International Violin Competition Honorarium Prize and featured in the Smithsonian Museum for African-American History, Kelly Hall-Tompkins is a violin soloist entrepreneur who has been acclaimed by The New York Times as “the versatile violinist who makes the music come alive,” for her “tonal mastery” (BBC Music Magazine) and as The New York Times “New Yorker of the Year.” She has appeared as co-soloist in Carnegie Hall with Glenn Dicterow and conductor Leonard Slatkin; in London at Queen Elizabeth Hall; at Lincoln Center; with the symphonies of Baltimore, Dallas, Jacksonville and Oakland; recitals in Paris, New York, Toronto, Washington and Chicago; and festivals of Tanglewood, Ravinia, Santa Fe, France, Germany and Italy. She was “Fiddler”/violin soloist of the Grammy/Tony-nominated Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof. Inspired by her experience, she commissioned and developed the first ever Fiddler solo disc of all new arrangements, "The Fiddler Expanding Tradition," which is featured in the upcoming new documentary Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles on the 55-year history of the musical.
As founder of Music Kitchen – Food for the Soul, Hall-Tompkins is a pioneer of social justice in classical music, bringing top artists in over 100 concerts in homeless shelters coast to coast from New York to Los Angeles, and internationally in Paris, France. Music Kitchen commissioned and will present the world premiere of the Forgotten Voices song cycle in association with Carnegie Hall. Hall-Tompkins is a member of the faculty at the Manhattan School of Music.
Eileen M. Hayes currently serves as dean of the College of Arts and Communication at UW-Whitewater. From 2012-17, she served as professor and chair of the Department of Music at Towson University. Prior to that, she served as chair of the division of music history, theory and ethnomusicology at the University of North Texas for four years. Hayes holds degrees from Temple University, Indiana University and the University of Washington. She is the author of Songs in Black and Lavender: Race, Sexual Politics, and Women's Music (University of Illinois Press, 2010). She is the co-editor with Linda Williams of Black Women and Music: More than the Blues (University of Illinois Press, 2007). Hayes is a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow (UC/Riverside) and a DAAD Fellow (University at Göttingen). Currently, she is co-editor, with Portia K. Maultsby, of the Black Music in Global Perspective series, University of Illinois Press. Hayes’ research into the interactions of race, gender and sexuality in African American music and culture is complemented by her advocacy on behalf of women, faculty of color and other underrepresented constituencies in schools of music and now in colleges of arts and communication. She is immediate past-president of the College Music Society.
Dr. Álvaro Huerta is an associate professor in urban & region planning and ethnic & women’s studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. As an interdisciplinary scholar, Huerta teaches and conducts research on the intersecting domains of community and economic development, Chicana/o & Latina/o studies, immigration and Mexican diaspora, social movements and social networks, and the informal economy. Among other scholarly publications, he’s the author of the award-winning book Latina/o Immigrant Communities in the Xenophobic Era of Trump and Beyond (2019) and Reframing the Latino Immigration Debate: Towards a Humanistic Paradigm (2013).
As a scholar-activist, Huerta engages in countless guest lectures, conference talks and public speeches around the world on behalf of los de abajo (those on the bottom). This includes two TEDx talks (click here and here). He also continues to engage with the same marginalized and racialized communities – where he comes from. This includes immigration, informality, police abuse, higher education and related issues. In terms of higher education, he seeks to diversify and decolonize the university through his teaching, research, service and public engagement.
For his social/racial justice and civic engagement efforts, he has received numerous awards, such as the Edward Blakely Award – for Advancing the Cause of Social and Racial Justice in Urban Planning, Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (2016); National Planning Leadership Award – Advancing Diversity and Social Change in Honor of Paul Davidoff, American Planning Association (2011); and others. Moreover, for his academic accomplishments, he has received several academic fellowships, such as the UC MEXUS Dissertation Research Grant, University of California (2010-11); Ford Foundation Diversity Pre-doctoral Fellow-National Research Council, (2006-10); and others.
As a son of Mexican immigrants and first generation graduate –elementary school, high school, university – he holds a PhD in city and regional planning from UC Berkeley – one of the first Chicanas/os to do so. He also holds an MA in urban planning and a BA in history from UCLA.
Alisha Lola Jones is an assistant professor in the department of folklore and ethnomusicology and faculty director of the Global Pop Music Initiative at Indiana University. Jones is a board member of the Society for Ethnomusicology, a member of the strategic planning task force for the American Musicological Society and a co-chair of the Music and Religion Section of the American Academy of Religion. Additionally, as a performer-scholar, she consults museums, conservatories, seminaries and arts organizations on curriculum, live and virtual event programming, and content development. Jones’ book Flaming?: The Peculiar Theopolitics of Fire and Desire in Black Male Gospel Performance (Oxford University Press) breaks ground by analyzing the role of gospel music making in constructing and renegotiating gender identity among black men. Her research interests extend to global pop music, musics of the African diaspora, music and food, the music industry and the marketplace, and anti-oppressive ways of listening to black women.
Karen Kelsky is the founder and CEO of The Professor Is In, which provides advice and consulting services on the academic job search and all elements of the academic and post-academic career. She speaks nationally and internationally on topics related to PhD professionalization and is a weekly columnist at Chronicle Vitae. As the creator of the Sexual Harassment in the Academy Survey and the #MeTooPhD hashtag, Kelsky speaks nationally on issues of sexual assault in the academy, with a focus on empowering victims and training people in leadership. She is a former tenured professor and department head at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Oregon. Her latest book is The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide to Turning Your Ph.D. Into a Job (Random House 2015).
Dr. Tammy L. Kernodle is professor of musicology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where she teaches in the areas of African American music (popular and classical), American music and gender studies in music. She holds a Bachelor of Music in choral music education from Virginia State University and a Master of Arts and PhD in musicology from The Ohio State University.
Kernodle served as the scholar in residence for the Women in Jazz Initiative at the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City (1999-2001) and has worked closely with a number of educational programs including the Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival, Jazz@Lincoln Center, NPR, Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame Lecture series and the BBC.
Her work has appeared in American Studies, Musical Quarterly, Black Music Research Journal, The Journal of the Society of American Music, American Music Research Journal, The U.S. Catholic Historian, The African American Lectionary Project and numerous anthologies. Kernodle is the author of biography Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams and served as associate editor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of African American Music. She served as a scholarly consultant for the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s inaugural exhibits entitled Musical Crossroads and appears in a number of award-winning documentaries including Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band, The Girls in the Band, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool and recently How it Feels to Be Free (2021, PBS American Masters series).
In 2018, she was awarded the Benjamin Harrison Medallion, the highest award given to a Miami University faculty member in recognition of their research, teaching and service. She is the first African American to receive this award. Kernodle currently serves as the president of the Society for American Music.
Ricardo Lorenz is professor and area chair of composition at Michigan State University College of Music.
His compositions have received praise for their fiery orchestrations, harmonic sophistication and rhythmic vitality. These impressions have accompanied performances of his works at prestigious international festivals such as Carnegie Hall's Sonidos de las Américas, Ravinia Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, France's Berlioz Festival, Spain's Festival Internacional de Música Contemporanea de Alicante, the Festival Cervantino in Mexico and Turkey's Uluslararasi Summer Festival.
Venezuelan-born Lorenz has served as composer-in-residence in several programs and presenting organizations, such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Armonía Musicians Residency Program (1998-2003), the Billings Symphony (1998-99), and Music in the Loft chamber music series (1999-2000).
Although Lorenz has resided in the US since 1982, he has always maintained close ties with Latin America. Between 1987 and 1992, he held the position of interim director of the Indiana University Latin American Music Center. Between 2003 and 2005, Lorenz went back to Indiana University to serve as visiting director of the Latin American Popular Music Ensemble.
Lorenz holds a Ph.D. in composition from the University of Chicago and a master of music degree from Indiana University. He studied composition under Juan Orrego Salas, Shulamit Ran and Donald Erb. He has taught at Indiana University, the University of Chicago and City Colleges of Chicago.
Daniel Pettrow is a Brooklyn-based actor, director and teacher. He has been the director of performance and communication training for Heifetz International Music Institute since 2012. He is also the drama and speaking in public teacher for Heifetz Institute.
Pettrow is a teacher and lecturer at The Banff Centre for their Concert in the 21st Century program. He is also a guest teacher at Juilliard, NYU, Cleveland Institute of Music, National Academy of Dramatic Arts in Paris, and various institutions throughout the world. Pettrow has been the drama director for YoungArts Miami (2015), YoungArts LA (2016-17) and YoungArts DC (2019).
Louise Toppin has received critical acclaim for her operatic, orchestral and oratorio performances in the US, Europe, Czech Republic, Sweden, Uruguay, Scotland, China, England, New Zealand, the Caribbean, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Bermuda, Japan and Spain.
As a scholar, she has lectured on the music of African American composers and has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered (Margaret Bonds); for many national conventions including the Society for American Music, Association for the Study of African American Life and History, American Cultural Association, National Association of Negro Music, and National Association for the Study and Performance of African American Music; and on many college campuses including Harvard, Tufts and Duke. As the co-founder and director of the George Shirley Vocal Competition, which focuses exclusively on repertoire by African American art song, and Videmus, a non-profit organization that promotes the concert repertoire of African American and women composers, she encourages the performance and scholarship of African American compositions by students and scholars. She is also the founder of the African Diaspora Music Project, a research tool to locate the repertoire of composers of the African Diaspora from the 1600s to the present.
Previously, Toppin was the distinguished university professor of music and chair of the department of music at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is currently professor of music (voice) at the University of Michigan.