Lake Mary Magazine: Stetson University

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JUST A SHORT DRIVE NORTH OF LAKE MARY LIES ONE OF CENTRAL Florida’s most significant cultural treasures. Stetson University’s award-winning School of Music offers invaluable opportunities to enjoy world-class performances-close to home.

Recognized as one of the most undergraduate-only professional schools of music in the country, Stetson’s School of Music has purposefully limited the program to just undergraduates, meaning that students get more time with professors and access to opportunities to develop professionally. “In fact, our students benefit from gaining exposure to graduate-level and professional-level repertoire,” explains Dr. Jean O. West, dean of the School of Music. Offering several bachelor programs in music education, performance, technology, composition theory, and more, the school not only stresses artistic excellence and professionalism, but also embraces the academic rigor. The School of Music, College of Arts & Sciences, and School of Business Administration are located at the historic campus of DeLand, while the College of Law is in Gulfport and Tampa. Stetson also has a Center at Celebration.

“Our students benefit from a rich academic and performance foundation that leads to exciting professional careers as professional performers, educators, composers, and conductors,” Dr. West says. The school boasts a dynamic team of artist-faculty, many of whom have been at Stetson for nearly 30 years. the faculty and students are gearing up for a magical lineup of concerts this spring featuring superior music selections and unforgettable performances. One of those is Dr. Michael Rickman’s Piano Scholars Festival taking place February 24-26. “We invite prospective students to campus for auditions and the opportunity to compete for scholarship money,” Dr. Rickman says.

“We will welcome guest pianist Mirian Conti from Julliard, who will be conducting master classes with the students, in addition to performing.” Dr. Rickman will join colleague Edit Palmer in a special piano performance on February 26 to conclude the festival.

Often, alumni continue to study at some of the most prestigious music graduate schools in the world, and no one is prouder of their achievements than the Stetson faculty, says Dr. Lynn Musco, professor of clarinet.

With a student-faculty ration of 6 to 1, the invaluable one-on-one time spent between faculty and their students forges “relationships that last not just four years, but a lifetime,” says Dr. Musco, who is performing in recitals on January 22 and March 27.

Dr. Musco along with colleagues Dr. Ashley Heintzen, professor of bassoonand Dr. Ann Adams, professor of oboe, comprise the faculty woodwind trio Veritate Winds. “We all love to play, but our passion is teaching,” comments Dr. Adams. Vertitate Winds performs on March 16.

The faculty members are able to draw from their professional experience to give students tactical, need-to-know performance skills. Dr. Heintzen, who is performing in a January 20 faculty recital, says “a live performance never goes the same way twice.”

“We teach our students the spirit of collaboration,” she says. “Chamber music is important for the students because they learn to work without a conductor and learn with each other.” On February 3, Stetson will present a Faculty Recital with Stephen Robinson and Friends, coordinated by Dr. Stephen Robinson, professor of music and brilliant guitarist.

“This will be a very different kind of concert of chamber music with guitar,” Dr. Robinson explains. Attendees will enjoy hearing arrangements featuring piano, oboe, clarinet, violin, cello, flute and even bongos, among others. “It will be a crazy combination of instrument with guitar and great fun,” Dr. Robinson says.

Another can’t-miss musical treat will be a duo of Stetson Opera Theatre and Orchestra performances on March 23 and 25, directed by Dr. Russell Franks, professor of voice. Along with conductor Anthony Hose, professor of music, Dr. Franks will lead students in a performance of Ibert’s musical farce, Angelique and Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tiresias (in English).

“In Poulenc’s opera, a woman named Therese gets tired of being a submissive wife expected to birth babies. She becomes a man, Tiresias, and seeks to take on the world,” Dr. Franks explains. “Naturally, her husband isn’t happy with this, so she ties him up and then challenges him to worry about babies. He actually finds a way to give birth to thousands.”

Stetson is synonymous with exposing both students and the community to cultural opportunities says Dr. Routa Kroumovitch-Gomez, professor of violin. Every summer, she takes a handful of students to the Orfeo Music Festival in Vipiteno, Italy. Stetson students cite the festival as one of the most enriching educational and creative experiences available.

“The students come back different people because they understand what it takes to be a professional on an international scope.” Dr. Kroumovitch-Gomez says.

To access a full list of upcoming Stetson School of Music concerts, visit or call 386-822-8947.

  1. 1. Tres Vientos faculty trio: Dr. Ann Adams, oboe; Dr. Lynn Musco, clarinet; Dr. Ashley Heintzen, bassoon.
  2. 2. Dr. Routa Kroumovitch works with a violin student.
  3. 3. Dr. Lynn Musco reviews a new piece with a clarinet student.
  4. 4. Stetson University students performing in the Dido and Aeneas opera directed by Dr. Russell Franks.
  5. 5. Dr. Jean O. West, Dean, School of Music, Stetson University.

–Ashley Cisneros
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.

About the Author:

Ashley Cisneros Mejia is a journalist, entrepreneur and marketer. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later as an editor at Florida Trend business magazine. Ashley has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2009, as a technical writer, marketing manager, and public relations practitioner. She also founded two digital marketing agencies in Orlando. Named one of Orlando’s 40 Under 40 and honored by the Women’s Executive Council of Orlando for achievements in media and communications, Ashley earned a B.S. in Journalism and an M.S. in Entrepreneurship at the University of Florida.

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