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New Peak Fellowship helps elevate emerging ensemble groups

This past spring, Meadows School of the Arts launched its new Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence program, a two-year fellowship open to chamber music groups internationally. The inaugural winner, announced in April, is the Cézanne Quartet. The group began its residency in August and will continue through May 2017.

Formed in 2014, the Cézanne Quartet enjoys an active performing career in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. The group includes Meadows students and alumni Eleanor Dunbar (’16) and Mai Ke (Performer’s Diploma ’14), violin; former student Steven Juarez, viola; and Elizabeth White (’15), cello. In March, the group won second place in the senior division of the national Coltman Chamber Music Competition in Austin. They will present two Meadows concerts this fall and spring.

Each year between 2015 and 2018, one winning ensemble will be appointed as a Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence. The fellowship includes a $40,000 annual stipend for two years; support for a self-directed, career-advancing project in the second year (e.g. a commission, recording, concert tour, etc.); a rehearsal studio on the SMU campus; opportunities to perform in Meadows’ concert series; and more.

The fellowship was made possible by a generous gift from a graduate of SMU. “We are very grateful for this support, which enables us to provide an outstanding opportunity for talented chamber ensembles to further their careers while contributing to the musical life of SMU and Dallas,” says Meadows Dean Sam Holland.

Each winning group will work closely with coordinator Matt Albert, director of chamber music at SMU Meadows, to plan artistic and pedagogical goals to place the group on a sustainable, differentiated career path after the completion of the fellowship.

“The early years of a chamber music group’s career can be very challenging,” says Albert, a three-time Grammy winner for music recorded with the new music ensemble eighth blackbird. “Early on, there is little guaranteed income, high expenses for travel to gigs, auditions and conferences and the need to spend valuable time and infrastructure on self-promotion and publicity. The Peak Fellowship is intended to provide a cushion that will allow a young group to dedicate more of their time to these endeavors while providing them a home in a large, growing metropolitan area with exciting opportunities for chamber music groups.”

Meadows at the meyerson 2015 sets a 22-year record and raises over $1 million

The annual Meadows at the Meyerson benefit concert, held on March 31 at the Meyerson Symphony Center, was the most successful in the event’s 22-year history. That evening, Meadows Dean Sam Holland announced a $1.5 million challenge grant from the Morris Foundation for the Meadows Scholars Program (see page 9).

Through donations and the matching funds of the Morris gift, the event raised more than $1 million for Meadows Scholars, a new record. Numerous gifts were given in recognition of this year’s honoree, noted arts and civic leader Caren Prothro, former SMU Board chair. The event chair was Heather Furniss and honorary chairs were Sarah and Ross Perot, Jr. The Meadows Symphony Orchestra performed Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth), accompanied by two internationally recognized opera singers: mezzo-soprano Michaela Martens and tenor Thomas Studebaker.

A glowing review in The Dallas Morning News said, “…one could close eyes and imagine a fully professional orchestra in a major city.”

Faculty members rack up the awards for 2014-15


  1. Randall Griffin, professor and chair of the Art History Department, was appointed by the SMU Provost’s Office as a University Distinguished Professor. The award is held by only a small group of professors and is based on outstanding accomplishments, scholarship, teaching and involvement in the life of the University.
  2. Michele Houston, senior lecturer in journalism and TV studio and newsroom manager, received the Extra Mile Award from the Students for New Learning organization for graciousness and sensitivity to students with learning differences.
  3. Mark Kerins, associate professor in the Division
    of Film & Media Arts, was awarded the Meadows Foundation Distinguished Teaching Professor Award (Golden Apple) in 2014. The award is presented annually to a tenured Meadows faculty member for “sustained commitment and dedication to teaching at the highest level.”
  4. Rita Kirk, professor in the Division of Communication Studies and director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility, received SMU’s 2013-14 Thomas W. Tunks Distinguished University Citizen Award for her outstanding citizenship through dedicated service to the University and its governance.
  5. Owen Lynch, associate professor and director of the honors program in the Division of Communication Studies, won two awards from SMU in 2014: the Excellence in Mentoring Award from the SMU Office of Engaged Learning and the Outstanding Faculty Service Award from the Office of Community Engagement and Leadership.
  6. Cheryl Mendenhall, Temerlin Advertising Institute senior lecturer, received a 2014 HOPE (Honoring Our Professors of Excellence) award from the student staff members in SMU’s Department of Residence Life and Student Housing; the award honors professors who have “made a significant impact to our academic education both inside and outside of the classroom.”
  7. Tony Pederson, professor and The Belo Foundation Endowed Distinguished Chair in Journalism, was recognized with SMU’s “M” Award, the most highly prized recognition bestowed upon students, faculty, staff and administration on the SMU campus, for contributions to the University “above and beyond the call of duty.”
  8. National & International AWARDS

  9. Willie Baronet, Temerlin Advertising Institute Stan Richards Professor in Creative Advertising, was honored by the international men’s training organization ManKind Project with its 2014 Ron Hering Mission of Service Award for his “We Are All Homeless” work, a project in which he and a crew documented his coast-to-coast trip buying signs from the homeless, followed by exhibitions of the collection to raise awareness about homelessness.
  10. Mary Walling Blackburn, assistant professor of art, was awarded a summer 2015 residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts at historic Fort Barry in California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
  11. Sandra Duhé, chair of the Division of Communication Studies, associate professor and director of public relations, was inducted into the Public Relations Society of America College of Fellows and the Arthur W. Page Society, both of which represent the highest standards for the profession.
  12. Liudmila Georgievskaya, adjunct lecturer in piano and coordinator of accompanying, won two prizes at the Global Music Awards in California. Her recent CD, Beethoven Eroica Variations & Schumann Symphonic Etudes, was awarded a silver medal in the instrumental performer’s division and a bronze medal in the album division.
  13. James Hart, director of arts entrepreneurship and assistant professor of practice in the Division of Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship, won first place in the 2015 United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship conference Spark! contest for his original exercise, “Speed Dating Market Feedback,” in the category of Impactful Entrepreneurial Classroom Exercises. Hart also received an award for co-authoring “Legal Issues for Arts Entrepreneurs” in the conference’s Best Workshop/Pedagogy category.
  14. Sam Holland, Algur H. Meadows Dean and pro-fessor of music, was named 2015 Teacher of the Year by the 22,000-member Music Teachers National Association (MTNA).
  15. Pamela Elrod Huffman, associate professor of music and director of choral activities in the Division of Music, is part of the professional Austin-based choir Conspirare that won a Grammy for Best Choral Performance for its CD, The Sacred Spirit of Russia.
  16. Janice Lindstrom, music therapy clinic supervisor in the Division of Music, received the Harmony Award for Service from the Southwestern Region of the American Music Therapy Association for her dedication and service.
  17. Catharine Lysinger, senior lecturer in piano pedagogy and piano and artistic director of the piano preparatory department in the Division of Music, was voted Teacher of the Year by her colleagues in the Texas Music Teachers Association.
  18. Lisa Pon, associate professor of art history, was awarded a Renaissance Society of America-Kress Publication grant for her new book, A Printed Icon in Early Modern Italy (Cambridge University Press 2015). The book also won a Millard Meiss publication grant from the College Art Association.
  19. Dylan Smith, adjunct assistant professor and director of the Meadows Jazz Orchestra in the Division of Music, along with his fellow quintet members of the former Meadows Ensemble-in-Residence, Brazen Brass 5, was awarded the 2014 Aspen Music Festival Fellowship in Brass Quintet Studies.

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