College of Music in the News

August 8, 2023

Alumnus Receives Major Career Prize

The Medal of Excellence is the highest honor bestowed by the Sphinx Organization recognizing extraordinary classical Black and Latinx artists who early in their career demonstrate artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination and an ongoing commitment to leadership and their communities, along with awarding a $50,000 career grant. David Portillo is a tenor who has performed at many of the leading opera houses, including The Metropolitan, Washington National, Houston Grand and Dallas opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, the Glyndebourne Festival, Opera Philadelphia, Opera Australia at the Sidney Opera House and the Wiener Staatsoper.

July 3, 2023

College of Music Welcomes New Faculty

Mary Mills of Berlin, Germany will join us as Visiting Lecturer in Voice in the Division of Vocal Studies this fall. Ms. Mills graduated from the College-Conservatory of Music at University of Cincinnati, received a Master of Music from Yale University, and has sung the great operatic roles on many of the major stages in Europe and the United States. Her repertoire ranges from Monteverdi to Mozart and Verdi, Puccini, Strauss, and Wagner to Janáček, along with many contemporary works. She is equally at home in the Italian, French, German, and Slavic repertoires and in the operas of her native USA, and has interpreted new and unfamiliar works from both early 20th-century- and contemporary opera.

Mills made her debut with Houston Grand Opera, sang more than eighteen productions with San Francisco Opera including the world premiere of the role of Cecile in Conrad Susa's The Dangerous Liaisons, and was acclaimed as Zdenka, Micaela and Mimì at The Metropolitan Opera. She made her European debut as Charpentier's Louise in Geneva in 1992, a success that immediately resulted in invitations to the Wexford Festival in Ireland (Camille in Herold's Zampa) and the Bregenz Festival (Olga in Giordano's Fedora). Ms. Mills originated the title role of Joan of Arc in Walter Braunfels' new opera Szenen aus dem Leben der Heiligen Johanna in a Christoph Schlingensief production at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin to rave reviews. In Paris, she enjoyed success with a series of French roles including Manon, Micaela, and Marguerite at both the Opéra Bastille and the Palais Garnier.

July 3, 2023

Alumna Appears in Movie

Giovannie Cruz (BM ’09) plays Orloni Peddler in "Guardians of the Galaxy 3." She has worked in film, television and as an anime voice actor and music director for Sony's FUNimation Productions on shows such as "Space Dandy" and "If My Favorite Pop Idol Made it to the Budokan I Would Die". Recent television credits include Queen Sugar and NCIS: New Orleans.

July 3, 2023

Opera Faculty Member Receives Grant

OPERA America announces that UNT Associate Professor and Music Director of UNT Opera, Stephanie Rhodes Russell, as recipient of a 2023 Opera Grants for Women Stage Directors and Conductors. She will conduct THE KNOCK (Aleksandra Vrebalov, composer; Deborah Brevoort, librettist) at Cincinnati Opera. “These grants open doors for women artists by incentivizing professional opera companies of all sizes to engage women in key artistic roles. These hires enrich the production and performance of new operas and works from the inherited repertoire and inspire future generations of creative artists who identify as women.”

June 5, 2023

Dexter Named Presser Scholar

Matthew Dexter, bass-baritone, received the 2022-2023 Presser Award. Considered the most prestigious undergraduate award in music at UNT, the Presser Foundation Undergraduate Scholar award is presented annually to a student, at the conclusion of his or her junior year, who has shown extraordinary musical and academic accomplishments. The winner is nominated and selected by the UNT music faculty and receives the award from the Presser Foundation, which awards annual scholarships, grants and funds for furthering music education and music in America. The organization was founded in 1916 by Theodore Presser, music publisher and philanthropist.

May 5, 2023

Graduate Student Awarded

Vocal DMA student and incoming MBA student in music business, Cherisse Williams, is the recipient of the 2023 Eagle Award: CommUNiTy Activist for an Individual. The award honors a student who “demonstrates a significant and exceptional commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within the UNT community.” Annually, UNT Student Activities collaborates with the Center for Leadership and Service and Multicultural Center in recognizing students, organizations and advisors. Photo: Lauren Salazar.

October 10, 2022

Voice Student Honored

The National Student Auditions of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) named University of North Texas vocal performance undergraduate student, Matthew Dexter, as Honorable Mention in his category at their Chicago national conference.

October 10, 2022

Bubeck to Sing May Festival

Countertenor and University of North Texas lecturer, Daniel Bubeck, was among the soloists singing El Niño composed and conducted by John Adams at The May Festival with the Festival Chorus, Youth Chorus and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Tenor, Vineel Garisa Mahal (MM ‘19)
October 10, 2022

Breaking News: Alumnus Joins Chanticleer

Tenor, Vineel Garisa Mahal (MM ‘19), has just been announced as a member of the GRAMMY® Award-winning vocal ensemble Chanticleer. See Vineel solo with the University of North Texas A Cappella Choir, conducted by Allen Hightower, in a 2017 performance at 5:25 below.

Carmen Cusack
May 12, 2022

Alumna Tony Nominated

Carmen Cusack has been Tony nominated for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role” for her performance in “Flying Over Sunset.” See the awards show June 12 on CBS.

Molly Fillmore
November 16, 2021

Faculty Album Release Concert

Bold Beauty – Songs by Juliana Hall performed by Molly Fillmore, soprano and Elvia Puccinelli, piano TONIGHT at 6:30 in the Music Building Recital Hall. Gramophone says, “Fillmore herself is a compelling interpreter not only of her own words but also of the other texts... Hall’s gifts as a pianist can be the keyboard assignments, which Puccinelli handles with urgent and flexible élan."

Alumna Helps Create Opera Short Film

Esme Wong, pianist (MM ’17), is part of the short film "To the Afflicted" with Raehann Bryce-Davis, mezzo soprano, singing “All’afflitto è dolce il pianto,” an aria from Gaetano Donizetti’s 1837 opera Roberto Devereux. "To the Afflicted is a solemn remembrance, a celebration, a clenched fist around the reigns of destiny, an open hand raised in praise. I dedicate this to the afflicted, those in opera and those fighting on the front lines for justice and equity.” - Bryce-Davis

UNT Welcome Center

UNT Named Best Performing Arts School

College Gazette named the University of North Texas the Best Performing Arts College in the United States. According to the authors, “These [ten institutions] are exceptionally prestigious schools that regularly invite major guest artists to campus, are highly selective, and have stellar faculty who are accomplished performing artists themselves.” In addition to the significant offerings of the College of Music, the ranking includes our friends in UNT Department of Dance and Theatre along with the extensive UNT Music Library.