Recent Graduates (2000-Present)

Brayden Downing ’13

Music Performance, violin and Economics

Brayden managed his interest in music and economics, earning a competitive arts administration internship with the Washington National Opera as a junior. The experience had him learning from the best mentors and rubbing shoulders with international artists such as Placido Domingo. While at Dickinson, Brayden has performed live with Christopher O’Reily, the host of NPR’s “From the Top,” and had the opportunity to tour China and Poland with the professional orchestra, Sinfonietta Polonia.

You can read about Brayden’s experience at Washington National Opera at this here.

“The music department perfectly encompasses the values that Dickinson wishes to portray as a twenty-first-century liberal arts institution. The lessons I have learned from the faculty extend far beyond course content; they teach practical life skills and challenge students to search for creative and analytical inspiration. My studies here have inspired me to consider my path in music very seriously. I plan to pursue graduate studies in music.”

Ryan Karr ’13

Music Performance, clarinet and Economics

Ryan served as the Music Society Treasurer, was a winner of the 2010 Concerto Competition, played as clarinetist in the orchestra and DICE, a saxophonist in the Jazz Ensemble, and was an active member of chamber ensembles. Post-graduation, he went on to study law at the George Washington University.

“I chose to come to Dickinson based on its strong Pre-Law reputation. I had not intended to be involved in music outside of lessons and one ensemble. My experience with the department has really defined my time on campus. I was given a myriad of performance and academic opportunities, and became a double major as a result. The quality of the Music faculty was my biggest factor in being drawn in. They have been the most academically engaging, interesting, helpful, and informative professors I have had at my time at Dickinson.”

Elise Newhouse ’13

Music History

Elise came to Dickinson interested in exploring non-profit and global work, but soon found herself gravitating to the field of music history. Through the department, she has found various scholarly and professional opportunities that merge her two interests well. In January 2011, Elise was selected as a winter intern by the Jonathan Krist Foundation to help implement an inner-city music outreach program in New Jersey. She continued to use those mentoring skills in her capacity as a departmental Learning Community Coordinator, through which she oversaw the residential-intellectual experience of two first-year seminars studying music at the college.

You can read more about Elise’s experience with the Krist Foundation at the following link (page 5).

Matthew Orwitz, ’13

Music Performance, French Horn

Matthew studied Horn with Jeb Wallace and subsequently Tyler Ogilvie. He was an active member of DICE, Orchestra and chamber music. He was concerto competition winner in 2013.

“Dickinson College is a school that could really attract the best of the young musicians I love the department, the responsibility, the privacy, the self-motivation.  Incoming students interested in the arts should know what freedom they will have to work by themselves and under the guidance of amazing, talented, accomplished artists but without the soul-crushing structure of conservatories or schools with colleges of music. Also, faculty student interaction is fantastic.”

Alexander Strachan, ’13

Music Performance, Violin

Alexander was a member of orchestra, an avid chamber musician, active member of the department and the Music Society. He toured Poland with orchestra Sinfonietta Polonia. He participated in the International Music Institute and Festival IMIF. Upon graduation, Alex continued to play violin and went to Japan to teach English. In fall 2014 he enters Music Therapy Master’s program at Temple University.

See article about Alex “Finding and extra voice”

“I came across Dickinson College and the representative spoke with great interest about the music program. I considered a number of colleges, including some where my tuition would have been lower.  Comments about my playing at audition to this day still dwell within me. I knew that I needed to apply to the college. I felt immediately that the professor could help me really grow as a person and musician. I chose Dickinson to study music and for the different experience the college offers. The music program here was beyond what I could have asked for, more that I would have gotten at a conservatory. The professors here really have a passion to teach and care about their students.”

Jinsen Wang, ’13

Music Performance, Piano

Jinsen studied piano at Dickinson under tutelage of Eun Ae Baik Kim and Jennifer Blyth. He participated in the summer music program at Brevard. He was a winner of concerto competition in 2012. Post-graduation, Jinsen went on to pursue Master’s in performance at New Jersey City University in piano and choral conducting.

George Bowerman ’12

Music Performance, Piano

George was a winner of the concerto competition, the 2011 Trust-T award and 2012 Department Honors. His junior recital featured the world premiere of Forms, a four-part work composed by the modernist composers Stefan Wolpe and Raoul Pleskow. George published a short article on the premiere in the Newsletter of the Wolpe Society and is currently applying for a Fulbright grant to fund research and performance studies in Toronto, where Wolpe’s archives are located. He has also performed at prestigious summer programs at the Eastman School of Music and the Brevard Music Center.

“At Dickinson, the opportunity for a liberal arts education within the structure of a music degree presents an amazing opportunity to receive a great learning experience and foundation other than what is offered at undergraduate conservatory. At Dickinson, I have received a meaningful and personalized music education founded on my individual interests and talents.”

Ilana Rainero-de Haan ’12

Music Composition

In 2008, Ilana received the prestigious ASCAP Irving Berlin scholarship and a professional commission to write a piece for the PRISM Saxophone Quartet. Peter Burwasser positively reviewed the 2010 premiere in the Broad Street Review as follows: “Rainero-de Haan’s finely crafted contribution, As of this Moment, opened with a squawky ensemble that recalled the energy and joy of free jazz, and then beautifully morphed into a liquid chorus.” Ilana has also held several prominent internships at institutions such as the San Francisco Symphony and, during her year abroad in Italy, the Museo della Musica. She was the winner of the prestigious Weiss Prize, which supported the premiere of her composition Enter: Life, the Trust-T Award and Department Honors.

“The music department is a well kept secret: a thriving, nurturing environment with professors who dedicate much more time than they are required to spend with their students. When I was looking at colleges, I was more focused on languages and International Studies. After taking theory and piano, I decided to declare as a music major in composition…I adore my professors, and have learned more than I ever thought possible from my music classes, not just about theory or history, but also in terms of writing and analyzing. I believe that the classes at Dickinson that have made me the most well-rounded are my music classes.”

Michael Hoke’ 12

Music Performance in Voice and Russian

Michael studied voice with both professors Helding and Hays. He participated in Collegium, Choir and chamber music. He performed in the Weiss Prize premiere of Enter: Life by Ilana Rainero-de Haan. He spent a semester abroad at the Russian State University for Humanities in Moscow. He also participated with Alpha Phi Omega, a National Community Service Organization.  Michael wrote of his experience at Dickinson:

“I came to Dickinson very unsure about a direction and my parents (both have liberal arts backgrounds), encouraged me to really immerse myself and experiment with different subjects until I found one that fit. …Within the music department I have found so many opportunities and I have been pushed farther than I ever thought I could go. I think that one of the best things about studying music here is the immense support system from both the faculty and the students, which allows each individual to grow and develop as a musician. As a double major I have also seen the benefits of studying music it relation to my Russian studies, thus within a far wider context of study...”

Katherine Offut ’12


Her senior thesis explored the intersection between folk music and western compositional techniques, a natural combination of her interests in music theory and anthropology. She also studied composition and sang in the vocal ensembles. She served as president of the Music Society.  Katherine wrote of her experience at Dickinson:

“The faculty are inspired by their work and it is inspiring for us to see. I feel so supported in the department. I especially enjoyed hearing my music...played by professionals! Where else but here would I have gotten that opportunity? I never intended to be a music major and yet when getting my Quantitative Reasoning credit out of the way... I was hooked. The department here helped me to find out exactly how deep my passion for music goes - and for that I will be eternally grateful.”

Taylor Bell '11

Music Theory

In his senior year, Taylor authored a thesis on motivic transformation in Beethoven and was a soloist with the Dickinson Orchestra. As a member of the college choir, he created some of our most striking and memorable concert posters for the Carmina Burana, which led him to a career in marketing and advertising in New York City after graduation.

Juliana Burdick '11

Music Performance, Voice

In her senior year, Juliana was the winner of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Division 9 competition, a soloist with the Dickinson Orchestra, and an avid performer in the opera scenes program. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in vocal performance at the Peabody Conservatory (Baltimore, MD).

"The music department promotes a nurturing culture of both peer and staff support, coupled with a very high standard for the work that is done… The faculty are clearly invested in their students’ well-being and future goals and success, whether the students plan to pursue music professionally or not. It has truly been a distinct pleasure and honor to study music here."

Aubrey Holmes '11

Music Performance, Violin

During his time at Dickinson, Aubrey performed alongside our musical artists-in-residence, attended the prestigious summer programs at the Brevard Music Center and Bowdoin, and toured China with the professional orchestra, Sinfonietta Polonia. A two-time winner of the concerto competition, Aubrey is currently pursuing his master’s degree in violin performance at the Boston Conservatory.

"At my audition I knew immediately that this was the place to be. Performing in concerts alongside resident artists and faculty was a fantastic faculty-student research experience rare for undergraduate students. It allowed me to able to be competitive with people who graduate from conservatories, but [the close experience with faculty at] Dickinson has given me a special advantage. This has been truly special, and a wonderful learning experience."

Anubhav Mohan, '11

Music Theory and Physics

In his thesis on the chamber works of Philip Glass, Anu created the analytical concept of “linearity” to describe the minimalist structure and process of several works for string quartet. For his efforts, his thesis was recognized college-wide as an example of outstanding undergraduate research. Anu is currently pursuing a career in consulting.

Eric Rosenstein, '11

Music History and Religion

In order to combine his interdisciplinary interests, Eric wrote a history thesis on the socio-cultural status of the organ in American Reform Jewish communities. Additionally, he was a featured soloist with the orchestra, collegium, and opera scenes workshop his senior year. Eric currently lives in Los Angeles, where he plans to train as a rabbi.

"The music department allowed me to grow as a person and student and engaged every part of my intellect. I am indebted to the faculty for helping me make connections that apply beyond the musical world. They took the time in my thesis process to make sure I understood how to write a paper--that I learned a skill that I could take away for life."

Ryan Koons, '10

Music History

Ryan merged his study of music history with unique global fieldwork opportunities, which resulted in the authoring of two ethnomusicological studies on Black Liberation Music in South Africa and the Muskogee-Creek American Indians (Florida). His work on South Africa was published by the undergraduate journal of research at the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at UCLA and has presented his research at national conferences such as the Society of Ethnomusicology.

"My musical education at Dickinson College was characterized by a fun and supportive atmosphere and a number of enriching international experiences, such as the Global Mosaics program. I am grateful to so many encouraging professors who pushed me beyond what I perceived as the limit of my abilities. The department welcomed my ideas and helped me tailor my education to fit my cross-disciplinary interests while ensuring I was grounded with a broad and in-depth music education."

Megan Conlon, '09

Music History and French

Her senior year, Megan authored a thesis on Claude Debussy’s cultural nationalism during World War I, which garnered college-wide recognition as an outstanding senior thesis. In addition to her historical research, Megan also mounted a senior recital featuring her two performance fields: oboe and voice. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in musicology at Princeton University.

"What made my personal experience so rewarding was the very individual attention I received from all of the professors in the music department. The faculty engaged my personal interests while also sharing their deep passion for their pursuits. When I came to Dickinson, I knew nothing about how to relate to music in a lasting way, and when I left I had not only a clear sense of how to profit from my relationship with music, but also much knowledge to help me begin to do so."

Elyssa Plotkin, '09

Music Performance, Clarinet

A winner of the concerto competition, Elyssa has earned several coveted summer internships in the New York City area, including positions at the New York City Opera and Lincoln Center. She recently completed a master’s degree in arts administration at New York University. Elyssa continues her work in arts advocacy and also performs in a professional ensemble, the Washington Square Wind Quintet.
Jamie Greenberg Reuland, '06 (Music Performance, Piano and English)
After graduation, Jamie earned a coveted Fulbright grant to study the musical culture of women’s music in Crete. A Ph.D. candidate in musicology at Princeton, she is currently writing her dissertation on the role Byzantium played in shaping musical practices in Venice, Italy. Jamie presents her work regularly at national conferences and also coordinates a summer research program for scholar at a 13th century Byzantine monastery in Greece.

"While my emphasis at Dickinson was in piano performance, the department trained me to be a scholar-performer. The faculty challenged me to make performance decisions informed by my own original research. This made my transition into historical musciology a natural one. The opportunies the department provided for independent scholarship and their guidance in professional activities like grant writing, archival and source studies, and fieldwork launched me into graduate-level research."

Scott Nowicki, '06

Music Composition

Scott was a winner of the Concerto competition (2006) and premiered his original orchestral composition, Friday Ladder, in 2006 with the Dickinson Orchestra. He recently defended his dissertation for PhD in medicine at New York Medical College and his collaborative scholarship has been published in leading medical journals such as Bioinformatics Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. His recent composition, F(our) S(even), appears on the album In Concert II: New Music for Concert (2008), available at

Ben Vaughan, '06

Music Performance, Violin

A winner of the concerto competition, Ben participated in summer performance institutes such as the International Musical Arts Institute (Maine) and toured with the professional orchestra, Sinfonietta Polonia. Since graduation, he was worked at the Kimmel Center (Philadelphia) and as a music educator at the Agnes Irwin School (Philadelphia). He is currently pursuing a law degree at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.

Blythe Beall-Foreman, '04

Music Performance, Violin and Political Science

Since her graduation from Dickinson, Blythe has established a thriving and successful private violin studio in the central Pennsylvania area. She continues to contribute to the Dickinson music scene as principal second violin of the Dickinson Orchestra.

Leah Beshore-Naftalin, '03

Music Performance, Violin

Leah is an active orchestral musician and a member of Altra Quartet, based in Washington, D.C., and teaching violin privately. Having earned her master’s degree in violin performance, she is currently pursing her doctorate at Catholic University.

Shana Snyder '02

Music History & Music Theory

Currently, Shana is Dean of Administration for the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. Her previous experience included working for the Mason Gross Extension Division as Program Coordinator for the conservatory's community division and teaching an opera history course for the summer Opera Workshop. She also studies voice, and is an avid opera patron. She credits the education that she received at Dickinson College for her love of the arts.

"The diversity and dedication of the faculty opened my mind to such a dazzling array of works, and I will always be grateful."