Musicology Alumni

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  • Rachel Schuck, M.M. '19

    Rachel Schuck, M.M. ’19, is a Tamil Language Fellow with the American Institute of Indian Studies. She is a performer and educator and currently lives in Madurai, India, participating in the AIIS Tamil Language Program in preparation for a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology. She holds BM degrees in music education and flute performance from West Chester University of Pennsylvania (2017), and an MM in Musicology from the University of Miami (2019). At Frost, Rachel combined her interest in education and South Indian music by completing her thesis on Carnatic music at the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana, which she presented at several graduate and regional SEM conferences.

  • Nevena Stanić Kovačević, M.M. '19

    Nevena Stanić Kovačević (Belgrade, Serbia) earned her BA and MPhil Degree in Musicology from the University of Arts in Belgrade, and a BM in Double Bass Performance from the University of Kragujevac, Serbia. In 2019, Nevena graduated with a MM in Musicology from the University of Miami Frost School of Music. Her main fields of study include minimalism and postminimalism, the music of Steve Reich, Orthodox music, and Serbian postmodern music. Having performed as a double bassist all over Serbia and Europe, Nevena mostly immersed in tango music. Presently, she is completing her OPT and pursuing Ph.D. Degree in Musicology in Belgrade. Nevena resides in Miami.

  • Grant Unnerstallm M.M. '19

    Grant Unnerstall is currently a doctoral candidate and graduate teaching assistant in music education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. At UMKC, he teaches undergraduate music education courses and serves as the Assistant Director of the Kansas City New Horizons Band. Previously, Grant served as a band director, clinician, and freelance trombonist throughout the St. Louis area. He received his Bachelors degree in Music Education (2014) from Illinois State University and his Masters degree in Musicology (2019) from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. His research on 20th and 21st century music has been presented at multiple academic conferences including Illinois State University’s “Benjamin Britten at 100: An American Centenary Symposium,” the University of Florida’s “Southern Graduate Music Research Symposium,” and the University of Michigan’s “Ann Arbor Symposium IV: Teaching and Learning Popular Music.”

  • Hanako Henty, M.M. '18

    Hanako Henty is a composer, performer, and writer living near Aomori City, Japan. In spring of 2018 she graduated from the University of Miami - Frost School of Music, where she studied jazz and studio writing. Prior to joining the jazz department, Hanako also completed her MM in Musicology at Frost. Combining her interests in performance practice, identity, and humor in music, Hanako submitted her final thesis, “A Fine Line Between Art and Entertainment: Music and Humor in the Performances of Victor Borge” in 2016 with the guidance of her faculty advisor, Dr. Deborah Schwartz-Kates. Hanako also taught in the Frost Experiential Music Curriculum, the SharpMinds Music Academy, performed locally in the area, and joined the show band aboard the MS Noordam, Holland America Cruise Line during her four years in the Miami area. Most recently Hanako joined the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) to teach English abroad while pursuing fluency in Japanese. Born in Japan but raised in the US, Hanako aims to reconnect with a part of her heritage, promote cultural exchange, and gather musical inspiration from the natural beauty of Japan. For more information about Hanako and her work please visit her website:

    MM Jazz and Studio Writing, University of Miami, Frost School of Music

    MM Musicology, University of Miami, Frost School of Music

    MA Collaborative Piano, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania

    BM Keyboard Performance, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania

  • Rafael Torralvo, M.M. '18

    Rafael Torralvo holds a BM and an MM in violin performance from James Madison University and West Chester University of Pennsylvania respectively, and an MM in Musicology from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. Currently, he is pursuing a PhD at Cornell University where he is a Sage Fellow. His academic research focuses on the intersection of music, literature, and politics to illuminate the construction of national identity in Brazil during the military dictatorship (1964-1985). Through the integration of historiographical perspectives with musicological, theoretical, ethnomusicological, and socio-literary approaches, he investigates issues related to the negotiation of tradition, modernity, and cosmopolitanism, as well as transcontinental and intercontinental influences in the conception of Brazilian modernism. His research was sponsored by the Field Research Grant from the Institute for the Americas and the Ralph Stewart Scholarship, and he presented his work in conferences both domestically and abroad, including the AMS Southern Chapter meeting at the University of Southern Mississippi, the University of Arizona, and the University of Birmingham (UK).

    In addition to his academic studies, Rafael is active as a violinist and chamber musician whose interest ranges from historically informed performance to contemporary music. He studied chamber music with members of the Vermeer Quartet and the Saint Louis String Quartet and appeared as soloist and recitalist in concert engagements through Europe, United States, and South America.

    As an educator, Rafael is committed to musical empowerment, and in 2013, he created in his hometown the "Encontro Internacional de Cordas," a festival that provides underprivileged students with a free opportunity to study with renowned artists. To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the festival in 2018, he introduced a series of cross-disciplinary lectures debating current socio-political and cultural concerns in Brazil to respond to issues in Latin American music and culture. For his work as artistic director of this festival, Rafael received the Fumagalli Trophy, the most prestigious recognition awarded by the city of Limeira.

  • Cary Peñate, M.M. '15

    Cary Peñate is a PhD student in Musicology at the University of Texas at Austin. She holds a Master of Music degree in Musicology (2015) and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education (2012) from the University of Miami. There, she studied with Deborah Schwartz-Kates, exploring the creative work of a number of Ibero-American musicians, including Alberto Ginastera, José Antônio Rezende de Almeida Prado, and Marco Rizo. Her master’s thesis focused on the Cuban composer Marco Rizo who apart from composing for the I Love Lucy show also played an active role in Cuban classical music and the Latin jazz scene in the United States. Currently, she studies Latin American music with professor Robin Moore while specializing on film music.  For her dissertation she is interested in early Cuban film music and its representations of the mulata character type in Latin America and the United States.

  • Michael Palmese, M.M. '14

    Michael Palmese, M.M. 2014, is currently a PhD candidate in musicology at Louisiana State University with a minor in comparative literature. His research interests include minimalism, Samuel Beckett, politics and music, and the Viennese fin de siècle. Michael’s dissertation examines the means by which John Adams experiments with or adopts modes of writing from other composers, investigating a range of pieces from previously unknown juvenilia to obscure orchestrations and arrangements.

  • Nessyah Buder, M.M. ’13

    Nessyah Buder, M.M. ’13 studied musicology, ethnomusicology, and saxophone at the University of Miami. She was the 2012 recipient of the Presser Music Award, which funded her research in Melbourne, Australia, on her master’s thesis. Currently, she is pursuing her doctorate in saxophone performance at Shenandoah Conservatory, where she remains active in the musicological community. She presented her paper, “Taboo Issue of a Rapping Jew,” at the AMS Capital Chapter meeting. Buder currently works as a TA at Shenandoah Conservatory in the saxophone and musicology departments.

  • Yiyu Zhang, M.M. ’13

    Yiyu Zhang, M.M. ’13,  studied ethnomusicology at the University of Miami, especially Chinese music, Latin American music, and music and identity. Her master’s thesis addressed the Chinese American diaspora experience in Miami and the United States. Currently, she is Academic Affairs Secretary of the Department of Music at Nanfang College of Sun Yat-sen University in China. She aspires to earn a doctorate in ethnomusicology.

  • Vicente Chavarria, B.A. '09, M.M. '11

    Vicente Chavarria, B.A. '09, M.M. '11, specializes in Latin American Baroque and Spanish Renaissance music, which he studied as a conductor and musicologist. At UM, he received a grant from the Center for Latin American Studies for summer research in Puebla, Mexico on composer José Lazo Valero. He has worked with the Mexican musicologist Aurelio Tello and presented his research at conferences at the University of California-Santa Barbara and CENIDIM in Mexico City. Currently, he is pursuing a DMA degree in Early Music Performance at USC where he serves as a TA and assists with the Baroque Sinfonia.

  • Kelly Hiser, M.M. '09

    Kelly Hiser, M.M. ‘09, is interested in American music, contemporary composers, and music and gender. She presented papers of her research on Johanna Beyer at the South Central Graduate Music Consortium and the Regional Conference of the Southern Chapter of the College Music Society. The culmination of her research was her master’s thesis, “‘An Enduring Cycle’: Revaluing the Life and Music of Johanna Beyer.” Presently, Kelly is pursuing doctoral studies in musicology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Kacey Link, M.M. '09

    Kacey Link, M.M. ‘09, was the recipient of a Graduate Research Grant from the Center for Latin American Studies, which allowed her to pursue research on Argentinean tango music.

    She has traveled numerous times to Argentina and throughout the United States to ascertain contemporary performance practices of touring internationally-acclaimed Argentine tango artists/ensembles such as Nestor Marconi Trio, Sonia Possetti Sextet, Pablo Ziegler and Bajofondo.  She presented her work with Kristin Wendland on tango performance practices and instrumental techniques at the College Music Society national and regional conferences (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011) and at the Society of Ethnomusicology annual conference in Mexico City in November 2009, as well as an invited lecture-demonstration at the University of California, Riverside and the University of Miami in 2011.  She will present her current research this November at the 2012 College Music Society National Conference in San Diego and at UC-Riverside’s Encuentros Conference in April.

    Link is an accomplished pianist and is pursuing a D.M.A. degree at the University of California at Santa Barbara in Piano Performance and currently accompanies for Opera Santa Barbara.  She majored in musicology at the Frost School of Music.

  • Kyle Siebrecht, M.M. '08

    Kyle Siebrecht, M.M. ‘08, became the Associate Director of the Center for the Humanities at the University of Miami in January 2009.

    She has served as marketing and management consultant to the Miami Bach Society/Tropical Baroque Music Festival andfounded Florida Historical Performance Company, where she is the Artistic Director.

    Siebrecht was Executive Director of Seattle International Music Festival, an international classical music festival for six years. The Festival, under the artistic direction of Dmitry Sitkovetsky, had a European orchestra in residence, and featured international artists such as Bella Davidovich and Vladimir Feltsman.

    Siebrecht majored in musicology at the Frost School of Music.

  • Kendra Preston Leonard, M.M. '98

    Kendra Preston Leonard, M.M. ‘98, is highly active as a musicologist, with published articles and research presentations at such notable conferences as the 2012 and 2013 Society for American Music Conference, 2012 South Central Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Conference, and the 2011 American Shakespeare Center Blackfriars Conference, to name a few. She was recently appointed to the Membership and Professional Development Committee of the American Musicological Society and serves as the Managing Editor of the Journal of Music History Pedagogy. Leonard is the author of The Conservatoire Américain: A History and Shakespeare, Madness, and Music: Scoring Insanity in Cinematic Adaptations and is the editor of Buffy, Ballads, and Bad Guys Who Sing: Music in the Worlds of Joss Whedon.

    In 2014 she is expecting the release of her book “Louise Talma: A Life in Composition,” which is currently under contract with Ashgate Publishing.