Glenn Korff School of Music Blog

Glenn Korff School of Music Blog

The halls of the Westbrook Music Building are busy with activity, but our faculty, staff, alumni and students are out in the world doing amazing things too! Read about all of their activities here.

Max Stehr Bird's Words and Lennie's Lessons: Using or Avoiding Patterns in Bebop

Max Stehr

Third-year DMA Jazz Studies student Max Stehr’s poster, Bird's Words and Lennie's Lessons: Using or Avoiding Patterns in Bebop, was one of the winners for Arts and Humanities during the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Spring 2016 Research Fair poster competition.

The poster competition involved over 40 faculty and postdoc reviewers who rated student posters on the basis of their research scholarship.

Emily Roach

Emily Roach

Emily Roach, a first-year Master of Music student, won the West Central Regional National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Awards (NATSAA) competition at Fort Hays State University in Kansas. She will represent the region (NE, KS, CO and WY) at the national competition in Chicago this July. Roach is a student in Assistant Professor of Voice Jamie Reimer’s studio.

NATSAA is a biennial competition. Roach is the second regional winner from UNL (both from Reimer's studio) in the past four years. The last regional winner was Kayla Wilkens, who went on to place 2nd nationally and receive the Most Promising Singer award at the national NATS conference in Boston in 2014. Roach's pianist is Dr. Denis Plutalov (UNL ’08). He also accompanied Wilkens throughout the 2014 NATSAA competition.

David von Kampen

David von Kampen

Following the success of their musical "Puddin' and the Grumble," Nebraska playwright Becky Boesen and Lecturer in Theory and Literature/composer David von Kampen will premiere their latest work, "Catherland," at 7 p.m. April 13 at the Hardin Hall Auditorium, 33rd and Holdrege streets. Free tickets can be reserved here.
David von Kampen

David von Kampen

Lecturer in Theory and Literature David von Kampen was honored as the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Distinguished Composer of the Year for his work, Under the Silver and Home Again, at the Awards Brunch during the 2016 MTNA National Conference San Antonio, Texas. 

Mark Nealeigh

Mark Nealeigh

Mark Nealeigh was recently given a Duane E. Johnson Outstanding Service Award from the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association.

Awards Coordinator Nate Metschke had this to say at the banquet: “Our second recipient is always busy organizing all of the facility, equipment, instrument and technology needs for the NSBA Convention.  This is no small task and fortunately Mark Nealeigh, the UNL Glenn Korff School of Music's Building Use/Equipment/Inventory Support Associate is up to the job. He's the person behind the scenes that most of you don't know about who makes sure NSBA happens before the swarm of band directors ever arrives in Lincoln. As the convention proceeds, he works extra hours to trouble-shoot emergencies and put out the fires that inevitably occur from the first Intercollegiate Band Rehearsal through the last group of the Concert Band Festival. Mark is a musician himself, a percussionist who holds a BME from the Glenn Korff School. This uniquely qualifies him for this duty, as he understands our specific needs down to the letter almost innately. It's said of some jobs that if they're done well you won't even know the person responsible is there. Well tonight we all know Mark is here for us, and we thank him for it! Thank you Mark for your selfless service to NSBA!”



William Shomos Donna Harler-Smith

William Shomos and Donna Harler-Smith

The TADA Theatre presents the musical “Man of La Mancha” for a two-week period beginning April 21.

Playing the role of Don Quixote will be William Shomos, Richard H. Larson Distinguished Professor of Music (voice) and director of opera at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. UNL's Professor of Voice Donna Harler-Smith will also be in the show. Playing opposite Dr. Shomos is TADA Musical Director Cris Rook in the role of Aldonza. Other cast members are Neal Stenberg, Harold Scott, Tom Westfall, Darin Anderson, Ken Killman, Elysia Arntzen, Jasmine Magner, Bill Maltas, Mark Taylor Feit, Terry Clements, Daniel Magner, Chris Lofgreen and Mark A. Mesarch.

Winner of the 1965 Tony Award for Best Musical, “Man of La Mancha” has enjoyed four Broadway revivals and become one of musical theatre’s most beloved works. The musical is on stage April 21 – May 1 at The TADA Theatre, 701 P St., with 7:30 p.m. curtain times Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sundays. For reservations, call (402) 438-TADA (8232) or Tickets are $18, student tickets are $15.

Kayla Wilkens

Kayla Wilkens

Alum Kayla Wilkens is one of fifteen young singer/actors named as a finalist for the 2016 Lotte Lenya Competition. Selected from thirty-one semifinalists, this year’s finalists represent a diverse range of performers, ages 21 to 31, from across the United States, Canada, Europe and Israel. All will sing repertoire from the operatic, golden age and contemporary musical stages, and of course, the music of Kurt Weill.

Brian Jeffers

Brian Jeffers

Alum Brian Jeffers (BM ’14) has been invited to perform at the Aspen Music Festival this summer. Jeffers is currently completing his MM at Arizona State University. Casting will be done when Jeffers arrives in Aspen. The season includes Bolcom’s A Wedding, Puccini’s La Boheme, and Berlioz's Beatrice et Benedict. There is also a concert series.

His own personal page is:


Kayla Wilkens & Anna DeGraff

This Sunday (February 28) alums soprano Kayla Wilkens and mezzo-soprano Anna DeGraff with Denis Plutalov at the piano will be performing at the First Plymouth Chapel, 20th and D Streets, in Lincoln at 2 p.m. They are presenting French duets and premiering some new duets in English that were written for this recital! Free Admission.

Kayla Wilkens Jeremy Brown

Kayla Wilkens & Jeremy Brown

Master of Music in Vocal Performance alum Kayla Wilkens is a semifinalist in the Lotte Lenya competition. She will be traveling to NYC to compete in early March. She was one of 31 semifinalists selected from over 200 entering singer/actors, ages 19 to 32 years old, from eleven countries.

Current Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance senior Jeremy Brown was awarded one of only 8 Emerging Artist Awards of $500 as encouragement to enter the competition again in the future. Brown was one of the younger contestants entered this year.

Both students currently study with Alisa Belflower, UNL's Coordinator of Musical Theatre Studies.

Kim Kowalke, President and CEO of the Kurt Weill Foundation, announced the semifinalists for the 19th annual Lotte Lenya Competition. The singers/actors submitted audition videos, performing diverse repertoire ranging from the operatic to golden age and contemporary musical theater stage, and of course, the music of Kurt Weill. Thirty-one semifinalists will travel to New York City from across the US, Germany, Austria and Canada, to perform at the semifinals on March 10 and 11.

Semifinalists will be adjudicated and then coached by two Tony-Award-winners: Broadway, film and television actress Victoria Clark (Titanic, Light in the Piazza, GIGI The Musical, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella) and composer Jeanine Tesori (Violet, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Fun Home, Shrek the Musical). The top performers will then proceed to the competition finals on April 16 in Rochester, NY, where they will sing for another star-studded jury comprised of international opera legend Teresa Stratas, Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization President and former American Theater Wing Chairman Theodore S. Chapin, and Broadway music director, conductor and accompanist Andy Einhorn. All semifinalists receive a cash award of $500. Those who move onto the finals will receive a minimum of $1,000, with top prizes ranging from $3,500 to $15,000.

More than a vocal competition, the Lotte Lenya Competition recognizes talented young singer/actors who are dramatically and musically convincing in repertoire ranging from opera/operetta to contemporary Broadway scores, with a focus on the works of Kurt Weill. Prizes will exceed $60,000, including First, Second and Third prizes and additional discretionary awards recognizing emerging talent and outstanding performances of individual numbers. Past prize winners have gone on to appear on major theater, opera and concert stages around the world. Don’t miss the competition described by Opera News as “target[ing] today's total-package talents, unearthing up-and-coming singers who are ready for their close-ups.”


The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc. ( is dedicated to promoting understanding of the life and works of composer Kurt Weill (1900-1950) and preserving the legacies of Weill and his wife, actress-singer Lotte Lenya (1898-1981). The Foundation administers the Weill-Lenya Research Center, a Grant Program, the Kurt Weill Book Prize and the Lotte Lenya Competition, and publishes the Kurt Weill Edition and the Kurt Weill Newsletter.