News and Announcements

The TWU Concert Choir rehearses on the Margo Jones stage.
The TWU Concert Choir, conducted by Dr. Joni Jensen, Director of Choral Activities.

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NaTasha Rogers is ready to heal the world with patience, compassion and music

Professional musician, sound engineer, entrepreneur and full-time graduate student NaTasha Rogers has a lot on her plate these days, but she juggles it all with a spirit of profound positivity and infinite strength, even in the face of adversity.

Music therapy graduate helps patients heal with hope and harmony

Kathleen Montes began her career as a music teacher, but when her father passed away from cancer, she realized music therapy was her true calling. While pursuing her Master of Music Therapy degree at TWU, Kathleen advocated for her own clinical training path in hospice care.

Vocal ensembles bring music to unexpected heights

In November, a limited audience of TWU community members were treated to a free TWU Chamber Singers and Concert Choir performance in an unusual location: The third floor of the Oakland Street Parking Garage. The vocal ensembles, led by professor Joni Jensen, DMA, first made use of the open-air space for rehearsals and then decided to transform the spot into a unique, socially-distanced venue for “Untraveled Worlds.”

TWU alumna, cancer survivor inspires others through ukulele music

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Noel Tardy studied classical guitar at Texas Woman’s University, but went to work in accounting. When she picked up the ukulele about 12 years ago she couldn’t put it down. She founded the Lone Star Uke Fest and the nonprofit Ukes in the Classroom program to teach music literacy to children. Now that she’s retired, Tardy is dedicated to music full-time. She has her own ukulele shop in Dallas, UkeLady’s Music Store, where she teaches private lessons and holds workshops.

Music education alumna Jennefer Dixon serenades T. Boone Hospice patients

“I go in with my guitar and book of music and play whatever music is special to that family and that patient,” she explained. “It might be old church hymns or Frank Sinatra, or some people just want you to play anything and take them away for a while,” said music education alumna Jennefer Dixon.

TWU Music's Sam Flippin invites string players to join Virtual Orchestra

Texas Woman's University has launched its "Virtual Orchestra 2020" project to help musicians collaborate and make music together, even when they can't be in the same room.

"Like many of you, we find ourselves suddenly unable to meet together and rehearse, and we do not know how long this situation will last.

We've decided to take inspiration from Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir Project, and create our own virtual orchestra, as a way to make music with one another, and we'd like to invite other musicians to join us," said Sam Flippin, project organizer and TWU Orchestra Director.

The project will start with “Adoration,” a piece written by American composer Florence Price, and arranged for string orchestra by Elaine Fine.

If you are a string player and interested in being a part of this project, visit the TWU Virtual Orchestra website for more information.

TWU’s top scholarship awarded to McKinney HS senior

Sometimes, surprises aren’t just big, they’re transformational, too.

And for Caroline Deitch, whose outstanding academic credentials put her near the top of her senior class at McKinney High School, the surprise was a full-ride scholarship to Texas Woman’s University.

TWU Wind Symphony performs at Collegiate Band Directors National Association regional conference

On Wednesday, February 19, the TWU Wind Symphony performed at the Collegiate Band Directors National Association's Southwest regional conference, hosted by Oklahoma University. Carter Biggers designed the program, which included the world premiere of The Rules Have to Change by Paul David Thomas, Remembering the Remarkables by Grace Baugher, Twist by Jodie Blackshaw, Daughters of Texas by John Philip Sousa, Shenandoah by Omar Thomas, and Masquerade by Vincent Persichetti. Two of the composers were in attendance.

TWU choir to perform at music educators’ centennial convention

The Texas Woman’s University Concert Choir has been selected to perform at the 2020 Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Centennial Clinic/Convention Feb. 13 in San Antonio. TWU is one of only two collegiate choral ensembles invited to perform out of more than 150 entries.

TWU alumnus and music therapist Chad Harmon joins Baylor University Medical Center's NICU

Assistant professor Paul David Thomas awarded second place in national competition

The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts recently announced the winners of The American Prize in Composition, 2018-19, in the choral music division (octavos). TWU assistant professor and coordinator of music theory, Paul David Thomas, Ph.D., was awarded second place for his composition, Out Damned Spot.

Denton musicians join forces for music that packs a punch

Black Sabbath’s heavy metal music brought Denton musicians Bailey Chatman and Alex Gillen together during a concert. Since then, the now engaged couple has teamed up to form punk duo Heavy Pulp. Gillen earned a master’s degree in classical guitar from Texas Woman’s University and said he tries to incorporate what he has learned in Heavy Pulp’s music.

Vocal pedagogy alumna Meredith Tompkins featured by Art&Seek as 'Opportunity for Inspiration'

Verdigris Ensemble’s ION Young Composer Competition is the brainchild of Meredith Tompkins, a Verdigris soprano and board member. Tompkins is a Dallas-based soprano completing her second season with Verdigris. Currently, she is the associate choir director and private voice teacher at Harwood Junior High in Bedford, TX and is an active composer of choral music for young voices. She earned a master’s in vocal pedagogy from TWU in 2014.

2019 Music Education Student Accolades

Lauren Spier - Communism and Ballet: How Swan Lake became the Ideal Example of Soviet Propaganda (Platform Presentation - 2019 Student Creative Arts & Research Symposium)

Hunter Hancock - How the Bard Singeth, Shalt Sing I (Platform Presentation - 2019 Student Creative Arts & Research Symposium)

Zane Rutledge - 2019 Student Pioneer of Excellence Award

Joseph Reyes - 2019 Graduate Assistant Award of Excellence

Amanda Lee Mendoza - 2019 Presser Scholar

Richard Shuster Zongoraestje: Ter-zene-sorozat

Headshot of Richard Shuster

April 7, 2019, 6:00 p.m.

FUGA: Budapesti Építészeti Központ

Maurice Ravel: Tükrök

George Crumb: Eine Kleine Mitternachtmusik, Ruminations on "Round Midnight" by Thelonius Monk

Philip Glass: Etüdök zongorára, l. kötet, Nr. 2

Joseph Klein: Unweaving a Rainbow

Közerműködick: Krulik Esszter - hegedű

For more information:



TWU Concert Choir breaks out onto the main stage at national ACDA conference

The TWU Concert Choir, conducted by Joni Jensen, DMA, professor of voice and director of choral activities, presented a 30-minute program twice at the 2019 American Choral Director's Association (ACDA) 60th Anniversary Jubilee National Conference Friday, March 1, 2019. The conference was held at the Kauffman Performing Arts Center in downtown Kansas City.

The invitation to perform was a rare honor, with more than 225 choirs auditioning for 27 conference spots, chosen via a blind, multi-level jury process. "This was truly a landmark experience for all of our members, who were able to see the high caliber they are being associated with, and to realize how far they’ve come- shoulder to shoulder with best choirs, receiving standing ovations. This event legitimizes all the hard work we’ve done. We’ve been stretching our way forward and have finally broken out onto the main stage," said Jensen.

300 North Texas singers celebrate voices of women

The fifth annual Voices of Women Concert will feature choruses from Texas Woman’s University, the Women's Chorus of Dallas, UNT and the Dallas and Flower Mound school districts.

"The message is  this word may be overused but it is empowerment. Something that Joni Jensen, conductor of the Texas Woman’s University choir and I share is this idea the singers should really connect to their full sound when they sing. And I think that’s something that’s often absent in women’s choral music," said Melinda Imthurn, the artistic director of the Women’s Chorus of Dallas, which is organizing the event.

TWU Music attends 99th annual TMEA Clinic/Convention

The Texas Music Educators Association held its 99th annual clinic/convention Feb. 13-16, 2019 in San Antonio, Texas. The event is the largest of its kind and draws around 29,000 music educators, clinicians, exhibitors, students and their families each year. The TWU Department of Music hosted a booth in the college section of the exhibit hall, which was manned by department faculty and staff.

The following TWU events were chosen through a highly selective, juried review of recordings and proposals submitted.

  • Two student groups, the 15-member clarinet choir and the 10-member trombone choir, performed showcase concerts.
  • The faculty brass quintet performed a showcase concert on the last morning of the conference.
  • Sam Flippin, orchestra conductor, gave a clinic on beginning cello.
  • Dr. Paul Thomas, coordinator for music theory, gave a clinic on sound synthesis through aural skills.
  • Dr. Carter Biggers gave a clinic on work-life balance for young music educators.
  • Four graduate students were selected for a poster presentation on their flute quartet research.
  • Two alums had poster presentations.
  • Matt Sawyer, a recent alum, gave a clinic on creating confident improvisers.
  • Two music therapy alums gave a clinic on lessons and modifications for students on the autism spectrum.

Many TWU Music alumni attended the convention and clinic, and the department expects to expand its alumni reunion to a larger venue in the coming years.

TWU Community Music Center offers affordable, supportive environment for lifelong education

When Christopher Madden, DMA, director of the TWU Community Music Center and assistant professor of piano pedagogy, founded the center in Fall 2018, he wanted to “create a culture of excitement surrounding music study.”

“I wanted to offer affordable music lessons to children and adults in Denton, and provide graduate students with hands-on teaching experience while earning their degrees. The Community Music Center offers a safe, non-competitive and supportive environment for music education. It also provides students with an opportunity for social interaction outside of school or work,” said Madden.

TWU's Carlo Pezzimenti performs at the Vatican

A Texas Woman’s University professor will be having the experience of a lifetime playing at the Vatican in Rome. “We have this beautiful art form,” said guitar professor Carlo Pezzimenti. “All we need to do is just share that with other people.”

If music is the gift, then Carlo Pezzimenti is the messenger. Watch the CBS 11 video>>

Carlo Pezzimenti has played at Carnegie Hall. He’s performed with orchestras, and has toured Europe, South America and China. The adjunct music professor at Texas Woman’s University performs for the first time at the Vatican on Friday. Read the Denton Record-Chronicle feature>>

TWU piano professor studies Hungarian in Pécs

"I have always had a strong interest in Hungarian music, and I spent one year studying piano and chamber music at the Liszt Academy in 1997-98, years ago. In the spring of next year, I will be returning to the Liszt Academy as a guest professor and Fulbright scholar to teach piano literature classes. This is what compels me to learn Hungarian," said Richard Shuster, DMA.

TWU Concert Choir invited to sing at 2019 ACDA National Conference


The American Choral Director's Association (ACDA) is the premier choral organization in the country. It produces a highly respected publication, the Choral Journal, provides leadership and scholarship opportunities, sets repertoire and research standards, and oversees state and regional chapters each with their own respective conferences.

Over 225 choirs auditioned for 27 conference spots, chosen via a blind, multi-level jury process. This invitation is a rare and high honor, especially as this is the 60th Year Jubilee Conference. The Concert Choir will present a 30-minute program two times at the conference as well as a preview performance in Denton and recruiting performances during the trip.

The conference will occur in Kansas City, MO from February 27-March 2, 2019.

Alumna Sarah Hamilton presents laptop orchestra research at Vancouver conference

TWU Music alumna Sarah Hamilton presents at the 2018 Association for Technology in Music Instruction National Conference


TWU Music alumna Sarah Hamilton traveled to Vancouver, British Colombia in October to present a paper at the 2018 Association for Technology in Music Instruction National Conference. Her paper was titled “Integration of Laptop Orchestras in Secondary Public Schools: A Feasibility Study.” Sarah completed her master of arts degree with an emphasis in music education in May 2018.

TWU clarinet faculty and alumni place first in international competition


Danielle Woolery, Assistant Professor of Music, and two TWU alumnae, Natalie Wright and Shannon McDonald, placed first in the International Clarinet Association Research Competition held this past July in Ostend, Belgium. The title of their presentation was “An Examination of the Pedagogical Content of the Clarinet Solos on the Texas University Interscholastic League Prescribed Music List.” Other finalists came from the United States, Germany, and Canada. The results of their research can be viewed on their website at Their win came with the cash prize of $1,000 and publication in The Clarinet.

Alumna Kamica King offers healing and hope through the power of music

Award-winning singer/songwriter Kamica King uses music to inspire and help people through some of the most difficult times of their lives.

Texas Woman's music professor earns third Fulbright grant

Texas Woman's University Music Professor Richard Shuster, DMA, has a special attachment to Hungary and, in particular, with the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. In January 2019, he will head to the academy to teach piano literature courses on a Fulbright Scholar Grant. This isn't his first experience at the school or with the Fulbright program, however. Twenty years ago, Shuster studied piano and chamber music at the prestigious school on a Fulbright Student Grant.

TWU Alumnus Nathan Dame named ACDA Junior High & Middle School National R&R Chair

 Nathan Dame headshot

The American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) has named Nathan Dame its new national Repertoire & Resources (R&R) chair for Junior High & Middle School Choirs. ACDA is made up of approximately 20,000 members who represent more than 1 million singers across the country. ACDA members conduct and teach a range of choirs, including school and university-based choirs, community choral groups, professional ensembles, and music in worship. ACDA’s mission is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

Mr. Dame joins a team of national R&R chairs who are specialists in a variety of areas, including choir types (like high school choirs or community choirs) and repertoire-specific areas (such as contemporary/commercial or vocal jazz). National chairs are selected for their experience and expertise in their particular area. Their leadership duties include collaborating in selecting music that is to be presented in reading sessions at ACDA national conferences, serving on audition panels for choirs that apply to perform at national conferences, and in general providing leadership in their area of expertise.

2018-2019 Music Education Student Accolades

  • Madeline DeHart  - 2018-19 Presser Scholar
  • Natalie Windle  - 2018 Outstanding Senior Award - TWU Alumni Association
  • Natalie Joyner  - 2017-18 Outstanding Intern/Practicum - TWU College of Professional Education
  • Kristina Reed - 2017-18 Outstanding Student Assistant - TWU Department of University Housing
  • Alexandra Martinez & Natalie Windle - 2018 Collegiate Music Educator Award - Texas Music Educators Association

Texas Premiere of “Cant de les Estrelles” for Piano, Organ, and Chorus by Enric Granados 

Performed by TWU Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and TWU piano professor Richard Shuster

Texas Woman’s University Department of Music presents the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and Friends in a concert entitled Cant de les Estrelles on April 19, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. in Margo Jones Performance Hall. This performance features Latin-inspired works, including the Texas premiere of “Cant de les Estrelles” by Enrique Granados featuring TWU pianist, Richard Shuster. Dr. Cory Gavito will present a pre-concert talk about the featured work at 6:45 in Eberly Recital Hall.

World premiere performance of Peter Senchuk’s Flute Concerto

Performed by TWU Wind Symphony and Dr. Pamela Youngblood

The world premiere performance of Peter Senchuk’s “Flute Concerto” will be performed on April 12, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. in Margo Jones Performance Hall by the Texas Woman's University Wind Symphony under the direction of Dr. Carter Biggers with Dr. Pamela Youngblood as soloist. The concerto was commissioned in honor of Dr. Youngblood’s 25 years of service to Texas Woman's University. Senchuk will be in attendance and working with TWU students during his time on campus.

Dr. Youngblood, who currently serves as Chair of the Department of Music and Theatre, will perform the concerto with the Wind Symphony as a part of the ensembles final spring concert entitled Premier(e)s.

TWU alumna's music studio helps through harmony

The Coyote Music Studio describes music therapy as “the use of music to accomplish non-musical goals. It is an ongoing, therapeutic service in which a board-certified music therapist and a client (or group) develop a relationship through music in order to accomplish non-musical goals in areas such as communication, fine and gross motor skills, social/emotional stress, academics and to improve quality of life.” After graduating from Texas Woman’s University with a graduate degree in music therapy, studio owner Tonya Blum saw the opportunity to bring music therapy to Denton.

Denton receives official certification as a "Music Friendly Community"

To frequent outpourings of cheers, hollers, whistles and many rounds of applause, Denton City Council member Keely G. Briggs read a proclamation from Denton Mayor Chris Watts recognizing the importance of this new designation for the city — as well as name-dropping many of Denton’s noteworthy performing artists and musicians. Later in the evening, Briggs said something that most North Texas music fans have known about Denton for years.

“We’ve been music friendly for a really long time, and so I think the proclamation just designates us as a Music Friendly Community, and I’m glad that we’re finally being recognized,” she said. “I think it’s a great first step, and I’m really looking forward to the future and what this brings to the city.”

Dr. Vicki Baker elected Vice-President and College Division Chair of TMEA

Begun in 1920 as the Texas Band Teachers Association, the Texas Music Educators Association is an organization of over 12,000 school music educators dedicated to promoting excellence in music education. TMEA is comprised of five divisions: Band, Orchestra, Vocal, Elementary and College. On February 16, 2018, Vicki Baker, Ph.D., was elected to the Executive Board of TMEA as the Vice-President and College Division Chair, a position she will hold for two years.

On behalf of its members and Texas schoolchildren, TMEA carefully monitors the actions of all state decision-making bodies on issues affecting fine arts instruction in Texas. In addition to many member benefits, TMEA offers professional development opportunities for its members with Region workshops and especially with its annual Clinic/Convention. TMEA supports the future of music education by offering scholarships to music education majors and by sponsoring the Texas Future Music Educators, an organization through which high school students interested in careers in music education learn more about what to expect in their college education and future careers. 

TWU Concert Choir invited to perform at the National Collegiate Choral Organization's 7th Biennial National Conference

TWU Concert Choir

TWU's Concert Choir will perform November 4, 2017, at the National Collegiate Choral Organization's (NCCO's) 7th Biennial National Conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The choirs and guest speakers invited to perform for NCCO represent some of the most highly regarded programs in the country, and the TWU Concert Choir is the only women's chorus to receive an invitation. Their program is titled "Music for Women by Women."

"It is an honor to be included among the ranks of the distinguished programs performing at the conference, and it is an exciting time to see so many talented female musicians represented at this level," said Joni Jensen, DMA, Director of Choral Activities.

The TWU Flute Choir.
The TWU Flute Choir.

Texas Woman’s Flute Choir to perform at 45th Annual National Flute Association Convention

Faculty, staff and student flutists and musicians from the Texas Woman’s Department of Music will be featured at the 45th Annual National Flute Association Convention, held Aug. 10-13 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “It is an honor for our musicians to be invited to perform on the national stage, and I believe it speaks to the prominence and quality of our music department,” said Abigail Tilton, dean of TWU’s College of Arts and Sciences.

TWU professor of music Nicki Cohen publishes 'Advanced Methods of Music Therapy Practice'

Advanced Methods of Music Therapy Practice by Nicki Cohen

TWU professor of music Nicki Cohen, PhD, MT-BC, has published Advanced Methods of Music Therapy Practice: Analytical Music Therapy, The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music, Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy, and Vocal Psychotherapy. Her book, which examines the development of four advanced methods of music therapy practice, their relation to each other, and their impact on the music therapy profession, will be available for purchase on Amazon beginning September 21st, 2017.

Based on extensive new research and interviews with leading practitioners, this book describes the differences, similarities, relationships and trends between them; compares linearly the development of the music therapy profession primarily in the 20th century with the development of the four advanced methods; and speculates on the future of these advanced methods in relation to the future of music therapy as a profession. 

Page last updated 4:53 PM, February 24, 2021