Department of Music
The Department of Music
126 French Hall, (Faculty Offices)
303 East Kearsley Street, Flint, MI 48502
810-762-3377 - Office 810-762-3326 - FAX
The Department of Music is served by Administrative Team 220, consisting of Audrey Beauchesne, Mark Pyland, Suzanne Shivnen, and Karri Spoelstra. Team 220 is located in 220 French Hall and the office is staffed from 8 am to 5 pm weekdays. The office handles most of the adminstrative requests for assistance.
Brian DiBlassio has been with the Department of Music at UM-Flint since 2000, where he has received the Lois Rosen Excellence in Teaching Award and the Provost Innovation in Teaching Prize. As a jazz and classical pianist, he most regularly performs with Latin jazz groups Los Gatos and Tumbao Bravo. DiBlassio has had the opportunity to score music for local and national televised pieces, and his diverse instrumental/choral arrangements, orchestrations and compositions have been performed by an array of groups, including the UM-Flint ensembles and the Flint Symphony. DiBlassio has presented performance projects and research, nationally and internationally, most recently at the Jazz Education Network Conference in San Diego, California.
Dr. Christopher P. Heidenreich was appointed as the Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Bands at the University of Michigan-Flint in the fall of 2009. He has served as Associate Director of Bands at Youngstown State University and Director of the YSU “Marching Pride” and began teaching public school in Ohio in 1989. He completed his Doctor of Music in Wind Conducting from Indiana University in the spring of 2006, holds a Master of Arts in Music Education from The Ohio State University (1998) and a Bachelor of Music degree from Bowling Green State University (1989) where he graduated cum laude.
Gabriela Hristova was awarded the 2012 Lucinda Stone Junior Women Faculty Award for her research on Bulgarian Choral and Singing Traditions. Recently elected as the president for the Michigan chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, she hosted the Michigan ACDA Fall Convention at the First Presbyterian Church in Flint.
Faculty - Lecturers
Jessica Cech has been a featured artist in the Flint Institute of Music's Chamber Series Concerts for the last six years. She was a guest artist in the St. Clair Shores Concert Series in 2012 and was a featured soloist in the Music at St. Paul's Series (Flint, MI) in 2011. In addition to her current position at the University of Michigan-Flint, Cech teaches flute at the Flint School of Performing Arts.
James Coviak, percussionist and director of the internationally acclaimed steel drum band, Steelheads, has recently performed at the Lionel Hampton and TAC Jazz Festivals. In addition to working with international recording artist Andy Narell, Coviak’s former students have recently performed with saxophonist Kenny G, and with guitarist Jack White at the 2013 Grammy Awards.
Pianist Katia Dinas was born in Syracuse, New York, and raised in Greece, where she commenced her study of piano with teacher Elli Zacharopoulou, pupil of Monique Haas. She enjoys an active career as a soloist, chamber musician, and educator within the United States and internationally.
She received First Prize at the Panhellenic Piano Competition, Second Prize at the Association of Greek Conservatories Piano Competition, and Second Prize at the American Protégé Competition. During her graduate studies, she received the Evalina Vernon Honsinger Award for Performance Excellence, the Hira Poncha Music Award, and the Ruth Minks Charles Music Scholarship. In the summer of 2015, she performed on Horowitz’s piano as a participant of the Kutztown Festival Concerto Competition, and was awarded First Prize for exceptional concerto interpretation.
Katia has given solo and chamber music recitals in concert venues across the United States, Canada, England, Germany, and Greece. In May 2017, she had her Carnegie Hall debut performing works by Franz Liszt. She has played for Greek television and her recitals have been broadcast on radio stations in New York and Michigan. In January 2018, she was invited to a music residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Canada, where she presented her doctoral research on Aaron Copland’s piano works and gave a recital at the Rolston Recital Hall. She was also invited to perform as a guest artist for the Setnor Benefit Tribute Concert at the All Steinway Challenge and featured in the Syracuse University magazine representing the university’s Steinway campaign.
Katia holds a Piano Diploma and a Specialist Degree in Advanced Harmony from the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki, a Master’s Degree in Musicology from the Aristotle University, a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from Syracuse University, where she studied under the tutelage of Ida-Tili Trebicka, and a Doctorate Degree in Piano Performance from Michigan State University, where she studied under the tutelage of Panayis Lyras. As well, she has taken lessons and master classes with renowned artists Natalya Antonova, Nelita True, Catherine Chi, Bernard Ringeissen, Brandt Fredriksen, Maria Asteriadou, and George Thimis.
As an educator, she has been teaching piano in a variety of community settings and held teaching assistantship positions at Syracuse University and Michigan State University. Katia is currently a Lecturer in Piano at the University of Michigan-Flint.
Hailed as “A rich resonant baritone with majestic proportions” ~ Toledo Blade, Dan Ewart has sung a wide variety of roles. Most recently he sang Horace Tabor in the Ballad of Baby Doewith Toledo Opera. Previous to this he was Dancaïro in Carmen with Prelude to Performance in Manhattan where “he provided fine support” ~ Opera News. He also performed Escamillo in the High Lights concert that same summer in Manhattan.
Previously, Dr. Ewart performed the role of Owen Hart in Dead Man Walkingand Zuniga Carmenwith Shreveport Opera. He covered the leading baritone roles Joseph DeRocher and Escamillo with the same company. Other roles performed include Germont in La Traviata, Don Alfonso in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcello in La Boheme, Editor Webb in Our Town, His Father-in-law in The Poor Fisherman, Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, and Dr. Miracle in Les Contes d’Hoffmann.
Dr. Ewart has also sung with several orchestras as a soloist. Dr. Ewart has performed on several occasions with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra where he was the baritone soloist in Schubert’s Mass in G as well as the baritone soloist in Bruckner’s Te Deum. He has also sung and hosted a variety show with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra’s Linked-in concert series. He was also the baritone soloist in Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor with the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra, as well as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah with members of the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra where he was also the baritone soloist in Mozart’s G major mass that same year.
Dan Ewart has a B.M. in vocal performance from Michigan State University, a M.M. in vocal performance from DePaul University, and a D.M.A. in vocal performance with Michigan State University.
A Michigan native, Kisma Jordan is a recipient of the 2014 Kresge Artist Fellowship in Music. Recognized by the New York Times for her soul-stirring communicative ability and "shimmering soprano voice" Kisma returned to the opera stage in 2014-2015 season to cover the role of Clara with Lyric Opera of Chicago in their production of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. She has appeared as a soloist with the Hilton Head Symphony, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, debuted her highly anticipated project Beyond Classical during Art X Detroit: Kresge Arts Experience and ended the summer with an appearance at Chene Park with electronic music legend Derrick May. She holds degrees in Music from Bowling Green State University, Kentucky State University and Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. More
Sherri Marttila has been an avid violinist since the age of nine. She first honed her musicianship in the automotive heartland of Flint, Michigan. She has completed educational rigors at Interlochen Arts Academy, the Congress of Strings (New York), and the University of Michigan. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Violin Performance from the University of Michigan.
Sherri is the Concertmaster and Personnel Manager for the Oakland Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Street Chamber Orchestra and the Motor City Symphony. She also performs with the Michigan Opera Theater, Flint Symphony Orchestra, Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra, Midland Symphony Orchestra and Rochester Symphony Orchestra.
Sherri has worked with many amazing artists including Aretha Franklin, John Tesh, Sandi Patty, Michael W. Smith, Johnny Mathis, Anne Murray, Alexander Zonjic, Regis Philbin, Harry Connick Jr., Josh Grobin, Sarah McLachlan and wonderful musical groups like the Temptations, The Ten Tenors, Il Divo, Il Volo, Mannheim Steamroller, Citizen Zero, Warner Brother Symphony and the Wimborne Symphony. Aside from her active performance schedule, Sherri also has 30 years of teaching and coaching experience in the metropolitan Flint and Detroit areas, and she is the current University of Michigan - Flint instructor of violin, viola, string chamber music and the UMF Chamber Strings Ensemble.
Jeffrey Price is a collaborative performer and educator, recently performing new music at the Windsor Canadian Music Festival. He performs regularly with the UM-Flint Faculty Jazz Ensemble as well as with faculty chamber groups at the Flint School for Performing Arts. Price is an active clinician in the Genesee area and is a candidate to present at the 2014 North American Saxophone Alliance national convention.
Patrick Prouty composed a piece for the UM-Flint University Orchestra in honor of Emeritus Professor Walker E. Fesmire’s generous establishment of The Chieko Fesmire String Instrument Scholarship. Music from Prouty’s CD, The Charmed Life, was recently featured in AMC’s television show, Breaking Bad. His fourth CD, New American Daydream, earned the Detroit Music Award for Best Jazz Recording of 2012.
Joseph Wright is active as a performer and educator. He has appeared extensively over the years with artists such as Natalie Cole, Peter Duchin, Bob Hope, Robert Klein, Andy Narell, Martha Reeves, The Four Tops, The Temptations, as well as The Glenn Miller and Nelson Riddle Orchestras. He also performs regularly with the UM-Flint Faculty Jazz Ensemble. Wright has appeared many times at the Detroit Jazz Festival, including performances with both local and nationally known jazz artists.
Cheryl Zimmerman earned both a Bachelor of Music Degree in Instrumental School Music and a Master of Music Degree in Applied Oboe (performance) at Michigan State University.
As a music educator, she has had over three decades of public school teaching experience, 28 of them in the Grand Blanc Community Schools where she primarily taught instrumental music. She is a performing member of the St. Cecilia Society in Flint, principal oboist of the Genesee Wind Symphony, and a Member Emeritus of the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association.