Janinah Burnett Named Assistant Professor of Commercial Voice

College of Visual and Performing Arts Dean bruce d. mcclung has announced the appointment of Janinah Burnett as Assistant Professor of Commercial Voice. 

Janinah Burnett’s artistry has carved out a place for her as one of the most versatile and accomplished singers of her generation. Ms. Burnett has performed with many of the opera houses in the United States including the Metropolitan Opera where she was a soloist for eight seasons. Ms. Burnett also debuted roles in several notable international opera houses including the Teatro Dell’Opera di Roma, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. She also was a member of the company that opened the renovated Den Norske Oper in Oslo, Norway.  

In addition to the opera stage, Ms. Burnett has appeared on Broadway. She began her professional career in Baz Luhrmann’s La Bohème on Broadway, which won her the Los Angeles Theater Alliance’s Ovation Award, gave her a Special Tony Award recognition, and allowed for her to appear on the Tony Awards with the show. Years later, Ms. Burnett was a closing cast member in the iconic Phantom of the Opera on Broadway in which she made appearances as Carlotta Giudicelli. 

 During the Covid shutdown in 2021, Ms. Burnett released her debut recording project from her own label CLAZZ RECORDS entitled Love the Color of Your Butterfly. On this album, she broke fresh ground and transcended the traditional genres and parameters in marrying jazz and classical music styles in a term she calls “CLAZZ.” Through collaboration with some of the world’s finest jazz musicians, Ms. Burnett presents a recorded and live concert experience creating a compendium of the musical elements of her life and career. 

 Ms. Burnett holds a Master of Music (MM) in Voice from the Eastman School of Music and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Music from Spelman College. 

Khristopher Smalling headshot

Khristopher Smalling Named Assistant Professor in Music Production and Technology

College of Visual and Performing Arts Dean bruce d. mcclung has announced the appointment of Khristopher Smalling as Academic Professional: Assistant Professor in Music Production and Technology. 

Smalling is a second-generation Jamaican American, multi-instrumentalist, classically trained trombonist, electronic music producer, arranger, and educator. He has taught “Electronic Music Production,” “Studio Recording Techniques,” and “Overview of the Music Industry” as an Assistant Professor of Music Business at Winston-Salem State University. 

Throughout his career, Smalling has demonstrated versatility and an innovative approach to music. As a lead bass/baritone vocalist with the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh and an integral member of the Employees of Funk brass band, he left an impact on Pittsburgh’s music scene. In addition to his performances and educational appointments, Khristopher has explored electronic music, incorporating elements of old-school Jungle and Drum & Bass influenced by the global Jamaican diaspora. Often integrating sampled brass horns into his compositions, he reflects his cultural roots in his creative process.  (more…)

Students in show at Elsewhere Museum

Theatre Students Engage in Collaboration and Collective Creation in [where-else] at Elsewhere Museum

Assistant Professor of Theatre Robi Arce-Martínez poses a question, “Where else but at UNCG’s School of Theatre?” 

He’s talking about a new theatre work called [where-else] which opens April 5th at Elsewhere, an artist residency and museum in downtown Greensboro. Arce-Martínez and 19 students from all majors across the school developed the piece together. 

“The project is very much based in storytelling, and it serves as a forum for students to engage in collaboration and collective creation, while at the same time, sharing lived experiences and differences to find common ground, to then develop new material which is also influenced by the space.” 

The space is Elsewhere Museum. And while it has the word “museum” in its name, Elsewhere is probably nothing like what you might imagine a museum to be. For fifty-eight years, the three-story building on Elm Street was owned by long-time resident Sylvia Gray and housed a store that sold furniture, fabric, military surplus, and secondhand goods.  When she died, her grandson George Scheer inherited the building.  

George and two friends from Michigan declared nothing for sale and named the space as we know it today, Elsewhere. He decided that this was going to be a place where artists come from anywhere in the nation or even abroad, and work with the objects that are already in there to create installations or artistic residencies,” explains Arce-Martínez. “The rule of Elsewhere is that everything created in the space needs to happen with the objects that are already in there. So, the rule is that nothing comes in, nothing goes out. There is this eternal cycle of destruction and creation that I think is beautiful and energizing.” 

Arce-Martínez has served on the board of Elsewhere since he arrived in Greensboro in 2021. He proposed it as a space to School Director Natalie Sowell because the school was looking for new opportunities for students while Taylor Theatre was closed for renovations, and because they wanted to add a community-based theatre project to the season.  

 “When you come to the show, you’ll see that elsewhere has a lot going on,” he laughs adding, “It will be immersive and you will not be sitting and watching a show, rather it’s more of an engagement. The audience will move through the space, too, and because the spirit of this work is collaboration, we’re making space for the audience to be a part of it. Yes, it’s scripted, but there is some looseness to it because we want to allow room for discovery and understanding that the work never ends.” (more…)

Gerry Lopez headshot

Gerardo “Gerry” Lopez Named Assistant Professor of Music Theory

College of Visual and Performing Arts Dean bruce d. mcclung has announced the appointment of Gerardo “Gerry” Lopez as Assistant Professor of Music Theory. 

Lopez is a PhD candidate in Music Theory at The Ohio State University (OSU) who will defend his dissertation, “From Robotic Singing to Singing Robots: Exploring the Construction and Perception of Technological Vocal Personas in Music,” this spring. Lopez’s study focuses on works from different time periods and styles that feature voices adopting characteristics associated with mechanical, electronic, and/or digital technologies. To study these voices, he is employing analytical tools that have been developed for the analysis of timbre and prosody supplemented by his own experiments in perception.  (more…)

Marielis Garcia headshot. Photo credit: Whitney Browne

Faculty Artist Profile: Marielis Garcia

Assistant Professor of Dance Marielis Garcia has been a teaching artist since she was barely a teenager—a gutsy teenager who knew exactly what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to ask for it: 

“My parents are both immigrants from the Dominican Republic and there just wasn’t a whole lot of surplus cash for extracurricular activities, so everything we did was through our public school or free. When I was thirteen, my dance class took a field trip to a studio. One of the teachers said I should take classes with them because I showed some talent. I said, ‘My parents can’t really afford this, and besides you’re just trying to make money. If you really mean it (and I don’t know where I got the courage to say this) then I’ll need some sort of work study.’” 

Garcia says she didn’t really know what work study was, but the teacher did. The studio turned out to be one connected with Dance Theatre of Harlem, and so Marielis began studying and acting as an assistant with the younger students in the program to pay for her classes: 

“Even back then, there was an element of teaching dance while doing my own dance. It’s never been about me singularly. It’s always been about bringing myself in as authentically as possible and sharing, which inevitably is both performance and teaching. It’s finding this two-way connection. We’re creating or facilitating spaces where we can connect. That really speaks to my pedagogical and creative approaches.”  (more…)