New Hires at the Schulich School of Music


Published: 26May2015

In September 2015 four new faculty members will join the teaching body of the Schulich School of Music.  Adding to the current 62 full-time tenure-stream professors, 29 part-time professors and 135 instructors currently teaching at the school are Jean-Sébastien Vallée, Assistant Professor of Choral Conducting, Richard Stoelzel, Associate Professor of Trumpet, and Chair of the Brass Area, Jean-Michel Pilc, Associate Professor of Jazz (piano) and John Hollenbeck,  Associate Professor of Jazz (drums and composition).  Their appointments come at a propitious moment for the school, following the announcement on April 30th of significant new funding for student scholarships and initiatives, and once again highlights the Schulich School of Music’s international caliber.

Jean-Sébastien Vallée, Assistant Professor of Choral Conducting, is a rapidly rising conductor on today's concert music stage. Prior to his appointment at McGill University, Dr. Vallée served as  Director of Choral Studies at California State University, Los Angeles,  and was on the choral faculty of the University of Redlands. Ensembles under his direction have sung for the American Choral Directors Association and California Music Educators Conferences, and were awarded first and second places at the San Luis Obispo International Choral Competition in 2011. Vallée has studied under such renowned conductors as Chester Alwes, Eduardo Diazmunoz, Iwan Edwards, Agnes Grossman, Chantal Masson-Bourque, Nicole Paiement, Raphaele Ponti, Miroslav Papsavov, Donald Schleicher, Fred Stoltzfus, and Jon Washburn. Dr. Vallée holds degrees from the Université Laval, the Université de Sherbrooke, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.In addition to his interest in choral, operatic, and orchestra music, Vallée is an advocate for contemporary music, making one of his priorities to premiere and commission works by young composers and program rarely performed repertoire. As a scholar, Dr. Vallée's research interests are varied and focus primarily on Renaissance French music, the oratorical works of Michael Tippett, and Conducting pedagogy, more specifically the connection between audiation and  gestural communication. Dr. Vallée has been invited to present his research at several national and international conferences including the American Choral Directors Association Conventions, Festival 500 in Newfoundland, Canada., the National Collegiate Choral Organization conference, Podium, the national convention of Choral Canada, and the Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities. Dr. Vallée is also founder and director of INSPIRAVI, a 20-voice Los Angeles based professional chamber choir, Artistic Director of the Mountainside Master Chorale in Los Angeles, and choral conductor at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul in Montréal, starting August 1, 2015.

Richard Stoelzel, Associate Professor of Trumpet, and Chair of the Brass Area, maintains an active career as an international soloist, chamber and orchestral musician. He began his career as solo cornet with the United States Coast Guard Band, a presidential band. In this position he performed throughout the U.S. and gave numerous command performances for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. As a soloist he has performed throughout the U.S. and abroad including five highly successful tours of China and as a result earned the title of “Distinguished Visiting Professor” at the Shen Yang Conservatory of Music and other schools throughout China. Stoelzel has performed as a soloist at the 2003, 2007, and 2009 International Trumpet Guild Conference. At the 2009 conference, he was a featured soloist with the Keystone Wind Ensemble as well as performing with the Aries Trio. As an orchestral musician Stoelzel has performed as principal and utility trumpet including substitute principal trumpet with the Detroit Symphony as well as third and assistant principal trumpet of the New Orleans Symphony and was winner of the principal trumpet position in 1993. He has been on the faculties of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the Harid Conservatory, and is Professor of Trumpet at Grand Valley State University. His students have consistently won national and international awards (20 international prizes and 20 national prizes) including an unprecedented three awards at the 2000 International Trumpet Guild Competition and have since been regular finalists and winners. Stoelzel has worked and commissioned over 40 new works for trumpet by such noted composers as Eric Ewazen, James Stephenson, Arthur Weisburg, Kurt Ellenberger, Bill Ryan, Erik Morales, Robert Bradshaw, and Tom Davis.  Stoelzel is also an accomplished conductor. He was the principal pops conductor for the Harid Conservatory as well as music director of the Florida Wind Symphony, a professional wind ensemble based in Boca Raton, FL. Stoelzel is the Artistic Director of the GVSU International Trumpet Seminar which he started in 2005.

Jean-Michel Pilc, Associate Professor of Jazz (piano), from Paris, was a US resident for almost two decades.  Before moving to the U.S., he had toured throughout Europe, participating on numerous recordings and film scores. In New York, Pilc formed a trio with François Moutin (bass) and Ari Hoenig (drums). The trio became a popular fixture in Big Apple venues such as the Blue Note, Iridium, Knitting Factory, and Sweet Basil. In 2000, Pilc was awarded the Django Reinhardt Prize from the French Jazz Academy. Also in 2000, Pilc’s trio released a pair of acclaimed recordings, Jean-Michel Pilc Trio - Together - Live at Sweet Basil, NYC - Vol. 1 & 2 (A-Records) before Pilc signed on to Dreyfus Jazz; the trio then released Welcome Home in 2002 which was highly successful critically and commercially. Welcome Home was followed in 2003 by Cardinal Points, which features Jean-Michel's extended work, “Trio Sonata,” created through a grant from Chamber Music America's New Works: Creation and Presentation Program, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. In 2004, Pilc released a solo recording, Follow Me, then came full circle in 2005 with a live trio recording, Live at the Iridium, New York, introducing his new ensemble with Thomas Bramerie on bass and Mark Mondesir on drums. The trio released a follow-up, New Dreams, in 2007, described by Thomas Conrad in Jazz Times as “ironically irreverent and technically stunning.” Notes John Fordham (The Guardian), “Pilc hurls the kitchen sink into everything he does - irrepressible quotations from all over the jazz tradition, drummer-like affection for the explosive accent followed by the double-taking silence, streams of fluid improvised melody over a fast groove one moment, bumpy disruptions of the pulse and skews to the harmony the next.” Then came True Story, Pilc’s last CD for Dreyfus, with the great Billy Hart on drums, and Boris Kozlov on bass. Pilc’s next two albums were both released in 2011 on the Motema label to great critical acclaim: Essential, a live solo piano recording, and Threedom, featuring his legendary trio with François Moutin & Ari Hoenig, which re-formed in 2010 under the collective name Pilc Moutin Hoenig. He was  also a NYU Steinhardt faculty member. Pilc has recently released a book, "It's About Music - The Art and Heart of Improvisation", and an educational video for all instruments, "True Jazz Improvisation". In 2013, Jean-Michel was granted a fellowship by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, in the Music Composition category. The project, an octet, "Big One", features all new, original music. In 2014, Jean-Michel released "What Is This Thing Called?", his third solo album and first release for Sunnyside Records. He is also formed a new trio featuring Ira Coleman on bass and Victor Lewis on drums, a highly exciting combination.

John Hollenbeck, Associate Professor of Jazz (drums and composition), a composer/percussionist and four-time Grammy nominee, is renowned in both the jazz and the new-music worlds.  Among his numerous awards and commissions are a National Endowment grant to study composition with Bob Brookmeyer in 1994, and Meet the Composers grants in 1995 and 2001, the Jazz Composers Alliance Composition Contest in 1995 and 2002, the 2002 International Association for Jazz Education Gil Evans Fellowship, and a 2003 IAJE/ASCAP Commission. He was nominated by the Jazz Journalists Association for the following: Up and Coming Jazz Musician of the Year (2004, 2006); Jazz Composer of the Year (2006, 2007); Drummer of the Year and Large Ensemble of the Year (2007). John Hollenbeck was named both the Rising Star Composer and the Rising Star Arranger of the Year in the 2008 DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll. After receiving degrees in percussion and jazz composition from the Eastman School of Music, Mr. Hollenbeck moved to New York City in the early 1990's.  He has worked with many of the world's leading musicians in jazz including Bob Brookmeyer, Fed Hersch, Tony Malaby, the Village Vanguard Orchestra and Kenny Wheeler. He has gained widespread recognition as the driving force behind the unclassifiable Claudia Quintet and the ambitious John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, groups with roots in jazz, world music, and contemporary composition. He is well known in new-music circles for his longtime collaboration with Meredith Monk and has worked with many of the world’s leading musicians in jazz including Bob Brookmeyer, Fred Hersch, and Tony Malaby. John is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the ASCAP Jazz Vanguard Award, and a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. His most notable works include commissions by Bang on a Can All-Stars, Ethos Percussion Group, Youngstown State University, Melbourne Jazz Festival,University of Rochester, Ensemble Cairn of France, Orchestre National de Jazz, and Frankfurt Radio Big Band. Since 2005, he has been a professor of Jazz Drums and Improvisation at the Jazz Institute Berlin. rammy-nominated John Hollenbeck is a jazz drummer and composer from Binghamton, NY, USA. He also has interests in classical music, and other musical forms. He is linked to free jazz and avant garde forms of jazz. In the Fall of 2015, Hollenbeck will begin teaching at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, as Associate Professor of Jazz Drums. Prior to this appointment, he has been a Professor at the Jazz Institute Berlin.

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