Department News

An Opportunity for Music Lovers:


A campaign to fund the ETSU Arts Initiative
The "Now Seating" Campaign is your opportunity to name a seat in the future Arts Facility in honor of a loved one, a friend, a special teacher, or yourself! The performance spaces are currently set to include:
1,400-seat Concert Hall
500-seat Theater
250-seat Recital Hall
Choose the location of your choice for just $250 per seat!
For complete details, please go to ETSU Arts Initiative

(April 14, 2014)

Huayong Sun


ETSU Piano Major Places in International Competition


Huayong Sun earned third place in the Chopin International Piano Competition, which took place in Hartford, CT, March 6-9, 2014. A native of Dalian, China, Huayong Sun is currently a sophomore in piano performance major and studies piano with Dr. Chih-Long Hu.





(January 12, 2014)

Tatum Spears

Weber City, VA –  Tatum Spears, soprano, received a huge honor on Saturday in Charlotte, NC. She auditioned for the Metropolitan Opera National Council (North Carolina district). The MONC was founded in 1952 on the premise of discovering aspiring young opera singers from around the country. Spears was one of thirty-six hopefuls, in which she was among the youngest contestants. Three winners were chosen, and four more encouragement awards were given. She received the Frances Shafter Recognition award.

"I am honestly in shock," Spears admits. "I was the second-youngest singer in this competition, and after hearing all of the amazing talent, I thought I would walk away empty-handed. I feel so honored and blessed to be chosen for this award. I can't wait to audition again next year."

Spears performed two arias from memory for the three judges: Dominic Cossa, Chair, Opera Voice Division, University of Maryland School of Music; Anthony Dean Griffey, Metropolitan Opera tenor; and Gayletha Nichols, Executive Director, Metropolitan Opera National Council.
Spears is from Weber City, VA. She is currently a senior undergraduate student at East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, TN) where she is studying vocal performance under Dr. Sun-Joo Oh. She will graduate from ETSU in May with a Bachelor of Music degree. Spears is a member and section leader of the ETSU Chorale and the ETSU Opera Workshop. Later this month, she is competing in the MTNA Young Artist Voice Division Competition in Louisville, KY.



(December 2013)

Trifecta Trio Releases New Album

A CD of contemporary music performed by the Trifecta Trio has been released on the Blue Griffin Recording Label. The ensemble consists of current and former ETSU faculty Aryn Sweeney (oboe), Jeffery Whaley (horn), and Chih-Long Hu (piano). The album features first-time recordings of music by Koetsier, Danner, Bowen, and a commissioned work by Maria Niederberger, ETSU professor of music theory and composition.


Trifecta Trio Album Cover


(November 30, 2013)
Frye Album Release
Click Here for Full Album Press Release

(November 20, 2013)

ETSU Percussion Ensemble Places 4th

at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention

& ETSU Alum's HS Percussion Ensemble Performs!


The Percussive Arts Society held its International Convention in Indianapolis from November 13-16. The ETSU Percussion Ensemble placed 4th out of ten competing international ensembles in the college small ensemble category, with a score of 93.375. The ensemble is directed by Dr. Rande Sanderbeck, who is also the faculty adviser for the ETSU Percussive Arts Society Collegiate Chapter.

Additionally, the Science Hill High School Percussion Ensemble (Johnson City, TN) was selected as one of only two high school ensembles to perform at the Convention. The group is directed by ETSU Alum Daniel McGuire. One of the pieces the ensemble performed was an arrangement of "Song for America" by the band Kansas, arranged by Dr. Sanderbeck. Mr. McGuire also featured Dr. Sanderbeck as the guest soloist with the Science Hill High School Percussion Ensemble!

Pictured below are members of the ETSU Percussion Ensemble in Indianapolis.

PASIC Performers



 (October 20, 2013)

Vocal Performance Majors Perform with Asheville Lyric Opera Company

Vocal performance majors, Tatum Spears, soprano, and Laura Jordan, mezzo-soprano, recently performed in Asheville Lyric Opera's production of I Pagliacci & Suor Angelica. Ms. Spears appeared in the chorus for Pagliacci and Ms. Jordan performed the role of Seconda Sorella Cercatrice as well as singing in the chorus for Suor Angelica. Ms. Spears is a voice student of Dr. Sun-Joo Oh and Ms. Jordan is a voice student of Mrs. Karen Smith. 

The production was presented October 4th and 5th at the Diana Wortham Theatre in Asheville, NC. More information about the Asheville Lyric Opera is available at: Asheville Lyric Opera



Dr. Chih-Long Hu

Winner of the

2013 Tennessee Music Teachers Association 

Teacher of the Year Award

Dr. Hu.jpg

And the winner is...

JOHNSON CITY (August 23, 2013) – East Tennessee State University bestowed its highest honors upon three professors today with the presentation of the 2013 Distinguished Faculty Awards for Teaching, Research and Service.

The winners were nominated and selected by their faculty peers. Each received a medallion, a plaque and a check provided by the ETSU Foundation during the annual Faculty Convocation, which marks the beginning of the new academic year and fall semester.

The Distinguished Faculty Award in Teaching was presented to Travis Graves, an associate professor of Art and Design. The Distinguished Faculty Award in Research went to Dr. Gregory A. Ordway, a professor of pharmacology and interim chair for the ETSU Department of Biomedical Sciences in theJames H. Quillen College of Medicine.

Dr. Benjamin Caton received the Distinguished Faculty Award in Service. 

Congratulations to Dr. Caton, winner of this highest ETSU honor!

Caton jpg