PHILIP E. AUTRY, D.M.A. (Music Discipline Coordinator, Piano, Creative Arts)
Pianist Philip Autry has played solo piano recitals throughout the United States, and presented at national conferences of Music Teachers National Association, Music Educators National Conference as well as the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy and World Piano Pedagogy Conference. His playing has been described as “clarity and precision coupled with feeling and emotion.” He is the recipient of the Gail Boyd de Stwolinski Award from the University of Oklahoma School of Music. Dr. Autry has prepared high school students for successful auditions in numerous universities, and his former piano students from Angelo State University and Fisk University include graduate students in Masters and Doctoral programs, secondary music teachers in the United States and abroad, recording artists, and church musicians. Dr. Autry is Past President of the Tennessee Music Teachers Association and is currently the Vice-President of the Nashville Area Music Teachers Association. He currently serves as coordinator of the Music Unit at Fisk University and the liaison for Fisk’s Music Business Consortium program with Belmont University. He serves as advisor to the Zeta Rho Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Dr. Autry was recently awarded the Ridley/Jones Prize from the Fisk University History Department for original, primary research on Fisk University. In 2009, he and UNCF/Mellon Undergraduate Fellow Kaylina Madison co-presented a session at TMTA titled “Teaching the Piano Music of African-American Composers” with students from his private studio illustrating the music with live performances. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma, as well as the Bachelor of Science from Lipscomb University, the Master of Arts from Middle Tennessee State University, and program certificates from the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, commemorating study at the Gnessin Institute and the Saint-Petersburg Conservatory. His principal teachers include Dr. Jerome Reed, Dr. Jerry Perkins, and Dr. Andrew Cooperstock.
VALIJA MELLINS-BUMBULIS, M.M. (Voice, Opera)
Assistant Professor Valija Mellins-Bumbulis has been teaching Voice, Opera Workshop, Vocal Literature and Pedagogy, Music 100, and Vocal Diction classes in Italian, German and French at Fisk University since 1974. She started her vocal training in 1956 at the Royal Conservatory of Toronto, Canada; and also has a B.Mus. and M.Mus. from Chicago Conservatory College. She has had the honor of being able to study under vocal training greats like Pierre Bernac, George Lambert, Weldon Kilburn, Arnold Rose, and Sonia Sharnova. Her training culminated with a remarkable debut performance at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1967. Since that debut, she was asked to return to perform in 1972, 1974 and 1978. Ms. Bumbulis has toured extensively in the United States and many other countries including Sweden, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Finland and Canada. Among her many awards include the 1977 International Who's Who in Music & Musicians Directory; Eighth ed., Oxford England and in 1969 was presented with an awards ceremony in Washington, DC by the Latvian Cultural Society where she was presented the Certificate of Merit for introducing Latvian Music to International Audiences.
Ms. Bumbulis has trained many students who have gone on to be singers in opera, R&B, pop, and jazz and has had the distinct pleasure of seeing her students make it to countries all across the globe through deciding to pursue a career in singing or in teaching. She is available via email or phone for any questions regarding study in voice and music.
CHRISTOPHER A. DUKE, Ed.D. (University Choir)
Organist Christopher Duke began directing the University Choir in 2000. He has increased participation to over 70 students and enhanced performance invitations by offering a varied repertoire. He has worked in the Department of Student Affairs at Fisk University since 1991 as Resident Hall Director, Area Coordinator, and currently serves as Housing and Program Coordinator in addition to directing Chapel Music
PAUL T. KWAMI, D.M.A. (Fisk Jubilee Singers®, Cross-Currents in African/African-American Music, Conducting)
Dr. Paul T. Kwami is Musical Director and Curb-Beaman Chair of the Fisk Jubilee Singers.
Dr. Kwami was born in Ghana, West Africa one of seven children. His father, a musician, taught him piano, violin, theory and conducting. He studied music at Ghana’s National Academy of Music and taught there until immigrating to the US in 1983 as a student at Fisk University. He promptly joined the Jubilee Singers.
After graduating from Fisk in 1985 he continued to study music at Western Michigan University. In 1994 he was solicited to serve as part-time director of the Jubilee Singers. Shortly therafter, Dr Kwami was promoted to full time faculty member in the music department and musical director of the Singers. He is the first African to direct the ensemble, and the first to hold the Curb-Beaman Chair position. He received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the American Conservatory of Music.
Dr. Kwami feels a deep connection between Negro spirituals and the music of his Motherland. “The music we sing today helps to bridge the gap between Africans and African-Americans,” he says. “When my students sing, I am reminded of my life in Ghana and feel close to my past.”
The music also touches his spirit. He believes in the sovereignty of God, who was a source of faith, hope and love for slaves and for the original Jubilee Singers. “My greatest desire is to fulfill my call,” he says.
STANLEY LASSITER, M.S. (Guitar)
A “working musician” since the age of 13, guitarist Stan Lassiter is currently the leader of the Stan Lassiter Group combo, which incorporates fusion, jazz, blues and other current styles into his own vast music vocabulary. He has performed with the Electric Army Band, later known as The Whole Damn Family, the Allman Brother’s at George Jones’ Possum Holler Club, and the Kosie Gardner’s Jazz Trio. He played on the Showboat from 1973 to 1980 at Opryland USA, and was the orchestra leader of two of the country shows. In 1976, Stan won the Best Instrumentalist Award at Opryland USA. In 1978, Stan traveled with the Opryland cast to Amsterdam as a goodwill ambassador. While at the George Peabody College for Teachers at Vanderbilt University, he played in the Peabody Jazz Ensemble. He and the Stan Lassiter Group perform in Nashville and the surrounding areas. He is on the adjunct faculty of Fisk and Belmont Universities.
STEFAN PETRESCU, M.M.
Stefan Petrescu has won numerous prizes as a violin soloist in his native Romania. He served as concertmaster of the Constanta Chamber Orchestra in Romania which toured America and Western Europe. In addition he has performed in recitals and as soloist with orchestras in France, Germany, Italy, Spain Hungary, Russia and the USA. As a member of the orchestra and associate concertmaster he worked extensively with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Petrescu is currently a member of the string faculty at Tennessee State University and Fisk University. A highly sought after teacher and performer, he is very active in recording and composing. One his most popular virtuoso works is the Tennessean Fantasy for unaccompanied violin. As concertmaster of the Murfreesboro Symphony Orchestra, he has been featured as soloist on numerous concerts, performing works by Beethoven, Brahms, and Mendelssohn. Mr. Petrescu has released numerous CDs, performing with The Moscow Chamber Orchestra and The Black Sea Philharmonic such works as Siding's Suite in A Minor, Piazzolla's Oblivion, Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending, Vivaldi's Concertos for two and three violins, Bruch's Scottish Fantasy and his own Violin Concerto. He holds degrees from the Enescu Academy in Romania.
GARY POWELL NASH, Ph.D. (Jazz Ensemble, Chamber Ensemble, Music Theory and Technology, Woods)
Dr. Gary Nash has composed works for orchestra, band, choir, art songs (four in Chinese), electroacoustic works and several instrumental chamber compositions. His music has been performed in all major regions of the United States and as well as in Canada, People's Republic of China, Philippines and Taiwan. Nash has received numerous grants, commissions, and awards for his compositions. Three of his compositions are featured on compact disc, the latest being A Fraternal Prelude (1997) for band on the CD Out of the Depths, featuring band music of African-American composers performed by the Keystone Winds of Pennsylvania on Citadel Records. Nash has been selected the 2005–2006 Tennessee Music Teachers Association Composer of the Year.
ANTHONY WILLIAMS, D.M.A. (Organist)
Anthony Williams is currently Associate Professor of Music and University Organist at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee where he teaches organ and courses in Music History. He also serves as Organist at First Presbyterian Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee. From 1990 to 2005 he was a member of the music faculty at Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Williams began his teaching career the late 1980s where he served as Director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers®, and was the youngest person in the history of this ensemble to hold that position. He returned to Fisk in the fall of 2005 as Visiting Artist in Residence following the evacuation from New Orleans, Louisiana due to Hurricane Katrina. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Dr. Williams earned the Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the American Conservatory of Music. His principal teachers have included Robert Glasgow, Marilyn Mason, David Mulbury, Peter Fyfe and Paul Jordan.
Dr. Williams has performed in churches, colleges, and universities throughout the United States as well as in Central America and Europe, making his European debut in the summer of 1990 with a recital at the European International Music Festival in Geneva, Switzerland. As a lecturer, Dr. Williams has presented lectures and master classes on a wide variety of topics and has been a frequent lecturer for the New Orleans Piano Institute sponsored by the Musical Arts Society of New Orleans and held each summer at Loyola University in New Orleans.
His dissertation, The Keyboard Music of John W. Work III
will be published by Edwin Mellen Press.