Four New Faculty Members Joining Department of Music

Clockwise from top left are Jeremy Allen, Susumu Watanabe, Tim MacDuff and Jesse Collett.
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Clockwise from top left are Jeremy Allen, Susumu Watanabe, Tim MacDuff and Jesse Collett.

The Department of Music welcomes four more faculty members for the 2021-22 academic year.

Jeremy Allen is committed to connecting with all people, regardless of background, through music. His concert works have been performed by internationally renowned performers and groups such as the Canton Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Emily Ondracek-Peterson (Voxare String Quartet), Natalie Lin (Kinetic Ensemble), HALO Ensemble and MOSAIC, among numerous others, and have been called "poetic," "beguiling" and "mesmerizing" by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He has worked extensively with modern dance companies across the U.S. and has served as Inlet Dance Theatre's Composer-In-Residence since 2010. 

His film music has been commissioned by institutions such as The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, The Cleveland Institute of Art and The LeBron James Family Foundation. He is also a two-time recipient of the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award (2012 and 2016). 

Allen is co-founder of FiveOne Experimental Orchestra (51XO), a Cleveland-based modern music chamber band committed to bridging the gap between pop culture and modern art music. He has taught theory and composition at University of Kentucky, Cleveland Institute of Music and John Brown University. 

Susumu Watanabe was born in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Composition from Berklee College of Music, a Master of Fine Arts in Composition from City University of New York and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Composition from University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

He has been serving as a music director for many ensembles, including Fenway Brass Art Orchestra, UMASS Jazz Lab Ensemble, UMASS Jazz Ensemble I/Studio Orchestra, Bay Colony Brass and UNL Big Band, and Tokyo Brass Art Orchestra. He appeared as a guest conductor for the U.S. Army Field Band Jazz Ambassadors and Vermont Jazz Center Big Band.

His works for jazz orchestra are performed in the U.S., Taiwan and Japan. Recently Watanabe's wind ensemble composition With All Sails Set won the first prize and was chosen to be a contest piece for the Japan National Symphonic Jazz and Pops Contest for Wind Ensemble 2019. It was premiered by the Japan Ground Self Defense Force Eastern Army Band under the direction of Lt. Cmdr. Yoshiyuki Kato. His works are not only for jazz ensemble, but also for various chamber ensembles, wind ensemble and symphonic orchestra.

He previously taught at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Concordia University, Nebraska.

This fall semester, Watanabe will be teaching the Jazz Studies courses including Jazz History (MUHS 3713), Jazz Improvisation I (MUAC) and Beginning Jazz Combo (MUEN 1241).

"I am very excited to be a part of the Department of Music, University of Arkansas, as a Lecturer of Jazz Studies," Watanabe said. "I believe that it would be a wonderful opportunity for me and for my family. I am eager to make a positive contribution to the university and the community in Northwest Arkansas and to work with everyone in the department. I look forward to meeting the distinguished faculty members and my students and making music together!" 

Tim MacDuff joined the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and its flagship string quartet, the Quapaw Quartet, in 2019. Originally from upstate New York, MacDuff began his musical studies with support from his public school teachers.

He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the Crane School of Music under Shelly Tramposh and a Master of Music degree from Rice University studying with James Dunham. After discovering a passion for education, MacDuff completed a Doctorate in Musical Arts at the University of Maryland under the guidance of his mentor Katherine Murdock. His doctoral work focused on the relationship between music and written word.

MacDuff performed with the National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, Round Top and Lake George festival orchestras. He has also served as a substitute musician with New World Symphony in Miami. In 2017, MacDuff was awarded top prize in the University of Maryland's Concerto Competition and performed Ernest Bloch's Suite 1919 with the orchestra. He has also appeared as soloist with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra in Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante.  

As a chamber musician, MacDuff has performed across the D.C. area, inducing performances at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, the Smithsonian's Baird Theater and the National Cathedral. He regularly appears on the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra's River Rhapsodies chamber series at the Clinton Library in Little Rock. MacDuff has coached student chamber groups at Manitou Springs Chamber Music Festival, Faulkner Chamber Music Festival, Crane Youth Music Camp and the University of Maryland.

In addition to joining the U of A faculty, MacDuff teaches students of the Arkansas Symphony's Sturgis Academy and Youth Orchestras.

Jesse Collett, director of Bentonville High School Orchestras since 2009, whose orchestras serve over 200 students. Collett conducts four string orchestra ensembles at BHS and the BHS Symphony Orchestra. He is also the music director for BHS musicals, conducting a full pit orchestra.

Collett has completed a Bachelor of Music degree in 2000 and Master's degree 2008 in Viola Performance from the U of A. He has also completed a performance certificate degree in 2009.  

Beyond his teaching responsibilities at BHS, he serves as Principal Violinist for the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas under Paul Haas, Principal Violist for the Ft. Smith Symphony under John Jeter, and is regular substitute musician for the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra.

Collett has been the lead director of Bentonville orchestras since 2009, where he frames the instruction of the beginning players around the Suzuki philosophy for the first two years. The focus of the instruction is to develop excellent technique, intonation and sound quality through memorization. 

The BHS Chamber Orchestra is the elite orchestra, determined by audition, and is one of four thriving orchestras at BHS. The BHS Chamber Orchestra has competed and performed in festivals and clinics in New York City, Dallas, Kansas City, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Tampa, Albuquerque, Orlando and Nashville. The BHS Chamber Orchestra placed third in the ASTA NOF in 2016 and competed in the Orchestra cup in New York City in 2017.  


Britt Graves, administrative specialist III
Department of Music


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