The Music Makers: 75 Years of Composition and Performance, with a tribute to Robert Wykes

This alumni feature is in celebration of WUSTL MUSIC’s 75th Anniversary.

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This concert celebrates 75 years of music-making at Washington University by showcasing a number of our alumni composers and performers, and pays tribute to recently deceased faculty composer Robert Wykes, well-known for his musical score heard during the film Monument to a Dream about the building of the Arch.

Unrelenting for string quartet (2021) by Cole Reyes (b. 1998)
Hannah Frey, violin
Jane Price, violin
Amy Greenhalgh, viola
Ken Kulosa, cello

Echoes for clarinet and electronics (1975) by Olly Wilson (1937 - 2018)
Eric Mandat, clarinet

Nigun (Improvisation): No. 2 from Baal Shem (Three Pictures of Chassidic Life) (1923) by Ernest Bloch (1880 - 1959)
Anne Nagosky, violin
Jonathan Heaney, piano

Scherzo tarantelle, Op. 16 (1855) by Henri Wieniawski (1835 - 1880)
Anne Nagosky, violin
Jonathan Heaney, piano
The Moon and I, four songs for medium voice and piano (2021) by Rhian Samuel (b. 1944)  
     The Moon
     The Moon and I
Leann Schuering, soprano
Jonathan Heaney, piano

Four Portraits for flute quartet (2003) by Robert Wykes (1926 - 2021)
     Mr. Saudek’s Pavane
     Preludio for Joseph Mariano
     A Ballad for Henry
     Tipton’s Rondo

Jen Gartley, flute
Emily Angstreich, '22, flute
Lillie Kang, '24, flute
Cynthia Yan, '25, flute

Featured Alumni Biographies:

Jonathan Heaney graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2015 with a Bachelor's degree in piano performance, studying with Seth Carlin. Following his time at WashU, he earned his Masters degree in collaborative piano from Manhattan School of Music, and has worked as a pianist, vocal coach, and conductor with conservatories and opera companies across the country. His professional affiliations have included The Juilliard School, On Site Opera, Manhattan School of Music, Seagle Festival, Janiec Opera Company at Brevard Music Center, and Opera Lucca. He has served as Music Director of City Lyric Opera in NYC, and is a co-founder and Music Director of River City Opera in Richmond, VA. His principal teachers have included Warren Jones and Edna Golandsky.  

After six years in New York City, he is thrilled to be living again in St. Louis.

Anne Nagosky has been a full-time violinist with the Omaha Symphony since 1998. She holds a Bachelor's degree from Washington University in St. Louis (AS 1994), with majors in music and psychology, and a Master of Music degree in Violin Performance from Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music.  Her principal violin teachers were Mimi Zweig, Nina Bodnar, David Halen, and Gerardo Ribeiro. 

Anne is an active chamber musician and a passionate music educator.  She is the Chair of the Nebraska ASTA State Solo Competition for young string players and recently served a two-year term on the national ASTA Studio Teachers Committee. She has been for many years an advisor for various Omaha Symphony education projects and residencies and now holds the title of Lead Residency Teacher within the Symphony’s Education Department.   

For the past 20+ years, Anne has served as a volunteer interviewer for the WashU Alumni and Parents Admissions Program, and currently serves as Co-Chair of the Nebraska Chapter.  

Cole Reyes (b. 1998) is a Brooklyn-based composer, educator, conductor, and performer originally from the Chicagoland Area.  He received his undergraduate degrees in music and mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis, where he studied composition with Christopher Stark and LJ White. He currently is pursuing a master’s degree in Concert Music Composition at New York University.  
Cole’s music has received composition awards from groups that include IL-ACDA, the National Flute Association, Lux Choir, newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, the Huntsville Master Chorale, the Six Degrees Singers, and San Francisco Choral Artists. He has collaborated with artists such as the JACK Quartet, Transient Canvas, the Rhythm Method Quartet, Juventas New Music Ensemble, Inversion Da Capo, Dashon Burton, the Momenta Quartet, and Unheard-of//Ensemble.

Rhian Samuel was born in Aberdare, Wales, in 1944 and educated at Reading University, UK, and Washington University in St. Louis where she studied composition with Robert Wykes. After teaching for a number of years at the St. Louis Conservatory of Music, she returned to the UK in 1984 to teach at Reading University, her alma mater, later moving to City University, London (where she is now Professor Emeritus) and also teaching composition at Magdalen College, Oxford.  As a graduate student, she sang in and wrote for the Washington University Madrigal Singers; while at the Conservatory, her Elegy-Symphony (1981) was premiered by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, conductor, Leonard Slatkin; La Belle Dame sans Merci, written for the Conservatory Choir and Orchestra and premiered in this concert hall in 1983, was co-winner of the ASCAP/Rudolph Nissim Award. Before Dawn was premiered by Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano, and the National Orchestral Association, conductor Jorge Mester, in New York in 1989. This later became part of the orchestral song-cycle, The White Amaryllis, which was followed by another, Clytemnestra (1994); this work, featured on a recent BIS CD with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Ruby Hughes, soprano, was short-listed for a Gramophone Award in 2020. Tirluniau/Landscapes for full orchestra was commissioned by the BBC for the Millennium Proms at the Albert Hall, London. As well as orchestral music, Rhian has written a large number of song-cycles for voice and piano, The Moon and I being the most recent.  

Music professor and composer Olly Woodrow Wilson, Jr., was born on September 7, 1937, in St. Louis, Missouri, to Alma Grace Peoples Wilson, a seamstress, and Olly Woodrow Wilson, Sr., an insurance salesman and butler. Wilson’s father had the reputation for having the best speaking voice and being the best singer in the family’s church choir. Wilson’s father insisted that all of his children learn to play the piano. As a result, Wilson learned to play the piano at the age of seven. Wilson attended and graduated from Sumner High School in 1955. He participated in a summer music theory program at Washington University the summer after graduation. Wilson applied and was accepted into Washington University in the fall of 1955. He was one of approximately ten African Americans enrolled at the university. Wilson graduated in 1959, earning his B.M. degree in music. He went on to earn his M.M. degree in music composition in 1960 from the University of Illinois.

In 1960, after receiving his master’s degree, Wilson started to look for employment and was offered a teaching position at Florida A&M University. Wilson remained there for two years and returned to school and earned his PhD from the University of Iowa in 1964. Wilson then returned to teach at Florida A&M University for one year before being offered and accepting a position at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 1965. He taught at Oberlin for five years, and in 1970, he joined the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1971, Wilson received a Guggenheim Fellowship and moved to West Africa to study African language and music firsthand. In 1972, he returned to the University of California, Berkeley, and continued to teach while setting up a program for music students to pursue their doctorate and other musical opportunities at the university. Wilson served as chairman of the music department between 1993 and 1997. He held the Jerry and Evelyn Hemmings Chambers Professorship in Music between 1995 and 1998. Wilson retired as professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2002.

Throughout his career, Wilson wrote articles for scholarly journals and recorded albums. Some of his recordings or compositions include CetusPiano PieceSinfonia, and In Memoriam Martin Luther King, Jr. Wilson won several awards including the Elise Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of New York’s Lincoln Center in 1992 and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1995.

Wilson passed away on March 12, 2018 at age 80. 

Robert Wykes (b. 19 May 1926, Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, died June 29, 2021, St. Louis, MO) American composer of mostly orchestral, chamber and choral works that have been performed in the Americas and elsewhere. 

Robert Wykes began playing flute at age 9. He later studied music theory at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where he earned his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees. He then studied composition with Burrill Phillips and music theory with Hubert Kessler at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign from 1952–55 and there earned his DMA. 

Professor Wykes served in the United States Army in the combat infantry in Europe and post-war in the 314th Armed Services Band. He was a flutist in the Toledo Symphony Orchestra in Ohio from 1950–52, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra from 1963–67, and the Studio for New Music in St. Louis from 1966-69. 

He taught composition and music theory at Bowling Green State University in Ohio from 1950–52 and music theory at the University of Illinois at Urbana– Champaign from 1952–55. He then taught composition at Washington University in St. Louis from 1955–88, where he was a full professor from 1965–88, thereafter emeritus. He later undertook research as a visiting scholar at Stanford University in 1990–91.

Among his honors are the Distinguished Faculty Award from Washington University in St. Louis (1976), an honorable mention for the Kennedy Center Friedheim Award (1980, for A Lyric Symphony), a stint at the Djerassi Artists Residency in Woodside, California (1989), and the National Flute Association Newly Published Music Award (1992, for Three Facets of Friendship: A Divertimento); in addition, he wrote the music for Robert Kennedy Remembered, which won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film (1968). He has received commissions from conductor Eleazar de Carvalho, the National Endowment for the Arts, New Music Circle in St. Louis, the Paderewski Foundation in Boston, Massachusetts, the Pro Arte Orchestra in New York, New York, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, flutists Jan Scott and Albert Tipton, Mark Twain Bank in St. Louis, and the University of Chicago. His music has been performed in Brazil, Canada, South Africa, Spain, the UK, and the USA.