Monthly Archives: January 2020

TXST School of Music Ranked #4 Nationally In New Study

According to the Best Colleges 2020 listings, Texas State University has placed in the TOP 5 of the Best 25 Music Schools in the NATION.

Through a combination of annual tuition costs, median salaries, and median debt reported by the U.S. Department of Education, ranked Texas State University the number 4 Best Music School in the nation–with only a slim margin of difference between TXST and the number 3 ranked Texas Tech. TXST School of Music found itself at the top of the ranks with other outstanding Texas universities, which comprise 9 out of the top 10.

Additionally, Texas State University was the top-rated Music School on the list when it came to Student Review Scores. This study helps further prove that “It’s A Great Day to be a Bobcat!”

Please visit for more information on this study and their methodology.

TXST Ensemble-in-Residence Snags First GRAMMY Win

Black and white photo of Attacca String Quartet dressed in formal attire

Attacca Quartet, the Ensemble-in-Residence at the Texas State University School of Music, had a banner year at the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, January 26th. The group snagged both their first nomination and first win for their work on Shaw: Orange. This string quartet featuring Amy Schroeder, violin, Keiko Tokunaga, violin, Nathan Schram, viola, and Andrew Yee, cello, won the GRAMMY for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance.

Shaw: Orange was released on April 19th, 2019, containing ten tracks of the works of American composer Caroline Shaw. This album marked Shaw’s first full-length album since winning her Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2013 for her Partita for 8 Voices—parts of which were featured in the Netflix Original series Dark. For more information on Shaw: Orange and other works, visit

Attacca Quartet has been heralded as “exuberant, funky and… exactingly nuanced” by the New York Times, and the Washington Post states that the quartet shows “[m]astery like…quartets that have played together for decades” while only having formed in 2003 at the Juilliard School. In this time the quartet has won numerous awards in several international competitions, including Grand Prize in both the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition and the Alice Coleman International Chamber Music Competition.

Attacca Quartet released an album of the works of Texas State University Assistant Professor of Composition Dr. Michael Ippolito in February of 2017. More information on Ippolito’s Songlines is available on their website at and at

The Texas State University School of Music is incredibly honored to continue to partner with musicians such as Attacca Quartet. We are especially proud of Attacca Quartet and all their hard work and excellence in the field. For more information on Attacca Quartet, please visit their website at

TXST Alum Becomes Army School of Music Instructor

Alum Valeria Cowan in her armed forces uniform with her flute.

Valerie Cowan (M.M. 2014) recently earned the position of Flute Instructor at the Army School of Music at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach, VA. She will be responsible for coaching student chamber ensembles and teaching lessons and masterclasses to all of the Army’s incoming flutists as well as assessing and teaching Army Flutists who attend Advanced and Senior Leadership Courses at the School of Music. While at the Army School of Music, she will also have the opportunity to perform with the faculty woodwind quintet on university tours and at conferences across the country.

Valerie is currently the Flute Section Leader of the 282nd Army Band at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Her job as an Army Musician currently involves performing in university recruiting tours and community outreach concerts with the band’s woodwind quintet, marching in ceremonial military functions, and leading the flute section in concert band tours and holiday shows.


Texas State Choirs TODAY! Enters Season 2.

Dr. Jonathan Babcock with Old Main as a background.

The official podcast of the TXST Choral Department, Texas State Choirs TODAY!, is back! Texas State Choirs TODAY! entered it’s second season on January 20th with a double episode. In Episode 1, Dr. Jonathan Babcock interviews Mr. James Cumings of Jackson Northwest Kidder Middle School and his wife Ashley about their partnership inside the classroom, as well as what methods and techniques have worked well for them as middle school educators. In Episode 2, Dr. Babcock interviews international guest Ralph Allwood, MBE, conductor of the Queen’s College choir in Cambridge.

We are excited and eager to see what other top choral artists Dr. Babcock hosts this season! For more information and to listen to full episodes, please visit TXST Choirs Today.

Jazz Professor Uncovers Lost Footage

Professor Hand Hehmsoth headshot (right) next to a trumpet player with the logo "Just Jazz" on the left.Hank Hehmsoth, associate professor in the School of Music, just returned from a research trip co-sponsored by the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University and Texas State School of Music. Hank has discovered previously “lost” video content from early 1960’s TV broadcasts of “Just Jazz” from WTTW/Chicago. These broadcasts were produced by NEA Jazz Master Dan Morgenstern, and include unreleased performances by legendary jazz artists Dexter Gordon, Gene Ammons, and many more. These videos were among over 60 boxes of Morgenstern’s memorabilia that Hehmsoth searched at the  Institute of Jazz Studies, Videos will be made publicly available and online on Hehmsoth’s National Endowment for the Arts research website  “The Dan Morgenstern Collection,” the complete archive of NEA Jazz Master Dan Morgenstern’s 70 years as a jazz advocate, scholar, author and educator.  Hehmsoth is an external research scholar at Rutgers, and is named the Morroe Berger-Benny Carter-Edward Berger Jazz Research Fellow by the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University.

Alum Becomes an Educator at a Texas University

TXST Alum Lizzy Mora sitting under a tree holding a clarinet and a tenor saxophoneA native of North Mexico, Elizabeth “Lizzy” Mora graduated from Texas State University-San Marcos with a bachelor’s in All-Level Music Studies Instrumental Concentration in Spring 2017. She currently serves as woodwind professor for the Music Department at Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) and is a private lesson teacher in Ennis ISD, Duncanville ISD, and Red Oak ISD. Mora maintains a private lesson studio of diverse age groups and musical abilities. She strives to create a positive impact in the next generation and a lifelong appreciation of the arts. In December of 2019 Mora received a Master’s in Educational Leadership from SAGU.

TXST Faculty at JEN 2020

Texas State University Jazz Faculty. From left to right: Russell Haight--sax, Hank Hehmsoth--piano, Utah Hamrick--bass, and emeritus faculty John Mills--sax.John Mills’ Times Ten group gave a great Jazz concert in “the Big Easy,” New Orleans, on Friday, January 10th at the 11th Annual Jazz Educator Network International Conference (JEN). This marked Times Ten’s 3rd appearance at JEN. Times Ten is described as “a powerhouse 10-piece ensemble on the renowned Austin, Texas scene. Rhythmic drive, melodic surprise and harmonic imagination are the band’s signature with the leader’s innovative compositions putting a contemporary, groove-based spin on the big band tradition, interweaving dynamic ensemble passages with virtuosic improvisation.”

Pictured are four Texas State Jazz Faculty, left to right: Russell Haight–sax, Hank Hehmsoth–piano, Utah Hamrick–bass, and emeritus faculty John Mills–sax.

McCain Winter Activities

Three trombonists standing together, smiling for the camera.

Dr. Martin McCain (right) with other Boston Brass trombonists.

Dr. Martin McCain recently performed as guest bass trombonist with the Boston Brass and Brass All-Stars Stan Kenton Christmas show during the ensemble’s Texas tour on December 4th. He was also invited as guest 2nd trombone with the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra in Honolulu for a week of concerts for the Nutcracker Ballet from December 9th through 15th. McCain performed a week as guest principal bass trombone with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra from November 21st through December 1st in addition to serving on the faculty for the PRIZM Ensemble Winter Festival December 20th through 23rd.

TXST Jazz Takes Over!

TXST Jazz Faculty in concert attire. From left to right: Doug Skinner, Dan Torosian, Hank Hehmsoth, Russell Scanlon, John Mills, and Utah Hamrick

Texas State Jazz Faculty performed “”Lush Life”-Music of Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn” with the Austin Symphony Orchestra on the 28th and 29th of December, 2019. Jazz Piano Professor Hank Hehmsoth played the role of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, with, left to right, Emeritus Sax Professor and past School Director Doug Skinner, TXST Masters graduate Dan Torosian, Hehmsoth, Emeritus Jazz Guitar Professor Russell Scanlon, Emeritus Sax Professor and past Jazz Area Coordinator John Mills, and current Jazz Bass Professor and Jazz Area Coordinator Utah Hamrick.