Meet the Candidates: 2021 MDRS election for President and 2nd Vice President

We are excited to present the candidates for our upcoming election. As a reminder, the email voting survey will be available on Sept. 13 and the voting period will last from Sept. 13-20. Best of luck to our candidates and thank you for your willingness to serve!

Candidates for President of MDRS

Dr. Kristin Leitterman

Statement of Interest

As an undergrad I was a member of MDRS and I can remember participating in the Young Artist Competition as well as attending the larger double reed events.  I really grew from these experiences, and would love to be a part of creating these sorts of memorable events and more for the members as President of the organization.  I have a lot of administrative experience from running a summer oboe master class, running a full 15 week summer festival, and also serving as an Administrative Assistant to a professor in my doctorate.  

Biography

Dr. Kristin Leitterman defies modern convention as a solo artist of oboe and voice, bringing exciting and unusual programs to audiences.  She makes it her responsibility to commission works for oboe/voice, with works by Jason Coleman, MuXuan Lin and Lyle Davidson.  She has participated in numerous summer festivals and competitions including Bowdoin International Music Festival, New Music on the Point, Eastern Music Festival, Hot Springs Music Festival, and the Banff Center for the Arts.  She was also a semi-finalist in the Concert Artist Guild’s annual competition in New York City.

In addition to performing, Dr. Leitterman is dedicated to bringing music to the younger generations.  She is currently the Assistant Professor of Oboe at Arkansas State University.  In addition to teaching oboe, her duties include Double Reed Techniques, Fundamentals of Music, and coaching small chamber ensembles. 

Dr. Leitterman is the Director of the Lucarelli Oboe Master Class, a weeklong immersive oboe master class founded by Bert Lucarelli.  She has also presented master classes at Manhattan School of Music, New York University, and the Hartt School.  Additionally she has presented lecture recitals at The Juilliard School, the CUNY Graduate Center, and the Brazilian Double Reed Society’s annual conference in João Pessoa, Paraíba, Brazil. 

She holds degrees from the City University of New York’s Graduate Center, the Hartt School, New England Conservatory, and the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance.  Her teachers include Humbert Lucarelli, Mark McEwen, Barbara Bishop, and Amy Burton.

Dr. Andrew Parker

Statement of Interest

As the current secretary of the Midwest Double Reed Executive Committee and Newsletter Editor of “The Crow”, I strive to continue expanding our reach to double reed students, teachers, and performers throughout the region. With the recent global pandemic, it is now even more important that we think outside the box and continue to find ways to connect with one another, not just on a musical level but a personal one as well. We have all grown so much as people over the past year and a half. I have personally learned more about myself and our musically community during this time then I ever have during my entire career. When it comes down to it, we are a family, and this is the time for us to come together, create stronger meaningful relationships, and most of all, make beautiful music. As president of MDRS, I will continue the wonderful legacy of this organization and find more expansive ways to be spread the joy of music and double reeds throughout the Midwest.  

Biography

Oboist Dr. Andrew W. Parker is currently the Assistant Professor of Oboe at Oklahoma State University where he also teaches Music Theory and serves as the Graduate Coordinator, and Director of Summer Music Camps. He has performed throughout the United States and internationally at some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kimmel Center, The Long Center, Texas Performing Arts, The Peace Center, Seoul Performing Arts Center, Symphony Space NYC, and Westchester Performing Arts Center, along with many others.

Dr. Parker previously held the position of Lecturer in Oboe and Music Technology at Brevard College, was the Woodwind and Brass coach for the Greenville County Youth Orchestra, and taught privately for numerous school districts in Texas, Connecticut, and North Carolina. He is a sought-after educator and has been invited to give master classes, reed-making seminars, career development workshops, and recitals at the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music, Hartt School of Music, University of Central Arkansas, Central Washington University, Arkansas State University, Middle Tennessee State University, and the Usdan Center for Performing and Visual Arts, among other colleges and high schools around the United States. Dr. Parker has also been a guest artist performer and faculty at the Wellesley College Composers Conference and Chamber Music Festival.

As an avid orchestral and chamber musician, Dr. Parker has held positions with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Spartanburg Philharmonic, Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra, and the Brevard Philharmonic. He has performed with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Asheville Symphony Orchestra, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, Round Rock Symphony Orchestra, Temple Symphony, Atlantic Music Festival Orchestra, Symphony Space All-Star Orchestra, and Le Train Blue New Music Ensemble, along with performances in Seoul, Korea with Symphony S.O.N.G (Symphony Orchestra for a New Generation). Dr. Parker has also made solo appearances performing Copland’s Quiet City with New York City based chamber orchestra Ensemble Du Monde and Mozart’s Oboe Concerto with the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York.

Along with his teaching and performing engagements, Dr. Parker has worked extensively in Arts Administration focusing his efforts on arts education. Most recently, he was the Artistic Administrator for the Brevard Music Center, Managing Director of the Yale Philharmonia/New Music New Haven Ensemble, and Orchestra Manager for the Atlantic Music Festival.

Dr. Parker received his Bachelor of Music degree from the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music, Master of Music from the Yale University School of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Texas at Austin. He has attended numerous summer festivals including the Texas Music Festival, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Brevard Music Center Festival and Institute, Atlantic Music Festival, and the Roundtop International Music Festival. His major teachers have been Rebecca Henderson, Stephen Taylor, Humbert Lucarelli, Johnathan Blumenfeld, and Valerie Sulzinski. He has concurrently participated in master classes with Robert Botti, Richard Woodhams, Louis Rosenblat, Robert Atherholt, Ann Leek, Eric Ohlsson, Ashley Mary Barrett, Adam Dinitz, and Jason Lichtenwalter.

Candidates for 2nd Vice President

Midori Samson

Midori Samson smiling in front of a grassy background

Statement of Interest

I am enthusiastically submitting my letter of interest for the position of Second Vice President of the MDRS. Though I have very recently started my position as Artist in Residence at Oklahoma State University, I have gotten to know the Midwest region during previous life chapters in Chicago, Illinois and Madison, Wisconsin. I would be thrilled to serve the organization and the Midwest double reed community that I have come to love.

Professionally, I am a performer with a research and activist background in social work and critical pedagogy; personally, I am a biracial Asian woman of color and first-generation college graduate. These interests and identities have prepared me to offer a consistent lens of anti-racism, equity, and justice to our activities at MDRS. From my understanding, the Second Vice President helps facilitate the MDRS’s competitions, and I think an approach that prioritizes anti-racism, equity, and justice will be crucial to the success and growth of the competition. Since I aim for these considerations to permeate every aspect of my musicianship and life, I am committed to offering this perspective to the society.

It would be an honor to be elected. Thank you for your consideration!

Biography

 Midori Samson (she/her) is a bassoonist, educator, activist, and scholar. She is currently Artist in Residence of bassoon and music history at Oklahoma State University and 2nd bassoonist of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. 

As a concert bassoonist and contrabassoonist, her recent activities include performances in the Chicago, Austin, Charleston, Omaha, South Dakota, and New World symphony orchestras, Pacific Music Festival (Japan), New York String Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, Banff Centre (Canada), and Norfolk and Bowdoin International music festivals. 

While she has the pleasure of performing and teaching around the world, she is happiest participating in creative projects that exemplify social justice, anti-racism, and peace. Recent collaborators include Yo-Yo Ma and Youth Music Culture Guangdong (China), Artists Striving to End Poverty (India/New York), Ubumuntu Arts Festival (Rwanda), Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Project Tumugtog (Philippines), and LunART Inc. (Madison). Since 2017, she has commissioned twelve solos for bassoon by composers from across the African continent. She continues to champion these works through a grassroots sheet music distribution program. 

She recently completed her doctoral degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying bassoon and social welfare. Her dissertation recommends that musicians operationalize social work principles in order to create a more anti-oppressive, anti-racist classical music landscape. She brings this philosophy to her role as founding Artistic Director of Trade Winds Ensemble, a group of teaching artists that host community engagement and composition workshops in partnership with social impact organizations in Nairobi, Chicago, and Detroit. http://MidoriSamson.com 

Jenna Sehmann

Jenna Sehmann standing with instrument in front of white patterned background

Statement of Interest

I am interested in the position of Second Vice President to continue the wonderful work the MDRS has done in furthering community and opportunity among double reed players in the Midwest. To this position, I would bring experience from arts administration and non-profit fields, as well as a passion for education and advancement among the double reed world. 

Biography

Jenna Sehmann is an oboist and teacher of Double Reeds and Music History at Southeast Missouri State University. Jenna previously served as oboe faculty at Cornell College (Mount Vernon, IA) and Mount Mercy University (Cedar Rapids, IA). Ms. Sehmann holds a Master of Music degree in oboe performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree in both music performance and music industry from Eastern Kentucky University. In addition, she has completed doctoral coursework at the University of Iowa and hopes to complete her capstone recording project in the fall of 2021. Major influences on Ms. Sehmann’s career include Dr. Courtney Miller, Dr. Mark Ostoich, and Dr. Julie Smith. 

A versatile performer, Jenna has competed and placed in several solo competitions, performed with several orchestras throughout the Midwest, and commissioned and premiered several works for oboe and English horn. A devoted chamber musician, Jenna is a member of the Wild Prairie Winds, a wind quintet dedicated to performing the works of non-traditional composers in non-traditional spaces. Formed in Iowa, the group has strong emotional ties to the Midwest. The group frequently performs works written by composers from the region and dedicates a portion of the group’s proceeds to prairie and wildlife preservation.