Department of Music

Faculty

The faculty of Benedictine University's Department of Music is composed of some of the most experienced and finest musicians in the Chicago area. They have performed with ensembles such as the Chicago Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Sinfonia da Camera, the Canadian Brass Quintet, the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, the Grant Park Symphony and the Lyric Opera of Chicago.


Full-Time Music Faculty

 

Half-Time Music Faculty

Dr. Wilbert O. Watkins

Instructor (voice)

Music

Phone: (630) 829-6320  |  Send Dr. Watkins an Email  |  Office: Scholl 104

Dr. Wilbert O. Watkins earned a Ph.D. in music education and conducting at Florida State University, where he studied with Rodney Eichenberger and André Thomasis. He has served on the music faculties at Northern Illinois University and DePaul University and previously held the position of Director of Choral Activities and Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa. He has also taught as both a choral music educator and an applied voice teacher in Texas, Florida, Iowa, and Illinois. Watkins is the founding artistic director for Sing to Live Community Chorus, a group formed for those touched by breast cancer, and a past director of Unison with the Windy City Performing Arts in Chicago.  He has also sung with the Fort Worth Renaissance Consort, Schola Cantorum of Texas, and the Ft. Worth and Dallas Opera choruses. His other accolades include serving as chorus master for Giovanni Bertolani's Matilde, performing in master class with Paul Plishka, performing under the baton of Fiora Contino and the late Robert Shaw, with whom he also served as diction coach for his last performance of Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem. Dr. Watkins currently serves as Chancel Choir Director at Pilgrim Congregational Church in Oak Park and serves as Artistic Director for the Lutheran Choir of Chicago.

 

Adjunct Music Faculty

Ms. Hideko Amano

Lecturer (flute)

Music

Phone: (630) 829-6344  |  Send Ms. Amano an Email  |  Office: Scholl 215

Born in Japan, Hideko Amano received a Bachelor of Music degree in 1995 from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where she studied under the prominent flutist Paula Robison. From 1995 to 1998 Amano continued her musical education in Paris, France, where she studied with Mathieu Dufour, who has since joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as principal flutist. While studying in Paris, she performed in many international Chamber Music Festivals in Italy, England, Israel, and Morocco. Since her return to Chicago in 1998, she has continued her career as an active recitalist. Amano has performed in a concert series at the House of the Consul General of Japan, at the Japan American Society of Chicago's August Peace Concert, and on the WFMT 98.7 Monday Evening Series. In 2003, she appeared on the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series at the Chicago Cultural Center. In addition to her performing career, Amano has served as an adjunct professor (flute) at DePaul University in Lincoln Park (2003-2007) and maintains a growing private studio for young flutists.

Mr. Jeremiah Benham

Lecturer (guitar, music theory)

Music

Phone: (630) 829-6344  |  Send Mr. Benham an Email  |  Office: Scholl 215

Originally from Indiana, Jeremiah Benham has played guitar for over 25 years and has been performing and teaching professionally since 1998. He earned his bachelors and masters degrees in Classical Guitar Performance from DePaul University. While at DePaul, he took additional coursework in composition, sound recording, jazz guitar and electronic music.

Mr. Benham has been invited to perform for such prestigious organizations as Concordia College, the Chicago Bar Association, Make a Wish Foundation, ChildServ, Children's Memorial Hospital, the Chicago Art Institute, the Van Straaten Gallery, and many others. He also has performed in the orchestras for musical productions including Sunset Boulevard and Legally Blonde. Additionally, he performs at private events such as weddings and galas.

Ms. Dawn Bishop

Lecturer (harp)

Music

Phone: (630) 829-6344  |  Send Ms. Bishop an Email  |  Office: Scholl 215

Dawn Bishop's outstanding professional reputation has established her as a leading freelance harpist in the Chicago area. Since debuting professionally at Chicago's Drake Hotel in 1998, entertaining guests for afternoon tea over the course of a steady ten-year engagement, she has maintained a thriving career performing for weddings, special occasions and corporate function. Her music is also featured at the Morton Arboretum's holiday and tea events throughout the year. A versatile solo and ensemble musician, Bishop performs with numerous ensembles and is a founding member of the Artista Trio. In 2007, she was selected to co-chair the American Harp Society's Institute and National Competition in Chicago. A trained Suzuki harp teacher, Bishop formerly taught at the Sherwood Conservatory of Music and currently maintains a private studio in Glen Ellyn, IL.

Dr. Lisa Browne

Lecturer (piano)

Music

Phone: (630) 829-6344  |  Send Dr. Browne an Email  |  Office: Scholl 215

Mr. Ricardo Castañeda

Lecturer (oboe)

Music

Phone: (630) 829-6344  |  Send Mr. Castañeda an Email  |  Office: Scholl 215

Ricardo Castañeda received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Northwestern University, where he was a student of Ray Still, former principal oboist of The Chicago Symphony. Mr. Castañeda is a winner of the Northwestern University Concerto Competition and a recipient of the Wade Fetzer award for excellence in performance. Having made his solo debut with the National Symphony of El Salvador at age fourteen, he has since appeared as soloist in Latin America, Europe and the United States, most recently with the Lake Forest Symphony in performances of the Richard Strauss Concerto for Oboe. A member fo the Chicago Ensemble, Mr. Castañeda is currently principal oboist with the Lake Forest Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Sinfonietta. He also plays oboe and English Horn for the Chicago production of the musical Wicked. Previous positions include principal oboist with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, Elgin Symphony Orchestra, English Horn Soloist with the Mexico City Philharmonic and Civic Orchestra of Chicago. He has also played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Opera Theater and has been principal oboist for orchestras for The Bolshoi Ballet, American Ballet Theater and Joffrey Ballet as well as numerous touring Broadway shows. 

Dr. Jue He

Lecturer (piano)

Music

Phone: (630) 829-6344  |  Send Dr. He an Email  |  Office: Scholl 215

Jue He, a native of Shanghai, China, has been acclaimed for her combination of vigorous and eloquent performances. The Denver Post praised Ms. He for her “first-rate performance” in collaborating with the Aspen Festival Orchestra. She has performed and given lecture recitals both as soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States.

Together with cellist Alisa Horn, she released the Rachmaninoff and Miaskovsky Sonatas for Cello and Piano; and the duo’s performance was broadcast on WQXR-FM in New York City. In addition to playing with Ms. Horn, Ms. He regularly collaborates with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and her performances are frequently broadcast on WFMT in Chicago. Her most recent collaboration was with IMG artist Nina Kotova, touring six cities in China.

Dr. He started her studies at the High School attached to Shanghai Conservatory, studying with Zijie Wu and Dan Shao. She graduated from University of Denver, receiving her Bachelor's degree as a full scholarship recipient. Later on, Dr. He received both her Masters and Doctoral Degrees in Piano Performance and Collaborative Arts from Northwestern University, graduating with top honors. Her teachers include Dr. Sylvia Wang and Dr. Elizabeth Buccheri. She has participated in master classes with Richard Goode, Sergei Babayan, Kevin Keener, Rita Sloan, Angela Chang and Tiro Fontenay.

Mr. Patrick Infusino

Lecturer (saxophone, Jazz Eagles)

Music

Phone: (630) 829-6344  |  Send Mr. Infusino an Email  |  Office: Scholl 215

Br. Augustine Mallak

Lecturer (music theory, aural skills, piano)

Music

Phone: (630) 829-6333  |  Send Br. Augustine an Email  |  Office: Scholl 105

Brother Augustine Mallak, O.S.B. has taught music theory and piano at Benedictine University since 1984, also giving workshops on Gregorian and English chant. He is the director of music and organist at St. Procopius Abbey, Lisle. Brother Mallak holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Church Music from Benedictine University and a Master of Music in Organ Performance from the American Conservatory of Music (Chicago, IL). He has studied liturgical composition and choir training with William Ferris and organ with David Schrader. He also studied Gregorian Chant at the Abbey of St. Peter (Solesmes, France) with Dom Jean Claire, O.S.B., as well as with Fr. Columba Kelly, O.S.B., at St. Meinrad Archabbey (St. Meinrad, IN) and Fr. Gerard Farrell, O.S.B., at Westminster Choir College (Princeton, NJ). At Westminster he also did work in piano pedagogy, MIDI and choral conducting. Brother Mallak is a member of the American Guild of Organists, National Pastoral Musicians, and the Benedictine Musicians of the Americas.

Mr. John Moulder

Lecturer (guitar, rock and jazz appreciation)

Music

Phone: (630) 829-6344  |  Send Mr. Moulder an Email  |  Office: Scholl 215

John Moulder is a guitarist and composer whose music has evolved from an assimilation of various musical traditions. His compositions and playing are featured on albums including Awakening (Mo-Tonal Records 1993), Through the Open Door (Igmod/Mo-Tonal Records 1997), Spirit Talk (NAIM, 2003) and Trinity (Origin Records, 2006). He has also played on recent recordings by vocalist Jackie Allen such as The Men in My Life (Blue Note, 2003), Love is Blue (Blue Note, 2004) and Tangled (Blue Note, 2006). He has been a member of the Paul Wertico Trio for twelve years and has performed with artists such as Eddie Harris, Bob Mintzer, Kurt Elling, Paul McCandless, Lyle Mays, Paul Wertico, Gary Burton, Niels Orsted Pederson and Terry Callier. Moulder received his Masters degree in music from Northwestern University.

Fr. John Palmer

Professor Emeritus (piano, organ)

Music

Phone: (630) 829-6344  |  Office: Scholl 105

Father John Palmer holds degrees from Acadia University (Nova Scotia, Canada), The Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto, Canada), Northwestern University(Evanston, IL) and Trinity College of Music (London, England). He has also studied with Jean Langlais in Paris, France. He studied piano with Felicita Kalejs and Earle Moss. Father Palmer has performed extensively throughout Canada, the United States and Europe, most notably at St. Paul's Cathedral (London, England), St. James Cathedral (Toronto, Canada), and St. Patrick's Cathedral and Columbia University in New York City. He has also performed as part of CBC Radio's "Organists in Recital" series in Canada.

Mr. Juan Pastor

Lecturer (percussion)

Music

Phone: (630) 829-6344  |  Send Mr. Pastor an Email  |  Office: Scholl 215

Originally from Lima, Peru, percussionist, drummer and music educator Juan Pastor has mastered many different musical genres, including jazz, rock, funk and South American music. At the age of 12, he began his studies in percussion at the "Conservatorio Nacional de Musica" in Lima and, early in his career, joined some of the most important ensembles in Peru, such as the New Music Youth Orchestra, an ensemble dedicated to the development of jazz. Pastor has toured throughout the eastern United States and Europe and played in jazz festivals such as the International Association of Jazz Education (NY), the North Sea Jazz Festival (Holland), the Chicago Jazz Festival (CHI), and the Lima Jazz Festival (LIM).

Ms. Victoria VerHoven

Lecturer (voice)

Music

Phone: (630) 829-6344  |  Send Ms. VerHoven an Email  |  Office: Scholl 215

Victoria VerHoven is an active performer who has appeared in operatic roles with the Chicago Chamber Opera, Lincoln Opera, Light Opera Works, Bowen Park Opera Theatre, Skylight Opera Theatre, Piccolo Productions, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Her operetta/musical theatre credits include M&W Productions, the St. Louis MUNY, Melody Top Theatre, Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Chicago, Peninsula Players, Papai Players and Woodstock Theatre. As a soprano soloist, VerHoven has sung with the Birch Creek Festival Orchestra, Fox Valley Symphony, DuPage Symphony Orchestra, members of the Milwaukee Symphony, and the Naperville Festival Orchestra and Chorus. She holds a Master of Music degree and a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University, both with distinction.