Shenandoah University to host VMTA 2016 Fall Conference

Shenandoah University will host the Virginia Music Teachers Association (VMTA) Fall 2016 Conference, “More Than the Sum of the Parts—Collaborating Musically and Professionally,” as well as VMTA competitions, at Shenandoah Conservatory from Thursday, Oct. 27, through Sunday, Oct. 30.

Each day is packed with presentations, performances, competitions, lunch meetings and exhibitors carefully chosen by the program committee. Of special interest this year is that the conference has returned to being concurrent with the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) state-level competitions and the Saturday State Auditions. Additionally, there are presentations by vocalists, instrumentalists and pianists.

The conference officially opens with a presentation at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 27, in Goodson Chapel-Recital Hall. “From America to Australia” will feature Tracy Cowden on piano and Tabitha Easley on flute. This dynamic duo focuses on biculturalism, music by women composers, and the music of New Zealand and Australia.

“I am so excited that Shenandoah Conservatory is hosting this conference and the competitions,” said President-Elect of VMTA, Coordinator of the VMTA Fall 2016 Conference and Shenandoah Conservatory Professor of Piano Elizabeth Caluda, D.M.A. “What an opportunity for the conservatory students and the surrounding area to hear great sessions and concerts by guest clinicians and performers, as well as conservatory faculty and alumni.”

The musicians of the SOLI Chamber Ensemble from San Antonio, Texas – composed of Carolyn True, piano; Stephanie Key, clarinet; David Mollenauer, cello; and Ertan Torgul, violin – are this year’s conference artists. The group will perform at 8:30 p.m.on Friday, Oct. 28, in Armstrong Concert Hall, and on Saturday morning, Oct. 29, they will demonstrate how they “engage students in music-making and inspire them to play well with others, perform confidently and explore richer sound palettes.”

“The schedule is packed, and the SOLI Chamber Ensemble concert on Friday night is not to be missed. What an exciting and entertaining group of players, who are also teachers,” said Dr. Caluda. “Their program is sure to please, and it is not often that we hear a live performance of the Olivier Messiaen ‘Quartet for the End of Time.’”

“As an All-Steinway School, our facilities and instruments will showcase competing pianists and instrumentalists from throughout the Commonwealth in age categories junior high through college – our rising stars of the next generation of musicians,” added Caluda. “By Sunday afternoon, attendees may be exhausted, but I hope they will leave with renewed energy and great ideas to incorporate collaboration in their studios, both musically and professionally.”

According to the website, the MTNA, of whom the VMTA is a state affiliate, was formed 140 years ago with the purpose of advancing the value of music study and music-making to society, supporting the careers and professionalism of teachers of music. It is a vital partner with music-teaching professionals and individuals in their growth, development, and well-being and it provides a collective voice and a powerful alliance for teachers worldwide. Members reap the rewards of collaboration, continuity and connection throughout the lifetime of their careers.

To register online visit The complete conference schedule and list of conference guest artists is located at For more information on the conference, visit, click on “Activities” then “Annual Conference.”