Music alumni

Notable alumni

  • Lettie Beckon Alston

    Lettie Beckon Alston (1953-2014) is the first African-American, woman composer to obtain a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan.

  • Julie Bernard

    Julie Bernard '07 works for Chicago Entertainment Agency, a talent production company in Chicago.

  • Donald Byrd

    Donald Byrd is a professional jazz trumpeter and returned to his home town in April to perform in the 70th anniversary concert of Baker's Keyboard Lounge in northwest Detroit.

  • Christopher Collins

    Director of the Detroit Jazz Festival and Director of Jazz Studies at Wayne State University.

  • Norah┬áDuncan IV, DMA

    Norah Duncan IV, DMA ’86 was the music director of the historic visit of Pope John Paul II to Detroit in 1987; an organist and composer.

  • Jacqueline Echols

    In 2019, she made her debut with the New York Metropolitan Opera Company.

  • Dr. Nikolas Fehr

    Dr Nikolas Fehr (2004) kantor at Ålesund Kirkelige Fellesråd in Ålesund, Norway

  • William Foster

    William Foster '51 was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in August, 2003. Foster was director of the Florida A&M University Marching Band for 52 years.

  • Pamela Glasser

    Pamela Glasser '76 is a music teacher in the public school system in Dubois, WY . Glasser also is principal French horn player with the Wyoming Symphony. Previously, she performed with the Orchestra of the Michigan Opera Theatre, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Symphony, the Israel Sinfonietta and the Mantovani Orchestra of London.

  • Jerry Grant

    Composer, arranger and creator of Television and Movie Scores for “Quantum Leap,” “A-Team,”, “Riptide,” “Ninja Academy,” “Hired to Kill” and many other programs.

  • Christopher Harrington

    President and CEO of the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, MN.

  • Robert A. Harris, Ph.D.

    Professor Emeritus of Conducting, Northwestern University, Evanston.

  • Molly Hughes

    Violinists and orchestra personnel manager for the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra.

  • Julien Labro

    French accordionist and bandoneonist player in both the classical and jazz genres.

  • Yusuf Lateef

    Yusuf Lateef was a successful tenor sax player in the Detroit jazz club scene in the 50's. According to the New York Times, he "played world music before world music had a name." He spent four years teaching in Nigeria in the 80's, and in 1987 his piece "Yusuf Lateef's Little Symphony" won a Grammy for Best New Age Album. In 2007 he was presented with the Detroit International Jazz Festival Jazz Guardian Award for Artistry. In 2010, the National Endowment for the Arts named him an American Jazz Master.

  • Yuriy Leonovich

    Yuriy Leonovich ‘2006 Assistant Professor of Cello at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. Additionally, he is in the Greenville Symphony Orchestra cello section 

  • Zeljko Milicevic

    Zeljko Milicevic '90 was appointed music director of the St. Clair Shores (MI) Symphony and was hired as orchestra director at Utica (MI) High School.

  • Mark Nilan, Jr.

    In 2020 won a GRAMMY for Best Soundtrack for his role as producer and songwriter for the multi-platinum A Star is Born soundtrack.

  • Marek Rachelski

    Organist, pianist, harpsichordist and Artistic Director of the Musica Lumina Orchestra and Conductor/Founder of the Niles Metropolitan Chorus (2013); former conductor of Opera Las Vegas.

  • George Shirley

    George Shirley '55 is a world renowned operatic tenor. Shirley was the first African American to teach music in Detroit high schools, the first African American to sing with the U.S. Army Chorus, and the first African American to perform a leading role at the Met. He performed there for 11 years, playing major roles in over 20 productions. He also won a Grammy award for his performance of Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte. Upon retirement in 2007, Shirley was named the Joseph Edgar Maddy Distinguished University Emeritus Professor of Voice for his work teaching at the University of Maryland and the University of Michigan.

  • Dr. Dave Wagner

    An organist and conductor, Dave is the program director for WRCJ.