Monthly Archives: October 2011

Colin Tierney

If Colin Tierney’s name sounds familiar to you, there’s a reason for that. He graduated from Duke in 2009, and he made his mark while he was there — “Colin Tierney” was one of those names that popped up in the Chronicle all the time. Early in his Duke career, Colin noticed that there were plenty of people making music around campus, but he also noticed that these musicians had nowhere to record their work. Colin and his friend Dan Corkum decided to do something about this. During their freshman year, the two founded Small Town Records, Duke’s first student-run record label and recording studio. As president of Small Town Records, Colin helped secure start-of-the-art recording equipment for the studio, produced an annual student compilation album, and organized release parties and live music events. Small Town Records is still thriving today under the umbrella of Duke University Union, providing a place on campus for the musically inclined to record and produce their own music. Here is a Chronicle article on Small Town Records’ founding, a profile of Colin, and a piece on a planned Small Town Records event back in 2008.

Throughout his tenure at Duke, Colin worked as an intern with V2 Records, helping to market and execute the indie rock band Roman Candle’s lifestyle tour; he interned with the Warner Music Group; and he spent a summer working for a think-tank, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (an internship which fulfilled requirements for his public policy major). After graduation, Colin went on to work as an independent contractor for several months, providing marketing and e-commerce services to various bands and artists. He then took a position with the music and technology company Indaba Music in December of 2009. Colin currently serves as marketing manager at Indaba, where he’s developed the online marketing and social media campaigns for artists such as Paul Simon, Daft Punk, Metric, and Peter Gabriel.

Colin is also a musician himself. He plays guitar and has been writing songs for over eight years, citing Americana as his biggest influence.

Emma Miller


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Jessica Laun

Jessica Laun

Jessica Laun

Jessica Laun graduated Magna Cum Laude from Duke University in 2005, with degrees in Music Theory and Composition and International Comparative Studies. During her time at Duke, she was heavily involved in the campus music scene, being a member of the Duke Chorale and music director of Rhythm & Blue, Duke’s oldest co-ed a capella group.

After graduating from Duke and spending some time at home in San Diego, she decided to move to New York City to follow her passion in the music industry. Thanks to her relationships with Professors of music Stephen Jaffe and Anthony Kelley, Jessicca was able to enter the industry through a year-long internship at the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). In 2006, she began working at Boosey & Hawkes as a publications and marketing coordinator. During her time at Boosey & Hawkes, Jessica moved on from being the publications coordinator for the company’s choral series into music licensing for tv, film, and advertising. As part of the Synchronized Licensing Department of the company, she was responsible for pitching and licensing music for such tv shows and movies as The Simpsons, The Truman Show, and the Spiderman series.

After working at Boosey & Hawkes for approximately 3 years, Jessica was hired by Warner/Chappell Music, where she currently works as a Senior Manager of Strategic Marketing. Besides her current occupation, Jessica is also the Secretary on the board of directors for The Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, where she helps program concerts to encourage young musicians in the field of choral music.

Jessica has stated that she is very happy to have found her dream job, commenting on the subject; “You just can’t be afraid to try and really go after what you want. If there’s anytime to do it, to take a risk, it’s as a college graduate.”

 -Barış Köksalan

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Andrew May

Andrew May

Andrew May is a man of many assorted interests.  As he lists on his LinkedIn page, some of these interests include music, art, film, photography, bikes, books, friends, and sunshine.  Mr. May sings, he plays instruments, and with a reported 19, 732 songs in his iTunes library, to say he loves to listen to music would be an understatement.

He grew up in Illinois and graduated from Baylor University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Digital Media.  He now works as a producer at Sound Lounge in New York, overseeing all operations at the company.  Interestingly enough, Andrew actually began his career at Sound Lounge as an intern, last year, while he was still a senior at Baylor.  Then, after graduation, he continued on to work at Sound Lounge as a production coordinator and, later, a marketing coordinator before ultimately transitioning into his current position as a producer.

For those unfamiliar with the work of Sound Lounge, Sound Lounge is a New York City based company that provides premium audio services for commercials, television series, feature films, video games, and an array of other new forms of media.  They work with major ad agencies and production companies, both inside and outside of the United States, and Sound Lounge’s feature film department has a well-regarded history of providing complete audio post-production service for some of the most influential documentaries and independent films to come out of New York City.  Some of the many acclaimed films that have enlisted the services of Sound Lounge include Rachel Getting Married, Limitless, Blue Valentine, and O Brother, Where Art Thou? 

[To learn more about Sound Lounge and their commendable body of work, check out their website.]

Aside from his work at Sound Lounge, Andrew May also produces movies and has acted as a Freelance Audio Engineer.  The movie he is currently producing is called Where We Started, and it is a film about two strangers, a man and a woman, both married, who contemplate having an affair.  Where We Started tackles the provocative question, “When there’s a line you know you shouldn’t cross…what makes you cross it anyway?”

Andrew May has a fun, quirky personal website, so if you’d like to learn even more about him and his eclectic interests, please check it out.


–Christian Tyler

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Eric Oberstein

Eric Oberstein may appear young in age, but his accomplishments as a musician and educator rank in veteran status. Eric began his undergraduate studies as a student at Duke University where he earned a degree in Cultural Anthropology accompanied by Arts Management and Latin American Studies certificates. At Duke he served as the assistant producer at Duke Performances. He also started a program called ArtsConnect, an after-school arts program where Duke student artists teach Durham elementary children about all areas of the arts at local community centers.

After his time at Duke, Eric earned his masters degree from the Program in Arts Administration at Teachers College, Columbia University, where his thesis appears in the anthology 20UNDER40. Eric is also an alumni of the Harvard Arts in Education Graduate Program, where he also worked as a special projects associate.

Apart from his impressive scholarly track record, Eric has also accomplished a lot in the world of business and music. Eric has worked at the Lincoln Center, The Carolina Theatre of Durham, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where he helped to coordinate the organization’s 50th anniversary celebration. Eric currently serves as Executive Director of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, a New York-based non-profit that supports the work of the GRAMMY Award-winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. He was a producer on two of the orchestra’s albums, 40 Acers and a Burro and Rise Negra, which was named one of the top jazz albums of 2009 by The Wall St. Journal and The Village Voice.

As a musician, Eric produces music along with playing the Drums and Saxophone.

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Class Discussion with Gene Scheer


This Wednesday, I have the pleasure of introducing Gene Scheer, one of the most celebrated songwriters, lyricists, and  – most of all – librettists of our time. To those new to the term, let me first clarify what a librettist is: he is the writer of a libretto, which is the text used in a large and extended musical work such as oratorio, opera, operetta, masque, cantata, or musical. In some cases, the “libretto” can also refer to the text of major sacred works, namely the mass, requiem, and sacred cantata.

He received his education at the Eastman School of Music, where he earned his Bachelor of Music and Masters of Music. Upon graduation, he was awarded a scholarship to study at the University of Cologne in Germany. He subsequently participated in a fellowship at Vienna’s Hochschule Für Musik. While in Vienna, Scheer was granted lead musical theater roles, which he also performed in Munich and Cologne.

His works as a composer and librettist have been performed around the world, notably with the Dallas Opera and Symphony Orchestra (respectively), the Houston Grand Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, the Linbury Theater at Covent Garden in London, and more recently in Carnegie Hall. Through his career, he has collaborated with composer Jake Heggie, composer Steven Stucky, and jazz trumpeter/composer/bandleader Wynton Marsalis, among many other great talents today.

As a composer, he has written songs for many performing artists, such as Jennifer Larmore, Denyce Graces and Nathan Gunn. In fact, his piece “American Anthem” has been performed for President Clinton and the First Lady, on “Oprah” after the September 11th tragedy, at President George Bush’s 2005 Inauguration, and by Patti Labelle and the US Army Band and Chorus.

Please join me in welcoming Mr. Scheer on Wednesday the 19th, for our open panel discussion.

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Gene Scheer

Gene Scheer is a celebrated librettist, songwriter and lyricist, and today’s speaker.  His works have been performed in respected venues such as the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, the Monnaie in Brussels, and the opera houses of many cities across the country.  Mr. Scheer earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music from the Eastman School of Music and was awarded a scholarship to the University of Cologne and a fellowship to study at the Hochschule Für Musik in Vienna.  While in Europe, he also acted and sang musical theater in Germany; however, he is best known for his compositions, which include song cycles, lyric dramas, operas, and oratorios.

Among the many highlights of Mr. Scheer’s career so far are his work as a librettist with Tobias Picker on “An American Tragedy,” which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera; his “Therese Raquin,” another opera written with Picker; and more recent collaborations with Jake Heggie including “Moby-Dick,” “Three Decembers” and “To Hell and Back.”  In 1999, his song “American Anthem” was played at the unveiling of the restored “Star-Spangled Banner” flag at the Smithsonian, which was attended by President Clinton.  It was later performed by Norah Jones for use in a Ken Burns documentary and by Patti Labelle for a national broadcast special on PBS.  I highly recommend hearing Mr. Scheer discuss the song and its inspiration on NPR’s “What’s In A Song” here.

Mr. Scheer’s compositions have been sung by a wide range of celebrated artists, including Patti Labelle, Nathan Gunn, Renee Fleming, and Patti LuPone.  In addition, he has collaborated with other well-known musicians such as Wynton Marsalis and Steven Stucky.  Reviewers have called his works “moving, skillfully written” (New York Times), “compelling and entertaining” (Sacramento Bee) and “sharply poignant, deeply affecting” (Seattle Times).  For a taste of Mr. Scheer’s compositions, listen to the Norah Jones version of “American Anthem” or hear him sing his own cabaret song “Another New Voice Teacher” in this interview.

We enjoyed hearing Mr. Scheer discuss his varied and renowned career today.

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Megan Tuck

Megan Tuck is an associate account executive at BlissPR, a public relations company that works with clients in the financial services as well as professional services and healthcare industries. After studying sociology and markets and management at Duke, she worked as a PR intern in consumer, lifestyle, and travel at HL Group and as a communications intern at Volunteers of America.

PR is a multifaceted industry that is changing rapidly because of online media. The goal of PR is basically to build, improve and maintain rapport between a company or individual and its customers, employees, investors, voters, and general public. It involves following social trends (including the rapid growth of technology) and effectively communicating with people in order to bolster the company’s standing. PR generally involves publicity from sources like press releases, media kits, brochures, publicity events, reports, blogs, and social media.

It sounds like advertising, but there are a number of differences. For example, in PR, the goal is to get the word out without paying for ad space. (A press release can generate a lot of publicity at a much lower cost than an advertisement.) The tone is completely different, much more no-nonsense than a flashy advertising campaign can be. But in some ways both industries are changing similarly (online communication is changing both dramatically). Here’s a page with more about the differences between PR and advertising.

As a worker in PR, Megan enjoys being able to see the finished product of her and her peer’s work, knowing that she is a part of each project’s success. BlissPR, her employer, does PR for clients in a number of services looking for professional PR from a third party. She primarily works with financial service companies, which allows her a wide scope of clients and work. BlissPR has an extensive list of some of its clients in the financial services on its website.

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