If music be the food of love, play on! The greatest playwright of all time knew the significance of music to the human story.
Today, we understand the deeper value of music. The talents of musicians are used in countless ways, from entertaining an audience with a live performance to invoking emotion in film and other media. Music is positively therapeutic, and accomplished musicians are vital and needed in all areas of the profession.
Members of the Parkside music faculty know the thrill of live performances. They are experienced performers, teachers, and researchers and are dedicated to helping you explore your love of music and discovering the best career path.
Whether your passion is singing, playing an orchestral string instrument, band instrument, classical guitar, or jazz, there's an ensemble for you. As a music student (full and part time) you will become a member of an ensemble, where you'll benefit from growth and creativity sparked by playing with your peers, led by professionals.
Learn more about the Music Department at Parkside.
Program Entry Auditions
Auditions are required for entry into the Music major and minor. Auditions are held on scheduled dates throughout the academic year. Your audition day is more than an occasion to demonstrate your musical talent; you'll also tour our incredible performance facilities, meet with department faculty, and discover more about the program from current students.
Parkside has many great academic and talent scholarships for music students, and your initial application serves as an application for general Parkside scholarships and grants.
Even more scholarships are available to music majors, minors, and ensemble members. Music Department scholarships are competitive and valuable. In fact, the value of these scholarships may be awarded up to the full cost of tuition for exceptional student musicians.
Learning in Action
As a music major at Parkside, you'll benefit from:
- Personal and individual attention by a faculty of dedicated, first-class musicians and educators
- Career oriented curriculum
- Unique Music Education Program (all courses in music)
- Performance opportunities with over 60 concerts per academic year
- Professional experience by guest artists and master classes
- State of the art facilities
- Large ensembles open to all campus students
Careers after Parkside
Career opportunities for teaching music include instruction at the elementary, secondary, and university levels and independently with the opportunity to establish privately owned music studios. Many musicians who perform professionally can do so on a part-time basis opening up fields beyond teaching and performing.
Opportunities exist in many related areas such as music publishing, radio and television, arts management, recording engineering, and various other aspects of the music industry.
Professor of Music and Director of Orchestras
Associate Dean, College of Arts and Humanities
Alvaro Garcia, native of Spain, studied conducting with Delta David Gier and Professors Lawrence Leighton Smith and Gustav Meier. He earned two Master of Music degrees from Yale University in viola and orchestral conducting in 1999 and 2001. Mr. Garcia has held positions as Assistant Conductor for the Yale Symphony Orchestra, the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra in Connecticut, and the Greater Bridgeport Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he has also collaborated with conductors Ransom Wilson, Jesse Levine, Dante Anzolini, Lawrence Leighton Smith, Gustav Meier and Shinik Hahm. Mr. Garcia has conducted the Yale Philharmonia, Solisti New York orchestra, Norwalk Symphony, Racine Symphony, Kenosha Symphony (Feb 2012), Daejeon Philharmonic – South Korea, and Festival des Artes Orchestra – Brazil. In addition to his conducting, he also performs viola in solo recitals and in chamber groups. As an international musician, Mr. Garcia has performed in Spain, Italy, England, Portugal, South Korea, Brazil, and throughout the United States of America. Mr. Garcia has been actively involved as a music educator in the Kenosha and Racine communities in Wisconsin. He works as a clinician and educator at the middle, high and college level and he has conducted in several occasions the Kenosha Unified Orchestra Festival and the Racine Unified Orchestra Festival. At the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, he conducted many opera and musical productions. Alvaro Garcia is a Professor of Music and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at UW-Parkside. He is the music Director of the UW-Parkside Symphony and the UW-Parkside Community Orchestra, and teaches viola and chamber music.
Associate Professor and Director of Jazz Band
Trumpeter Russ Johnson is a recent Midwest transplant after spending 23 years as an important member of New York City’s jazz community. He has 7 recordings as a leader or co-leader and performed on more than 75 recordings as a sideman. Russ has worked alongside many of the legendary figures in jazz including Lee Konitz, Steve Swallow, Bill Frisell, and Joe Lovano. In addition, he has recorded and/or performed with a long list of the most prominent musicians currently on the international jazz scene, including Myra Melford, Ken Vandermark, and Tony Malaby. Russ has performed in more than 40 countries across the globe. His groups have recently performed at the Chicago, Winter Jazz Fest (NYC) Hyde Park, (Chicago) and Bergamo, (Italy) jazz festivals. His most recent recordings, Meeting Point (Relay Recordings) and Still Out To Lunch! (Enja Records) received 4 1/2 & 4 stars respectively from Down Beat Magazine and appeared on many “Best Recordings of 2014/5” lists including Down Beat, the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, NYC Jazz Record and Magnet magazine. Russ will be releasing a new recording by his “Headlands” Quartet in 2017. Russ is also active as an educator/clinician, having taught at colleges and universities across the U.S. and Europe. He currently serves as Director of Jazz Studies at UW-Parkside where he won the university wide “Stella Gray” Teaching Excellence award in 2016.
Professor of Music and Director of Choral Arts
James Benjamin Kinchen, Jr., is a Jacksonville native who has studied at Jacksonville University, Southern Illinois University, and the University of North Carolina Greensboro. Before coming to UW-Parkside, he has taught and conducted music in Florida, Illinois, Virginia, and North Carolina. Since 1989, Dr. Kinchen has served Parkside as Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities. He is driven by his passion for music and for people, and for bringing people together to experience excellence in the choral art. He has conducted on the stages of Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall in New York’s Lincoln Center. His choral travels have taken him to Germany, Italy, Poland, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Austria, Cuba, and India. He has served as President of Wisconsin Choral Directors Association and the North Central Division of American Choral Directors Association and is in frequently demand as a clinician, guest conductor, and adjudicator. He is a frequent presenter at choral and music conferences and conventions, presenting on interpretation of the “spiritual” and other topics of interest to choral teachers and artists. He is also a member of Chorus America, the International Federation for Choral Music, the National Association for Music Education, Center for Black Music Research, and National Collegiate Choral Organization. He has won teaching excellence, faculty service, and diversity awards. He directs the three university choirs: University Chorale, Voices of Parkside, and Master Singers, as well as Vocal Jazz Ensemble. He also teaches courses in conducting, choral conducting, choral/vocal materials and methods, music appreciation, and African American music.
Assistant Professor and Director of Bands
Laura Rexroth joined the music faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in 2014. In addition to her duties as conductor of the UW-Parkside Wind Ensemble and UW-Parkside Community Band, she teaches courses in world music, music education, music history, and conducting. Prior to her appointment at Parkside, Rexroth held conducting posts at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Central College in Iowa, and The College of William and Mary in Virginia. Her university bands have been selected to perform at several College Band Directors National Association and National Association for Music Education conferences. She has also led high school band programs in Massachusetts, Illinois, and Minnesota. Rexroth has guest conducted district, regional, and all-state bands in several states, as well as the Valley Festival Brass, the U.S. Army Field Band, the United States Military Academy Band, the Colorado Intercollegiate Band, the U.S. Army Band, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band, the Tactical Air Command Band, the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music Symphonic Band, the National Band Association-Wisconsin Chapter Intercollegiate Honor Band, and the Virginia Symphony. She is also on the conducting faculty of the Hooked On Bands/New Horizons Band Camp in Door County, WI. Rexroth did her studies in music education and conducting at St. Olaf College, Northwestern University, Indiana University, the Aspen Music School in Colorado, and the International Conductors Workshop in Zlin, Czech Republic. Her conducting teachers include Miles Johnson, Steven Amundson, John Paynter, Ray Cramer, David Effron, and Paul Vermel. An advocate for new music, Rexroth has commissioned and conducted works from numerous composers, most recently James Crowley, Daron Hagen and Anthony O’Toole. She has taught conducting workshops in Missouri, New Hampshire, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. Rexroth enjoys collaborating with colleagues and guest artists, including Ed Shaughnessy, JoAnn Falletta, Paul Vermel, Steven Bryant, David Bayles, Russ Johnson, Ami Bouterse, and Jana Batty. In addition to regular concerts, Rexroth’s bands have performed for numerous special occasions and guests, including Jane Goodall, Warren Burger, Lady Margaret Thatcher, and HRH Prince Charles.
James Crowley is an American composer whose works have been performed throughout the USA, as well as in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Denmark, South Africa, South Korea, and India. His 2010 work 'Tableaux Vivants' was commissioned by the east coast ‘Duo Montagnard’, who toured the piece throughout the USA, Canada and Europe, and feature it on their most recent CD release entitled 'Messengers'. Crowley's 2008 composition 'From The Earth' was a prize winner in the Ravinia Music Festival’s first composition competition, and was toured on an east coast tour and throughout Illinois in 2009. Most recently, the guitar/bass duo 'Dez Cordas' commissioned and recorded a new work entitled 'Pilgrimage', which was released on the Summit CD label in spring 2015. Other commissions and awards have been received from the Music Teachers National Association, National String Teachers Association, American Music Center, and Meet-The-Composer. His music has been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, the Eastman Wind Symphony, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, and by members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Crowley earned his BM in Composition from the University of Illinois (Bronze Tablet – University Honors), and completed the MM and DM in Composition at Northwestern University. Formerly a member of the administrative staff of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, he also held a Teaching Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival, and taught at Drury University. He is Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.