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FSU Music in the News

New Faculty, New Positions, New Roles

The College of Music is excited to welcome 10 full-time faculty members this fall, as well as one visiting faculty member and one current faculty member moving into a newly created position: 


Elizabeth Avery, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Director of Graduate Programs
Dr. Avery is a pianist, vocal coach, and music administrator who comes to the College of Music from the University of Oklahoma School of Music where she served as Associate Director and Coordinator of Graduate Studies. Her prior appointments include positions at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, the Austin Peay State University Department of Music and the APSU Community School of the Arts, the Castleton State College Department of Music, and the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam.

Mark Belfast, Assistant Professor of Music Education
Dr. Belfast previously served as Assistant Professor of Music Education at Southeastern University, where his duties include teaching music education courses, supervising student teachers and directing Southeastern University’s jazz ensemble. Belfast holds degrees in music education from Florida State University and Auburn University.

Hana Beloglavec, Assistant Professor of Trombone
Dr. Beloglavec joins the College from Louisiana State University where she served as Assistant Professor of Trombone since 2017. In addition to teaching, Beloglavec has a dynamic career performing as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician and recently released her debut solo album Bayou Home (Summit Records, 2023). Beloglavec received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Northwestern University, the Master of Music degree from Yale University, and the Bachelor of Music degree from Western Michigan University.

Rodney Dorsey, Director of the FSU Wind Orchestra
While hired at the end of the spring semester, Dr. Dorsey officially begins his new position this fall! Dorsey comes to the College of Music from Indiana University, where he has served as a full, tenured Professor of Bands and Chair of the Department of Bands since 2018. Prior to his time at Indiana, he served as Director of Bands at the University of Oregon, Associate Director of Bands at the University of Michigan, Associate Professor of Music at DePaul University, and Director of Athletic Bands at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. Dorsey holds degrees from Florida State University and Northwestern University.

Flor Del Cielo Hernandez, Assistant Professor of Music Therapy
Dr. Hernandez has been with the College of Music for the last year as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Therapy, and we are pleased to announce that she will be joining the faculty on a more permanent basis! Hernandez is a Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) with more than 15 years in the mental health field and has worked with clients and patients ranging from young children and adolescents to older adults and has provided patient-centered services in Spanish and English. Part of her experience includes working with people struggling with depression, anxiety, dementia, psychotic disorders, eating disorders, and substance use disorders. She holds degrees from the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico and Florida State University.

Matthew Hightower, Assistant Professor of Tuba and Euphonium
Dr. Hightower joins the College of Music from his position as Assistant Professor of Tuba/Euphonium at the University of Kentucky. His performance experience covers a wide range of chamber, orchestral, and solo music that spans three continents and ten countries. Hightower was a member of the University of Kentucky Faculty Brass Quintet and has also performed with the Corpus Christi Brass Quintet, the Kingsville Brass Quintet, the Lexington Philharmonic Brass Quintet, the Mirari Brass Quintet, the Atlas Tuba Quartet, and Concert:Nova. Hightower’s debut album, Re(in)spiration, was released in 2019 and was a finalist for the 2021 ITEA Roger Bobo Award for Excellence in Recording. Hightower holds degrees in music education and performance from Murray State University, Indiana University, and the University of Texas at Austin.

Dawn Iwamasa, Assistant Professor of Music Therapy
Dr. Iwamasa is an educator, music therapist, and child life specialist with 20+ years of clinical experience. Previous appointments include Assistant Professor of Music Education and Music Therapy at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Visiting Instructor in Music Therapy at the Arizona State University Department of Music. Her research interests include the intersections of music therapy and higher education, healthcare policy, public policy, and the opioid crisis; data mining of electronic medical records; pain management; and experimental research in medical music therapy.

David Knapp, Assistant Professor of Music Education
Dr. Knapp comes to the College from his position as Assistant Professor of Music Education at Syracuse University (SU), where he taught modern band, music technology, steel band, and philosophy of music education. At SU he directed the Music in Community program, which facilitated music-making partnerships responsive to local community needs. This included the New American All-Stars, a vernacular music ensemble for refugee youth, and the Digital Music Lab, a community-based music production studio for urban high school students. Knapp’s research focuses on community music with marginalized communities, vernacular music making, music technology, and post-colonial steel band pedagogy.

Mary Matthews, Assistant Professor of Flute
Dr. Matthews enjoys an active career as an international soloist, chamber musician, orchestral flutist, and pedagogue, and has performed on four continents. Prior to her appointment at FSU she served as Associate Professor of Flute at the Tennessee Tech School of Music. Matthews currently serves as second flute of the Tallahassee Symphony and performs regularly with orchestras such as the Nashville Symphony, Knoxville Symphony, and Chattanooga Symphony, among others. She can be heard on soundtracks for film, TV, and video games on Netflix, HBO, and Disney. Matthews began her formal flute studies at the Eastman School of Music’s preparatory program and holds degrees from the Hartt School, the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, and the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music. ​

Bernard McDonald, Director of Opera and Associate Professor of Opera
Bernard McDonald’s international appearances include the New National Theatre Tokyo, the Netherlands Opera, the Netherlands Radio Choir, the Dutch National Opera Academy, and productions of Carmen, La Bohème, Die Zauberflöte, and Le Nozze di Figaro for Opera Kelowna, British Columbia. Upcoming engagements include Rusalka with Opera Orlando and Rigoletto and Le villi at Mobile Opera, where he recently conducted La Bohème, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, Il tabarro, La rondine, and Tosca. The San Francisco Opera Merola Program led him to New York City Opera. He was Head of Music and Chorus Master at Florida Grand Opera and Chorus Master at Glyndebourne. McDonald studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the University of Glasgow, and Indiana University. 


Celso Cano, Visiting Assistant Professor of Guitar
Dr. Cano is an award-winning composer and performer who has concertized throughout North America, South America, and Europe. His piece for cello, guitar and percussion, Eclipse, was composed and premiered in residence at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City as part of a multidisciplinary collaboration of photography, music, film and dance. His piece for solo guitar, Souvenirs, was awarded third prize in the 2019 Leo Brouwer International Composition Competition in Buffalo, NY. Cano has received degrees from the University of Arizona, Florida International University, and Florida State University, and has studied with Lou Mowad, Tom Patterson, Iliana Matos, Bruce Holzman, Rafael Padrón, Mesut Özgenand, and Leo Brouwer.


Sarah Eyerly, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development
While not a new hire for the College of Music, Dr. Eyerly has recently agreed to serve as the College’s first ever Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development. This new position will help to catalyze further research efforts within the College and support faculty in their grant writing efforts and will serve as liaison between the College of the Office of Research. In addition, this position will also develop an onboarding process for new faculty and will help faculty navigate the tenure and promotion process. 

The College of Music would like to extend a warm welcome to these incoming faculty and to all of our returning faculty and staff. We look forward to another excellent year of learning and music-making with all of you!

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