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THEORY, COMPOSITION, and CONTEMPORARY SONGWRITING FACULTY
Raina Murnak, UM Faculty, Creative American Music program, Songwriting, Music Theory, Musical Theater
Shawn Crouch, UM Faculty, Assistant Professor of Practice, Theory and Composition, Artistic Director, Ensemble Ibis
Brian Wilkins, Director of Business Development, Frost School of Music
Peter Learn, Composition
Danny Sanchez, Media Writing
Gonzalo Mejia, UM, Video Production
Justina Shandler, Theory, Songwriting
Rachel Ohnsman, Songwriting
Ben Youngblood, Songwriting
Nicole Fasco, Elementary Theory
RAINA MURNAK - UM Faculty
Raina Murnak is a lecturer in music theory, ear training and song writing at the University of Miami's Frost School of Music. She is a New York-born composer and vocalist and received both her Bachelors in Voice and her Master's in Composition from the State University of New York at Stony Brook where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. She went on to receive her Doctorate in Composition and Vocal Pedagogy from the UM Frost School of Music. Dr. Murnak has enjoyed many performances of her works both in concert and on recordings. She is a very active performing vocalist varied genres, ranging from the avant-garde classical to the commercial. Recently, she played keyboards and backing vocals in a Comcast Special for rock singer Bob Pressner and also performed Auksalaq, a telematic opera, with the New World Symphony. Her most recent albums of original songs include La La Famous with the Pure Pinks and The Dawn of Us, a singer/songwriter EP. As a pedagogue, Murnak is constantly creating new effective models to train students including her most recent contributions to the Frost School's Experiential Music Curriculum. She is also a visual artist, actress and dancer and seeks to integrate multiple art forms whenever possible in her compositions and performances and in her student's shows.
Wilkins built a successful 18-year career utilizing his passion for music, technology, creative partnership building, and artist relations to help clients grow their businesses and brands. He is the founder and president of 137 Entertainment, an innovative music management agency specializing in artist development, digital marketing, business development consulting, and artist-label relations. Most recently, he served as strategic advisor and business development director for leading music companies PledgeMusic and Cyber PR where he helped establish music business curriculums at the Berklee School of Music and Middle Tennessee State University. As an entrepreneur, he helped create, launch, and build a client base of over 75 artists and 100,000 users for the music mobile social application, CrowdStream. Wilkins has held positions with major and independent music label partners including Sony/BMG Entertainment, RED Music, and INgrooves. He was also an artist manager and director of new media for Rebel-One Management, where he helped guide the careers of top-tier artists and producers including Rihanna and Alex Da Kid.
Originally from Rochester, New York, Peter James Learn began composing in his late teens, first focusing primarily on electronic music, then branching out into concert music. He earned a B.M. in composition and theory from Heidelberg University, in Ohio, studying with Brian Bevelander, where he was awarded the Ars Nova prize for student composition. He then went on to earn an M.M. in composition, studying with Dana Wilson at Ithaca College in New York. Recent compositional activities of his include the premier of his symphonic work Mosäique by The Cleveland Orchestra, a commission for brass trio, Dumas, by trombonist Andrew Friedrichs, the inclusion of his Shant, for string quartet on the Henri Mancini Institute Quartet's recent recording, and the premier of his chamber work Apollonian Echo, by members of the Cleveland Orchestra. His Schumann Resonances was also recently premiered by the Baltimore-based Lunar Ensemble and his Benevolent Machinations for piano duo has been recently performed by international pianists Daniel Manoiu and Larisa Soboleva. Mr. Learn has recently earned a D.M.A. in music theory and composition from the University of Miami, Florida, studying with Dennis Kam and Dorothy Hindman, where he continues to be an active composer and educator.
Reinaldo Daniel Sanchez is a Miami native musician and producer. Many people know him by his stage name "Danny Rein." He recently graduated the University of Miami with a Media Writing Production major and Songwriting/Music Business double minor with guitar being his primary instrument. You may find him playing guitar and singing in his band "Love & Water" or locked away in his home studio producing for hours on end.
Gramophone Magazine calls Shawn Crouch a "gifted composer" and Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times describes Shawn Crouch's work as music of "gnarling atonal energy". The Miami Herald called his Road From Hiroshima; A Requiem a "staggering achievement, an imaginative, powerful and deeply moving work" making the Miami Herald and Sun Sentinel's 2005 Classical Music Standouts. Shawn has received awards and accolades from such prestigious institutions as the American Academy of Arts and Letters, ASCAP, BMI, Yale University, Society of Composers Inc., Meet the Composer and the Percussive Arts Society. Shawn has worked collaboratively with Miami based artist Kevin Arrow, dance choreographer Susan Dodge, and theater director Tina Packer and Shakespeare and Company.
Mr. Mejia is a Film Director and Video Producer with an extensive list of credits which include Documentaries, Short Films, Commercials and Web Content. Many of his productions have received awards and praise from people around the world.
Justina Shandler is a singer-songwriter, teacher, and composer for media, originally from Roanoke, VA. Her songs have been described as the music baby of Regina Spektor and Billy Joel. Justina's musical stories are deeply honest, vivid, and quirky.
Rachel Ohnsman, currently a student at the Frost School of Music majoring in jazz vocal performance. She performs regularly both on piano and voice, in jazz, contemporary, and musical theatre styles. Ohnsman has performed at Sofar Sounds, Festival Miami, Carnegie Hall, and Vizcaya Gardens, among others. Additionally, she arranges vocal and instrumental tunes and presented a TEDx Talk about music genres (upcoming, April 2017). Some recent stage highlights include: 13 The Musical (Musical Director, 2015); Stardust Cabaret (Alumni Center, 2016); and Cats (Assistant MD, 2015).
Ben Youngblood is a guitarist, singer-songwriter, producer, and composer entering his senior year at the Frost School of Music. He is majoring in Media Writing and Production and is minoring in the Bruce Hornsby Creative American Music program. Between his time growing up in Raleigh, NC and living in Miami, FL, Ben has played in a variety of bands, pit orchestras, and recorded guitar on songs by artists ranging in genre from pop-country to RnB to Americana. After graduation, Ben wants to have released his first album and tour different areas of the U.S. and the world to promote his music and collaborate with musicians around the globe."