From the Chair: Music@Webster

From the Chair of the Department of Music, Webster University in Saint Louis

Carole Gaspar

We celebrated Carole Gaspar yesterday, as she nears the end of her full-time teaching career.

They were freshmen

Linda Gurney, mother of our wonderful bass player Andrew, took a super photo at a jazz combo concert this month.

Here are six junior jazz performers, all of whom entered Webster at the same time, and who have been gigging and learning together for three years now.  They are bright, confident, talented gents indeed!  They represent composition, music education, jazz performance, and jazz/music technology majors.

L-R: Zach Fendelman, Ben Stitzel, Jack Catalanotto, Matt Ingram, Andrew Gurney, Aaron Brown.


Thompson House

Thanks to Alice Nelson for this wonderful photo of our home, Thompson House!


Thursday recitals

Most weeks during the regular semester, several students take the stage at noon on Thursdays for our weekly recital hour.  Today’s recital included five singers.  Last week’s hour was taken by Barry Manilow.  The week before, we had a piano solo, some singing, and a violin solo.

Here are shots from today of Alyssa Stephens and Heather Hamilton introducing their songs.  Both are music education majors. 


Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow.

THE Barry Manilow.  He was on campus yesterday to spend an hour with theatre and music students in a question/answer session.

The man was funny, charming, serious.  He said some things that we all need to hear.  And he sang exactly one lick for us.

MI-16-248 Music Flier _ April

From Vienna


Charissa at the Mozarthaus in Vienna.

Charissa Paschke, a junior music major, wrote this news from Vienna this past Saturday:

I love Vienna!

While my online class is a lot of work, I am very glad that we were able to make my schedule work. La Traviata at the Volksoper was wonderful, and La Bohème at the Staatsoper was simply stunning. I was able to take advantage of the free admittance night at the MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Art and attend Stefan Sagmeister’s “the happy show.”

We spent last Saturday being guided around Vienna by one of the full time Vienna students. We shopped at the Naschmarkt(flee market and farmers market), grabbed sausage from one of the sausage stands, walked the catacombs of St. Stephens Cathedral, and toured Hofburg Imperial palace where we learned about their last emperor and empress Franz Joseph and Sisi.

Yesterday a few of us were able to explore the various Easter markets throughout the city and tomorrow we will attend Mass at one of the cathedrals to truly experience a Viennese Easter. I am currently on a train to Salzburg to see the Easter markets and experience the city life. With the student discount, it is less than 50 euros to travel to and from Salzburg!! 

I am falling in love with this city. Between the art, history, and general appreciation for music, I have never experienced a city as rooted in classical music. It has been a wonderful experience so far! Being able to experience a culture that is as passionate about music as I am is refreshing. 

The campus is easy to access and our dorms are very accessible. The Viennese students are open and willing to share their knowledge of the city with us. As the term forges on, I am excited for all of the adventures to come.

Heidi Harris

Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra associate concermistress Heidi Harris is presenting a series of classes on campus.

Check it out!

Another new faculty member

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Jacob Lassetter, currently on the faculty of Luther College (Decorah, Iowa), will join the Department of Music as Associate Professor of Music (Voice) in August 2016.   Prof. Martha J. Hart will become Director of Vocal Studies upon the retirement in May of Prof. Carole Gaspar.

Dr. Lassetter will teach studio voice and master classes, and other courses in support of the voice performance program.

“In a crowded field of candidates,” said Jeffrey Carter, Chair of the Department of Music, “Jacob rose to the top, especially as we see his ability to round out our voice faculty with current stage experience, and an impeccable academic and young-artist pedigree.”

We send thanks to Prof. Martha Hart and the search committee for a job well done indeed!


lassetter-jacobWith his powerful voice and commanding stage presence, baritone Jacob Lassetter enjoys an exciting and vibrant career on both the operatic and concert stage. Critics have praised his dignified characterizations, his soaring high range, and his deep, rich tone quality.

Dr. Lassetter is thrilled to make his house and role debut as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Annapolis Opera in 2017. Still to come in 2016 are performances as Elijah with the Bassi Brugnatelli Symposium in Robbiate, Italy, and of Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass in the Minnesota’s Twin Cities. In 2015 Dr. Lassetter sang Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, Bach’s Mass in B Minor with the Rochester Choral Arts Ensemble, and made his Wagner debut in the role of Wolfram in Tannhäuser with Apotheosis Opera in New York City

Other recent performances include engagements with Music by the Lake as Horace Tabor in The Ballad of Baby Doe and in his signature role of Germont in La Traviata. He most recently sang Germont with Opera Theatre of the Rockies, and the role also served as his Italian debut at the Teatro Accademico in Castelfranco Veneto. He has earned critical acclaim for Orff’s Carmina Burana, performing with such companies as the Lexington Philharmonic, the Rochester Choral Arts Ensemble, the Ottumwa Symphony, the Grinnell Symphony, and the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra at Orchestra Hall in Chicago. He made his Orchestra Hall debut in Fauré’s Requiem with Manhattan Concert Productions. He has performed frequently with the Peninsula Music Festival, singing Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9, Verdi’s Requiem, and the title role of Le Nozze di Figaro.

Dr. Lassetter’s additional operatic credits include Michele in Il Tabarro, the title role in Don Giovanni, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte, and Griswold in Dominick Argento’s The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe. Other concert credits include Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and Bach’s St. John Passion and St. Matthew Passion. A frequent recitalist, he made his debut at New York City’s Carnegie Hall in 2008 alongside his wife, soprano Karen Kanakis.

A 2016 Finalist in the National Opera Association Vocal Competition, Dr. Lassetter has been a Semi-finalist in the Marguerite McCammon Voice Competition, a Regional Finalist in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award Competition, and received the Encouragement Award from the Southern Ohio District of The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He is an alumnus of the Young Artist Programs of Chautauqua Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Utah Festival Opera.

Dr. Lassetter holds a Bachelor of Music degree, magna cum laude, from Louisiana State University; the Master of Music degree from The University of North Texas; and the Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Voice and Opera at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

Connor wins


We congratulate senior music education major Connor Scott on his first-place win in a student conducting competition!

Details are posted here.


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