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UTA's A Cappella Choir and fellow music students to partner with big names in industry

Tuesday, January 19, 2016 • Media Contact: Bridget Lewis

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The University of Texas at Arlington A Cappella Choir is set to lend its collective voice to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s tribute to legendary composer George Gershwin.

UTA A Cappella Choir

The choir, under the direction of Karen Kenaston-French, associate professor of music in the UTA College of Liberal Arts, will join the DSO Jan. 22-24 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas. Tickets start at $34 and are available at

The concert features the best of Gershwin’s music, including: Lullaby, Cuban Overture, Funny Face and selections from Porgy and Bess.

This marks the choral group’s second appearance with the DSO. In 2012, the A Cappella Choir formed the chorus for the program, Masters of Film: the Music of Michael Giacchino. In June 2015, members of the choir appeared with the Rolling Stones in concert at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

“The A Cappella Choir has some of the finest collegiate vocalists in the state, so I’m really thrilled they are receiving some recognition for their work,” said Kenaston-French, who called the Dallas Symphony Orchestra series a “fantastic beginning to what will be a banner semester.” It includes an appearance at the Southwestern Division conference of the American Choral Director’s Association in Kansas City, Mo., in March.

Music excellence at UTA

In April, music students including the A Cappella Choir will welcome Michael Daugherty, one of the most commissioned, performed and recorded composers on the American concert music scene today, to the UTA campus.

The Grammy Award-winning composer will serve as the Department of Music’s 2015-16 Artist-in-Residence.

Daugherty’s work will be featured, including a world premiere, in a festival of performances by UTA faculty, Orchestra, Choir and Wind Symphony. Daugherty also will spend time April 25-30 working with UTA student performers and composers.

“Michael’s style is fresh and exciting for both the performer and the audience,” said Martha Walvoord, UTA associate professor of violin. “His willingness to engage with students and teach the next generation of musicians and composers make him the ideal figure for a residency.”

Michael Daugherty

Daugherty’s recording will feature works for double bass and violin by UTA’s George Chave, associate professor of composition/theory, and Dan Cavanagh, associate professor and associate director of Jazz Studies. Daugherty’s weeklong residency will include a world premiere of one of his works, teaching classes with composition students, attending large ensemble rehearsals, and colloquiums with all students and faculty.

“The residency continues to demonstrate UTA’s commitment to educating beyond the classroom, one of the Maverick Imperatives of our Strategic Plan | 2020,” Walvoord said. “The hands-on, interactive work that will happen across the Department of Music will allow our students to be active participants in creating new art, new experiences and new discoveries.”

Daugherty’s awards and honors include three Grammys, Fulbright recipient, Kennedy Center Friedheim Award, the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, to name a few.  

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 51,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UTA as one of the 20 fastest-growing public research universities in the nation in 2014. U.S. News & World Report ranks UTA fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as the top four-year college in Texas for veterans on Military Times’ 2016 Best for Vets list. Visit to learn more, and find UTA rankings and recognition at