Listee Features — Music

Marilynn Smiley


Inspired to a career in music education by her long-standing love of music, Marilynn J. Smiley, PhD, learned to play the piano at 7 years old and the flute at 12 years old. In 1954, she achieved a Bachelor of Science from Ball State University and began her career as a public school music teacher in Logansport, Indiana. Remaining in this role until 1961, she continued her studies throughout this period and earned a Master of Music from Northwestern University in 1958 and a certification from the Ecoles d’Art Americaines in France in 1959. In 1961, Dr. Smiley became a faculty member in the music department of the State University of New York at Oswego, where she would remain for

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Lisa DeNuzzo


An accomplished violinist, music educator and horse breeder and trainer, Lisa Ann DeNuzzo has had a long-lasting love of music. While she initially began attending college for pre-law, she realized that she couldn’t live without music and transferred to Baldwin Wallace University, where she earned a Bachelor of Music in violin performance in 1983. During this time, she was introduced to horseback riding through a course she took to fill her physical education requirement and fell in love with the sport. Subsequently, Ms. DeNuzzo joined the College of Saint Rose and achieved a Master of Education in music pedagogy in 1985, followed by a certificate of qualification as a school administrator and supervisor in the state of New York. Ms.

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Deborah Turner


Having loved music since she was a child, Deborah A. Turner was further inspired by her music teachers during her early education. They encouraged her to try playing different instruments, though her favorite was the flute, and to not be afraid to speak up. She ultimately decided to pursue music as a career, earning a Bachelor of Music Education from Syracuse University in 1977. Two years later, she joined the Anne Arundel County Public Schools, where she served as a music educator until her retirement in 2021. With considerable expertise in general music as well as band and orchestra, Ms. Turner taught music for a variety of different grade levels in addition to overseeing the school bands and orchestras. Over

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Tanja Dorn


First earning a diploma in piano from the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin, Tanja Dorn went on to achieve a master’s degree in music from the Free University of Berlin. Cultivating her expertise as a music executive and officer manager, she spent the early days of her career as the artistic director of Klavierhaus and as an associate manager at Columbia Artists Management Inc. She became the senior vice president and the director of artist management for IMG Artists in 2007, positions she held until 2015. In 2016, she founded Dorn Music, where she continues to excel as the owner, chief executive officer and president. In her day to day work, Ms. Dorn finds and manages new talent, produces

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Susan E. Basalik knew that she wanted to be a teacher by the time she reached second grade, inspired by her own teachers and several relatives who were also teachers. After achieving her bachelor’s degree, she joined the Methacton School District in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, where she has worked for the last four decades, teaching music to third, fourth, fifth and sixth grade students. Specializing in string instruments, Ms. Basalik’s primary instrument is the cello, but she also holds proficiency in 12 other instruments, including the violin, viola and bass, as part of the teaching requirements for the state of Pennsylvania. Over the years, she has furthered her expertise with a Master of Education from Temple University in 1987 and

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Wendy Dio


Wendy Dio emerged into the entertainment world in 1981, when she became president of the Niji Entertainment Group, which she formed alongside her husband, the legendary heavy metal singer, songwriter, composer, and former front man of both Rainbow and Black Sabbath, Ronnie James Dio, who she’d married in 1978. During this time, Ms. Dio made a name for herself as a woman manager in the very male dominated entertainment industry, acting as a manager for such Los Angeles-based rock bands as Rough Cutt, NuHaven, Cold Sweat and Hellion. She was notably one of two women working in the role of manager during those early years, and her pioneering work paved the way for women in the industry. Serving as the

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A musician all her life, Nadine Sherry “Vic” Guckeisen first began playing the piano and organ when she was three and a half years old. Predominantly self-taught, she began by teaching herself how to imitate the songs she heard on TV. After earning a diploma from Kiel High School in 1969, she joined Lakeland University, where she graduated with a degree in business administration in 1973. Subsequently discovering her love of education while volunteering with local schools, she entered the field of education as the volunteer director with the Kiel Area School District from 1998 to 2004 and as a teacher’s aide with the Holy Rosary School from 1998 to 2002. In 2002, Ms. Guckeisen accepted a position teaching at

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Carol Modesitt


Carol Ann Modesitt is a professor of music and former chair of the department of music at Southern Utah University, where she has taught voice, opera, diction and vocal pedagogy for more than three decades. She joined the faculty at Southern Utah University in 1993, helping establish and develop the school’s voice program into one of the best in the region, and guiding her students to win more than 200 state- and national-level awards for performance. Currently, she is the head of Southern Utah University’s voice department and director for the school’s award-winning musical theater and opera productions. During her time with the university, Ms. Modesitt has directed more than 40 student productions of repertory classics including “La Boheme,” “Don

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Born with an innate talent for music, Randi Stroh, MM, started studying and playing piano at the age of 5 and began her advanced music education in high school at the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York, where she graduated with “Honor and Distinction in Music.” After completing a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, at Smith College in Massachusetts in 1971, she subsequently enrolled at the College of Music at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she earned a Bachelor of Music, with honors, in 1975 and a Master of Music in 1982. Ms. Stroh brings a creative approach to everything she does and attributes her success to many excellent teachers, as well as her own perseverance and ability

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Kim Martin, Mary Ellen Marth


Kim Martin, also known as Mary Ellen Marth, is a writer, entertainer, and band leader who has found acclaim recording and touring the United States and Canada since the 1960s. Born and raised on a farm in Minnesota, Ms. Martin discovered her musical gifts at a young age and some of her earliest memories are of practicing by singing to the birds and squirrels outside her bedroom. By the age of 5, she had been singing and taking tap dancing lessons for several years and had already developed a strong stage presence and a love for performing. She got her start not long after, when her mother took her to Minneapolis to audition for the backing band on “Slim Jim’s

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