Stellar cohort of musicians join Blair School faculty

Five world-class, transformational artists will be joining the faculty of the Vanderbilt Blair School of Music in Fall 2021, Martha Rivers Ingram Dean of the Vanderbilt Blair School of Music Lorenzo F. Candelaria has announced.

“Any one of these new faculty hires would have been a big story,” says Candelaria. “The fact that they are all arriving as a creative and dynamic cohort is unprecedented for any music school.”

The new faculty members are:

  • Mariam Adam, Assistant Professor of Clarinet. Adam is an internationally known chamber musician, soloist, music advocate and educator born in California to Egyptian and Mexican parents. Based most recently in Paris, France, she is a founding and former member of Grammy-nominated woodwind quintet Imani Winds, and has performed with Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Paquito D’Rivera and Yo Yo Ma, and been invited to top international festivals from Ravinia to BBC Proms.


  • Dashon Burton, Assistant Professor of Voice. Burton is an original member of groundbreaking vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, with whom he won a Grammy for their recording of Caroline Shaw’s Pulitzer-winning Partita for 8 Voices. Burton also won Grammys in 2021 for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album for Dame Ethyl Smyth’s The Prison with The Experiential Orchestra, and in 2014 for The Sacred Spirit of Russia with Conspirare choral ensemble.


  • Molly Herron, Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Composition. Herron specializes in composing for new and old instruments and collaborates with instrument builders. Her upcoming album, Through Lines: New Music for Viola da Gamba, will be released August 27th on New Amsterdam Records. Past projects include works for Argus String Quartet, Sō Percussion, Contemporaneous, and the String Orchestra of Brooklyn.


  • Pascal Le Boeuf, Visiting Assistant Professor in Computer Music and Technology. Le Boeuf is a Grammy-nominated jazz pianist, composer and electronic artist whose work fuses classical technique with production-based technology. His latest project,  imaginist, is an album-length collaboration between JACK Quartet and the LeBoeuf Brothers. As a keyboardist he has toured with Australian pop artist Meg Mac (opening for D’Angelo and Clean Bandit), Allan Harris, gospel-funk band Jesus on the Mainline, and his piano trio “Pascal’s Triangle,” featuring bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Justin Brown.


  • Jessie Montgomery, Artist in Residence. Violinist and composer Montgomery, a winner of ASCAP’s Leonard Bernstein Award for emerging composers, is composer-in-residence for the Sphinx Organization, which supports young Black and Latinx string players. She has written works for Orpheus Chamber Ensemble, National Choral Society, New York Philharmonic and many more. She is the current Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, founding member of PUBLIQuartet, former member of Catalyst Quartet, and performs regularly with Silkroad Ensemble and Sphinx Virtuosi.

“The strength, diversity, and transformational power of this group is without peer,” says Candelaria. “Every member of this cohort is a superior artist committed to transforming lives, building community, and changing our world for the better—through music, with music, and in music. What they will do together is one of the most anticipated stories of the year.”

Robert S. Freeman, who has had a distinguished career as longtime director of the Eastman School of Music, as past dean of fine arts at the University of Texas at Austin, and as past president of the New England Conservatory, admires the boldness and notoriety of Vanderbilt Blair’s dynamic young cohort. “The drawing power of any great music school is the strength of its faculty. Clearly, Vanderbilt’s Blair School is becoming a national music school of the first rank.”

Blake-Anthony Johnson, an alumnus of the Blair School (B.Mus. ’12) and CEO of the MacArthur Genius Award-winning Chicago Sinfonietta (one of the most diverse orchestras in the United States) adds, “It is heartening to see these internationally recognized artists, some of whom I worked with personally, joining the Blair faculty. These new hires reflect the level of work done at Blair, and further cement its place in the heart of Music City and on the leading edge of our field’s future.”