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UMBC Department of Music
Alumni Achievements
The Department of Music is very proud of our alumni.

If you are a graduate of UMBC's Music program we encourage you to share your latest news with us.

Christie Finn, B.A. Voice Performance, 2007

Soprano Christie Finn, a 2007 UMBC graduate of the Music Department, performed on May 27, 2010 at An Die Musik LIVE! (Baltimore, MD) with her new music duo NOISE-BRIDGE, collaborating with clarinetist Felix Behringer. The two musicians performed works by Luciano Berio, Stuart Saunders Smith (UMBC faculty), Karlheinz Stockhause, Tzvi Avni, New Rorem, and Georges Aperghis. The concert also included premieres of works by New York composers Matt Aelmore and Drake Ralph Anderson. NOISE-BRIDGE reprised the concert on June 3rd in New York City and will participate in the Darmstadt Summer Courses in Darmstadt, Germany this July.

Finn recently earned her Masters of Music at Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX) and currently lives in New York City, continuing her vocal studies with Lucy Shelton in the Contemporary Performance Graduate Program at Manhattan School of Music.

Duke Thompson, B.A. Piano Performance, 1978

Duke Thompson"If you really believe what you're doing has appeal, there will be a market for it," says Duke Thompson '78. "You have to believe in what you're doing and love it." Indeed, Thompson has made a career of his love for music and passion for teaching it. After graduating from UMBC with a degree in piano performance, he moved to New York City, where he studied music and painted apartments to fund his living expenses. After 2 ½ years, he moved back to Maryland to teach and earn a master's in piano from the University of Maryland, College Park. He eventually earned a doctorate in piano from Arizona State University and taught at Red Deer College in Alberta, Canada for 17 years before returning to Maryland in 2001.

A Harford County native, Thompson founded the Maryland Conservatory of Music in Bel Air in 2002. The school started with 31 students and now has over 300, with over 30 faculty members and an operating budget of $500,000. Thompson prides himself on offering music instruction in a non-traditional manner: in addition to private lessons, students (who range in age from 5 to 18) have the opportunity to take weekly group classes and learn from guest artists. The school holds recitals every seven weeks, giving students the chance to receive frequent accolades from friends and family members. Thompson says the recitals are his favorite part about running the Conservatory: "The kids are nervous but when they come out to perform, they have a big smile. It's so fun."

In addition to directing the Conservatory, which recently opened a second facility in Havre de Grace, Thompson also owns a blues club in the town of Red Deer, Canada and records and performs his own music. In 1998, he released a CD of his performances of Gershwin classics, which is now in its third printing. Currently, he is recording a CD which includes his own piano music and arrangements of classic rock tunes, such as those by The Doors, The Who and Pink Floyd. He also travels throughout North America giving concerts.

Thompson credits his professors at UMBC with inspiring his dream of owning a conservatory and is proud that his dream is now reality. "No one else was running a conservatory this way, so there was a need for it." He emphasizes that would-be entrepreneurs in the arts need to say "Yes, that can be done" and then "go for it."

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