The scale of UA’s graduate choral conducting studio offers our students the chance to meet a diverse group of individuals representing a vast range of educational backgrounds and career ambitions. This diverse cohort of artist-scholars informs the educational experience of studying at UA and welcomes a range of unique identities, experiences, and goals.

Read below to learn more about our students. Click here to learn more about our alumni.

J. Brayton Bollenbacher

MM, in progress
MSW, University of Washington
BA (Sexuality Studies), The Ohio State University
BA (Music), The Ohio State University

Brayton Bollenbacher is the artistic director of Desert Voices Mixed Chorus and Reveille Men’s Chorus. Prior to living in Tucson, Brayton served for six years as the artistic director of Diverse Harmony (the nation’s first queer-straight alliance youth chorus) and Spectrum, Diverse Harmony’s small, a cappella ensemble. A social worker as well as a musician, Brayton completed his LICSW credentials in 2014. Brayton is excited to be changing lives and fostering community through song in Tucson and has ultimate dreams of helping everyone find their voice.

Angelica Dunsavage

DMA, in progress, minor in Music Education
MM, Bowling Green State University
BM, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Angelica Dunsavage is currently the choral administrative graduate assistant and the Director of Music at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church in Tucson. Her article, Changing the Role of Conductor, recently appeared in the AZACDA Antiphon, and her current research includes secular music of the early German Baroque era and its accessibility to secondary school programs. Angelica has served in church, community, and public-school teaching positions in the Ohio and Pennsylvania areas. She has studied in workshops and masterclasses with Dr. James Jordan, Dr. John Alexander, Dr. James Meaders, and Vance George. She remains active as a professional chorister and mezzo-soprano soloist.

Gavin Ely

DMA, in progress, minor in Music Education
MM, University of Arizona
BA (Music), Grand Canyon University

Gavin Ely is currently the Interim Artistic Director of the Tucson Masterworks Chorale and is employed as a Graduate Assistant at the University of Arizona, serving as the Choral Music Librarian. Previously, Gavin was the Assistant Conductor of the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus for the past two seasons, 2016–2018. An avid performer, he has been featured throughout the Tucson and Phoenix areas as both a tenor soloist and chorister.

Donté Alexander Ford

PhD, in progress, major in Musicology,
MSM, MM, MDiv, Southern Methodist University
BA (Music),  Pennsylvania State University

Donté Alexander Ford is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is a dynamic conductor, drummer, organist, pianist, and tubist in his own right. Donte’s many talents have afforded him the opportunity to serve as lead pianist, resident percussionist, opera chorister, student conductor, liturgist, lecturer, clinician, and Minister of Music. Donté serves as the assistant director of the James Abbington Church Music Academy and the founder/artistic director of Sankofa Chorale. Prior to moving to Tucson, Donté served on the music staff at First Baptist Church of Hamilton Park and teaching faculty of First Baptist Dallas School of the Arts.

Peter Fischer

MM, in progress
BM, Westminster Choir College

Peter Fischer is a professional singer, teacher, and choral director. His work with young voices includes 13 years as the Youth Choir Director at Irvington Presbyterian Church and five years leading a private high school choral program in Manhattan. Peter has participated in several lauded recording projects, notably, singing in choirs on two GRAMMY-winning albums. He has been a founding member of three a cappella groups and sang bass with the vocal jazz quartet Vox Bop, which was awarded first place in the New York Regional Harmony Sweepstakes Competition. Some of Peter’s arrangements for treble voices are published through GIA.

Timothy Klingler

DMA, in progress, minor in Vocal Pedagogy
MM, University of Northern Colorado
BMEd, Northern Arizona University

Tim Klingler is a DMA student in choral conducting, minoring in vocal pedagogy. Mr. Klingler taught secondary school choirs in Austin, Katy, and Alief, Texas, for six years and also has a background in theatre arts directing, designing, producing, and playing roles in dozens of productions. He currently is a graduate assistant in the UA School of Theater, Film and Television in addition to his duties in the choral department conducting Kantorei and serving as a board member of the ACDA graduate chapter. Mr. Klingler has developed expertise in technology through theatre, vocal jazz, and a cappella ensemble productions.

Chunghee Lee

DMA, in progress, major in Voice Performance
PS, Manhattan School of Music
MM, Manhattan School of Music
BM, Korea National University of Arts

Soprano Chunghee Lee is a DMA student at the University of Arizona under the tutelage of Yunah Lee.  Recent roles include Diana (Orpheus in the Underworld), Romilda (Xerxes) with the Pittsburgh Festival Opera, Rosalinda (Die Fledermaus) with the New Jersey City of University, and Mimi (La Bohème). Previous roles include Nedda (I Pagliacci), Anna (Anna Bolena), Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro), Cio-Cio-San (Madama Butterfly), Papagena (Die Zauberflöte), and Adina (L’elisir d’amore).  Mrs. Lee won the IMKA Music Competition in 2018, the East Coast International and CAI Virtuoso Competitions in 2017, and the Ye-eum Music and Nationwide Music Competitions.

Anna Ziyun Li

DMA, in progress
MM (Choral Conducting), University of Arizona
MM (Music Education), University of Central Oklahoma
BMEd, Shanghai Conservatory of Music

Ziyun Li is an insightful, pleasant choral conductor who comes from Changsha, Hunan, China. Li has worked with a variety of ensembles including elementary school choirs, high school choirs, university student choirs, and community choruses. Li has performed in many places around the world, including Hunan, Hubei, Shanghai, Macau, London, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Arizona. Currently, Li is an invited guest conductor of Nanxuan, a Chinese advanced high school choir that holds the 2013 World Peace Vienna Gold Award.


Yujia Luo

Gabriel Machado

MM, in progress
BM, Federal University of Paraná
BA (Music Education), Federal University of Paraná

Gabriel Machado is a Brazilian conductor pursuing a master’s degree in Choral Conducting at the University of Arizona. Prior to the beginning of his graduate studies, Machado founded and directed the Kintsugi Chamber Choir in Brazil (2016) and received a scholarship during his undergraduate degree to be the assistant conductor and pianist for the Lunaire Choir (2014/15). He has also worked as an assistant conductor at the Federal University of Paraná’s Philharmonic Orchestra (Brazil, 2017). Machado’s main conducting teachers include Alvaro Nadolny, Bruce Chamberlain, Daisuke Soga, Elizabeth Schauer, Mara Campos, Márcio Steuernagel, and Miguel Felipe.

Nicky Manlove

Erik Peregrine

DMA, in progress, minor in Historical Musicology
MM, University of British Columbia
BA (Music), Lewis & Clark College

Erik Peregrine is the artistic director of Ensemble Companio, an award-winning Northeastern chamber choir.  Peregrine has previously held a variety of conducting and teaching positions across North America, including with the Woodbury Chorus & Orchestra, One Voice Mixed Chorus, Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, Vancouver Peace Choir, and numerous community ensembles. Passionate about the intersection of music and social issues, Peregrine has recently presented at the Chorus America (2018), ACDA Central/North Central Division (2018), and ACDA of Minnesota (2017) conferences about diversity in choral music, transgender vocal pedagogy, and creating inclusive ensembles for LGBTQ+ singers.

Sunny Park

DMA, in progress, minor in Vocal Performance
MM, Westminster Choir College
BM (Church Music), Yonsei University (Seoul, South Korea)

Sunny Park is the assistant director for the University of Arizona Community Chorus and the music director for Tucson Youngnak Church. Before moving to Tucson, she was the pianist for Saint Michael Roman Catholic Church in Trenton, New Jersey. A native of South Korea, she toured Spain, the United States, Japan, and Germany as a member of the Yonsei University Concert Choir and has taken part in worldwide choir competitions. She has studied conducting with Haeock Eunice Kim, Erin Hyunjin Cho, Joe Miller, James Jordan, Steve Pilkington, and Tom Shelton. Sunny enjoys skiing, swimming, and cooking up Korean dishes!

Todd Wachsman

DMA, in progress, minor in Vocal Pedagogy
MM, Queens College
BA (Music), Northern Arizona University

Todd Wachsman is the founder of the Forest Hills Choir, in Forest Hills, Queens. He has worked at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College as an adjunct instructor and served as an adjunct assistant professor at Hofstra University. He is currently the artistic director of the Green Valley Community Chorus. Wachsman has also worked with the Astoria Choir of New York and led several ensembles in the New York area.