• Production still from SERSE
  • french horns
  • choir and orchestra
  • pianist, clarinetist, and violinist
  • violin section of orchestra
  • wind orchestra
  • Jazz Band on stage

Student/Alumni Accomplishments



Music Therapy Student Alumni Does Presentation at the NCAMTA

(11.27.2018) Brianna Negrete, MT-BC, M.M., Music Therapy class of 2009 did a presentation titled: “A Growing Impact: Innovative Interventions for Short-term and Long-term Pediatric Palliative Care” at the National Conference for the American Music Therapy Association on November 17, 2018 in Dallas, Texas.  

CSUN Music Industry Administration Student wins 4th Annual Fast Pitch Competition

Maja SlopieckaMaja Slopiecka

(11.21.2018) Congratulations to Maja Slopiecka, Music Industry Administration Graduate Cohort 7 student from Poland, who was the winner in the 4th Annual CSUN Fast Pitch New Venture Competition hosted by CSUN’s David Nazarian College of Business and Economics. CSUN Fast Pitch is an "elevator pitch" competition where 8 teams of CSUN students, selected as finalists from a competitive field, have three minutes & three slides to pitch their new venture idea to a panel of judges and audience. Each of the student presentations is followed by a 5-7 minute Q&A period from the distinguished panel of judges.

Horizon Covers

Ms. Slopiecka’s product, Horizon Covers, specializes in producing tough, high-quality, and reusable covers that keep your luggage safe from scratches, dirt, and water during travel. The cover protects and prolongs the lifespan of a suitcase. Horizon is made from one of the world’s toughest materials, which is also used by the military due to its ability to survive in extreme conditions. For more information on Horizon Covers, please visit their website at:

CSUN Music Student Receives CBDNA Mike Moss Conducting Study Grant

Claudio Alcántar

(5.21.2018) Congratulations to graduate conducting student, Claudio Alcántar, who has been chosen as one of this year’s recipients for the CBDNA (College Band Directors National Association) Mike Moss Conducting Study Grant.

The CBDNA are a diverse and talented community of musicians, teachers, conductors, composers, scholars, pre-professional students, and lovers of art music who have in common a deep affection and passion for the many aspects of the college wind band: its vibrant and expanding repertoire; its inclusive and wide-ranging stylistic and genre-driven constituent ensembles; and all the myriad activities and artistic aspirations that bind its devoted participants together as a community.

The Mike Moss Conducting Study Grant is directed to women and people of diverse ethnicity. These grants are an opportunity for professional development and enhancement and the opportunity to attend one of several leading symposiums across the country.

Claudio Alcántar Claudio Alcántar conducting in the Wind Ensemble in October 2017

“Super excited to have been given this opportunity thanks to my learning experience here at CSUN!” said Mr. Alcántar.

Mr. Alcántar will participate at the Band Conducting and Pedagogy Workshop at the University of Michigan with conductors: Michael Haithcock, Courtney Snyder, Andrea Brown, John Pasquale, and Jerald Schwiebert.

Mr. Alcántar just completed the requirements for the degree, Master of Music in Band Conducting, having studied with CSUN Director of Bands, Lawrence Stoffel, for the past two years. Dr. Stoffel notes, "Claudio has been an exemplary graduate student and musician. His work with the CSUN Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony these past four semesters has shown Claudio to be a most-promising conductor and aspiring music educator."

CSUN Music Therapy Graduates Present Workshop at the Western Region Conference

(3.6.2018) CSUN music therapy graduates Nicole Wiederecht and Christina Ebersole recently presented a workshop titled "Community Programming for Adults with Disabilities" at the Western Region Conference of the American Music Therapy Association.  Also presenting at the conference was music therapy graduate Kalani Das who presented on advocating for music therapy.

CSUN NAfME Collegiate Chapter wins Chapter of the Year for the Fourth Time

(2.19.2018) On Friday evening, February 16 in San Jose, our very own CSUN student chapter of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) was awarded the Collegiate Student Chapter of the Year Award at a gala awards banquet held as part of the California All-State Music Education Conference. This was the fourth time CSUN has been awarded this honor, an unprecedented achievement in all of California. Left-to-right in the photo we see student chapter members Olivia Bacon, Evann Carter, President James Flores and Raynard Solomon, with Faculty Advisor Dr. John Whitener. Congratulations to all the hard-working members of the CSUN student NAfME chapter!

CSUN Jazz Combo Invited to Compete in Prestigious Monterey "Next Generation" Jazz Festival

(1.25.2018) Congratulations to CSUN Jazz Combo, Kairos, on their invitation to compete with five other bands from across the nation at the prestigious Monterey "Next Generation" Jazz Festival. CSUN is the only school with a band made up of entirely undergraduate students.

Members of Kairos:
Keelan Walters, guitar (sophomore)
Ian Houts, bass (freshman)
Myles Martin, drums (sophomore)
Sean Harrison, sax (junior)
Luke Reeder, sax (senior)

CSUN Music Master's Student article published in School Band & Orchestra Magazine

Wind Orchestra

(1.24.2018) Claudio Alcàntar, a credential student also working on his master's in Band Conducting, had his article "Collaborating with Your Community Music Schools A Win for Music Education" published in the latest issue of School Band & Orchestra Magazine! The article manuscript was his project from taking MUS 696 - Guided Research last semester. 

To read Mr. Alcàntar's article, click here

Matthew Soibelman Wins Scholarship in 2017 Competition for Male Singers

Four Singers Awarded Scholarships in S. Livingston Mather Scholarship Competition

Matthew Soibelman

(11.14.2017)Bass Matthew Soibelman, a native of Los Angeles, California is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at California State University Northridge. In April, Mr. Soibelman placed second in Center Stage Opera’s Young Artist Vocal Competition, receiving the LA Opera Encouragement Award. He was a finalist in the 2017 Kristen Lewis Foundation Scholarship Competition and the National Opera Association’s Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition. In 2016, Mr. Soibelman placed first in the Cal-Western Freshman Division of NATS. He has participated in Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artist Vocal Academy, OperaWorks and Dolora Zajick’s Institute for Young Dramatic Voices.

Fifteen finalists selected from twenty-five applicants competed for four scholarships on November 4, 2016. The competition’s premier award, the S. Livingston Mather scholarship, honors the memory of S. Livingston (Liv) Mather, who was a singing member of The Singers’ Club for many years and a devoted friend until his death in 1960. The S. Livingston Mather Charitable Trust funds the Mather Scholarship.

Founded in 1892, The Singers' Club of Cleveland presents a repertoire of traditional men's choral music, bold commissioned works, and modern compositions. The Club has awarded scholarships to aspiring male singers since its early days. The Mather Competition began in 1988, and has now awarded scholarships totaling more than $70,000. The Club's members are a cross-section of greater Cleveland representing varied ages, backgrounds, and avocations, all sharing a love for performing outstanding vocal music. Artistic Director Natalie Mallis, the first female director in the Club’s 125-year history, leads The Singers' Club.

CSUN Music Student Founded Ensemble Releases Its First Inspirational Story

Group shot of Project Resonance Ensemble

(11.1.2017) Project Resonance – an ensemble composed of CSUN Music students – performed a special composed orchestral arrangement to honor Esvin Rodriguez, a renowned painter for 20 years who uses his mouth to create his art. A curation of Mr. Rodriguez’ mouth paintings were displayed around the Cypress Courtyard allowing audience members to view his artwork while listening to the live orchestra.

Mr. RodriguezFormer gang member, Mr. Rodriguez was shot in the neck and back when he was just 17 years old and has been a quadriplegic on life support ever since. Mr. Rodriguez has come a long way and his success would not have come to fruition if not for the help from his longtime friend and past Program Director of the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Gye Di Capua. Mr. Rodriguez is one of only 700 mouth painters in the world and is part of Swiss art organization dedicated to mouth and foot painters.

Mr. Barcinas composed the music in just one day drawing inspiration from Mr. Rodriguez’ life and paintings as he wrote “Esvin’s Theme”. “In the beginning of the piece, I had the orchestra incorporate their mouth as they whispered ‘Shhh,’ to imitate the passing of waves, which can be found in a lot of his paintings.” Mr. Barcinas went a step further taking into consideration of the audience to make sure that the harmony and music were simplified enough for a layperson to enjoy and understand. “I just am really thankful for everyone for coming out today,” said Mr. Rodriguez.

Inspirational stories such as the life of Mr. Rodriguez are what fuels Project Resonance to create dynamic and innovative collaborations while making a positive impact on the world. 

Project Resonance performersProject Resonance is a new, up-and-coming orchestra ensemble co-founded by music director, producer and lead composer, Bryan Barcinas and co-composer and orchestrator, Miguel Leyva – both are currently Seniors in Media Composition. The inspiration behind the project first came up two years ago when Mr. Barcinas transferred to CSUN’s Music Department and discussed his ideas with Mr. Leyva. Mr. Barcinas wanted to challenge himself by combining his two passions - writing and telling real stories from real people. His desire and intense passion for storytelling and to connect with other human beings to create something meaningful has been the foundation for Project Resonance. The ensembles dedication to work together providing fresh takes on storytelling, art, film, and music really shine in everything that they produce. Mr. Barcinas’ ambition and vision to take an unconventional path and share inspiring stories through different channels of creativity emanates through all of the members in Project Resonance – each member holding the same passion to create interesting, innovative and meaningful things. 

Project Resonance EnsembleMembers of the ensemble include: Bryan Barcinas, composer and music director; Miguel Leyva, orchestrator; Violins: Sarah Macpherson, Cheyenne Lee, Andrew Krezinger, Samantha Lam, and Luna Choi; Viola: Kevin Russell Breeding and Aubrey Yifan Tang; ‘Cello: Helen Staley (Friend of Mr. Rodriguez and Mr. Di Capua), Alex Vincent, and Adrian Garza; Bass: Miguel Leyva; Piano: Miguel Lopez; Guitars: Andrew Gomez-Ramirez and Nelson De Leon; Brass: Diego Patricio, Charles Brunson and Alejandro Paz; Flute: Stephen Crews; Percussion: Maria Ortega and Alex Vincent.

“For me, seeing the impact we've made on Esvin and his friends and family made all the all-nighters completely worth it. It’s amazing being able to do what we love for people and have it mean so much to them. Really, I'm just so lucky I have a team of talented musicians and filmmakers who also believe in the same things I do.” said Mr. Barcinas.

Keep your eye out for more innovative collaborations from Project Resonance – the next one, which includes a ballerina who dances to fire will surely leave you wanting more.

To view the inspirational video of Project Resonance performing for Mr. Rodriguez, click here:

To view more photos from the outdoor orchestral performance, visit CSUN Music’s Flickr page here:

CSUN Music Student's Composition Wins Judges' Top 10 Picks in Genius Contest

Student conducting a small group.

(10.19.2017) CSUN Music student and Senior in Media Composition, Bryan Barcinas, recently undertook an incredible project and submitted an arrangement to Indi’s, Show Us Your Musical GENIUS. The contest took the Emmy nominated Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music, written by Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe, for National Geographic’s scripted series, GENIUS, and produced an exciting competition where musicians showed off their genius by creating masterpieces honoring the original theme music.

Written for a small string ensemble, piano, timpani, and bowed vibes – Mr. Barcinas’ project was conceptualized and made in only four days with the help from CSUN Music and Film students including piano faculty member, Jason Stoll, all of whom share the same passion. “It was an intense experience having to do that much work in such a short period of time, but I found myself working with some of the best and kindest musicians in the CSUN Music Department. It was truly an honor to have these guys bring the composition to life. I am looking forward to bigger and better collaborations in the future!” said Mr. Barcinas.

The entire ensemble included Bryan Barcinas, composer and conductor; Miguel Leyva, orchestrator; Jay Swuen, videographer; Kevin Russell Breeding, viola; Aubrey Yifan Tang, violin; Miguel Lopez, violin; Miguel Vidal, violin; Luna Choi, violin; Lauren Noelle Takacs, cello; Justin Chang, bowed vibes; Maria Ortega, timpani; Brian Lee Thompson, violin; Mika Shimomoto, bass; Ludvin Maldonado, bass; Samantha Lam, violin; Adrian Garza, cello; Andrew Krezinger, violin; Cheyenne Lee, violin; and piano faculty member Jason Stoll.

Mr. Barcinas’ submission got over 60,000 views in just four days and was selected as the Judges’ Top 10 Picks out of over 1,000 submissions. Impressed with his work, Lorne Balfe commented, “Nice live string ensemble” along with world-renowned cellist and composer, Tina Guo who also replied, “Nicely done!” Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe have both mentioned their excitement in following more of Mr. Barcinas’ works and seeing his creativity unfold in the future. 

To view Mr. Barcinas' submission, click here:

CSUN Jazz Combo Wins Angel City Jazz Festival Young Artist Competition

KAIROS group members

(10.6.2017) Congratulations to our CSUN Jazz Combo, “Kairos”, on placing First Place in the Angel City Jazz Festival Young Artist Competition held this past weekend on Sunday, October 1, 2017. The members of Kairos include: Myles Martin, drums; Ian Houts, bass; Keelan Walters, guitar; Luke Reeder, tenor sax; and Sean Harrison, alto sax.

The Angel City Jazz Festival Young Artist Competition is presented by Angel City Arts, a non-profit organization committed to cultivating and revitalizing jazz culture in Los Angeles while also creating an avenue for young jazz musicians to create and collaborate with one another in an effort to expand upon the traditional concepts of jazz and improvisation. The competitions give young musicians the opportunity to have their original music heard and evaluated by working jazz professionals.

Kairos was awarded a $1,500 prize and will be performing a live set on the opening night of the 2017 Angel City Jazz Festival held on Friday, October 6, 2017 at the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art (LACMA)

CSUN Music Student Receives Best Score Award on Short Film, Relevé

Lauren X. Pham

(9.18.2017) This past spring, Lauren X. Pham, CSUN Music student and Senior in Commercial Media Writing, collaborated with Desireé V. Castro, CSUN CTVA student and director, to write the score for the Senior Thesis Short Film, Relevé. Along with a dynamic cast and crew which included: Mark Alvarado, Editor; Alex Morse, Editor; Vicky Solorio, Producer & Sound Editor; Jasmine Luna, Sound Mixer; Kevin Breeding, violin; Ivan Dantas, violin; Valerie Wiley, viola; Adrian Garza, ‘cello; and Billy Tobenkin, ‘cello, Ms. Castro’s filmcame to life.

Relevé traces the tale of a young woman who desires to chase her dreams as a ballet dancer, but an unhealthy relationship hinders her path.

References to classical themes similar to Aronofsky’s, Black Swan and Stravinsky’s, Firebird come through in the score along with a touch of modern elements. “The concept of the music was exciting, and the process of writing the score was both enjoyable and challenging—enjoyable because I loved the genre, yet challenging because it was the longest project I had worked on so far,” said Ms. Pham.

Relevé premiered at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater and from there began earning awards from various film festivals. When the film won Best Score from the Mindfield Film Festival, Ms. Pham felt honored. “It’s a fantastic feeling being acknowledged for our work. Thanks to Desireé and her team, I was able to be a part of this journey, and I can’t wait to see what else the future has in store for us.”

The collaboration between CSUN students within the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication is fostered by its mission to encourage students to hone their craft while developing relationships with their peers in other disciplines to produce quality work. 

MM Student in Orchestral Conducting concludes successful run of productions at SMC & CSUN

Mercedes Juan

(9.15.2017) CSUN graduate orchestral conducting major Mercedes Juan conducted highly successful productions of Carmen at Santa Monica College and Bernstein's "Trouble in Tahiti" at CSUN this past spring.  She has just been appointed Music Director and Conductor of Center Stage Opera in San Fernando Valley, taking over for another former CSUN student Brian Onderdonk. Mercedes continues an active career as a coach and accompanist as well, working at CSUN, Cal. State L.A. and Santa Monica College.

CSUN violinists win latest American Youth Symphony audition

Madeleine Hogue and Sophia Schuldt

(9.15.2017) Congratulations to CSUN Department of Music’s violin students Madeleine Hogue and Sophia Schuldt, who are starting their tenure with the American Youth Symphony after winning its most recent audition. The two violinists are joining a long string of CSUN students and alumni who have become active members of the music community in the greater Los Angeles area.

Since its foundation in 1964 by Mehli Mehta, the brother of former LA Philharmonic music director Zubin Mehta, the American Youth Symphony has been the premier ensemble dedicated to providing a performing and orchestral training experience leading up to a professional life in music for two entire generations of orchestral musicians in Los Angeles and beyond. The AYS’s auditions are very competitive, and many international artists such as pianist Yefim Bronfman, violinists Midori and Sarah Chang have soloed with the AYS.

Despite their impending busy concertizing with the AYS, Madeleine and Sophia are staying at CSUN to finish their degrees and have promised to keep up their regular non-orchestral practicing in preparation for their continued weekly violin lessons!

Music Therapy Grad Student and Team Members take Third Place at CSUN’s Bull Ring Event

Team members: Deborah Kazel Sipos, Josh Halem, Jacob Sipos and Noah Sipos

(5.17.2017) Congratulations to Deborah Kazel Sipos, a senior in the Music Therapy Graduate Studies Program, and her team members: Josh Halem, Jacob Sipos and Noah Sipos, on receiving third place in this year’s Bull Ring Final Event held on May 2, 2017 in the USU Grand Salon. 

Germ 3 Solutions’ first product, the Body Substance Isolation (BSI) Sleeve, is a germ free barrier for blood pressure cuffs which helps reduce the spread of infectious diseases in medical settings. They received $5,000 towards the development of their product, $10,000 in free legal services, $10,000 in marketing services, and $10,000 in mentoring services. This impressive achievement was no small feat for this dynamic team considering the first and second place teams were semifinalists in last year’s Bull ring.

“We are truly honored to even be considered in such an outstanding field of contenders especially as I am the only student not in the business program,” Sipos said. “I also want to thank Professor’s Ron Borczon and Helen Dolas for all of the invaluable skills I have learned. They proved to be so beneficial in helping us do the necessary research and in structuring our presentation.” Former alum of CSUN’s Art Department, Ms. Sipos is also the current President of MTAN (Music Therapy Association of Northridge), a student organization whose members are either majoring or interested in music therapy.

Now in its 2nd year, the Entrepreneurship Program at the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics strives to complement the new Minor in Entrepreneurship by pairing our students’ inherent energy and creativity with the skills and knowledge necessary to evaluate the feasibility of an idea and ultimately pitch, launch, and grow a new venture.

At its core, the Bull Ring New Venture Competition has been created to promote an “action bias” in our students, a concept of experiential learning that involves building assumptions, testing those assumptions in the market, defining product requirements, and adjusting dynamically as the first customers emerge.

CSUN Music Student Selected as a Presidential Scholar for the 2017-2018 Academic Year

William Brooks

(4.27.2017) Congratulations to William Brooks, Junior Vocal Performance major, who has been selected as a Presidential Scholar for the 2017-2018 academic year. As CSUN’s most prestigious scholarship program, the committee was very selective during their decision-making process. Out of 1,550 students who were eligible, Mr. Brooks was one of nine students selected to receive this prestigious honor. 

The Presidential Scholarship is one of the three programs under the Northridge Scholarship Program. The award gives undergraduate students the opportunity to work with faculty mentors on significant projects. The scholarship is reserved for Cal State Northridge undergraduate students who have earned at least 60 units with a 3.5 grade point average or transfer students who have earned at least 24 Northridge units by the end of the spring semester.

With help from faculty mentor, Dr. Deanna Murray and mentor, Dr. Anthony Cantrell, Director of Arts Education at the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC), Mr. Brooks hopes to provide high quality music lessons for students of local schools around California State University, Northridge by engaging Vocal Performance majors in music education and private voice instruction.