Music at Deerfield

The Music Program at Deerfield Academy is home to a world-renowned faculty of music professionals and boasts a state-of-the-art performing arts facility that rivals the nation’s finest conservatories. Our wide array of music classes, ensembles, guest artist residencies, and off-campus music exchange tours provide students the opportunity to gain deep knowledge and direct experience in the many diverse facets of the modern musical landscape

World Class

The Music Program at Deerfield Academy is home to a world-renowned faculty of music professionals and boasts a state-of-the-art performing arts facility that rivals the nation’s finest conservatories.

Guest Artists

Deerfield is committed to bringing the world’s greatest artists to campus to work directly with our students and perform for the Deerfield community. Recent guest musicians include:

  • Sandeep Das
  • Kim Kashkashian
  • The Musicians from Marlboro
  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo 
  • Kneebody
  • The Spektral Quartet
  • Decoda
  • Henry Kramer

Our wide array of music classes, ensembles, guest artist residencies, and off-campus music exchange tours provide students the opportunity to gain deep knowledge and direct experience in the many diverse facets of the modern musical landscape.

Core Music
Faculty

Karen Atherton

Concert Band Director

Karen Atherton was Director of Bands and Arts Department Chair at Frontier Regional School in South Deerfield (MA) for 28 years.  Under her direction, both the middle school concert band and the high school wind ensemble traveled to many festivals and received numerous awards.  

Mrs. Atherton is the 2005 recipient of the prestigious Lowell Mason Award given by the National Association for Music Educators and the 2008 Harold Grinspoon Excellence in Teaching Award. She was awarded a Fulbright Teacher Exchange Placement in Lincolnshire England in 2006. She has served as Chairperson of MMEA – Western District, All-State Concert Band manager, as well as Middle School and High School Jazz Band, Orchestra and Concert Band manager for her district. She has directed the Westfield State University Wind Symphony, the University of Massachusetts Symphonic Band, the Smith College Wind Ensemble, Quabbin Valley Music Festival, Vermont District VI Junior and Senior High Concert Bands, Amherst Community Band and Orange Community Band. She is currently an Adjunct Faculty member at Westfield State University, teaching Instrumental Music Education, History of American Protest Music and Jazz History; brass coach and Conductor of the Deerfield Academy Band and Director of the Shelburne Falls Military Band. She plays trumpet with the Pioneer Valley Symphony, Clarion Brass Quintet, as well as numerous free-lance engagements throughout New England.

Thomas Bergeron

Director of Music

Thomas Bergeron is the Director of Music at Deerfield Academy. He conducts the Deerfield Orchestra and teaches Honors Chamber Music and Honors Music Composition and Analysis. Before coming to Deerfield, Mr. Bergeron held teaching positions at Williams College, Tufts University, Bennington College, Yale, Amherst College, and the Brimmer and May School.  He is currently a member of the Atlantic Brass Quintet and the Principal Trumpet of the Springfield Symphony. Mr. Bergeron has performed with The American Symphony, The Temptations, T-Pain, Vampire Weekend, Idina Menzel, The Four Tops, Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie, and numerous Broadway shows. His television appearances include Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and CBS This Morning. He spent two years in residence at Carnegie Hall with Juilliard’s Ensemble Connect and holds two advanced degrees from Yale, where he won the Woolsey Hall Concerto Competition and received the John Swallow Award for excellence in brass playing. Thomas is a Conn-Selmer Endorsement Artist. 

Michael Pfitzer

Choral Director

Michael Pfitzer is the Choral Director at Deerfield. He has spent the last ten years working with choirs in the Boston and Albany areas. He was previously the Director of Choral Studies at the University at Albany and has taught and conducted choirs at Harvard University, Boston University, Framingham State University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has also led international performances in Cuba, Romania, and Brazil. Mr. Pfitzer earned a D.M.A. degree in Conducting from Boston University in 2019, which culminated in the New York State premiere of Cuban composer José María Vitier’s masterwork Misa Cubana. He has collaborated with artists such as Robert Patterson, Dr. André de Quadros, Craig Hella Johnson and Conspirare, Lina Gonzalez-Granados and the Unitas Ensemble, Dr. Kyra Gaunt, and popular musician MILCK. 

Sarah Swersey

Music Program Coordinator

Sarah Swersey is the Music Program Coordinator, flute teacher and an ensemble coach at Deerfield. She has performed all over the United States and abroad as an orchestral and chamber musician. During her seven years as principal flutist of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain, she performed all over Europe both with the orchestra and as a guest soloist. She has performed at the Lincoln Center Festival, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and the Tanglewood Music Festival. She has appeared on several recordings by Grammy Award-winning cellist David Darling, who co-produced Sarah’s solo flute CD, Nightingale.

She plays an eclectic mix of music with guitarist Joe Belmont in their ensemble, Duo Fusion. She holds degrees from Oberlin College Conservatory and Yale University School of Music.

John Van Eps

Director of bands

John Van Eps was born into a family of musicians. Van Eps is a distinguished producer, composer and engineer and has recieved an M.M. in Percussion Performance from New England Conservatory. He has studied with Vic Firth, Gary Burton, David Samuels, Tony Ames on Percussion,  Thomas McKinley, Patrick Hollenbeck for Composition. He has written songs for numerous feature films and has written thousands of commercial scores including Chevy, Ford, Xerox, AT&T, Advil, Visa, Tyco, Fisher Price, Jell-O, McDonalds and Campbell’s.

Yu-Mei Wei

Director of Piano
Director of Piano Yu-Mei Wei serves as our lead piano teacher, organizes piano studio events, and is the accompanist for students creating college application portfolios and audition videos.

Music Faculty Bios

Bassoon

Rebecca Eldredge is currently the adjunct bassoon teacher at Smith College, Amherst College and Mount Holyoke College. She has been a member of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra for 30 years, after playing with the Rhode Island Philharmonic for 17 years. Becky received a Music Performance degree from the University of Massachusetts, and a Masters Degree in Music History from the University of New Hampshire. She is a founding member of the Cantilena Wind Quintet, which performed in the Boston area for 11 years. She has also performed with the Opera Company of Boston, Opera North, Portland Symphony, Hanover Chamber Orchestra, the New England Bach Festival and Dinosaur Annex in addition to work with YoYo Ma, The Moody Blues, Sarah McLachlan, Liza Minelli, Tony Bennett and Yanni. She makes her home in the village of Montague Center, MA where she lives with her three cats in a 200 year-old house.

Cello

Xiao Lan Wang’s first professional appearance was as the soloist in Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra at age 15. She went on to study at The Curtis Institute of music where she had the privilege to learn from such great masters as Leonard Bernstein, David Soyer, Jorge Bolet, and Gabor Rejto. Ms. Wang later furthered her studies at The Eastman School of Music and The University of Southern California. In her 20-year career as a member of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, she had the privilege to perform with the many of the world’s greatest musicians including Leornard Bernstein, Sergio Celibidache, Yo-Yo Ma, Luciano Pavorotti, Anne-Sophie Mutter and many more. Ms. Wang has been teaching at Deerfield Academy since 2007.

Marie-Volcy Pelletier, cellist, is a native of Paris, France. Ms. Pelletier was a member of the Lyon Symphony at the age of 21. Subsequently she won a Fulbright Scholarship to study with Bernard Greenhouse, cellist of the renowned Beaux Arts Trio, at the New England Conservatory. 

She has been the acting principal cellist of the Orquestra Ciutat de Barcelona in Spain. While living in London Ms. Pelletier frequently participated in concerts of the London Symphony Orchestra and was a member of the BBC Orchestra. She has been featured in chamber music concerts and given recitals on both sides of the Atlantic. Ms. Pelletier was a founding member of the Concert Players String Trio in London, the Forster String Trio and the Kinor Quartet in New York City. She was also a member of the Laurentian String Quartet, which held a residency at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. Ms. Pelletier may be heard on the critically-acclaimed CD New England Trios, released on the Bridge label. Recognized as a highly effective teacher, Ms. Pelletier is a Lecturer in Cello Performance at Smith College in addition to her work at Deerfield Academy. She is currently a member of the Sage Chamber Music Society and the Elm Chamber Ensemble.

Deborah Sherr has had a distinguished career as a cellist, teacher, chamber music coach and arts administrator. She has taught cello and coached chamber music at Smith College, Amherst College, Mt. Holyoke College, The University of Massachusetts, Concord Academy, Buckingham Browne and Nichols, Phillips Exeter Academy, and The Williston Northampton School, where she was Head of the Fine Arts Department, Head of Instrumental Music, and a teacher of music history classes. She was  Executive and Artistic Director of Greenwood Music Camp and Avaloch Farm Music Institute for decades, as well as the Director of the Northampton Community Music Center. Ms Sherr holds Bachelor and Masters degrees in music from Smith College, did extensive doctoral work in Musicology at Brandeis University, and has a Certificate of Advanced Performance from The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Her primary cello teachers were John Sessions, William Pleeth and Aldo Parisot.

Carinet

Lynn Sussman is the clarinet instructor and an ensemble coach at Deerfield Academy. She is also the clarinet instructor at Smith College and previously taught at Amherst College. She has been a member of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra for thirty years and has performed with the Berkshire Lyric Orchestra, the Brattleboro Concert Choir Orchestra, Columbia Festival Orchestra, New Hampshire Symphony, Albany Symphony, Monadnock Music Festival, Mohawk Trail Concerts, and is a member of the Paradise Wind Quintet. She has recorded on the Albany Records label and for Blank Productions. She holds music performance degrees from Manhattan School of Music and the University of Connecticut.

Double + Electric Bass

Flute

Sarah Swersey is the Music Program Coordinator, flute teacher and an ensemble coach at Deerfield. She has performed all over the United States and abroad as an orchestral and chamber musician. During her seven years as principal flutist of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain, she performed all over Europe both with the orchestra and as a guest soloist. She has performed at the Lincoln Center Festival, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and the Tanglewood Music Festival. She has appeared on several recordings by Grammy Award-winning cellist David Darling, who co-produced Sarah’s solo flute CD, Nightingale.

She plays an eclectic mix of music with guitarist Joe Belmont in their ensemble, Duo Fusion. She holds degrees from Oberlin College Conservatory and Yale University School of Music.

French Horn

Sheffra Spiridopoulos has been an in-demand French horn player throughout New England for the past two decades. She has performed with the Portland Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Albany Symphony, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Ballet Orchestra, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, Glimmerglass Festival Opera Orchestra, and was a member of the Vermont Symphony for seventeen years. Beyond New England she has appeared with the Kansas City Symphony, Key West Symphony and the Nashville Symphony. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Sheffra holds a Master of Music from Michigan State University, and completed further graduate work at the New England Conservatory and Boston University. Sheffra has served on the faculties of Rhode Island College and Eastern Nazarene College, and has been a Visiting Artist and Instructor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She presently teaches at Smith College and Deerfield Academy.

Guitar

Robert Phelps, guitarist, has been Artist Associate of Guitar at Williams College since 1990.  He is a performing member of the Williams Chamber Players and Jazz Faculty. Mr. Phelps holds a Master of Music degree in guitar performance from Yale University School of Music. He is also a Mel Bay author. Among his publications, ”Mel Bay’s Guitar Workbook” was endorsed by guitarists Oscar Ghiglia and Robert Guthrie. The book was used as a class text in classical guitar fingerboard harmony at the Eastman School of Music, was the subject of a feature review in Soundboard, and part of Larry Baion’s guitar curriculum at Berklee College of Music. Mr Phelps has premiered works at the College Music Society and has performed several Canadian-American exchange concerts and master classes at the University of Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.  He has produced two albums of solo guitar works and chamber music on the Gasparo label. Mr. Phelps has also played in major theater productions at the Hartford Stage Company and at the Barter Theater, the state theater of Virginia. Working with harpsichordist Fernando Valenti he produced six guitar transcriptions from the sonatas for harpsichord by Domenico Scarlatti which are published by the Columbia Music Company and reviewed in Classical Guitar Magazine. For decades, his high school students have been accepted into the most renowned graduate and undergraduate music programs across the country. 

Peter Trias has performed and recorded with many renowned jazz artists such as Wayne Shorter, John Patitucci, “Toots” Thielemans, Jaco Pastorius, Tom Breckline, Dave Weckl, Anthony Jackson, Blues legend Bo Diddley, and vocalist Ben Vareen to name a few.

MAndolin

Oboe + English Horn

Organ

Percussion

John Van Eps was born into a family of musicians. Van Eps is a distinguished producer, composer and engineer and has recieved an M.M. in Percussion Performance from New England Conservatory. He has studied with Vic Firth, Gary Burton, David Samuels, Tony Ames on Percussion,  Thomas McKinley, Patrick Hollenbeck for Composition. He has written songs for numerous feature films and has written thousands of commercial scores including Chevy, Ford, Xerox, AT&T, Advil, Visa, Tyco, Fisher Price, Jell-O, McDonalds and Campbell’s.

Gary Rzab is a drummer, percussionist, dance accompanist, and composer. He’s been playing, teaching, and accompanying for over 35 years. In addition to his work at Deerfield Academy, he teaches at The Bement School, Eaglebrook, Williston-Northampton, and Northampton Community Music Center. At Deerfield Academy, Gary also leads the percussion ensemble. While living in Boston, Gary accompanied dance classes at The Boston Conservatory, the Walnut Hill School for Performing Arts, and The Dance Complex. Now living in Western Massachusetts, he accompanies classes at Williams and Bennington Colleges. Current band projects include Village Hill Trio—a wildly alternative jazz band—and ELECTRIO, a progressive fusion band.

Piano

Dorothy Claire Glover received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Belhaven University. She has taught piano for twelve years and loves finding the best ways to help children learn music. She currently serves as the Director of Music at United Congregational Church in Holyoke. In addition to composing, arranging, reading, and writing music notation, Dorothy’s students improvise, play by ear, transpose, and harmonize.

Brenda Moore Miller has held teaching positions at UMass, Amherst College, Curry College, Milton Academy and Dana Hall Schools. As an official Artistic Ambassador for the United States, she and cellist Andrew Mark (currently on the faculty of Boston Conservatory at Berklee) traveled to eleven countries performing, conducting master classes and delivering lectures. She continues to perform in the New England area and has performed in the US and Germany with flutist Suzanne Bona, who also serves as host of “Sunday Baroque , heard on NPR throughout the US. Ms. Miller holds a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from the New England Conservatory and has been coached in chamber music under such masters as Yo-Yo Ma, Leon Kirschner, Bernard Greenhouse, Andrew Wolf and Leonard Shure.

Stephen Page As a young musician, pianist Stephen Page began a quest that would define his life: a search for the totality that is jazz—a balance of musical discipline, self-discovery, the intensity and risk of improvised creation in the moment, and the innovative genius of the legendary artists who defined the genre. After completing a degree in Jazz Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Page continued studying with jazz luminaries Billy Taylor, Yusef Lateef, and Kenny Werner. Privately, Page cultivated his sound by dissecting and analyzing the greats who influenced him – Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Bud Powell, and Oscar Peterson among others – deconstructing and assimilating to create his own dynamic voice. Although Page creates innovative improvisations, the melodic core of the song still resonates with the listener. The great saxophonist Archie Shepp, with whom Page has jammed on many occasions, has said, “Apart from a brilliant talent, Stephen Page possesses two qualities essential to a performing artist: patience and originality.” Long-time McCoy Tyner bassist Avery Sharpe notes “Stephen Page is in a class by himself, his piano playing is sensitive and extraordinary. Whether playing solo, with a singer, or with an ensemble, his touch and listening abilities are fantastic. He interprets jazz standards in a new and meaningful way and does an impeccable interpretation on originals. When he has worked with me, it has been a pleasure.” Page has played throughout the eastern seaboard with a variety of musical combinations from solo work to big bands. He teaches at Amherst College and The Williston Northampton School in addition to his work at Deerfield Academy, where he is the jazz piano teacher.

Native Taiwanese pianist Yu-Mei Wei has appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestras in the United States, Europe and Taiwan. She has presented recitals in Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan. As the first Taiwanese musician to tour in Poland, she treated crowds in Warsaw, Poznan, Blawistok, and Kalisz.

Her passion for chamber music inspired Ms. Wei to form the Taipei Fine Arts Trio in 1994. The trio gave a series of performances and seminars in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong to promote Taiwan-China cultural and musical exchange. They also represented Taiwan Council of Planning and Development in the first Taiwan Arts Festival in Seattle. The Taipei Fine Arts Trio has released 3 recordings: Taipei Fine Arts Trio, Musical Feast from Chi Mei (Piano Trio I), and Millennium 2000.

Saxophone

Bruce has performed extensively in the United States, Canada and Russia as a soloist, orchestral and jazz orchestra musician. He has performed with Tony Bennett, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, Yusef Lateef, The Williamstown Theatre Orchestra, Stage West Theatre Co, and the Young at Heart Chorus. He studied saxophone and jazz improvisation at the Berklee School of Music with Joe Viola.  He has appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” with Katie Couric and toured Russia with the Jeff Holmes Big Band, where he was also a guest artist at the Jazz Philharmonic Hall in St.Petersburg under the direction of David Goloschokin. He has also appeared as a guest artist with the Keene State College Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Don Baldini, bassist with the NBC Tonight Show Orchestra, and for twenty years held the oboe/english horn chair with the Commonwealth Opera Orchestra in Northampton. Currently, Bruce is the lead alto saxophonist for the Amherst Jazz Orchestra, principal reed player for the Barrington Stage Co., and is on the adjunct music faculty at Greenfield Community College, Eaglebrook School, and Smith College in addition to Deerfield Academy.

Trombone

Tim Atherton is an active professional trombonist and educator. He has performed, recorded and toured nationally and internationally with ensembles such as The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, The Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Bernadette Peters, Josh Groban, Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project, The Berkshire Symphony Orchestra, and The Massachusetts Wind Orchestra. He is a Senior Lecturer in music at Dartmouth College and an Instructor in Low Brass and History of Jazz at Westfield State University. As a biographer, he authored Leave It To Me… My Life in Music, by Donn Trenner with Tim Atherton, which is published by BearManor Media.

Trumpet

Karen Atherton was Director of Bands and Arts Department Chair at Frontier Regional School in South Deerfield (MA) for 28 years.  Under her direction, both the middle school concert band and the high school wind ensemble traveled to many festivals and received numerous awards.  

Mrs. Atherton is the 2005 recipient of the prestigious Lowell Mason Award given by the National Association for Music Educators and the 2008 Harold Grinspoon Excellence in Teaching Award. She was awarded a Fulbright Teacher Exchange Placement in Lincolnshire England in 2006. She has served as Chairperson of MMEA – Western District, All-State Concert Band manager, as well as Middle School and High School Jazz Band, Orchestra and Concert Band manager for her district. She has directed the Westfield State University Wind Symphony, the University of Massachusetts Symphonic Band, the Smith College Wind Ensemble, Quabbin Valley Music Festival, Vermont District VI Junior and Senior High Concert Bands, Amherst Community Band and Orange Community Band. She is currently an Adjunct Faculty member at Westfield State University, teaching Instrumental Music Education, History of American Protest Music and Jazz History; brass coach and Conductor of the Deerfield Academy Band and Director of the Shelburne Falls Military Band. She plays trumpet with the Pioneer Valley Symphony, Clarion Brass Quintet, as well as numerous free-lance engagements throughout New England.

Thomas Bergeron is the Director of Music at Deerfield Academy. He conducts the Deerfield Orchestra and teaches Honors Chamber Music and Honors Music Composition and Analysis. Before coming to Deerfield, Mr. Bergeron held teaching positions at Williams College, Tufts University, Bennington College, Yale, Amherst College, and the Brimmer and May School.  He is currently a member of the Atlantic Brass Quintet and the Principal Trumpet of the Springfield Symphony. Mr. Bergeron has performed with The American Symphony, The Temptations, T-Pain, Vampire Weekend, Idina Menzel, The Four Tops, Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie, and numerous Broadway shows. His television appearances include Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and CBS This Morning. He spent two years in residence at Carnegie Hall with Juilliard’s Ensemble Connect and holds two advanced degrees from Yale, where he won the Woolsey Hall Concerto Competition and received the John Swallow Award for excellence in brass playing. Thomas is a Conn-Selmer Endorsement Artist.

Tuba

Violin/Viola

As a violinist and violist, Anthony Berner has performed as soloist and in chamber music concerts throughout the NYC area at such venues as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the 92nd St. Y and the Longhouse Chamber Series. He has performed at the Aspen Music Festival, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Saint-Maximin Festivale de Musique and the East Hampton Longhouse Festival. Mr. Berner is a graduate of Harvard University where he was a four-year member of Leon Kirschner’s chamber music seminar. His principal teachers include Lewis Kaplan and Lillian Fuchs. He has served on the faculty of the Lyra Music Workshop and Festival at Smith College, was a juror of the Andrea Postacchini International Violin Competition in Fermo, Italy, and performs regularly in chamber music collaborations throughout New England. He is a Trustee of the Marlboro School of Music and currently on the music faculty at Smith College in addition to his work at Deerfield Academy where he teaches violin, viola and chamber music.

Voice (high)

Soprano Agnes Coakley Cox is a specialist in early music and a sought-after choral and ensemble singer. Agnes is co-founder and co-director of the ensemble for 17th-century music, In Stile Moderno, which performs regularly in Brattleboro, VT and the Boston area. Known for her clear, bright tone and high-caliber musicianship, Agnes is also in demand as a choral musician. Recent choral appearances have been with the Handel & Haydn Society, Ensemble Altera, Zenith Ensemble, and The Thirteen. She has also enjoyed collaborating with early music ensembles such as the Washington Bach Ensemble, the Choir of the Church of the Advent, the Boston Camerata, Seven Times Salt, Crescendo, and La Fiocco, and has lent her voice to contemporary music with the Multiverse Series. Agnes holds a B.A. in Music from Yale and two masters’ degrees in early music voice and music education from the Musik-Akademie Basel, Switzerland. She lives in Greenfield with her husband and their young son.

Laurie Ellington is a vocalist, conductor and music educator with over 15 years’ experience leading choruses of all ages. Her 20+ year singing career encompasses work with bands big and small, pop and jazz a cappella groups, musical theater and classical choirs in the US, Europe and Asia. As a conductor, she believes that ensemble singing is one of life’s great pleasures; she believes group singing should be about joy, connection and creating compelling performances, no matter the repertoire. Laurie holds a B.A. from Harvard and a Master’s in Music Education from Boston Conservatory.

Mezzo-soprano Caitlin Felsman has been praised for her “velvety low register” and “bright, ringing top” [Boston Music Intelligencer]. She is a dynamic, passionate performer, equally at home on the opera stage and in intimate recital venues. Caitlin made her professional opera debut in November 2011 with Austin Lyric Opera as Second Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. Caitlin is a frequent soloist with ensembles across New England including the Harvard-Radcliffe Chorus, the Cambridge Community Chorus, and Tufts University Chorus. She has twice appeared as a soloist at the Monadnock Festival of Music in collaboration with the Harvard Summer Chorus and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. She is a proud board member of Opera on Tap Boston whose mission is to bring opera to new audiences in nontraditional venues.

Praised for her “warm, colorful mezzo” by Opera News, French mezzo-soprano Sophie Michaux has become one of North-America’s most versatile and compelling vocalists. Born in London and raised in the French alps, Sophie’s unique background informs her artistic identity, making her feel at home in an eclectic span of repertoire ranging from grand opera to French cabaret songs. Her recent engagements include collaborations with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Bach Collegium San Diego, Dartmouth College Handel Society, The Lorelei Ensemble, Palaver Strings, Blue Heron, Ruckus, Upper Valley Baroque, and Lowell Chamber Orchestra. A consummate singing actor, Sophie is known for her committed portrayals of a wide variety of demanding roles on the opera stage. Sophie recently appeared as Ceres in Boston Early Music Festival’s production of Lalande’s rarely-staged Les Fontaines de Versailles, garnering acclaim from the Boston Musical Intelligencer for her “astonishing range and flexibility.” She has sung the title roles of La Cenerentola (NEMPAC), Lucretia in The Rape of Lucretia (Opera Brittenica), and Rinaldo (Boston Opera Collaborative) for which she was nominated as Best Female Performer in an Operafor the 2015 Arts Impulse Theatre Awards. Sophie has enjoyed the challenge of interpreting a number of modern and contemporary opera roles, among them Anne in To Hell and Back by Jake Heggie (Boston Opera Collaborative), Mrs. Soames in Our Town by Ned Rorem (Boston Opera Collaborative), Higuchi in Troubled Waterby Mischa Salkind-Pearl (Guerilla Opera), and Ceres in The Tempest by Joseph Summer (The Shakespeare Concerts).

Ms. Michaux’s numerous awards include the 2nd place at the 2021 Handel Aria Competition, the William Grogan Award in the 2022 Lyndon Woodside Oratorio-Solo. She was also a finalist in the Opera Columbus’ Cooper-Bing Competition, and in the 2019 Talent of the World Competition.

Sophie is a proud core member of Lorelei Ensemble, Boston’s groundbreaking professional women’s ensemble. With Lorelei, she has performed alongside the Boston Symphony Orchestra, A Far Cry, and others, and been featured soloist in numerous works from Renaissance polyphony to Björk. She has also sung extensively with Blue Heron and is a frequent professional ensemble member with Boston Lyric Opera. She can be heard on recordings with the Boston Early Music Festival, Blue Heron, the Lorelei Ensemble, Palaver Strings, La Cappella Mediterranea, The Revels, The Shakespeare Concerts, and Northern Harmony.

In addition to classical music, Sophie is passionate about performing folk music, world music, and popular song literature. She is a founding member of Sophie et Adam, a folk music duo with guitarist and singer Adam Jacob Simon, which recently presented an Edith Piaf Tribute Night at Cambridge’s Club Passim. She is also the founder of Culomba, a world music vocal ensemble that audaciously brings together audiences to experience the beauty and diversity of vocal music from very disparate styles, time periods, and regions. She has toured extensively with Northern Harmony, an ensemble that is renowned for its command of varied world ethnic singing styles from the Balkans, the Republic of Georgia, South Africa, and the United States.

Voice (Low)

Michael Pfitzer is the Choral Director at Deerfield. He has spent the last ten years working with choirs in the Boston and Albany areas. He was previously the Director of Choral Studies at the University at Albany and has taught and conducted choirs at Harvard University, Boston University, Framingham State University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has also led international performances in Cuba, Romania, and Brazil. Mr. Pfitzer earned a D.M.A. degree in Conducting from Boston University in 2019, which culminated in the New York State premiere of Cuban composer José María Vitier’s masterwork Misa Cubana. He has collaborated with artists such as Robert Patterson, Dr. André de Quadros, Craig Hella Johnson and Conspirare, Lina Gonzalez-Granados and the Unitas Ensemble, Dr. Kyra Gaunt, and popular musician MILCK.

COURSE OFFERINGS

How is today’s music put together? What path does music take from the time it leaves the creator until it arrives in your ear . Working in the recording studio, we will learn all aspects of production. Starting with pre-production, then recording, then editing, then mixing. Students will need to do much of the homework in the studio itself.

Singing builds community, commitment, self-discipline, personal ownership, and responsibility to the group. Open to anyone, and focused on singing, this course will introduce and develop skills in interpreting musical notation and understanding of melody, harmony, rhythm, and aesthetics. Students will develop proper singing technique and healthy habits relating to body alignment, breath management, vowel formation, proper resonation, clear diction, and accurate intonation. Classroom activities include sight-singing, light calisthenics, breathing exercises, meditation, historical research, music games, and improvisation. The ensemble will study and perform a wide range of musical styles and genres, including regularly dividing into separate Soprano/Alto and Tenor/Bass groups. 

Open by audition to advanced singers, this course builds on previously demonstrated skill in interpreting musical notation and understanding of melody, harmony, rhythm, and aesthetics. Students will develop proper singing technique and healthy habits relating to body alignment, breath management, vowel formation, proper resonation, clear diction, and accurate intonation. Classroom activities include sight-singing, light calisthenics, breathing exercises, meditation, historical research, music games, and improvisation. The ensemble will study and perform a wide range of musical styles and genres, including serving as an SATB a cappella ensemble.

This course provides an opportunity for experienced woodwind, brass, and percussion players to collaborate in a variety of ensemble settings including concert band, woodwind chamber groups, brass ensembles, saxophone ensembles, percussion groups, and jazz/rock bands.Ensemble assignments are made by the course instructor, and additional ensemble coaches are drawn from the applied teaching staff. Students work on improving their blend, technique, intonation, musicianship, ensemble playing, and improvisational skills.

This class aims to empower students to compose, produce, and share their own musical creations by unlocking the secrets of what makes music magical. To some degree, students willchoose the repertoire that we analyze. We we will break down and study elements of harmony, rhythm, melody, architecture, structure, color, instrumentation/orchestration, studio production choices, and performance techniques. Students will compose multiple musical works,both large scale and small, inspired by the secrets that we unlock through our various analyses. There will be opportunities to publish and share projects, including live performances and digital distribution services such as Spotify. Collaboration with other courses (e.g. Studio Production, Digital Filmmaking) will be encouraged. Industry-standard tools such as Avid Sibelius music composition software and ProTools production software will be learned and employed for projects.

This course offers our most advanced instrumentalists the opportunity to work in small ensembles, learning and performing repertoire by the world’s greatest composers. Class time consists of rotating coaching by Mr. Bergeron and our professional staff, performance classesin the Concert Hall (including peer feedback), student-led rehearsals, and guest artist visits (masterclasses and performances) from renowned chamber musicians. Students explore questions of performance practice, instrumental technique, emotion, expression, historical context, music theory, compositional architecture, performance psychology, and group dynamics. Each semester culminates with the Chamber Music Showcase Concert in the Concert Hall, which is open to the public and professionally recorded. Daily practice is expected and participation in the Deerfield Orchestra is required of all chamber musicians except pianists. Chamber musicians should also be taking private lessons.

Performing Ensemble Offerings

The Deerfield Orchestra is the largest instrumental ensemble on campus and is open to all students, faculty, staff, and community members. We perform the world’s greatest symphonic repertoire from the baroque, classical, romantic, and contemporary eras, plus music from film and video games, pop artists, and original compositions by student composers. All string players are welcome to play in the group. Woodwind, brass and percussion participation is by audition. The orchestra rehearsals on Mondays from 6:15pm – 7:45pm, after dinner and before study hall. Students enrolled in the Chamber Music class form the orchestra’s core of principal players, but enrollment in the class is not a requirement for participation in the orchestra.

The Deerfield Chorus is Deerfield’s largest choral ensemble, with participants from our student, faculty, staff, and local communities all singing together. The group performs choral repertoire from a wide variety of styles, traditions, and eras. The Chorus regularly performs with The Deerfield Orchestra and other local groups. All singers are welcome without an audition, from beginners to experienced musicians. The Chorus rehearsals on Mondays from 6:15pm – 7:45pm, after dinner and before study hall.. Students enrolled in the Advanced Vocal Ensemble and Chorus classes form the chorus’s core, but this is not a requirement for participation in the chorus.

Deerfield Academy is home to three student-led a cappella ​groups. The Rhapso-D’s are Deerfield’s soprano and alto group, the Mellow-D’s are Deerfield’s tenor and bass group, and the Reme-D’s are Deerfield’s group for all voice types. The groups meet twice per week, in the evenings after sit-down dinners, and are open by audition to interested singers at the beginning of the school year. ​

Private lessons

Our staff of over twenty highly qualified music teachers offer on-campus private music lessons for every orchestral wind and string instrument, piano, voice, bagpipes, and organ. Private lessons in jazz improvisation, composition, songwriting, and music production are also available. Our private teaching staff is curated to include a variety of professional backgrounds in order to accommodate every level of student, from beginner to conservatory-ready, as well as a range of specialties from classical and jazz to rock and pop.

Lessons are scheduled throughout the school day during students’ free periods, or after school during the cocurricular block. Students who receive tuition assistance will receive the same level of financial aid towards the cost of their private lessons.