Alumni Profiles

Mentor Externships: In a Mentor Externship, students are paired with alumni volunteers whose jobs are similar to the students’ future career interests. The students shadow their alumni hosts at their workplaces, allowing for quality observation time as well as hands-on experience. As with many study abroad experiences, externships also include a home-stay in which students reside with their alumni hosts during these one to four week experiences. A premium is placed on conversations to and from work, after work, over meals, on the subway, or at your local coffee shop. It’s about work as a part of life, a common bond, and a relationship-centered experience for both the alumni volunteers and the students.If you are interested in Carleton's Mentor Externships, click here. 

Career Guides: The Career Center is launching a new alumni volunteer program called Career Guides. The Career Guides program is designed to draw on the impressive and varied experience of our alumni network to help current students, as well as younger alums, to make a successful transition to their lives after Carleton.  Career Guides will allow you to expand the ways you can be a valuable contact and resource for all of our students, as well as recent alums, as they progress along the path towards a successful post-Carleton life.

What does becoming a Career Guide involve? The Career Guide Volunteer description is as follows:

Signing up as a Career Guide indicates to current students and fellow alums that you’re eager to talk about your career path, share advice, and provide insights on how you got from here to there.  Students who contact you may be at various points in their own career development; they may be just beginning to discern possible career paths or they may be looking for advice on how best to prepare for and apply for entry-level positions in your field.  As a Career Guide, you are not obligated to develop long-term mentoring relationships with any of the students who contact you; nor are you expected to hire a student for a job or internship. Your advice and wisdom is all that we seek.

To learn more about the Career Guide program please check out our website by clicking on the following link.

How do you go about signing up to be a Career Guide? Just go to the Career Guides signup page by clicking on the link below and follow the three simple steps.

If you have any questions or need further information on the Career Guides program please do not hesitate to contact Brian Murphy at 507-222-4446 or

A liberal arts education with a major in music can lead students in many different directions. Here's what some of our alumni are doing (planning) post-Carleton. 

Emily Cogsdill 2011
Hometown: Buffalo, NY
Comps Topic: Methodologies of analyzing rap music
Currently: working on a PhD in Psychology at Harvard (for the next 20 years or so)
Spare Time Activities: spending too much time on the internet and playing Draw Something.
Music continues to be a huge part of my life, and keeps me from going insane with the challenges of adult life. This year I played clarinet in the graduate student orchestra, and I also sing in the Harvard University Choir, which pays me to sing at church every week. (This means that I'm a Professional Musician, right?) We are always learning an overwhelming amount of new music, and they took me because I can sight-sing pretty well, thanks to the Music Theory sequence! Take heed, new and prospective majors!
I also got my very own Mbira Dzavadzimu, having been in the Mbira ensemble in my senior year at Carleton. I play it whenever I need to relax and de-stress!

Glenn Greenberg  2011
Hometown:  Minneapolis, MN
Comps Topic:  Composition, Chamber Piano Concerto
Currently:  Law student
Spare Time Activities:  Conducting, composition

David Kornfeld 2011
Hometown: Guerneville, CA
Comps Topic: Composition ("Gilgamesh: a Comps Talk of Epic Proportions")
Currently: Founded a musical theatre company in Chicago; composing musicals
Spare Time Activities: yoga, hiking, watching Smash
Music is an enormous part of my life post-Carleton. I'm writing, producing and conducting musical theatre for a new company I founded, as well as working as a freelance pianist, composer and music director. My education in music at Carleton hugely influenced me in showing me the value of collaboration and giving me ideas of creative ways to use and develop my skills. For my full bio and up-to-date info, you can visit

Aleksandr (Alex) Brusentsev 2010
Hometown: St. Petersburg, Russia
Comps topic: Composition
Currently: Working on a masters degree in composition from the Royal Academy of Music (London) and pursuing a career as a freelance composer.  Meet the Leverhulme Young Composers
Four young, unpublished composers are chosen each year to take part in the Leverhulme Young Composers program:
Spare Time Activities: Running, biking, reading, and spending time discussing interesting topics with good people.

Dan Goldberg 2008
Hometown: Hershey, PA
Comps Topic: analysis and interpretation of Hammersmith, a piece for band by Gustav Holst.
Currently: doctoral student in music theory at Yale University, working on a dissertation about meter in Balkan folk music.
Spare Time Activities: reading, playing tennis, learning to cook, traveling.
After graduating from Carleton, I spent two years earning a master's degree in music theory at the University of British Columbia, and when I finish my current degree, I'll look for a job teaching and researching music at the college level.  I'm a euphonium player, and although I've gradually become less and less involved in the type of performance activities to which I devoted much of my time at Carleton, I remain optimistic that I'll be able to return to a concert band or brass ensemble in the not-too-distant future.

Natalie Draper 2007

Hometown: Bethesda, MD
Comps Topic: Composition: "Musical Tableaux Vivants of a Small Town: A Composer's Survey of Philosophical and Musicological Theories on Extramusical Meaning"
Currently: Doctoral student in composition and theory graduate assistant at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. I also work part-time at a local, community music school.
Spare Time Activities: Spare time? What spare time?! If I do find some time, I love biking and cooking.
I'm hoping to make it out to reunion in June. Hope everyone is doing well!

Rachel Flamm 2007
Hometown: Originally Palatine, IL, now Redmond, WA
Comps Topic: Mahler, Debussy and the legacy of Wagner
Currently: Tour Manager with ACFEA Tour Consultants, where I organize international concert tours for choirs, bands and orchestras from the US and Canada. One of my tours from July, 2011, the Saskatoon Children's Choir tour of South Africa, was recently featured on the CBC (Canadian public radio) program Inside the Music and can be heard on their website.
Spare Time Activities: Reading, cooking, traveling, photography, knitting and singing with the Northwest Chamber Chorus

Sarah Hersh 2006
Hometown: Great Neck, NY
Comps Topic: composing a piece for voice, flute, clarinet, viola, and cello using text from Euripides' Helen
Sarah is currently in New York City working for the Metropolitan Council for Jewish Poverty. In her spare time she is studying dragons in Romania and composing a piece for dragon rituals.

Collin Thomas 2005
Comps topic: Musical structure in Debussy's "La Mer"
Currently: Consultant at The Boston Consulting Group. Although not directly related to my job, music classes have been tremendously helpful in my career. My job involves looking at different companies/industries, quickly determining how they are organized, and thinking about creative ways to help them improve along a specified dimension. Music theory and history classes were great at teaching me to quickly recognize how data is organized and how to identify factors versus "background noise." And then, of course, private lessons and composition classes helped me develop a creative mindset and taught me to pay attention to details. Finally, learning to perform gave me valuable public speaking and presence skills. So the music major taught me some of the most valuable skills I have today, in addition to giving me a deeper appreciation for art and humanity.
Spare time activities: Piano (lifetime goal is to learn Chopin's four ballades), travel, triathlons (long runs / bike rides are a great opportunity to listen to symphonies without interruptions)

Hale Jacob 2004
Hometown: Laguna Beach, CA
Comps Topic: Keyboard Design for Small-Handed Pianists
Currently: Living in NYC (see below)
Spare Time Activities: Pianos
After Carleton, I attended a two-year program in Advanced Piano Technology at North Bennet Street School, where I met my husband, a fellow piano technician. For the past seven years, I have worked as a piano technician at the Aspen and Tanglewood music festivals, The Curtis Institute of Music, The Juilliard School, and currently, Steinway & Sons. My husband and I reside in New York City and operate an independent piano service business, Rising Thirds Piano Service. After working on thousands of pianos, I decided it was time to move on to a less physically demanding profession. I am very excited to report that I was recently accepted to New York University School of Law and will begin my studies there this fall.

Jesse Kriss 2003
Hometown: Pasadena, CA
Comps Topic: A Harbinger of Infrastructure to Come (composition, computer-aided performance system)
Currently: Human Interfaces Project Lead at NASA/JPL
My comps led me to the field of Human-Computer Interaction, which I studied at Carnegie Mellon after Carleton. (I was pleasantly surprised to discover that visual design was taught almost precisely like music composition.) Following grad school, I joined an information visualization group at IBM Research, worked with fellow Carls at Figure 53, moved to Chicago to join the technology team for the Obama 2012 campaign, and now find myself at the Jet Propulsion Lab, working on control systems for space robots, collaboration systems for climate scientists, and other projects in support of space and earth science missions.
Spare Time Activities: DJing, trying to relocate less frequently

Justin Schoolmaster 2003
Comps: Extended Tonalities in 20th Century Sacred Choral Music
Currently: Department of Justice, Washington D.C.
Spare Time: Singing, running, photography, diving
After a wonderful experience with the musical opportunities at Carleton, I decided to explore another passion of mine, education, and moved to Cambridge, MA to pursue graduate study at Harvard University.  I took a brief detour into technology (Apple Inc.) before returning to higher ed to work in university administration for a number of years.  The tech bug bit me again and I  decided to go back to school for an MBA at Yale University, subsequently working for Google for a short time before finding a government role in DC.  All of my employers post-Carleton remarked on my music degree as something that differentiated me from other job candidates.  A creative approach to work and life is definitely something from which I have benefitted and I am grateful for the intellectual curiosity as well as the core skills that Carleton instilled in me!

Andrew Bean 2002
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
Comps Topic: Multi-Instrumental Performance of Works by F. Benda, B. Crusell, S. Reich, D. Gordon, V. Young, and H. Silver.
Currently: Associate Veterinarian at Rancho San Diego Animal Hospital
Spare Time Activities: video games, woodwind chamber music, guinea pig research, fantasy novels 

Tania Madrigal 2002
Hometown: Champaign, IL
Comps Topic: Development of Inner String voices in Haydn's String Quartets
Currently: Teaching Bilingual Early Childhood Special Education
Spare Time Activities: Reading and spending time with our daughter
We're planning on going to Reunion this year. Maybe we'll see you!

Jonas Cartano, 2001
Original hometown: Davis, CA
Current hometown: New York, NY
Comps topic: historical overview of Duke Ellington's Sacred Concerts
Currently: Director of Community Initiatives, EmcArts
Spare Time Activities: choral singer, ultimate frisbee player, volunteer for various nonprofit organizations, Carleton Alumni Annual Fund Board Member (beginning Aug 2012), Carleton Alumni Admissions Representative - Co-Team Leader New York City, Carleton Alumni Mentoring Program - Mentor, beginning-level rock guitarist.
       I'm happy to serve as a resources for current students whenever I
      can, especially for those looking into arts administration careers.

Bio:  Jonas Cartano has an extensive background managing education programs in the performing arts that reach students, teachers, and arts professionals seeking professional development.  Jonas joined EmcArts in August 2011, serves as Director of Community Initiatives, and leads programs across the United States that support the development and implementation of new, innovative, and mission-centered strategies by cultural organizations of all sizes.  From 2008-2011, he served as Director of Programs for Chorus America producing education events for administrative, artistic, and governance leaders of the North America’s independent choruses, including programming and producing the Annual Conference.  He has consulted on projects for Project Zero at Harvard University, the New York Philharmonic, and OPERA America, and also held full-time positions with Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.  In 2008, Jonas received an EdM in arts in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and participated in the Emerging Leaders Institute at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.  He recently served on the steering committee for Emerging Arts Leaders DC.
     A lifelong choral singer, Jonas has performed with a range of independent choruses including Tanglewood Festival Chorus and C4: The Choral Composer/Conductor Collective and performed and held board and administrative positions with The Dessoff Choirs, Thomas Circle Singers, and the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus.

Katrina Gardner Gottlieb 2000
Hometown: Madison, Connecticut
Comps Topic: Performance Practice in Mozart's 3rd Horn Concert
Currently: Working as the director of instrumental music at Stonington High School (Stonington, CT).  I teach jazz band, marching band, pep band, wind ensemble, music theory, and music technology.  I was named the Stonington Public School's Teacher of the Year for 2011-2012.  Before working in Stonington, I taught 7th and 8th grade band in the Ledyard, CT school system.
Spare Time Activities: I play the French horn in various local ensembles.  I enjoy traveling, cross country skiing and hiking.  I have a newborn son, Anders, who takes up the majority of my time.  I am married to a Carl (Craig Gottlieb '96) and we enjoy living in the seaside village of Mystic, CT.

Shaun Kadlec  2000
Hometown: Frazier Park, California
Comps Topic: Chance and graphic notation in John Cage's Concert for Piano and Orchestra
Currently: Filmmaker.  I recently finished a feature-length documentary on the gay and lesbian underground in Cameroon:  I have new documentary projects in the works, though I haven't yet started shooting. I'm hoping to have one of them in production by January 2014. I also direct commercials from time to time and am developing some scripted feature films.
Spare Time Activities: Travel, playing piano.

Susan G. Letcher 2000
Hometown: Southwest Harbor, Maine
Comps Topic: MARINA (a piece for clarinet, violin, piano and voice)
Currently: Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Purchase College (SUNY)
Spare Time Activities: tae kwon do, playing piano and guitar, woodworking, gardening, cooking.
At Carleton I was a double major in biology and music. After graduating, I hiked the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia and back again, debating all the while whether to pursue music or biology as a career. While I eventually chose biology-- leading to ecology and eventually environmental studies-- music remains a big part of my life. I still play the piano, and I started playing the guitar after the trail, since I never wanted to be without a musical instrument for that long again. While I was in graduate school at University of Connecticut I played the piano for a local church, and during my stints in the field in Costa Rica I brought my guitar everywhere. (I still do!) My music background was instrumental (so to speak) in landing my job at Purchase, a college with world-class arts programs and an emphasis on the relationships between the arts, liberal arts, and sciences.

Studying music at Carleton gave me a much deeper appreciation for music, both the practical performance aspects and the theoretical underpinnings. The music major also helped hone my work ethic-- those 8:30 am theory classes every single weekday during sophomore year reinforced the value of hard work and perseverance. Best of all were the friendships that developed as we struggled through counterpoint, sight-singing, and Justin's famous dictations. All of us who made it through that year still share a special bond, although we've scattered across the country.

Elyse Carter Vosen  1992
Hometown:  Chisholm, MN 
Comps Topic: "Women's Voices: Gender Identity in Hasidic Music"
Spare Time Activities:  singing, reading, cooking, walking, dance

Ph.D. in Anthropology of Music, University of Pennsylvania
Dissertation:  "Seventh-Fire Children:  Musical Performances of Decolonization among Anishinaabe Youth" (Wiley Housewright Dissertation Prize, Society for American Music, 2002). 

Elyse Carter Vosen is an assistant professor in the Department of Global, Cultural, and Language Studies at The College of St. Scholastica, where she teaches cultural studies, anthropology, and ethnomusicology. She also directs the Oreck-Alpern Interreligious Forum, a college-community partnership which promotes understanding, respect, and peace among the diverse faith communities of the Northland through sustained cross-cultural discussion, shared study, collaborative projects and events. She has worked closely with members of Anishinaabe communities in northern Minnesota and taught Ojibwe language for the past 14 years.  Her research interests are in dance, gender, religious life, postcolonial concerns, and popular culture.  She lives with her husband David and her two beautiful children Abbi and Zipporah. 


Theresa Allison 1991
Hometown: Littleton, CO
Comps topic: Bach Harpsichord concertos
Currently: Assistant Professor of Medicine and Family & Community Medicine University of California, San Francisco Medical Director, Home Based Primary Care (HBPC) and Geriatrics Resources for Assessment and Care of Elders (GRACE) San Francisco VA Medical Center
Spare time activities: spare time?  what's that?

Celia Hurwitz-Keefe 1991
Hometown: Eugene, Oregon
Comps Topic: Analyses and Performances: An examination of the Sarabande from the Third Suite for Unaccompanied Cello by J.S. Bach.
After graduating from Carleton, Celia studied at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University (MMus Music Theory, 1993) and at Columbia University, New York, where she completed a PhD in musicology in 2002 ('Tonality and Form in the First Movements of Britten's String Quartets, Opp. 25 and 36). She currently divides her time between teaching on the Open University’s postgraduate musicology course and teaching the cello. She has also taught for the Queens University, Belfast and the University of Sheffield, and served as an editor for The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, revised edition. She has lived in the UK since 1997. Celia remembers with particular fondness her Carleton music classes with professors Philip Rhodes, Steve Kelly and Justin London, her lessons with cello teacher Eric Wahlin, playing Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring in small ensemble with fellow students, and appearing as Little Red Ridinghood in the 1991 production of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods. She continues to believe that nothing surpasses a Carleton education! 

Marcus Young 1991
Hometown: Saint Paul   
Comps Topic: 13 conductors' interpretations of Beethoven's Fifth, 1st Mvmt.
Currently: I work as City Artist in Residence for Saint Paul, MN.
Spare Time Activities: I dance my inner life on busy city streets.
How you are currently using Music in your life and/or how your education in music has influenced you!
I learned how to love life through color, composition, balance, tone, texture, touch, style, and good taste.  I became an artist, although not the Seiji Ozawa or Erich Leinsdorf or Lenny Bernstein type I had dreamed of.

Mark Applebaum 1989
Hometown: Niles, IL
Comps Topic: Temporal Dissonance in the Player Piano Studies of Conlon Nancarrow
Currently: Composing Uncompromising and Unmarketable Experimental Music; Teaching

Michael Wittgraf 1985 (Math Major)
Department of Music at the University of North Dakota
.  He specializes in composition, theory, technology, and bassoon.  Prior to 1998 he served on the music faculties at Northwestern University and St. Mary’s College.
Wittgraf has won the University of Minnesota Craig and Janet Swan Sesquicentennial CommissioningProject.  Additionally, his music has received special distinction in the ASCAP/Nissim Foundation Composition Contest, and he has been a finalist in the Ladislav Kubik International Prize in Composition, the Modern Chamber Players International Composition Contest, and the Pi Kappa Lambda Chamber Music Composition Competition.  His music has been performed by many artists, including Zeitgeist, Trio Montecino, the Chiara String Quartet, the BECS Quartet of the National Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the University of Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, Thursday Musical of St. Paul, the University of North Dakota Wind Ensemble, the DuQuesne Contemporary Ensemble, and Tempus Fugit.
Wittgraf has been commissioned through the National Symphony Orchestra, the North Dakota Council on the Arts, the North Dakota Music Teachers Association, The Greater GrandForks Symphony Orchestra, and many other organizations, ensembles and performers.  He was named the 2011 North Valley Arts Council (North Dakota and Minnesota) Artist of the Year.  He was the commissioned composer for the National Symphony’s North Dakota Residency in 2003.  He has won grants from the Bush Foundation, the North Dakota Council on the Arts, The American Composers Forum, and theAmerican Music Center.  His catalog contains over sixty works, and includes music for orchestra, band, choir, chamber ensembles, solo instruments, voice, and electronics.  His music has been performed in North America, Europe, and Australia.
Here's a little bit about Carleton's influence on me in the past three decades:
  I majored in mathematics at Carleton, graduating in 1985, followed by one year of graduate mathematics study at the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana.  While at Carleton, I spent most of my time in the music department, joining a number of ensembles, including orchestra, band, jazz band, and Pro Musica, on a number of instruments including bassoon, saxophone, piano, viola da gamba, and bass trombone.  Other musical activities included playing the electric bass and saxophone in a number of campus rock bands, and occasional gigs on clarinet and saxophone with area professional polka bands.
After I left the University of Illinois in 1986, I took four years off, playing electric bass and saxophone in rock and roll bands in the Twin Cities.  I returned to school in 1990, eventually earning the Master's degree in music composition and theory from the University of Minnesota in 1994, and the Doctor of Music degree in composition from Northwestern University in 1997.  I have been on the music faculty of the University of North Dakota since 1998, and am now the chair of its music department.  Currently I compose mostly electronic music (where my background in mathematics really pays off!), play bassoon in the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, and play keyboards in a local rock and roll band.
The diversity of musical performing experience that I gained at Carleton has made me a valuable commodity wherever I go.  Obviously being able to play a number of different instruments helps, but so does the breadth of musical styles that I experienced while at Carleton.  Even the experience of setting up sound systems and mixing/recording with campus rock bands has proven to be valuable in nearly all of my current musical endeavors.

Robert Elhai 1981
Comps topic—um I’m pretty sure it had something to do with leitmotifs in opera... (The Enduring Artistry of Kurt Weill)
Currently Orchestrating Film scores (Latest—Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3 out in August) and composing Theater scores (3rd installment of the Winesburg Trilogy will be presented at the Minnesota Fringe Festival)
Spare Time:  What??
What really influenced me at Carleton is not so much the study of music, but the general study of Liberal Arts in general...
IMDB site:

ROBERT ELHAI wrote the music to Untold Lies and Twisted Apples, presented by Nautilus Music Theater at the Minnesota Fringe Festival in 2010 and 2011, as well as  Persephone’s Sister, the final piece in Nautilus’ Ivey-Award–winning Sister Stories, and many other Nautilus productions over the years.   A Tony and Drama Desk nominee for his orchestrations and arrangements for the Broadway production of The Lion King, he orchestrated the recent Los Angeles Opera and New York’s Lincoln Center Festival production of Elliot Goldenthal and Julie Taymor’s opera Grendel. Among the some 100 feature films to whose scores he has contributed orchestrations are the The Young Victoria, Public Enemies, Across The UniverseStardust, The Sixth Sense,  Pirates of the Carribean, and the Oscar-winning score for Frida,.  His arrangements for Metallica’s Grammy Award-winning “S&M” made good use of his doctorate in composition from Yale University. (He also holds degrees from Carleton College and the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati.) He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two sons.

Mark Stahura 1979
Currently living in St. Paul, MN
Comps topic: ornamentation in Mozart keyboard works
Currently: Director of Web Development, E-Commerce and Business Systems at Augsburg Fortress (the publishing house of the ELCA -- Lutheran Church).
This means that I manage the building and maintenance of half a dozen subscription web applications for churches, manage the strategy, design, and enhancements of our web stores, and lead the charge for utilizing technology to improve our internal publishing processes. ALSO, I'm a part-time Music Director at my home church, St. Clement's Episcopal Church in St. Paul.
Spare Time Activities: (spare time?) gardening, house projects, family
How music works in my life: the part-time Music Director gig keeps me sane and allows me to leverage the training I got at Carleton (and beyond). Would love to do more musical theater, if I can discover more hours in my day.