• women's choir
  • student and faculty at a mixing board

A Time For The Arts

Now is a time for music. It is a time to celebrate emotions and connect with each other through song.

The College of Fine Arts is beginning the 2017–18 academic year with a simple message: Now is a time for the arts. "Cultures and societies continue to look to the arts for ways to express both individual desires and collective hopes. The arts remain a way both to process private fears and to work through public vulnerabilities. The arts provide a platform not only to respond to what has happened, but also to engage with what is going on in real time...Above all, however, the arts bring individuals together, literally, into a common space for a shared moment."

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 Welcoming new faculty

Dr. Cristina FavaDr. Cristina Fava has joined the school as assistant professor of musicology. Born in Riva del Garda, Italy, she holds degrees from the Conservatory of Music in Trento, Italy (B.M., clarinet performance), Bowling Green State University (M.M., music history and M.M., ethnomusicology), and Eastman School of Music (Ph.D., musicology).  Fava’s current musicological research considers the multifaceted social, economic, political, and intellectual contexts of American musical life during the 20th Century, including the intersections of music and politics during the Great Depression and the effects of McCarthyism on film composers. Before joining the faculty at WMU, she taught at Eastman and at Michigan State University. 

Matthew FriesMatthew Fries has joined the school as an assistant professor in jazz piano studies. He grew up in a musical home in a Selinsgrove, Penn., learning piano from his father, a piano professor at Susquehanna University. Fries played trumpet and sang in high school but returned to the keyboard after a college course awakened his interest in jazz piano. After earning degrees from Ithaca College (B.M.) and the University of Tennessee (M.M.), Fries lived and worked in New York City for many years, recording and touring with his collaborative trio, TRI-FI and many other artists. The winner of the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, Fries’ debut album, Song for Today (TCB Music), was named a critics’ pick by Jazziz Magazine, and his work as a sideman has been called “the best jazz accompaniment I’ve seen in a cabaret in years” (The New York Times).

Laura Pawuk HeadshotLaura Pawuk has joined the school as a faculty specialist in music therapy. A graduate of WMU’s Master’s and Equivalency program in Music Therapy, she holds a B.S. in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Miami University (Ohio), where she minored in piano performance. For 19 years, Pawuk worked in the Chicago area in medical settings, focusing on care for individuals being treated for cancer, stroke, brain injury, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cystic fibrosis, mental illness, hearing loss with cochlear implants, and those grieving the loss of a loved one. Her career has included designing integrated creative arts therapy programs, creating a number of music therapy programs and positions, and giving presentations and workshops at local, national, and international conferences. Pawuk has taught at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Dr. Yu-Lien TheDr. Yu-Lien The has joined the school as assistant professor in the keyboard area. Born in the Netherlands, she holds degrees from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover, Germany (Artist Diploma, recorder and Diplomas in piano and recorder pedagogy and performance); Hochschule für Musik Detmold, Germany (Artist Diploma, piano); Western Michigan University, (M.M., piano performance); and Michigan State University (D.M.A., piano performance). Winner of several international competitions, The has performed throughout Europe, Southeast Asia and the United States, including appearances at the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and at Carnegie Hall. She served previously on the faculties of WMU, Valparaiso University, and Bowling Green State University.