The College of Arts and Architecture

Wishing "Fare Well" to Four Brass Area Graduate Students

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Four graduate students from the brass area will graduate from Penn State on May 6, and all are moving on to continue their professional development at major institutions or orchestras. We wish them well in their new adventures!


Chris O’Brien, a native of Benicia, CA, started playing the trumpet in fifth grade. Chris’ two younger siblings joined suit and, by the following year, all three O’Brien kids were playing trumpet in band together. Sharing Chris O'Brienmusic with his family encouraged Chris to practice and perform at the highest level and he attributes his success thus far to his family’s support.

During high school, Chris performed in several countries outside the U.S. including an international tour with the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra to Germany, Austria, and Luxembourg. From performing in the world’s most revered concert halls to busking on the streets around San Francisco’s Union Square, Chris is well-versed in a variety of musical styles from classical to jazz to pop. One of his favorite musical memories was performing a halftime show with the Michigan Marching Band and members of the New York Philharmonic brass section in front of a packed Big House Stadium with over 100,000 fans in attendance.

Before attending college, Chris studied with Ron Blais, former principal trumpet of the United States Air Force Premier Band in Washington D.C. Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance from the University of Michigan where he studied under Professor William Campbell. He is currently finishing a mMaster’s degree in trumpet performance at Penn State, studying with Langston Fitzgerald, III. Upon graduation, he plans to move to Los Angeles to pursue a graduate certificate at the University of Southern California, studying with with Thomas Hooten and Jennifer Marotta.


Carlot DorveCarlot Dorve is currently finishing his master’s degree in trumpet performance at Penn State. He also serves as a graduate teaching assistant in the studio of Langston Fitzgerald III. He started his music career in Haiti, where he was told that he would not be able to play the trumpet because he has one arm. However, through his persistence and determination, he was able to prove the opposite. In January 2010, he first came to the United States in a cultural exchange program at Mott Community College, and he ultimately received his undergraduate degree at Michigan State University with full scholarship, studying with Richard Illman and Justin Emerich. In 2016, he was selected by Channel 4 in Great Britain to record for the Paralympic commercial,” Yes I can.”

Carlot enjoys playing trumpet in different venues; especially in churches. His music has taken him all over the United States and Europe. In August 2017, due to many requests from church members, he recorded an album titled “The Sacred Sound of the Trumpet.” Besides playing, he has a deep passion for teaching. In fall 2018, Carlot will continue his studies as a Ph.D candidate, at the University of Missouri. He will also serve as a graduate teaching assistant.


Emily Buehler, hailing from North Wales PA, is finishing her master's degree in horn performance as a teaching assistant at Penn State, studying with Lisa Bontrager and Sarah Schouten. Emily holds a musiEmily Buehlerc education degree and an undergraduate performance degree from the Eastman School of Music, studying with Peter Kurau. She was also awarded a performer’s certificate. As an undergraduate, she was a leader on the orientation committee, played with the HardCor Quartet, led warm up classes, and played in the Philharmonic Orchestra and Eastman Wind Ensemble. While a Penn State student, Emily has performed regularly with the Altoona Symphony, and was recently the winner of the 2017 Southeast Horn Workshop Low Horn Competition.

Emily began musical studies on the piano and later began the cello. She entered the world of brass playing by choosing the euphonium in fourth grade, switching to horn her junior year of high school. During summer 2017, she was a head resident assistant at the Bowdoin International Music Festival, and will continue as the head resident assistant at the Chautauqua Music Festival in summer 2018.

In fall 2018, Emily will move to upstate New York to participate in The Orchestra Now, a training orchestra sponsored by Bard College, which performs programs and outreach concerts at venues such as Fischer Hall, Carnegie Hall, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Stephen Cannistraci, originally from Lebanon PA, is finishing his master’s degree studying with Penn State tuba eupohonium professor Velvet Brown. Prior to his time on the University Stephen CannistraciPark campus, Stephen earned a bachelor's degree in instrumental music education and euphonium performance at the Eastman School of Music, studying with Mark Kellogg. While at Eastman, he also earned a performer's certificate, arts leadership certificate, and was a member of the Carillon Tuba Quartet which received the John Celentano Chamber Music Excellence Award, served as the Messinger Chamber Music Ambassadors in the Fall of 2015, and placed second in the 2016 International Tuba Euphonium Conference Quartet Competition.

As a soloist, Stephen has appeared with the Perseverance Band of Lebanon, Keystone Band of Rehrersburg, and the Penn State Symphonic Wind Ensemble as a co-winner of the 2016-2017 concerto competition. He received first prize at the 2017 International Women’s Brass Conference Euphonium solo competition (24 and under), and second prize in the overall brass solo competition (24 and under). Also an active chamber musician, Stephen continues to perform with the Carillon Quartet.

In the fall, Stephen will begin a doctorate in music at George Mason University, studying with Mark Jenkins of the “President’s Own” United States Marine Band.


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