New faces: The Music Department welcomes Dr. Stephen Ivany

Dr. Stephen Ivany stands in front of an ocean bay holding his trombone.

The College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State encompasses nine departments, and the Armenian Studies Program. Each year, new faculty are brought on to elevate the academic offerings here at Fresno State. These new faculty members bring innovative research, diverse fields of study, and technical expertise to our college, inspiring fresh ways of thinking throughout our many disciplines.

We are excited to welcome Dr. Stephen Ivany as he joins the Department of Music as the Assistant Professor of Trombone and Euphonium. He will be teaching Trombone, Euphonium, Music Theory, and various other music courses. He is a faculty member at the Festival Internacional de la Mùsica FIM “Loja-Ecuador.” He has previously served as a faculty member at East Carolina University and at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. He was also a founding faculty member of the Tittulautet Nunatsiavuttini/Nunatsiavut Brass Band Program from 2012 to 2015. He received his Doctor of Music from The Florida State University, Master of Music from the Yale School of Music, and Bachelor of Music from Memorial University. He is an Eastman Euphonium performing artist and a Shires Trombone performing artist.

Ivany is the second trombonist with the Teatro Nuovo Opera Orchestra in New York City, regularly performs with the North Carolina Symphony, and also substitutes with the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. As a soloist and collaborator, Stephen is always trying to push the boundaries of his instrument. He has commissioned over 25 new works for the trombone, which he has premiered in recitals across North America, including such venues as Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center.

Q&A

What are you most looking forward to here at Fresno State? 

I was struck by how involved Fresno State is in the Central Valley community. I am excited to be a part of that involvement, visible in the community, and help foster the arts here in Fresno and the surrounding area.

What draws you to the trombone? What is your connection to the instrument?

When I was maybe 8 or 9, I took piano lessons with a teacher who also played trombone. As a reward for focusing through an entire lesson, he would let me play his instrument. Fast forward a couple of years when it came time to pick an instrument in my school’s band program, it was the only thing I could imagine playing. I fell in love with the sound of the trombone, and its versatility across so many genres kept me wanting to learn more about it. Twenty years later, I am still pushing myself to get better and find new music to perform on my instrument.

What will your distinctive background do to elevate the Music department offerings here at Fresno State? 

The trombone is one of the closest instruments to the human voice. Mozart used it as a choral accompaniment for this reason. I studied extensively as an opera and choral singer throughout my undergraduate work, and this has given me a unique perspective on brass technique. On top of this, I am always looking to collaborate with composers to help create new music not only for myself but for my students to perform. One of my goals at Fresno State is to continue this work by collaborating with Central Valley composers to create music for Central Valley trombonists and euphonium players.

What do you enjoy most about music?

Music is a language that gives a voice to those who often feel they can’t be heard. For me, it has always been my vehicle for self-expression. It has helped me process both emotional highs and lows and continues to be an emotional language that I explore every day.

If you could recommend one piece of music for people to experience at a live concert, what would it be? Why?

There are so many pieces that need to be experienced live; however, if I were to pick just one, I would say Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. This was the piece of music that made me fall in love with the art. Hearing it live with a full orchestra and chorus is an overwhelming experience that I think everyone should have.

What’s a fun fact that people might not know about you?

Fun fact – as passionate as I am about trombone and music, I am equally passionate about Basketball. While I don’t play much anymore, I have been a die-hard Lebron James fan since I first saw him in his first NBA exhibition game in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in 2003.

When are your office hours?

Every morning at 9 am!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I give recitals every semester, so if you are curious about the trombone/euphonium and what to hear what it is all about, make sure to come hear me, and my students, perform at the Department of Music!

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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