Alumni Spotlight: From Student to Stage

sfcm, viola, trumpet, voice

SFCM checks in with recent graduates making their mark on the music industry.

Camille Sherman, ‘17, Voice 

Camille Sherman.

Camille Sherman is shaping up for a busy spring. After a pandemic pause, she is getting back on the stage, where she just made her debut as Rosina in The Barber of Seville with Pensacola Opera in March. Currently she is in rehearsals for a debut with Tri-Cities Opera in April, and Syracuse Opera Company in May. “Honestly, I am most proud to be a working singer. It sounds simple, but this industry is truly filled to the brim with unbelievable talent, and I am so happy to have a place in it,” Sherman said. 

Not long after graduating from SFCM, Sherman joined Pensacola Opera as an Artist in Residence during the 2017-18 season. She then joined the Portland Opera Resident Artist Program and stayed for multiple seasons. She currently lives in Portland. “This career is filled with challenges, and we have all experienced an onslaught of those challenges particularly in the past couple of years,” Sherman continued, “I have found the best coping skills to be gratitude and connection.” Sherman has also garnered acclaim in several competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, where she was named a National Semi-Finalist in 2019. 

During her years at the Conservatory Sherman credits Catherine Cook for playing a huge role in her career. “Not only did she really teach me how to sing and how to build vocal technique I can rely on, she taught me so much about being a respected professional,” she said. It is Cook’s advice that has guided her every step of the way, “I will never forget the advice she gave me in my first semester when I was beating myself up over how I sounded in a lesson: Focus on the process, not the product.”

You can learn more about Sherman on her website

Mark Grisez - ‘15, Trumpet

Mark Grisez.

From a New World Symphony stint to a Principal Trumpet spot with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Mark Grisez has been busy to say the least. In addition to performing, he writes his own music and creates videos, as well as mentors younger musicians. After a few years as a Fellow of the New World Symphony he joined the Columbus Symphony in 2020, “I’m very privileged to have been playing with my amazing colleagues all through the pandemic,” he continued, “I am still working hard at the trumpet and widening my experience in areas I’ve not explored as much, such as solo playing and composition.” 

While still early in his career, one of Grisez’s proudest moments came with New World Symphony, ”In 2018 and 2019, another Fellow and I developed a series of musical classes for a juvenile justice center in South Florida, in which we played, wrote, and learned about music alongside some incredible young people,” he continued. “Two other fellows and I also worked with Michael Tilson Thomas to present an original concert and multimedia project called The Human Effect. I learned a lot and carry those lessons with me in the work I do today.” 

From his years at SFCM, Grisez credits a number of different teachers for helping him succeed in his career path, “The gentlemen of the brass faculty—especially my trumpet professors: David Burkhart, Mark Inouye, Mario Guarneri, and Adam Luftman—were always offering nuanced insight into the field I was entering and encouraging me and my peers to expand our horizons on the trumpet, in our musicianship, and in our lives,” he said. He also believes Dr. Nikolaus Hohmann and Scott Foglesong taught him to be inspired by music in different and playful ways. In addition, most recently he has also gotten into writing, “I am incredibly grateful to Matt Siegel for cultivating a space where I came to love writing stories again the way I did when I was younger,” he added.

You can learn more about Grisez on his website.

Hannah Nicholas, ‘12, Viola

Hannah Nicholas.

Living just outside Philadelphia, PA, Nicholas performs, writes, and teaches. Currently Principal Violist for the Philadelphia Ballet Orchestra, and substitute violist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, she also plays with a number of ensembles, including her own, the Shizuka Viola Duo. In addition to maintaining her own private studio she also teaches at the University of Pennsylvania.

After graduating, she joined the New World Symphony as a fellow from ‘14-17 which led to many other collaborations and concerts, “I became very confident curating and leading concerts that included solo and chamber music spanning various styles. I’ve worked with poets, composers, visual artists, and many musical colleagues to create dynamic programs that connect deeply to audiences,” Nicholas continued. “Some of my most proud moments are concerts I put on for the O and Miami Poetry Festival.” Most recently she put on her own concert series, Hannah Rose Presents, that she started alongside her husband, farmer Adrian Galbraith-Paul in 2021. 

While at SFCM, Nicholas worked with now-retired instructor Paul Hersh, who to this day she calls one of her mentors, “Paul Hersh gave me so much guidance on music as a whole. Most of all, he coached me on how to play chamber music from a sonata to a string quartet. This ability to work with others and look at music through a broader lens has shaped who I am as a musician.” 

You can learn more about Nicholas on her website.