With the start of new semester, the UCF School of Performing Arts is welcoming several new faculty members and new appointments to the administration team.
Jeffrey M. Moore, who has been the director of the UCF School of Performing Arts since its inception in 2013, has been named as the new Dean of the College of Arts & Humanities.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to join UCF’s outstanding senior academic leadership team,” Moore said. “Throughout my career, I have always enjoyed collaborating with faculty, students and our community partners. This new position will allow me to expand on those activities and enhance our presence even more.”
Steven Chicurel-Stein, professor of theatre and associate director of the School of Performing Arts, has been named interim director of the school while the university conducts a national search for Moore’s permanent replacement.
Chicurel-Stein’s new position grants him oversight over the school’s music and theatre curriculum, facilities and faculty. “I’ve been teaching at universities for 25 years now, and I’ve always been a professor in theatre, but my degrees are in music. For me, it’s an easy fit—I understand the cultures of both music and theatre. There’s still a learning curve, but I’m comfortable working within both worlds.”
Professor of Music David L. Brunner will assume Chicurel-Stein’s associate director duties for the interim period, complimented by Dr. Keith Koons, who remains in his associate director position.
Theatre professor Dr. Julia Listengarten has been named as the artistic director for Theatre UCF. The artistic director is typically responsible for conceiving, developing, and implementing the artistic vision of a theatre company.
Listengarten envisions her role as working with the theatre faculty to reimagine artistic goals of the department and develop a vision for upcoming seasons. Theatre associate professor Bert Scott, as director of production, will facilitate the technical production needs of the season.
“One of the exciting parts of this position for me is the fact that now we’re a School of Performing Arts—so there are theatre and music,” says Listengarten. While her position does not directly impact the music department, she looks forward to bringing the two areas closer together. “I’ve always tried to collaborate with musicians in the productions that I’ve directed, and I see artistic collaboration as a very important part of the merger.”
Tremon Kizer has been hired as associate director of bands and director of athletic bands. In this role, he will oversee all aspects of the athletic band program and teach courses in music education. As an award-winning educator, Kizer hopes his students take the skills they learn and apply them to every area of their lives. “I want to help our students become the best doctors, lawyers, educators, musicians, mothers, and fathers they can be,” he said. “Hopefully, they will apply what they learn into their path of life.”
Kizer earned his doctorate in musical arts from the University of South Carolina, his master of arts in music from the University of Central Missouri and his bachelors in music education from Kansas State University.
While the School conducts a nationwide search for a new director of bands, Dr. Chung Park, director of orchestras, will lead UCF’s Wind Ensemble in addition to the orchestra.
Assistant Professor Si-Yan Darren Li has been added to the music faculty, where he will be leading the cello studio. Li holds his bachelor of music degree from The Juilliard School, and his master of music degree and artist diploma from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
Li started studying cello at age 5 and now holds prizes from numerous prestigious competitions around the world, such as the Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow. He is also the recipient of the “American Masterpieces” Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
“Teaching cello has really become my biggest passion in life,” said Li. “I find it incredibly rewarding to help my students to grow as a cellist, a musician and a human being by sharing my experience, knowledge and wisdom. I believe that passion, devotion and honest communications are essential elements to great teaching.”
The theatre department also welcomes Assistant Professor Shawn Boyle to the faculty, where he will be teaching lighting design and working on Theatre UCF’s productions. Boyle has an extensive background as a projection and lighting designer, working in theatre, musical theater, opera, dance, installation, and architectural projects, as well as designing for several theaters and theme parks in the United States. As an associate projection designer for Elaine J. McCarthy, Boyle worked on productions of Wicked in the United States, Australia, Japan, Germany, Brazil, Holland and the United Kingdom.
Boyle earned his MFA in projection design from Yale School of Drama in 2015 and his BFA in Lighting Design from Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts.
Cynthia White, who has been serving on the theatre faculty as interim professor focusing on acting and directing, has been awarded the permanent position of lecturer in directing. The position is a shared one with the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, where she will also serve as the director of new play development. She was associate director and director of play development at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and taught at Pacific Lutheran University, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Western Washington University in Bellingham. She has directed professionally at numerous Shakespeare festivals, universities, and regional theatre around the country.
David Willmore will be Theatre UCF’s master electrician. Willmore holds a B.A. in theatre and dance with a concentration in design and technology from James Madison University and has been working in the electrics department at the Glimmerglass Festival in New York.