Directory Academic Home Home  
WebMail Muskie Link Blackboard  
Academics Home Page
Admissions Home Page
Department Home
Concert Calendar
News & Events
Hear Our Music
Prospective Students
Current Students
Contact Us
department of music The content below is information specific to this academic department's fields of interest.

Faculty Bios

Picture of Joyce AlesandriniDr. Joyce Alesandrini, bassoonist and pianist, is a Professor of Music, and currently Coordinator of Music Theory at Muskingum University, where she also teaches bassoon, oboe, and piano.  Additionally, Dr. Alesandrini coordinates Gender Studies.  She is a frequent guest conductor, organist, and pianist at area churches and has performed with the Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra, Muskingum Valley Symphonic Winds, and the Zanesville Memorial Concert Band.  Dr. Alesandrini received Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Wyoming, a Master of Music in Bassoon Performance from Northwestern University, and a Ph.D. in Arts Education from The Ohio State University.  She was formerly on the faculty at the University of Wyoming and Western Wyoming College where she founded and conducted the Western Wyoming Community Orchestra.  For her efforts in bringing the arts to that community, she was awarded the Young Career Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Women chapter.  Additionally, she was visiting adjunct professor at Oklahoma State University.  She is a member of Music Educators National Conference, Delta Omicron, Phi Kappa Phi, American Association of University Professors, and American Association of University Women.  Dr. Alesandrini was recently elected the founding president of Muskingum Universit's chapter of Phi Kappa Phi.

E-mail Dr. Alesandrini:



With such reviews as "passionate" and "poetic", Sri Lankan born pianist abeyaratne picHarsha Abeyaratne has given solo performances
at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York; Gansu Grand Theater in Lanzhou, China; Lionel Wendt Theater in Colombo, Sri Lanka; and Interharmony International Music Festival, in Arcidosso, Italy.  He has also played as a soloist, in this case, Rachmaninoff's "First Piano Concerto", with the National Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka. An equally dedicated collaborative pianist, Abeyaratne has also collaborated with, among others, renowned artists George Wolfe and Randy Sabein. In this medium of collaborative playing, he has played works by contemporary composers, namely Hindemith, Creston, Fink, Berio, Tower, Peaslee, Muczynksi, Gweneth Walker, Ewazen, Desenclos, and Glazunov. In March of 2017, he played a solo concert featuring works by Haydn, Franck, Debussy, Scriabin, and Chopin at Muskingum University. Other recent concerts include solo recitals at West Liberty University, the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Columbus, Ohio, and a reappearance as soloist to perform Rachmaninoff's "Second Piano Concerto" with the Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra in New Concord, Ohio. In October of 2017, he will be playing another solo recital, this time featuring Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition", at Muskingum University.

He has also given recitals at other universities such as Ohio University, Ohio State University, University of Mount Union, Cedarville University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, West Chester University, University of Southern Oregon, and Jacksonville University. In the past, he has performed on many occasions as a Muskingum University faculty chamber musician and played Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" with the Muskingum Valley Symphonic Winds. In addition, he has also played on a number of occasions for charity purposes; in 2015, he gave a solo concert in Sri Lanka to raise money to help purchase and install an epilepsy diagnosis center at a children's hospital, one of the largest of its kind in the world, in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He is also in demand as an adjudicator in Ohio and has judged competitions such as the OhioMTA/Graves Piano Competition and OhioMTA/Buckeye Auditions, both highly respected competitions, as well as the Tuscarawas Piano Festival and Montgomery Piano Competition.  In addition, he is the recipient of the 2010 Ball State University School of Music Alumni Achievement Citation Award.  

Abeyaratne is currently an Associate Professor of Music at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio where he teaches piano, music theory, and aural skills. He is grateful for the faculty development grants he has received from the university to make possible his professional visits to New York, China, and Italy. Prior to this teaching position, he served the respective keyboard departments of Manchester College and Marshall University.  He received his doctoral degree in music from Ball State University under the tutelage of pianist and teacher Robert Palmer.  His other teachers include Ann Schaffert Miller (former piano professor at Lewis and Clark College) and the late Mary Billimoria (Sri Lanka).  He has also worked with Peter Takacs at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Abeyaratne who lives in New Concord, Ohio dabbles in jazz and is also an ardent tennis player.

For further information, please see his website:

E-mail Dr. Abeyaratne:

picture of zeb highbenDr. Zebulon M. Highben is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Muskingum University, where he conducts the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and Choral Society, and teaches conducting, choral methods, choral literature, and applied voice and composition.

Highben previously taught at the University of Wisconsin River Falls, Luther Seminary, and Michigan State University, where he was a graduate teaching assistant in both the choral and musicology departments. He has over fifteen years of experience as a full- and part-time church musician, serving Lutheran and Presbyterian congregations in Ohio, Minnesota, and Michigan. From 2005-2014, he was the Paul Bouman Endowed Chapel Choir Director at the annual Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival. Choirs under his direction have been featured at numerous conferences and festivals, including ACDA of Minnesota, the St. Olaf College Choral Festival, and the Ohio Choral Directors Association.

More than forty of Dr. Highben’s compositions are published by Augsburg Fortress, Boosey & Hawkes, Colla Voce, GIA, and MorningStar Music, and by Gehrmans Musikförlag in Sweden. He has received composition awards and honors from ASCAP, the American Composers Forum, the American Prize, and the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. His scholarly research is published in the Choral Journal, the Bulletin for the Council on Research in Music Education, and Cross Accent. He also edited the Augsburg Motet Book, an anthology of motets spanning the Renaissance to the present day, and co-edited the book With a Voice of Singing: Essays on Children, Choirs, and Music in the Church, a Festschrift in honor of Ronald A. Nelson.

A native of Ohio, Dr. Highben studied music education at Ohio State University, graduating magna cum laude and with departmental distinction. He earned the Master of Sacred Music from Luther Seminary with St. Olaf College, and the Doctor of Musical Arts from Michigan State University, where he was a recipient of both the Charles K. Smith Fellowship in Choral Conducting and the Robert A. Harris Award for Excellence in Choral Performance. He serves on the boards of the Ohio Choral Directors Association and the Institute of Liturgical Studies; other professional affiliations include the American Choral Directors Association, the American Composers Forum, ASCAP, the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, NAfME/OMEA, the National Collegiate Choral Organization, and Phi Kappa Phi.

For more information about Dr. Highben, please visit

E-mail Dr. Highben:

Emily K. Oehrtman, soprano, is a graduate of The Ohio State University where she received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in oehrtman pic
performance, studying with Robin Rice. Prior to this, she studied at New England Conservatory where she received a Graduate Diploma while studying with Luretta Bybee. She holds a Bachelor of Music from the Eastman School of Music and a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Penn State.  She has also studied at AIMS in Graz (Austria), Oberlin in Italy, and the Brevard Music Festival (North Carolina).

She has been a featured soloist with many ensembles including the Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra, the Muskingum University choirs, the Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra, the OSU Symphony Orchestra, the OSU Cello Ensemble, the NEC Symphony, the NEC Contemporary Ensemble, and the Penn State Philharmonic. Her operatic and musical theater roles include Mrs. Lovett (Sweeney Todd), Nedda (Pagliacci), Female Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia), Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus), Elle (La Voix Humaine), Pamina (The Magic Flute), Paquette (Candide), Belinda (Dido and Aeneas), Morgana (Alcina) and Fido (Paul Bunyan).


Emily grew up in Green Bay, WI (and is an avid Packers fan!).  She is currently an assistant professor of music here at Muskingum University where she teaches voice lessons, diction, voice pedagogy and runs the musical theater ensemble. When she is not teaching, Emily enjoys watching baseball and football, puzzles, cooking, fiber arts, traveling, and spending time with her husband JP and their 3 dogs Ted, Kenzie and Sabine.  

E-mail Dr. Oehrtman:

Picture of Laura Schumann

Dr. Laura E. Schumann is the Music Director and Conductor of the Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra (SEOSO) and Associate Professor of Music at Muskingum University.  She is a 2001 recipient of an ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award, and a YMCA/YWCA Women of Achievement Award, a 2004 International Musician of the Year, and is listed in Who's Who of American Women, in America, and in the World.  She received the first 2004 Cambridge (OH) Heritage Award for Leadership in the community and theWilliam Rainey Harper Award for Outstanding Scholarship from Muskingum College in 2005.  She was a semi-finalist in the 2003 Third International Jordania conducting competition in Kharkov, Ukraine.  She has collaborated withinternationally acclaimed artists Angela Cheng, Benny Kim, Joaquin Achucarro, Hakan Rosengren, Gilbert Mata, Sergiu Schwartz, Randy Sabien and the Cavani Quartet among others.  Ms. Schumann has also been Music Director for teh ECODT Nutcracker Ballet, has guest conducted the Newark-Granville (OH) Symphony, Columbus (OH) Symphony (2008) and has worked with Columbus, Spokane, and Bakersfield Symphonies.  Schumann was a featured violin soloist for the Miss Ohio pageant telecast on the Ohio News Network (ONN) in June 2007.  An orchestral arranger and composer, Schumann's Shostakovich in Blue (2006) for strings is published by Alliance Publications, Wisconsin, as will be an arrangement of Devin Went Down to Georgia for violin, vocal, and full orchestra.

Dr. Schumann received her D.M.A. in orchestral conducting from Texas Tech University, her Master's degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder.  Previously, Dr. Schumann was director of orchestral activities at Western State College in Colorado and Murray State University in Kentucky,Assistant Conductor at Texas Tech University, and she has held positions at Wake Forest, Salem College, and Winstom Salem University.  As a conductor, Dr. Schumann has held positions and guest conducted in Colorado, including Colorado All-State, Ohio Region Honors Orchestra, as well as in Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas, Minnesota, Tennessee, West Virginia, California, Washington, and she has toured several European countries.  She has conducted several high school and middle school orchestra festivals.  Dr. Schumann has performed as both soloist and chamber musician in various locations across the United States and in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, Hungary, Austria, and the Czech Republic.  Ms. Schumann has performed in the prestigious Colorado Music Festival, North Carolina, West Virginia, Key West, Wheeling, Charlotte, Memphis, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and Lubbock Symphonies among others.   She was performed as a soloist with the Winston-Salem and Jackson symphonies, and as a member of the Young Artists String Quartet (CA), and the Wexford Piano Quartet (CO).

Dr. Schumann is noted for her unique and original family/children's programs, incorporating differing musical styles,educationalcomponents, exciting visual and interactive concerts, and an out-of-the-box contemporary yet sophisticated approach to programming and audience development.  For more information about Dr. Schumann, please visit

E-mail Dr. Schumann:

picture of david turrillDr. David A. Turrill is Assistant Professor of Music, Director of Bands, and serves as Chair of the Department of Music at Muskingum University.  He conducts the Muskingum University Wind Ensemble, and Muskingum Valley Symphonic Winds, and teaches applied trumpet, conducting, and courses in music education.  In addition to his teaching duties, Dr. Turrill is co-principal trumpet of the Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra, and performs with the Muskingum Valley Brass, the faculty brass quintet at Muskingum. 

Originally from Marietta, Ohio, Dr. Turrill earned the Bachelor of Music Education degree as well as Master of Music degrees in Conducting and Trumpet Performance from Ohio University.  He earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Trumpet Performance, with a cognate in conducting, from Michigan State University.  While at Michigan State, Dr. Turrill received a Dissertation Completion Fellowship and a "Special College Research Abroad Money" (SCRAM) Award for international research relating to his doctoral document "The Coexistence of Baroque and Classical Traits in the Trumpet Writing of Giovanni Battista Martini."  Dr. Turrill also performed as a soloist in Aaron Copland's Quiet City with the Michigan State Chamber Orchestra on their Austrian tour, and in Vivaldi's Concerto for Two Trumpets with the Michigan State Philharmonic Orchestra. 

Prior to his appointment at Muskingum, Dr. Turrill was on the faculty at Spring Arbor University (MI) and performed regularly with the orchestras of Lansing, Grand Rapids, West Michigan, Battle Creek, Saginaw Bay, Jackson, and Livonia.  He was also a member of Capitol Brass, a professional brass quartet, and freelanced as a trumpet soloist in various churches in the mid-Michigan area.

Dr. Turrill currently maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor, clinician, and freelance trumpet performer, and also performs with the Heisey Wind Ensemble in Newark, Ohio.  In the fall of 2011, he performed the Haydn trumpet concerto with the Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra and Herbert L. Clarke's Carnival of Venice with the Muskingum Valley Symphonic Winds. 

Dr. Turrill has twelve years of public school teaching experience as an elementary, middle school, and high school band director.  Bands under his direction consistently received superior ratings at local and state adjudicated events.  Dr. Turrill is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda music honor society, the College Band Directors National Association, the National Association for Music Education, the Ohio Music Education Association, International Trumpet Guild, the Ohio Private College Instrumental Conductors Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

E-mail Dr. Turrill: