Conservatory Emeriti Faculty

UMKC Conservatory Emeriti Faculty

Dr. Norman Abelson, Professor Emeritus (deceased)

Ms. Olga Dolskaya Ackerly, Associate Professor Emerita

Dr. Dolskaya Ackerly holds the Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music, New York City, and a Master of Science degree in Russian and Soviet studies with a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Kansas. Her major area of research is the Moscow Baroque and she has done extensive work on choral music manuscripts preserved in Muscovite and Kievan archives.

Her publications include Vasily Titov and the Russian Baroque, a facsimile edition of polyphonic songs in Spiritual Songs in Seventeenth-Century Russia, transcriptions of seventeenth-century Russian choral works in Monuments of Russian Sacred Music, and articles on various aspects of Russian music. One of her books, on Russian choral music, is available at the UMKC library.  A prominent lecturer at conferences both in the United States and abroad, Professor Dolskaya-Ackerly also serves as historical consultant for choirs and other musical organizations around the country.

Ms. Joanne Baker, Curators’ Professor Emerita (deceased)

One of the most beloved and sought after piano teachers in America, at age four, she gave her first solo piano recital in a career that would take her to Carnegie Hall and around the world. Joanne was born on October 18, 1923. From infancy through high school, she studied piano with her mother, a well-known pianist and former head of the Quincy Conservatory of Music in Illinois.

Joanne attended the University of Kansas, where she met her husband of sixty years, Russell Walter Baker, Sr. She continued her education at the University of Michigan, where she earned her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees, was elected to Pi Kappa Lambda, and graduated number one in her class. Among her teachers were Quincy Porter, Joseph Brinkman, and Carl Friedberg, a student of Clara Schumann and Brahms. As a young composer, Joanne wrote music for church, band, and choir, then went on to string quartets and solo piano pieces. After her piano sonata won a national competition, Joanne was invited in 1954 to play the piece at Carnegie Hall, where it was broadcast on national radio.

In 1948, Dr. Wiktor Labunski invited Joanne to join the faculty of the UMKC Conservatory. She became its longest-serving faculty member, teaching at the school for 49 years and chairing the keyboard division for the last 25 of those years. She was designated a Curators' Professor, the University's highest honor.

Joanne chaired the prestigious Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition for two decades in Salt Lake City and was the first American artist invited to teach in China after the Cultural Revolution. Her many awards include the Burlington-Northern Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching, the Conservatory Trustees' Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Standard Oil Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and the Award of Merit from Mu Phi Epsilon.

Ms. Inci Bashar, Professor Emerita

Mezzo soprano Inci Bashar Paige retired in 2002 from UMKC as Professor of Voice after teaching there for more than twenty years.  Born in Turkey, she attended Istanbul Conservatory of Music, at the same time pursuing a law degree.  Following the completion of her law internship, having been offered a contract as leading mezzo soprano by the newly formed Istanbul Opera, she made the decision to follow the musical path.  Other engagements followed, including Ankara State Opera and in Bulgaria, the Sophia State Opera and the Varna Festival.  A scholarship from the German government took her to Germany where she was engaged to sing with the Cologne Opera.  There she met her husband-to-be, tenor Norman Paige.   She later followed her husband with their young daughter to Lawrence, Kansas, where Norman taught voice at KU and she continued to perform with opera companies in the US and Canada.  Later she was engaged to teach voice at KU and UMKC.  She has taught in many summer programs in the US, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Israel and continues to teach privately in KC and Chicago and on the Internet by way of Skype.  Most recently she has been a Visiting Professor at the University of North Texas.  Her awards include Excellence in Teaching from UMKC and in 2009, Teacher of the Year from Classical Singer Magazine.

Dr. Shirley Bean, Associate Professor Emerita

Ms. Thilde Beuing, Professor Emerita, (deceased)

Mr. Hugh Brown, Associate Professor Emeritus

Mr. Richard Cass, Distinguished Professor of Music Emeritus (deceased)

Richard Cass was born in Greenville, SC and graduated from Furman College. He won a Fulbright Fellowship to study in Paris at the Ecole Normale de Musique, where among his teachers were the legendary Nadia Boulanger and one of the towering figures in the history of the piano, Alfred Cortot. Cass made a successful Paris debut and after joining the roster of prestigious Columbia Artists Management he traveled all over North America, Europe, Asia the Caribbean. After a stint on the faculty of the University of North Texas in Denton, in 1975 Richard became professor of piano what was then called the Kansas City Conservatory, University of Missouri. He was later named Curator’s Professor, the highest honor awarded by the university. After his retirement he continued to perform and record and give master classes around the country. Richard is featured in Ben Saver’s book The Most Wanted Piano Teachers in the USA.

Dr. Nancy Cochran, Professor Emerita

Dr. John Ditto, Associate Professor Emeritus

John Ditto is also Director of Music-Organist at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Kansas City, MO. He has performed throughout the United States including several regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists and several national conventions of the Organ Historical Society and Music Teacher’s National Association. During summer 1986, he toured England. He has won many honors and awards, the most important being his selection as a finalist in the National Organ Playing Competition sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church, Fort Wayne, IN.

Beginning his musical studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, he went on to earn an undergraduate degree at Drake University. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Michigan and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from The Eastman School of Music, where he was awarded the prestigious Performer’s Certificate. His organ teachers include Jack Ralston, Robert Glasgow, and Russell Saunders. Before his appointment to the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, he was on the faculty of Central Methodist University, Fayette, MO, and Minister of Music at the First Presbyterian Church, Evansville, IN. Most recently Dr. Ditto has been chosen to be a National Affiliate by Sigma Alpha Iota National Music Fraternity.

Ms. Tania Dokoudovska, Associate Professor Emerita (deceased)

Tatiana Dokoudovska was born January 13, 1921, in Beausoleil, France, near Monte Carlo. Her father, Alexis, was the son of a Russian nobleman and her mother Nadia’s Italian grandfather an opera singer. When Tatiana was 12 years old, she and her brother Vladimir were sent to Paris to study ballet with Olga Preobrajenska, the prima ballerina of Russia’s Imperial Theater.

In 1939 she was asked to come to the United States to join The American Ballet Theater. She taught ballet in New York’s Carnegie Hall and at The Regent Academy in New Jersey. While in New York, Tatiana heard that Kansas City’s Starlight Theater was holding auditions for a ballet soloist to dance. Dancing at Starlight changed her life. Victor Labunski, head of the Conservatory was impressed with her background as a dancer and ballet teacher and asked her to join the Conservatory’s staff to teach ballet and establish a dance program.  

In 1959 Tatiana founded The Kansas City Civic Ballet, which became the Kansas City Ballet. In 1962 Tatiana established a bachelor of arts degree in dance at the Conservatory. And she started a tradition for the Christmas season, choreographing her dancers to perform the ballet The Nutcracker every December. Tatiana was one of the first appointed directors of the Association of American Dance Companies. Tatiana retired from the Conservatory in 1989.

Dr. Eph Ehly, Professor Emeritus

One of America's most revered choral conductors, Dr. Ehly is Professor Emeritus at the Conservatory of Music and Dance, University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he taught for 27 years. Dr. Ehly's awards for outstanding musicianship include the Luther Spade Choral Director of the Year Award and the Amoco Foundation Outstanding Teaching Award.

Dr. Ehly has been named one of the most sought-after choral conductors/clinicians. He guest-conducts in Carnegie Hall, New York City several times each year. He has conducted more than 80 all-state choirs, and more than 500 festival ensembles. As a lecturer, clinician and conductor, he has appeared in 48 states, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, several countries throughout Europe and presented on more than 100 college and university campuses.

Dr. Ehly received his Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Colorado-Boulder, his Master of Music from George Peabody College, Nashville, TN, and his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Notable teachers he has studied with include Jean Berger, Julius Hereford, Warner Imig, Louis Nicholas, Lynn Whitten, and Vincent Persichetti.

Dr. Alex Hamilton, Associate Professor Emeritus

Mary Pat Henry, Professor Emerita
Mary Pat Henry was born in Charleston, SC. She has performed with the San Francisco Ballet, Ballet West, Radio City Music Hall and at the Inside/Out Concert Series at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. She has been a guest artist with the South Carolina, Virginia, and New York Arts Commissions, with New York's Young Audiences, and in a variety of artist-in-residence programs.  

Ms. Henry has been the Artistic Director of England’s London Dance Collective, and Dance Edition in New York City. She has choreographed for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Radio City Music Hall, Off-Broadway, ABC's television special Kids Are People Too, Victoria Arts Festival, Canada, Westminster Cathedral Royal Christmas Benefit for Save the Children Foundation, London, England and various dance and theater companies throughout Europe and the United States.  

Currently, she is Artistic Director of the Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company, a professional dance company based in Kansas City, Missouri and Artists-in-Residence at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  

In addition to teaching master classes for dance companies around the world, Ms. Henry was a member of the ballet faculty of New Jersey’s Garden State Ballet, the Dance Theatre of Harlem, New York’s Feld Ballet, 92nd St. Y in New York City and was Acting Director of Special Programs for New York’s Laban/Bartenieiff Institute. Mary Pat has also been on the ballet faculty of the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance and the Royal Academy of Dance in London, England as well as the movement faculty for The Drama Center of London and the Italia Conte Theater Academy.  

Ms. Henry is a respected adjudicator for regional and national dance competitions in the U.S. and Canada.  She has served on the Board of Directors for the American College Dance Festival Association and as a membership chairman for the Central Region.  

Ms. Henry holds her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Utah and her Master of Fine Arts from Florida State University. Mary Pat Henry is the recipient of the 2007 Muriel McBrien Kauffman Award for Artistry/Scholarship, the 1996 Muriel McBrien Kauffman Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the 1997 Alberta Dance Festival Teaching Award in Canada. 

Dr. Milton Hehr, Assistant Dean and Associate Professor Emeritus

Dr. June Jetter, Professor Emerita, (deceased)

Dr. Gerald Kemner, Professor Emeritus (deceased)

Mr. Tiberius Klausner, Professor Emeritus

Mr. Richard Knoll, Professor Emeritus

Dr. Wanda Lathom-Radocy, Professor Emerita

Dr. John Leisenring, Professor Emeritus

Dr. Martha Longmire, Professor Emerita (deceased)

Dr. Marian Petersen, Professor Emerita

Dr. George Petrie, III, Associate Professor Emeritus, (deceased)

Dr. LeRoy Pogemiller, Professor Emeritus, (deceased)

Dr. Ruth Ann Rich, Professor Emerita

Dr. Linda Ross-Happy, Associate Professor Emerita

Linda Ross Happy is an Associate Professor Emerita in the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She received her DMA, group piano pedagogy from the University of Colorado-Boulder, MM, piano performance from Northwestern University, and BME from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Dr. Ross Happy is active as a clinician and adjudicator and also maintains an active private piano studio in her home where she especially enjoys working with young children.
Professor Ross Happy has established a state-of-the-art digital piano/computer lab at the UMKC Conservatory and has recently written a beginning piano method for adults. Her teaching was recognized in 1997 when she received the prestigious Conservatory Board of Trustees Excellence in Teaching Award.

Dr. Merton Shatzkin, Professor Emeritus

Dr. Merton Shatzkin got his first experience as a conductor in 1989 with the Medical Arts Symphony, and has been conductor and music director of the orchestra ever since. A graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, Dr. Shatzkin earned master and doctoral degrees in theory and a Performer's Certificate from the Eastman School of Music.  He was Professor of Theory at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, a position he held 1963 until his 1997 retirement.  He was Assistant Concertmaster of the Kansas City Symphony until 1992 and was a member of the Volker String Quartet, the Conservatory's Contemporary Chamber Players and the NewEar Ensemble.

A true renaissance man, Dr. Shatzkin is also a composer.  He has had many original works performed at the University of Kansas, the Conservatory of Music and Dance at UMKC, and Central Missouri State University. A prolific researcher who has published many articles, Dr. Shatzkin is the author of a book on orchestration, Writing for the Orchestra, published by Prentice-Hall.

Joan Cochran Summers, Professor Emerita

Joan Cochran Sommers established the accordion degree program at UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance in 1961. It was one of the most comprehensive accordion programs in the world where performance majors, secondaries, and non-music majors used the accordion to earn undergraduate and graduate, baccalaureate through doctorate, degrees. Upon her retirement from full-time teaching, she was voted the title Professor Emerita due to her distinguished university career. Professor Sommers has been honored numerous times by the American Accordionists' Ass'n, the Accordion Teachers' Guild, Int'l., the Confederation Internationale des Accordeonistes, as well as other musical organizations for her ongoing dedication and contributions to the field of music, especially that of the accordion, an instrument she began playing at age nine.

She earned the right to represent the USA in the Coupe Mondial in 1955 and 1956, events that undoubtedly developed her interest in accordion activities worldwide. As a performer she uses the piano accordion, but she teaches all types of systems regardless of arrangements of keys or buttons. Many of her students play both chromatic and keyboard instruments. Courses she designed and taught at the Conservatory of Music and Dance were: Applied Private Accordion, Accordion Orchestra, Accordion Chamber Music, Arranging for the Accordion, Accordion Literature, and History of the Accordion. In addition she taught Accordion Techniques, a specially designed course for the non-accordionists majoring in music education or music therapy. There was always a great emphasis on sight-reading as well as orchestra and chamber music since Professor Sommers believed the skills developed in those areas helped prepare the performer for the professional world of music. Her students have won numerous top awards, including the U.S. Championship competitions in both the AAA and the ATG, and have been candidates to the Coupe Mondiale many different times over a long period of time. Foreign students under her instruction have also been represented.

Dr. Paul Sommers, Professor Emeritus

Mr. Tim Timmons, Professor Emeritus

Tim Timmons has performed for regional and international conferences of the North American Saxophone Alliance and the World Saxophone Congress and has toured Europe as a soloist with the Blue Lake International Band. Timmons has appeared as a soloist with the Kansas City Symphony, with a notable performance of David Amram's saxophone concerto Ode to Lord Buckley, with the composer conducting. Timmons made the first official recording of Karel Husa's Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Concert Band. He has also recorded Ingolf Dahl's Concerto for Alto Saxophone and James Mobberley's Spontaneous Combustion for saxophone and tape. Composers such as Vaclav Nelhybel, Malcom Lewis, Raymond Luedeke and James Mobberley have composed works for Timmons. In addition to the Kansas City Symphony, he has appeared with Kansas City Camerata, Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, Midland Saxophone Quartet and the Omaha Symphony. Timmons can be heard on the Kansas City Symphony recording of Benjamin Britten's works, and his solo recitals have been broadcast on NPR radio programs. An active educator and clinician, Timmons has toured throughout the Midwest performing solo recitals and presenting master classes. Timmons' students have won national and international competitions and hold positions at universities, the nation's top military bands, and perform as commercial and studio musicians.