Class of 2020
Annie Bennett, alto saxophone
Annie Bennett (alto saxophone) is a first-year student from Raleigh, N.C. She has extensive experience playing in small combo and big band settings throughout the Triangle and beyond. Her jazz combo, Lady and the Tramps, is a winner of the NCCU jazz competition, opened at the Hob Nob Jazz Festival, and was featured on WUNC’s The State of Things. Annie has been selected to play in a variety of local, regional, and national jazz bands, including selection for NAFME’s All-National Jazz Band and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Summer Jazz Academy for two years running. She was awarded an Excellence at All-Nationals by Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2015. She has studied with a number of renowned jazz artists, including Ted Nash, Rodney Whitaker, and Wynton Marsalis. Annie is a student of Aaron Hill.
Thomas Marshall, horn
Thomas Marshall (horn) is a first-year student from Manalapan, N.J. He is an active member of the Marching Tar Heels, Wind Ensemble, and both a brass and woodwind quintet under the direction of Professors Michael Kris and Donald Oehler, respectively. Before his first semester, Thomas earned positions in New Jersey bands and orchestras at the local, regional, and state levels from 2015-16 that provided him opportunities to play in the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, N.J., and Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. In his first semester practicing music, Thomas studied under the direction of Pamela Burleson and focused on his preparation for an audition for the National Music Festival in Maryland this summer. This preparation, which extends into his time with his new horn instructor, includes tackling challenging excepts and solos such as Strauss’s Ein Heldenleiben, Wagner’s Siegfried’s Rhine Journey, and Mozart’s Concerto No. 2 in Eb Major. Along with his degree in music performance, Thomas continues to pursue his B.S. in physics as a member of Honors Carolina at UNC. Thomas is a student of Natalie Fritz.
Renee McGee, trumpet
Renee McGee (trumpet) is a first-year student from Stafford, Va. Since August, Renee has played with the UNC Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Brass Quintet, and Marching Tar Heels. She is also an active musician in the Triangle, subbing on cornet for the Triangle Brass Band and playing various classical and jazz gigs in the area. In December 2016, Renee was selected to attend the U.S. Air Force Concert Band’s first Collegiate Symposium in Alexandria, Va. In November 2016, Renee performed a public recital as part of the Ackland Art Museum’s community outreach program, Art &. She designed a diverse and challenging program, playing literature from Copland’s Quiet City and excerpts from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition to Ellington’s jazz ballad Isfahan. Renee has studied primarily with Ken McGee, lead trumpet of the Army Blues, and Woody English, retired principal trumpet of the Army Brass Quintet. In addition to majoring in music with a concentration in instrumental performance, Renee intends to continue her studies of French and philosophy at Carolina. Renee is a student of Jim Ketch.
Peter Smith, piano
Peter Smith (piano) is a first-year student from Chapel Hill, N.C., who began studying piano in 2004. He was invited to attend the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for all four years of high school, where he studied with Eric Larsen. Peter has attended many summer programs, including the Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival in 2016, programs at the Oberlin Conservatory and the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2015, the Eastern Music Festival in 2014, and the Brevard Music Festival in 2013. He regularly performs in recitals and masterclasses, is an active chamber musician, frequently plays in large ensembles, and routinely accompanies instrumentalists and vocalists. Peter has been instructed by some of the most distinguished teachers in the country, including Robert McDonald of the Juilliard School, Nelita True and Rebecca Penneys of the Eastman School of Music, Alvin Chow of the Oberlin Conservatory, and Antonio Pompa-Baldi of the Cleveland Institute of Music. He was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2015 Music Teachers National Association State Competition for North Carolina, and co-won the Cleveland Institute of Music summer program duet competition in 2015. Peter is also an accomplished academic student; he was a National Merit Scholar Finalist for 2016, and was invited to join Honors Carolina at UNC. Peter is a student of Clara Yang.