Guest Speakers at ONNY's Pre-Concert Conversation Discuss Living Women Composers

Two members of the Orchestra of Northern New York will be the featured guest speakers for the Pre-Concert Conversation when ONNY presents its Brahms Symphony No. 1 concert on April 29 at 7:30 pm in Hosmer Hall, SUNY Potsdam and on April 30 at 3 pm in the First Presbyterian Church, Watertown. The Pre-Concert Conversation begins 45 minutes before each program.

Dr. Nelly Maude Case of Los Alamos, New Mexico, is traveling to the North Country from New Mexico to perform one last time under the baton of Maestro Kenneth Andrews in his final classical concert. Dr. Erin Brooks, a member of the Crane School of Music faculty, joins her. Both women play viola and are noted musicologists, persons who conduct the scholarly analysis and research-based study of music. Maestro Andrews will pose questions about the two noted female composers whose works will be performed in this spring concert.

The program opens with the energetic and rhythmically riveting Sixth Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, composed by Joan Tower, considered by many to be one of the most important composers living today. She was awarded the 2020 Composer of the Year by Musical America.  ONNY is excited to present Charles V. Guy, the Orchestra’s principal tubist, in Jennifer Higdon’s Tuba Concerto (2018). Higdon is also one of the most sought-after American composers of our day. ONNY’s performance will be the New York State premiere of this work.

Dr. Nelly Maude Case is a Professor Emerita of the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, where she taught courses in music history, theory, and women in music for 25 years.

She served as organist and bell choir director at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Canton from 1989-2016, and played viola in the Orchestra of Northern New York from 1991-2016.

She also published biographies of two Crane icons: Worry Early: the Life of Brock McElheran in 2006, and Helen Hosmer: The Spirit of Crane in 2011.

Since retiring to Los Alamos, New Mexico, she has served as organist and choirmaster at Trinity on the Hill (Episcopal Church), taught music appreciation at the University of New Mexico, and played violin and viola in the Los Alamos and Roswell Symphonies. In her spare time, she plays bridge and engages in political activism.

Dr. Erin Brooks is Associate Professor of Musicology at tSUNY Potsdam. Her research interests include opera, film, video games, gender and sexuality, disability, listening, and trauma studies.

She earned her Ph.D. in Musicology from Washington University in St. Louis, where her dissertation analyzed French actress Sarah Bernhardt’s role in fin-de-siécle musical culture. Erin has published multiple articles on opera and film music; her most recent article, appearing in the April 2023 issue of Nineteenth-Century Music Review, illuminates connections between sound, war, and trauma during the Franco-Prussian War. She has presented her research at multiple national and international conferences, and is a founding co-chair of the American Musicological Society Study Group on Music, Sound, and Trauma. She is currently working on a monograph on the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts, as well as a research project on sound and the polio epidemic.

Dr. Brooks teaches courses on a wide variety of topics; she has taught seminars on music, gender, and sexuality at SUNY Potsdam, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and UCLA. 

In addition to ONNY, she is a member of the Carriage House string quartet and has also appeared with the St. Lawrence University String Orchestra and the Northern Lights Choir. Before moving to New York, she played viola, Baroque viola, and viola da gamba in ensembles in Arkansas, Missouri, California, and Wisconsin. 

For more information about the Brahms Symphony No. 1 program, visit where one can also purchase tickets online.