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Alumni in Action

String Studies

NYU Strings program alumna Harper Randolph

Harper Randolph (BM ‘18, MM ‘20)

Since graduating with her Master’s Degree in String Studies in May 2020, Harper Randolph has gone on to excel in many areas of her music career. In the Fall of 2021, Harper enrolled at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD) to further her Viola studies with Caroline Coade. She was named the third-prize winner of the 2022 Sphinx Competition, and semi-finalist in the 2023 Sphinx Competition. Harper also served as the violist of the Calista quartet. The quartet worked closely with many renowned quartets including the JACK, Parker and Eybler quartets. 

Harper spent the summer of 2023 performing and teaching. In June, she joined the Sphinx Virtuosi for a performance presented at the Minnesota Beethoven Festival. In July, Harper and her twin brother Cole performed two Cello/Viola Duo concerts at Festival Napa Valley as a part of the Bouchaine Young Artists Series. To end the summer, Harper joined the Viola faculty of the Sphinx Performance Academy, spending two weeks at the Cleveland Institute of Music teaching private lessons, studio classes, and coaching a chamber group. Harper is currently performing with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as an African American Orchestra Fellow.

NYU String alumni Patti Kilroy

Patti Kilroy (PhD `19)

What are you currently up to?

I am a performing violinist and educator based in Los Angeles, California. I play a lot of contemporary music, particularly with the sinfonietta Alarm Will Sound, which I recently joined. I also record music in my home studio, and work as a freelance violinist and violist in the Los Angeles area. As an educator, I am an Associate Professor in the Music Department at California State University, Los Angeles, where I teach violin, chamber music, music appreciation courses, and serve as Associate Chair and Graduate Advisor. I also teach chamber music at LA County High School for the Arts, and maintain a private violin studio in the Los Angeles area. When I’m not working, I enjoy the Los Angeles weather and food with my family, study Japanese, and listen to music.

Can you share some highlights from your career so far?

  • I performed a sold-out show at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall with Alarm Will Sound in March 2024! I enjoy returning to NYC to perform now that I live in Los Angeles, and that one particularly felt like a homecoming for me.
  • I was awarded early tenure and promotion at Cal State LA in February 2024.
  • I joined Alarm Will Sound as a member in late 2023. Alarm Will Sound is one of the first touring contemporary music sinfonietta ensembles, and was described by the New York Times as “one of the most vital and original ensembles on the American music scene” and has premiered pieces by by Steve Reich, Meredith Monk, Tyshawn Sorey, David Lang, John Adams, Mary Kouyoumdjian, John Luther Adams, Marcos Balter, and Augusta Read Thomas among others. 
  • I played in the string ensemble for the New York shows in Björk’s Vulnicura tour (which ended up on her live album) - another experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. She’s one of my favorite artists, and the performances were really special.

What did you enjoy most about String Studies?

It's very difficult to pick one thing. The String Studies program has a wealth of opportunities for collaboration both within and outside of the department and school. I worked with SO many composers while I was there - I think I was the go-to composers’ recital violinist from maybe 2008 to 2012, and still remember the piles of music. I also enjoyed having the opportunity to start my career as a freelance violinist and teacher in New York City, including some opportunities facilitated by NYU where I was able to play alongside some of the best recording and Broadway musicians (I think back to those film score recording sessions, especially.) I appreciate that I had room and encouragement to pursue these collaborations and professional opportunities while earning my Music Performance degrees. Also, the faculty are incredible - I was so lucky to receive the mentorship I did, from so many amazing musicians and people.

Any surprises?

You never know how people from your time in school are going to stay in your life and shape your future. NYU graduates end up everywhere! I moved to Los Angeles in 2019 after 13 years of working and studying in New York, and had friends in town right away.

How did String Studies prepared you for life after NYU?

In addition to giving me so many connections around the country that continue to benefit me professionally and personally, I developed many skills beyond playing the violin that I use regularly in my roles today. These skills include organizing ensembles, working with many different types of musicians and types of music, time management, collegiality, learning how to use new technology… I’m probably not remembering a few others, but there were so many!

NYU String Studies alum Josh Hunton

Josh Hunton (MM `17, AD `18) 

Since concluding his studies at NYU Steinhardt (M.M. Viola Performance and Adv. Crt. Music Education), Joshua Hunton has been an active freelance musician and teaching artist. Performances have brought him to the stages of Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, National Sawdust, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and most recently to Gracie Mansion. He currently serves as Principal Viola for the Regina Opera Company but can also be heard on the album Losing My Mind: A Sondheim Disco Fever Dream (Broadway Records), as well as the soundtrack for the Netflix series Green Door.

While dedicated to maintaining an active and varied concert schedule, Mr. Hunton also has a passion for teaching. This past summer, he was proud to see four of his private viola students (who started playing in his beginner group class) attend the Interlochen Arts Camp, three of whom were on full scholarship from the New York Philharmonic, with two of those students claiming half of the viola spots in the Advanced Strings program. Seeing the field of music education as more than just improving technique and musical artistry, he is driven to help nurture the development of his students as confident, creative, and resilient individuals, helping to equip them with necessary skills they will carry into their daily lives. Having served multiple years as both a teaching artist and a faculty mentor with the Harmony Program, he has seen how an El Sistema-inspired program in NYC not only survived the perils of an online-only world, during the height of the COVID pandemic, but thrived and has seen exponential growth ever since. He also serves on the faculties of the Third Street Music School Settlement, Brooklyn Music School, and Music Beans. 

Violinst and NYU alum Laura Sacks sitting outside with her violin

Laura Sacks (AD `13 )

Laura Sacks is a New York City-based violist who enjoys a multifaceted career. Since graduating from New York University, she has performed with the Sarasota Opera, New York City Ballet, June in Buffalo, NOVUS, Albany Symphony, and the Chamber Orchestra of New York. Her chamber music series, Crystalline Chamber Collective is in its second season.

Comfortable in many genres, Laura joined the Eagles on their North American tour in 2018 and was the violist on the Broadway National Tour of Miss Saigon- she has also subbed on Broadway in NYC. Highlights of this year include performances with Barry Manilow and Halsey. She regularly records with the Grammy winning 8 Bit Big Band and has performed in the house band on Saturday Night Live. In addition to NYU, Laura holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, and Stony Brook University.

NYU alum Luke Quintanilla playing violin outside

Luke Quintanilla (MM `21)

Luke Quintanilla has been performing regularly throughout New York City with several different orchestra and opera companies since graduating from NYU. He has served as principal violist of the New Camerata Opera, New Amsterdam Opera, the Symphony of Westchester, and the Manhattan Symphonie. Other groups include Regina Opera, Orchestra of the Bronx, Bronx Opera, and Opera Italiana. Luke’s favorite performances of recent memory include playing Beethoven’s Sixth and Seventh Symphonies in Carnegie Hall with the New England Symphonic Ensemble this past June and July, and performing string quartets for guests of the mayor at the Gracie Mansion in August. 

In addition to performing, Luke is an active violin and viola teacher in both private and group settings as a Teaching Artist with the Harmony Program. He teaches both in-school and after-school programs in the Bronx and the Upper East Side for underserved communities. He has previously taught group violin classes for the Noel Pointer Foundation, another non-profit with a similar mission of expanding access to music education to students throughout the city. 

NYU String alum Hannah Cohen with her violin

Hannah Cohen, (MM `21, AD `22)

Since graduating from NYU Steinhardt in 2022, Hannah has been so fortunate to freelance around NYC and sub and perform with some incredible organizations. Hannah has been playing with the American Ballet Theatre Orchestra, most recently for their run of Gisele at the Metropolitan Opera House for the ABT summer season. She has been playing with the American Symphony Orchestra for their Summerscape Opera at Bard College, playing with her NYU teacher Cyrus Beroukhim as concertmaster. She has also been playing with American Composers Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra of NY. Additionally she got to perform with Jason Mraz and the New York Pops at Forest Hills Stadium this past August with many of her fellow NYU Steinhardt violin alums! Last March, Hannah played on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon performing with the Roots and St. Vincent and eight amazing female violinists on international women’s day. Hannah teaches violin for City Strings and Piano and plays dozens of private events a year for various event companies. She is so grateful to her teachers at NYU Steinhardt and the connections she made that helped forge such a full freelance career post grad.