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Bach’s Lunch – Hannah Murray and Justin McCarthy

October 12, 2023 @ 12:10 pm - 12:50 pm

Our October 12 recital by Hannah J. Murray, Soprano and Justin McCarthy, Piano is entitled “The World in Her Hands; Songs of Contemporary Female Composers”. The performance is a celebration of songs in many American musical traditions including music theater, cabaret, jazz, and spirituals.


Hannah Murray, lyric soprano, received her B.A. in vocal performance from Connecticut College, and her M.M. in vocal pedagogy and performance from Westminster Choir College. Additional studies include the Royal Academy of Music in London, England, and Middlebury College’s Deutsch fur Sängerin program. She is not only a highly sought-after voice teacher, but also an accomplished singer in her own right. Hannah has performed throughout the Northeastern United States. She is on the full-time faculty at Plymouth State University as the Coordinator of Vocal Studies, Teaching Faculty. In addition to her administrative and private teaching duties, she serves as Music Director for the Plymouth State University

Justin McCarthy received his Bachelor & Master’s degrees from Rice University, and his Doctorate from Boston University. He has worked as a pianist & educator in the greater Boston area for more than 20 years. A faculty member at Plymouth State University since 2009, Justin currently serves as Coordinator of Collaborative Piano in the Department of Music, Theatre, & Dance. He is currently the Music Director and Organist at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Bedford, NH. He also serves as pianist for the Nashua Choral Society and maintains an active private teaching schedule.


Christine Jobson, soprano, and Sarah Ruff, piano make up the songwriting and
performing duo called “Ebony Fanfare”. In 2019, Dr. Jobson earned a doctoral degree
in Vocal Pedagogy and Performance at the Frost School of Music at the University of
Miami. Mrs. Ruff is a graduate of the University of Miami, with a Bachelor of Music in
Music Education, and a Master of Music in Music Education from Boston University. She
also holds a Master of Arts degree in Humanities from Nova Southeastern University.
Ruff was named South Florida’s Top Black Educators of 2016 by Legacy Magazine, and
2016 Teacher of the Year for APMCOTA. Their collaborative piece I Dream a World,
with poetry by Langston Hughes, was featured in a production by English National
Opera in 2020.

Jane Kelly Williams grew up in Newnan, Georgia. She moved to New York City to
study music theory at Manhattan School of Music, and made her American debut on
Mercury Records with Tapping The Wheel in 1995. She had a Top 10 Contemporary
radio hit with “Breaking Into the Past”. Ms. Williams describes her music as influenced
by hymns that she grew up listening to in church. Her inspired Bossa Nova-esque
song “Wonderful You” was recorded by Audra MacDonald in 2006 for her (Audra
MacDonald’s) album “Build a Bridge”.

Zina Goldrich, composer and pianist, and Marcy Heisler, lyricist and soprano, have
been writing and performing music together for over 3 decades. Goldrich was a staff
songwriter for Walt Disney Feature Animation before collaborating with Heisler began
in earnest. Their romantic comedy songs are critically acclaimed and have been
recorded by many major Broadway stars including Kristen Chenowith, Megan Hilty,
Sierra Boggess, and Audra MacDonald (to name just a few). Heisler and Goldrich are
most known for their stand-alone songs but have also written some Off-Broadway
musicals including “Dear Edwina” and “Ever After”, the latter of which was slated to be
on Broadway just as Covid hit.

Georgia Stitt, composer/lyricist, music director, pianist, and music producer, received
her M.F.A. in Musical Theater Writing from New York University and her B.Mus. in Music
Theory and Composition from Vanderbilt University. She currently teaches Musical
Theater Writing at Princeton University. Ms. Stitt is the Founder and President
of Maestra, an activist organization for women and nonbinary musicians in the theater.
Ms. Stitt has had an exceptionally notable career writing both musical theatre and nontheatrical
pieces. Her albums; “This Ordinary Thursday: The Songs of Georgia Stitt”,
“Alphabet City Cycle,” “My Lifelong Love” and “A Quiet Revolution” have included
many major Broadway stars (too numerous in count to mention here). She also served
as music director for the film versions of “13: The Musical” and “The Last Five Years”.
Ms. Stitt lives in New York with her husband, composer/lyricist Jason Robert Brown,
and their two daughters.

Jacqueline Hairston is a vocal coach, composer, and pianist. She received musical
training at The Julliard School and Howard University School of Music. She earned her
Masters in Music and Music Education from Columbia University. Her works have been
played by the London Symphony and Sung by Kathleen Battle and Denyce Graves.
Ms. Hairston has been the recipient of two “Living Legend” awards. A current resident
of California, Ms. Hairston recently taught at Oakland’s New School for the Arts, the
University of Creation Spirituality, and the University of California at Berkeley’s Young
Musicians’ Program.

The Bach’s Lunch series is offered on the first and second Thursdays of the month. Each live performance, held in our historic Recital Hall, features recitals and lectures by contemporary musicians and other performing artists. Pick up a box lunch at a local eatery, bring one from home, or eat before/after the performance. This series is free and open to the public.

The 2023 -’24 Bach’s Lunch series in made possible in part through the generosity of


October 12, 2023
12:10 pm - 12:50 pm