The School of Music at DePaul University has long been renowned for its outstanding alumni, students and faculty. From innovative performers coming together to make a landmark new sound to Grammy-nominated sound engineers working today, DePaul alumni have been making their mark across the music industry for decades.
“If You Leave Me Now” – Chicago X
Yep… that Chicago. Alumni Walter Parazider (BM ’69, DHL ’08), Lee Loughlane and James Pankow met as students at DePaul and teamed up with Terry Kath, Danny Seraphine, Robert Lamm and Peter Cetera in 1967. The group, eventually settling on the name Chicago, would go on to sell 40 million records, including eight multi-platinum records and five straight albums atop the Billboard 100 list. Chicago was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.
Dana Hall (MM ’02)
“Jabali” – Into the Light
Director of Jazz Studies and accomplished jazz drummer Dana Hall (MM ’02) has enjoyed a diverse and accomplished career performing alongside legendary artists like Ray Charles, Bradford Marsalis and more. His debut album, 2009’s Into the Light, received wide acclaim, reaching #8 on the JazzWeek Top 50.
Josephine Lee (BM ’97)
“Believe in Love” – Chicago Children’s Choir – Harmony Anew
Josephine Lee (BM ’97) is president and artistic director of Chicago Children’s Choir, a nonprofit organization that “inspires and unites youth from diverse backgrounds to become global citizens through music.” Their 2018 album, Harmony Anew, features 15 inspirational songs of hope.
Brenton Ryan (BM ’09)
The Ghost of Versailles, Act II: Quartet: Remember the chestnut trees in the gardens of the Touleries?
The booming tenor of alumnus Brenton Ryan (BM ’09) is heralded by Opera News for its “remarkable tonal suavity and refined phrasing,” and the winner of the esteemed Birgit Nilsson prize at the 2016 Operalia competition has already made his mark on the international opera scene. Ryan was awarded the School of Music’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in the fall of 2019.
Orbert Davis (BM ’82)
“Dusable to Obama (Main Theme)” – Dusable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis (Original Soundtrack)
Orbert Davis (BM ’82) has long been a fixture of the national music scene as co-founder, conductor and artistic director of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. In 2010, Davis won an Emmy Award for the composition and production of an original score for the national PBS documentary, “DuSable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis.”
Mary Mazurek (BS ’92)
“Liquid Melancholy: I. Con fuoco” – James Stephenson – Liquid Melancholy
Adding to the School of Music’s long list of Grammy nominees, alumna Mary Mazurek (BS ’92) is a recording engineer and interdisciplinary artist. Her work recording James Stephenson’s Liquid Melancholy was recognized with a 2019 Grammy nomination.
Oto Carrillo (BM ’93)
“Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64” – CSO Resound
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is renowned across the world, and alumnus and Horn faculty member Oto Carrillo (BM ’93) is no small reason why. Appointed to the CSO’s brass section in 2000, Carrillo has been a mainstay in the orchestra for two decades and is still going strong.
Janai Brugger (BM ’05)
“Love Will Find a Way” – Black Manhattan, Vol. 3
Alumna Janai Brugger (BM ’05), a winner of the School of Music’s Distinguished Alumna Award, was featured on Black Manhattan, Vol. 3, a Paragon Ragtime Orchestra project to record and document the music of important African-American composers from late 19th- and early 20th-century New York City.
Tom Matta (CER ’94)
“Time to Spare” – Components
Faculty member and alumnus Tom Matta (CER ’94)’s big band, The Tom Matta Big Band, performs at jazz clubs and festivals around the Chicagoland area. Matta is a sought-after bass trombonist who has performed and recorded with a diverse array of musical acts, including the Count Basie Orchestra, Art Garfunkel, Aretha Franklin and more.