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Stonefelt named SUNY Distinguished Professor
Friday, November 21, 2014

Stonefelt named SUNY Distinguished Professor

Dr. Kay Stonefelt of the School of Music has been appointed as a State University of New York Distinguished Professor. She is one of 11 faculty appointed by the State University of New York Board of Trustees to distinguished ranks. All distinguished faculty in active service within SUNY are also members of the SUNY Distinguished Academy.

The Distinguished Professorship is conferred upon individuals who have achieved national or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within a chosen field. The distinction is attained through significant contributions to the research literature or through artistic performance or achievement in the case of the arts. The candidates’ work must be of such character that the individuals’ presence will tend to elevate the standards of scholarship of colleagues both within and beyond these persons’ academic fields.

Dr. Stonefelt joined the School of Music in 1993 while she was concurrently the recipient of a Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Grant to Ghana, West Africa. During her year in Ghana, she worked with the Ghana Dance Ensemble at the National Theatre where she studied xylophone styles of the Dagara people with Bernard Woma, and various indigenous drumming patterns of Ghana with Francis Kofi. In return, Dr. Stonefelt was able to share her knowledge of contemporary music through a course that she taught at the University of Ghana at Legon on music of the 20th century.

Immediately following her undergraduate studies, Dr. Stonefelt participated in many orchestral ensembles throughout the U.S. and was a member of the Baltimore Symphony percussion section as the first full-time woman percussionist on contract with a major symphony orchestra. After moving to New York City, she performed in over 20 Broadway and off-Broadway shows. As a freelance player in New York City, she recorded TV and radio commercials and was a founding member of various chamber, jazz, and percussion ensembles.

She has also participated in many women's music events, from the First National Congress on Women and Music at New York University to performances at the Bloomington (Ind.) Women's Music Festival and beyond. She has had 11 funded grants, seven recordings, 20 solo performances, and many more conducting, composing, producing, consulting and arranging engagements. She has also led ethnic music ensembles on campus and around the world.

Dr. Stonefelt completed a Doctor of Music in Percussion Performance degree at Indiana University in 1992, with additional study areas of Ethnomusicology and Jazz History. During the pursuit of the degree she also held teaching positions as an Associate Instructor of Percussion at Indiana University, and as Lecturer in Percussion at Fredonia. During this time, she also performed in Germany, France, and the former U.S.S.R. with the Stuttgart (Germany) Opera Orchestra, and presented solo percussion concerts in Munich and Konstanz, Germany.

As a participant in renaissance and medieval ensembles, where many ethnic percussion instruments are used, Dr. Stonefelt developed an interest in performance of ethnic percussion instruments. This interest led her to study ethnomusicology at Indiana University, concentrating on various aspects of musics of the Middle East and Africa, i.e. frame-drumming, amadinda (log xylophone from Uganda), gyil (xylophone of the Dagara people), and West African drumming styles.

At Fredonia, as a part of multicultural awareness and in an attempt to include world music performance in its program and through Dr. Stonefelt’s initiative, the School of Music offers African xylophone and drumming styles, and instruction in Mexican Marimba Ensemble through participation in percussion ensemble and class instruction.

In addition to teaching, Dr. Stonefelt is the timpanist with the Western New York Chamber Orchestra, percussionist with the Erie Chamber Orchestra, and the percussionist and hammered dulcimer player for Fioretto, an ensemble based in Finland that is dedicated to the performance of medieval and renaissance music. Her several recordings include the most recent of the music of Eric Richards for New World and a current release with Fioretto.

SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall said, “It is our distinct honor to recognize SUNY’s best and brightest faculty with our highest faculty ranking. The professors receiving this ranking today are innovators and trailblazers in their chosen field, teaching and mentoring students, advancing groundbreaking research and discovery, and providing an impeccable service to our world. Congratulations to all of our newest distinguished faculty.” 

“The SUNY distinguished faculty bring our students the best SUNY has to offer – quality teaching and instruction, innovative research opportunities, and engaging community service,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “We are proud to recognize the leadership and academic excellence of our distinguished faculty and the positive impact they have on students and campuses as well as communities here in New York and around the globe. Many thanks and congratulations to this most recent class of distinguished faculty.”

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