Teachers/Speakers


Nathan Borton, Nathan Borton spent the younger part of his childhood moving around the country, but around middle school he settled in Wichita, Kansas. In 2011, he attended Friends University, under the direction of Lisa Hittle, studying Jazz guitar with Randy Zellers. During his tenure there he preformed with names such as Cyrus Chestnut, Brad Leali, Tanya Darby, and Jerry Hahn. In 2014, he was accepted into the Jazz program at Berklee College of Music. There he studied under jazz greats such as David Gilmore, Tia Fuller, Peter Bernstein, and the guitar chair Larry Baione. Currently, Nathan is a Teaching Assistant at Michigan State University, under the direction of Rodney Whitaker, pursuing a Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies. There he is studying guitar under the tutelage of the great Randy Napoleon.


Chris Glassman, from Littleton, Colorado, attended the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver, where he studied classical tenor trombone with Schoot Bean. While at Lamont also learned from incredible musicians such as Warren Deck, Steve Wiest, Eric Gunnison, and Alan Hood, to name a few. Over the past years Glassman has become well versed in playing multiple instruments in symphony orchestras, wide ensembles, chamber music, pit orchestras, large and small jazz ensembles, and in many other commercial musics like rock, funk, pop, and salsa.

Glassman now lives in East Lansing, Michigan, where he is pursuing a Master’s Degree on a Graduate Assistantship in Jazz Studies under the wing of Micheal Dease. He has begun establishing himself as an up and coming bass trombonist, particularly in jazz. This includes being a finalist for the U.S. Army Blues Bass Trombone audition, receiving second place in the American Trombone Workshop Jazz Trombone Competition, and being recipient of the Geri Allen Fellowship for the Carr Center Gathering Orchestra. Glassman’s music is driven by his belief in the power and importance of art as a tool to better the world and the people within it. He takes this responsibility seriously and seeks to hone his craft and expand his artistry to better serve the music he plays, the musicians he plays with, the students he teaches, and the audience he plays for.


Lauren Julius Harris is a Chicago native and was educated in its public schools. His belief that music matters, the topic of his presentation for this program, grows out of a love for music first nurtured by his parents, his best teachers. Thanks to them, he had the good fortune to begin learning about and enjoying music and other art forms while still a child, starting with piano lessons on his mother’s Baldwin grand. These were precious gifts and enriched his life. He also was lucky to attend public schools at a time when the arts were deemed worthy of support, and to grow up in Chicago, with its great orchestra, architecture, museums, festivals, and other cultural and educational programs and institutions. After high school, where he played cello in the orchestra, he enrolled at the University of Illinois to study psychology. Most of his coursework was at its main campus in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana, the rest at its Chicago campus on Navy Pier. That gave him the chance to work as an usher for the Chicago Symphony at $5/concert. The "Pier" is now an amusement park, and the site of his classes is now a Ferris wheel. At Urbana-Champaign, a course in child psychology taught by a post-doc from the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis led to graduate study in child psychology. There, along with coursework and research, he spent many hours watching small children in the Laboratory Preschool. In winter, he helped them put on and take off their coats, leggings, sweaters, scarves, boots, mittens, earmuffs, and hats — and learned a lesson never taught in class: before putting on all this stuff, ask them, "Do you have to go?" and if they say no, ask again. At Minnesota, he also studied philosophy of science and took a memorable course on the mind-body problem taught by the philosopher Herbert Feigl and the psychologist Paul Meehl. When not studying, he took advantage of the rich variety of arts in the city, including attendance at concerts by the Minneapolis Symphony (now the Minnesota Symphony), which, conveniently, were held in an auditorium on campus. They were wonderful. In the long winter, he also played games of broom hockey. They were awful.

In 1965, he joined the faculty in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University, where, except for sabbaticals, he's been ever since. He’s a member of the program in Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience and teaches courses in developmental psychology, history of psychology, and neuropsychology. His research has ranged from laboratory studies of cognition, emotion, and laterality of function, to studies in the history of psychology and neuroscience. Throughout, he's been fortunate to have outstanding colleagues and students. He's served on the editorial board of Developmental Psychology and the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, and currently is on the editorial boards of Developmental Neuropsychology, Laterality, and Brain and Cognition. His office radio is always tuned to WKAR-FM, one of the last remaining classical music stations in Michigan. He feels lucky to be at MSU where he can enjoy and learn from the superb musicians in its College of Music, and he attends campus recitals and concerts as often as possible, and encourages his students to do the same.


Michael Largey is professor of musicology at the Michigan State University College of Music. He is an ethnomusicologist and folklorist who writes about the music and culture of Haiti, specifically Haitian classical and religious music. He teaches courses in Caribbean music, South Asian music, East Asian music, ethnographic fieldwork, world music, and historical musicology. He taught previously at Columbia University in New York. He is a core faculty member in the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Asian Studies Center at Michigan State. 

Largey received the MSU Excellence in Diversity Award for Advancing Global Competency in 2018, the Fintz Award for Teaching Excellence in the Arts and Humanities from MSU in 2012, the Dortha J. and John D. Withrow Award for Excellence in Teaching from the MSU College of Music in 2010, and the MSU Teacher-Scholar Award for outstanding teaching and research in 1998. Largey received an AB in history and music at Bowdoin College (cum laude, magna cum laude in music), and MA and PhD degrees in folklore and ethnomusicology from Indiana University.


Deborah Moriarty is professor of piano and chair of the piano area at the Michigan State University College of Music, where she is a recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award.  A Massachusetts native, she made her debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at age 11. She has served on the piano faculty at the New England Conservatory of Music and the University of Lowell. Moriarty attended the Curtis Institute of Music, the Juilliard School, and the New England Conservatory of Music, where she received her Master of Music degree with honors. Major teachers include: Russell Sherman, Theodore Lettvin, and Beveridge Webster. A medal winner in the “Concours Debussy,” she is an active recitalist and soloist with orchestras throughout the eastern United States. She has also performed in Belgium, Japan, Colombia, Mexico, China, Italy, and the former Soviet Union. Moriarty is a founding member of the Fontana Ensemble of Michigan, and as an advocate of new music, has participated in numerous premiere performances including Milton Babbitt’s “Whirled Series” at Merkin Hall in New York City. She has recordings on the Crystal, CRI, Blue Griffin and Centaur labels.


Derek Kealii Polischuk is associate professor of piano and director of piano pedagogy at the Michigan State University College of Music.  Polischuk received the Doctor of Music Arts Degree from the University of Southern California where he studied with Daniel Pollack.  Polischuk has worked extensively with pianists on the Autism Spectrum for ten years, and has published articles on the subject in the MTNA e-Journal and American Music Teacher.  At MSU, Polischuk has been the recipient of the Curricular Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Award and the Teacher-Scholar Award.  In 2013, “Terra Incognita” Polischuk’s recording of Impromptus by Franz Schubert and Thomas Osborne was described in a review as a “thought-provoking mix of sensual pleasure and deep reflection.”


Patrick Johnson is instructor of music theory at the Michigan State University College of Music.He utilizes his dual expertise as a concert pianist and a music theorist to engage his students artistically and intellectually, striving to enrich students’ aural and expressive understanding of music while helping them to analyze and to think critically about it. He was selected to be one of fifteen members of MSU’s 2016-17 Walter and Pauline Adams Academy for Instructional Excellence and Innovation. This annual program allows instructors to enhance their development as excellent teachers and deepen their understanding of principles in teaching and learning. He has also been the recipient of MSU’s Excellence-in-Teaching Citation (2013), awarded to six teaching assistants university-wide and the highest honor for instructors of that rank.

As a pianist, Johnson performs regularly throughout the Midwest as a solo, chamber, and orchestral pianist. An avid orchestral musician, he is principal pianist for the Michigan Philharmonic and the Lansing Symphony Orchestra. Johnson received a Bachelor of Musical Arts in piano performance, with high honors, from the University of Michigan. He holds a Master of Music degree in music theory, and both a Master of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from Michigan State University