He brings extensive international professional experience to the job, having worked as a conductor in Germany for over 10 years. Equally at home in the symphonic and operatic areas, he has led concerts with the Bochum Symphony, the Dortmund Philharmonic, the Vorarlberg Symphony, The University of Texas Symphony and the opera houses of Bonn, Dortmund, Saarbrucken, Coburg, St.Gallen, Bielefeld, Kaisersautern, Halle, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In addition to possessing an extensive symphonic repertore, he has conducted over 50 stage works, including Otello, La Forza del Destino, Carmen, Eugene Onegin, Hansel und Gretel, Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, La Cenerentola, Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Werther, and La Juive. In 2000, Maestro Neely led the German premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's ENO-commissioned opera The Silver Tassie in Dortmund, and in 2006 he led the U.S. premiere of Robert Orledge's completion of Debussy's La Chute de la Maison Usher at the University of Texas. He also has extensive ballet and musical theater experience.
Associated with Des Moines Metro Opera since 2003, he is senior music staff and Co-Director of that company's James Collier Apprentice Artist Program. In 2007 he was honored with one of two nationally awarded Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation Assistant Conductor Grants for his work with that company. He is a respected vocal coach and collaborative pianist.
Previous to joining KU, he was Music Director of the Butler Opera Center at the University of Texas at Austin, where he also served as Acting Director of Orchestral Activities for two years.
He holds degrees in piano performance and orchestral conducting from Indiana University and pursued post-graduate study in orchestral conducting at the University of Cincinnati's College-Consevatory of Music under Gerhard Samuel.
In addition to performing, Dr. Hughes is an active teacher and advocate for music outreach. She is Assistant Professor of Violin at the University of Kansas and has taught at Marygrove College, Interlochen, and the Ann Arbor School School for Performing Arts. She also performs outreach programs in public schools, rendering concerts and serving as guest clinician in institutions across the country.
A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Dr. Hughes received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Minnesota, and Master's and Doctorate degrees from the University of Michigan. Teachers include Sally O'Reilly, Camilla Wicks, and Paul Kantor.
Peter Chun's chamber music activities include a tour of Japan as the violist of the New England Chamber Ensemble. His performances as a member of the Tonos String Quartet resulted in a highly acclaimed Seoul debut, as well as being featured in Fleetbank Celebrity Series through its out-reach program, City Music , appearing with the acclaimed musician Rob Kapilow. Other musicians he has collaborated with include artists such as James Buswell, Paula Robison, Martino Tirimo, Frank Almond, Daniel Veis, and the Borromeo String Quartet. In 2005, he joined the acclaimed Koreana Chamber Music Society in Seoul. His performances have been broadcast numerous times on the KBS (Korean Broadcasting System) radio and television, WGBH radio in Boston, Maine Public Radio and Television, and Kansas Public Radio.
Chun has performed and taught at many music festivals and camps, having appeared at Martha's Vineyard Chamber Music Festival and Yellow Barn Music Festival, as well as the International Musical Arts Institute, in Maine, where he is a resident artist. In addition, he has taught at the Midwestern Music Camp at KU, and is currently a faculty member of the renowned Sound Encounters festival at the Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kansas.
Currently, Peter Chun is the violist of Quartet Accorda, a group based in Kansas City that is gaining a wide notoriety with their highly acclaimed performances that are frequently broadcast in Kansas and Missouri. The group recently appeared in an acclaimed performance with pianist Stanislav Ioudenitch, and it has been the quartet in residence at IMAI, since 1997, and at Park University in Parkville, Missouri since 2005.
Chun's orchestral activities have included performances at the Tanglewood Music Center, where he was one of the featured members in a documentary on TMC which aired nationally on PBS, the Spoleto Festival in Italy, and the Seoul Festival Orchestra--working extensively with musicians such as Peter Serkin, Seiji Ozawa, Simon Rattle, Myung-Whun Chung, and members of the Juilliard Quartet, among many others. In addition, he frequently performs with the Kansas City Symphony and Kansas City Chamber Orchestra.
Making his conducting debut in 2005, Chun led critically acclaimed performances of Donizetti's opera L'Elisir d'Amore at LG Arts Center in Seoul that were broadcast internationally on the KBS satellite program, followed by a performance of Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat at University of Kansas.
Born in Seoul, Korea, Peter Chun emigrated at age 12 with his family to the U.S. He was trained at the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Walter Trampler, Marcus Thompson, and Eric Rosenblith.
Jacob M. Dakon is a violinist and Assistant Professor of Music Education and Music Therapy at the University of Kansas. Dakon received his Bachelor of Music Education from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Music in Violin Performance from Appalachian State University. He is currently finishing his Ph.D. in Music Education at The Ohio State University with Dr. Robert Gillespie. Other pedagogical training includes pre-service teaching at the USC String Project, Suzuki pedagogy with Carrie Reuning-Hummel, and conducting with Dr. James Allen Anderson.
Professor Dakon taught string orchestra in the public schools of South Carolina and served as adjunct faculty at the Appalachian State University Hayes School of Music in Boone, North Carolina. Other positions included String Coordinator and Violin Instructor for the ASU Community Music School and Suzuki Violin Instructor at the James C. Harper School for the Performing Arts in Lenoir, North Carolina.
As an active researcher, Professor Dakon has presented in South Carolina, Ohio, Kansas, and California for music organizations such as the American String Teachers Association and the Music Educators National Conference. Dakon has also published in the Journal of Historical Research in Music Education. His current research focuses on string pedagogy for the heterogeneous string class, learning through memorization, and the history of string education.
Professor Dakon is an active musician and conductor in chamber and orchestral settings. He has guest-conducted district and regional student honors orchestras in South Carolina, Ohio, and Kansas.
Professor Dakon lives in Lawrence, Kansas where he enjoys being a part of the KU faculty and community.
Laut, a graduate of Indiana University having studied with Janos Starker, has held principal positions in the Manila Symphony, the USAF Band, Washington, D.C. and the Atlantic Symphony, was assistant principal of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and cellist in the Cleveland Orchestra. He taught in the Philippines under the auspices the JDR III Fund Project. In 1977 he joined the faculty of the University of Kansas, where he was named Outstanding Educator by the Mortar Board Society.
The wide selection of his arrangements and compositions for cello, and cello with other instruments, including classical guitar, are published by E & E Cello Music, L.L.C. (www.eecellomusic.com)