Academy welcomes new instructors in music, dance, visual arts, and theatre

  • Top row (left to right): Elizabeth Gray, Stephen John, and Katie Dorn.
    Bottom row (left to right): Conor Fagan, Jurijs Safonovs, and Russ Orlando.

Interlochen Arts Academy is pleased to welcome new faculty for the 2019-20 academic year.

The Music Division’s new Music Production and Engineering major will be led by Marc Lacuesta. Lacuesta began his career at Nashville’s legendary Quad Studios, where he worked with artists like Kenny Rogers, Brad Paisley, and Keith Urban. As an independent engineer, producer, arranger, and vocalist, Lacuesta has produced vocals for the ABC series Nashville, composed music for video games such as Bioshock Infinite, and worked with recording artists like Neil Young and Mavis Staples.

The Theatre Division will expand its musical theatre training with the addition of vocal coach Elizabeth Gray. Gray, a mezzo-soprano, has collaborated with notable artists including cellist Yo-Yo Ma, conductor Riccardo Muti, and flutist Matthieu Dufour. She is currently on faculty at Saginaw Valley State University, where she teaches musical theatre voice.

The Theatre Division is also welcoming a new Director of Design and Production, Stephen John. John comes to Interlochen from the University of Idaho, where he is an Instructor of Record in the Department of Communications. His directing credits include Jesus Christ Superstar and The Complete Works of Shakespeare: Abridged at the Mysterium Theatre; A Midwinter Night’s Dream and True West at the University of Idaho; and The Odd Couple at Stages Theatre. In addition to his directing work, John has created set designs for numerous productions. John has taught design and production at Interlochen Arts Camp since 2018.

The Dance Division adds two new faculty members: Katie Dorn and Jurijs Safonovs. Dorn, who will serve as instructor of contemporary dance, has worked with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Gus Solomons, Jr., Vanessa Walters, and Lucinda Childs. She is also the producer and host of the podcast Dance Journal NYC. Safonovs, a native of Latvia, trained at the Riga Choreographic Ballet School and performed with the Latvian National Ballet Theatre. Currently the Ballet Coordinator at Carrollton Center for the Arts, Safonovs will serve as instructor of ballet at Interlochen Arts Academy.

Two former visiting artists, Russ Orlando and Conor Fagan, will return to the Visual Arts Division as full-time instructors. Orlando received his MFA in Ceramics from Cranbrook Academy of Art and was a 2009 recipient of the Kresge Artist Fellowship. His works have been seen at the Detroit Institute of Art, Northern Clay Center, Mattress Factory, and Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. Fagan received his MFA in Fine and Media Arts from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Fagan’s accolades include the Roswell Artist in Residency and the Hammersly Grant. His works have appeared in the Roswell Museum and Arts Center, Gitler &, and the Anna Leonowens Gallery, among others.

Interlochen Arts Academy is also pleased to welcome two artists-in-residence. Alumnus Sydney James Harcourt (AS 94, 97, IAA 94-97) returns to Interlochen as 2019-20 artist-in-residence. An accomplished musician, vocalist, and dancer, and Grammy Award-winner, Harcourt has appeared in numerous films and television series, and starred on Broadway in Hamilton (original company member and first replacement for Aaron Burr), Green Day’s American Idiot and Disney’s The Lion King (Simba). Harcourt and Director of Comparative Arts Clyde Sheets will lead the new Interdisciplinary Performance Collaboration class, a two-semester course open to artists of all majors. Cameron Harris will join the Motion Picture Arts faculty as the DeRoy Testamentary Foundation Filmmaker-in-Residence. Harris is the writer, director, and editor of the documentary In Our Words and has served for the past two years as Assistant Professor of Film and Television at Hampton University.

In addition to the new artistic faculty, a familiar face is returning to our academic faculty. Chase Erwin—previously on a one-year contract—has accepted a full-time position as Instructor of English in the Liberal Arts Division.

Please join us in welcoming our new and returning faculty!