James F. Jakobsen Award Winner Spotlights, 2011

Congratulations to the 2011 Conference Winners!

At the 13th Annual James F. Jakobsen Conference, the following University of Iowa Graduate and Professional Students won awards for their graduate work. Please browse their profiles and get to know winners a little better.

Kira Horel

Kira Horel
Home State: 
Home Country: 
What are some of your interests outside of school?: 
I love the new Recreation Center! I enjoy running and taking yoga and pilates classes there. I also enjoy theatre and dance and especially enjoy the open mic performances that Iowa City has to offer.
Who is your most significant mentor?: 
Dr. William LaRue Jones. He has been a great role model because he sincerely cares about the music, the students, and the university. He has not only helped me to become a better conductor and musician, but he has also made me a better person. The trait I admire most about Dr. Jones is that he maintains high expectations and continuously strives for excellence.
What is your favorite Iowa City/Coralville Restaurant?: 
Mondo's Cafe
Are there any challenges you have faced as a graduate student at Iowa?: 
The greatest challenge has been keeping cohesiveness and communication between various areas in the music department. I came to Iowa a couple years after the flood and we were and still are in temporary rehearsal buildings. Due to how spread out we are and the anticipation of the new Hancher building one can feel lost and confused within the music department. It's important for people to know that the University of Iowa can still have a solid music program, even without permanent walls.
Previous Degrees Earned
Previous Degree [1]: 
M. A.
Degree [1] Area of Study: 
Orchestral Conducting
Degree [1] Institution Name: 
University of New Mexico
Previous Degree [2]: 
B. A.
Degree [2] Area of Study: 
Music and Theatre
Degree [2] Institution Name: 
Knox College
What degree are you currently seeking?: 
D. M. A.
Area of Specialty: 
Orchestral Conducting
Brief thesis project description: 
My thesis project involves creating a critical edition of the Overture to "Rip van Winkle" by early American composer, George Frederick Bristow. My edition will be premiered by the University of Iowa Symphony on March 28, 2012.
Who is your Thesis Advisor?: 
Dr. William LaRue Jones
Why did you decide to go to graduate school?: 
I desired to hone my education and increase my repertoire. I also wished to receive further techniques and concepts regarding orchestral conducting. Finally attending graduate school provides me the experience and degree necessary to teach at the university level.
Why did you choose The University of Iowa for your graduate studies?: 
I chose the University of Iowa because it provided me the opportunity to grow as a conductor and a scholar. The music program is strong, there are multiple ensembles, and the student body is also very diverse. I was impressed by the high academic level of the graduate program and the humble nature of the department.
What are your long term goals beyond your graduate degree at Iowa?: 
I wish to conduct and teach at the university level. I also aim to conduct at the professional level as well as guest conduct internationally.
How has your experience at Iowa allowed you to achieve your goals?: 
As a graduate student at the University of Iowa, I have learned to take initiative and hold responsibility. My experience at Iowa has taught me how to lead a department and work with numerous colleagues as well as perform scholarly research. Finally my experience as a graduate student has prepared me for a leadership career as an orchestral conductor.
Significant Honors and Achievements
Significant Honors [1]: 
2011, Conducting Scholarship, Sigma Alpha Iota
Significant Honors [2]: 
2011, Conducting Scholarship, Bulgarian State Opera Burgas
Significant Honors [3]: 
2010, Conducting Fellowship, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony
What year did you win an award at the Jakobsen Conference?: 
What do you enjoy most about the Conference?: 
I enjoyed meeting graduate students from other areas of the University as well as listening to a wide variety of presentations. The conference was great way to practice presenting research. I especially found it helpful that we received written feedback from other graduate students.