Dynamic duo comes to Staunton community and Mary Baldwin

August 16, 2001

Dr. Jeffrey L. Buller, the new Dean of the College at Mary Baldwin, and his wife, Dr. Sandra McClain, new Mary Baldwin adjunct professor of music, have just come to the Staunton community bringing a new book and a new CD. Buller, already having appeared on stage in the Oak Grove’s production of “Henry IV” and McClain, with a recital scheduled for November 11, will add more diversity into the arts community.

What did Richard Wagner know about ancient Greece? Buller’s “Classically Romantic: Classical Form and Meaning in Wagner’s Ring” explores how Wagner’s ideas about the past were shaped, not by the classical world itself, but by the Romantic Age’s highly selective view of antiquity. The book began as a series of articles for The Opera Quarterly and metamorphasized into this full-length book on the classical form and meaning in Wagner’s Ring, published by Xlibris Corporation.

He earned his B.A. in classical and modern languages from the University of Notre Dame and both his M.A. and his Ph.D. in classics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is a nationally recognized authority on classical literature and its influence on modern opera. He has published extensively on such topics as Greek tragedy, Latin pedagogy, Baroque music and the careers of twentieth-century classical singers. Buller speaks frequently to professional groups on a variety of issues, including higher education administration, classical literature, and Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

Dr. Sandra McClain recently released a CD entitled “Love’s Seasons: Songs of Mary Howe and Robert Ward.” Soprano McClain performs with world-renowned pianist Margo Garrett, a long time colleague since their graduate school association. The CD was released by Musicians Showcase Recordings, a part of MSR musicians resources ltd.

McClain has performed with Universal Opera, the Pennsylvania Opera Festival, Lake George Opera, and the Virginia Festival of the Performing Arts, as well as being a national winner of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions. Originally from North Carolina, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Meredith College, a Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music, and a Doctor of Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Pianist Margo Garrett has partnered with some of the most outstanding musicians including violinist Jaime Laredo, violist Paul Neubauer, cellist Sharon Robinson, clarinetist David Shiffrin and sopranos Kathleen Battle, Judith Raskin, and Dawn Upshaw. Her recordings include the Grammy award-winning Deutsche Grammophon CD of Kathleen Battle’s Carnegie Hall Debut Recital, the first recital in the celebration of the hall’s centennial, and, on Sony Classical, the live recording of the 1993 Alice Tully Hall recital of Kathleen Battle and Jean-Pierre Rampal.

“Love’s Seasons” was recorded at Studio M, Minnesota Public Radio, St. Paul Minnesota. CDs are available at www.msrcd.com and the Mary Baldwin University Bookstore. “Classically Romantic” is available at www.barnesandnoble.com, www.amazon.com, and at the Mary Baldwin University Bookstore.

Mary Baldwin University, with a main campus in Staunton, VA and five regional centers, excels in providing leadership training, character development and career preparation with a strong academic foundation. A multi-faceted liberal arts college, Mary Baldwin offers three residential programs for women – the Traditional Program for Women, the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted, and the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership – as well as coeducational, non-residential bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Mary Baldwin offers the B.A. and/or the B.S. in 32 majors, the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) with K-8 emphasis, the Master of Letters (M.Litt.) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance, and post-graduate teaching licensure (PGTL). The oldest women’s college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., Mary Baldwin was founded in 1842 and was the first women’s college to be granted a circle of the national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa. It is one of only 262 colleges and universities to shelter a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society.