The Music Center’s Spotlight Alumni: Where Are They Now?

Published September 8th, 2020

Why do programs highlight their alumni? Of course, there is an educator’s pride for their student. And… maybe to show off a little and impress you with some names you’ll recognize. But what does it really say about the program? At The Music Center’s Spotlight program, they want those names and stories to inspire you… for you to see yourself in their shoes and feel like you can achieve your dreams, even if your dreams change course along the way.

Spotlight alumni have gone on to attend some of the best arts schools around the world; earned Ph.D.s; performed on some of the most iconic stages; appeared on Broadway; and won Tonys, Emmys, and other prestigious awards and accolades. Some of the most prominent Spotlight alumni are American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Misty Copeland; Recording stars Josh Groban and Adam Lambert; Tony® Award winner Lindsay Mendez and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Associate Artistic Director Matthew Rushing, just to name a few.

But before they made their names, they were just high school students with a passion for the arts. They probably felt the same insecurities that you may sometimes feel. They might have had a lack of confidence, but they started their journey with a step. They all applied to The Music Center’s Spotlight program. Spotlight is a smart step; it’s free, it’s loaded with super warm and caring people and it offers tons to students in the way of cash awards, feedback and other opportunities.

There are thousands of Spotlight alumni doing amazing things in every walk of life, and they started out just like you. Here are a few of those incredible artists:

Dr. Merit Moore graduated with Magna Cum Laude Honors in Physics from Harvard and graduated with a Ph.D. in Atomic and Laser Physics from the University of Oxford. She is also a professional ballerina, previously with the Zurich Ballet, Boston Ballet, English National Ballet, and Norwegian National Ballet. She was recently awarded Forbes 30 under 30, and she was one of the 12 selected candidates to undergo rigorous astronaut selection on BBC Two "Astronauts: Do you have what it takes?"

Kris Bowers is an Emmy® Award-winning composer and pianist who creates genre-defying music that pays homage to his jazz roots with inflections of alternative and R&B influences. From scoring documentaries, to scripted series including “For The People” (ABC), Netflix’s “Dear White People,” and SHOWTIME’S “Black Monday,” Bowers’ work as a film and television composer is a testament to his versatility as an artist. He also scored the Academy Award winning film, “Green Book”!

Dylan Gutierrez joined The Joffrey Ballet after training at the Los Angeles Ballet Academy and The Royal Ballet. Since joining The Joffrey Ballet, Mr. Gutierrez has danced many roles in the Joffrey’s extensive repertory. Favorite roles danced include Death in “The Green Table,” Basilio in “Don Quixote,” Prince Siegfried in Christopher Wheeldon’s “Swan Lake”, Prince Albrecht in “Giselle,” Main Pas de Deux couple from Wayne McGregor’s “Infra”, Sanguinic in “George Balanchine’s The Four Temperament”s, and Justin Peck’s “Year of the Rabbit” and “In Creases.”

Michelle Tseng plays violin with the LA Phil under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel. Tseng served as concertmaster in the CISA Orchestra, the USC Symphony and Juilliard Orchestra since 2010. She has been concertmaster with such distinguished conductors as David Robertson, Alan Gilbert, Jaap van Zweden, and Carl St. Clair. She completed her Bachelor of Music Magna Cum Laude under full scholarship from the USC Thornton School of Music and earned her Master of Music at the Juilliard School. Tseng recently earned her Graduate Certificate at the USC Thornton School of Music.

Rhenzy Feliz is best known for his character, Alex Wilder, on the hit series, “Runaways.” He has also been seen in both highly successful TV series’ “Teen Wolf” and “Casual.” Rhenzy will be starring in the new Netflix series, “All Together Now”, with Auli'i Cravalho and Justina Machado. While in high school, Rhenzy won Regional Finalist in Center Theater Group’s August Wilson Monologue Competition and Honorable Mention in Drama Teachers Association of Southern California (DTASC) .

Are you ready to take that first step? Apply to The Music Center’s Spotlight, today!

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