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Graduate Fellows

Olivia Cirisan
MM in Percussion Performance

Olivia Cirisan is a percussionist, teacher, singer/songwriter, composer and producer based in Ann Arbor, MI. Currently, she is pursuing her M.M. in Percussion Performance at U of M, where she also received her Bachelor’s degree in 2023. Olivia loves making music of any kind, but particularly has a passion for contemporary, chamber, electroacoustic and electronic music. Olivia performs locally in the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti area with various groups including her percussion/electronic music duo VIRID, her new music sextet FLYDLPHN, and her percussion trio Brain Pocket. In addition to being a performer and co-director of various ensembles, she is a co-producer of the concert series VIRID and Friends based in Ann Arbor. Olivia has been playing Indonesian gamelan for about 2 years, and through CWPS plans to study various types of gamelan in Bali, including gender wayang, selonding, and Balinese angklung.

Kiana Cook
MFA in Dance

Kiana "KC" Cook is a dance, emcee, and looping artist. She is a MFA in Dance student at UMich. KC studies street dance cultures in the African diaspora including Breaking, Krump, Hip Hop Freestyle, Chicago Footwork, and House. Her practice has engulfed curating events, emceeing shows, entering dance battles, performing, and teaching around the world including Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore, and Malaysia. Most notably, KC debuted a dancework entitled, "WORTHY: A Dance (PRO)duction on Being," in the First Annual Fringe Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand (2020). From 2021, she produced Krump-specific events "Friends of Chi Buck I &  II (2021/2022)" and "WECAMEFROMHERE (2022)," in her chosen home of Chicago. She has helped cultivate the Krump community in Chicago since 2017 and is in the Kautionz Krump family based in the Midwest. Her research interests include how street dance forms serve as a tool of empowerment in the communities they originated in.

Lola Gallo
Ph.D in Romance Languages and Literatures

Lola Gallo is a writer, editor and translator from Buenos Aires, Argentina. They are the author of *buena leche*, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Ministry of Labor. In 2017, the Hay Festival (UK) included them in Bogotá 39, a list comprehending the thirty-nine best Latin American writers under the age of forty. Currently a student at the Romance Languages and Literatures Ph.D. program, they hold MFAs from the University of Iowa and the University of Texas at El Paso. As a CWPS Graduate Fellow, Lola’s research focuses on drag performance as a site of political action in its potential to destabilize dominant notions of gender and sexuality.

Marthe Djilo Kamga
Ph.D in Romance Languages and Literatures

Marthe Djilo Kamga is a Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr and Cesar Chavez visiting Professorof visual Arts of University of Michigan, Ann Arbor USA. She is one of the founders and director of the festival Massimadi of Brussel. In 2016 she created and performed an autobiographical one woman show: Angalia Ni Mimi, Therapy of a Thwarted artist, as well as a photo documentary named Sikiliza, My body Speaks to you. In 2017 She directed the documentary Vibrancy of Silence: A Discussion with My Sisters, in 2020 Marthe directed Zurura Zurura : A Smile Blooms. Her last workpiece is a documentary about black LGBTQ+people in living Belgium (Black LGBTQ+, Here we are). Nourished by an academic and professional journey first STEM-oriented and later more social-oriented. She perceives herself more as an artist in an ongoing healing process based on self-therapy. She constantly wonders whether one life will be enough to fulfill her curiosity.

Paige Madden
DMA in Percussion Performance

Paige is a percussionist and educator who has performed and taught throughout the United States. She is originally from Oregon, where she received her undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon, but more recently lived in Florida to receive her masters degree from the University of Central Florida. She enjoys a myriad of genres within the field of percussion, from drumline to concert percussion to world music. Currently pursuing her doctorate in Percussion Performance at the University of Michigan, Paige’s research as a CWPS Graduate Fellow is centered around steel band music. After first being exposed to steel band music during her masters studies, Paige was intrigued by not only the unique sound of the steel pan, but its historical origins as well. Her research will take her to Trinidad and Tobago, where the steel pan originated, to broaden her understanding of the culture and style of this lively genre of music.

Rachel Richards
MM in Percussion Performance

Rachel Richards is a percussionist currently in her first year of master's studies at the University of Michigan, where she studies with professors Douglas Perkins and Ian Antonio. Rachel earned her bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with professor Michael Burritt. At Eastman, Rachel served as a board member of OSSIA New Music, a student-run organization dedicated to showcasing the works of contemporary composers. She was also a recipient of Eastman’s Arts Leadership Program Certificate. Rachel's vision for her career is one of global exploration and artistic innovation. She aspires to captivate audiences worldwide as both a soloist and chamber musician, while pushing the boundaries of percussion repertoire through commissioned works that showcase the virtuosic potential of percussionists. Rachel's journey is driven by a profound desire to contribute her unique voice to the ever-changing world of classical contemporary music. This summer, Rachel eagerly anticipates her journey to Japan as a CWPS fellow, where she will immerse herself in the study of Japanese marimba performance and pedagogy.

Timothy Tsang
MFA in Dance

Timothy Tsang is a queer Chinese-American dance educator, performer & choreographer. Born in Chicago, IL, Tsang began his dance journey in Shanghai, China, where he started taking classes in street dance styles at a local studio. After a decade in Shanghai, he returned to the Chicago suburbs to complete high school and obtained his BA in Dance from Columbia College Chicago.  Many of Tsang’s choreographic endeavors since have centered around inquiries into identity, contributing to a deeper connection with cultural narratives that shape his identity as a queer Chinese-American artist. Currently, Tsang is a graduate student at the University of Michigan, focusing his studies on exploring the intersections between cultures, identities, and dance, with the goal of further developing a multidisciplinary practice and refining his voice as a Queer Chinese-American artist.

David Wang
MM in Percussion Performance

David Wang is an American percussionist and educator based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He graduated from the Eastman School of Music where he studied with Michael Burritt and also earned the prestigious Performer’s Certificate. David has won first prizes at the 2020 China International Percussion Online Competition in both Marimba Solo and Snare Drum Solo divisions. David was also selected as a percussion winner of the 2023 Yamaha Young Performing Artists and was invited to perform in the winner’s concert in June of that year. He participated in the 2021 Chautauqua Summer Music Festival and in the following year, was a front ensemble member of the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps in 2022. David is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Percussion Performance at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance where he is a graduate instructor of percussion.