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BYU Welcomes New Faculty

Shawn Smith

Associate Professor of Conducting
Director of Bands
DMA, Arizona State University
MM, Louisiana State
BM, Boise State University

Shawn Smith has served as Director of Bands at the university level for fifteen years and will now fill that position here at the BYU School of Music. He was formerly Associate Professor of Conducting and Director of Bands at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and also served the same role at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. In high demand as a band and orchestra conductor, clinician, and adjudicator, Smith has been invited to conduct professional and educational ensembles throughout the United States and internationally. His performances have been heard numerous times on American Public Media’s Performance Today, the most popular classical music radio program in the United States.

Equally at home with opera and musical theater productions, Smith has conducted pit orchestras for the Marriage of Figaro and a six-week run of Les Misérables. Smith conducts regularly in Brazil including professional and community bands from the large cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo to small towns and villages in Northern Brazil. Smith has presented numerous educational clinics and speeches, most notably at the International Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago and at state music conventions in Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina. He has also presented research at national and international conferences in the United States, Europe, and South America. As a public school teacher, Smith served as Director of Bands and Orchestra at one of the largest high schools in Idaho where he successfully led a comprehensive instrumental music program.

Shea Owens

Assistant Professor, Classical Voice
Director of Opera
MM, Rice University
BM, Brigham Young University

Baritone Shea Owens, in his final season with the Theater Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra in St. Gallen, Switzerland, was a featured soloist in Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, Cimarosa’s Il maestro di cappella, and Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen. He will round off the season performing as Alvaro in Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas and the Officer in Franz Schmidt’s Notre Dame.

In the 2019-2020 season, Mr. Owens performed the roles of Valentin in Gounod’s Faust, Agamemnon in Offenbach’s comedy La belle Hélène, and the Baron in Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon. Roles that were postponed because of the pandemic include Gaveston in George Benjamin’s Lessons in Love and Violence, Prince Ottokar in Der Freischütz, and the baritone soloist in Carmina burana. In the previous season, Mr. Owens performed as Belcore in L’elisir d’amore, Ottone in L’incoronazione di PoppeaPrince Iwan and The Chamberlain in a double bill of Rimsky-Korsakov and Stravinsky’s Kaschey the Immortal and The Nightingale, and the baritone soloist in staged performances of Haydn’s The Seasons.

Other past roles include Marcello in La bohème, Charlie in Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers, Seneca in Jonathan Dawe’s Nero and the Fall of Lehman Brothers, Edward Kynaston in Carlisle Floyd’s Prince of Players, Colonel Ricci in Stephen Sondheim’s Passion, Junius in The Rape of Lucretia, the title role in John Musto’s Bastianello, and Pacuvio in Rossini’s The Touchstone.

In addition to operatic and concert work, Mr. Owens has sung in community outreach performances, including hundreds of shows for school children as a young artist with Utah Opera, and an especially memorable collaboration with Wolf Trap Opera and Taffety Punk Theater Company to raise awareness about violence against women.

Mr. Owens is thrilled to be returning to BYU as an Assistant Professor of Voice and the Director of Opera, and very much looks forward to working with the wonderful faculty and students.

Erin Bailey

Assistant professor, Music Education (General)
PhD, University of Utah
MM, Brigham Young University
BM, Brigham Young University

Erin Bailey is very excited to return to Brigham Young University. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Choral Music Education from Brigham Young University and has fond memories of working with amazing mentors. She recently received her Ph.D. in Music Education from The University of Utah, where she was honored to be the Leroy J. Robertson Foundation Endowment Award Recipient.

She was fortunate to attend the Summer Voice Institute and is an NCVS-trained vocologist. Her research interests include music and mental health, music teacher education, vocology, general music education, and choral conducting. Erin taught for over a decade in middle and high schools in Utah and California. In addition, she served as director and co-founder of Cantemus Youth Chorus and Encore Community Choir in California. Erin was a member of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square but tells everyone her favorite performing experiences were right here in the BYU Choirs!

Nathan Seamons

Assistant Professor of Music Education (Band)
Associate Director of Bands
DMA, The University of Utah
MM, University of Nevada-Las Vegas
BM, Brigham Young University
AS, Snow College

Dr. L. Nathan Seamons recently completed his time as the Director of Bands at the Horne School of Music at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah. He previously served as the Director of Bands at American Fork High School (UT), Hurst Junior High School (TX), Lehi High School (UT), and Gunnison Valley High School (UT).

In addition to Dr. Seamons’ educational ensembles, he has served as Associate Conductor for the Wasatch Winds (UT) and the Irving Symphonic Band (TX). He has also guest conducted the Utah Premiere Brass and the Utah Wind Symphony.

Dr. Seamons is a student of the marching arts. His marching ensembles have achieved state, regional, and national recognition. Dr. Seamons’ ensembles have received such honors as Utah State Champions, BOA Region Champions, BOA Grand National Semi-Finalist, and BOA Grand National Finalist.

As a performer, his playing has taken him to Slovakia, Austria, Hong Kong, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Canada. Seamons brings experience from the drum and bugle corps genre as a former member of the Anaheim Velvet Knights and Concord Blue Devils. He was a member of the Utah Premiere Brass (Utah’s only British brass band). His orchestral playing includes the Orchestra at Temple Square and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, as well as the Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra.

Dr. Seamons is a Conn-Selmer educational consultant and is an active marching band show designer, writing for dozens of schools throughout the West. He lives in Highland, UT, with his wife, Mary Jane, and four children.

Brian Blanchard

Assistant Professor, Horn
MM in Music Technology, Southern Utah University
BM, Roosevelt University

A native of Texas, Brian Blanchard is the newest member of the brass faculty at BYU and is Third Horn of the Utah Symphony. Before his university studies, Brian graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy, where he met his wife and fellow horn player, Madelyn. Brian later graduated from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University in Chicago, where he studied with Dale Clevenger. During his undergraduate studies, he was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago—the training orchestra of the Chicago Symphony—and was a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center.

 Brian began his professional career as Associate Principal Horn in the Kansas City Symphony. He then went on to be a member of the Saint Louis Symphony and later was Principal Horn of the North Carolina Symphony.

 The horn has taken Brian across the country as he has performed with the Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston Symphonies and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Brian also served as Interim-Principal Horn of the Louisville Orchestra and has performed with the Houston Grand Opera and Ballet orchestras.

 A graduate of Southern Utah University’s Masters of Music Technology program, Brian enjoys the recording arts and helping his students utilize technology to become better musicians. 

 Brian has two children and loves mountain biking and riding his ski-bike on the slopes.

Nathan Hofheins

Assistant Professor, Commercial Music
MM in Music Composition, Brigham Young University
BA in Music, Brigham Young University

Nathan recent resigned after seven years as Artist-in-Residence at Utah Valley University to accept this position at BYU.

As a media artist, Nathan has written and arranged music for many television and cable networks including ESPN, Fox Sports, ABC, NBC. His more notable packages in current use for television and cable include main theme packages for ESPN College Football, ESPN Major League Soccer, and ESPN Golf. For the cinema, Nathan’s compositions are found in film trailers such as Home (Dreamworks), Deepsea Challenge 3D (National Geographic), Spiderman (Sony), The Contender (Dreamworks), Muppets from Space (Columbia Pictures), and others. He has also written extensively for Warner-Chappell Production Music, a leader in the ever-expanding music library industry.

Nathan’s more notable film and television credits as lead orchestrator include The Librarians (TNT), Ash vs. The Evil Dead (Starz), The Legend of the Seeker (Buena Vista), Spartacus (Starz), Hercules (USA Network), and Xena: Warrior Princess (Renaissance Pictures).

For samples of Nathan’s commercial/media work, please visit Warner/Chappell Production Music.

In the sacred music realm, Nathan has been commissioned for works by organizations such as the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square (S.L.C., UT), Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church (Denver, CO), Northside Church (Atlanta, GA), Valley Choral Society (Sacramento, CA), Brigham Young University, and the Barlow Endowment for Musical Composition (Provo, UT). Several of his choral arrangements for these organizations have been recorded and distributed worldwide. They are also published by and Oxford University Press.


Nathan lives very happily with his beloved wife, Lisa, in Pleasant Grove, Utah. Their three adult children are living beautiful lives of their own. He is actively involved in his Christian faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

PROVO, UT 84602, USA | 801-422-4636 | © 2022 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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