Faculty Biographies

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Mr. Kim Paterson
, Adjunct Lecturer Applied Music,
Piano Class and Advance Piano Class.


Degrees Earned: B.F.A in Music (piano) from Purchase College

Over the past five years, Mr. Paterson has averaged 120 concerts per year, performing as a pianist or synthesizer player. These include an average of 80 different programs per year. Mr. Paterson is a core member of the Catskill Symphony. He is on the faculty of both Hartwick College and SUCO, where he teaches piano and coaches students preparing for recitals. He also works and consults as a sound designer for theatrical productions. Recordings include Beyond the Borscht Belt, with the Catskill Klezmorim, (Big Twig Studio, 1998) and numerous self-produced CD's used in conjunction with recital preparation (about 30 per year).

Mr. Mark Pawkett
, Adjunct Lecturer Applied Music,
Electric Bass, Fundamentals of Guitar, Rock Combo and Theory for Guitar.


Degrees Earned: B.S. in Music Education from Hartwick College

Guitarist for several Orpheus and SUCO musical theater productions. Musical director for Orpheus Thater's "Into the Woods" in 2002. Talent buyer at the Autumn Café. Director of the Midsatesmen Barbershop Chorus in Oneonta from 1999-2001. A Member of the Classical Guitar Society of Upstate New York. Leader and vocalist for various professional bands. The author of "The Pawkettian Reference Guide for the Versatile Guitarist," which was published in 2002.

Dr. Joseph Pignato, Assistant Professor,


Year Hired: 2004

Tenure Status: Eligible 2014

Degrees Earned:
Doctor of Musical Arts – Boston University, (2010)
Master of Arts - New York University - Gallatin School, (1996)
Bachelor of Arts - University of Massachusetts, (1989)

Joseph Michael Pignato is a composer, improviser, and music education scholar with extensive graduate, undergraduate, secondary, and distance teaching experience. He holds the position of Associate Professor in the Department of Music at the State University of New York, Oneonta, where he teaches music industry courses and directs two ensembles that perform experimental music and improvised rock, among other repertoires.

Pignato has received numerous awards for excellence in scholarship, creative activity, advising, and teaching and has been awarded multiple grants for travel, professional development, research, and creative works. In 2012, he was awarded the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, the highest academic award bestowed on teaching faculty in the SUNY system. In addition, Pignato has been honored with the Student Association award for Faculty Advisor of the Year and has been twice recognized as “Outstanding Faculty” by the SUNY Oneonta Inter-Greek Council.

As a musician, Pignato has given performances and clinics in the United States and abroad. He is a member of Martin Gadget, a quartet with Israeli musicians Ilan Green, Yoni Niv, and Lior Pinsky. Pignato is also in demand as a drummer, working under the moniker u.joe. DJs, producers, and remix artists, including internationally renowned DJ M A N I K and rising producer Mr. Temmtation, have sought out his drumming. Dr. Drums, a London-based journalist opined, “Swings like Bonham hugging Questlove.” For nearly a decade, Pignato played with atom3, an electro-acoustic trio featuring the late Orlando Legname. He continues to enjoy ongoing collaborations with Paul Geluso, the trio’s other surviving member.

Pignato’s original music, described as “haunting” by New Haven’s Charger Bulletin, has been premiered, performed, or exhibited as part of installations in North America, Europe, the Mid East, and beyond. In 2012, the MusraraMix Festival in Jerusalem described his work for distributed ensembles as “fascinating experimental collaboration” that could “broaden the horizons of interdisciplinary web composition.” Consequently, Pignato enjoys ongoing collaborations with the Musrara School, the Festival’s sponsor, and noted Israeli composers Kiki Keren-Huss and Lior Pinsky.

In 2012, “Paprika King,” one of Pignato’s most widely distributed scores, was featured in the Streaming Museum’s John Cage Centennial Tribute/Composers Now festival, as part of a multimedia presentation projected across high visibility public screens on seven continents, including the Reuters and NASDAQ screens in Times Square, New York, Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia, seven locations in the United Kingdom, and locations in the United States, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Shanghai, St. Petersburg, Tokyo, Seoul, Johannesburg, Berlin, and Antarctica.

As a scholar, Pignato has presented research on five continents. He currently serves as the editor of Pop! The Journal of the Association for Popular Music Education and on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Popular Music Education. In addition, Pignato has published in the “Journal of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music” (2015), “Research Studies in Music Education” (2013), the “International Journal of Community Music” (2013), the “College Music Symposium Audio Archive” (2013), “Tanglewood II” (GIA, 2012), “Notations21” (Mark Batty Publishers, 2009), and “Modern Drummer” (2013). Forthcoming publications include chapters in the “Oxford Handbook of Technology in Music Education” (2015) and a chapter in the “Oxford Handbook of Music and Leisure” (2016). He is one of the principal investigators for the Music Learning Profiles Project, an international research initiative that documents music learning that occurs outside the bounds of traditional institutional learning.

In addition to his scholarly and creative activities, Pignato has more than 25 years of experience in music business and media including management positions at N2K Incorporated, BMG Classics, RCA Victor, ECM Records, CMP Records, and Latin Percussion. He has been described as a “musician, educator, and music business visionary” in Tape Op Magazine. Drawing on his formidable expertise, Pignato consults organizations in the areas of music and music education. Recent projects include consulting colleges on the development of degree programs in music industry and recording technology. Pignato, a member of the Modern Band Think Tank, an advisory board for the not for profit organization Little Kids Rock, has also served as an advisor to Steven Van Zandt (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and HBO’s The Soprano’s) on the early stages of development for Rock and Roll, An American Story; a rock music curriculum published by Scholastic, Inc.

Beyond SUNY Oneonta, Pignato facilitates graduate courses and supervises doctoral research in the College of Fine Arts, Department of Music Education at Boston University. He is affiliated faculty at the Musrara School in Jerusalem, Israel where he serves as point person for an international exchange program between the Israeli art school and SUNY Oneonta. In the past, he has supervised undergraduate honors dissertations for the B.A. in Contemporary Music program at London’s Institute for Contemporary Music, has served on the faculties of Ramapo College of New Jersey teaching music industry, Bergen Community College teaching graduate courses in education, and the Hoboken Charter School, where he served as founding faculty member and lead teacher for humanities and music.

Pignato holds degrees from Boston University (D.M.A.), where he was a Tanglewood Scholar, New York University (M.A.), where he studied composition with Dinu Ghezzo, and the University of Massachusetts (B.A.), where he studied composition with Yusef Lateef. In addition, he has studied drum set with Sal La Rocca and Max Roach. Pignato endorses Taye Drums, T-Cymbals Handmade Turkish Cymbals, and Boso Drumsticks.

Visit Professor Pignato's Personal Web Site


Mr. Tim Ploss
, Adjunct Lecturer,
Audio Arts I.


Degrees Earned: B.S. in Sound Recording Technology From SUNY - Fredonia

In addition to his teaching at Oneonta, Tim is a Helpdesk Support Technician and Instructional Design Technician. He has served similar job responsibilities at SUNY Cortland and Momentum Media. He was the chief engineer at Sweetfish Recording Studios in Argyle, NY and has performed in several bands as a bassist, guitarist, cellist and vocalist. He also plays bass in the Oneonta Chamber Orchestra.


Mr. Rene Prins
, Associate Professor-Retired,
Music for Listeners, Music Theory I, Music Theory II, Theory III, Music Theory IV and Concert Band.


Year Hired: 1975

Tenure Status: 1988

Degrees Earned:
M.S. from The Juilliard School
B.S. from The Juilliard School

Rene Prins received his B.S. and M.S. degrees at the Juilliard School where he was a student of Lois Wann. He has served as principal oboe and English horn for the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy and was principal oboist of the Albany Symphony Orchestra for four years prior to his move to Oneonta in 1975. He performs with many ensembles in upstate New York, including the Catskill Symphony Orchestra, and the Utica Symphony Orchestra. Well known in the Oneonta community as conductor of the SUCO Band, the Oneonta Community Band and leader / composer for Professor Hillman's Full Band, an historic ensemble at the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, NY. He serves on the faculty at Hartwick College and is the President of Local 443of the American Federation of Musicians. He has been a part of several commercially released recordings including 'Music for Oboe and Piano' by Bruno Labate on Musical Heritage Society Records, 'New Music for Woodwind Quintet' on Redwood Records and 'The Vocal Oboe' on Centaur Records.


The SUNY Oneonta Music Department is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.
SUNY College at Oneonta - 108 Ravine Parkway - Oneonta, NY 13820 - 607.436.3500