Hailed by the New York Times as possessing “rich tone and deft technique,” Hannah Porter Occeña is Assistant Professor of Flute at the University of Northern Iowa and Principal Flutist of the Topeka Symphony Orchestra (Topeka, KS). Previous positions include Principal Flute of the Midwest Chamber Ensemble (Prairie Village, KS) and Associate Principal Flute of the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra (Bismarck, ND). The 2012 Irene Burchard prizewinner at the Royal Academy of Music, Dr. Occeña has performed as an orchestral soloist, recitalist, and clinician throughout the US and abroad.
Committed to the rich heritage and new horizons of the repertoire, Dr. Occeña strives to make classical works accessible and engaging to diverse audiences. Between her performance schedule and collegiate teaching responsibilities, Dr. Occeña participates in outreach concerts and programs at schools and community centers. Some of her most meaningful musical experiences have taken place during performances at special needs schools and concerts in association with Autism Speaks.
As a chamber musician and collaborator, Dr. Occeña has worked to bring works by living composers to life. She is a commissioning member of the Flute New Music Consortium which co-commissioned works by Zhou Long (Confluence, 2015), Carter Pann (Giantess, 2018), and Valerie Coleman (Amazonia, 2020). She has also privately commissioned and premiered several new works, most recently Shenandoah Variations for flute and orchestra by Joseph Kern (March 2019).
A dedicated scholar, Dr. Occeña has presented at the National Flute Association conventions in Orlando and Salt Lake City as well as the Rochester Flute Fair. An article Sonata op. 94 by Sergei Prokofiev which she co-authored will appear in the July 2020 Flutist Quarterly with a corresponding urtext edition of the score to follow.
Dr. Occeña is a 2018 DMA graduate of Stony Brook University, where she studied with Carol Wincenc; she holds a Master of Music Dip.RAM from the Royal Academy of Music and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. When not performing, Dr. Occeña enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband, Ryan, and their daughters, Veronica and Merryn. She can be heard on New Beginnings: American and Australian Duos for Flute and Piano with the Occeña-Chen Duo, and Voices from the Middle and Spohr, Forevermore! with the Midwest Chamber Ensemble.