Exposure to different pianists and their interpretation of music is essential for
the development of young musicians. In November, the Elizabeth City State University
Music Department brought another acclaimed musician to the Mickey L. Burnim Fine Arts
Center for a public performance and a master class.
Dr. Jeremy Owens of Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa, was the guest performer
and teacher. At a November 14 recital he performed the music of Aaron Copland, Walter
Piston, Frederic Chopin, and Johannes Brahms. The concert was a tour-de-force for
the pianist. The compositions performed are some of the most difficult in the repertoire.
For ECSU student pianists, it was an ideal opportunity to hear a pianist whose skills
have led him to perform in different settings.
Owens recently moved to Iowa to take the position of assistant professor of music
at Briar Cliff University. Originally from North Dakota, Owens spent the past five
years on the faculty at Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain, Miss., where he served
as assistant professor of music. His duties at Blue Mountain College included teaching
piano both privately and in a class setting, music theory, music history, music appreciation
and music literature; serving as the accompanist for student recitals and the Blue
Mountain College Chorale; and serving as music director for campus theatrical productions.
Off campus, he was the organist and music director for Ripley First Presbyterian Church
and worked as rehearsal pianist for areas high school musical productions.
Owens holds a bachelor of music from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., where he
studied piano with Dr. David Worth. He continued graduate studies and completed both
his master of music and doctorate of musical arts degrees in piano performance from
the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where he studied with Dr. Noel Engebretson.
At ECSU, Dr. Owens also provided a master class for piano students of Dr. Mary Hellmann,
an associate professor of music, who also studied under Engebretson. The master class
is an opportunity for ECSU students to gain exposure to a different pianist's and
artist's interpretation of the works they are studying. Pianists typically develop
a unique teaching method. Exposure to various instructors is beneficial in students'
development as musicians. Each student performed a piece they currently are studying
and Owens critiqued the performance and offered suggestions to improve their interpretations.
Performers in the master class included pianists Joshua Murrill, Catherine Bunch,
Brenton Northern and Jashonda Dutch, and trumpeters Raphael Rivers and Bradley Heidler.
The trumpeters have been collaborating with the pianists and their accompanying abilities
were critiqued. Soprano Chela Faulkner, who has been collaborating with pianist Joshua
Murrill, performed as well.