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June 5, 2013

Remembering U of M School of Music Professor Barbara Kierig - Memorial on June 22

A celebration of Barbara Kierig's life will be held on Saturday, June 22 at 10 a.m. at Unity Church - Unitarian (733 Portland Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104).

Kierig, Barbara.jpgUniversity of Minnesota School of Music professor Barbara Kierig passed away on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. Originally from St. Louis, MO, Kierig earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees in vocal music from the University of Illinois Urbana. She studied on a Fulbright scholarship at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. As an opera singer, Kierig played opposite Samuel Ramey and other notable artists in productions across the U.S. In the 60s and 70s, she performed at the Vienna Volksoper and elsewhere throughout Austria, Germany and Italy, appearing with Reri Grist, Erich Kunz, Ileana Cortubas, and other artists. She met her husband, Russel at the American National Opera. He was also a singer, and together they toured Europe.

In the mid-70s she began teaching, first at Pretoria College in South Africa, then at Eastern Kentucky and Washington State University. In 1983 Kierig became a vocal music instructor at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Fluent in German and the Viennese dialect, she was the Minnesota Opera's German language coach. She was a sought-after judge of District and Regional Metropolitan Opera Auditions.

Teaching was Kierig's passion. She maintained a private studio until a few months before her death. Her students vividly remember her emphasis on solid vocal technique, her practical methods, endless energy and patience, and lively personality. Her colorful, zany expressions--part of every lesson--will not be forgotten.

Her dedication to her students was evident, she once shared with a student, "I wake up thinking of all of your lovely voices. I have them all right here in my head and I'm thinking about them all the time."

U of M School of Music voice professor Jean del Santo remembers her longtime colleague fondly, "What was so impressive about Barbara was her generous spirit. One of her great loves in life was German and she was known for her German dialect work with the Minnesota Opera. So naturally when the University Opera Theatre presented The Magic Flute in 2010, she taught German dialect in addition to her studio classes. She gave her time to individually coach students from both casts to ensure that their German was perfect. This shows what a dedicated teacher and lover of the art form she was."

For several weeks each summer, Kierig lived in her beloved Vienna, visiting historical musical sites and attending concerts. She will be deeply missed by many past and current students, colleagues and friends. She is survived by her husband, Russel, of St. Paul and son Steve, of Los Angeles.

Donations can be made in Kierig's name to The Minnesota Opera and the University of Minnesota School of Music - Twin Cities. A celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, June 22 at 10 a.m. at Unity Church - Unitarian (733 Portland Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104).

June 4, 2013

Faculty News: Dean Billmeyer performances and lecture, James Dillon's work performed at Holland Festival, and Tanya Remenikova performs at benefit concert

DeanBillmeyerBasilicaStMang.pngDean Billmeyer (organ) gave his second European concert tour of 2012 in Germany and Austria in September and October, performing at the Basilika St. Mang in F├╝ssen, Germany (see photo), at the New Cathedral in Linz, and at the Pfarrkirche in Hofkirchen, Upper Austria. He was also featured as a guest lecturer at the Anton Bruckner University in Linz, where he presented a class on American organ literature of the 20th and 21st centuries.

DillonJames.jpgJames Dillon's (composition) epic work "Nine Rivers" will be performed by three ensembles from the Netherlands and percussionist and conductor Steven Schick at the Holland Festival this Saturday, June 8. More info.

TanyaRemenikova.jpgAs a member of the Hill House Chamber Players Tanya Remenikova (cello) performed with Susan Billmeyer (D.M.A., 1997, piano, student of Lydia Artymiw) at a benefit concert for the Schubert Club Museum in May 2013. Remenikova also performed the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Kenwood Symphony, Cathy Schubilske (violin), and Ivan Konev (D.M.A., 2010, piano, student of Alexander Braginsky) in spring 2013.

Student News: Joey Crane to attend highSCORE festival, Jeffery Kyle Hutchins DownBeat Student Music Award recipient, and Danielle Kuntz U of M Doctoral Dissertation fellowship

Joey Crane (Ph.D. candidate, composition, student of James Dillon) will attend the highSCORE New Music Festival in Pavia, Italy this summer, where he will work with composers Louis Andriessen, Christopher Theofanidis, and Martin Bresnick. At the festival, he will also have a string quartet premiered by a professional ensemble.

Jeffery Kyle Hutchins (D.M.A. candidate, saxophone, student of Eugene Rousseau) is a 2013 DownBeat Student Music Award recipient. He is a graduate college winner in the classical soloist division. Alumnus Ryan Truesdell (B.M., 2002, music education, student of Dean Sorenson) was one of the judges for the competition.

Danielle Kuntz (Ph.D. candidate, musicology, student of Kelley Harness) received a University of Minnesota Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship for academic year 2013-14 in support of her dissertation on the oratorios and sacred operas sponsored by Portugal's royal family in the eighteenth century. This research was funded in part through a Fulbright fellowship for academic year 2012-2013.

June 3, 2013

Alumni News: Loren Fishman teaching position, Ian Hodges summer teaching position, and Min Jung Kim wins third place in Ima Hogg Competition

LorenBio.jpgLoren Fishman (D.M.A., 2011, piano, student of Lydia Artymiw) has accepted a piano teaching position at Carleton College beginning August 2013.

ianHodges.jpgIan Hodges (D.M.A., 2010, guitar, student of Jeffrey Van) will teach guitar at the International Music Camp in North Dakota in July, working with students from Canada and the U.S. Hodges currently teaches in Winnipeg at the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts, and for the preparatory division of the faculty of music (University of Manitoba), and performs throughout Manitoba on classical, jazz, and commercial guitar.

Min_Jung_Kim_Headshot768bed.jpgMin Jung Kim (D.M.A., 2012, piano, student of Lydia Artymiw) won the Bronze Medal and Third Prize ($5,000) in the finals of the 2013 Houston Symphony's Ima Hogg Competition. She performed the Mozart d minor Concerto, K.466 with the Houston Symphony. She and the other three finalists were featured in the CultureMap article, "A classical music feud: Competing for $25,000 pushes young artists to their limits." Read the article.