Category Archives: faculty news

BGSU music faculty to visit SiChuan Conservatory

The ties between Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts and the SiChuan Conservatory of Music in Chengdu, China, will be strengthened this month when 10 BGSU faculty members visit for “American Music Week.” The group will spend May 17-21 in Chengdu, performing at the school and with the Chengdu City Orchestra.

Faculty members performing at the SiChuan Conservatory of Music will be Drs. Thomas Rosenkranz and Solungga Fang-Tzu Liu, both assistant professors of piano; Dr. Robert Satterlee, associate professor of piano; Dr. Charles Saenz, associate professor of trumpet; Dr. William Mathis, associate professor of trombone; Dr. John Sampen, Distinguished Artist Professor and professor of saxophone; Dr. Marilyn Shrude, Distinguished Artist Professor and professor of musicology; Dr. Alan Smith, professor of cello; Vasile Beluska, professor of violin, and Dr. Emily Freeman Brown, director of orchestral activities.

In addition to the American Music Week offerings, Smith and Rosencranz will present a recital of Chopin music for cello and piano, and Brown will conduct a concert with the city orchestra. Besides giving master classes at the conservatory, the group will present five evening performances running the gamut of musical groupings. Brown will conclude the week by conducting the SiChuan Conservatory of Music’s orchestra.

The partnership between the conservatory and BGSU began 10 years ago when Smith visited Chengdu, which resulted in the recruitment of the first student from the school. Subsequently, other faculty have visited and several SiChuan students have come to BGSU.

Mathis and current student Li Kuang began discussing a joint trip to the SiChuan Conservatory back in 2007. While making his plans, Mathis discovered that numerous faculty members were also planning to travel to Chengdu around the same time and contacted the conservatory about coordinating the effort. Thus, “American Music Week” was inspired.

The SiChuan Conservatory was founded in 1939 and has since developed into an interdisciplinary higher education institution.

BGSU bestows Lifetime Achievement Award on music dean

In his 30 years in Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts, Dean Richard Kennell has been a driving force behind tremendous growth and change. In recognition of his myriad contributions to the college and the University, Kennell received the Lifetime Achievement Recognition from Faculty Senate March 22 and with it, a $1,000 cash prize.

“His activities over these 30 years have resulted in significant advances for the college,” said Dr. Vincent Corrigan, a professor of musicology, composition and theory. In 2005, the college added a doctoral program in contemporary music, making it one of the only institutions in the country with such an offering. “This degree is the most important academic advance for the College of Musical Arts since the approval of graduate study in music in the late 1960s, and without his support it would not have been approved and probably would not even have been developed,” Corrigan asserted.

The college enjoys a robust enrollment, thanks in large part to an innovative method of graduate recruitment Kennell developed. The system has attracted national attention, and Kennell is frequently invited to speak at major conferences and is a well-respected authority on the subject, noted Distinguished Artist Professor Marilyn Shrude. On another level, “I often see him going out of his way to talk with parents and those auditioning to help them feel welcome in what can be an overwhelming and complex experience,” she added.

International recruitment has also been strong, his nominators noted, and Kennell was instrumental in establishing a summer program with Ionian University in Greece, allowing Bowling Green faculty and students to teach and learn there and students from Corfu to come to BGSU.

But perhaps he is most known for his promotion of collaboration among the arts. He was a founder of the Arts Roundtable, which unites art leaders at BGSU and around northwest Ohio, wrote Dr. William Mathis, chair of the music performance studies department.

Kennell’s extensive work with colleagues in the School of Art, theatre and film and even the College of Business Administration have helped create the Center of Excellence in the Arts that BGSU has become, his nominators agreed.

His “passion, discipline, resourcefulness and ingenious ideas, not just in theory but put into practice,” have earned him the respect and support of his peers, said Dr. Alan Smith, a former associate dean.

BGSU honors Burton Beerman as Distinguished Artist Professor

By any measure, Dr. Burton Beerman has led a remarkable life. As a composer, performer, teacher and founder of musical institutions, his accomplishments are myriad.

In his nearly 40 years at the Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts, he has helped make Bowling Green synonymous with new and experimental music. His own pieces have been performed around the world and have influenced a generation of composers and performance artists.

On Feb. 26, BGSU recognized him as a Distinguished Artist Professor. Conferred by the board of trustees, the designation recognizes professors who have earned national and international recognition through research and publication or creative and artistic achievement.

“Dr. Beerman is truly regarded as an outstanding visionary and artist” by “luminaries who are world-renowned,” said the award review committee.

The honor follows numerous other recognitions from his peers and arts organizations. Among them are the Ohio Governor’s Award for the Arts he received in 2008 and several Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council in previous years. Also in 2008, he won two Cine Awards for the composition for the documentary film “203 Days.” Beerman was awarded the prestigious Barlow Endowment Commission in 2005, an international award designed to encourage and financially support individuals “who demonstrate technical skills and natural gifts for the composition of great music,” according to the endowment.

Beerman’s music, which often addresses social justice issues, spans many media, including chamber and orchestral music, music for documentary film, video art and performance, theatre, dance and interactive real-time electronics. His works have been recognized by more than 30 professional journals and publications, and his activities have been the subject of national and public television network broadcasts.

Beerman grew up in Atlanta, where he was exposed to music ranging from traditional Jewish music he heard in the synagogue to the local gospel and blues. All those influences and more can be found in his compositions.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, with a specialization in composition and clarinet performance, and went on to receive master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan in the same fields.

He began teaching at BGSU in 1970. His interest in progressive forms of music led him to cofound, in 1971, the New Music Ensemble and the Electronic Music and Recording Studio (now the Music Technology and Recording Studios). In 1979, he founded the annual New Music Festival, which has brought outstanding composers and performers of avant-garde music to campus each year for concerts, panels and master classes. From 1999-2007 he was the director of the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music at BGSU.