Mark Stevens, director of keyboard studies and assistant professor of piano, will be presenting his solo recital in the Larson Memorial Concert Hall of the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center (OLPAC) at 7:30 p.m. April 29.
Stevens is a recent faculty hire in the School of Performing Arts. Originally from Washington, Stevens earned his D.M.A. in piano performance from the University of Oregon in 2017. He then worked for Washington State University as an assistant professor of piano and music theory and piano area coordinator until 2020.
Stevens brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to SDSU in piano pedagogy and other areas of study. In his scholarly and creative activity, Stevens looks to draw connections between modern composers and classical music from earlier eras. He also aims to establish connections to the audience through musical choices. “If we are not reflecting our communities in the music we are playing, I think that we are missing out on an opportunity. We can’t expect people to be drawn to what we do if it does not reflect who they are in some way,” said Stevens.
Along with expertise in these areas, Stevens has a passion for teaching. He has received regular invitations to present at conferences for universities, professional teaching organizations, private studios and more. His extensive teaching experience has been a strong asset to the SDSU piano studio. The studio provides opportunities for individual private lessons and weekly masterclasses. “The studio is about half music majors and half students from other disciplines who wanted to continue their musical studies during college,” said Stevens. “It is a warm, supportive and immersive experience for students from all disciplines.”
The recital program, “[re]Vision,” will showcase music from J.S. Bach, Ferruccio Busoni, Frédéric Chopin, Caroline Shaw, William Grant Still and Carl Vine. “The idea with the show is that modern composers are trying to create their own voice but they are impacted and shaped by the music that came before,” said Stevens. “It shows composers explicitly wrestling or interacting with music from the past.”
When describing one of the pieces in the performance, Stevens stated, “It almost feels like the surface of the moon, it is so stark and still and peaceful but it is not resolved. So, it can be a difficult piece for audiences tonally but when you describe that to them, it gives them that knowledge that makes the music interesting. That’s what I am trying to do with this music because I love it and I want people to play it and listen to it. I want teachers to teach it to kids when they are young.”
There are limited seats available at the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center due to COVID-19 protocols. To get information on reserving tickets, please contact the School of Performing Arts at 605-688-5187.
To learn more about Mark Stevens and his background, please visit his website.