Music professors perform piano recital

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By Jahna Lacey

The music department is hosting a faculty Duo Piano recital 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Tuesday in the auditorium of McAllister Fine Arts Center.

Music instructors Dr. Mark Alexander, Cynthia Ellis and Chair Mary Lou Russell will be playing a repertoire alongside guest pianist Julianne Vanden Wyngaard of Michigan on two 9-foot Steinway concert grand pianos. The four musicians will be playing on the two pianos.

Russell said one piano, which she calls “Reba,” was made in the 1950s and has been rebuilt and the other piano, which she calls “Steinway and Sons,” was purchased a few years ago when she went on a trip to New York.

“The music we are playing spans the ages from Bach to the present,” Russel said. “We are ending the program with an eight-hand arrangement of ‘The Ride of the Valkyries’ by Wagner.”

Cynthia Ellis said she has been teaching piano classes, private piano lessons and keyboard sessions in the college’s music department for 13 years. Ellis also teaches young students at the International Academy of Music and at her home studio.

She said she received a Master of Music degree from the University of North Texas and performs as both a soloist and an accompanist.

She said other composers featured in the performance include Brahms, Poulenc, Benjamin, Rorem,

Rimsky-Korsakov and Chevillard.

Russell said she has been playing the piano since she was 6 years old. She said she received a bachelor’s degree in music from University of the Incarnate Word and later on received a master’s degree in piano from the University of Texas in San Antonio. “I started teaching music at San Antonio College at age 24,”

Russell said. “I had a couple of years off, but I began in 1971.”

Alexander is an adjunct pianist at San Antonio College and Our Lady of the Lake University. He attended the University of Michigan where he received a bachelor’s degree in music. He later received a master’s degree and a doctoral degree in music from the University of Texas at Austin.

Wyngaard said she began her musical study at the age of 4 and continued to play the piano at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. She later attended the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and Michigan State University. Wyngaard was a concert pianist at the Grand Valley State University in 1967 when she joined the music faculty.

For 12 years, she served as the chair for the music department of Grand Valley State University.

Admission is free and open to the public.

For more information, call 210-486-0244.


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