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Owens performs and holds master class at ECSU
Kesha Williams
December 7, 2012

Master Class Pianists 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, Frédéric 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.

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