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Rubbing elbows with the greats
Steven Lin, an award-winning pianist lauded by the New York Times, will perform at PSU on Friday. He, and many other famed musicians who frequently visit campus, are providing unparalleled opportunities for students and faculty, as well as area residents.

Rubbing elbows with the greats

When Wyatt Smith enrolled as a student at Pittsburg State, he had no idea that in the course of earning his music education degree, he'd get to play his trumpet alongside such greats as Doc Severinson of Tonight Show fame, or Dave Hickman, the leading trumpet pedagogue in the world.


"Now I have to travel several hours to experience the same thing that was literally next door on campus! I would never trade my experience at Pitt for anything," said Smith, who graduated in May with a bachelor's degree in music education. 

He counts among his most treasured memories getting to hear Mnozil Brass, Dallas Brass, and solo vocalist Naomi Louisa O'Connell on the same stage he performed on as a student. 

So does AJ Beu, who earned a bachelor's degree in music in 2012 and a master's degree in music in 2015. 

"The master classes and audible experiences have proven to be invaluable to my career in music," said Beu, now a DMA candidate at UMKC and an adjunct professor of tuba/euphonium at Missouri Southern State University. 

Beu said that he was amazed that as a student he had the privilege to hear groups the caliber of the National Symphony Orchestra perform in a space so acoustically fine as the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts. Smith echoed those feelings. 

"Another bonus is that Pitt has such an intimate environment, I was able to speak to almost all of these individuals and groups one on one," Smith said, "from the annual Trumpet Festival in October to the Jazz Festival in March and events in between, there's almost an unlimited array to watch and experience each year." 

"I really miss the opportunities I had in Pitt to experience and be a part of so many amazing performances and master classes," added Smith, who now is back home in Southwest Kansas teaching music, piano and choir. "That's where my inspiration for being an artist and a musician comes from." 

Susan Marchant, chair of the Department of Music, said Pittsburg State is unique in its ability to engage soloists and ensembles who share with students and faculty the same level of artistry that has led to their recognition on the national and even international stage. 

She pointed to the annual Solo and Chamber Music Series as a prime example.  

The 2017-18 season of that series opens on Friday, Sept. 8, with award-winning pianist Steven Lin starting at 7:30 in the Bicknell. A graduate of Julliard, he has been a featured performer in symphonies across the U.S. and is featured prominently in a PBS documentary film. For his Pittsburg performance, Lin has prepared a program that includes music of Mendelssohn, Schumann, Beethoven, Liszt, and Gershwin.  

He's been applauded by the New York Times and his dynamic playing at the 2014 Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition was recognized when he was awarded the Silver Medal.

Concert tickets ($12 general public; $8 over 65/under 18) are available in advance through the University Ticket Office or at the door prior to the performance. Full-time PSU students are entitled to a free ticket. 

"Performances such as this, more commonly associated with long-standing concert series in major metropolitan areas, have come to represent the quality of programming here at Pittsburg State," Marchant said. 

Other notable performances coming up: 

  • PSU Jazz Ensemble, Sept. 28, Bicknell Family Center for the Arts
  • PSU Wind Ensemble, Oct. 2, Bicknell Family Center for the Arts
  • Midwest Trumpet Festival, Oct. 8-9, Bicknell Family Center for the Arts and the Sharon Kay Dean Recital Hall – McCray. Featured performer: Allen Vizzutti, guest trumpeter
  • Ciaramella/Solo & Chamber Music Series, Oct. 20, Sharon Kay Dean Recital Hall – McCray
  • String Madness, Oct. 21, Bicknell Family Center for the Arts
  • Southeast Kansas Sympony, Oct. 21, Bicknell Family Center for the Arts
  • Scott Watson Guest Tuba Recital, Oct. 27, Sharon Kay Dean Recital Hall – McCray.

For a detailed listing of performances, visit www.bicknellcenter.org or www.pittstate.edu/department/music/events.dot 

For more about pursuing a degree in music, www.pittstate.edu/department/music

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