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Wittenberg Music Professor Teaches, Performs On Tour Of China

December 13, 2012  
 Filed in Community

Associate Professor of Music Christopher Durrenberger with some of the students he taught in China following a performance in Wuhan.

Springfield, Ohio – Wittenberg Associate Professor of Music Christopher Durrenberger recently spread his love of piano and his university to students at three of the eight major conservatories in China during a three-week tour of the world’s most populous country.

Durrenberger taught masterclasses and performed lecture recitals at the Shenyang, Tianjin and Wuhan conservatories, working with dozens of students who attended multiple classes and performances at each stop. In addition to promoting Wittenberg, Durrenberger shared American music with the students, specifically focusing on ground-breaking composers John Cage, Aaron Copland and George Gershwin.

“The concerts were very well attended as I prepared a novel lecture recital for them, titled ‘American Music, A Closer Look Into Cage, Copland and Gershwin,” Durrenberger said. “The meat of the program included an adventurous work by John Cage, including his Sonatas and Interlude, which calls for more than half of the piano to be prepared with hardware, including nuts, bolts, screws and various rubber materials. I was told that it was the first performance ever in these locations.

“The reception was fantastic as they nearly filled each hall and swarmed the piano (and me) afterwards to take pictures. The program was rounded off with jazz-influenced works by Copland (Four Piano Blues) and Gershwin (Preludes for Piano). It was a multimedia production, as I coordinated a powerpoint presentation that included all the music scores for them to follow along as I played.”

A Wittenberg faculty member since 1999, Durrenberger has now taught and performed in six major Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Dalian and Beijing, during his professional career. He plans to share the program with the Wittenberg community at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, in Krieg Hall.

The performance is open to the public, free of charge.

Durrenberger has performed throughout the world in venues ranging from the Capital Theater at the Riffe Center in Columbus to the Cairo Opera House in Egypt. He has earned top prizes in such major national and international competitions as the Coleman and Carmel Chamber Music Competitions, the Los Angeles Etude Musical Club Piano Competition, the Young Keyboard Artists Association International Piano Competition and the National Music Teachers Association National Piano Competition.

Durrenberger, who earned a bachelor of music from Oberlin College and a master’s and doctorate of musical arts with honors from the University of Southern California School of Music, has performed with the award-winning Cypress String Quartet three times at Wittenberg since 2006. In 2009, he made a return appearance with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra at Kuss Auditorium of the Clark State Community College Performing Arts Center, where he performed Lowell Liebermann’s Second Piano Concerto.

Written By: Ryan Maurer

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