The infamous piano monster makes a return visit to Plymouth State University June 24–July 1 when the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance presents Junior and Senior Monster Festivals and a seminar for teachers.
The Senior Monster Piano Festival is June 24–27 for students entering grades 8–12 and the Junior Piano Monster Festival will be held June June 28–July 1 for students entering grades 6–8 in the fall. Students entering grade 8 may choose either camp. The teachers’ seminar is June 30–July 1.
Monster concert performers work under the direction of a conductor in an ensemble format with multiple pianos on stage and multiple performers at a single piano, a new experience for many pianists who have previously experienced only solo or duet performance. Many participants return for multiple years. Teachers observe student activities and participate in teacher-only sessions.
PSU Professor of Music Carleen Graff brought the Monster format to PSU more than 20 years ago. In recent years she has added works for digital keyboard orchestra..
Monster Festival students live on campus while they study ensemble techniques, musicianship and specialty topics such as chorus, handbell choir, percussion ensemble, digital keyboard ensemble, improvisation, history of piano music, theory and technique, piano pedagogy, and conducting; and participate in master classes.
“This is a good way to share and showcase the resources of our regional University with musicians from throughout New England,” said Graff, who is coordinator of piano studies at PSU.
This year’s conductor, Carolyn Miller, is a nationally known pedagogical composer who has composed more than 35 books and approximately 100 solos and duets. “Her music teaches technical skills, is fun to play, and has enormous appeal to both children and adults,” said Graff. She has taught piano and composition to students of all ages, both privately and in classroom situations. Miller has given workshops and showcases throughout the United States and is often asked to adjudicate. She has conducted at ensemble concerts, piano camps, and festivals and has been commissioned to write music for these special events. This will be her second appearance at the PSU Piano Monster Festivals.
The digital keyboard orchestra conductor is PSU alumna Elisa Curren ’01, who teaches instrumental, vocal, and general music in the public schools in Cullom, Ill. Curren received her MM degree in trumpet performance from Illinois State University. She has previously conducted the digital keyboard ensembles, the percussion ensembles, the handbell choirs and the vocal ensemble at both the Junior and Senior Monster Festivals.
Public finale concerts will be held in the Hanaway Theatre Saturday, June 27 at 4 p.m. (senior) and Wednesday, July 1 at 7:30 p.m. (junior). Tickets for non-participants are $7 general admission at the Silver Center Box Office, (603) 535-ARTS.
Continuing education units or graduate credits areavailable for teachers who participate in the two-day teacher seminar on a selection of topics. Teachers are encouraged to submit ideas for discussion and are also invited to present a session.
Staff for the institute are chosen for their ability to work with young musicians. They are committed and highly qualified individuals drawn primarily from the PSU faculty, staff, alumni and current students.
For information about the festivals, call Dr. Carleen Graff, (603) 535-2313 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Monster Festival information is online at www.plymouth.edu/mtd/pianonews.
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