Guest piano recital set at USD April 16 The keyboard division of the Department of Music at The University of South Dakota presents pianist Steven Hesla in recital Wednesday, April 16 at 8 p.m. The recital will take place in Colton Recital Hall in the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts. Admission is free and the public is cordially invited to attend.
Hesla grew up on a farm near Wakonda, where he started playing an old 78 rpm record player at age 1. Before age 3 he was playing familiar melodies by ear and started to harmonize them. At age 5 he began lessons with Grace Jeffrey in Vermillion. At the age of 13 he was privileged to be accepted as a private student of Professor Genevieve Truran at The University of South Dakota.
Under her tutelage, he placed in the state high school piano competition of the Music Teachers National Association for several years and won the state title in his senior year. He won the West Central Division title, and became one of six high school pianists in the nation selected to compete for the national title in St. Louis, MO.
Hesla began teaching at the University of Montana at Missoula in 1978. Prior to joining the UM faculty he served on the faculty at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.
He holds a bachelor of music degree in piano performance from the Oberlin Conservatory and his master of music degree from the University of Illinois. Now he dedicates himself to encouraging young people to find their passion and to pursue excellence in all of their life goals.
During this, his sabbatical year, he has been able to resume his studies with Margaret Saunders Ott of Spokane, WA, who was recently named the National Teacher of the Year by the Music Teacher National Association. His sabbatical project, "Music and the Uplifting of the Human Spirit," is enabling him to bring music into the schools of Montana under the auspices of Young Audiences, an organization dedicated to bringing the performing and visual arts into schools to help develop the audiences of the future.
A popular clinician and performer, Hesla has presented guest artist recitals at the University of Washington in Seattle, the University of Alaska at Anchorage, and the Hochschule f�r Musik in Vienna, Austria. He has been a recipient of the University of Montana School of Fine Arts Distinguished Professor Award, and his students continue to distinguish themselves with honors in festivals and competitions.
Several of Professor Hesla's live performances have been selected for broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio and on National Public Radio's Performance Today series.