Lipscomb University's School of Music will be honored for its All-Steinway School achievement by Steinway's Sally Coveleskie. Eugene and Elisabeth Pridonoff will perform a two-piano recital in celebration of the achievement.
Elizabeth and Eugene formed the Pridonoff Duo in 1982, making their formal debut with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. The couple has performed numerous times throughout the United States in such venues as the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, the Shreveport Festival and the World Piano Pedagogy Conferences.
School of Music formed, new contemporary music program added
Lipscomb University recently announced the formation of a school of music that will expand its existing classical music program to include contemporary music undergraduate programs. The reorganization will allow the school to tap into industry resources available in Nashville as well as provide skilled professionals to help fill job demand.
Lipscomb’s school of music has traditionally offered undergraduate degrees in music, music education, composition, and performance (vocal, piano and instrumental). Now a contemporary music component, beginning this fall, will include academic programs in songwriting and music production.
“We have carefully examined our current school as well as the demand of the music marketplace here in Nashville and the industry across the country,” said Mike Fernandez, dean of the College of Entertainment & the Arts that houses the new school of music. “A recent Chamber of Commerce study of Nashville’s music industry shows that there is a real opportunity for budding independent, entrepreneurial musicians to learn their craft, to gain valuable experience and to pursue careers that will help fill the workplace demand for all facets of the music and entertainment industry.”
The study, conducted in partnership with the Music City Music Council, found that the music industry helps create and sustain an estimated 56,000 jobs within the Nashville area, supports more than $3.2 billion of labor income annually and contributes $5.5 billion to the local economy for a total output of $9.7 billion within the Nashville metropolitan statistical area.
“It just makes sense to expand our degree offerings in the school of music. While there are many questions about the economics of the music industry, one thing we know is that it is not going away. By offering these degrees we are showing that we will continue to grow and change in the same way Nashville does,” said Fernandez. “With this new approach to our school, we are making a statement to Nashville that we are serious about music and we are serious about training young minds that will artfully and faithfully contribute to the local economy and the general good".
The enhanced offering will increase opportunities for the university to collaborate with industry experts in the community.
“The name ‘school of music’ honors the quality of our music making, and is important to the music professionals we collaborate with, to the music community at-large and to the gifted students we hope to attract,” said Sally Reid, director of Lipscomb’s School of Music.
Industry experts say more music industry training and education are needed in Nashville.
“The timing for this kind of program at Lipscomb could not be better,” said singer/songwriter Amy Grant, a six-time Grammy Award winner. “With no intention to reinvent the ‘music business’ wheel that MTSU and Belmont offer, Lipscomb is poised to develop a streamlined, vibrant creative arts and entertainment program that is flexible, is spiritually vibrant and that teaches students the importance of storytelling. Flexibility and innovation are key as is integrating the students into existing facilities to learn aspects of the creative arts. Nashville has endless resources. I hope we can do something at Lipscomb that has never been done before.”
Producer and composer Charlie Peacock, Lipscomb artist-in-residence and senior A&R consultant at Downtown Music Publishing, agrees.
"The new Lipscomb University School of Music is right on time, especially when you consider the powerful combination of the present musical faithfulness of faculty and curriculum and the new emerging contemporary music program set for fall 2015,” said Peacock. “The school of music offers a diverse and vocationally solid approach to music education, helping create the music of tomorrow in the hearts and minds of students today.”
In addition to expanding its music program offerings, Lipscomb University has also developed partnerships with industry experts such as Peacock and others who serve as advisors and artists-in-residence for the program as well as a relationship with the Gospel Music Association, which has held its annual Dove Awards program on the Lipscomb campus the past two years with plans to continue that arrangement for at least the next two years. Earlier this month, the school became one of only 172 institutions around the world to receive the All-Steinway School designation after it purchased 16 Steinway pianos, to go along with the six already owned, to use Steinway instruments exclusively in the school.
The Lipscomb University School of Music is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music. The School of Music is also the first in the nation to require music majors to sit for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music exams. Along with its academic offerings, a number of private lessons and ensemble opportunities are open to students including the A Cappella Singers, University Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Opera Workshop, New Music Ensemble, String Ensemble and various chamber groups.
For more information about Lipscomb’s music program, visit music.lipscomb.edu.
School of Music now part of College of Entertainment and the Arts
The Lipscomb University Board of Trustees has approved the formation of the new College of Entertainment and the Arts, bringing the number of colleges at the university to nine.
Building on the university’s strong liberal arts foundation, the College of Entertainment and the Arts will combine the university’s exceptional art, music and theatre departments with its fashion merchandising program and its graduate film and creative media program. It will then add exciting new programs to prepare students for careers in contemporary music, digital entertainment, film, design, gaming and animation. The result will be a cutting-edge arts training ground with four major departments (music, visual arts, theatre, cinematic arts) and five new undergraduate programs planned in contemporary music, interactive media, film, fashion and design and dance. The college will also bring on board experts in the industry as artists-in-residence to shape its future. The college is an integration of several disciplines formerly in the College of Arts and Sciences
“Our arts programs have grown in recent years to become an even more vital part of the Lipscomb community,” said Lipscomb University Provost W. Craig Bledsoe. “By bringing these programs together into a college that focuses on these academic disciplines, it creates a synergy and provides more opportunities to collaborate than ever before. Several degrees in the college are one-of-a-kind in the region. The direction in which these programs are developing will help prepare our students especially for digitally oriented arts and entertainment careers that are growing in demand.”
Mike Fernandez, associate professor of theatre and chair of the department of theatre, has been appointed dean of the College of Entertainment and the Arts. Chair of the department since his arrival in 2008, Fernandez has expanded the scope of the university’s productions, grown the number of theatre students and faculty, added new formats such as dinner theater productions and outdoor performances and has worked to strengthen Lipscomb’s connections to local theater artists and companies. He also added a highly successful graduate film and creative media program, which has already partnered with local companies to produce two feature films, with plans this fall to work on two more.
“The blending of these disciplines into one college will foster a natural collaboration between classical and contemporary art forms,” said Fernandez, who was named outstanding director in 2012 by BroadwayWorld.com for his direction of “Doubt.” “We will bring in contemporary artists like award-winning music producer Charlie Peacock and critically acclaimed Disney animator Tom Bancroft to help create exciting programs and events to build on the strong foundation of each of our current disciplines. We will create a place where we all dream together about the role a Christian university should have in shaping culture through arts and entertainment.”
The new entity was named the College of Entertainment and the Arts based on recent research conducted in partnership with the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. Fernandez said this college is poised to make an impact not only on its students but the Nashville community as well.
“There isn’t a university as primed and ready to move to this more than Lipscomb,” said Fernandez. “Not only do we have a strong foundation to build on, but we are located in Nashville, which, along with its reputation as Music City, is quickly becoming a hub for film, theater and interactive arts. We are actively aligning ourselves with Nashville’s vision for art and entertainment by making connections in the community through professional film, theatre and music companies. That not only helps our program contribute in significant ways to preparing skilled and knowledgeable professionals to enter these fields, it also gives our students many hands-on opportunities to learn from experts in our community.”
The college has advisory boards for the film program and a new commercial music emphasis that includes some of the industry’s top talent such as singer-songwriter Amy Grant, Nate Owens and Nathan Chapman, producer for entertainer Taylor Swift, among others. In addition, Town Square Pictures serves as the college’s company-in-residence, filmmaker, producer, recording artist Steve Taylor serves as the filmmaker-in-residence, and Blackbird Theater serves as the college’s theater-troupe-in-residence.
“Nashville has built its reputation over the years as a city that values collaboration, and it’s now one of the world’s preeminent destinations for entertainment and the arts,” said Taylor. “The time is right and ripe for Lipscomb University to build a collaborative institution that brings entertainment and the arts together under one roof to train world-class, world-shaping artist entrepreneurs.”
“Lipscomb's commitment to excellence and a big picture view in a rapidly changing media landscape guarantees the most important quality for a program like this—relevance,” said Howie Klausner, screenwriter, producer and partner in Town Square Pictures. “Stay tuned, there’s some exciting stuff happening over here.”
Lipscomb typically offered more traditional arts programs in the past. Fernandez said those programs are still significant pillars of the college, but “we are broadening our horizons.”
“Our research tells us that there is a need for additional programs that would focus on areas such as commercial music and interactive media such as gaming, animation and mobile app development as well as an undergraduate film program to build on our graduate film and creative media program,” he said.
Fernandez said an initiative of the college will be an interactive media program that is an interdisciplinary program with the College of Computing and Technology and the College of Business. The new college is also planning to create a fashion and design program that will be a reengineering of its fashion merchandising program. It will include an emphasis in custom design areas like art decoration for TV and film, set design for theatre and commercial entertainment design for theme parks and industrial events. Fernandez said he plans to grow the number of students majoring in these subjects as well as enhance the facilities including a proposed state-of-the-art performing arts facility within five years.
“Artists are constantly reinventing themselves,” said Fernandez. “Lipscomb is reinventing itself so that it can move quickly into this arena and marketplace. Our vision really appeals to our students, industry leaders and the community. At the end of the day, we want to train students to be good storytellers, whether it be through music, visual arts, interactive arts, theater or other creative outlets. They can have an impact and leave a legacy that will benefit those who come after them in our university and in our community.”
One of 171 All-Steinway Schools in the world
In April 2015, Lipscomb University achieved the internationally respected “All-Steinway” status and now provides its students with all Steinway pianos for lessons, practicing and performing, accelerating the students to a higher level of musicianship that these superb instruments provide and demand.
The All-Steinway School designation is awarded by Steinway & Sons to universities, conservatories and other schools of distinction. Lipscomb University joined more than 170 institutions around the world who have earned this designation as of 2015. The school worked for eight years, phasing out non-Steinway pianos and raising funds, to achieve the designation.
A 2013 Steinway & Sons study showed that music educators believe that an All-Steinway designation reflects a higher degree of quality in music education at the partnering institutions.
2007 — Jerome Reed, Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Piano, led a trip to New York City to select a nine-foot Steinway concert grand piano for Ward Hall, which had just undergone a major renovation.
Oct. 2007 — Lipscomb’s first Steinway was dedicated at a concert featuring pianist Frederic Chiu.
2010 — Lipscomb added a second nine-foot Steinway concert grand as part of the renovation of Collins Alumni Auditorium.
Dec, 2011 — A third Steinway grand was purchased for piano majors to use as a practice instrument.
April 2015 — The Lipscomb piano studio and several music faculty traveled to the Steinway factory in New York City to hand select two of the pianos that were part of the final group of pianos purchased.
April 2015 — 16 Steinway pianos were delivered to Lipscomb’s School of Music, completing the requirements for the All-Steinway designation.