As piano teachers, the pieces we assign to our students say a lot about our values. We assign Beethoven and Debussy and Bach because we believe their music is beautiful and brings us and our students closer to something just and true. But is there more we can do as teachers to promote values of racial justice and inclusion? Do we need to default to the usual Clementi sonatina or Gershwin prelude when there might be other options of equal pedagogical value that simultaneously expand classical music’s typically white male frame? This webinar offers practical suggestions for fun repertoire alternatives that give voice to a diversity of musical perspectives from around the world. Intermediate and intermediate-advanced repertoire will be emphasized, and pieces presented will be linked to specific pedagogical concepts and analogous warhorses of the pedagogical literature.
Webinar Series: “Diversity and Inclusion in Piano Repertoire and Pedagogy”
Expanding the Frame: Inclusive Repertoire Possibilities for Teachers
Chicago-born pianist Douglas Jurs explores new listening experiences through cross-disciplinary experiments and program innovation. Recent performances have involved collaborations with actors, dancers, chefs, artists, and writers.
Earlier in 2020, Dr. Jurs served as Musician in Residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada where he developed ideas combining music and narrative and prepared world premieres for piano by American composer Daniel Temkin and Iranian composer Aftab Darvishi. He also was a featured performer at the Oh My Ears music festival in Phoenix just before Covid-19 hit.
A world premiere recording of “Five Strong Winds” by Marc Satterwhite with clarinetist Matthew Nelson (University of Louisville) will be released later in 2021 on Centaur Records. Other recent collaborators include San Francisco’s Alexander String Quartet and violist Lauren Burns Hodges, with whom he toured China.
Dr. Jurs is in his sixth year as Assistant Professor of Music at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, where he teaches applied piano, music theory, and a newly developed course about world music cultures. His pre-college piano students have won prizes at local, national and international competitions.
As a researcher, Dr. Jurs is interested in exploring immersive listening and the connection between embodied musical gesture and lived experience. He has presented papers for College Music Society and the Music Teachers National Association and in 2016 received a Mellon Foundation Grant for Research in the Humanities to explore related topics. His degrees in piano are from Indiana University – Bloomington, Cleveland Institute of Music, and University of Wisconsin – Madison. Intensive theater training with New York’s SITI Company in 2008 was also a formative experience.