Department of Music
  • slider

Musical Arts Series

Musical Arts Series – 44th Season

All concerts are free to the public. Thank you to our sponsors and donors, without whom this series would not be possible. Special thanks goes to the National Endowment for the Arts, Oklahoma Arts Countil, Steger Piano Institute, and the Clark and Wanda Bass Foundation.  Consider being a part of the Musical Arts Series by becoming a donor! Contact Dr. Jeremy Blackwood at or call 580-745-2096 for more information.


Catherine MartinCatherine Martin, mezzo-soprano

Thursday, September 14, 2017
Fine Arts Recital Hall
7:30 PM

(A Public Masterclass will be presented on Wednesday, September 13 at 4:00 PM in the Fine Arts Recital Hall.)


American mezzo-soprano Catherine Martin has been praised by The Washington Post for her “gorgeous, warm voice that you want to keep listening to,” and she continues to make an impact in repertoire ranging from Verdi and Wagner to Strauss and Bellini.

Her 2016-2017 season begins in Taiwan at the National Taichung Theatre reviving Wellgunde in Das Rheingoldwith the La Fura dels Baus production team, a debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago singing Hécube and covering Didon in Les Troyens, a concert with The Dallas Opera at the Winspear Opera House, as well as the final installment of the Ring Cycle at Houston Grand Opera, singing Wellgunde in Götterdämmerung with La Fura dels Baus.

The 2015-2016 season included debuts with Opera Colorado in her signature role of Amneris in Aïda and a role debut with Florida Grand Opera as Adalgisa in Norma, a return to Washington National Opera as Wellgunde in Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung and Grimgerde in Die Walküre.

For more information:



Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Fine Arts Recital Hall
7:30 PM



Hailed by the Houston Chronicle as “revolutionary chamber musicians,” WindSync is internationally recognized for dramatic and engaging interpretations of classical music. The young, adventurous group plays exclusively from memory, including elements of staging and choreography, and focuses on building a connection with audiences through dynamic concert programming and charismatic stage presence.

WindSync is the Gold Medalist in the National Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and winner of the Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh International Competition. The group received the Sylvia Ann Hewlett Adventurous Artist Prize and numerous performance prizes from the CAG competition, including the ensemble’s New York debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Chautauqua Institution, Washington Performing Arts Society’s Music in the Country series, and the Music in the Park Series of The Schubert Club (St. Paul, MN). Recent performance engagements include the Library of Congress in Washington DC, Shanghai Oriental Arts Center in China, and the Met Museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, as well as radio broadcasts by New York Public Radio’s McGraw Hill Financial Young Artists Showcase and Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media’s Performance Today.

For more information:

Solungga_Liu_NecklaceRuth Steger Piano Institute / Clark & Wanda Bass Foundation

Solungga Liu, piano

Thursday, October 12, 2017
Fine Arts Recital Hall
7:30 PM

(A Public Masterclass will be presented on Wednesday, October 11 at 4:00 PM in the Fine Arts Recital Hall.)


With a wide-ranging repertoire, pianist Solungga Fang-Tzu Liu has enjoyed an active career as a soloist and collaborator in venues across four continents. A dedicated performer of new music, Liu has performed music by many composers of our time, including the Lutoslawski “Piano Concerto” with Ossia, Steve Reich’s “The Desert Music” and “Tehillim” with Alarm Will Sound, and “Meandering River” and “Three Braided-River” for solo piano by Robert Morris (both are dedicated to her).  With AWS Liu has recorded two CDs of Reich’s major works, and a recording of Meandering River has been released by Albany Records.  In addition, Liu premiered Gregory Mertl’s “Piano Concerto” with the University of Minnesota Wind Ensemble, conducted by Craig Kirchhoff.  Commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, this concerto was written for Liu and the University of Minnesota Wind Ensemble and she has recorded it for INNOVA Records.

Liu has concertized throughout the globe, including the USA, Canada, Austria, Romania, Brazil, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong.  Her major performances include Ravel’s “Concerto in G Major” with Taipei Metropolitan Orchestra, a collaborative recital with Paul Merkelo, Principal Trumpet of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, solo recitals at Taiwan’s National Concert Hall, the Goethe Center in Bangkok, the Central Conservatory in Beijing, the Thailand International Mozart Festival, and a chamber concert with new music ensemble Open Gate at Carnegie Hall.

For more information:



Full Stage Performance
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Montgomery Auditorium
7:30 PM

Acoustic Ensemble Performance
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Visual & Performing Arts Center
6:30 PM

This event is co-sponsored by Mid-America Arts Alliance and the Native American Institute.

Injunuity is a Native American flute-centric roots group forged in 2007 by award winning composers Brad Clonch (Mississippi Choctaw) and Jeff Carpenter (Chickasaw). Since their inception Injunuity has released four full length albums; snatched up multiple national music awards; performed across the US and Europe; and has been featured in radio, tv, documentaries, and feature length films.

Immediately this cultural sound and blend of genres drew attention, leading to the addition of two members; Philip Sullivan and Brian Harrison.

The inspiration drawn for all original tracks and compositions are based off the ability to experience tribal culture and life daily in Oklahoma, as well as interaction among other tribes, historians, storytellers, and even trips to the original homelands of the Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Cherokee people. Native Americans have profoundly helped shape the United States. The music of Injunuity helps revisit these times and keep them alive through song.

Injunuity’s music promotes the introduction of Native American music and history into popular culture, helping break stereotypes about Native Americans and the music within the Indian Culture. Simply put, “we’re not your grandfather’s flute music!”

For more information:

Ruth Steger Piano Institute / Clark & Wanda Bass Foundation

Scott Carrell, piano

Thursday, February 8, 2018
Fine Arts Recital Hall
7:30 PM


Scott Carrell has captivated audiences in the U.S. and Europe with his virtuosic flair, expressive playing and informative comments, by presenting innovative programs of both classical and jazz works, including discussion of the works and the composers.

A native of Texas, Dr. Carrell has performed numerous recitals as soloist and as collaborator, including concerto appearances with the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Pine Bluff Symphony Orchestra, the Southwestern University Orchestra, the Plainview Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Civic Orchestra, the Little Rock Wind Symphony, and twice with the Harding University/Community Orchestra. An active chamber musician, he co-founded the Searcy Chamber Music Series and has performed on many of its concerts. He has also performed in recital and small ensembles in Florence, Italy; Mainz, Germany; and Guangzhou, China.

Receiving degrees from Southwestern University, the University of Illinois, and the D.M.A. from the University of North Texas, he studied with internationally-known artists Drusilla Huffmaster, Ian Hobson, and Vladimir Viardo and participated in masterclasses with Abbey Simon, Gail Delente, and Dominique Merlet. The French Piano Institute awarded him a prize for the best performance of a work by Henri Dutilleux at the 1996 FPI Festival in Paris, France. He was twice honored with the Teacher Achievement Award from Harding University, for the 2003-2004 and 2012-2013 academic years.

Released in 2007, RAGTIME MEMORIES consists of pieces in various ragtime styles — classic, novelty and player-piano styles. Composers represented include Joplin, Scott, Lamb, Confrey, Berlin and others, plus two original rags. His previous disc CROSSINGS was released in 2005, including works by Chopin, Debussy, Haydn, Schulz-Evler and Carrell. It features the world premiere recording of the title work, an original composition based on a painting by an Arkansas artist. Other recent premieres of original works include a Suite for Brass Quintet and Dance for Oboe and Piano.

An active member of the Arkansas State Music Teachers Association, he has presented sessions at both regional and state conferences and served as the state coordinator for the student composition competition; he began serving as the MTNA South Central Division coordinator in 2004. His judging activities include students at all levels, from local festivals to national competitions. Other professional affiliations include the honorary music fraternity Delta Omicron and Pi Kappa Lambda. Currently teaching piano, music theory and composition at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, Carrell is in demand as a soloist, collaborative artist, teacher and adjudicator.

For more information:

Ruth Steger Piano Institute / Clark & Wanda Bass Foundation

Christopher Atzinger, piano

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Fine Arts Recital Hall
7:30 PM


Lauded in Gramophone for his “abundant energy, powerful fingers, big sound, and natural musicality,” and praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for his “fervency and panache,” American pianist Christopher Atzinger is celebrated for insightful performances and a reputation for excellence. He has performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe, highlighted by recital performances at Carnegie Hall (New York), Salle Cortot (Paris), St. Martin-in-the-Fields (London), National Concert Hall (Dublin), American Academy (Rome), Liszt Museum (Budapest), Barocco Cultural Arts (Valletta), the Smithsonian Gallery of American Art and Phillips Collection (Washington), and the Dame Myra Hess Series (Chicago). Mr. Atzinger has performed at the Banff, Brevard, Chautauqua, Mendocino, and Bridge music festivals.

Christopher Atzinger’s live performances have aired on radio stations WFMT-Chicago, WJR-Detroit, WXEL-South Florida, KPAC-San Antonio, WUOL-Louisville, and WGTE-Toledo and on Kansas, South Dakota, and New England Public Radio, along with television stations in Chicago and Cincinnati. His recordings have also been featured on WQXR-New York, WGBH-Boston, Minnesota Public Radio, and nationally on American Public Media’s Performance Today. As guest soloist, he has appeared with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, North Carolina’s Brevard Repertory Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of Shreveport, Duluth-Superior, Springfield (MA), Jackson (MI) and St. Olaf, under the batons of Klauspeter Seibel, Steven Smith, Dennis Simons, Dirk Meyer, Kevin Rhodes, Stephen Osmond, Mischa Santora, and Steven Amundson.

Mr. Atzinger’s discography includes three highly praised albums released on the MSR Classics label – a debut solo recording of Bach, Beethoven, Barber and Fritze; and all-Brahms album; and “American Lyricism” featuring works by Christopher Theofanidis, Richard Danielpour, Monica Houghton, Pierre Jalbert, and Justin Merritt. He has also recorded works of Judith Lang Zaimont for Naxos and music of Amy Beach for Centaur Records.

A Michigan native, Christopher began piano lessons at age six. He went on to earn degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and University of Michigan, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. Among his principal teachers he counts Julian Martin, Robert McDonald, Anton Nel, David Renner and Carolyn Lipp. Additional keyboard studies were undertaken with Timothy Lovelace, Edward Parmentier and Penelope Crawford. A dedicated teacher and coach himself, Dr. Atzinger taught at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, prior to joining the St. Olaf College music faculty in 2005 where he is currently an Associate Professor of Music. He has also lectured at The Juilliard School and Berklee College of Music, and conducted masterclasses throughout the United States.

For more information:

Fauré Quartett

Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Fine Arts Recital Hall
7:30 PM


The requirements have changed. Whoever is playing chamber music today can’t be limited to the rules from decades ago. The expectations regarding the diversity of repertoire have changed, which creates room for ensembles like the Faure Quartett, which has established itself as one of the world’s leading piano quartets within just a few years. Dirk Mommertz (piano), Erika Geldsetzer (violin), Sascha Frömbling (viola) and Konstantin Heidrich (cello) use the opportunities arising from these developments. They discover new sound fields in chamber music and perform compositions outside the mainstream repertoire.

They are visionary in their approach and highly regarded for their experiments and discoveries; be it performances with the NDR Big Band, collaborations with artists like Rufus Wainwright or Sven Helbig, appearances in clubs like the Berghain, Cocoon Club or “Le Poisson Rouge” in New York or TV shows in KIKA or “Rhapsody in School”, getting children excited in chamber music. When they released their album “Popsongs” in 2009, there was a great deal of buzz in the press and audience. In the following year, the ensemble was awarded the ECHO Classic for their album “classic beyond borders”, their second award after their recording of Brahms’ piano quartets (Chamber Music recording of the year, 2008). Other prizes include the German Music Competition, the ensemble prize from Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, international competition and recording awards, Music Prize Duisburg and Brahms prize Schleswig Holstein.

The musicians of the Faure Quartett are pioneers in many ways. After they met during their studies in 1995 in Karlsruhe for the 150thanniversary of Gabriel Faure, they quickly realized, that this combination offered new insights into undiscovered repertoire. In 2006, they signed a contract with Deutsche Grammophon, promoting them to the Champions League of the classic music business. They made highly regarded benchmark-recordings with works by Mozart, Brahms, Mendelssohn and pop songs from Peter Gabriel and Steely Dan.

Worldwide tours raise their profile abroad and international masterclasses are part of their work with students. The members teach at the universities of Berlin and Essen. Moreover, they are Artistic Directors of “Festspielfrühling Rügen” as well as ‘Quartet in Residence’ at the University of Music Karlsruhe. During their tours, the musicians appear in the world’s most important chamber music venues; including Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Berlin Philharmony, Teatro Colon Buenos Aires and Wigmore Hall London. All these mosaics form a unique profile for this defining chamber music ensemble.

For more information:


 2018 Southeastern Jazz Festival

Joe McCarthy with Afro Bop Alliance

Saturday, April 21, 2018
6:30 PM





Joe McCarthy has led a diverse career as drummer/percussionist, bandleader, producer and educator in a myriad of settings from symphony orchestra to bebop, big band, afro cuban, theater and beyond.

Joe is the founder, leader, producer and drummer of Afro Bop Alliance, winner of the 2008 Latin Grammy for Latin Jazz Album of the Year, and nominated in the same category for the 51st Grammy Awards for the Heads-Up release “Afro Bop Alliance”, featuring Dave Samuels. Afro Bop has just released it’s fifth recording, “Angel Eyes”, on the Zoho Record label. Joe co-leads the Vince Norman/Joe McCarthy Big Band, with two releases on the Origin record label. Joe has recorded and or performed with Paquito D’ Rivera, Dave Samuels, Conrad Herwig, Slide Hampton, Eddie Daniels, Wayne Bergeron, Poncho Sanchez, Arturo O’ Farrill, Linda Oh, Oscar Stagnaro, Roland Vazquez, Samuel Torres and countless others. Joe is an in demand session player and has done extensive show work, including Sheryl Crow’s new musical adaptation of the movie “Diner”.

Joe has been actively involved with education throughout his career. He has been teaching on the collegiate level since 1992, upon graduating from the University of North Texas with a Masters in Percussion Performance. Joe has held positions at Texas Wesleyan University and Delaware State University. He currently holds adjunct appointments at Georgetown University, George Mason University and Washington College. Active as a clinician, Joe has been a featured performer and clinician at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention PASIC, Jazz Educators Network International Convention JEN, numerous PAS Days of Percussion, MusicFest Canada, The National Jazz Workshop, George Mason Univerisity Summer Jazz and Percussion Seminars, The Jazz n Youth Exchange of Germany, and many others. Joe has been featured at many of the nations top collegiate music institutions and festivals, in addition to numerous high school jazz festivals as a guest soloist, clinician and adjudicator.

Joe is published by Alfred music with “Joe McCarthy’s Afro Cuban Big Band Play-Along Series”, which includes a book/CD play-along and Vol I-II DVDS. This series has received rave reviews worldwide and is part of the curriculum at The University of North Texas, University of Miami, Berklee School of Music, Humber College and many others. Joe has educational series featured on the websites of Vic Firth, Zildjian and Alfred Music.

Joe has just completed a 20 twenty year tour as Chief Petty Officer with The United States Naval Academy Band, where he served as principal percussionist with the wind ensemble and Chief in Charge/drummer of the Next Wave Jazz Ensemble, one of the Navy’s two premier big bands. Under Joe’s direction, the Next Wave commissioned and recorded new works by Jim McNeely, Vince Norman, Dave Samuels, Shawn Purcell and Dan Cavanagh.

Joe proudly endorses Zildjian, Yamaha, Remo, Latin Percussion and Vic Firth, featuring the Joe McCarthy signature drum stick.

For more information:


It is with sincere gratitude that the Musical Arts Series thanks these foundations,

corporations, and donors without whom these performances would not be possible.

Ruth Steger Piano Institute

Clark and Wanda Bass Foundation