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Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President

2003-2004 Provost Lecture Series

My Journey to and through Schumann’s Cello Concerto
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
3:30 pm to 5:00 pm
Hemisphere Room
5th Floor, Hale Library

Dr. David Littrell
University Distinguished Professor, Music
Kansas State University

Biographical Sketch:
Dr. David Littrell is a University Distinguished Professor of Music at Kansas State University where he conducts the University Orchestra and teaches or plays the cello, baroque cello, five-string cello piccolo, double bass, viola da gamba, and electric cello. As a reflection of his interest in the music education of young people, he is the Director of String Fling, an annual event at Kansas State that attracts 750 string students from Kansas. He also conducts the Gold Orchestra, which includes 58 Manhattan area string students in grades 5-10. The Gold Orchestra toured England in 1997, Seattle and British Columbia in 1999, and performed at Carnegie Hall in 2001. They will perform at KMEA in 2004 and at the ASTA National Orchestra Festival in Dallas in March 2004.

He served six years as Editor of the Books and Music Reviews section of the American String Teacher, and he was Editor of ASTA’s two-volume String Syllabus. He was the Editor and Compiler of GIA Publications’ two volumes of Teaching Music through Performance in Orchestra.

Dr. Littrell twice received the Stamey Undergraduate Teaching Award at Kansas State University. In 1994 the Kansas Chapter of the American String Teachers Association awarded him the Certificate of Merit. He is the national President of ASTA WITH NSOA and planned ASTA’s first stand-alone conference in March 2003.

Dr. Littrell adjudicates solo and orchestra contests and is a clinician and conductor throughout the United States. Sundays often find him playing the electric cello or bass guitar in his church music ensemble.

Many years and innumerable hours in the practice room allow one the privilege of performing the Schumann Cello Concerto. What does a performer learn during the decades-long journey in a life devoted to music performance? What goes through a performer’s mind when preparing a specific piece for public performance?

Much as an actor manipulates timing and emphasis of the lines he delivers, a musician stretches or compresses the rhythmic flow of a musical line, uses subtle accents and shadings, and explores the colors of the tonal palette to bring a piece of music alive so that it speaks to the human heart. Dr. Littrell will discuss the myriad technical issues of playing the cello, and intersperse playing and speaking as he explores the musical and emotional aspects of performing this cello concerto by Schumann.