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Renowned music educator and pianist Dr. Christopher Azzara to visit Doane

Renowned music educator and pianist Dr. Christopher Azzara to visit Doane

Dr. Christopher Azzara

In the music industry, Dr. Christopher Azzara’s name strikes a chord.


A renowned educator, author, pianist, and arranger, Azzara has made significant contributions to advancing the understanding of creativity and improvisation in the music learning process. Azzara is in his 18th year as a music education professor at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, one of the highest ranking music schools in the country.


Azzara has presented and performed extensively throughout the United States and in Canada, the Caribbean, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, China, Japan, and Australia. He has presented clinics and workshops in a variety of settings, including TEDxRochester, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, and leading music schools across the globe.


Azzara is currently on academic leave this semester, which he is using to travel around the world to instruct and perform at various schools. Earlier this month, Azzara led classes and workshops and performed in Hamburg, Germany. This week, he will be at the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and from January 28 - February 1, he will be visiting Doane.


Azzara was first connected to Doane through Dr. Lance Nielsen, who is the Supervisor of Music for Lincoln Public Schools and also serves as an adjunct professor of music at Doane. Nielsen was president of the North-Central region of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), which is how he first met Azzara.


In his visit to Doane, Azzara will conduct a few workshops with music education students at the university, present at Dr. Matthew Fuerst’s music theory class, hold a creativity clinic with the Doane Concert Band, perform a lecture recital in Heckman Auditorium, and hold a workshop for music educators and music education students his final day on campus. Outside of his appearances at Doane, Azzara will also conduct a workshop with the LPS Professional Learning Community (Tuesday, January 28).


“There is so much enthusiasm at Doane in my interactions with everyone so far; I’m very much looking forward to getting out there,” Azzara said. “I really enjoy working with students at the college level. I think smaller schools like Doane are terrific in the sense that you have a connection with everyone there.”


“This is a great opportunity to bring Dr. Azzara’s expertise in improvisation and composition and to share that with our students,” Kathy Ohlman, who oversees the music education program at Doane. “Having the opportunity for him to impact all of our music education students is exceptional. I hope that our students get a lot out of this experience.”


Azzara has been to Nebraska for prior Nebraska Music Education Association conferences but his extensive visit and recital at Doane is his first at a college in Nebraska.


The Virginia native says piano is his primary performance instrument, although he is best known for his work in creativity and improvisation.


“I’m really fortunate to be able to do what I love,” Azzara says. “I get to play the piano and teach music for my life’s work. It’s been a pleasure to perform and interact with people all over the world.”


Azzara’s guest lecture recital, titled “Developing Musicianship through Improvisation, Arranging, and Composition,” is free and open to the public. The recital is Thursday, January 30 at 7:00pm in Heckman Auditorium.