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Piano Day

Saturday, October 17, 2023
2:30-7:30 p.m.

Piano students by two grand pianos

Welcome to Piano Day

Piano Day is a celebration of our instrument, repertoire, and most importantly, the joy of learning and performing music! We invite you to join SDSU Piano Faculty Dr. Mark Stevens and Dr. Xuan Kuang, along with this year’s guest artist, Dr. Elizabeth Grimpo, for an afternoon of performance workshops and recitals. Students and teachers of all ages and ability levels will gain valuable insights into practice strategies, musical interpretation, and performance techniques, followed by a solo recital performed by our guest artist. We look forward to having you join us!

Registration will open August 2023

Piano Day Schedule (Subject to Change)

2:30-5 p.m. - Performance Workshops

Attend and perform in interactive workshops throughout the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center. Performance workshops will be led by SDSU faculty Dr. Mark Stevens, Director of Keyboard Studies, Dr. Xuan Kuang, Instructor of Class Piano and Artistic Collaboration, and guest artist Dr. Elizabeth Grimpo, Professor of Music at Concordia University (Nebraska). Audience members are encouraged to move freely between workshops to hear their favorite repertoire and learn unique ideas from each pianist!

5 p.m. - Dinner

Join SDSU piano students and faculty for a light meal before our evening recital.

6 p.m. - Guest Artist Recital 

portrait of Elizabeth Grimpo at a piano

Elizabeth Grimpo, professor of music, has been teaching at Concordia University, Nebraska since 2008.  She teaches four levels of Aural Skills classes, ear training courses for music majors; Music Appreciation, a general education course available for all students; Beauty in Music and the Fine Arts, a course within the honors program; and private piano lessons. Additionally, she collaborates with the top choirs on campus, regularly performing and touring with them. She also performs with students on a variety of recitals each semester. In 2015, she received the student nominated Teacher of the Year award. 

In addition to teaching, Grimpo regularly appears as a soloist, performing major works from the classical repertoire as well as newly composed piano pieces based on sacred tunes. She also collaborates with professional musicians, including both instrumentalists and vocalists. 

Her work in the area of piano pedagogy is seen in the multiple volumes she has written for the Hymns of the Season piano series, which contain graded settings of hymns for beginning through intermediate pianists. These are available through David’s Harp - A Center for Musical Development.  She has also composed several hymn settings for the Piano Prelude Series published by Concordia Publishing House.

Grimpo received a B.M.E. from Concordia University, Chicago, and a M.M. and D.M.A. in piano performance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

Tours, Private Coachings and Meet and Greets

SDSU piano students will be available to show you around our wonderful facility, share their experiences with you, and answer any questions you may have. Piano faculty will also be available for private coaching, informational sessions, and tours.

Meet the SDSU Piano Faculty

Dr. Mark Stevens

Portrait of Mark Stevens

Dr. Mark Stevens enjoys a dynamic career as a solo pianist, collaborative artist, teacher and adjudicator. He serves as Director of Keyboard Studies and Assistant Professor of Piano for SDSU's School of Performing Arts. Dr. Stevens’ experience as a pianist ranges from traditional piano repertoire to contemporary music, including living composers. As an advocate for 20th and 21st century music, he performs a diverse range of repertoire, with a special affinity for American composers. As a recitalist, he designs thematic programs that seek to tell stories through playing that has been described as "full of energy, wit and freshness." An active collaborative pianist, he routinely coaches and performs with vocalists, instrumentalists and chamber ensembles.

An active and dedicated teacher for two decades, Dr. Stevens has repeatedly been awarded for the quality of his instruction. His students have won more than 20 prizes in competitions including the Seattle Young Artists Music Festival, the Washington State Music Teachers Association’s State Recitalist Competition and the Northwest Bach, Viennese Classical, Romantic and Contemporary Piano Festivals. He is regularly invited to adjudicate and teach throughout the United States for universities, music academies and professional organizations including the MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA, WMEA and NFMC. His academic teaching experience includes piano performance, piano literature, piano pedagogy, music theory, aural skills, opera coaching, recreational class piano and keyboard skills. His principal teachers include Dean Kramer, Peter Mack, Paul Barnes and Judith Schoepflin and he has performed in masterclasses with renowned musicians including Jon Nakamatsu and the Chiara String Quartet.

Dr. Xuan Kuang

Xuan Kuang playing the grand piano

Dr. Xuan Kuang is a pianist and began her piano career at the age of 5. Her love of music was cultivated by her mentor Ms. Jiang ZhenRui in Wuhan, China. Her music career starts shining in many competition she participated such as OMTA, Wuhan Piano Competition. Naftez Piano Competition. China National Music Festival. Also, studying with many prestigious piano teachers such as Ms. Jiang Nian, Ms. Jiang ZhenRui, Dr. Sergio Monteiro, Dr. Rene Lecuona and Dr. Alan Huckleberry gives her a great opportunity to expand her music repertoire. She received her Bachelor's degree in Piano Performance at Wuhan Conservatory of Music in Wuhan, China where she studied with Ms. Jiang Nian and Ms. Jiang ZhenRui. After that, she received her master degree in Piano Performance from Oklahoma City University under the guidance of Dr. Sergio Monteiro. In the year of 2013, She moved to Iowa City to attend her Doctoral of Music Arts degree at the University of Iowa.

At University of Iowa, as a Piano Teaching Assistant, she taught Group Piano Class and Individual Piano lessons, and also served as an accompanist of weekly Vocal Studio Seminars and as an instrumental accompanist. She was one of the most popular teacher among piano students. Her class was always entertaining and efficient.

In 2017, Dr. Kuang and her husband moved to Brookings, South Dakota to working in the Music Department at South Dakota State University. Now she is a piano instructor at South Dakota State University and Brookings Community Music School. In the past, she was the pianist of South Dakota State University Women’s Choir, piano instructor at Brookings Community Music School and also the organist at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. 

Dr. Kuang is an active member of Music Teacher National Association, Brookings Music Teacher Association.