Christine Kefferstan, who was professor of piano in the WVU School of Music for 35 years, passed away last August, but her legacy lives on through her students.
Several of her former students and friends will perform in a memorial concert for Dr. Kefferstan on Aug. 23, at 2 p.m. in the Gladys G. Davis Theatre of the Creative Arts Center. The event is free and open to the public.
The concert is being organized by former student Luke Frazier, who graduated in 2007 in piano performance. Frazier, now a rising star in the pops world as a pianist and a conductor, also recently established the Christine Kefferstan Memorial Piano Scholarship in the WVU School of Music.
The first scholarship recipient, Philip Nichols, a piano performance student who studied with Kefferstan during his freshman year, will be one of the musicians performing on the concert.
“When I decided to start the scholarship, I wanted to come and do the concert along with it,” Frazier said. “This is her legacy concert. Her work still goes on, even though she is not here.”
Frazier said he wanted to feature Kefferstan’s diverse students who have gone on to do a lot of different things.
Other pianists include Lisa Withers, associate professor of piano at Emory & Henry College, performing Debussy’s “Estampes-Pagodes” because Christine was known for her Debussy and Ravel; and Christine’s daughter, Mary Kefferstan, who is on the faculty of the New School for Music Study in Kingston, New Jersey, performing the first movement of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto.
Solee Lee-Clark will present Two Sonatas by Scarlatti and Joyce Wang will perform a collaborative piece with current WVU flute student Keith Hanlon because Christine was known for her collaborative piano performances. Members of the WVU School of Music faculty and the WVU Symphony Orchestra will also be part of the concert, performing an original piece by Christine’s former student Zack Wilson, among other works.
Frazier also programed Ravel’s “Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte” for the orchestra because this was the first music that he and Christine ever worked on together.
Cellist Susan Bestul and violinist Margie Cooper, who were in the Sarasvati Trio with Kefferstan for many years, will also perform in her memory. Cooper will present “Meditation” from the opera “Tha�s,” with pianist Lisa Withers, and Bestul will join the orchestra for “Rachmaninov Vocalise.”
For the concert finale, members of the WVU Choirs will join the orchestra for a performance of “Think on Me,” by James Mulholland.
“We not only want to focus on Christine’s legacy, but how her legacy lives on, and we not only want this to be a memorial concert, but a very uplifting concert as well,” Frazier said.
He said the concert will also include short videos of Christine playing and interviews with people who knew her.
Christine Kefferstan was a classical pianist who performed all over the world, including Belize, London, Rio de Janeiro, Indonesia, Malaysia and Canada, as well as many venues in the United States, but she was best known for her love of teaching.
She was the founder of the annual summer Intersection of Jazz and Classical Music Keyboard Festival and Competition, held each June at the Creative Arts Center, and she was also closely involved in the School of Music’s efforts to become an All-Steinway School.
A graduate of the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, she earned her doctorate with Israeli pianist David Bar-Illan and had additional coaching with Anna McGrosso, Sedmara Rutstein, and Viachaslov Gabrielov.
For more information about the Memorial Concert, contact the WVU College of Creative Arts at 304-293-4359.
CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts
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