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Piano Professor Richard Reber to retire after 50 years at KU

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Richard ReberLAWRENCE - After an extraordinary 50-year career of teaching at the University of Kansas, Richard Reber, Professor of Piano, has announced his retirement at the conclusion of the 2013-2014 school year.

Professor Reber’s retirement and remarkable career at KU will be honored at the Swarthout Recital Hall Decommissioning Concert at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 15 in Swarthout Recital Hall - featuring performances by School of Music faculty artists, including Reber. The event is free and open to the public.

“It is an exceptional accomplishment for an individual to serve an institution for 50 years,” said Robert Walzel, School of Music Dean. “Richard Reber’s dedication and longevity have made a profound difference in the lives of his students and in the life of the KU School of Music. He leaves a legacy that will be felt for many years.”

During his tenure at KU Reber taught private piano, piano literature, and doctoral seminars in performance, research, and pedagogy. He served as the Director of the Piano Division on two occasions, for a total of 19 years.  

“I will miss working with the students in their private piano studies,” said Reber. “The success of my students in each of their endeavors has always been my greatest reward.”

Reber received his undergraduate degree in Music Theory and his Master of Music degree in Piano Literature and Performance at the Eastman School of Music, studying piano with the distinguished professor Cecile Staub Genhart. While at Eastman, he was awarded a piano teaching fellowship and was one of a select group to present a performance of contemporary American music at Carnegie Hall. In 1962 Reber received a Fulbright Scholarship to attend the Academy of Music in Vienna, Austria, where he studied piano with Greta Hinterhofer, a protégé of Emil von Sauer. Upon returning to the United States, he furthered his piano studies with Frank Mannheimer (a student of Tobias Matthay) and David Burge, a recognized authority in 20th century piano music.

Since accepting a teaching position at the University of Kansas in 1964, Reber has continued to be active as a recitalist, lecturer and adjudicator throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and Central America. In addition to solo recitals, he has collaborated in chamber music repertoire with singers and instrumentalists, including the Dorian Wind Quintet. His orchestral appearances include the premieres of two concertos. His students have won competitive awards and hold faculty positions at universities in the United States, Asia and Central America.

Reber is recognized as an outstanding lecture-recitalist in the field of 20th century piano music as well as the traditional repertoire. He has participated with contemporary composers in artist-in-resident programs, winning the commendations of the featured composers, including Aaron Copland, Elliot Schwartz, and George Crumb, for performances of their works. He has received research grants to study and perform the piano music of Bela Bartok, Olivier Messiaen, Karlheinz Stockhausen, C. Curtis-Smith, Maurice Ohana, George Crumb, and John Corigliano. In addition to his public performances, he serves as a featured presenter and guest artist for the College Music Society, The American Matthay Association, The Mannheimer Piano Festival Association, and the Music Teachers’ National Association. In the spring of 2007, he collaborated for a second time with George Crumb in an artist–in–residence program, serving as a panelist and guest artist, and performing Crumb’s Makrokosmos I and II.  Reber considers the opportunity to work with George Crumb one of the highlights of his career. 

For more information, contact the KU School of Music at 785-864-3436 or visit www.music.ku.edu.

Media Contact:
Kylie Smith
KU School of Music


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