Professor captivates audience with classical, modern mix

Heather Cowherd

Variations of speed and sound filled the fine arts center recital hall Sunday while visiting professor Patricia Barnes Griffith transported audience members from the classical to the modern era with her piano.

The music department presented a recital by Griffith, who played selections ranging from the 18th to the 20th centuries for an audience of about 30 people.

Griffith, a music professor at Kentucky State University, presents a piano program once a year at different locations throughout the country. Sunday was the first time she’s played at Western in 25 years.

Sylvia Kersenbaum, a music professor at Western, attended Griffith’s concert in 1979.

“She has reached a very good level of performing,” she said. “It was a great program and a good experience for the students.”

The program contained selections from composers Muzio Clementi, Ludwig van Beethoven, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Sergei Prokofiev. The performance lasted about an hour and a half, with an intermission.

“Griffith is a very serious professional player and her performance had great respect for the style of each composer she played,” Kersenbaum said.

Griffith has played piano since she was 8 years old and released her first solo album last year.

“I play about one program every year for professional experience and exposure,” Griffith said.

Griffith will be performing her program six times this year in various parts of Kentucky and North Carolina.

“I like to perform in different places to different audiences,” she said. “It is a challenge.”

Music associate professor Don Speer requested Griffith’s performance. Speer and Griffith met in the Kentucky Music Teachers Association and have known each other for 12 years.

Speer said he wanted Griffith to perform because “she has a strong reputation for her musicianship.

“What I like in a program like this is to see that the students learn that the repertoire and the instrument is a good tool for personal expression,” Speer said.

Elizabethtown sophomore Sarah Boling said she attended the concert because music majors are required to attend 15 performances.

“I just learned a little more about performance and the style of performance,” she said. “That performing is different than playing by yourself.”

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