Eugenia Zukerman will visit campus this weekend to teach a flute masterclass and perform as part of the Guest Artisit Series.
A Renaissance Woman
Zukerman is a true renaissance woman. She has been involved in the music and creative community for many years and in many forms.
Serving as the Arts Correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning News, she interviewed more than 300 classical and modern artists. While at CBS, she also received an Emmy for broadcast journalism.
“I think its very energizing to be able to perform and administrate and do videos and interviews with other artists,” said Zukerman. “Somehow doing these other things is enhancing. I find that I learn a lot when I interview someone. My 30 years as the arts correspondent was deeply inspiring because I got to sit across from some of the most inspiriting musicians of all time. Their passion was very inspiring and it really was enormously exciting. I think that I have been extremely lucky and fortunate to have had that job.”
Along with her journalistic work, Zukerman is also the author of multiple novels and her award winning non-fiction book, In My Mother’s Closet. She has also performed as a soloist and with many orchestras around the world and has been involved with music as a professor, blogger and festival planner.
Birth of a Musician
Zukerman gained a lot of inspiration and experience during her time at CBS, but her love for music had manifested itself much earlier in her life.
The child of “a very artistic household,” Zukerman had a dancer for a mother and an inventor for a father, both who played piano.
“My parents were very creative people and music was just a part of my life,” said Zukerman.
While initially studying English at Barnard College, Zukerman was convinced by a professor to move to The Juliard School where she received a Bachelor of Music.
Guest Artist Series
Saturday’s performance is part of the Guest Artist Series, a program from the music department that is managed by Dr. Paul Piersall, professor of music.
Planned a year in advance, the series brings four to five artists to campus each year and has been present in some form on ACU’s campus since the 1970’s. The program schedules artists who are already playing in the area and Dr. Piersall considers Zukerman a perfect performer to bring to campus.
“She is extremely well known,” said Piersall. “And she is know not only as a player but as pedagogue and a person with a broad set of interests that is very interesting to listen to as well as hear play.”
Because of budget cuts, the Guest Artist Series will be discontinued after this year. The last performance of the year will come on April 10 when Glenn Siebert visits. Although the series will no longer exist, Piersall maintains that the university will still have many visits from musicians.
“We will have some guests but it will not be part of a funded series,” said Piersall. “We will still have some of these things but we will not have the money to fund a regular series.”
Learning from a Master
Zukerman’s visit will offer entertainment as well as education to those who attend. She will begin by teaching a masterclass for music students where they can have questions answered and get a new perspective on what they have been learning.
“I am excited to do a masterclass,” said Zukerman. “I love listening to other musicians. It is really a place to encourage people. I’m really just repeating what their teacher says but students learn so much more when they hear the same thing said in a different way and by someone new.”
Piersall agrees that this is one of the important aspects of having musicians visit campus.
“To hear someone like this who has an international career is a rare opportunity,” said Piersall, “and for the music students, you learn while listening. Its a very important part of their training. You don’t just play all the time or sing all the time. You listen to what seasoned professionals do and you observe what they do. By that listening and observing you get a better idea of what the professional world requires. It raises your sights and sometimes it sends you to the practice room when you wouldn’t have been there otherwise.”
A Worldy Program
As someone who constantly sees recognition for her ”adventurous programming,” Zukerman’s performance will comprise of music from seven countries which includes Germany, Hungary, Japan, France and the United States.
“I love putting pieces together and programming,” said Zukerman. “You can do that in many different ways but I have been very focused on the individuality and similarities of music in different countries. What holds this program together is the sense of folk lore in the music.”
Zukerman will be joined by pianist, Milana Strezeva, with whom she has played many times.
“It is wonderful to play with Milana,” said Zukerman. “I think of her as a colleague. We have a great time together and a very happy collaboration. We have played this program a couple of times and look forward to it certainly in Abilene.”
Zukerman believes the program will entertain music students and others alike.
“Its endlessly inspiring to hear music that takes you on a voyage,” said Zukerman, “and I think what students will hear at our concert is a voyage around the world.”
Advice for Students
Zukerman said that the world of classical music has become increasingly competitive. Compared to the past, there are less and less opportunities for those seeking a career in her field but she is still feel with positive advice for those seeking to follow her path.
“You can do all these things you want to do,” she said, “but you have to do the work. You have to figure out what that means. Its not just practice every day. You really have to get involved with the instrument and the music. You have to have a real passion. You have to want to do this. This has to be the center of your life.”
Zukerman believes most musicians are disciplined people who are capable of many things, and she bases her advice on the passion that has helped her to achieve her dreams.
“Music is the center of my life,” she said. “It is my daily routine and if I don’t play the flute every day, I don’t feel well.”
Zukerman will take the Recital Hall stage in the Williams Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
She feels fortunate for the opportunities she has had in life and is excited to share some of her knowledge and skill with students both in the classroom and on stage.
“I think of myself as having a patchwork quilt of a life,” she said. “I feel very lucky that I get to play music and write and do a lot of different projects and I am at a happy time in my life.”
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