Piano Man: KWC teacher promotes classical music beyond the classroom | Characteristics

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Kevin Priebe hopes to instill in her students at Kentucky Wesleyan College the tools and resources to become self-directed learners upon graduation.

Priebe, a native of North Dakota, moved to Owensboro in 2020 to teach college, following the retirement of longtime piano teacher Diane Earle. He is an assistant professor of music at Kentucky Wesleyan, where he also coordinates the piano program within the school’s music department.

Previously, he taught at Concordia College, Minnesota State Moorhead University, and Minnesota State Community and Technical College. His three degrees are in piano performance: a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls; a master’s degree from the University of Iowa; and a doctorate from the Cleveland Institute of Music, one of the few conservatories in the United States.

He also attended the Mannes Beethoven Institute in New York for several summers, where as a student he studied Beethoven.

This immersion in the Austrian composer’s piano and chamber music was particularly decisive in Priebe’s art, since it was Beethoven who led him to take an interest in the piano.

“Unlike most concert pianists, I didn’t formally study the piano at a young age,” he said. “In middle school and high school, I taught myself to play Beethoven’s sonatas by slowly putting them together one note at a time.”

He has always been fascinated by the structural and emotional complexity of classical music, he says.

“There’s nothing like living in the creative world of some of the greatest minds in history,” he said. “As a classical pianist, you not only study the artistic masterpieces of Bach and Beethoven, but you also recreate them in real time as a performer.”

He considers it a privilege to study and share these works with the public and students, which he often tries to do.

Priebe maintains an active performance schedule and has performed at several venues across the country, including Carnegie Hall. It also offers many local shows that are free and open to the public, either at the college or throughout the community.

His next recital is scheduled for 2 p.m. May 8 at First Presbyterian Church.

Sharing his musicality with the general public is what makes Priebe’s position and the role of many junior residential college teachers so important, said James Cousins, KWC provost and vice president of academic affairs.

The cousins ​​said KWC teachers fulfill a unique role in the community.

“KWC is a college for Owensboro and for Daviess County, and all of our teachers have this approach to teaching and also to service that is really special,” he said. “Kevin truly embodies what makes us so special, and that is the desire to be part of the community and our reach.”

He said that in itself is part of Priebe’s pedagogy. Priebe’s focus is largely on his music and on teaching his students. It also focuses on the community as a whole and celebrates her love of the performing arts and the piano in particular.

You can see it if you get a chance to watch Priebe play, Cousins ​​said.

“We are very lucky to have Kevin because he has such a unique talent and he has a unique drive and desire to go out and spread the benefits of his discipline to the world,” he said. declared.

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