Pianist brings interaction of modern, classical composers to Bethel recital stage

Melanie Zuercher
Special to the Kansan
Mark Stevens, D.M.A., director of keyboard studies and assistant professor of piano at South Dakota State University, Brookings, will present a solo recital Sept. 17 at 7 p.m., in the Administration Building chapel.

Mark Stevens, D.M.A., director of keyboard studies and assistant professor of piano at South Dakota State University, Brookings, will present a solo recital at 7 p.m. Sept. 17, in the Bethel College Administration Building chapel.

The concert, titled “[re]Vision,” explores the ways in which modern composers grapple with and reflect on piano repertoire from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

There is no admission fee for the event. 

Stevens will showcase music from a diverse group of composers and arrangers, including Einojuhani Rautavaara, William Grant Still, Caroline Shaw, Carl Vine, Ferruccio Busoni, J.S. Bach and Frédéric Chopin.

“The idea with the show is that modern composers are trying to create their own voice but they are impacted and shaped by the music that came before,” said Stevens. “It shows composers explicitly wrestling or interacting with music from the past.”

Stevens joined the faculty at SDSU’s School of Performing Arts in August 2020.

Originally from Washington, he earned his doctoral degree in piano performance from the University of Oregon in 2017, and then worked for Washington State University as an assistant professor of piano and music theory and piano area coordinator until 2020.

Stevens’ experience as a pianist ranges from traditional piano repertoire to contemporary music, including living composers. As an advocate for 20th- and 21st-century music, he performs a diverse range of repertoire, with a special affinity for American composers.

In recital, he engages audiences through thematic programming, juxtapositions of unique repertoire and colorful insights about music, composers and cultural context.

Stevens is also an active collaborative pianist who routinely coaches and performs with both vocalists and instrumentalists, and receives regular invitations to present at universities, professional teaching organizations, private studios and more.

His appearance at Bethel is at the invitation of Christina Liu, D.M.A., Bethel assistant professor of music and director of the piano pedagogy program.