Artistic and Managing Director
Pianist Ned Kirk possesses a deep commitment to sharing music with diverse audiences around the globe. His performance and teaching schedule regularly takes him from the concert halls of China, to recital series around the United States, and from schools in Kenya, to performance spaces in Winona, Minnesota, where Kirk is serving in his tenth season as Artistic and Managing Director of the Minnesota Beethoven Festival.
Kirk derives equal enjoyment from solo, concerto, and chamber music activities, and has collaborated with numerous outstanding musicians, many of whom serve as conductors and principals in major orchestras around the world – saxophonist Branford Marsalis, recorder player Michala Petri, conductor Michael Christie, pianist Kevin Kenner, violinist Qian Zhou, cellist Li-Wei Qin, violist Lionel Tan, hornist Charles Kavalowski, bassoonist Glenn Einschlag, oboist Olav Van Hezewijk, violist Ron Ephrat, trumpeter Jeffrey Work, clarinetist David Jones, flutist Lisa-Maree Amos, cellist Daniel Rothmuller, violist Donald McInnes, and the Shanghai Quartet.
He has appeared as a concerto soloist with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra, and the Shasta Symphony. In addition, Kirk served as orchestral pianist for the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, Colorado for three summers, performing many of the seminal orchestral works that feature piano, including Stravinsky’s Petrouchka, Piazzolla’s Three Chamber Pieces for piano and string orchestra, Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals for two pianos, and Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Billy the Kid.
In 2010 Kirk performed in Mombasa and Nairobi, Kenya on a United States Embassy-sponsored tour where he gave multiple public recitals, master classes, teacher workshops, and two private concerts: one for the United States Ambassador to Kenya and another for the United States Consular to Somalia.
In recent years, Kirk has made numerous trips to Asia and South America, working to develop and strengthen relationships between Lasallian high schools overseas and the Music Department at Saint Mary’s University in Winona, Minnesota. His trips regularly take him to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Colombia, where he conducts masterclasses, gives private lessons, and presents concerts to hundreds of students. Kirk is also sought after as a competition jury member, and will be serving on the jury of the Hong Kong International Piano Invitation Competition – which will next be held in February, 2016 – for the fourth consecutive year.
Kirk earned degrees at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, and holds a doctorate from the University of Washington. His piano and chamber music coaches have included Craig Sheppard, Walter Hautzig, Nigel Coxe, Earl Carlyss, Tinka Knopp and Charles Treger.
Kirk has taught at the Marrowstone Music Festival in Port Townsend, Washington; spent four summers teaching piano master classes to students from rural Alaska at the Sitka Fine Arts Institute in Sitka, Alaska; served on the piano faculty at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, for seven years; is currently serving a three-year term as Guest Professor at Huizhou University in Huizhou, China; and is Professor of Piano at Saint Mary’s University in Winona, Minnesota.
Board of Directors
Hugh Miller, president
Ned Kirk, Artistic and Managing Director
Caroline Kirk, Marketing & PR Director
Kirstin “Fluffy” Blake, Production Manager
Justin Vann, Technical Director
Brady Lowe, House Manager
Carmen Hetzel, Box Office Manager
Peter McColl, Crew Head
Kate McColl, House
Patrick O’Shea, Chorale Manager
Richard A. Moe II, Graphic Designer
John Short, Piano Technician