Artistic and Managing Director
Pianist Ned Kirk possesses a deep commitment to sharing music with diverse audiences around the globe. His performance 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 seventh season as Artistic and Managing Director of the Minnesota Beethoven Festival.
2011-2012 concert season highlights included solo and collaborative recitals and master classes in the United States, Singapore, Hong Kong, and China. Kirk performed a solo recital at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, a recital and master class at Huizhou University in Huizhou, China, and performed on a televised gala concert for a live audience of three thousand people commemorating the founding of Huizhou University. Kirk also gave a recital with violinist Qian Zhou in Shenzhen, China. In addition, Kirk will be performing with saxophonist Branford Marsalis as part of the 2012 Minnesota Beethoven Festival. The upcoming concert season features Kirk in performances, serving on a piano competition jury, and participating in teaching collaborations in Hong Kong, China, Germany, Kenya and the United States.
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 principles in major orchestras around the world – Michala Petri, Michael Christie, Kevin Kenner, Qian Zhou, Li-Wei Qin, Lionel Tan, Charles Kavalowski, Glenn Einschlag, Olav Van Hezewijk, Ron Ephrat, Jeffrey Work, David Jones, Lisa-Maree Amos, Daniel Rothmuller and Donald McInnes. He has appeared as soloist with the 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, Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Billy the Kid.
Kirk studied at 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, Charles Treger and Yefim Bronfman.
In addition to his performance career, Kirk is equally dedicated to teaching. He 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 Music and Chair of the Music Department at Saint Mary’s University in Winona, Minnesota. www.nedkirk.com