UTM music alum Brian Ray returns
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 13:10
The UTM Department of Music presented a guest piano recital on Sunday, Oct. 7, featuring UTM alumni, Dr. Brian Ray. Ray studied with Dr. Allison Nelson during his years at UTM and currently teaches private piano at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn. Ray has been doing solo performances since the early age of 16.
“Music was always around me, so playing music comes very natural to me,” Ray said.
Dr. Elaine Harriss, Chair and Professor of Music at UTM, has known Ray for many years.
“He was one of our top students here at UTM, and when I saw him at a conference in Memphis, I knew we had to invite him to play a guest recital here,” Harriss said.
“We are required to attend 2 out of the 3 piano recitals this semester, but the music department is great here at UTM, and it doesn’t seem like a requirement.
I will attend all three, because I love music, and I look forward to hearing Dr. Ray today,” said freshman Music Education major Michael Fountain.
“If you have a love for music, whether you play or not, you will enjoy these free concerts that are set aside for anyone who wants to attend. It’s a very intimate experience that you wouldn’t want to miss,” said freshman Music Education major Della Coleman.
Ray prepared 5 to 6 hours a day for 4 months for this recital of the late works of Schubert. As he took the stage with poise, the crowd clapped with excitement and expectation. He started with Allegretto in C Minor, D. 915 by the late Franz Schubert. This piece is known to be a farewell present for Schubert’s friend, the baritone Ferdinand Walcher.
Chord after chord, Ray’s hands moved across the Steinway Piano, each song telling a story. The uncommon key patterns were played with ease by Ray. He played each piece as if it were a part of him.
“This was a solid performance. He played some of the best piano literature there is. He had a variety of music. Schubert died young, but his music is some of the most mature piano literature there is and Dr. Ray played it well,” said senior Piano Pedagogy major Tori Russell.
Ray stated that this was truly an ideal day for him. He loves teaching his students whether they are advanced or beginner.
“I teach myself through teaching others. I never stop learning, but my true passion is for the stage, and I count this as an honor to be here at UTM today,” Ray said.
“The music department serves vocal, instrumental, percussion and piano students. We, along with the other arts, define the cultural and aesthetic side of the student’s educational experiences. Music is one of the most joyful experiences one can have whether they are listening or performing; it can often change a life. I can’t imagine not being in music,” Harriss said.