We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Karen Savage, NCTM, Dr. Jeffrey Savage, NCTM, Dr. Mark Stevens, NCTM, and Dr. Thomas Otten, NCTM as our Visiting Artists for the 2021 Music Artistry Program! Please read on for their biographies:
Dr. Karen Hsiao Savage, NCTM
Praised as a “tour de force” (Santa Barbara News-Press), for the “breathtaking beauty and pure lyricism” of her playing (Le Soleil, Vancouver), and for her “fearless performance” (The Straits Times, Singapore), Karen Hsiao Savage is Associate Professor of Collaborative Piano and Chamber Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Conservatory. She holds a doctoral degree and two master’s degrees in both solo and collaborative piano from Juilliard, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Victoria (Canada).
Active as a collaborative pianist, she has performed internationally in such venues as Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall, Merkin Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Shanghai Grand Theatre, and the Perlman Music Program in New York and Shanghai. Her performances have been broadcast on internationally syndicated NPR programs, and Vietnamese and Chinese national television. Her diverse collaborations include recent performances with the Spokane String Quartet, violist Masumi Rostad, oboist Keri McCarthy, clarinetist Shannon Scott, and euphonium player Chris Dickey. Committed to working with living composers, Karen has given international and recording premieres of works by Daniel Ott on Navonna/PARMA Records (2019) and will perform Matthew Fuerst’s new piano trio with violinist Hyeyoung Yoon and cellist Gregory Beaver in 2020.
Karen’s piano duo 88SQUARED with husband Jeffrey Savage received critical praise for international premieres of Liebermann’s Sonata for Two Pianos, and were invited by the composer to record his complete works for two pianos on Albany Records. The duo won the Ellis Duo Piano Competition, the Abild Prize in American Music, and second prize and a special mention award at Concours Grieg International Competition (Norway).
Dr. Savage is in demand as a presenter, adjudicator, and guest teacher. Her students are active in the field as performers and teachers, and have been awarded competitive graduate assistantships at major programs. She previously served on the faculty of Washington State University. Her recent performances, master classes, and presentations include those at Indiana University, Eastman School of Music, Musi-Quest National Piano Festival (India), Ho Chi Minh Conservatory (Vietnam), and Yong Siew Toh Conservatory (Singapore). Karen’s major teachers include Jonathan Feldman, Veda Kaplinksy, Margo Garrett, Sam Sanders, Robin and Winifred Wood and Edward Parker; additional studies were with Anne Epperson and Robert McDonald.
Dr. Jeffrey Savage, NCTM
Jeffrey Savage is active internationally as both soloist and chamber musician and has been praised as “fearless” (Straits Times, Singapore), “joyful and inspiring” (American Record Guide), and “breathtaking” (Navona/PARMA). Recent performances include China’s Wuhan Conservatory (Liszt’s Totentanz), premieres of Daniel Ott’s Fantasy on a Falling Line in New York and Vietnam, and broadcasts on national NPR stations.
His piano duo 88SQUARED recorded the complete two-piano works of Daniel Ott (Navona/PARMA) and Lowell Liebermann (Albany Records), produced by the composers. Jeffrey has also worked with Tania León, Laura Schwendinger, John Corigliano, Charles Argersinger, Eric Ewazen, and Alex Shapiro, among others.
Savage has performed in Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie’s Weill Hall, at festivals across the United States, and with orchestras in New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and in the Pacific Northwest. He has given performances and master classes nationally and at major conservatories throughout Asia, including China, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, and India. Jeffrey has won top prizes and been recognized in national and international competitions, including the Missouri Southern International, Fort Collins, Wideman Competitions, Ellis Piano Duo Competition, the Abild Prize in American Music, and second prize and a Special Mention Prize at Concours Grieg International Piano Competition (Oslo).
Students of Jeffrey Savage have been accepted at prestigious festivals and programs across North America and Europe, awarded Fulbright fellowships, and presented at national MTNA and Collegiate Piano Pedagogy Symposium conferences. Previously, Dr. Savage was professor and keyboard area coordinator at Washington State University and in both the college and pre-college divisions at Juilliard. He holds master’s and doctorate degrees from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Colorado. His major teachers include Angela Cheng, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Robert Spillman, Martin Canin, and Rudolph Barta. He frequently presents workshops, and adjudicates at regional and national festivals and competitions.
Dr. Mark Stevens, NCTM
Dr. Mark Stevens enjoys a dynamic career as a solo pianist, collaborative artist, teacher, adjudicator, and arts administrator. He is thrilled to join the School of Performing Arts faculty at South Dakota State University beginning in August 2020! Dr. 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. An active collaborative pianist, he routinely coaches and performs with both vocalists and instrumentalists. His passion for chamber music leads him to blend chamber and solo repertoire to create concert programs of unusual variety and depth.
An active and passionate teacher for almost two decades, Dr. Stevens has repeatedly been awarded for the quality of his instruction. His students have won nearly 20 prizes in competitions including the Seattle Young Artists Music Festival, and the Northwest Bach, Viennese Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary Piano Festivals. He is regularly invited to adjudicate and teach throughout the Pacific Northwest. He has recently adjudicated for the MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA, WMEA, and the National Federation of Music Clubs. He has given masterclasses and workshops for universities, music teacher organizations, private studios, and music academies throughout Oregon and Washington. As a graduate student, he received the University of Oregon’s 2017 award as the Outstanding Graduate Performer in Piano Pedagogy as well as MTNA recognition for his teaching excellence while earning a Masters of Music degree in Piano Pedagogy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His academic teaching experience includes piano literature, piano pedagogy, aural skills, opera coaching, recreational class piano, and keyboard skills.
Dr. Stevens holds graduate degrees in piano performance and piano pedagogy from the University of Oregon and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He completed his undergraduate studies in piano performance at Whitworth University in Spokane, WA. He has served as a member of the faculty at Washington State University, the University of Oregon, the Chopin Academy of Music, as an instructor of piano, class piano, and aural skills at Cornish College of the Arts, and as a graduate teaching fellow in collaborative piano and piano pedagogy at the University of Oregon and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His primary teachers include Dean Kramer, Paul Barnes, Peter Mack, David Riley, and Judith Schoepflin, and he has performed in masterclasses with artists including Jon Nakamatsu and the Chiara String Quartet.
Dr. Thomas Otten, NCTM
Thomas Otten, a California native born of German-American parents, has been hailed by the New York Times as “an extremely original player who puts a formidable technique at the service of his ideas.” He made his debut at age seventeen with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, and has since developed a global profile through performances in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, St. Petersburg, Sydney, Munich, Frankfurt, and Milan, including such venues as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Severance Hall, the German Embassy, and the National Press Club. He has given guest artist recitals and masterclasses at top music schools and conservatories, such as the Rimsky-Korsakov St. Petersburg State Conservatory in Russia, the Munich Hochschule für Musik in Germany, as well as the Eastman School of Music, The Juilliard School, and Oberlin Conservatory in the U.S.
A recipient of numerous national and international awards, Dr. Otten has studied with artist teachers John Perry and Nelita True, and worked intensively with biomechanics expert Barbara Lister-Sink. He has been on the faculties of the International Young Artists Project (Italy), Saarburger Serenaden International Music Festival(Germany), the American Institute of Musical Studies (Austria), and the Kent/Blossom Festival (Ohio), as well as concerto soloist at the Chautauqua and Brevard Summer Festivals. He has been a member of competition juries in the U.S. and abroad, and was founder of the Kent Piano Seminar in Ohio, as well director of the UNC Liszt Festival, UNC Etude Festival, and the Ginastera Centennial Celebration in North Carolina. His discography includes transcriptions of Franz Liszt and a premiere recording of etudes by African American composer Leslie Adams. He is committed to diverse music of our time, having also premiered works by electronic music expert Frances White and jazz pianist/composer Joe Utterback.
Dr. Otten is Professor of Piano at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is currently on leave; previously he was chair of piano at Kent State University. His former students include prize-winning concert artist Andrew Tyson, along with other professional musicians who are active throughout the country. His collaborations include the Miami and Vega String Quartets, violinist Richard Luby, as well as baritone Marc Callahan and soprano Louise Toppin.