Channel Information

Jenny McDowell
Southern Utah Keys Coordinator
Phone: 435-656-5935



Southern Utah Keys

Artist Bios

The Vivace Quartet

Jenny McDowell


Southern Utah Keys is a concept that has grown over time. As Southern Utah has grown in population more pianists have moved into the area and connected with each other and with pianists who have been in the area for years. Thanks to pianists Dr. Nancy Allred, Chris Giles, and Brandon Lee, Dixie University now has a thriving and growing piano department and even a summer piano camp for pre-college kids who come to the summer session for instruction and performance experience.

There is also an exciting piano ensemble group which has recently been formed! VIVACE is a piano quartet (2 pianos and eight hands) which features, Nancy Allred, Brandon Lee, Chris Giles and Christian Bohnenstengel (piano professor at S.U.U. in Cedar City). Additionally, through the efforts of specific individuals such as John Anderson and local musician Genevieve McDowell and the various concert series, residents have been treated to concerts by such international figures as the fabulous ragtime and novelty pianist Mimi Blais from Montreal and Ukrainian concert pianist Alina Kiryayeva.

Southern Utah Keys is a valuable resource for

1) Education (Piano is a good study for the brain!)

It has been said that fine piano playing is one of the most complex of human endeavors. It requires reading the symbolic language of musical notation, the physical negotiation of the keyboard through integration of dissimilar movement patterns in the right and left hand, and constant mathematical considerations in order to:

A) Correctly execute the time values of the individual notes, and

B) Calculate the time and distance of movements so that the hands fall on the correct notes at the right time! (Just think about the routine occurrence of standing on the side of a busy street and making the calculation of how fast cars are coming (tempo), what the distance to cross the street is (how far apart the notes are), and whether you dare to risk crossing (practice makes perfect as the old saying goes). Such calculations occur thousands of times in a single piano performance and must be so well rehearsed and executed that the result seems effortless!

In addition to the math of music and piano playing in particular, the study of music history mirrors the history and evolution of mankind. The correlations are fascinating to many. One simple example: Most music historians would agree that there could have been no rock music without the industrial revolution which, as a byproduct, brought the sounds of machinery into the world of music!

Southern Utah Keys wants to participate in creating more opportunities for piano study in the belief that studying a "real time discipline" which requires practice and time to acquire builds character, patience and understanding and that once this practice of "planting, tending, and reaping" is acquired, it can later be applied to any area of expertise the student may wish to acquire.

2) Promotion of the Piano Community to the Southern Utah Public and Beyond!

Southern Utah Keys wants to grow the piano community and promote piano concerts and master classes in Southern Utah! Most will agree that there is nothing more delightful than listening to beautiful music well executed by fine musicians.

Music, when all is said and done, calls up emotions for the performer and the listener that often are not easily expressed or felt in any other way. Music soothes the soul and calms the mind.

The well-known pianist Vitalij Margulis said in his wonderful book Bagatelle Op. 11.....Aphorisms and Thoughts of a Pianist: "People will attend concerts as long as mankind exists: collective spiritual experience is an inherent human need."

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