2007-2008 Featured Composer:
Kevin R. Olson
It is my great pleasure to announce this year’s adopted composer, Kevin R. Olson. We will have the opportunity this year to work with Mr. Olson as each student in the PPLS has the opportunity to learn his compositions and also compose and improvise original compositions of their own. The PPLS teachers will encourage students to write questions to Mr. Olson, either about his compositions or about their own. In February, at the WSU Festival of Contemporary Art Music, selected students will be invited to perform Mr. Olson’s compositions and several new works commissioned by the PPLS. Mr. Olson will offer a master class for those student performers and any other students able to participate, and will also present a clinic for PPLS teachers, WSU composition majors, and community teachers during the FoCAM. We also hope to coordinate with the schools in the Pullman School District to bring Mr. Olson into some of the classrooms of our PPLS students for interactive sessions with the entire class. This is going to be another exciting year for everyone, and I hope you will join with me in encouraging your students to unleash their creativity in improvisation and composition this year at the piano!
Kevin R. Olson is an active pianist, composer, and faculty member at Elmhurst College near Chicago, Illinois, where he teaches classical and jazz piano, music theory, and electronic music. He holds a Doctor of Education degree from National-Louis University, and a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music composition and theory from Brigham Young University. Before teaching at Elmhurst College, he held a visiting professor position at Humboldt State University in California.
A native of Utah, Kevin began composing at the age of five. When he was twelve, his composition An American Trainride received the Overall First Prize at the 1983 National PTA Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Since then, he has been a Composer-in-Residence at the National Conference on Piano Pedagogy and has written music for the American Piano Quartet, Chicago a cappella, the Rich Matteson Jazz Festival, and several piano teachers associations around the country.
Kevin maintains a large piano studio, teaching students of a variety of ages and abilities. Many of the needs of his own piano students have inspired his nearly forty books and solos published by The FJH Music Company Inc., which he joined as a writer in 1994.