Posting Date: October 23, 2013


Robert Spano, Jessica Rivera and Kelley O’Connor visit the KSU School of Music

Robert Spano (right) conducts students during his

residency at the School of Music.


Photo by Joseph Greenway

Internationally renowned conductor and pianist Robert Spano was joined by singers Jessica Rivera and Kelley O'Connor for a special recital performance and residency at the KSU School of Music over three days from October 16 through 18. As part of the guest artists’ visit to KSU, School of Music students were given the opportunity to interact with and learn from these acclaimed musicians through a series of residency activities.


"The students here are so engaged and attentive and clearly committed,” said Spano. “It’s just astonishing how much has been accomplished in how short an amount of time… it’s really quite impressive."


Mr. Spano, who has served for 12 seasons as Music Director for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, conducted the KSU Symphony Orchestra in a rehearsal of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4. In addition, Spano also coached student chamber music ensembles and participated in an open forum Q & A session with KSU music students. Soprano Jessica Rivera and mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor each held a vocal master class for KSU Opera students. In all, over 100 KSU students participated directly in the residency activities with many more students and members of the community in attendance.


“Participating in a master class with Mr. Spano was one of the most musically eye-opening experiences I've had at KSU,” said John Thomas Burson, a senior majoring in Music Performance. “Mr. Spano brought a kind of enlightening energy to the room that was simply undeniable. The honor to play for him is one that I will remember for the rest of my life.”


Rivera, O’Connor and Spano presented an exciting recital program, featuring classic vocal repertoire as well as three newly commissioned works written specifically for the project, to an appreciative audience in KSU’s Morgan Hall on Thursday, October 17.  The trio’s recital performance at KSU followed their premiere outing in San Francisco earlier this month, which continues this week, culminating in a final performance at Zankel Hall, one of several performance spaces at the legendary Carnegie Hall, on October 29, 2013.


The KSU School of Music has a long history of collaboration with the Atlanta Symphony and continued to build upon that legacy with this collaboration. Currently, 12 members of the ASO are on faculty at KSU and ASO Concertmaster David Coucheron, violist Paul Murphy and others have given or will give classes at KSU this year.  


Mr. Spano will return to Morgan Hall on January 24, 2014, to lead the Atlanta Symphony in their first-ever performance at Kennesaw State. The Grammy-winning orchestra will present a program featuring pianist Wu Han as soloist for Benjamin Britten’s Piano Concerto as well as a performance of the well-loved Symphonie fantastique composed by Hector Berlioz. Tickets for this performance are available online at



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