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Duo piano recital is third collaboration for Schlabaugh, Gaeddert

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College Professor of Music Karen Bauman Schlabaugh and her former student, Susan Gaeddert of Madison, Wisconsin, will collaborate for their third duo piano recital.

The performance is Feb. 5 at 3 p.m. in the Administration Building chapel and is free and open to the public. The last time the two did this was in November 2010.

Gaeddert graduated from Bethel in 2000 with a B.A. in music and German, and earned a double master’s degree, in piano performance/pedagogy and collaborative piano performance, and completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in collaborative piano, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music.

In 2007, Gaeddert was chosen as a winner in the first-ever Shain competition for piano and woodwind duos at the UW School of Music, and also had what she calls “the distinct honor” of premiering John Harbison’s “Vocalism I and II” with soprano Sarah David at Pepperdine University’s SongFest.

As a graduate student, Gaeddert studied harpsichord, and currently can often be heard playing continuo in local performances. She is active in the musical community as a freelance accompanist, teaching private piano lessons, and adjudicating for local youth piano competitions and festivals.

For two years, Gaeddert toured Wisconsin as an accompanist with Opera for the Young. She lives in Madison with her family and teaches part-time at Edgewood College.

Schlabaugh holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin (Ohio) College, a Master of Music degree in piano performance from Ithaca (New York) College and a DMA in piano from the University of Iowa.

Her current teaching area is piano. In the past, she also taught music theory and music history and was involved in a cooperative piano pedagogy program. Schlabaugh, who plans to retire at the end of the current school year, was chair of Bethel’s Department of Music 1998-2015.

An active performer, Schlabaugh has been an advocate of collaborative and chamber music performance and maintains a busy performance schedule during the school year. She collaborates as a pianist in concerts with Bethel colleagues as well as other musicians from the region, and has appeared in recitals across the United States and in Canada.

Schlabaugh has been part of many conferences and workshops on piano pedagogy, serving as a discussion group leader and panel presenter at several national conferences, and she regularly serves as an adjudicator and clinician at piano festivals and contests throughout Kansas and the region.

On the program for the Schlabaugh-Gaeddert recital are Sonata in D major, K. 381, by Mozart; Four Polonaises, D. 599, by Schubert; the suite Dolly, Op. 56, by Fauré; Gazebo Dances by John Corigliano (b. 1938); and “The Ridgefield Rag” by Douglas Townsend (1921-2012).

Corigliano wrote a four-part set (“Overture,” “Waltz,” “Adagio” and “Tarantella”) of four-hand pieces dedicated to some pianist friends, which he later arranged for orchestra and for concert band, ultimately drawing the title from the latter arrangement.

In Corigliano’s “Program Notes” for the set, he said, “The title … was suggested by the pavilions often seen on village greens in towns throughout the countryside, where public band concerts are given on summer evenings. The delights of that sort of entertainment are portrayed in this set of dances.”

“The Ridgefield Rag” came into Schlabaugh’s hands in an unusual way.

Last fall, she played two of the Four Fantasies on American Folk Songs by Douglas Townsend with her student Matthew Graber during his senior piano recital.

Sometime after that, both Schlabaugh and Graber received e-mail messages from Townsend’s widow, Jean, of New York City, that included appreciation for including work by Douglas Townsend in the recital program.

“She apparently knew I had played other Townsend pieces [in earlier performances],” Schlabaugh said. “She expressed her thanks for my being interested in his work and for having performed them with students over the years.

“Then she told me there were some other duets, several of them unpublished, including ‘The Ridgefield Rag,’ that she would be happy to send scanned copies, which she did. Susan and I thought it would be fun to include the piece in this recital.”

Bethel College is the only private college in Kansas listed in the analysis of top colleges and universities, the Washington Monthly National Universities-Liberal Arts section and the National Liberal Arts College category of U.S. News & World Report, all for 2016'17. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.