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Music professor to speak on brass band’s influence on John Wallace

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Richard J.W. Tirk, assistant professor of music at Bethel College, will present the fourth and final Faculty Seminar Series lecture for 2006-07 on Monday, April 16, at 7 p.m. in the Administration Building chapel.

Tirk’s topic will be the one he explored in his doctoral dissertation, “Bridging Between Brass Band and British Art Music (The Trumpet Music of John Wallace).” The lecture is free and open to the public and will include performance by Tirk, whose instrument is the trumpet.

“Brass band influenced the way composers wrote for brass instruments in 20th-century art music,” Tirk said. “Many composers were inspired by the endurance and technical ability of brass band performers and began writing more challenging music for brass instruments in their works. Brass band performers also became more visible in the music world during the first half of the 20th century by attending and teaching at the prestigious royal academies of music as well as winning major orchestra posts.

“John Wallace’s brass band background, mixed with his composition background, makes him unique,” Tirk continued. “Having grown up in Scotland, this influential trumpeter’s first musical experience was in the brass band. He has been involved in many different aspects of music including performing, teaching and the commissioning of new music.

“Because he started out his musical aspirations as a composer, Wallace made several contacts with up-and-coming composers who would later write music for him. When his career turned towards performing with major orchestras in Britain, notable composers knew that they could use Wallace’s skill to expand the technical demands of the trumpet.”

Tirk has a bachelor’s degree in music from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis. He earned his master’s degree from Western Michigan University and his D.M.A. from Michigan State University. He has been at Bethel College since 2005.

The Faculty Seminar provides a forum for Bethel College faculty to present their achievements to the larger campus community. Recent dissertations, books, papers and fine arts productions usually form the core of the presented material. Sessions last approximately 90 minutes and include a significant time for questions and answers. Students and interested members of the community are invited to attend all sessions.

The Bethel College Faculty Seminar series is supported in part by the Earl and Meta Leisy Eymann Endowment. For more information, contact Faculty Seminar co-director Christopher Earles at (316) 284-5258.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. For more information, see the Bethel web site at

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