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Suzanne Tirk and Karen Schlabaugh to preview Kentucky recital

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – A Wichita State University music faculty member will present a special recital at Bethel College Monday, April 21.

Suzanne Tirk, assistant professor of clarinet, will play with pianist Karen Bauman Schlabaugh, Bethel College professor of music, at 7:30 p.m. in the Administration Building chapel on the Bethel campus. The two will play “Sonata” by Leonard Bernstein, “Introduction” and “Allegro appassionato” by Carl Reinecke, “Four Pieces” by Howard Ferguson and “Sonata” by Francis Poulenc. The recital is free and open to the public.

Tirk joined the faculty of WSU’s School of Music in fall 2004. She is a member of Lieurance Woodwind Quintet, the artist-faculty ensemble in residence at WSU, and is principal clarinetist with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra.

Tirk holds a bachelor of music degree in clarinet performance from Lawrence University, Appleton, Wis., and has done graduate work at Michigan State University.

She has taught at several universities including Bemidji (Minn.) State University, Lawrence University, Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University and Montana State University. She has presented numerous masterclasses and performed nationally and internationally, most recently as a guest artist at the 2007 University of Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium and the 2007 International Clarinet Association ClarinetFest in Vancouver, British Columbia.

In 2006, she was a guest soloist with the Astana Filharmonia and Karaganda Symphony Orchestra both of Kazakhstan. Recitals and masterclasses have taken place at the Zhubanova Music College (Almaty, Kazakhstan), the Kazakhstan National Conservatory Kurmangazi (Astana), the National Academy and National Conservatory of Panama (Panama City), Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester, England), the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (Glasgow) and the Xi’an (China) Conservatory.

Tirk is a committed proponent of new music, having commissioned and performed works at home and abroad. She was a distinguished guest at the 2002 Xi’an International Clarinet and Saxophone Festival, performing a recital that included the world premier of William Averitt’s “Nightscapes.” In 2004, Tirk was invited to perform the world premier of Charles Ruggiero’s “Fantasy on a Theme by Ravel” at the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFest in College Park, Md., and in February 2005 performed the world premier of Katherine Murdock’s “Aria Bel Canto for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble” at the Kansas Music Educators Association conference.

Karen Bauman Schlabaugh holds degrees from Oberlin (Ohio) College, Ithaca (N.Y.) College and the University of Iowa, and spent a semester studying at the Royal College of Music in London, England, with the support of an alumni fellowship from Oberlin. Her current teaching assignments at Bethel College include piano, music theory and history courses and involvement in a cooperative piano pedagogy program. She has been chair of the Department of Music at Bethel since the fall semester of 1998.

She also has served on the faculties of Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Tabor College, Hillsboro, and has participated as a teacher and accompanist in summer institutes in Michigan, Wisconsin and New York.

Schlabaugh performs frequently as a soloist and chamber musician and has appeared on two occasions as soloist with the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra, most recently in the spring of 2002 in the Piano Concerto No. 1 in C by Beethoven. She has performed in many of the Harvey Festival summer concerts sponsored by the NMKSO. In addition, she regularly serves as an adjudicator and clinician at piano festivals and contests throughout the state.

Tirk and Schlabaugh have collaborated on a number of occasions, including faculty recitals at WSU and at both the Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium and the International ClarinetFest in Vancouver last summer. The Bethel recital is a preview of one to be given at Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, April 26.

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 was the highest ranked Kansas college in the national liberal arts category of U.S. News & World Report’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at

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