St. Mary's University Music Department, Winona, Minnesota

Piano Studies

Piano majors at Saint Mary's prepare for graduate studies or careers in solo performance, accompanying or music education. Performance skills are developed in weekly lessons, weekly performance classes and departmental recitals. Musicianship skills are enhanced by regular participation in collaborative performances with soloists and in chamber music settings. Former piano performance majors have gone on to win competitive teaching assistantships at well-known university schools of music. As a piano major enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Performance degree program, students participate in classes that specifically develop their knowledge and skills in accompanying techniques, piano pedagogy, piano literature and piano ensemble repertoire and techniques.

Piano majors study with master teacher, Dr. Ned Kirk, an accomplished concert pianist who regularly performs all over the world. As artistic and managing director of the Minnesota Beethoven Fetival, he has worked with some of the most important international concert artists of our time. Dr. Kirk's most recent recital collaborations are with legendary saxophonist, Branford Marsalis who came to Saint Mary's to give a private concert for music students in spring 2013. This was the first performance given on the new Hamburg Steinway concert grand.


All-Steinway School

Saint Mary's University is an All-Steinway School with outstanding peformance halls, Figlulo Recital Hall and Page Theatre, that are used for all student and faculty recitals as well as many outside professional performances. Being an All-Steinway School means that all practice rooms, teaching studios, rehearsal rooms and performance halls have steinway pianos, including a brand new Hamburg Steinway concert grand which is used for all performances.

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Saint Cecilia Music Scholarships

In addition to a variety of Academic Scholarships offered by Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, the Department of Music offers talent-based scholarships. Music scholarships are available for both majors and non majors, average around $1000 and are renewable yearly. These awards are given based on performing ability and music interest. Though you don’t need to be a music major to qualify for an award, you must participate in music activities at Saint Mary's (ensembles, lessons, etc.).

The Saint Cecilia Music Scholarships auditions also serve as the required audition to the music major for those students desiring to declare a major in music, eliminating the need for a separate audition to the major for those who participate. However, again, a major in music is not required to be eligible for St. Cecilia awards.


Scholarship applicants must arrange for two letter of recommendation to be sent to the Scholarship Committee by January 31. St. Cecilia Music Scholarship candidates should be accomplished musicians with a mastery of their instrument. Click on the scholarships tab on the left to apply.

All pianists will perform the following:

Two contrasting solo selections from the CLASSICAL REPERTORE ONLY - contact Dr. Kirk if you have any questions about your selections.


Dr. Ned Kirk - biography


- Visit to learn more about Dr. Kirk's concert activities -

Pianist Dr. Ned Kirk possesses a deep commitment to sharing music with diverse audiences around the globe. His performance schedule regularly takes him from the concert halls of China, to recital series around the United States, and from schools in Kenya, to performance spaces in Winona, Minnesota, where Kirk is serving in his eighth season as Artistic and Managing Director of the Minnesota Beethoven Festival.

For the 2012-2013 season Kirk gave performances in Singapore, Hong Kong and the United States, and served on the jury of the Hong Kong International Piano Invitation Competition. In addition, Kirk performed with the Shanghai Quartet and gave several concerts with legendary saxophonist Branford Marsalis including the opening concert of the 2012 Minnesota Beethoven Festival. For the upcoming season Kirk has a busy schedule of solo recitals and master classes - as well as duo recitals with violinist Chun Chim Leung - in Columbia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and the United States.

Kirk derives equal enjoyment from solo, concerto and chamber music activities, and has collaborated with numerous outstanding musicians, many of whom serve as conductors and principles in major orchestras around the world – Michala Petri, Michael Christie, Kevin Kenner, Qian Zhou, Li-Wei Qin, Lionel Tan, Charles Kavalowski, Glenn Einschlag, Olav Van Hezewijk, Ron Ephrat, Jeffrey Work, David Jones, Lisa-Maree Amos, Daniel Rothmuller and Donald McInnes. He has appeared as soloist with the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra, and the Shasta Symphony. In addition, Kirk served as orchestral pianist for the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, Colorado for three summers, performing many of the seminal orchestral works that feature piano, including Stravinsky's Petrouchka, Piazzolla's Three Chamber Pieces for piano and string orchestra, Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals for two pianos, and Copland's Appalachian Spring and Billy the Kid. Kirk also performed in Mombasa and Nairobi, Kenya on a United States Embassy-sponsored tour where he gave multiple public recitals, master classes, teacher workshops, and a private concert for the United States Ambassador to Kenya.

Kirk studied at Peabody Conservatory of Music, the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, and holds a doctorate from the University of Washington. His piano and chamber music coaches have included Craig Sheppard, Walter Hautzig, Nigel Coxe, Earl Carlyss, Tinka Knopp and Charles Treger.

In addition to his performance career, Kirk is equally dedicated to teaching. He has taught at the Marrowstone Music Festival in Port Townsend, Washington; spent four summers teaching piano master classes to students from rural Alaska at the Sitka Fine Arts Institute in Sitka, Alaska; served on the piano faculty at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, for seven years; is currently serving a three-year term as Guest Professor at Huizhou University in Huizhou, China; and is Professor of Piano at Saint Mary's University in Winona, Minnesota.