Kenneth Lurie

Dr. Kenneth Lurie with cello
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Professor Emeritus of Music

Kenneth Paul Lurie grew up in New Jersey and Massachusetts, steeped in the folk music revival of the late '50s and early '60s. Surrounded by the music of the Weavers, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, and Paul Robeson, after whom he was named, Ken played guitar learning songs of history, legend, humor, social justice, and political activism. As the music of the era evolved, Ken formed a rock band in elementary school that stayed together until after high school. In school, he found an outlet for his music in the concert choir and band, where he played flute, string bass, and sousaphone.

After a year at Boston University and a summer at the Berklee College of Music, Ken decided to become a cellist and found a teacher who would accept an adult beginner. At Ithaca College, Einar Holm, a student of Leonard Rose and Pablo Casals, provided Ken a cello and bow, and a place to live along with immersion in the world of classical music and cello pedagogy.

After graduating from Ithaca College with honors in three years, Ken gained experience through summer studies and masterclasses. Along with earning a master's degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music and a doctorate at the Eastman School of Music, Ken studied at Kneisel Hall, the Meadowmount School, Curso Internacional de Violoncello (Paraiba, Brazil), the Castleman Quartet Program, and the Cleveland Chamber Music Seminar. Among his cello teachers were Alan Harris, Steven Doane, Colin Hampton, Aldo Parisot, and Barbara Stein-Mallow. His chamber music coaches included Francis Tursi, Mischa Schneider, Abram Loft, David Cerone, Karel Husa, Sydney Hodkinson, Renato Bonacini, Karen Tuttle, Leslie Parnas, Artur Balsam, John Dalley, and Josef Gingold.

Ken's early teaching experience included working as an assistant to Einar Holm, and four summers teaching under the guidance of Pamela Gearhart at the Youth Makes Music string workshop in Huntsville, Alabama. During graduate studies, assistantships provided the opportunity to teach cello lessons, string pedagogy, and coach chamber music. Ken served on the faculty at Roanoke College and at Shenandoah College and Conservatory prior to joining ASU's then Department of Music in 1987.

As an orchestral cellist, Ken played for two years each with the Caracas Philharmonic (Venezuela), the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, and the Rochester Festival Orchestra. He also played concerts with the Asheville, Western Piedmont, and Syracuse symphony orchestras, as well as the Southwest Virginia Chamber Orchestra, and summer concerts with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Shreveport Summer Music Festival. As soloist, Ken performed cello concertos by Haydn, Lalo, Saint-Saëns, Tchaikovsky, and Vivaldi.

As a chamber musician, Ken performed frequently with faculty collaborators as well as guest artists including the Fry Street and Degas string quartets and the Kruger Brothers (Appalachian Concerto). Ken performed concerts with ensembles such as ASU's Harmonia Baroque and New Paradigm Percussion Quartet (Snow in June by Tan Dun). Ken joined violinist and author of Free Play, Stephen Nachmanovitch, in a concert of free improvisation; performed with and recorded the music of Tui St. George Tucker; and recorded Three Shades for Four Players by William Harbinson. As an alumnus, Ken performed Pelléas Redux, a reworking of Debussy's opera for a chamber ensemble made up of Eastman School of Music faculty and guests.

With the Appalachian Acoustic Ensemble, led by Joe Shannon, an awardee of North Carolina's Order of the Long Leaf Pine, Ken performed on the Mountain Home Music concert series and made two recordings: Warmlight and A Full Moon on Freshly Fallen Snow. In support of the creation and development of ASU's Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies, Ken formed the High Country Klezmorim, an ensemble that performed concerts for the UNC System's Board of Governors, Board of Trustees, and the NC State Treasurers.

An early adopter of music technology, Ken played concerts in Alabama, Mississippi, and Washington D.C. with the Aurora Ensemble, a trio of French horn, keyboard synthesizer, and six-string, MIDI electric cello. With the ASU faculty Electric Trio comprised of electric cello, guitar synthesizer, and percussion synthesizer, he performed at the Music Educators National Conference in Winston-Salem and an outdoor concert at ASU in collaboration with dancers.

As a guitarist and singer-songwriter, Ken performed on the Faculty Showcase of the Appalachian Summer Festival, the Harper School of Performing Arts concert series in Lenoir, and twice on the Summer Concerts at the Jones House series in Boone. In addition to playing mandola while leading the High Country Klezmorim, Ken played mandola onstage in a Lees-McCrae Summer Theatre production of I Never Saw Another Butterfly.

At the Hayes School of Music, Ken taught cello lessons, string pedagogy, chamber music, orchestral literature, music theory, and aural skills. Ken gave presentations for organizations such as the American String Teachers Association, NC Music Educators National Association, NC National Orchestra Association, and the Brightleaf Music Workshop, as well as many public schools, colleges, and universities across the state and region. Ken was active in university and community affairs, serving on many committees and playing dozens of benefit concerts. Ken took great pleasure seeing his students develop careers as public school teachers, college professors, chamber musicians, symphony orchestra cellists, music therapists, and music industry professionals, as well as a wide variety of other performing and professional careers.