USC Thornton alumna Elvia Puccinelli (MM ’91, DMA ’00) led the launch of the first international society for keyboard collaborative arts, the International Keyboard Collaborative Arts Society, as part of the fifth annual CollabFest conference on Oct. 15-17.
Puccinelli, associate professor of music and coordinator of collaborative piano at the University of North Texas College of Music, organizes the annual CollabFest festival of keyboard collaborative arts. The virtual festival this year featured many USC Thornton faculty and alumni and included two masterclasses on Beethoven by Thornton faculty member Kevin Fitz-Gerald.
USC Thornton’s Keyboard Collaborative Arts program, which is led by Alan Smith, is one of the first degrees offered in keyboard collaborative arts, or the art of accompanying.
Smith, a longtime faculty member and celebrated pianist, offered an overview of the history of the program. “Dr. Jean Barr was a student of Gwendolyn Koldofsky at USC, and they designed the first DMA degree in accompanying in the world which Barr received. After teaching on the USC faculty for a few years, Barr went on to lead the department of piano accompanying at the Eastman School of Music for more than three decades before her retirement last year.”
Alumni from the program continue to lead departments at conservatoires and music schools across the country.