School of Music hosts guest series

courtesy photo

courtesy photo

The School of Music hosted its annual guest artist series concert featuring artist Sue Tomkiewicz and Stephanie Patterson on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at Marsh Hall Auditorium.

The guest artist series is an annual event held by the School of Music. The series provides music majors an opportunity to listen to new compositions of music and to learn from many different artists from around the nation.

This artist series focused on bassoon, piano and oboe.

Director of the School of Music, Richard Kravchak, Ph. D., explained how hosting the series is a good way to network with other colleges and bring in potential Southern Miss students.

“We are the only school of music in Mississippi that has a faculty member for each major orchestral instrument,” Kravchak said. “One of the things our faculty does is they have exchange concerts with other artists so that when our students graduate there are other artists that have heard them play and they can go [to another college] and get a master’s degree and vice versa.”

Assistant professor of oboe Galit Kaunitz, D.M., said hosting the guest concert is a wonderful way for the students to learn more about their instruments.

“One of the big strengths of the school of music is we bring in all kinds of guests all the time,” Kaunitz said. “I have six guests coming this semester, and that’s just in the oboe studio. As part of applied teaching-learning an instrument, you get a lot from a lot of different people.”

The music students were able to not only learn from the artists during the concert but also help critique the students on their technique and provide advice about the music industry in a special master class.

Professor of oboe at the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music Susan Tomkiewicz, Ph.D., explained during her master class that having a career in music is difficult.

“Having a career in music doesn’t just mean symphony orchestra. There are so many facets to working in music, you must explore options,” Tomkiewicz said. “If you’re in school for a performance degree, try to take some additional courses or make your resume look more interesting than the other music performance majors out there. Try to take opportunities.”

Alyssa Landers, sophomore music major, said that having the master class was beneficial.

“I thought it was really cool how Dr. Tomkiewicz described the music as a color or an emotion rather than just ‘here are the notes, play them’ because it helps you get that mental image in your head, which I think is really helpful. Sometimes that helps with the mood of the music and makes it less mechanical.”

One of the most important lessons the students learned from the guest artist series concert is that having determination in this particular field is the key to success.

Assistant professor of bassoon at the Columbus State University Schowb School of Music Stephanie Patterson elaborated on this concept.

“My advice to any student is to just stick with it. You’re going to get rejected a lot. You’re going to lose auditions. You’re going to get told no, but you just have to try,” Patterson said. “My teacher in undergrad told me that ‘the people that have jobs are the people that never gave up.’ So, you just have to not give up.”

For more information about the Guest Artist Series, visit

photo courtesy Southern Miss website