San Diego State University’s School of Music & Dance is producing a series of performances in honor of its 75th anniversary. This milestone can be traced to its origin in 1937. By then, music study at the college was flourishing and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music was awarded. But, music had flowered from the very beginning — when SDSU was founded in 1897, a music professor was one of the first educators hired.
Though the Dance Division didn’t officially join the Department of Music until 1993, it was adventurous well before that. Modern dance, heavily influenced by Martha Graham and others, inspired teachers and student dancers. The internationally-known dancer Evelyn Lockman was instrumental in establishing the program. She and numerous others led the way to the integration of dance training with music instruction. Among the acclaimed dancers and choreographers whose works have graced stages at SDSU in more recent years are Patricia Sandback, George Willis, Melissa Nunn, and Jean Isaacs.
During the mid-century, the music department produced wonderfully intricate chamber operas such as Gianni Schichi, The Telephone, and The Lowland Sea. Singers were trained with great care, and instrumentalists were equally well guided. The gifted and nationally celebrated composer David Ward-Steinman taught and coached music majors.
Be sure to catch at least one performance during this worthy celebration. There is Jazz It Up at Anthology on April 15; Opera Arias on May 2; Kiwanis Concert in the Park, Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Balboa Park on May 5; and SDSU Choirs & Orchestra present: Carmina Burana on May 8 in the Don Powell Theatre. For further information about performances and the 75th Anniversary season, go online. (www.music.sdsu.edu) DARLENE G. DAVIES