West Liberty University’s next classical concert will feature an interesting arrangement of two pianos, four hands and tons of talent as Dr. Becky Billock, WLU adjunct professor of piano, teams with Jack Kurutz, Pittsburgh concert pianist, to create a very special sound.
Free and open to the public, the concert takes place at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 19, in Elbin Auditorium, College Hall.
“Becky Billock and Jack Kurutz are truly outstanding concert pianists, displaying consummate artistry and technical finesse. Their exciting and demanding program, titled Duo Junction, will feature masterworks by Sergei Rachmaninoff, Johannes Brahms, John Adams and others. Please don’t miss this very special event!” said Gerald Lee, WLU Associate Professor of Music.
Billock is termed a “persuasive and capable” musician by BBC Music Magazine and called an “unforgettable listening experience” by The Whole Note.
As a recording artist and recitalist Billock has found her niche promoting the works of contemporary women.
She has appeared as soloist with regional orchestras in Oregon and California and has performed solo and chamber recitals in numerous locations throughout the country, including numerous tours of Northwest cities and appearances on the Seattle radio station Classical KING FM 98.1, the Pittsburgh radio station WQED 98.3FM, and American Public Media’s Performance Today.
Her recent CD release musesnine: eight American composers plus one pianist has received extensive airplay throughout the U.S. and Canada, and garnered accolades from some of the top music publications.
She most recently presented a series of concerts in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, collaborating with San Antonio-based soprano Gail Wettstein and others. She holds degrees from Walla Walla College (BA), University of Redlands (MA), and University of Washington (DMA), where she studied respectively with Leonard Richter, Louanne Long and Craig Sheppard.
Besides her adjunct work with WLU, she maintains a thriving private studio in Pittsburgh, where her students have been chosen for numerous awards and honors including Dorothy Sutton Performance Festival, the Duquesne Young Artist Piano Festival and the Steinway Society Young Artist program.
A native of New York, Jack Kurutz is an avid recitalist, chamber musician, and advocate of contemporary classical music. During his studies at New England Conservatory of Music, Kurutz was pianist for ensembles including the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Harvard Group for New Music, the Callithumpian Consort, Enchanted Circle, the Honors Wind Quintet, the Honors Brass Quintet, and a piano trio coached by Stephen Drury.
Kurutz received his undergraduate degree from the University of Miami, studying with Ivan Davis, and earned his Master of Music from New England Conservatory in Gabriel Chodos’ studio. In 2005, Kurutz completed an Artist Diploma from Carnegie. Mellon University under Enrique Graf, and currently coaches with Ralph Zitterbart. In September 2007, Kurutz won First Prize, Artist Division, in the Liszt-Garrison International Piano Competition sponsored by the Baltimore-Washington Chapter of the American Liszt Society.
Part of the College or Arts and Communication, the Division of Music offers undergraduate degrees in music education, music performance and music technology. Among our many ensembles are University Chorus, Wind Ensemble, Chamber Choir, Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble and The Hilltopper Marching Band.