Guest artist John Mortensen will present a class on baroque and classical improvisation.
John Mortensen is a leader in the international revival of classical improvisation. Appearing frequently as concert artist and masterclass teacher at colleges and universities in America and Europe, he is noted for his ability to improvise entire concerts in historical styles, including complex compositions such as Baroque fugues. His students learn a natural and coordinated approach to piano technique which prevents injury and allows for unprecedented freedom and facility at the keyboard.
Mortensen is committed to educating young musicians for the 21st century and places special emphasis on developing courses that bring improvisation back to the standard college music curriculum. His book on classical improvisation, to be published soon with Oxford University Press, will be a comprehensive method for training advanced pianists to improvise in historical styles. He is a Steinway Artist and an Ohio Artist on Tour. In 2017 he was selected as a Fulbright Specialist by the US Department of State to serve as an international artistic ambassador on behalf of the American people.
In 2018 he toured Europe for three months, performing and teaching improvised music at conservatories across the continent. After his concert in Eisk, Russian Federation, the Russian press wrote that “… for John Mortensen Russia has always been close musically. He plays with especial passion the works of Sergei Rachmaninoff. ‘I don’t speak Russian, I speak Rachmaninoff,’ was heard from the mouth of the pianist during the concert. And truly, during the performance of the work of the great Russian composer, in the hall peoples of different nationalities disappeared — it seemed from the stage sang and wept the Russian soul. The chords of the next Rachmaninoff prelude had not even been played, and the hall was already conquered.” His articles appear in International Piano, Clavier, College Music Symposium, Piano Pedagogy Forum, American Music Teacher, and Piano Journal of the European Piano Teachers’ Association.
Mortensen studied with Lynne Bartholomew at the University of Michigan and Anne Koscielny and Raymond Hanson at the University of Maryland, receiving his doctorate in piano performance from the latter. He holds National Certification in Piano through the Music Teacher’s National Association and was recently recognized as an Excellence in Education honoree by the Ohio Senate. He now serves as professor of piano at Cedarville University. In 2016 he was named Faculty Scholar of the Year, that institution’s highest award.
Visit his website at www.johnmortensen.com