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Rhonda Larson accepts Roy Acuff award, performs at APSU

Grammy Award winning flautist Rhonda Larson visited APSU from Monday, April 21, to Tuesday, April 28, to perform and share her musical knowledge.

As the final Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence recipient for 2014-15, some of Larson’s achievements include winning first place in the National Flute Association’s Young Artist Competition in 1985, a Carnegie Hall debut, joining the Paul Winter Consort, winning a Grammy for Best New Age Album in 1993 for her album “Spanish Angel,” forming her band Venus, establishing her own music publishing company, Wood Nymph Music, and performing and teaching around the world.

The Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence has brought regionally and nationally-acclaimed artists to campus to work with students and the community in an atmosphere of experimentation since its creation in 1985. Each Acuff Chair this year has given a public performance and visited the campus for a week.

Larson’s lectures and classes focused on the art of performance and finding your niche. The Art of Performance was about the “aspects of performance, from how one presents themselves on stage and their communication with their audience, to the standard of excellence worked for in performing music.” Finding Your Niche touched on “aspects that help in finding one’s passion in whatever it is they wish to pursue.”

Larson performed a Family Concert with artists David Steinquest, Paul Carrol Binkley and Tony Nagy on Sunday, April 26, the APSU Woodwind Chamber Concert on Monday, April 27, and the APSU Wind Ensemble Concert on Tuesday, April 28.

Larson said she had great attendance during her classes and lectures and that the APSU Music Department has everything going for it.

“Music has the power to positively evolve society and culture, the world over,” Larson said. “Musicians are part of ‘the creative class,’ the ones who bring to society those elements of deepest meaning and timeless importance. Those are two aspects we are in danger of losing sight of due to our preoccupation with our technological devices, which are, ironically, designed to save time. Instead, most people are less in the present moment than they have ever been in history. Music fosters living in the present moment and serves these moments through performance, music instruction and solitary practice.”

She advises students pursuing music to truly love what they do and work hard to improve and evolve what they offer, whether performing or teaching.

“Having her at APSU has been exhilarating,” said music professor Lisa Wolynec. “Larson has such a dynamic personality and has been so inspiring as she has worked with students.”

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