Rochelle SennetAssistant Professor of Piano
B.M. (piano performance), San Francisco Conservatory of Music; M.M. (piano performance), University of Michigan; Artist Diploma (piano performance), Texas Christian University; D.M.A. (piano), University of Illinois.
Dr. Rochelle Sennet is rapidly establishing herself as a well-known performer, teacher, and scholar. Her recital programs showcase her versatility at the keyboard, with frequent performances of works by Bach, Beethoven, and African American composers such as H. Leslie Adams, Adolphus Hailstork, and Pulitzer-Prize winning composer George Walker. When she was a doctoral student, she was chosen to perform John Corigliano's Etude Fantasy at the U of I's Corigliano Concert, with the composer in attendance. She has also served on the piano faculty at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp since 2006, and has made guest appearances at the American Festival for the Arts in Beaumont, Texas. Her research interests include the study of American music, and she has interviewed well-known music historians and composers. Her dissertation, entitled African American Composers and the Piano Concerto, highlights her pursuits.
Dr. Sennet has won numerous competitions. In 2006, she was co-winner for the Krannert Center Debut Artist Competition. In 2002, she was a national finalist for the MTNA Collegiate piano competition. As winner of the 2001-2002 MTNA/TMTA Competition, she performed a Mozart concerto with the orchestra of the famed Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts at the TMTA Convention in Corpus Christi, TX. She has also performed John Corigliano's Piano Concerto with the University Philharmonia Orchestra, Beethoven's Concerto No. 2 with the Sewanee Festival Orchestra, the Barber Piano Concerto with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra, and Beethoven's Concerto No. 1 with the Lamar University Chamber Orchestra.
In addition to Dr. Tamás Ungár and UIUC Swanlund Professor of Piano Ian Hobson, Dr. Sennet's previous teachers have included Logan Skelton, Mack McCray, the late Dr. John Paul, Hugh E. Thompson, Sr., and the late Hazel Ruben. She is a member of Music Teachers National Association, College Music Society, the Center for Black Music Research, Society for American Music, and Phi Kappa Phi honor society.
Classical music should not be limited to the conventional, but should embrace both the old and new. I believe that musicians should experiment with their recital programs to reach a wider audience. I encourage my students to explore a wide variety of stylistic periods, including works that are not frequently performed. The possibilities of music are endless and my hope is that my students come away from our time together with a stronger means of communicating their ideas. I also encourage students to find their own voice through attention to an increased self-confidence and enjoyment of music-making. Often, I will offer several solutions to playing passages to aid in expanding their musical palette. I advocate the performing of chamber music to widen their perspective. Next, I promote the importance of technical and musical mastery, as well as full-body awareness. Through this awareness, my students are able to eliminate piano-playing injuries that have become all too common in our field. Above all, I believe that performance, scholarship, and pedagogy can be combined. The understanding of common pianistic challenges as well as an awareness of stylistic traits will only serve to enhance performance. In addition, the inclusion of research will lead musicians to explore new ideas about standard and unconventional repertoire.