Distinguished Visiting Artist Concert: Charles Stegeman

by Christy Gazanian '07

On Tuesday, September 19, Munson Chapel filled with the melodious sounds arising from professional ability intertwined with passion.

Azusa Pacific University’s School of Music presented the Distinguished Visiting Artist Recital featuring Charles Stegeman on violin. Stegeman grew up playing music, and attended the renowned Curtis Institute of Music and The Julliard School to enhance his abilities. This musical guru serves as concertmaster of the New West Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Opera and Pittsburgh Ballet Orchestras, the St. Bart’s Festival in the French West Indies, and the list goes on.

Along with his concertmaster title, Stegeman remains dedicated to the academic world of music, serving as associate professor of violin and chairman of strings at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. As if this does not seem like enough, he travels to Southern California every other week to teach at APU.

Duane Funderburk, DMA, dean of the School of Music, notes that “people see that he’s here and they want to come study here.”

Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, David Weeks, Ph.D., who brought his wife and two sons, offered the opening prayer. With his words of blessing on this musical endeavor, the night began, and the heavenly chamber music of 17th century composer Felix Mendelssohn filled the room.

The first arrangement brought peaceful melodies into Munson Chapel. Stegeman was accompanied by his wife, Rachel, on violin II; Paul Colletti, “one of the top violists in the world” according to Funderburk, playing viola I; Andrew Duckles playing viola II; and Marek Szpakiewicz on cello. This group was phenomenal and graceful, lively and classical.

Following a short break, the group returned, bringing even more talent to the stage. The second arrangement included the previous musicians, along with Alex Russell playing violin III, Michele Suh on violin IV, and Stanley Sharp on cello I. Their music filled the room. The beauty of such an ensemble can barely be described.

The concert produced a standing ovation and a warm reception from the audience. Music student Julie Smith ‘09 said, “That was fantastic! I’ve never heard violas performed like that before!”

Funderburk said that a performance like this “absolutely inspires students to reach the highest level.”

The performers themselves revealed their passion for the night. Rachel Stegeman shared, “We live to perform this kind of music,” expressing the love she and her husband have for chamber music.

After the concert, Stegeman said that his passion is to “serve God through music and bring great people together for great audiences.”