Title: Assistant Professor of Music, Piano
Degrees: DMA in Piano Performance with a Minor in Music Theory at University of Wisconsin – Madison; MM in Piano Performance at Cleveland Institute of Music; BS in Piano and English at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
Phone: (814) 332-3302
Office Location: Arnold Hall of Music, M115
Office Hours – Spring 2020:
On Sabbatical leave
Pianist Douglas Jurs explores new listening experiences through cross-disciplinary experiments and program innovation. His new play about a piano sonata and the mysterious disappearance of Nicholas Thorne, the composer who wrote it, debuts January 17-18, 2020 at Allegheny under the direction of Beth Watkins and with former Allegheny professor Dan Crozier in the leading role.
In late January and February Dr. Jurs will be a Musician in Residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada where he will prepare world premieres for piano by American composer Daniel Temkin and Iranian composer Aftab Darvishi and develop ideas that combine music and narrative. Later in February, Dr. Jurs will be a featured performer in the “Oh My Ears” new music festival in Phoenix, Arizona, presenting a program entitled “Fantastic Creatures Near and Far,” a program he plans to adapt into an interactive outreach program for Crawford County elementary students later in 2020. Other performances this spring include Live from Studio Q on Erie’s NPR affiliate in March and a recital performance in a non-traditional club space in Montreal in April.
A world premiere recording of “Five Strong Winds” by Marc Satterwhite with clarinetist Matthew Nelson (University of Louisville) will be released later in 2020 on Centaur Records. Other recent collaborators include San Francisco’s Alexander String Quartet and violist Lauren Burns Hodges (University of Florida) with whom he toured China. Dr. Jurs also enjoys connecting with artists from other disciplines; in addition to his upcoming theater work, for a recent series of performances of John Cage’s complete “Sonatas and Interludes,” he collaborated with a local Indian chef (Uma Pansari), Allegheny College dance and movement students, and a man who paints with his beard on rice paper (the great Jay Hanes!).
In his time at Allegheny he has worked closely with faculty from departments of English, Art, and Dance and Movement Studies, and is currently working alongside Computer Science Assistant Professor Doug Luman as a faculty co-advisor for the newly formed Electronic Music Club. He has also enlisted faculty from Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, English and Art to serve as judges for a biennial piano competition he established at Allegheny that awards a special “Unusual Combinations Prize” for the student that most creatively expresses how music and another passion combine in meaningful ways in his or her life.
Dr. Jurs’s research also bridges various domains. One of his favorite recent conference presentations for the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association explored NBA sharpshooter Stephen Curry’s training practice as a model for teaching and reinforcing piano fundamentals for piano students at all levels of development. Dr. Jurs is interested in exploring the art of listening through performance and teaching. He co-presented a paper at the 2017 College Music Society Northeast Conference entitled, “Engineering Immersive Listening Experiences for Students,” applying elements of interactive world music pedagogy as a way to enhance student engagement and enjoyment of western classical music. He was awarded a Mellon Foundation Grant for Research in the Humanities in 2016, through which he mentored two undergraduates as they helped him prepare for the Fantastic Creatures commission and educational outreach project that is coming to fruition this year.
A committed piano teacher, Dr. Jurs’ students over the years have won prizes at local, national and international piano competitions, including a prizewinner at the 2017 Pittsburgh International Piano Competition. He is on the board of the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association where he serves as Foundation Fund Chair and Junior Competition Coordinator. He has been a featured clinician at the Wuhan Conservatory of Music in China, Calcutta School of Music in India, and at national and international conferences and Universities throughout the United States.
Called “As impressive as a teacher as he is a performer,” (The Telegraph, Calcutta) Dr. Jurs is currently in his fifth year as Assistant Professor of Music at Allegheny where he teaches courses in applied piano, music theory, and a newly created course on world music cultures. He previously was an Assistant Professor of Piano and Music Theory at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia, and a Visiting Associate Lecturer of Piano at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. His degrees in piano performance are from the University of Wisconsin, Cleveland Institute of Music, and Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he was a Friends of Music Fellow and explored his own “unusual combination” as an English double major and rider for the Cutters Cycling Team. He lives in Meadville with his wife, Claire, children Silas and Louisa, and Simon the bunny.