Campus: CSU Northridge -- March 20, 2002

CSUN Music Professor Named a Fulbright Scholar

Cal State Northridge music professor Daniel Kessner has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright scholar grant to lecture and conduct research in Germany.

Kessner will not leave for the Musikhochschule in Trossingen, Germany, until next spring, but is already looking forward to the trip.

"I know a little bit about the school because CSUN has an exchange program with it - we sent some of our students there and they sent some of theirs here. They sent some terrific students to us and I am looking forward to working with them," Kessner said.

Approximately 800 U.S. faculty and professionals receive Fulbright grants each year to lecture and conduct research abroad. A similar number of foreign scholars receive awards to come to the United States primarily as researchers.

The U.S. State Department sponsors the Fulbright Scholar Program, which involves more than 125 countries and aims to "increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and the people of other countries." Recipients are selected on their qualifications, potential and willingness to share ideas. About 82,000 U.S. and foreign scholars have participated in the program since its inception in 1946.

Kessner will be lecturing, composing and conducting while at the Musikhochschule in Trossingen as well as in other parts of Europe. In particular, he hopes to share his knowledge of contemporary and American classical music.

"I figure that they probably have loads of exposure to traditional classical music, but less to contemporary and even less to American music," he said. "That I can bring that [knowledge] to and work with a different population of students is very exciting."

Kessner said he is sure that the German students and European audiences are very familiar with such traditional composers as Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johannes Brahms.

"But they are probably less familiar with the composers of the last 100 years, everything from (Igor) Stravinski and (Béla) Bartók and a lot of composers who are still alive, and in particular American composers such as (Aaron) Copeland and George Crum," Kessner said. "It's going to be exciting sharing ideas and exposing them to new music."

Kessner, who has taught at CSUN for the past 32 years, also hopes the new location will inspire his own creativity.

"I'm a composer, and the fact is I tend to do more composition when I'm not teaching here," he said. "The workload at CSUN is rather intense. I write more when I'm someplace else. I guess it's the variety of the location and the excitement of being someplace new."

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