“Thanks for everything, Steve.” Like the sounds from the bowed piano, these words echoed throughout Packard Hall last weekend, as Stephen Scott, a Colorado College Music Professor of 40 years, was honored and congratulated.
“The Music of Stephen Scott: A Retrospective,” which took place March 29-30, showcased Scott’s unique contribution to music in his own life and to the CC community as a whole. The three events, two concerts and a symposium, were a huge success, attracting large crowds of students, colleagues, and alumni all taking part in a weekend of reflection: one that celebrated the career of an accomplished professor, director, producer, and composer.
Stephen Scott founded the innovative Bowed Piano Ensemble (BPE) 37 years ago in CC’s own recital halls. With the help of students and faculty, he has turned the ensemble into a widely recognized musical group, completing nine tours in Western and Central Europe, three in Australia, and one in New Zealand, Bermuda, and the Canary Islands. On Saturday, March 29, the Bowed Piano Ensemble gave its final performance with Scott’s CC career coming to a close at the end of the academic year.
The weekend’s events began on Saturday with a symposium reflecting Scott’s fifty years of performing, composing, and revolutionizing music. The session had a special emphasis on the Bowed Piano and alumni, scholars, and colleagues all shared their own memories and stories about the influential student run ensemble.
“The symposium I enjoyed a lot. The two main speakers, Tamara Roberts and Shawn Keener, are both alums and had both been in the ensemble. They really put a nice sheen on the whole thing. They had so much to say about how the piano works and how tricky it and how we learn the music. That was very pleasant. I was sort of basking in this nostalgia in a way,” Stephen Scott recalls.
The concert on Saturday night opened with a beautiful solo piano piece played by Ryan Bañagale, a Colorado College and BPE alum. The song, titled “Departures,” was composed by Stephen Scott in 1996 and marks another accomplishment in his long and influential musical career. Saturday’s concert came to a close in magnificent fashion with the performance of what many consider to be Scott’s magnum opus.
Following months of practice, the Bowed Piano Ensemble, with Scott at the helm, played “Vikings of the Sunrise,” a complicated and passionate piece that explores the themes of navigation, exploration, and discovery in the Pacific from ancient to modern times. As the last notes faded from innards of the grand piano, the performance proved to the perfect way to cap the run of Colorado College’s most illustrious ensembles.
“Overall, I was very pleased with how things went. The audiences were good. They were not only plentiful, but I got a lot of feedback from them. It was very positive. I was really pleased with how the ensemble played. We had a few glitches here and there, always happens, but there was nothing really drastic. I am really proud of the students in the ensemble this year. The whole thing was a terrific experience, and I feel grateful for the outpouring of support,” Scott concluded.