During 2019-2020, her first year on the faculty at the University of Mississippi, cellist Christine Kralik demonstrated her chops as a teacher, performer, and collaborator. This summer she’s keeping those skills honed.
For the third time, Kralik was on the faculty of the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, which provides high school students with high-level instruction and opportunities in instrumental music, voice, visual art, dance, theatre, and filmmaking.
Kralik taught master classes, arranged for guest artists, organized watch and listen parties, and performed with both her students and other faculty. Despite the online learning environment, Kralik said her students were engaged and worked hard.
“I was able to talk about all kinds of things with my students, such as cello posture and bow holds, etudes and techniques studies, how to practice efficiently, proper warm up and stretching as cellists, reducing performance anxiety, famous cellists, major works in the cello repertoire, and cello maintenance and upkeep,” she said.
“I really wanted my students to know and realize my care and dedication to their study and experience.”
Kralik and the other string faculty created a watch party event for their students that focused on chamber music by African American composers. She showed her students the African American Composer Initiative, a great resource for both music and composers.
“We watched full performances of movements of pieces, and famous African American artists on violin, viola, cello, and bass,” said Kralik.
“It was a really great mix of modern artists and composers, and more historical examples, too. It was amazing to discuss how important this music is, and the greater need for inclusion and diversity in the classical music world.”
The watch party featured violinist Regina Carter performing “Artistya”; Nokutula Ngwenyama playing “Sonoran Storm” on viola; a version of the traditional tune, “Troubled Water,” for cello and piano that included arrangement by Margaret Bonds, Josephine Gandolfi, and Zenobia Powell Perry: and bassist Esperanza Spalding in a performance at the White House. The group also listened to performances of works by Florence Price and George Walker, and discussed violinists Chevalier de Saint-Georges and George Bridgetower.
Kralik invited two guest artists to do masterclasses: Dr. Chrissie Kim from MTSU, and Nicole Pinnell, with whom Kralik studied when she was young. “My friend Nicole has had an amazing career as a recording artists, and was able to discuss improvisation, jazz, and classical techniques and how different it is to prepare for an improvisation-type performance compared to a classical performance.”
Because all interaction was necessarily online, Kralik experienced new ways of performing with her students and other faculty while she prepared students for their remote recording project, and participated in one of her own with fellow faculty.
“It felt funny to record or ‘perform’ my cello part all alone, without the other parts with me, but I tried to imagine the feeling of playing with these amazing musicians and friends in person. Each of us was pleasantly surprised at the end result, but we definitely missed performing and playing with each other, and it will make our reunion next summer all the sweeter.”
In addition to teaching this summer, Kralik is also collaborating on a major project with fellow UM Music faculty members. “I am working on re-imagining Music Appreciation courses with the MUS103 Task Force with Michael Rowlett, David Carlisle, and Nave Graham,” she said.
“I feel so strengthened and inspired to get to work with the amazing faculty at the University of Mississippi. We are excited and working very hard on creating a class that will truly inspire appreciation, listening, and understanding of all kinds of music.”
We’ll report back with more on that exciting project later. For now, we’re grateful for all the ways Dr. Christine Kralik contributes to UM Music!
For up-to-date information about Ole Miss Music,visit music.olemiss.edu.