Kyle Dzapo, "Passion, Performance, and the Philharmonic"

July 1, 2010

More than 10 years ago, Dr. Kyle Dzapo, flutist and professor of music, entered a competition to become a pre-concert lecturer for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She won that competition and has been lecturing there ever since. In spring 2009, she added the New York Philharmonic to her schedule.

Both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic have lecturers who introduce the compositions to be performed. The orchestras rehearse and perform different concerts each week during the season, which they repeat three or four times during the weekend.

When Dzapo is in New York, she goes to the rehearsal on Thursday and gives the lecture before attending the concert that night. The next morning, she gives the lecture again and attends the concert, then spends the rest of Friday enjoying the research opportunities New York has to offer, particularly the resources at the Juilliard School, the New York Public Library, and local bookshops. Saturday night is filled with a third lecture and concert.

Dzapo's first lecture for the New York Philharmonic was about the music of Handel. She traveled to New York again in September to deliver a lecture on Brahms and Schoenberg, two composers who lived in Vienna, where she spent part of the summer as a member of Bradley's International Programs faculty.

Dzapo, a faculty member at Bradley since 1993 and the 2007 Samuel Rothberg Award for Professional Excellence recipient, is passionate about music history. She was influenced by her teachers' philosophy that performers or audiences connect with and understand a piece much better if they know the intellectual background. Dzapo loves what she does. "It's delightful to interact with the audience," she says. Dzapo's research and lectures also coincide with her classes at Bradley - she teaches the first year of a two-year sequence of music history courses.

Dzapo's love of music goes back to a flute teacher she had in high school. Walter Mayhall, a music professor at Youngstown State University at the time, inspired Dzapo to become the professor she is today. "He is a brilliant flute player, and I was fascinated by his ability to play," she said. "He had a great way of inspiring me." Dzapo decided she wanted to be a teacher just like him, so she chose to enter the University of Michigan as a music major. "I always said that when everybody else gave up after high school, I simply didn't," she said. Like her mentor, Mayhall, who played in a regional symphony, Dzapo is also the principal flutist in the Peoria Symphony Orchestra.

Dzapo will continue to lecture in the spring. She will be in Chicago for lectures March 12-14 and 18-20.


Printed with Permission Bradley Hilltopics Winter 2010