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Great Art at Eastern talks w/ Miles Massicotte. ENMU's new faculty member in the Department of Music

GENTRY:  And now Great Arts at Eastern from the Portales Campus of Eastern New Mexico University. I'm Jeff Gentry Dean of the College of Fine Arts, here on KENW your Public Radio Network. Today my guest is Miles Massicotte. A new faculty member in ENMU’s Department of music. Thank you for joining me today.

MASSICOTTE:  Thank you for having me it's my pleasure.

GENTRY:  Miles growing up in Connecticut. What drew you to the piano at age 10?

MASSICOTTE:  Well, It's kind of a funny story actually. Um- Its... I can't say that I that I chose it or something great. My mother is a dental hygienist and she was cleaning the teeth of a piano teacher. And so, he he pitched her to do some piano lessons. My dad is a is a drummer and he always wanted to have a piano in the house. So, she said, sure, why not? She bought my dad a piano for for his birthday and I started taking piano lessons and then I think I took to it very quickly and the rest is history. So, it's kind of a funny story. In that sense,

GENTRY:  That's great. So, it's a harmonic conversion of Dental Hygiene and drumming,

MASSICOTTE:  I think so. Exactly, exactly is great.  

GENTRY:  Now how did the High Plains find its way onto your radar?

MASSICOTTE:  Well, it's I… I saw that Eastern New Mexico University was looking for assistant professor of piano and collaborative piano and from the minute that I started reading about the Department. It just seemed like a like a match made in… In Heaven. I remember very vividly an interview with my direct predecessor Doctor John Olson, who said that what he found so remarkable about Eastern New Mexico University was dedication to student success, focus on the individual student, individual attention. it really grabbed my eye and I thought this is the exact kind of Department where I'd love to fit in and could see myself really Making a difference, so, so I suppose that that's what that's what brought me out here.

GENTRY:  Excellent and what are some of the exotic locales where you have had the privilege of playing?

MASSICOTTE:  Well probably too many to name so I do a lot of performing as a solo pianist and my other primary performing venture is with flute and piano do actually with a wonderful flutist named Christina Bokova happens to be my my wife. We have won an international competition in Germany. We have performed in Bulgaria, which is my wife's native country. I did a tour last summer in Scotland. I've performed concerts in the Czech Republic. In the Baltic States, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and my position prior to coming to Eastern New Mexico University was as a professor of piano at the University of the Virgin Islands. So, a little bit of the Caribbean, a little bit of the northern climates really. My career is taking me all over the world, which has been a really exciting thing.

GENTRY:  So, our young listeners. The Fine Arts can take you around the world?

MASSICOTTE:  Absolutely.

GENTRY:  That's great. Now your ranges wide. What is one of your favorite styles. If you just want to pick one at random?

MASSICOTTE:  Sure well, although I primarily teach Classical piano here at Eastern New Mexico University. What pops into my head when you ask that question is actually jazz. I was raised listening to jazz. It was one of the first genres that I was comfortable playing, and so it's something that's been a very important part of my life all the time, even though formally I've studied classical music from through all my studies and with all of my of my private teachers. I love to improvise and I love to, I love to make that a part of my teaching and try and teach a little bit of that to my classical students, as well.

GENTRY:  Excellent and so what fills your practice hours this week?

MASSICOTTE:  My practice hours this week are filled primarily with the music that will be collaborating with students on. So, I'm collaborating with a number of students this semester trombonist. Two best clarinet and there's some wonderful piano, music there. In addition to that and this is a note to my students. I practice my scales every single day. I practiced my technique books every single day so that takes up a good amount of time you know, an hour here, an hour there, so you know that's always very important. It helps helps keep me in shape for practicing other solo repertoire or whatever it may be.

GENTRY:  And can we expect to see you provide a faculty recital this year.

MASSICOTTE:  Yes, on December 2nd at 7:00 PM. I'll be performing a faculty recital and that will be live streamed so everybody can tune In and check it out that should be a lot of fun great well.

GENTRY:  I want to make sure that that is on the Fine Arts calendar. You said December 2nd?

MASSICOTTE:  December 2nd.

GENTRY:  Great well recitalist, orchestra soloist, chamber musician, composer, and improviser miles mascot. Thank you for joining us today.

MASSICOTTE:  Thank you so much for having me. 

GENTRY:  Our listeners can learn more about this program at KENW.org and all the Great Arts at Eastern can be found at enmu.edu/fineartsevents. Thanks for listening on KENW your Public Radio Network.