By CINDY KIDD
New students are not the only fresh faces at Mount Mary College this fall. The music department recently added several faculty members, including Dr. Fang-Yi Shen-Stark.
“Our department is delighted to welcome Dr. Shen-Stark and believe she will bring much to the campus as a musician and faculty member,” said Dr. Margaret Otwell, interim chairwoman of the music department.
Expanding the department’s course offerings, Shen-Stark will teach private piano and cello lessons. Mastering both of her chosen instruments, she placed in the finals at the Andrew International String Competition in 2009 and Shen-Stark said she was part of the My Troy Piano Trio, whose performance aired on CBS’s “Sunday Morning” program in 2009.
Bringing more than 10 years of teaching experience at both the high school and college levels, Shen-Stark specializes in instructing non-music major students.
“What a wonderful opportunity to take piano lessons from such a talented instructor,” said Barb Kolb, graphic design and English professional writing major.
Shen-Stark hopes to spark a greater interest in music on campus. Otwell and Shen-Stark are both excited about the possibility of building a performing arts ensemble on campus.
“I would like to see the number of students interested in music at Mount Mary grow,” Shen-Stark said. “We would like to see more music majors at the college, too.”
Despite being born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, Shen-Stark said she feels comfortable in the environment at Mount Mary. Accustomed to her own college music classes in Taipei, with few young men in attendance, she said teaching at a women’s college would not be a dramatic change. Shen-Stark also said Mount Mary’s Catholic foundation reminds her of her college days because her roommates were all Catholic, and she attended church with them regularly.
After finishing her bachelor’s degree in Taipei, Shen-Stark moved to Los Angeles where she attended the University of Southern California. She later moved to Ohio and completed her doctorate in musical arts at the University of Cincinnati. Living in the Milwaukee area for the past year, Shen-Stark sent her resumé to local colleges and as a result was contacted by Otwell, who offered her the position.
A devoted classical music fan, Shen-Stark admits she now enjoys 1980s rock after listening to it with her husband.
“It surprises me, but now I love it,” Shen-Stark said.
Besides her diverse taste in music, Shen-Stark also enjoys traveling to new places and tasting different cuisine. She and her husband also enjoy motorcycle riding and ballroom dancing together.
In addition to her passion for teaching music, Shen-Stark shares her love of language by teaching area students Mandarin. She says most of her students are business people or families who are planning to travel.
Other new faculty include:
Education: Juilliard and Eastman School of Music
Local gigs: Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra
Road gigs: Music festivals in Japan, Korea, Turkey, France and China
Mount Mary College: Teaches private clarinet lessons
Education: Carnegie Mellon University and University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
Local gigs: Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Wisconsin Philharmonic Orchestra
Road gigs: Florida Grand Opera Orchestra, Orlando Philharmonic and touring in Argentina
Mount Mary College: Teaches private flute lessons